Race Report: Mass State Triathlon 2017

Mass State Triathlon – July 9, 2017

Fran’s Race Report:

The 2017 Mass State triathlon took place on July 9th, at Lake Dennison in Winchendon, Massachusetts.  It’s a race that has a reputation of always taking place on the hottest day of the summer, but I think we got lucky this year because the temperature never got above 80 degrees.  This was my second Olympic distance triathlon and definitely my best race this year.

My training for this race perhaps wasn’t the greatest.  I ended up not following a formal training plan, and instead made up my own regimen as I went along that used some of the principals from the plan I’d used to train for my first Olympic distance race.  In the end, I may have done more training than a formal plan would have called for, but it was definitely less structured.  Another hiccup in the training was that I ended up having to travel for work for several days about a week and a half before the race, which disrupted my final training plans.  While traveling, I tried to tell myself that I was probably supposed to be tapering anyway, and then I did a last long workout when I got back before doing the real taper.  Perhaps the trip even helped in the end, especially because I was working outdoors in Florida, and just about any weather feels cool and refreshing after that.

The swim had the usual waves with mass starts.  I’d consider my swimming good but not spectacular, but I made some big improvements this year just by doing a better job of making sure my goggles didn’t fog up.  It’s amazing how much faster you can finish the swim course when you can actually see the buoys and aren’t constantly getting off track.

The bike course had some scenic sections, some bumpy sections, some parts with newly paved road, and one slightly dicey part that goes through a town center.  The race organizers assured the athletes that the bad patches of road would be fixed by next summer.  There are a few hills, especially in the middle of the course, but it’s fairly flat at the beginning and the end, which I think helped me because I could get used to being on a bike at the beginning and then prepare for the run at the end without also having to worry about anything too technical.  I thought there were also a surprising number of people pulled over with flat tires on the bike course.  There were also at least a couple crashes, one of which happened a short distance behind me that I heard but didn’t see. Fortunately, I made it back to transition without getting into any mishaps myself.

After a short bout of jelly legs coming off the bike, I ended up having a really good run.  This is most likely for two reasons.  First, the course is an out and back, so whenever I got to an uphill I could tell myself that I would get to run back down it later.  Second, I’d done the run leg as part of a relay with Z and Edith my first year on Team Envision.  It definitely helped to be able to tell myself that no matter how tired I might feel, I’d done that run before and I could do it again.  That’s made me wonder if I ought to try and do the run course in isolation before other future races, maybe it would help when the temptation to walk gets strong.

My official time was 3:13:44.9.  It’s not a spectacular time by any definition, but I achieved both of my main goals for the race: to finish in under 3 hours 15 minutes, and run the entire run course.  I’m looking forward to doing this race again next year and improving even more.

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Race Report: Patriot Half Triathlon 2017

Patriot Half Triathlon – June 17, 2017

Melaney’s Race Report:

I was fortunate enough to complete my first half iron in June 2017. I was definitely nervous signing up and committing in the fall of 2016 (since the race sells out early) but decided to take the leap after volunteering in 2016 and seeing others complete what I once thought was unaccomplishable. Gaining confidence through having three half marathons under my belt and being able to already swim a mile, I pushed myself to set a goal that I was not quite sure would be accomplished (always exciting but scary!). However, once I set a goal, in anything, I will figure out a way to best set myself up for success. This could be the scientist or stubborn in me. I set myself up to improve my bike over the winter with an indoor trainer and Computrainer classes at Fast Splits (thanks coach Karen!), I hired a coach (thanks Will @ TriHard!), swam through the winter with TE (thanks coach Becky!), and continued to run throughout the winter (thank you mother nature!). I’m sure it is obvious but goals are easier with support behind you. I followed my training plan as best I could and trusted that I had done what I could do to prepare for race day. There were definitely moments that were difficult in life and training and lessons were learned, such as ALWAYS practice race nutrition on a training day as pounding many many GUs may not agree with you : (

June 17: Race day came and I felt good and calm to just complete the race, not “race”, but finish respectably and enjoy it. I estimated my time around 6:15-6:30.

I arrived on race day with what I thought was plenty of time but quickly turned into a rush. Parking took FOREVER, so I had to rush to get marked and get my chip. Setting up transition was fast but I literally ran to get to the port-a- potty line and then had to sprint back to get my wetsuit on. I also wanted to make sure I at least got into the water for a second, so I ran to the entrance area and fought my wetsuit sleeves on, jumped in and out and had just enough time to get back to line up. I usually like a little more time than I had and felt a little like a hot mess, but maybe it helped to not fuss over things.

The weather was misty and gray, kind of cool, basically my perfect weather. My swim was calm and comfortable. I took my time and even felt like I had good form since I was out there for a bit to focus on it. In the end I was happy with my time of 39:14 since I took it easy to not tire out.

I was looking forward to T1 since they had wetsuit strippers, woohoo! and it was kind of comical when this drill-sergeant man was grabbing the remainder of my sleeve off and then shouted “SIT DOWN!” and got my legs off in a jiffy. I almost said “YES SIR!”, in summary wetsuit strippers are awesome. T1 I don’t remember too much, just got my bike gear on and off I went.

On the bike I remember I tried to push but not too much and not get caught up in the race. I took in my nutrition and watched the fast men with disc wheels whoosh by me (and Cathy too). By the second loop I was looking at my time and thought, wow! this is fast! I averaged 18.4 mph for my first loop and wondered if I should slow down or not but I didn’t feel fatigued so I kept at the same pace. My second loop was slower, 17.5 mph, but I also took a potty break where I had to wait for someone, but since I felt good so far, I wanted to incorporate the time loss into my bike rather than my run. While I had a lot of time on the bike, my mind calculated many things, like how fast maybe I could finish, considering I knew my bike time would be a little over 3 hours (in the end 3:09:57). My swim time was a mystery but I figured it couldn’t be over an hour, so this got my mind on a goal of under 6 hours, with a sub 2-hr half marathon, which was possibly achievable.

T2 was slower, but I wanted to make sure I had sun protection on and was comfortable with all my gear.

I set off running and my legs felt good. I paced myself well using my Garmin and was cruising easily between an 8:40-8:55 pace. Since I also knew my half marathon PR time, by the time I hit the 10K point, I also knew I could likely beat my PR and push under 2hrs easily. Overall the run was smooth, even when ending a little warm/humid in the day. I started to get some minor cramping on the last two mile inclines so I walked up two hills to prevent an actual cramp and then continued running. On the final turn I saw Z and a t-rex cheering on and before the final turn the feeling was incredible.

I’ve never had emotion come over me in a race and I had to break into a smile from just feeling joy. Just to finish was enough for me, to break under 6 hrs (5:52:48) was even more incredible and to set a half marathon PR (1:54:45) was icing on the cake for me. The day was almost suspiciously perfect for me, I would like to think that on Father’s Day, someone was looking out for me : )

In the end, it paid off to trust in my training, have fun and take in the entire day around me to remember such a great goal and moment.

Race Report: Buzzard’s Bay Sprint Triathlon 2017

Buzzard’s Bay Sprint Triathlon – September 17, 2017

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Amanda’s Race Report:

I attended the Buzzard’s Bay Sprint Triathlon as the runner in the relay with Z and Ruth. The morning started off cloudy but the sun came out in full force by the time I was running. There were strong winds in the morning, and the race volunteers couldn’t keep the swim buoys out in the water! It appeared to be an advanced and unpleasant swim, partly due to the weather that day. But also given that it’s an ocean course requires some solid swimming experience. The staff were recommending that anyone not comfortable switch to the duathlon. I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable swimming at Buzzard’s Bay even on a nicer day! The run was very pleasant with pretty and changing scenery… down a road, by some Cape houses, out and back to Gooseberry Island, and then through a camp ground. My most notable practical observation is that there was really no shade or cover anywhere on the run course. I put on sunscreen (a must!) but would also have a visor or sun glasses next time.

Race Report: Boston Triathlon 2017

Boston Triathlon – July 30, 2017

 

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Zabeth’s Race Report:

I was really excited to compete in the Boston Tri this year.   I’d heard good things about the event, and was looking forward to racing on closed roads along the Southie waterfront with Team Envision.

We had a fantastic energetic Team Envision turnout with Melaney Bouthillette, Bee Sullivan, Margaret Randle, Julia Rissmiller, Nathalie Apchin, Nathalie Kylander, Sara Doggett, and Sharon Perth-Olshvang all racing and Sandra O’Connor  and M-H Bourduas cheering us on.

A few training swims at Carson Beach had been superb preparation for the variety of conditions encountered on race day.  Several of us racing enjoyed a TE  open-water ocean swimming clinic there with Coach Becky.  The water temp on race morning was about 10 degrees lower than it had been the week before  — not bad, but I was glad to have my wetsuit!

Transition was set up the night before, and though I was initially suspicious, good security was provided for the bikes, and there weren’t any problems.

The swim course at Boston Tri is three sides of a rectangle in a protected bay with a running start on a nice flat sandy beach.  Swimming out and along the top of the rectangle, the water was calm, but on the return it became choppy – according to Bee Sullivan, “the mermaids were definitely having fun with us!”

We ran along the beach to T1 and headed out on the loop course for our bike leg.  As an Olympic Aquabiker, I had 4 laps to complete. The course was completely flat, but upwind heading out and downwind heading back.  Most of the course was on the closed William J. Day Blvd, and at times it was hard to avoid drafting due to the number of other bikes on the road.  In several places we had to navigate much narrower sections of pavement going on and off  the side walk out to the causeway before making a tight turn around the pavilion at the far end.  Good bike handling in  the corners and turnarounds, seeing the big picture at all times, and efficient passing technique were critical to a strong cycling split.   I did see several crashes – cyclists not paying enough attention and colliding with others or with curbs.  Worried I’d forget to count my laps, I had stuck 4 small pieces of white tape to my handle bars and removed one each time I completed a lap.   This worked great!

My favorite memory of this race were the loud cheers of Sandra and M-H at the end of each lap. Their voices spurred me to pick up the pace a little at each successive turnaround.

As I didn’t have to run afterwards, I could afford to floor it on the final lap – really fun on the last straight section of road!  Running the bike into T2 to get my finish time, I enjoyed a drink and snack before making my way to the finish chute to get one of the weirdest race photos I’ve ever had taken.  I may look cartoonish, but I do look determined and happy!

I joined the others near the end of the run to cheer on our racers.  Sara Doggett and I also took the opportunity to keep Bee company on the final hot mile of her run.

The Boston Triathlon is one of the most expensive races locally, but it is really something special to compete along the Boston waterfront with your teammates.  There is plenty of parking and you do save money and time by racing locally.

There is free beer for all racers — probably why the race was so expensive! (Remember to hydrate well first and don’t forget to apply sunscreen – I saw a  few folks suffering the effects too much sun and beer while dehydrated.)

My main criticism of the event was that post-race lunch had to be purchased from a few undersupplied food trucks with long lines.

TE did great with 9 participants and 3 podium places:  Julia earned 2nd in the Sprint, Margaret earned 2nd in the Olympic and I earned 2nd in the Olympic Aquabike.

It felt wonderful to be on the podium again after a two-year hiatus dealing with a torn rotator cuff.

I highly recommend the Boston Triathlon and hope to continue to see a big Team Envision presence there in years to come!

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

 

So Long, Winter 2016 – Thanks for the Memories!

Team EnVision enjoyed an active off-season!

 

In December, Melissa led us on a running tour of Boston’s holiday lights. Our route took us through downtown, Boston Common, Boston Public Garden, the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Faneuil Hall, and Christopher Columbus Park. We capped off the evening with dinner and drinks.

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Indoor swim practices began in January with new Team EnVision swim coach, Becky Paige. We will swim indoors until May when we will move to Walden Pond for open water swimming. Current and prospective members are welcome to drop in for a swim practice:

Swim Practice – Kirrane Aquatics Center in Brookline, Wednesday nights from 7:30-8:30 ($10 fee)

 

In January, Grace Bicycles hosted Team EnVision for a CompuTrainer ride of the Ironman Lake Placid course. Thanks, Cathy, for organizing the event. We had a great time riding!

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Throughout the winter, weekly strength training classes at Marathon Physical Therapy provide a good base for our triathlon training. Current and prospective members are welcome to drop in for a strength class:

Strength Training Class – Marathon Physical Therapy in Newton, Monday nights from 7:15-8:15 ($10 fee)

Team EnVision Strength Training at Marathon Physical Therapy

 

Several Team EnVision members participated in the Marathon Sports Winter Warrior Challenge. We ran (or walked) at least one mile outdoors every day in January!

Marathon Sports Winter Warrior Challenge 2016

 

In March, Team EnVision gathered for a race planning session. We chatted about races and got started on planning the new season while enjoying some wine, cheese, and good company!

 

While Winter 2016 was a lot of fun, Team EnVision is excited about the arrival of spring and outdoor training!

 

TRI-MANIA Boston Summit and Expo 2016

Team EnVision kicked off the 2016 season on Saturday at the TRI-MANIA Boston Summit and Expo!

Team EnVision Ladies at TRI-MANIA 2016

We are thrilled to have met so many amazing female triathletes at the Team EnVision booth. Thank you all for your interest! We would like to invite you to drop into a Team EnVision practice:

Swim Practice – Kirrane Aquatics Center in Brookline, Wednesday nights from 7:30-8:30 ($10 fee)

Strength Training Class – Marathon Physical Therapy in Newton, Monday nights from 7:15-8:15 ($10 fee)

Weekend Bike Ride – Check back soon for details on this year’s first outdoor training ride. We are eager to get outside for a ride!

We hope to see you soon at one of our practices!

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Team EnVision members prepped for the upcoming season at workshops, seminars and clinics, some of which were presented by our friends at Tri-Hard Endurance Sports Coaching and Marathon Physical Therapy.

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Carole won third place for women in the Pilgrimman Tri Booth Swim-Erg Challenge! Way to go, Carole!

Michelle had her Ironman Lake Placid finisher jacket autographed by Mike Reilly, the Voice of Ironman.

Michelle's Ironman Lake Placid Finisher Jacket Autographed by Mike Reilly

Team Envision would like to thank Sun Multisport and all who participated in TRI-MANIA Boston 2016 for a great event! The 2016 triathlon season is already off to a great start!

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