Saturday, January 9, 2016

My Sweet Kitty Is Gone

I adopted a cat from the San Francisco SPCA in early 1998 and named her Lancy.  She was born on 11/25/97 and was the runt of her litter.  At her largest, she was just over 9 pounds.  Today, 18+ years later, and after not eating for 1 week, she was 5 pounds, 3 ounces.

She was my constant companion over the last 18 years.  She was with me when I was single and lonely.  She moved across the country with me.  She was with me when I married my husband.  And she was with me when I had my two children.  She sat on my lap when I watched TV at night and slept with me every night.  Until she got diagnosed with kidney failure, she never once failed to use her litter box.  She didn't scratch my furniture.  She was a perfect pet and I loved her very much.

Today, I had to say goodbye and I will really miss my sweet, furry friend.  Rest in peace, my dear Lancy.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cranberry Trifest Olympic Triathlon

I completed my second olympic distance triathlon, the Cranberry Trifest Olympic Triathlon, in Lakeville, MA.  I'm super happy with my results:

40-44 Women Division Place:  12/37
Overall Place:  194/441
Gender Place:  51/204

0.9 mile swim:  23:40 (35/441 overall; 8/204 women; 2/37 in 40-44 age group)
T1:  2:46.6
26.2 mile bike:  1:25.53 (282/441 overall; 17/37 in 40-44 age group)
T2:  2:27.9
6.2 mile run:  54:35 (232/441 overall; 16/37 in 40-44 age group)
Total Time:  2:50:20.6

I'm super pleased with the swim, especially given that I had to swim through a very crowded field of swimmers.  I was in wave 5 and by the end of the swim course, I passed swimmers in wave 2!  I didn't catch up to wave 1 since those were the elite athletes.  :-)  The lake was 80 degrees and so the swim course was not wet suit legal, which was fine by me.  There were some people who still wore their wetsuits, but they were not allowed to be ranked.  It's pretty clear that all of the open water training I did at Stiles Pond in Boxford, MA helped me since I totally rocked the swim.

Besides wanting to crush the swim (goal accomplished!), I wanted my bike ranking to be closer to my run ranking.  I really wanted to push myself on the bike.  I was really pleased with this too - I averaged 18 mph for my bike.  At a couple of points, I backed off since I really wanted to be strong in the run too.  And I was pleased with my run time also.

Here's a picture my hubby took of me on my way into the finish line.

And the very best part was that my son ran the last bit with me.  I love love love this picture that the professional photographer was able to capture.  I see pure joy on my son's face.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

2015 Ashland Lions Olympic Triathlon

I did it!  I completed my first ever olympic distance triathlon this past Sunday.  It was the Ashland Lions Olympic Triathlon.

Here are the distances:

1 mile swim
25.4 mile bike
6 mile run

This was also my first triathlon that included men.  Before this, I had only done two women-only sprint triathlons.  And this was my first triathlon in the rain - we had pretty awful weather.  It teemed while setting up my transition area and then during the entire race, we had light to moderate rain.

I'm pretty proud of my results.  There were 98 participants and only 36 women.  In my category (Female 40-44), there were 7 participants.

Category:  Female 40-44
Swim:  25:50 / Category 1 / Overall 14
Transition 1:  8:49 min
Bike:  1:35:53 / Category 3 / Overall 72
Transition 2:  3:21
Run:  55:00 / Category 3 / Overall 52

Total:  3:08:55 / Category 3 / Overall 53

I actually medaled by getting 3rd in my age group category.  I didn't expect that at all!

By getting 53rd overall, it means I finished in roughly the 50th percentile, which means I beat a lot of men!  And I was 14th overall in the swim, but only 4 of those who beat me were women.

As a former competitive swimmer from age 6 to 18, I'm not surprised by how well I did on the swim.  I knew that was going to be my best leg.  And as expected based on my earlier triathlons, my bike was my worst leg.  I actually completed the 25.4 mile ride in a personal best time (compared to my training rides), but it still only landed me 72nd overall.  And my run was decent, with a 52nd overall finish.

The run was the only thing I didn't feel completely trained for.  It was SO hilly.  At the beginning, I thought that maybe I ran the wrong way.  The initial hill was so bad that all I could think was "This is BRUTAL" or "Is this some sick joke?"  But I really didn't want to have to walk and so I kept slugging through.  The entire run course was either straight up or straight down.  There might have been a .25 mile stretch that was flat.  No joke.  So while I trained to run 6 miles after biking 25 miles, I was not prepared for such a hilly course.  My hamstrings were quite sore over the past 2 days.

My new goal is to get better on the bike.  It's the longest leg of the race and so there should be lots of room for improvement.  I either need to spin faster in the low gears that I use or I need to get comfortable in a higher gear.  The reason I like the bike leg the best is probably because I'm not working hard enough!

I would also like to improve my transition times.  They were pretty slow on this triathlon, but I also packed everything in bags (to prevent my items from being totally soggy when I initially put them on) and I changed my socks between biking and running.  The first transition on this triathlon (from swim to bike) was ridiculous.  We had to run up this steep muddy path with tons of rocks and roots and then up a huge field to get back to the transition area.  I actually put on sneakers after the swim to get back to the transition area.  So that wasn't the most ideal course.

I look forward to the next triathlon in August.  In the meantime, back to getting up at 5 am to train!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ian Lost his First Tooth!

Ian lost his first tooth today - one of the middle ones on the bottom (and probably the first tooth that came in).  Exciting!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Apple Picking at Cider Hill Farms, Amesbury, MA

Like many other New Englanders, we went apple picking today.  We chose Cider Hill Farms for their awesome apple cider donuts and choice of apples.  The apple trees were quite picked over but some of the trees had a bunch at the top.  Luckily, they give you apple picking poles (which I had never seen before) and those worked great!  We filled our bags with Macoun, Honeycrisp and Early Fujis.  I now have apples for 2 months!  I'm psyched.  They taste so good fresh from the tree.  The kids had an absolute blast.  They enjoyed picking (and eating) the apples and 2 donuts apiece.  They had fun on the hay ride and LOVED jumping around the hay bales that the farm set up.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Happy New Year - L'Shana Tova!

It's high holiday season.  L'Shana Tova!

Also?  Autumn!

Ian popped up from his seat so that he could help Rabbi Jay carry the Torah.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2014 Title 9 Women Only Sprint Triathlon, Hopkington MA

This past Sunday, I participated in the Title 9 Women Only Sprint Triathlon in Hopkington, MA.  It's a .25 mile swim, 10 mile bike and 3.1 mile run.  I trained by doing each activity individually but only twice did I do some running after biking.  And never once did I practice swimming in open water.  I trained only in the pool.  The course was MUCH more challenging than I expected.  For some reason, because it was a women-only event and there were going to be a lot of "newbies," I had assumed it would be easy.  Wrong wrong wrong.  The bike didn't have a single flat spot.  Thank god the last 1 mile of the run was flat.  My overall time was 1:21:25.  Here's the break-down:

Overall placement:
Swim:  26/610; 3/92 in 40-44 year old division
Bike:  122/610; 26/92 in 40-44 year old division
Run:  85/610: 16/92 in 40-44 year old division

My swim was decent but I thought it could have used improvement.  For one, I needed to actually swim in the 2 weeks prior to the triathlon.  My local pool closed during these 2 weeks and despite good intentions to visit another pool, I didn't happen.  And now my back is really sore!  Also, I needed to sight my swim pathway more often.  I kept swimming towards shore instead of swimming in a straight line and once almost ran smack into a huge orange buoy.  When I do another triathlon next year, I will need to practice some open water swimming.  I will also plan to buy a swimming wetsuit so that I can do some ocean swims.

I felt good on the bike, despite the hills.  I averaged 15.0 mph, which I thought was pretty good given the challenging course.  That being said, it was clearly the worst of my 3 legs of the race.  I definitely held back a bit knowing that I had to get through the run.  I think I was at 90% instead of 100%.  As I do more triathlons, I will hopefully get a better sense of how to pace myself.

I was really proud of my run.  I averaged an 8:26 min/mile pace which is REALLY fast for me.  When training, my fastest average was roughly 8:45 min/mile pace and usually it was slower than that.  I didn't have any more to give on the run and so I know I gave it 100%.

I can't wait to sign up for some more races next year.  I found out that my neighbor also is interested in doing them and so I'll have to coordinate with her.  I plan on doing an Olympic distance triathlon next season (.9 mile swim, 25 mile bike and 6.1 mile run), which will require more dedicated training.  And I need to figure out how to get faster on the bike.