Race Report: Whaling City Tri & Du 2016

Whaling City Tri & Du – July 3, 2016

Sarah, Fran and Candice at Whaling City 2016

Candice’s Race Report:

I completed the Whaling City Triathlon in New Bedford on July 3rd. This was a sprint distance triathlon: .25 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. It first started with me checking in and then getting marked. I then went over to the transition area, which was nicely organized by your race number with plenty of space for each person. I then went over to the bathrooms, which was probably the biggest downside to the race: about 6-7 portable bathrooms for the whole event.

The swim portion was done in Buzzards Bay and the water was beautiful for the race! I couldn’t ask for better water temperature. The swimming portion started where you entered two by two with a five second delay until the next pair came in. I felt strong at first with the swim, although did get a little tired at points with the waves and slight current of the water. The route was a triangle from one shore line to the other.

I then transitioned to the bike. The swim transition was a little bit of a jog to the transition area, but I managed to get my bike gear together and start riding. The bike course was a 6 mile loop that was done twice. The route itself was nice and flat, with beautiful views of the water and of New Bedford. I’m still having trouble with those turns on the bike though! Any advice from TE members would be awesome.

The bike mount and dismount were very close to the transition area, which made it easy for transition to the run portion. The running route itself was flat and probably my favorite part of the whole race. The route itself was right on the water with stunning views. If I was not completing a triathlon, I would have stopped and took some pictures! The down side to having stunning views right on the water is that there are little trees or opportunities for shade. When the temperature is already sunny and in the mid 80s and humid, I was dying for some relief when I finished the race. It was probably the most scenic triathlon I have done so far, although it was definitely the hottest as well.

The finish area was also nice, with kiosks to print out your personal times and they gave you a cool rag at the finish line. The best part when I finished was the kiddie pools filled with ice cold water to put your feet in! I’m so glad they had these as I was very hot and tired when I finished.

All in all, I thought this race was very scenic and flat. I would do this triathlon again. The only thing that I would recommend in the future is more bathrooms. Oh, and keep the kiddie pools with ice cold water.

Fran‘s Race Report:

After a 4 am wake up call, I piled my bike and gear in the car and headed to New Bedford for the Whaling City Triathlon.  It’s a sprint distance, with a 0.25 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run.  It was a great day for a race, with temperatures only getting up to around the mid 70’s by the end, and just enough breeze to cause some annoyance on the bike but cool things down for the run.  And I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the race organizers had given the three representatives from TE, Candice, Sarah, and I, consecutive race numbers, so we were next to each other in transition.

It was my first race with a wetsuit (and my second swim in one), and my first real swim in salt water.  I’m still getting used to all that extra buoyancy, sometimes it felt like my feet were barely even in the water.  Save ’em for the rest of the race, I guess.  I was pleased to look at the summary from my watch later and discover that I didn’t swim as far off course as I thought I had, but I still need to work on my sighting and bilateral breathing.

The bike portion was made up of two six mile loops, which initially caused me some consternation.  It took me a little while to figure out that I was getting passed so often during the first half because I was among the super speedy people who were on their second loop.  I managed to keep out of their way and eventually got around to passing some people of my own.  Not Sarah Poole, though.  Even with a cold Sarah is way faster than me on a bike.  Still, I managed an average 15.6 mph pace, which is a big improvement on where I was this time last year.

I managed to locate my running legs somewhere around half a mile into the 5K, only to lose track of them at about the three mile mark, but still finished fairly strong after a quick breather.  And I had my fastest average pace during a race, so call it a win.  The run course was nice.  It winds along the shore around Fort Taber Park with some great views of Buzzards Bay.

Overall, it was a good race.  It was well-organized with plenty of signs to tell everyone where to go.  There weren’t many hills, and the few that were there were pretty mild.  My only advice to anyone interested in doing this race in the future is to try and get there early if you want to get a close parking spot.  Apparently, there were fewer parking options available this year and I’m not sure if those filled up and where people had to go if they did.  I got there around 6:30 and got one of the last spots in the first of the two parking lots.

Sarah‘s Race Report:

I really enjoy the Whaling City Triathlon. Unfortunately, a nasty cold (sneezing, chest congestion, cough…all the fun stuff, really) almost sidelined me this year. Neck rule be damned, I decided to adjust my expectations and race anyway. I threw all time goals out the window and set out to race at a comfortable pace and to have fun.

The water was perfect for the swim – calm, a comfortable temperature, and not too crowded (thanks to the time trial start). This was my first race in my new sleeveless wetsuit, and I really liked having the extra range of motion in my shoulders. I stayed relaxed and steady in the swim without pushing my pace and exited the water ready to hit the bike – so far, so good!

Whaling City’s bike course is flat, fast, and closed to traffic. Most of the route features a lovely view of the shoreline. I went out strong and felt much stronger (and faster) than I had anticipated. Tempting as it was to push the pace, I knew I still had the run ahead of me. I stuck to my revised plan and maintained a steady, comfortable pace, which turned out to be a little faster than expected. Sweet!

My chest congestion finally caught up with me on the run (I was SO close!). I started out slow, had to take several coughing breaks, and just never really found my pace or my breath. So, I took it easy, walked a bit, and enjoyed the scenery – the course offers beautiful views of Fort Taber Park and the waterfront.

It wasn’t the strongest finish, but I crossed the line and enjoyed a nice ice bath for my feet. I had a lot of fun racing with my Fran and Candice (I love that Sun racks teams together in transition), enjoyed a well-organized, scenic race, and surprised myself in two of the three events. Considering how close I came to not racing at all, I consider the day to be a success. I even managed to remove all traces of my body marking before attending a wedding reception that evening!

Next up – Sharon!

Race Report: Mill City Triathlon 2016

Mill City Sprint Triathlon – June 26, 2016

Award from Mill City Sprint 2016

Cheers to two podium finishes at the Mill City Sprint Triathlon! Way to go, Candice and Sara!

Candice’s Race Report:

Candice on the Podium at Mill City Sprint 2016

This past Sunday, I completed my very first triathlon, the Mill City Triathlon in Lowell, Massachusetts. The race had both sprint and olympic distance options. I completed the sprint distance of .25 mile swim, 11 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. The race started at 7 AM, with a 4:30 AM wake up for me (brutal). Everything was pretty well organized from registration, race time and awards ceremony. The only issue was the bars to hold the bikes in transition were too low which made for longer transition times in both T1 and T2.

The race started off with the swim in the Merrimack River. Given the minimal rain we’ve had and the hot temperatures the past few days, the water was beautiful and clear. The water was warm, making it an easy swim from the first marked buoy back to shore. I then had to jog across the street to the transition area. The transition areas were the same for both the bike and running, which made for easy transition out for running (after I struggled with placing my bike on the low bar). Everyone in the race was supportive and encouraging. The bike and running routes were different this year and all of the roads featured were freshly paved. This led to a smooth bike ride for the whole 11 miles for me. The bike course was relatively flat, with some small hills. All of the routes were clearly labeled with enough volunteers at each spot to show where you were going next. The olympic distance was simply another loop of the same route used for the sprint for both bike and run. The swimming for the olympic had buoys set off at a greater distance before swimming back to shore.

The weather was beautiful and I couldn’t have asked for a better day for my first triathlon. I came in at 1 hour 24 mins, which I was happy about for my first time. Then the awards: third in my age group, woot woot! Overall, I thought this was a good triathlon and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is new to triathlons or wants to ease their way back in. I feel lucky that I picked this one as my first!

Candice at Mill City Sprint 2016

I’ll see you all in the Whaling City!

Sara‘s Race Report:

Sara D. on the Podium at Mill City Sprint 2016

I was originally slated to be sitting in a conference room all day learning more about cat diseases…but somebody had a better plan for me that day. As luck would have it, the conference was cancelled so I jumped in to register for Mill City Sprint. I couldn’t ask for better weather for a summer race. The water was warm (likely mid 70’s), the air was mid 60’s at 7 AM, and the sky was beautiful and clear.

I was pretty excited for this race as I have been working so hard on my swim technique and endurance since the last event. Master’s swim and Walden have been my hangouts lately… I couldn’t wait to see if I could redeem myself.

Arriving around 5:20 AM, it was early enough to go for a warm-up bike, run and swim…and stand in line for the bathrooms (TWO porta potties and two stalls in the building).  I’ve finally learned that I need longer warm-ups for shorter races, and an early arrival keeps my stress at bay.  The race was small and the transition area was located across the main road from the swim start.

The swim start was in waves to separate out sprint and Olympic racers. It was a quick out and back around the buoy. After some confusion from the director about which side to stay on, it was settled that we would go out on the right and back on the left. Phew…could have been a disaster. A friendly lady in my wave told me there is less current going out if you say nearer the shore, and then on the return stay towards the center to use the current’s help – I followed her advice and managed a 9 minute swim – 4 minutes faster than my last race, and not an ounce of panic occurred… just fast, relaxed swimming the entire way. Redemption!!!!

The bike was fast and flat for the first 5 miles, second 5 miles was moderately hilly but manageable. Averaged about 17 mph which was a record for me again! All that hill training is starting to pay off.

The run was a fairly flat loop, but by this time the air had really started heating up. I huffed and puffed my way to a 9:35 min/mile pace, setting another PR for me!

The race started so early that I was able to get back home for a second breakfast….

My new goal is to work on my running pace over the next year and try to get it down to a consistent 8 minute mile.  In the mean time, I’m going to bask in my personal PR glow.

PR Cat

Race Report: BAA 10K 2016

June 26, 2016

Melaney at BAA 10K 2016

Team EnVision had several runners at last Sunday’s BAA 10K. Everyone did a great job racing in the heat!

Melaney‘s Race Report:

I arrived around 7:50 after an excessively long wait for the T, just in time to jump into the middle of the queue at the first open spot that I could find for the 8am start. No warm-up or stretching time for me! The weather was warm already and I am glad I decided to forgo wearing arm sleeves…that would have been a mistake. The start was slow, very crowded and I’m not sure there were really any pace groups, but by around mile 2 I was able to get to a point where I was not dodging so often. I felt strong through mile 4 but after that the heat started to get to me. With no shade in sight and the sun beating down on Comm Ave I would have believed it was 95 out if you told me (maybe it was 95???!). I threw some water on myself to cool off and finished as strong as I could but definitely dropped my pace so no PR for the day but finished at a little over 52 minutes so I’ll take it. After cooling off and collecting food and swag I found the best post-race item, free kale & pineapple smoothies!!! Seriously refreshing after the race. I hope everyone else running had fun and stayed cool!


Training Weekend 2016

June 10-12, 2016

Kennebunkport Group Photo at Training Weekend 2016

Zabeth‘s Training Weekend Report:

Nine Team Envision women traveled to University of New England, Biddeford Maine this year for a delightful Training Weekend from June 10 to 12.

After arriving and settling into our suites in Sokokis Hall on Friday afternoon, we headed out for an easy 20-mile ride through Saco and Ocean Park enjoying the stately beach cottages, winding shady lanes, and ocean breezes. We rode at a social pace, stretching our legs on the mostly flat course until the short but eye-opening climb up Clifford Rd.

Group Ride at Training Weekend 2016

We returned to welcome smells of baking vegetable and meat lasagnas courtesy of Z, which we enjoyed with garlic bread, mixed salad, and apple and strawberry rhubarb pie. Returning and new members got to know each other, shared laughs and relaxed with foam rollers before heading to bed.

Early Saturday we met for coffee then headed to the beautiful UNE pool, which we had to ourselves for a challenging workout by Coach Becky Paige. We then retired to the hot tub for a short soak before showers and breakfast including homemade croissants from M.H., fruit, hardboiled eggs, yogurt, and bagels.

Hot Tub Time at Training Weekend 2016

We had lovely cool weather for our 30 mile Saturday ride heading inland through woods and farms south to Kennebunkport. We enjoyed refreshments overlooking the rocky shoreline before making our way along the coastline north. At a stop at Goose Rocks Beach, Ruth assessed the swimming possibilities while Sandra and Z experimented with riding along the firm sand listening to the waves.

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After a spin around beautiful Biddeford Poole, we headed back up to UNE and members chose between a run on the recreational track behind Sokokis, an ocean swim – Ruth would never miss this – or downtime.

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Saturday dinner choices included grilled marinated chicken, Greek orzo pasta salad, a variety of grilled vegetables, beer, wine, and ice cream for dessert. Participants thanked Melissa for organizing this great weekend, and Z for guiding and cooking with much-appreciated gift certificates to Amazon. We topped off the evening with our traditional raffle, giving away items including bike shoes, goggles, a wind jacket, body glide, and an illuminated helmet cover for safer night riding.

Sunday morning broke with another great swim workout, hot tub time, and pre-ride breakfast. Our farewell ride was a challengingly windy 14-mile loop. But after cycling together and gaining trust all weekend, we were able to ride comfortably in a double line taking turns pulling and drafting. Subsequently, in spite of the wind, we rode at our fastest pace of the weekend!

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Made hungry by the wind, we made short work of a tasty lunch of hummus, cheese, vegetables, fruit, and leftover lasagna before packing, saying farewells, and heading home. We all had a wonderful time, deepened friendships, and found new motivation to train and race together. Thanks to everyone who participated! See you soon at a training event or race!

Team EnVision would like to extend special thanks to our friends at Ride Studio Café in Lexington, MA for providing each woman at training weekend with Cliff Shot Blocks, an inner tube, and a CO2 cartridge.

Ride Studio Cafe Generously Donated Nutrition & Supplies for Training Weekend 2016

Back in Massachusetts, Team EnVision members got together for a “Training Weekend South” group ride.

Edith, Laurie & Amy at Training Weekend South 2016


Race Report: Rev3 Quassy Half 2016

Rev3 Quassy Half – June 5, 2016


Carole Rev 3 Quassy Half 2016 Finisher Photo

Carole‘s Race Report:

Ah, Rev3 Quassy. For the months leading up to it, whenever I mentioned it in casual triathlete conversation I got the dramatic hissing intake of breath used to indicate fear and warning, then a comment that invariably involved the word: hills.

Quassy was an Ironman Lake Placid tuneup B race for me, so I tapered only slightly for it. In prep I’d also pre-ridden the course to familiarize myself with the terrain–that crazy steep patch at mile 11, the long several false summit grinder from miles 23-32 everyone talks about, and the immediately-after-a-turn climb at mile 52 right when you think you’re done. But then there are things you can’t plan for, like getting a wicked cold two days before the race–the full on can’t swallow, snot everywhere, full body ache kind. And the weather forecast calling for severe storms all day long. But after considering dropping out, I decided to just go and see how I felt race morning and best case scenario view it like a mental toughness steady training day. Woke up race morning feeling congested but otherwise reasonably alright so off we go!

Swim: Kind of a mixed bag. I got off to a good start and thought I was ready for the initial not-so-comfortable feeling that happens in the early crush of a mass start. But I guess between being my first race in a long time and the congestion making it hard to breathe, I wasn’t quite so ready and about 200 yards in my heartrate spiked and I couldn’t maintain my breathing. First time ever in a race I had to pull over for a minute and get it back under control, side stroking to keep some forward momentum. I considered bailing on the day right there, but figured I’d try again to get into my steady rhythm and plan to swim wide to avoid getting jostled too bad. I was able to do that, and the rest of the swim was almost without incident–got my goggles knocked off about halfway through but readjusted and kept going. Overall swim pace ended up being awesome for me–1:34/100 yards over the 2400 yards (ok so maybe I swam a little TOO wide) for a clock time of 37:36. Previous 1/2IM bet was 36:51 without stopping and in the pool I’m usually 1:45/100 yards. So I’ll take that.

T1: Comfort was the name of the day today and it was already raining/a bit cold so I took the time to put on my arm warmers, gloves, and socks. Clock time 4:34 (hides face in shame).

Carole Bikes Out at Rev3 Quassy Half 2016

Bike: I used this as a test of nutrition, if not so much of pacing as I definitely took the hills harder than I plan to at LP. But, while I could tell my lungs and legs weren’t in peak form I felt reasonably alright, and none of the hills posed any real problem. There were several patches of drizzly to moderate rain and the roads were wet throughout, so unfortunately no bombing down them (my favorite part!!). The nutrition plan worked great, I took 1 bottle of 2/3 strength Gatorade Endurance/hour and in the first two hours 3/4 Clif bar per hour (300 cals total/hr), then switched to a half pack of shot blocks for the last hour. I fell one block short there stopping when I got a little burpy–maybe because of the full strength gatorade from the aid stations, but no problem modifying that way. I also had to stop a couple of times, once for a bio break, once because my brakes were rubbing–will have to figure out that mechanical before LP for sure–, and once cause I hit a bump while refilling my aero water bottle and it knocked the bottle off and it lodged under my back wheel. Another first, that bottle has always been solid in the cage! Ugh. Fortunately there was no one right behind me and I was able to stop without incident. Clock time3:17:19, pace 17.1 mph

Carole Bikes In at Rev3 Quassy Half 2016

T2: Comfort. Changed my socks to dry ones. Got heckled by spectators for doing so. Whatever. Clock time: 1:53.

Run: The run was great, and I was most nervous about it as I have not been training on hills due to tendonitis that had also limited my weekly mileage and eliminated speed training this whole season. That run course has 990 feet of elevation gain and couple of really steep hills with another looooong climb right at the end. Brutal. But, I tried to pace myself out, attempting to go easy at the start. My pace for the first 3 miles was a little faster than I was thinking I’d do, so slowed down after that to what I had been training at. I almost wish I hadn’t because I still had plenty of gas in the tank at the end though!! But, better to be conservative than to end up throwing up on the side of the course like I saw 2 people doing. Nutrition also went great on the run– I took Gatorade Endurance at most aid stations, subbing out water and a salt cap every ~3 miles, and had a half shot block per mile. The hills were no problem, and I never had to stop and walk. Overheating was certainly not a problem as it was already pretty cool but then started absolutely dumping water around mile 6.5. Crazy rain so hard I could hardly see where I was going. But, I carried on and finished feeling fantastic– if totally soaked to the bones. Clock time on the run- 2:02(9:24/mile pace–I was expecting to be closer to 9:45).

Carole Crosses the Finish Line at Rev3 Quassy Half

Overall: Huge props to the volunteers who stood out in the rain all day handing out nutrition. Race organization was awesome as usual for Rev3, the course was clearly marked, there were police details everywhere you’d want them, and they did a great job managing safety and communicating the contingency plans for the nasty weather day.

Lessons to apply to LP: Really anticipate the crush of the swim start and focus even more on steady breathing and relaxing. Bike tuneup. Ease back on the hills to smooth out wattage spikes. No changes to nutrition plan or run strategy.

Carole Looks Forward to Ironman Lake Placid 2016

Thanks for reading!


Race Report: Worcester Tri-Fest 2016

Worcester Tri-Fest – June 5, 2016

Sara D at Worcester Tri-Fest 2016

Sara‘s Race Report:

It was an early morning start for Worcester Tri-Fest at Indian lake. I left from Boston about 5:15 AM – I love getting to transition as early as possible to warm up and settle in. This was my first ever completely solo event – no friends, no husband, no family at the start. I took extra time to plan and condense all of my supplies. My heart sank when I pulled my bike off my car in the rain in the parking lot and saw that my front tire was completely flat (I had JUST filled it an hour ago in Boston). In an effort to prove my self-sufficiency, I got to work, changed my own tire in the rain, and felt wildly proud of my success (Thanks Zabeth for the timely lesson!). At least I knew the repair tent wasn’t far if anything went wrong!

The weather was very drizzly and damp all morning, but the air was warm enough to be comfortable (~65 degrees).  They offer quite a variety of racing option- Tri, Du, stand-up paddle/canoe, aquabike, and a few other combos too. The sprint tri was only about 80 participants, so I felt some pressure to keep up and not be the last one in! Strangely I prefer the anonymity in the sea of people at larger races…

Sara D at the Swim Start Worcester Tri-Fest 2016

The swim was 1/4 mile triangle and was a time-trial start which was a new experience for me. I actually really liked this option vs. treading water. I wish they had a few more support kayaks along the swim route for ease of  mind.  I was hoping for a better swim time but nerves got the best of me again. I’ll be focusing on this skill a bit more this summer! The transition area was just one long row of bikes and quite a long run from the water exit – I had to focus hard to find my bike along the row after the exhausting, slow swim.

The bike portion was quite hilly but well-marked and monitored. We were warned repeatedly to go slowly down some of the large hills and avoid the slippery white lines. I was pleased with my bike time given the rainy day and extra cautious approach. I’m glad I covered all of my things in transition with a garbage bag due to the rain! When I came in off the bike, my feet/socks were so wet I had to wring them out and then decided to put on dry ones for more comfort during the 5k. Good decision despite the slight loss in time!!!!

Sara D on the Run Course at Worcester Tri-Fest 2016

The run was uphill the first 1/3 and then gently rolling for the rest of it. Only one water station was available – I wish there were a few more because I love “options” for hydration. It was my personal best sprint run time, so I’m happy all of my winter running paid off, and I was thankful for dry socks.

Worcester Tri-Fest 2016 Finish Line

The finish line was a welcome sight, as always. They offered bananas and granola bars, but I kept looking around for a burger….or the fried chicken that was stuck in my mind for the last few hours. Next year I hope they have a food truck!

Sara D Worcester Tri-Fest 2016 Finisher Photo

Race Report: Ironman 70.3 Kraichgau 2016

Kraichgau 70.3 – Germany – June 5, 2016

Nathalie A at 70.3 Kraichgau 2016

Nathalie‘s Race Report:

Kraichgau 70.3 Race Report – Germany – June 5, 2016

We got lucky: after all the rain that had fallen over the past 2 weeks  the morning of race day showed cloud and sun.

The first wave started at 9am, a very civilized time. But we were in the parking lot waiting for the shuttle at 6:30am. The start and finish were a few miles apart. We had checked in the bikes and the bags the day before. The shuttle did not show –rumor started that it would not come until 8am – and when friends of ours drove by around 7:30am,we jumped in their car – this was the only logistical hiccup of an otherwise very well organized race by ironman.

The swim (1.2 miles) was in a small and quiet lake, warm enough, and the women went just after the pros – I was a bit afraid that the males starting 5mn and 15mn behind us would pass us aggressively but it went well, I did not drown and swam my usual slow pace for 50mn.

I decided to change into biking shorts in the tent, and my transition was long but I felt better about having more comfortable clothing for such a long race. I had been fretting about it since the tents are not gender specific, but no one cares, so why not make oneself comfortable, so here I strip…

The bike course was a really beautiful, very hilly german country landscape. Kraighgau is the land of 1000 hills. And indeed, there is not one mile of flat terrain in the 56-mile course. But I liked it – I can get totally bored on flat terrain. At one point there is a 13% grade climb, I was a bit worried about it, in a village, just behind a bend, and it ended up being the BEST part. The street was lined with people cheering and shouting “hop-hop-hop, hop-hop-hop” and they made us fly over the climb without even realizing it, with a big smile on our faces. It took me 3h40, that is just over 15mph average, which for me is ok.

Again, changed my shorts and started on the 13-mile run, slow grade ups and downs, a bit tough on tired legs. It was 3 loops in town and through a park, and it was nice to cross path with friends, plenty of water stops and nice volunteers handing out wet sponges. I took it slow and steady, I did not want to walk, and I did not -except to take my 2 gels- and it took me 2h18 to reach the finish line.

Overall a time of 7h02, I finish 1983 out of 2420 athletes, nothing to gloat about, but I am fine with it: I did it on my own terms, I finished it, and I enjoyed it. I got a bumper sticker that says “70.3 Only Half Crazy”.