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”.

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Race Report: Landshark 1/2, 1, & 2 Mile Swim 2016

Laurie splashes into summer with an open water swim race

 

Laurie on the podium at LandShark Swim 2016Laurie‘s Race Report:

I’m a fair-weather racer, so I waited, waited, waited, and checked the weather obsessively through the week. I’d been planning to swim this event for months, and was hoping for optimal conditions. I was willing to pay the extra $5 to sign up on race day rather than take the chance of crappy weather. Unlike triathlons, swim events rarely sell out!

Race day promised to be beautiful, and it was. The early morning clouds cleared off and the sun came out. The water was reported to be 68 degrees – I was perfectly comfortable in my shorty wetsuit. Most participants, but by no means all, opted for wetsuits.

The course was a ½ -mile loop, so the ½-milers did 1 lap, the 1-milers did 2, and the 2-milers did 4 laps. 19 half-mile racers went off at 10am, followed by 71 two-milers at 10:05am, and 49 one-mile swimmers at 10:10am. The participants’ ages ranged from 11-72.

I did the 2-mile swim. The first lap was pretty crowded (in other words, I got kicked, pawed, bumped, and probably did my fair share of kicking, pawing, and bumping – unintentionally, of course!) but we spread out by the second lap, and spread out even more on the third and fourth ones. We were instructed to yell out our numbers as we swam around the last buoy before going off on the next lap. That wasn’t nearly as disruptive or disorienting as in races where you have to run out and back in the water. I have such a hard time recovering from standing up, running and flopping back down.

54:24 and done. Good enough for 1 st in my age group – aging up has its benefits!

This is a nice, fairly small, local race through B&S Event Management. I’ve done some of their other races (runs and swims) and they run a good event. Keep ‘em in mind!

Next up? Maybe the Mashpee Superswim (3 miles) on 6/18, and the Lake Terramuggus swims in CT on 6/19. Hello, summer!

LandShark Swim 2016

Race Report: New England Season Opener Du Tri 2016

A strong start to 2016 triathlon season!

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Team EnVision showed up in force for the Max Performance Season Opener Du Tri 2016! We had athletes racing in both the duathlon and the triathlon, plus a few more volunteering and cheering.

Anticipating cold water on race day, a few of us headed to Walden Pond on Saturday for a test swim. The water was chilly, but the air was warm and the sun was shining. Really, it was a perfect day for an early season swim.

Sandra and Sarah at Walden Pond

In true New England fashion, the weather changed overnight and delivered us cool air, a cloudy sky, and heavy winds on race morning.

Melaney and the other duathletes started first with a 2-mile run, and then the triathletes walked down to the swim start. The Hopkinton Reservoir was a refreshing 59 degrees. The water was choppy due to the wind, but the current was flowing toward the swim finish line. We donned our wetsuits, doubled our swim caps, and were ready to race!

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The 10-mile bike course featured rolling hills through the Hopkinton State Park and surrounding communities. The course was well-marked and had plenty of volunteers. The long hill at the end can be a bit of a challenge, but the runners heading out on the other side of the road provided much-needed encouragement.

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The run course took us back out for a 5K through the park. Crossing the causeway, we were treated to strong wind gusts and a glimpse of the finish area. From there, it was just a quick turn past the beach to the finish line!

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As always, Max Performance hosted a well-organized event. It was a great day and a successful start to the season for Team EnVision. We look forward to conquering this course again in September at the Title 9 Women Only Spring Triathlon!

Race Report: Big Sur Marathon 2016

Hills & headwinds along the beautiful Pacific coast

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Melissa‘s Race Report:

The Big Sur Marathon starts in Big Sur, California, runs north along Highway One and finishes in Carmel.  Being a point-to-point race, it requires being bussed to the start.  I was running the race with my two sisters and our Dad (our Mom was our cheerleader, who would meet us at the finish line).  We had an early wake-up, at 2:45 AM, to catch the busses at 4:00 AM to bring us to the start of the race.  We boarded the bus and headed out in the dark along Highway One, basically driving the course backwards from the finish to the starting line.  None of us had run the race before and this was my first time along Highway One.  The bus continued on, up and down the hills that we would be running on later that morning.

We arrived at the starting area which was very crowded with runners awaiting their own 26.2-mile journey.  As it got closer to the starting time of 6:45 AM, we checked our bags that included our sweatshirts and pants that we wore to keep warm in the starting area.  We made the slow walk to our corral.  With 4,000 runners, there were three corrals.  Before we knew it, the race was starting and we were off!  I was running with my sister Michele and our other sister Janice was running with our Dad.

The race starts downhill.  Knowing we had a lot of hills ahead of us, we made sure to not go out too fast and eventually settled into a good stride.  We saw a couple of strange sights – one man juggling while running and another dribbling a basketball while running.  It gave us some good laughs!  It was crowded for the first few miles and it took a few miles for the road to emerge from the trees and give us our first sight of the Pacific Ocean.  Throughout the twists and turns on Highway One, the road sometimes was slanted and difficult to run on.

Once we were no longer shielded by the trees, we ran into a strong headwind that stayed with us for the rest of the race.  The scenery along the ocean was spectacular, as were the mountains on our right.  I stopped every so often to take some pictures, as one of the great things about this race is the scenery.  With the strong winds and cloudy sky, you couldn’t stop for too long, otherwise, you might start to get cold!

Around mile 10 we came across a group of drummers along the course.  Each year, they are stationed at the bottom of “Hurricane Point”, which is the largest hill in the race – a two-mile stretch that gains almost 600 ft in elevation.  It was a long, slow, climb to the top.  The beats of the drums faded away and the strong winds made it hard to hear each other on our way to the top.  Eventually, we made it and my sister and I exchanged a high-five.  We made our way down the other side, probably going a little too fast because we were excited to no longer be climbing the hill.

Halfway down the hill is the famous Bixby Bridge.  On the other side of the bridge around the halfway point is the famous grand piano player that sits and plays tunes for the runners throughout the race.  It was a very welcome sight to know that we were at the halfway point and that Hurricane Point was behind us.

The rest of the race had more beautiful sights and hills, and the headwinds just did not stop.  It was a very challenging race, both physically and mentally.  My quads were pretty beat-up by about mile 18.  Not being conservative enough on the downhills, I was really starting to feel it.  My sister is also faster than I am, so running with her meant we were pushing the pace a little more than if I were running by myself.  That along with the higher effort needed to run in the strong headwind took its toll in those later miles.  I ended up having to walk up a few of the hills in those late miles.  Around mile 23, they pass out fresh strawberries and wow did they taste good!

There was one last hill around mile 24.5 that seemed like a cruel joke.  After getting up and over that, my sister and I cruised on into the finish.  During that last stretch, I don’t like to really give my last kick until I can see the finish line.  Once that came into view, we ran as hard as we could and finished the race!  Soon after we finished, the sun came out and we were able to cheer on the rest of the finishers.

Big Sur is a challenging race but one that I think every runner should experience at least once.  There is no other time where you can run along the beautiful coastline and stop and take it all in.  This race has been on my “to run” list for a while and it did not disappoint!  I just hope if I ever run it again that it is less windy that day!

Race Report: Boston Marathon 2016

Michelle’s first marathon – A big smile for a big finish!

Michelle's Boston Marathon 2016 Finish

Michelle‘s Race Report:

My first marathon and what an experience! It was hotter than I expected, so as I was at the finish line, I promised myself that I’d stop at every water station and pace myself accordingly. For the first 10 miles, I really had to hold myself back. I could’ve run 10 minute miles, but I had been warned that if you go hard (that’s hard for me!) in the beginning when it’s downhill, then you’ll crash before the end.

I couldn’t believe the support of the crowds–every step of the way–there wasn’t any point during the marathon where I saw empty streets. And EVERYONE was so generous with cheers, food, Vaseline, tissue, etc. It was truly overwhelming and inspiring!

So many of my students jumped in with me at Heartbreak Hill! They really kept me going at a point when I wanted to collapse. The last 5 miles were brutal, despite the fact that I held myself back in the beginning. My pace had slowed way down to 12:00/13:00 – and I felt like people could walk faster than I was running. Even when I knew I was approaching the finish line, I couldn’t get my legs to move faster. I finished in 5:23, and I was both thrilled that I finished and disappointed I didn’t break 5 hours. Now that I know that I CAN run a marathon, my goal is to run my next one in 4:30. I’m planning for that one to be NYC 2017.

 

Race Report: Las Olas International Triathlon 2016

New England a bit chilly in March? Race in Florida!

Nathalie at Las Olas 2016

Nathalie‘s Race Report:

The Las Olas International Triathlon is my favorite course; I did it in March 2015 and loved it so much that I went again in March 2016.

I just flew to Fort Lauderdale for the weekend and I rented a bike from City Bikes instead of bringing my own, which was just fine. I stayed at a hotel on the beach, so that I could just bike to the transition area in a few minutes. Important when the first wave goes out at 7:25am and Starbucks does not open until 6am!

The ocean swim is 0.62 miles (1.0 km) and is really lovely, we walk along the beach to the starting point and swim back, so the current always helps us. Although it was rather windy and we had to aim well to get around the first buoy…

The bike is a bit short for an Olympic: 21 miles (34km), 2 loops, it is flat and fast, along the beach and then inland with views on cute residences and canals through a very scenic park.

The run is 2 straight in-and-out along the beach on the promenade for a total of 6.2 miles (10 km). Although the race is early, it already is a bit hot, but there are a lot of water stops and it is so beautiful!

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!