Sunday, September 25, 2011

Call me CRAZY But...................

Some call me crazy but most that know me well say "thats just Jen." Just 24 hours after flying half way around the world cramped up in a tiny airplane economy seat and on a 12 hour time change, completely sleep deprived and not even a week after and still in recovery from competing hard at Worlds i partook in the Savageman Festivities here in my back yard at Deep Creek Lake. If you don't know of it, look it up. AS many say -"not a course to do 'for fun.'" After worlds my body and my mind were done! fried. The thought of racing again anytime soon was not creating that drive inside me as it normally does. But, to have such a great event take place in my home town, i feel it important to participate and support it. So i did....I had signed up for the international race on Saturday and i agreed to be the runner for my father in laws team on Sunday in the half ironman distance. which means yes, i am setting myself up to race the race of my life half way around the world, 6 days later and a day after 24+ hours of travel doing another international tri and then the next day running a very challenging hilly half marathon...HA!!!! what was i thinking!!!! That is what went through my head on Saturday morning as i looked out at the lake reallllly not wanting to get in! I was not in the Savageman to win or place, just have fun and be there with everyone. But that Saturday morning i was struggling mentally - not wanting to do it again. Get in to some cold water on a cold morning and swim bike and run. The only thing that got me in was that it did not matter to me how i did. Even if i wanted to try my hardest, my body could not give 100% that weekend. It was physically and emotionally impossible. But hey, i will do my best and have fun doing it.
I made it through the swim. fun...not so much. My neck was so tight from the flight that the first half of the swim i spent trying to crack my neck, probably looking somewhat goofy! then the 2nd half of the swim all i could think about was how sleepy i was and just wanted to go to bed! (remember, my body and mind was 12 hours ahead, so i was ready for bed). Swim went well all and all though. I finally got my time back down under 30 minutes, but was still 3 minutes slower than when i did this race 2 years ago (last year i dropped out since it was a week before nationals and i did not want to push hard one week before my important race).  Got out of the water and took my time in transition. i was not going to get hypothermic again, or experience it. So i toweled off, kind of looked like i was fresh out of the shower, drying my hair, my back etc... heeehee.. Put on lots of layers and went out for the bike. I think about 2-2:30 minutes slower than 2 years ago. The bike, i took as get in a good workout. i tried my bestest. but my legs still did not have much in them, from the race at worlds but also the travels. but I have a ton of body awareness (too much at times) and could tell things were not firing as they should. But i had a great workout on the bike, about 3 minutes slower than what i had done in training on this course and very happy with what i did this day.  The next transition, wasn't quite as slower than usual but i did wear running shoes that i actually had to tie the laces. again, not something i would normally do in a tri. but it did not matter this time! i was having fun. And i really was. It was such a breathe of fresh air to do a tri this way. Then to my favorite!!!! The RUn. Oh how i have such passion for running! I can't explain it in words. It is my passion, my saving grace! I always love to start the run! started it up , but OUCH! here is where i felt the traveling cramped travels and the previous weeks race. For the first time though, i felt the worse on the run. My quads were killing me, my calf injury was pressing and well, i just hurt. To be expected. I went out for the run and was told i was in 7th. but before 1.5 miles into the run i was running next to a bike that said #2 female. HA. well, normally that would get me all excited. And don't get me wrong, i was. But it was more like a love hate thing. I more was like "damn, i just got marked and now have to keep it. So i ran to keep that spot. Didn't need to move up the the #1 spot, this day was not about me shining, but now that everyone is seeing me run by the #2 bike, i felt i should keep it. And that i did, i crossed the line as 2nd place overall. I was about 3 minutes slower on the run than 2 years ago. 3 seems to be the trend in this "recovery" race. Was exciting! Did not expect that at all!!! chuckled for sure! Would love to do this race fresh and without an important race the week after. Not to try and win it, as that really is not what i am about, but to see what time i could get. In my head i should be able to take 12 minutes off my time as i was 3 minutes slower in the swim bike and run and transitions from what i have done before at this race or in training. but that is what is in my head, who knows if i could take that much time off for real! maybe next year, but below you will read more about that. Unless i have lost you already from this already too long blog. ;-)

Sunday, well, my body, my mind, probably going through the "thank goodness we can rest now she is done".....NOT.....ha, still have a half marathon to do the next day. If my legs could talk, they would have been calling me "bitch!." for sure.  Hee. UGH. as much as i love to run, Sunday morning waiting to do my leg of the half ironman, my legs were over the top not well and my mind even further there. I ran 20 feet to get my water bottle and my legs were numb, almost caved in and brought me to the ground they were so tired and sore and achey. My calf was done and everything else there with it! Last year, i did this relay and since it was 1 week before national i ran it comfortable and at marathon pace instead of all out. So at first i figured, well if i can do that and feel comfortable my goal this year was to run the same as i am not fresh and i wont be comfortable. but when i ran for my water, i quickly changed my goal to just get across the finish line so my team finishes. My father in law and Dan are the swimmer and biker, they have been a team since the Savageman started with the runner changing out each year. And i am pretty sure every year they have missed placing by one or 2 spots. So when  Dan came in on the bike as the first relay, i knew i had to atleast keep us in placing. UGH...which means somehow someway somewhere i have to find it deep down inside me to pull out something to be able to run better than "just finishing." And i did. I don't have a clue how i did it but i was able to run 2 minutes faster than the year before in a 1:35 on a very hilly course. very. at about mile 9, i had friends tell me how far back the next relay was as my injured calf was not doing well and i needed to slow up my pace to keep it from what felt like it was going to snap, along with my right hamstring and my left achilles. Areas that were still aching from Worlds and the travels. Luckily i was 5 minutes up on the next team which allowed me to ease my pace so i wouldnt be benched from any activity that involved my legs for the rest of the year. We stayed in and took first place for the relays. I did that for my father in law. It was truly for him!!!! That want to do for him is what gave me the energy and somehow the strength to pull it off. I really did have so much fun with it too. And of course, makes me want to know what i can do on the course had i been fresh and not sleep deprived. Can i break a 1:30 on that course? i don't know. Not easy to do, but feel i could. But to find out means not doing the tri next year and only doing the relay. Ugh. So now, by next summer i need to figure out what i want to do at the Savageman. I shouldnt have a race the week before or the week after. So that allows me to focus on excelling at Savage. but on which do i focus. This is what i and my coaches had issues with in school. I love it all! In addition to wanting to see what i can do on the international tri and on the half marathon run, i wouldn't mind going at the Savage half Ironman Tri again now that i have more experience, even with running. But i can't do all 3 when trying to see what i can do at full capacity, i will have to decide!!!! The half marathon in a relay, the international tri or the half iron tri??????

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Days After

This will be a nice light reader for you:
I don't normally get sore from triathlons. But i did have some unusual soreness and aches the next couple days. First off the pain i had in my spine from tightening my entire body to try and get warm while on the bike was the worst aches i am still recovering from (the looooong flight home did not help). I will be sure to go to my chiropractor when i get home!!!
It is funny to me to be sore from running, but since i pulled my calf muscle this summer when i finally started running again i avoided hills all together or took them very slowly as i could tell the calf was not 100% and i did not want to take any chances with it pulling again by running at normal speed up a hill. So needless to say, my calf and other hill muscles were not use to pushing up hill :-) And with 6 good size hills in this 10k pushing 100%, my strongest muscles were sore. I am a very strong hill runner, and i was on race day too, but in the days after i am feeling those hills. My calf was very very sore!!! it was certainly pushing harder than it had in many many months on those hills. 2 days later with all the sight seeing it felt a bit more than just a sore muscle, so again, a little reminder that the injury is not 100% yet. all will like this as the strongest muscle on my body was very sore - my BUTT!!!! good sore for sure. but not a normal muscle that gets sore. HA! but yes, another hill muscle that wasn't use to pushing the hills anymore thanks to the calf. This soreness has come on gone already.
Everything else felt great.

I didn't realize how much time was going to be spent in some form of transportation: car plane or bus. This is how the week went and why i can't wait to be home today and not have to do this anymore:
Monday, car 3+ hours
Tues / wed, car, airport, plane, bus 21 hours
Thurs, bus - 4+ hours
Fri, bus, 5 hours
Sat. bus 2 hours
Sun, bus 2 hours
Mond bus airport plan bus - 10 hours
Tuesday and Wed - ahhhhh finally a break
Thursday / Friday - bus, airport, plane, car - 24+ hours
Left - 3 hours in car - HOME...i can't wait.

The best of all about coming home - MY LITTLE BOY!!! Ashton is going to get the biggest strongest longest hug of his life!!!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time to celebrate!

Ok Wow. Sorry. i have been disconnected from the internet since the race and have not had a way to contact anyone till now. All is ok, i am alive, and i am celebrating!!!! I do want to remind you that this again will be very detailed as i type as if it is a journal entry. Those of you that have read my adventures in the past from the Appalachian Trail to big races know i have a lot of details in my head so when i type it up it ends up like a book. Feel free to skim through or read all the details. As i have said in past adventures, makes for good bathroom reading.

(editor's note: Sorry for the rushed version -- I am in Germany for work and am crunched for time! I will add captions and edit later!)
RACE DAY: 14th!!!! Wahooo!!!!

Wow, What an experience that was. I certainly did better than i thought. i may not have seen the #s i wrote up, but when i write out goals they can very easily get adjusted due to the course and lack of knowing the course. but the goals serve then as a means to push 110%. If i go into a race without them i get well, kind of lazy. :-)hilly courses can certainly add lots of time in comparison to flat courses. And there were some surprises many of us did not know about.
So, Here is how it went:
We left at 4 am to get to race site. It rained for 24 hours and the roads and the air was very cold and damp. While setting up our transition area i was very jealous of the girl next to me that had a winter hat and gloves on. I was shivering. This was the first time flying to a event, and already feeling unprepared wanting my hat gloves and well junk clothes to keep on till the start.

The water temp was NOT wetsuit legal as i hoped, just missed it. But i knew the water would be warmer than the air (by about 25-30 degrees) so i would be fine as far as temperature goes but not for my swim time as i am much slower without a wetsuit. Seriously, to help those unfamiliar understand: with a wetsuit my best swim is a 26, without a 34-35. Meanwhile most only slow up 1- 2 minutes. I know Andie you know what i mean as you have seen the difference with me in training with and without it...LOL! So without a wetsuit i will be happy to see my best or better. i know if i see slower it is because i let nerves get the best of me and anxiety take control, which really takes the fun out of it for me. so my true goal here is to overcome that and swim my best. The day i see times i should have the ability to swim is the day you will see me jumping high up in the sky!!! :-)

Long before my wave we have to leave behind our clothes etc....i am down to just a tri suit. No sleeves, pants socks or shoes. Standing on a very cold wet ground waiting i can no longer feel my feet and my body is turning blue. I actually couldn't wait to get it the 77 degree water to finally be warm.  Today, i swam about a high 32 low 33 in the swim (+ a 1:30 - 2 minute run to the transition area with the timing chip, so official tiime will be 34). So i am happy about this as it is my best non wetsuit swim!! yes, i would rather see a much faster time that is more compatible wtih what others in my age group are doing, but i will take not being slower than my normal. Also, what really matters to me in the water is that i stay strong and confident and don't let anxiety take over. 

Today, it went smoothly. When we started i waited 5-10 seconds to let the overly crowded swim start get up a little and then i started out. About 1 minute into it i felt a bit of anxiety hitting me more so due to the strong currents slapping me in my face when i went to breathe, so i quickly used my visualization and pictured Andie and Leah swimming with me (2 awesome gals that have swam with me the last couple weeks and have helped me get a little more comfortable in the water swimming near others). So i quickly got out of that anxiety and felt strong and relaxed. So all in all, i am very pleased with my swim. I have to say though, it stinks that this is where i loose it. In comparison to the winners overall times are exactly what they beat me by in the swim. My bike and run aer very competitive with the winners. i am not losing hope with the swim yet though. Krista, a girl on the team and in my age group, she took 2nd (go Krista), great swimmer! she said it takes many years to master, so, maybe one day! :-/ confused
Transition 1:
ok. so i get out of the water and i instantly froze! instantly hitting that cold air with a wet body and hiar. My calf that i pulled felt horrible because it was frozen and trying to push up the stairs and hill and everything felt like it was locking up. You got out of the water and had to go up stairs and a hill to get to the first corner of transition. this is where the chip timer was and finally took the swim split. Then you still had to run the outside of transition all the way to the other side where you then entered and ran back tot he otherside to your bike and exit. It was a good half mile run that i actually was glad was long with the hopes it would warm me up by the time i got on my bike. but it didnt. My teeth were chattering so hard i thought they were going to break.

 I was a snowman by this point. the cold air and wet body and ground was not suiting me too well. More about this at the end....

Started off on the bike. And the air just got colder. The bike is 3 loops of about 9 miles. I did get to ride the loop once the other day with the hopes to be more prepared. I knew there were hills (which i love) and i knew there were some good winding roads that would limit your speed on the downhills. but since we road at a very slow leisurely pace, i didn't realize how bad it truly was. On the practice ride, i was just following groups as know one really knew where to go, so it was slow moving, stopping to look at map, the left turns stopping and waiting for it to be clear of traffic to cross etc....

Before the start of the race, people were making comments that it is more of a road bike course not a tri bike. I didn't quite understand until i was on the first loop. The left turns were so sharp and the road was so twisty that you could not stay in your aerobars much at all, there was a lot of breaking and slowing down. I have never seen so many accidents. After the race it looked like a battlefield with the numerous athletes walking around in casts from broken arms or bandages from horrible road rash, luckily i did not here of any horrible accidents, but the road rash on many looked as if they were burned in a fire. OUCH! There were many close calls by me but no wrecks! phew! I knew then it was not going to be a fast course even more so than  i thought before. but this is for everyone. Even the fast guys zooming by were coming up out of the aeros and hitting breaks. I used that as a warning to do the same. Those that didn't, well, those are the ones that caused the wrecks. 

Going back to the cold body issue. Ok. as i started i got colder and colder, my teeth chattered for 2 full loops. You can tell from my bike splits that i got warmer as i went along as my split was faster on 2nd loop than the first. My hips and back and neck and muscles were all locking up and not getting warm. It was real hard to push with this going on. My body was trying to pull close together to get warmer (shoulders to ears, and folded as close in front as possible) all this making everything even tighter. headache, stomach ache all set in in lap 2. in the first lap, i was having trouble steering my bike. I thought maybe the handle bars were on crooked. Then i was struggling going from aero to bars and back etc... i kind of felt delirious,ahhh, can't think of a good word to use here but i could not get my body to do what my head was telling it to do. So that made me think the inability to steer was not having to do with my handlebars at all. 

Later i learned of a couple people collapsing from hypothermia. And after hearing of their symptoms prior to i realized that i was on my way to hypothermic myself. Which explained the awkwardness on the bike at first. Luckily, i do feel i have a lot of power over my body from my mind that i was able to work through it and avoid any serious symptoms as others experienced. but here is the symptoms of hypothermia i copied and pasted below. Reading this was a bit scary as most of them was exactly how i was feeling. Ibolded and underlined all that i was experiencing.

  • Hypothermia occurs when more heat is lost than the body can generate.

  • It is usually caused by extended exposure to the cold.
  • Common causes include:
  • Being outside without enough protective clothing in winter.
  • Wearing wet clothing in windy or cold weather.
  • Heavy exertion, not drinking enough fluids, or not eating enough in cold weather.
  • Symptoms
  • As people develop hypothermia, their abilities to think and move are often lost slowly. In fact, they may even be unaware that they need emergency treatment. Someone with hypothermia also is likely to have frostbite.
  • The symptoms include:
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness and loss of coordination
  • Pale and cold skin
  • Confusion
  • Uncontrollable shivering (although at extremely low body temperatures, shivering may stop)
  • Slowed breathing or heart rate
HA. now that going to make this blog even longer for you!!!! So, The first lap was the worse! The Teeth chattering hard, the body was shivering uncontrollable!!!! The tensing and locking up. All very exhausting with the amount of energy it was using to try and get my body warm. I couldn't drink much water, my lips actually just couldn't feel the straw. 2nd lap was pretty much the same but i didn't have the confusion and inability to steerthe bike or change my hand positions. But the first lap it was as if i didn't know how to do any of that. by the 3rd lap, i wasn't warm by any means, but i was no longer shivering and chattering. Muscle Tension was still there though.

Ugh, i usually love getting out of the water and on the bike but this was the opposite today. I of course was upset that my bike split was going to be so much slower. And in terms of what i can do on that course in terms of the elevation it was but with the wet slippery winding roads it is expected for all to have much slower splits here. Later i learned my bike split was one of hte better ones, very competitive with the winners.

I did learn a lot here. I really wish i put on arm warmers or my team jacket. There was a lot of confusion before the race if i were allowed to do that or would i get disqualified for not being in the approved uniform. I didnt take the risk but  i wish i did.

Transition 2:
uneventful. Long run to rack the bike. Got my Type A4 Saucony shoes on and went out for the run.

Feeling a little beat up from the shivering all went really well on the run. There were some surprises though. Most of us knew about the 1 hill on the course that you did 3 times. but everyone was saying that the rest has to be pretty much flat. NOT!!!!! there was the hill we knew about but into the course that you couldn't see unless you ran the course, there was another. So really there were 6 good size hills on the course (2 hills that you did 3 times). For those that know the Savageman, i would say it was like running the campgrounds 6 times. I felt really strong. Like the bike, I was catching many athletes and getting into a better position overall. I ran about a 6:39 average. I am thrilled with this as normally with hills like that in a tri 10k i would not see that. It was a very exciting course as with each loop you ran down and back in front of hte grand stand where people cheered you on. And being from the USA you got cheered a ton as the other countries love the USA and would get very excited to see us and cheer us on. They seemed to love my last name too!!! HEEhee!

It was such a great experience! Even the cold hypothermia experience was an experience! I moved up lots as the tri went on... almost lasp out of the water, moved up into the top 50% after the bike and by the end of the run top 20%. 14th at WORLDS!!!! I will take it!
Thanks so much to all of you for your encouragement and support and for helping me get here! i can't wait to get back to the USA and see everyone!

Off to Hong Kong for a few days! will keep blogging about Hong Kong. And when i get home, i will probably continue to use this blog as my journal. Writing about all my adventures, whats next, races, training experiences feel free to read up here and there, especially since they won't be as long as this.

I will also put a blog out on how i feel the day after race. :-)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It's almost race time!

Team group photo. Go USA! 

It's Saturday, and I don't have as much of a schedule today, but still a lot of time in the bus. 

The jet lag is still here. I get to bed early each night but my body still thinks it is afternoon and treats it like a nap, so at 2 in the morning i am unable to sleep any longer.

My wave Sunday China time at 7:05 am. Which will be 7:05 pm Saturday night Eastern time for you. Send positive vibes please! 
Well, my bike is racked, my bag of race stuff is ready to go. Just a quick blog update, stretch, visualization time and bed. These blogs have become very therapeutic for me. In this one, I am going to write about my goals. You may or may not end up reading it or understanding it, but the therapy I get from it is worth typing it out ...

The grandstand and dam area.
Swim, 1500 meters

Well, some of you saw my excitement on Facebook last week that we would be able to use a wetsuit ... not so much. There was a lot of bad info sent out by USAT, and this is one of them. The water was never 68 degrees. Its been about 77 all week. If it is more than 76 degrees 3 hours before race time - no wet suit. Todays weather was only a high in the 50's and a bad pouring down rain all day. Very cold day, so although I'm not expecting it,  it would be nice if it made the water go down a degree. So keep your fingers crossed as you go through your saturday (and I sleep) that when I wake the temp will be 75. 

The reason this is huge for me - I am not the best swimmer and I am much slower without the wetsuit. But regardless, either way it is done, I am ready to swim 110% and give it my all!

My goals: If I can wear a wetsuit i would like to just see under 30 minutes. If none, sub 32. We shall see. Pressure on since I am putting my goals on paper (editor's note: Paper? More like pixels!) not just for me to see but for all!
Bike, 26 miles

Paranoia - as most of you know i have when it comes to the bike. Will I get a flat, will the bike fall a part. Weird paranoia yes. Well, yesterday, my bike had a flat. Ahhhh! So the paranoia went up a couple notches. Mechanics took care of it and looked at the other one to make sure all looked good. Keep your fingers crossed!

The course has some long hills. I would say it is not a hilly course but not a fast course either. And the type that will tire your legs for the run. The course is 3 loops so that spectators can see you A LOT.

Goal is 1:06 (close to 23 mph, give or take). But if the roads are as wet as they are now, that may not happen. The people in the race that took place this morning said the wet roads were extremely slick and they had to use the brakes lots on the many winding roads the course has. But, if roads are bad condition, everyone has to deal with that.

I wonder if i will see that camel again on the ride??
Run, 10k

The run course is 4 loops. Spectators Course! It has 4 good size hills. It is actually only 1 hill that you have to run 4 times. :-)

Goals here: Well, before I pulled my calf muscle I wanted to come here and break 40 minutes for a tri 10k (a little more than 2 minutes slower than an all out 10k for me, but would be my fastest in a tri.) But since I had to take a run break for most the summer, my goal is to just run what I did last year. I will be very happy with high 40 to 41 minutes. Very thankful really when you think about it. Thankful that I am able to run ...

Bike transition area
Transition - the transition is HUGE!!! Not just the bike area but the time you have to run from swim to your bike and bike to the run. It is going to feel like a 5k to get to my bike after the swim. LOL. So due to the transition area, everyone is saying not quite a PR course. And this time, I agree!
So, I usually have my goals all layed out for me and I usually share them with many people. But being all the way in China, I don't have that chance, so you all get to read about it. But regardless of how i do tomorrow, I will be happy to just cross the finish line at a world championship race. I do hope to not come in last place as that really is a possibility in an event like this, especially due to my swim time. 

But if I do, I will still be on cloud 9, this experience has been unbelievable and any obstacle that may still lay in my way I will take in stride and use it as a learning experience!
So here I go. Tomorrow I will represent many things - USA, SAUCONY, Western Maryland, and wonderfully - Females in their upper 30s.

Playing tourist for the day

Sean and I on the Great Wall

(Remember to click on the pictures to make them larger!)
Finally, a day that didn't have to do with the race. But still more time on a shuttle. Another very exhausting day, but truly exciting!

Today was about touring Beijing! Living in a touristy area, i today....was the Tourist! (or as we say in DCL - Touron). First stop, after an adventure bus ride (as they always are) - THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA /Mutianyu Section.

Only a small part of the Great Wall

One of the 7 Wonders of the World! What a true amazing experience that I am so glad I did not miss out on experiencing! We had the most unbelievable weather for it too! Our Tour Guide - one of the best. He was absolutely wonderful. On the adventurist bus ride there, he taught us how to read some of the Chinese characters and how they come up with them. That was really interesting. Would be fun to take a class on it. We also learned how to count to 10 in Chinese (Although I may not do to well on a test anymore as I have forgotten many of them.)

For the first time, as we drive to the wall, we got to see villages of Beijing and how they live. It was truly a sight, nothing like our American way.

The first rest stop

As we arrived and walked up to the admission gate we got hit with street vendors in our face. $1 dollar tshirts, come here, souvenirs, you come here and buy.

Many ways to get up to the wall to explore. We choose the Chair lift up and the tobaggan ride down. FUN!

Chair lift up

See the wall in the lower right hand side? 

This part of the wall is unused and overgrown.

Once up, we explored part of the Mutianyu Section of the wall. WOW ... if you think you wouldn't enjoy a day on the wall ... you would be mistaken and convinced when you got on it. What an amazing thing. Actually, and some of you will laugh, for the first time I am speechless! I don't know how to explain it. i have sooo many pics, I did the best i can to pick out a few for you. But words and pictures just don't give it justice. You just have to see it for yourself!

Steep stairs down

Cool shadow picture

When you come to the Great Wall, bring good shoes!

The toboggan ride down was fun!

Me sitting in a window, hoping I don't fall out!

Before getting back on the bus, I did a little shopping. And learned how to bargain with the vendors. That was such a hoot. You have to be tough to get the price you want, but when they see you walk away if they don't accept your price they are quick to say "OK, OK, your price." I could write a short story on this experience, but I will spare you. Lets just say they were able to pick out quick who the American Suckers were ... LOL ... Sean :). Good thing I was there or he would have been paying way too much for some things.

Some of the locals in costume

Next stop, after a fun toboggan ride down the mountain ... lunch at a true local restaurant (not like our hotel restaurants.) (editor's note: In China they say they eat everything with four legs except the table, and everything with two legs except the man.) I was a bit afraid we might see fried scorpion and donkey meat, but it was great. Wonderful Chinese food! And a lot! It was great to talk more with and meet even more teammates. I have made many friends here.

Next stop, The Ming Tombs. This was a short tour. Not a lot to view. Which was good, as my legs were tired and I was looking forward to relaxing back at the hotel at this point. It was great to see and more so to learn about. Learning from our tour guide before going to see it made it much more spectacular. The Emperors of China would build their tombs when young. Long story about the Ming Tombs so I will let you read about it if you are more interested. But quite amazing.

Ming Tomb

Empress crown

So that was my Friday. Was so great to get the mind off the race for a bit.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Hey Everyone! I had to write that last blog super fast. My time has been so limited, so when typed I was all over the place! LOL.

Actually, Blogspot is also blocked in China. So I am sending my updates and pictures to a friend who is posting things for me. Sharon C - thank you so much. (editor's note: No problem!) I can not view my blogs, so I have not been able to reread what I typed, but knowing me and how fast I had to type I'm sure it was overly detailed, long and a bit all over the place. :-) 

Some of you have asked how to comment on Blogspot - you need to create a username and password and then you should be able to comment. Any comments put on I actually get to read as an email is also sent to me and I can get into emails here. I can not get into Facebook but if you post on my wall, again I also get an email with what is posted.

The people of China make all of us Age Groupers feel like celebrities. What was so great marching it the Parade of Nations is the age differences that are there. On one side of me you have the 20-somethingers that will probably just kill it and take control of the races and maybe move on to pro and on the other side you have 70- and 80-year-olds that are inspiring everyone out there and still shining in their sport! We may not be on the same caliber as Olympic/professional athletes, but it is so great to see each age group represented and shining in that group! 

And for China, they are going above and beyond for us. It is truly an amazing experience - already!

There has been a lot of time in shuttles cars and planes all week for me, so my body is starting to ache and feel real tight and uncomfortable. Not a great feeling ... BUT... I remember in Boston earlier this year for the marathon I felt the same way the day before the marathon, nervous it would hurt me in the race, but it didn't. I got my PR and did just fine. So as i feel this way today, I remember that moment and dont get worried about it.

Check back later, I will send a blog non race related about my awesome trip to the Great Wall and Ming Tombs. Finally a day that had nothing to do with the race!

Missing all of you back in the USA!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Crazy Thursday

Sean and I entering the Opening Ceremonies

(Click on the pictures to see bigger versions)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Today was a very exciting but exhausting day.

Started out with the delicious team breakfast buffet at the hotel. Sean said I was eating as if I hadn't eaten in weeks. Hee ... and as most of you know how much I eat, that must have meant I was eating quite a bit. But YUMMMM, it was delicious!

The 2008 Olympic Triathlon wall. 

The day was a lot of shuttling around. After breakfast, I went up to bike mechanic to get my bike put together. I pretty much got my hand slapped for not being able to do this on my own, even the tiniest bit. They say as an athlete on this level I should be able to. HA ... they don't know me. But I know a few of my friends from DCL are laughing right now! Steve Josh - you will be impressed with all I learned today!

Start of the bike/run area

At 11 a.m. we took the shuttle to packet pick up and bike/swim familiarization. Packet pick up went smooth. Then off to the bike course. The course is a 9 mile loop done 3 times. So I figure I would do once to see what the hills and turns are like. The course is a lot more challenging than I expected. Certainly not hilly in Deep Creek terms but not a fast course and lots of sharp turns, but fun winding kinds of ones. Just have to be careful on them.

The race site ... there might be a camel hiding out there ...

Riding in DCL has always been fun with all the different animals you see - Cows, Deer, Horse, Black Bear, Wild Turkey and so on. But I have to say my ride today topped it as I rode by a Camel ... yes ... a camel! It didn't smell so good!

The course though, beautiful. Mountain ranges, unigue trees and beautiful fall flowers bloomed. Was quite a scene.

Time was limited so I did not get to see or practice with the swim or the run. The run course is pretty similar to the bike, and the swim ... well ... the water temp has gone way up! It is no longer wetsuit legal. UGH! still a couple days for it to go down, so keep your fingers crossed that I will be able to wear my wetsuit.

Look at that transition area!

As for the transition area, it was reallly quite spectacular. I did not have my camera on me so I will try and get pics of this on Saturday when I am there again. Walking down to it made it so real. Very much like an Olympic /professional event. Blue carpet set up all over the place (transition, coming out of and start of bike and run).

Viewing area

The grand stand is crazy cool. Enormous. The whole area was just quite enormous.

The locals were so excited! 

Shuttle back to the hotel and 15 minutes to get ready for team pics and open ceremonies. China's culture is very welcoming so let me tell you, they made us feel like Olympic athletes the way they welcomed us. After going through body scans at security, our shuttles took us to the open ceramonies by police escort!

That's our police escort!

As we got there, people were lining the street cheering to us on the bus, taking pics etc. Was quite amusing to all of us as we were saying to ourselves ... we are just age groupers. But like I said, their culture is this way and the fact they had the last Olympics here, I'm sure they were very excited to have a big event here again.

Flags at the Opening Ceremonies

Got off the bus, and as a team walked in the parade of nations to the Changping stadium to the opening ceremonies.

Outside the parade of nations

Flags entering the ceremony

Let the games begin! 

Was quite a day. Got back to hotel and crashed!

More photos to come -- just can't get them all online today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm in China!

15 hours in economy class is a tortuous way to be on a plane.

The flight was smooth up until the last hour when I thought we were going down. As the pilot brought our plane down a bit lower it started shaking and bouncing, not your normal bouncing. One flight attendant went down to floor and another up and hit her head in ceiling. Seat belts kept us in our seats but we were lifting up and losing our stomachs. Any race nerves went out the window that moment. Ha. After that no issues and landed just fine. Phew.

The ride to hotel was an adventure. This is by far the craziest drivers I've ever seen. Crazy. Only video could tell that story ... Sorry.

The sleep plan failed big time. Funny how in my 20's I could pull all nighters and get through the next day like it was nothing. Not the case any more. It will take a few days to adjust. Then when I get home will do it all over again. So when I seem like a zombie when back in Maryland, you know why.

It's morning here and night back there.

Last night was getting use to hotel, team schedules, shuttle sign ups etc ... Today is a full day of team/race things. I will be joining the team at 7 for breakfast. At 9 am I will have mechanic put my bike together, get on the 11 am shuttle to head to packet pick up, 12:30 pm ride the course (will do 1 loop of the 3 as I have short time, but enough to learn the course), 1 pm swim familiarization to see what water will be like then 2 pm shuttle back to hotel to shower and start team things at 3:30 pm (team picture, opening ceremonies, parade of nations, pasta party with all the countries). Phew. Fun day. But I'm sure I will be shot by end if it. If not too tired I will blog about it all! ;-)

Until later tonight (or tomorrow for you all!)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

nerves have arrived

Waiting for plane to leave. For the first time nerves have set in and all this is feeling more real. It is midnight in China. Not looking forward to adjusting to the time change. Maybe some tylenol pm will help me sleep on plane ....right now for first half, as that what I would b doin in China.. This will b my first obstacle, sleep deprivation.. Here we go.

Adding to this post....ok... Just walked down the thingy to get on plane and belly nerves went crazy. Not quite sure if nerves are for the fact I'm going to be on plane for 14 hours or for the reason I'm getting on the plane. I guess I will see what the belly does when I get off plane

Sunday, September 4, 2011

It's Time!

It is that time! On Tuesday afternoon I will be making my way to Beijing, China to compete on TEAM USA at the  Age Group World Championship Triathlon, held on Sunday Sept 11th at 6:30 am (Sat 6:30 pm EST)

I can't wait to share my experiences with you. I will try my best to send updates on my trip, as well as pictures. Thursday we have TEAM USA pictures then go to the opening ceremonies and the parade of nations. Lots of pics I'm sure I will have to post.

As for tracking me while I race ... I'm still trying to figure that out but I do think there will be a live finish line video on which I would think if there is a way to watch my progress it would be on this site. If I learn more I will send for sure.

As for how ready I am -- very!!! I had some set backs this summer with tearing my calf muscle -- twice! UGH! But I do believe it happened for a reason. And now I am ready to peak at the perfect time!!!

If I can keep my head from freaking out in the swim, I really feel I can finally kill it in the water, key is the head. And I feel ready to explode on the bike and the run. So keep your fingers crossed it will all come together for me and Team USA on race day!!!!

Other than the flight and missing Ashton, I am so excited for this HUGE adventure!!!! And will enjoy every minute of it!!!