Albany Triathlon TEAM
Local News from the Road
It is finally triathlon season in upstate NY. There have been a few duathlons and our local Y hosts an annual Anyone Can Tri event every May. It is a pool swim which is a good thing since the temps are typically in the 50s at the start of the race. This year’s race was important to me for 2 reasons.
1. I am coming back from a fracture in the navicular (weight bearing) bone in my foot. I was in a boot for over 13 weeks and on crutches for 6 of those. I continued to swim and spin to stay in shape, but certainly did not have a typical off-season. I started in March with a run/walk program. It worked out perfectly since I was again coaching the Freihofer’s Run for Women Training Challenge. In April I added a 3-4 mile run once a week. The triathlon was my test of my foot and my conditioning from the winter. My goal was to feel OK at the finish.
2. This year we dedicated the race to Chris Gleason. Chris died near the end of the Philadelphia Marathon in November 2010. This was a devastating blow to the community, friends and of course his family. His parents are active members of the Y. His wife Jennyfer trained with the run group and always brought the kids for swim lessons and junior pacers (kid’s run group). Ashley and Matthew started doing the kid’s race at the triathlon when they were 3 and 4 - - youngest ever. That year I was race director of the kid’s race and said I wanted to open the race to all kids. I created some new rules (to enable my youngest to participate too!). Kids could use noodles or belts for the swim, just no paddles or fins. They could ride the bike of their choosing - tricycle, training wheels, or two wheels - just no motors! This year was the 5th year in a row for Ashley and Matthew. Over 100 kids participated and there were 5 3 year olds! Chris’s parents participated as a team and his sister ran the race. She was the one who got him into endurance events. I now put Jennyfer through her paces with TRX training and strength work. She is phenomenally strong and I felt it was an honor to race for the family.
It was a cold morning. The race draws lots of new triathletes including Erica (on the main blog page), who is training with me now. I helped them get set up and ready to go. We all headed inside for the pre-race meetings and the pool snake swim. The swim went fine. You have to pay attention because you weave up and down the lanes going under the lane lines at one end. 350 yards goes quickly, so before I knew it I was out in the cold. I put on socks and a jacket, but decided against the gloves. I hit the bike and my legs froze up quickly. I was trying to hold a good pace following a friend (65-69 men!). I started to think that I could just take it easy. Why push? Then I thought that I had to push for Chris. He would not have eased up, so I pushed on. It was a short bike, so again the transition area came up quickly. Now was the real test. I put my frozen feet into my Newtons and didn’t even try to cinch up the laces because both calves tightened right up. As I headed out on the run I felt my foot. It hurt, but not a broken bone hurt, so I pressed on. The run was tiring, but I knew my heart rate wasn’t very high. I kept one guy in my sights ahead and kept expecting to have people catch and pass me. George did and he looked good. I thought again - OK the foot hurts, but is feeling better. I can slack off now, but no I couldn’t. I wanted to put in a good showing. I had looked at Chris’s sister Cara’s times before the race. When we are both strong we are close in races. I had been sidelined over the winter and she had had the rug ripped out from under her. She had been just ahead of Chris in the race. I can’t even imagine how she felt that day and every day since. I had told so many people that I wanted her to win. What a great thing that would be. I asked a friend on the run course to let me know if she was nearby as I was running. They had not seen her, but then we did a snake swim so everyone basically heads out on the course one at a time.
I came across the line and they said I was the first woman. I ran to the car and grabbed my camera as I love taking race photos. I got a picture of Cara coming across the line and then after with her kids and Mom (picture here). After she came across they announced she was the second woman, so maybe I should have eased it up. I don’t think Chris would have wanted either of us to slow up, but instead race the best race we had in us for the day. It was a great feeling racing and thinking about another family along the way.
I told the story to the Freihofer Training Challenge ladies on Monday. I do believe that many people who sign up for TEAM in Training and other charity events continue on with the sports because it just wasn’t all about them. As LUNA Chix we are dedicated to raising money for the Breast Cancer Fund. We believe in what they do and it makes everything we do more fun and special. If you are having trouble motivating yourself then do it for someone else!! We’d love to have you join us for the Splash and Dash on August 26 at Lake Desolation.
More musings - exercise versus training
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