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”.

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!