Saturday, August 2, 2014

Challenge New Albany

Challenge New Albany Race Report:  (skip down to where it says "race report" if you don't want to hear the long version below)

I decided to head to New Albany after plans for Vineman fell through.....erg, well I never made them.    The back story involves a very panicked Michelle after Eagleman, an annoying shin injury, and being WAY to nervous to book travel, accommodations etc for 3 to California and back sheeesh!

A week prior to Eagleman I started to feel some pain in the outside of my shin (distal third of the fibula for those medical) after riding long (thanks Tim for the 5 hour rides....) and running.  I was hoping it was some sort of muscular strain but found some pin point tenderness along the bone.   Panic mode set in as I am frequently injured and am all too familiar with the sensation of a stress fracture.  I wasn't quick to dismiss the pain as was my former MO and rested it pretty heavily leading up to EM.  Luckily during the race I had no pain whatsoever and just chalked it up to some inflammation that needed a good only hard and fashioned ass kicking on a hard day....

A few days after EM while doing some recovery runs on our beach Vacation in Sandbridge I started to feel the pain again but more intense, YUCK!  A panicked email and text to Tim, we decided to shut it down as I was convinced it was another stress fracture (he thought otherwise).  It is pretty rare for that to happen in the fibula as it is considered a non weight bearing bone but if a freak injury was going to happen, it would happen to me.  I spent the better part of the following week at BonSecours in Motion PT with Julie Blandin looking at mechanics of the foot and ankle, taping my arch and coming up with a stretching / strengthening program for the lower leg.  Turns out the dorsiflexion in my left ankle was considerably different compared to the right and the lack of motion was causing unusual pronation on the left side. A few days of the "foot binding" and lots of ankle bands later and I was feeling OK but not confident in Philly (2 weeks after EM).  I hadn't run at all practically and wasn't sure I should race but Tim felt I was on the mend and we decided to give it a whirl.

Philly went pretty well considering and things were continuing to improve with PT but nervous me felt a 2 week break from running was in store to make sure the injury didn't linger.  That meant Vineman was out so we shifted focus to 2 weeks later at New Albany.   Having lots of family in the Cincinnati area, it would be a good way to swing in for a visit.  My mom's two sisters, lots of cousins, my 94yo grandfather and my Dad's brother all live in Ohio and we took the opportunity to visit with them all in the short trip!

Since Anthony would be seeing Lanie off to TN for the school year and her summer with us was coming to an end, he stayed back and my dad decided/was asked to accompany me on the trip as Sherpa.  Side note.....growing up my dad and I traveled to lots and lots of swim meets together as I recall, so he was no amateur to the sherpa-ing business.  He made the trip down from DE (5h) then we were off on Thursday (10h) to Cinci.  My cousin Jason and his wife Julie who summer in Clearwater FL were gracious enough to lend their home to us for accommodations, thanks guys!

Friday morning after a LONG car trip we met up with cousins Robin and Kristen + 3 hilariously energetic kids.  I mean they were diving off furniture, bombing down play sets and full of fun stories, love it!  We spent the afternoon at the pool chatting and playing and then headed to Aunt Jan's for dinner.  Great fun catching up and for me, spending time with family was the most enjoyable part of the trip.  Only wish we could have spent longer time together!

Saturday morning was brunch with Grandpa and Marilou- Great catching up with these two in Loveland....

I got word from Anthony shortly after brunch that Lanie had gotten 3rd pl female in her kids Triathlon!   After spending the summer enjoying the swim team, Lanie went from barely getting across the pool swimmer to placing in swim meets (diving off the block and doing 50m freestyle), I mean holy cow!!!  They decided to sign up for a kids tri the day she flew back to TN up near BWI.  She rocked the race, even clipped in on the bike .. Love her!

Oh, yeah the race report, almost forgot!

Pre Race: 
Pre race was felt with some anxiety about the 2 transitions but having done Giant Eagle the year prior I had some familiarity with the swim course.  After visiting my Uncle Chris (post cholecystectomy) in Dayton Saturday morning, once we got to New Albany there were lots of logistics to figure out.  I hadn't tested out my new Blueseventy Helix and PZ3 thanks to Qt2 and wanted to get in for a quick dip.  It was windy and skies began to look ominous but I was at least able to figure the wetsuits are amazing but my goggles were fogging like no other. Panic.  Quick trip to the expo and new goggle purchase, crossing fingers the decision wouldn't come back to haunt me.

I had been feeling pretty tired leading up to NA.  The overload weeks just about killed me this time around and I hadn't been "nailing" any workouts.  I was worried something might actually be wrong but a few blood tests at the doctor and everything checked out so we are chalking it up to a tough work/ train schedule and the heat/humidity of summer all catching up with me.  A rest break was in need after NA both mentally and physically.

Pre race pro meeting: check, shoes etc dropped off at T2 :check, dinner with dad and off to bed.  As most of you who know me know that I don't sleep AT ALL the night before a race.  Tim says I just "rest" the night before but I don't actually sleep!  Well this night was the exception.  A good 5 hours I calculated, maybe 6 and for me that's progress!!   We headed to swim start with plenty of time to test the new goggles and rack the bike and I was feeling more calm than usual.

I got a good warm up in the lake with fellow QT2er Amy Javens and we were ready to start.  Beach start into the lake, we made our first right and were off.  I made it to the first buoy with the front pack and was struggling for position getting kicked out on the left.  Rather than struggle I decided to get in behind the girl to my right only to find  a few minutes later she lost the pack and I was stuck as well.  I made the move around her on the long straightaway (rectangular course) but could see I wouldn't make it back up to the pack.  Ah, come to think of it I wouldn't have been able to hang on with the likes of Meredith Kessler or Haley Chura anyways!!!! So solo I was again for the rest of the swim, aye aye of these days hopefully I'll catch some feet.  

Oh my love hate with the bike.  I love to bike but I'm just not as strong as these girls.  It's a work in progress and I know results won't happen overnight.  The course was fun, lots of turns, country roads and great support by local police and well marked turns by the Challenge Folks.  As I'm usually never riding with anyone, I worried at EM that I had gone off course.....not here.  I got passed by 2 girls and passed 1 (first time ever).  That did give me a little confidence.   The course was actually a lot more rolling than expected.  I was in my small ring a bit but we got a few good downhills as well.  There was some technical riding through some potholes and rough roads which made it hard to open up but all things considered I did like the course.  The last 10m or so were fairly flat on highway.  There were some ominous clouds and wind that picked up and I thought for sure I'd see lightning so I really tried to pick it up leading into T2.

Nutrition:  3 bottles Ironman Perform.  1 power gel w/caff, 6 Cliff Shot bloks, 1 saltstick

I headed out on the 2 loop run course feeling great.  I'd only completed 2x 11mile runs in the two weeks leading up to NA due to the shin injury so I worried this was going to hurt (endurance wise).  Tim gave me some parameters to stick with so I wouldn't hopefully blowup.  I looked down at my first split 6:10 and thought on snap, oops!  I brought the pace back for the first lap feeling strong, grabbing gatorade endurance at all of the aid stations.  I ran in to Reese McGregor whom I went to High School with heading in to lap 2, crazy!!!  We high- fived and I was determined to try to catch a few girls in sight.  Then I fell on my face.  No seriously, I fell hard and it happened so fast before I knew it my face was about a centimeter from the pavement.  Dang it Michelle, get it together!  My left knee stung but no blood, I tried to play it off like no one was watching but a few runners around me from the olympic race were gasping in horror...."are you ok".  "yes thanks" embarrassing I put my head down and charged on.  I was able to make 3 passes putting me in 6th and I really fought the last 3miles to keep position as I could see 7th on a couple of the turns.  The lack of consistent run training was felt that last 5k as my legs became sore and my HR was creeping up.  Crossed finish in 6th to see fellow Hampton Roads Athletes Adam Ostot (6th pro male) and Daniel Balin (1st masters) who had crushed their own races!

Run Nutrition:  Gatorade endurance at aid stations, 2 power gels w/caff

We packed up and headed off pretty quickly after the race.  Long trip and work to look forward to!  Thanks to the Challenge Series for putting on a great event and I encourage others to sign up for this race!

Many thanks to supporters:  Zoot Sports/ Team Zoot MA,  Qt2 systems and Coach Tim, Blueseventy, Shimano, Village Bicycles, InMotion PT- Julie Blandin, ISM, Powerbar.  Many thanks to my DAD for making the trip possible.  Love you pop!  Thanks to Anthony for talking me down as always....nerves and lack of self confidence, you are my rock.

Next up.......TBA

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