For you.

Someone wanted to see this blogged about:

What you are seeing is a burger being reheated on the side of the fire pit. The photo is oriented correctly, the burger is on the side of the pit. It is held on with ‘marshmellow’ sticks aka skewers. Well done JD

Happy now?

Triathlon packing list [general]

Just to capture this, here’s a tri packing list they handed out (edit to your event and distance)
USAT card
Driver’s license/ID
Reg info
Tri suit/uniform
Race number, chip
Gels, drinks, salt tabs etc
water bottles
Bodyglide or similar
dry clothes for after
weather specific clothing needs [rain, cold?]
masking tape/duct tape
baby powder
Heart rate monitor/watch
Swim cap
bike, in optimal working order; bar ends sealed
bike shoes
bike kit (bag with tubes, co2 etc)
race belt with number
extra socks

Race day [part 3]

It is 5 AM. I am lying in bed, perfectly still. Aaron is asleep, and I can see that the sun is about to come up. I am not ready to get up, but I am not able to go back to sleep either. My mind is racing, even if I am not. How will it go? Do I have everything I need? Will I have fun? The weather is predicted to be sunny and dry, but it will be a cool fall morning. After a while of just staying still, at least resting my muscles, it is time for the alarm.
I get up, get dressed (showered the night before), have a sip of water and have an adverse reaction to it. My early morning eating/drinking woes continue. Oh well, I won’t try that again today. I feel pretty ready otherwise. I put on BodyGlide over all the areas I think will be sticky in the wetsuit. Aaron is ready to go, and we drive over to the site. It is only 5 minutes away from the hotel.
While Aaron is performing a tire check, I head off to find twist ties for the bike race number. Then I get body marked, meet Aaron with the bike, and head over to transition. I set my bike in the rack, and set out my towel like I’d practiced just a few days ago. Basically from toe to head, as I get to the area, with some extra Gus and waterbottles. I put on the wetsuit, as I notice a few others doing the same. I wander down to the water, looking out at the mist coming off as it is warmer than the air, in fact it is quite chilly out. I hope the swim goes well.
The race organizers make some announcements, and it is time for my wave, the first one, to go. The horn sounds and what seems like a phalanx of swimmers rushes toward the water. I follow, but not particularly enthusiastically. At first I am breathing very fast, just feeling panicky. Some water gets in my mouth. The buoy looks very far away. Putting my face down in the water and realizing it is dark, and I am not headed toward anything but deeper water causes me to wonder why I am doing this, and if I should just turn back now, before I get into into a bad situation. I haven’t done this enough, I can’t get my hr down, aaagh! Why would anyone swim out into the middle of a lake?
I tell myself to just keep breaststroking, and following the others. Safety in numbers, I guess. I try about 3 freestyle strokes, and more panicky feelings. Fine, fine, just keep breaststroking. I am looking up every breath at this point and then I notice the buoy is a little closer. It is not that far. You can get that far, I tell myself, and I begin to calm down, doing more freestyle and noting the sun is reflecting low in the sky on my left. Soon, there is room to feel comfortable swimming, and the buoy is a very near, visible target. Around the backside, and now my target is the beach. Good! The beach, I can go back now. I start freestyling in earnest, and actually pass other swimmers. The beach gets closer, I get more comfortable, and before I know it I can see the lake bottom. Just a few more strokes, and I can put my feet down. Standing, I make my way to the shore, and even get halfway out of the wetsuit. I think the swim has gone pretty well, for a first attempt, and now my favorite part, the bike, awaits.
Getting to the transition, I wipe my face and arms with the towel, just like I had done in my mind, then my feet. The wet suit pops off easily, much easier than it has when I tried it in Cape Cod or on dry land. Good! Despite baby powder in my socks, they still prove annoying to put on, and I probably lose some valuable ticks there. Helmet, decide against armwarmers, even if it means I am cold, gloves, swig of gatorade and I need to go. Aaron is yelling loud from the sidelines, “Go! You can do it! Great job!.” I shoot him a look of “man, this is crazy” and grab the bike to walk it to the mounting zone, and then I am off. With being wet, it is a cool first two miles as the air rushes past my arms. I can actually feel the goosebumps. But I am not shivering, and before I know it I am dry enough to feel comfortable, and clinking through my familiar gears. I am not tearing up the bike course, by any means. For one, I still feel a little weird from the swim and it takes a few miles to get my breath into cycling rhythm, and it is a very short bike course. The second reason is, I still have a 5k to run, and I don’t want to waste the whole tank. However, I am riding strong, and passing many. I am passed by some others as well, but it is about even. Before I know it we are heading along the wide flat field which leads back to the park road, and I am into transition. A decent bike. Off with the shoes, on with the running shoes, remove helmet, put on hat, “RACE BELT” Aaron shouts from the sidelines, he has seen me come and go for each leg… – I know, I should do this all as I leave the Trans, but I am not thinking like that at the time… I even reracked my bike with back wheel in, which takes more time. WHY??? I am not going out on it again? Silly me. Annoyed by water bottle which has wandered away to my rack mate’s area… drink, and time to go.
I settle into my trot, and am running along a pretty trail, but there are rocks, roots, pine cones, and … HILLS. Yes, not a flat course. I cannot run up hills right now with the tendinitis, so I just walk them. My pace is not blistering but it feels very comfortable. However, I am getting passed like crazy. I guess I should not be surprised. I spent the least time on running, have some injury issues, and most other people who are runners can run quite well. It also does not help that I have no idea where I am on the course, or what my pace actually is. I wasn’t able to see this part yesterday. But I keep trotting along, knowing I will finish, and will not be last. This makes me happy. I am even able to chat with others going by (yes, not exerting myself to the max).
Finally, I can hear the announcer, but still maybe a tenth of a mile to go, kick it into a faster pace, and hear Aaron, once again “GO BUG!!!” This is great, and I can see the finish gates, sprinting toward them. Is that time right?? 1:37? Holy cow, that is awesome for my first one, I think! I was thinking somewhere around 2hrs would be my time, but this is with over 20 minutes ahead of that! YES! And more importantly, I had fun, feel great, and want to do it again!! AH, why is it September?!!
I finally locate Aaron, give him a big hug, and we walk over to find the food. I have earned myself a USAT car magnet, and a twinkie (this is a work joke) for my efforts!
About the event:
I think it was the first women’s tri done in the Hartford area, but it was put on by the Hartford marathon people, so it was fully well done. I never got confused about where to go, the course was safe with police or volunteers at every intersection, laid out well, and the venue scenic. The race director/refs were very clear in their presentations Saturday. I have no quibbles and would recommend this as a first race for any woman wanting to Tri.
Here are my split times:
191 85 TASHA VAN ES PEPPERELL MA 1:37:21 42/54 F3539 134 17:11 127 39:53 226 40:19
That is, 1:37 overall; 17:11 swim, 39:53 bike, 40:19 5k – 191 of 253 overall, 42 of 54 in my age group. My swim and bike times were solid middle of the pack times (134, 127 overall), while the run, EHHH, not so much. So, I know what I need to do to improve.
[Coming soon]

Pre-race day at the Expo [Part 2]

Saturday morning was predicted to be soggy and cool, and it was. We were off to the race expo to pick up my packet and partake of the three workshops – Tri 101, course notes/talk, and Bicycle maintenance, all subjects I felt or still feel I want to know more about…
All three were good, and we all listened carefully as the veterans told humorous tales of things they’d done wrong as they too learned. The race organizers/referees each talked, and they were extremely helpful in explaining the rules, any course issues, and generally making us newbies (I think most there were) feel welcome to the sport. Of course, I’d heard much of this through my books and the forum, but it was always good to hear it again and see things demonstrated in person.
Course notes included a shortened bike due to road construction (we had been told of this prior to cancellation day so it was not a surprise, and only 2 miles were lost – still, I would like more bike as that is my strongest suit), and an altered swim (not sure why) to an out and back format, and slightly less than .5 miles. Everyone cheered when she said this, except for one young woman near me who clearly was a school team swimmer.
After checking out the race site as much as seemed reasonable given the cool weather (and by the way, it was quite scenic, even in the grey day), we did a quick bike course drive and I noted a few areas to watch for, where the hills were and so on.
Then, we had several hours with no planned activities. We ended up going for a drive, and Aaron wanted to stop and look at antique stores for used furniture. I had never done this but it sounded like a good way to kill time, and I actually had a lot of fun. It was strange to see just a random assortment of items that had been in someone’s home for perhaps 50 years collected into these stores. We didn’t buy anything, but it was fun to see what kinds of things were being sold. We then came across a Stonewall Kitchen store (they make all kinds of gourmet sauces and jams) and I sampled lots of them and bought a few.
We headed back to the hotel for a quick rest, watched some TV, then went out to dinner around 7. By now, I was definitely getting my pre-race anxiousness, but I was able to eat a good amount of food, and we returned to the hotel. I checked over all my gear, tried to figure out the multisport mode of my Garmin, and eventually went to bed with a 6:15 wake up.

My first triathlon! [Part 1]

Wow, what a rush!
Today I participated in my first triathlon. Backing up a moment, this was a goal I set for the summer season of 2007, and I’d at one point had this grand idea of doing three or so over the summer, in addition to the Pan Mass (a 163 mile 2 day charity ride). I tried to “base build” my fitness over the winter with this goal, doing cycle class/trainer, pool workouts, and treadmill.
Well, we ended up buying a house this spring, with a summer move in, which meant lots of other things coming up, and as a result I could only focus on my PMC training over most of the summer. However, I knew after the PMC I’d be in ideal biking shape, and had been working on my swimming as off days from the bike. The missing link was running which I picked up immediately after the PMC. I had some trouble running as of the last three weeks with some tendinitis, but, when I could run (with long rest periods in between), I was running well for me, at least in terms of comfort. Immediately after the PMC, I took my wetsuit out for some open water swimming in Cape Cod Bay which proved to be kinda frightening with the waves, saltwater, and strangeness of the suit. I was not eager to do it again. But, I figured fresh water would be much better and I could try some lake swimming. I did, but, without the wetsuit since it was a state park and it was hot out!
I found an event that sounded perfect – it was 6 weeks out from the PMC, which gave me enough time to recover and shift focus, and it was a small, women’s only event, just about 2 hrs from my home. Perfect! It was a 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run.
I trained as much as one can in a compressed period, and my goal really only was to finish. I knew I might have to walk the run portion due to the tendinitis but after getting a reality check from my cycling forum that this was ok, I said ok, I’m in, and I signed up!
This was about 3 weeks to race day.
During the last two weeks, which already was tapering time to the race, I began to turn my thoughts to the actual race, and getting excited, nervous, you name it. I got extra attentive to my diet. I made sure the bike was ready. I made a list of what I’d want to bring. I checked, and rechecked, the weather forecast about 500 times. I watched YouTube videos of people practicing transitions in their yards, and I decided I should practice this too (it was a good idea). I made hotel arrangements, pet care arrangements, and logistics to fit in our Friday night plans, before our departure. I tried to visualize the different sections of the race.
Time flew along to this Friday, and we were on our way to Farmington, CT for an anniversary getaway and triathlon race (did I mention my husband is an awesome guy?)…

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Chipotle Corn Salad

I made this salad for our labor day party. I made it the night before, and it turned out well, but I should have made it a little more spicy. The sweetness of the corn, and the sour cream do a good job of tempering this potentially spicy dish so even Tasha can enjoy it.
(recipe behind cut)

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