Archive for the ‘Triathlon World Championships’ Category

Well, it’s been a sufficiently long time since I raced in the Age Group World Championships for Triathlon in Auckland, NZ.  I thought it might be time for a recap.  Obviously, had I WON THE WHOLE THING, I probably would have posted a bit sooner.  So, just to kill the excitement, you should know… the race wasn’t spectacular.
On some basic level, it’s worth noting that I think the course favors a cyclist who climbs hills a lot.  Needless to say, not me 🙂
The Day
On October 22, 2012, I raced in the Age Group World Championship Olympic Distance triathlon.  It was a mild day after several days of storm which continued to ravage the Auckland bay in which we would be swimming.  The chilly conditions had Team USA nervous at our team meeting the day before, but I decided to stick with my plan and raced in my all too cute 1-piece tri unisuit.  Clearly built for function over form 🙂
SWIM
My wave started with a 20 minute delay.  The whole day was delayed in fact because the sprint course had gone before us and the swim course had to be remarked.  I knew the swim wouldn’t be easy because I could see the wind picking up the water in the far distance where I knew I’d be swimming.  The result was “ok”– I posted a great time comparatively but not absolutely.  My time was, in fact, 5 minutes slower than my PR for a 1 mile swim owing at least in part to the 4-5 foot swells in the bay off the coast of Auckland where we were swimming. I held on by citing the swimmers in front of me, rather than buoys that I could only see on the off chance I was breathing and not at the depth of a swell simultaneously.  Because I couldn’t see the buoys, I defaulted to quite a bit of vertical… “meerkat swimming.” This should be self explanatory but if not, here you go–
Though, I’m not that cute :-/ Needless to say, I was exhausted getting out of the water.
Transition
Then, to my unpleasant surprise, I found that we had to run AROUND transition to get into the gate at the far end of the pier, at the end of all the competitors’ bikes.  The reason for this is totally logical– there was no way OUT on the other side.  To avoid have mass chaos, one side had to be entry and the internal side (the part connected to the land) had to be the exit.  Still. Annoying.  In my case, that added 3.5 minutes to each transition!  Argh. I didn’t even consider the lengthy transition at the time because I was just exhausted and I generally try to avoid the whole self-pity thing in races– it rarely helps.
BIKE
Woe. Is. Me.  Ok, I say I TRY to avoid self pity, sometimes, it’s inevitable.  The bike course, for me, was a disaster.  So, I got on the course trying to relax, get warm again, and just feel fluid.  It didn’t start too badly– I did get warm and fluid just in time to hit the first of… 8 hills.  I got through the first 4 and felt… hurty. I was sore from clenching in the cold, sore from non stop climbs and even the descents were a little less than awesome because each ended in a sharp turn– so I couldn’t carry any momentum beyond the descent 😦  Beyond the physical strain, which I was simply unprepared for, I hit an unusual mental strain– my clock was reading a pretty disastrous race time.  I hadn’t noticed how long my swim or the transition had taken but I did take not of my bike lap finish with 13 more miles to go– it was ugly.  So, that said, I headed out for loop 2.  The first hill hurt but I got it done, the next one was incredibly painful with my old hip injury flaring up because of the stupid muscle pulls I was feeling in my legs.  But the 3rd hill was…. bad. As soon as I hit the hill, I JUMPED my gear down as far as possible to release my muscles.  Not only did that BARELY help but in addition, my chain fell off.  UGH!  I pedaled into a plateau for a moment so I was actually able to get the chain back into place with some quick pedaling and shifting.  However, when you do that you always run the risk that you set up your gears incorrectly which I had clearly done because ont he 4th, it dropped again… and this time I had to get off the bike to fix it.  From there- you can imagine, I was not the happiest kid on the course. From that point, I did my best to thank volunteers, smile at cameras, and basically just wish and hope that I could be off the bike as soon as humanly (maybe a faster human than I) possible.  I transitioned to the run and basically just jogged out my tired muscles.
Transition 2
At least this time I wasn’t surprised, but it took a really, really long time.  We’re talking over 4 minutes in total. I promise, I wasn’t having glass of wine at my bike, really!  It was just a long way to run… twice.
RUN
My body was so sore that my chest and lungs weren’t- a clear sign that I wasn’t able to work hard enough to get into the cardiovascular system, which  is where my system tends to do best.  I’ve mentioned this in the past but my type of fitness is about performing at a good level when most other people have worn out– that means my heart can keep up at a pretty decent pace even when I’ve been going pretty hard for along time.  This had the feel (to me) more like a sprint because my muscles were simply super saturated.  Going harder made me wobble on my sore quads instead of dig into my chest/lungs for more air.  I wasn’t at the point of breathing insanely hard because my silly legs were just incapable of giving more speed.  Lame.
Finale
Clearly… this was not my best race. I finished in a whopping 20 minutes from my PR– but considering the choppy swim 5 mins slower than my pr, 5 minute transitions instead of 1 and a dropped chain? I don’t think it was actually as bad as it appeared on paper.  It was however, as bad as it felt.  Blech 🙂
The COOL PARTS?  It was AMAZING to rep the USA.  I loved getting cheered on by the Aussies and Kiwis and others, who clearly weren’t American but it didn’t matter.  They were all cheering “GO USA” as I ran by.  I also had an awesome fan cheering me on the whole time!  James actually saw me about 6 times over the course of the event.  There are LOTS of [super attractive  wet dog, tired cyclist, pathetic runner] pictures!  He was an awesome supporter 🙂
Now the crazy fun highlights? Those were all on the South Island of NZ.  I’ll give you just a taste:
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The title makes neither common nor grammatical sense but that’s ok, it’s Tuesday.  I don’t love Tuesdays.

Lobsterman 2012 was a really fun race!  Before I really considered myself a “triathlete” (2010), I borrowed a bike, biked to and swam in Walden Pond a few times over the summer, and completed this race as my first every Olympic distance triathlon.

There are a few reasons it’s a “repeat” for me– 1. It was my first and you know, there’s nothling like your… first.  2. It has a lobster bake– and people who like to sit on the ground in spandex and eat Lobster after kicking some serious butt in a race are my kind of people.  And 3. It looks like this–

This is the only race, therefore, that I feel I can compare apples to apples from one year to the next.  So, without further ado- I present– 3 years of race results!

2010: 2:35 Overall Time
193rd Place Overall
24th Female
1st of 9 in my Age Group
Swim: 22:54
Bike: 1:23 (11.4mph)
Run: 46:50 (7:30)

2011: 2:27 Overall Time
48th Place Overall
5th Female
1st in Age Group
Swim: 24:57
Bike: 1:16 (19.5mph)
Run: 43:33 (7:02min/mi)

2012: 2:23 Overall Time
57th Overall (Fast field!)
5th Overall Female (yet again!)
1st in Age Group
Swim: 21:18 (1:18/100m– if this isn’t an advertisement for my swim club, I don’t know what is…)
Bike: 1:13 (20.5 mph)
Run: 45:30 (7:19 min/mi)

The final delta is 12 minutes faster than 3 years ago, 4 minutes faster than last year… AND… I’ve been injured!  Not altogether terrible 🙂  (Let’s get that RUN in shape now, eh?!?!)

This is my take-home message: while I’ve been injured a lot of the season, running very little, I’ve managed to make up for that.  I’ve ALWAYS said, don’t waste time on your strength in Triathlon; rather, focus on your weakness. this is in stark contrast to what I’ve done this season.  Without being able to run and with my hip bothering me a bit on the bike, too– my most consistent training has been in the pool.  And wow… it works.  Granted, I don’t putz in the pool.  My workouts aren’t long either though.  I stick to a hard pace, very little rest and really pushing it.  I don’t swim a lot- during the broken ankle incident I was up to 4 times a week?  Now I’m dialed back to just 2.  However, those workouts are really solid.  This morning’s was a 1000 meter warm up and drill, followed by this:
2 x (400HARD, moderate 8 x 50)
2 x (200 HARD, moderate 4 x 50)
2 x (100 HARD, moderate 2 x 50)

The whole set was 3800 meters and the majority of the pace was 1:25/100meters (not yards).  I was DEAD by the last 100. And if you’re not? You’d better be going for longer than I was 🙂 I think the key is to understand how to maximize your time and sustain the RIGHT effort for that time.  If I were training for Iron distances, I would need LONGER swims.  If I needed more distance I would slow down my pace.  I wouldn’t have swum so much this year but not only did I have to… stupid injury… but I also LOVE my team!  I swim with a talented group of mixed-age masters swimmers.  They absolutely ROCK the pool at 5:30am most mornings.  I’m there as much as I can be and no matter what I’m doing next season, I’m signing on for another year of the team because I can’t fudge these numbers– clearly swimming is keeping me in awesome (or well, good enough) shape.

I’ve fared MUCH better this season than I would have anticipated in May.  In May, I thought I’d re-break my ankle during a transition in a race, not kidding.  I was afraid I’d actually try to unclip from my pedal and crack the ankle all over again because the whole joint felt so weak and fragile.  But nope!  With a little faith and a LOT of slow work, I’ve manged to recover about as well as anyone might have imagined I think.  I’m pretty psyched. I’d like to be a lot faster in NZ for World Championships, but I have a good training plan,I’m working toward a well executed race, and I have a fan coming to watch :)– so I’m pretty sure,  I’ll have a great time.  Proud of 2012 thus far!

Larry, the Lobster, and me 🙂

So, long time, no blog. That’s pretty lame.  The truth is that it’s really hard to write, talk, communicate in any way about triathlon when you’re injured.  Well, when I’m injured anyway.  It’s not as though I’ve thought that I’m invincible… no wait, yes I did.  As I posted earlier this spring, I was stuck in the pool a lot over the course of my broken ankle recovery.  The recovery was slow, but by May at least the cast was off.  I worked up to being able to jog again and in fact, I posted a 5k “PR” at the end of May.  Only to find out later– I think the course was short. Nonetheless, it was a decent time followed with… serious hip pain.  That hip pain is reminiscent of pain I was experiencing in November/December, which caused me to stop running last winter. So here I was again, unable to run, in the middle of the tri season.  I’d take breaks of a week or 2 off of running, riding and swimming as much as I could.  I’d then return to the track or tempo runs, only to feel this radiating, killer pain in my low back, right side of hip and down into the hamstring.  I write this now, not because I’m all better, but because I think, I hope… I am improving.  All I know is that I can’t bring it back full force.  If I do, I’ll risk a PR at Worlds, which is what I want more than anything else.  I couldn’t care less about placing… I’d just like to hit that pretty stride I had last year at Nationals.  So, that’s where I’ve been.

Just for fun– here are my quick Summer highlights of 2012:

1. May 17: Summer Blues Run— 5k PR (ish?) 19:27

2. June 1:  Rev3 Quassy!  I never wrote about this race despite it being a ton of fun, actually.  Firstly, #Rev3 events are fantastic.  The race was incredibly well put together, my name was on my bike holder, and the support throughout the race was spot on!  Obviously, I’m a teammate for Rev3 but I’d have this opinion either way– it’s just a festive event when it’s a Rev race.  Given the opportunity I’d be going to Cedar Point, Dells, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Florida to do their races.  The timing just doesn’t work, sadly!  In any event, it wasn’t a terrific finish by time, but I placed in my age group and overall, I was in the top 10 women to finish.  That felt awesome.  Despite pretty much hurricane conditions on the bike, I managed to NOT fall.  That’s probably a win in and of itself, right?!  Yeah, I know. I fall a lot.  (At least I’m smiling as I churn up a puddle:)

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3. June 22Racemenu 5k Overall Winner 🙂

4. July 6-8: Black Fly Tri.  This event was AMAZING.  The festival weekend is comprised of a Bike TT on Friday night, Olympic Tri Saturday and Sprint Tri Sunday.  You can pick and choose- or do the “Lord of the Flies” Competition, which is all 3 🙂  You know which one I chose… obviously.  After not quite enough training for it, and a BEAST of a hill in every event (it takes place ON a ski mountain after all), I still had a fantastic time.  I ended up in 2nd for the Oly, Sprint and the Overall in my Age Group.  I met a TON of people and got to hang with some old friends too.  LOVED it!

5. INJURED   There was just no getting around this. From mid July through mid August I was just plain old injured.  There was no racing and there was barely any running.  I worked on the bike as much as I could and I swam… but it was tough all in all.  I actually made time in my life for other fun things– I spent time with my family in New York, spent time exploring Boston’s eateries and the rock gym, I went to Florida, and did my best to put the anxiety of being injured at bay.  It worked, for the most part.  My friends noticed it, as I’d snap, “I don’t want to talk about Nationals!” or Worlds, or even generally about triathlons.  I felt like a fraud– I was this athlete previously in pretty decent shape ready to take worlds by storm and then boom– a crazy, injured season.

5. Age Group Nationals 2012.  OK, so, they happened. But even the day before I caught myself saying, “this race had a limit, maybe I should have sacrificed my spot so that a real athlete could be competing.”  Ew, self-loathing, useless thoughts.  So, I bucked up the best I could. After a terrible night’s sleep, I woke up with the beginnings of a RIDICULOUS poison sumac attack.  It was laughable, really.  In any event, I raced!  I put up some interesting numbers–

Here is my comparison of Nationals 2011 (fresh and tapered!) and 2012 (freshly injured!):

2011 Results:
23:33          T1: 1:35        Bike: 1:13.06        T2: 1:25            Run: 41:39

2012 Results:
Swim: 22:37     T1: 2:04     Bike: 1:13.49    T2: 1:28      Run: 44:03
Deltas:
1. Swim = 2012 much faster!  1:35/100m vs. 1:23/100m this year!  2012 swim training worked!
2. Bike= negligible.  In pain so I know my mental game was way off.  Also, SO thirsty on the bike and if you know me you know… I didn’t have water with me. #dumbtriathlete
3. Transition 1: Hilarious. WHAT was I doing…
4. Transition 2: Tired AND very dehydrated
5. Run = 2012, whoa. As expected, really slow.  However, I stopped to walk through the first water stop and pull my shoe lace tighter.  I think this might improve by October.

The swim was a great take-home message. Training consistently really does help.  The same is likely the case for the other two sports but… silly, injured me, wouldn’t know.

Lastly–

August 26: Rev3 Old Orchard Beach!  Another fantastic event! I did this as an Olympic Relay, having just come off of Nationals the weekend before.  My awesome guy got coerced into it as our runner- his little bro has just gotten into tri’s and is flying!!! So, I swam, Jeff cycled and James ran and we WON!  I had never done a relay tri before and this was such a fun race race for it.  So many spectators and fanfare!  I definitely didn’t pay attention to course maps and ended up running to the swim start a mile away– but that’s clearly human error- not a race problem 🙂  I’ll pay better attention next time…. #oops.  This was its inaugural year and it went incredibly smoothly.  Everyone should head up to Maine for it next year!

So that’s it… so far.  This morning I hit my 10 x 100 @ 1:15 and it actually didn’t kill me. I’m psyched to think I could even get a little quicker by October.  But no guarantees. I need some open water practice, for sure.  I have a few races in the next month then it’s taper time for Worlds.  I’m finally able to talk tri again so I plan to do a bit more of this in the next few weeks.  Hopefully I’ll find something interesting to chat about.  Requests welcome, as always.

Tag-ing up!  I know these tag things can be silly, or perhaps annoying if you have a LOT of blog friends dying to hear about, but alas, I don’t suffer from that affliction 🙂  Thus, I am joining the fun.  Mary from http://itsamarython.tumblr.com and Jamie from swimbikerunlive.com each tagged me, so my answers are below!  Then, I tag 11 people to get some nitty gritty details about them!

The Rules:

1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section like “you are tagged if you are reading this”. You (the blogger) legitimately have to tag 11 (or so) people.

11 Random Things About Me:

1.  I set my high school 100 breast stroke record my junior year. For a while, the scoreboard read: “100 BR: J. Ledewitz—-B. Ledewitz” because my brother and I held the same record.
2. I love dancing, all the time. It happens at very random times. You’d think I wouldn’t be dancing at my desk at the office? But that happens…
3. I was on the Junior National Kayak team for 2 years. I took a semester off from high school to train to make World Championships, but missed the team by just a few spots.
4. I love rain. Most rainy days make me smile no matter what else is going on in my life. A rainy day can make me run outside no matter what’s on my schedule or how tired I am.
5. My awesome, athletic, wicked smart brother lives in MD and rocks a serious mullet, not ironically. I know that’s not actually about me? But it makes me smile to think about.
6. I’ve been carded at Rated-R movies.  Something about being 5’1″ and rarely looking my age? Which is.. 25 by the way.
7. I love my job but have a hard time getting enough done. I work for MIT as the Sustainability Coordinator- which means I work on energy efficiency projects and LEED (green building) certification for our capital projects.

8. I’m named after… an architect? Yep, Julia Morgan.  Mom is an architect and she thought that’d be.. neato. It kind of is?
9.  I LOVE baking- but not really for myself… always looking for an excuse to make people treats.
10. I have very few fears in life, but unfortunately crashing out on my bike happens to be one of them. Totally useless fear for a triathlete.
11. I think I could be a good cook, but I don’t really cook because I live on my own and I’m single… so there’s not much point? Need to work on this (the cooking… well, maybe the single-ness too… meh) 🙂

And now… MY answers!

Mary’s questions:

1. Other sports you’ve played in your life, whether in high school, middle school, or college: Swimming, Water polo, Kayaking (sprint racing), Diving, Gymnastics… I think that’s it…
2. Best race ever: Hard one. Either Age Group Nationals for Triathlon in Burlington (for the experience) or Lobsterman in Maine (for the fun)!
3. How many times have you been in love?
ech. Twice? give or take.
4. Pen or pencil. And why? I use a pen more often (for practicality, but I’m specific about which type) but I genuinely enjoy using a pencil more, I love crafting and fixing.
5. Dream job:  Whoa. Dream? Environmental professor/teacher type or… a Vintner 🙂 Mmmm wine.
6. Complete this sentence: “I feel most comfortable while…”  …let’s keep this PG, kids.
Presenting. I love to discuss my work, my training, et cetera.  So teaching, coaching, leading groups? I love connecting with people– sharing what I know and learning what I don’t know.
7. Fav food: Salmon, Broccoli and Sweet potatoes…  sour patch kids and  chocolate covered gummy bears
8. Guilty pleasure:  Pick-your-own-candy shops. When I’m really craving something sweet, I know where to go to get just what I’d like 🙂
9. Biggest pet peeve: Shaving in locker room group showers. Ew.
10. If you could change ONE thing about yourself or your life, what would it be and why? Again, whoa. Just 1? Hm. Being more forthcoming. I can get really reserved about certain things and people… it’s rarely in my best interest, but the fear of getting hurt or disappointing myself and others can be overwhelming.
11. Pre-race ritual: “wiggle, wiggle, wiggle with it yeah….”  You can catch me dancing as a warm up, head phones in, craptastic pop music blaring.

Jamie’s Questions:

  1. What is your proudest accomplishment? Making the 2012 Triathlon Age Group World Championship Team and… landing my job at MIT.
  2. What is your biggest regret?  Don’t really have any to report right now… I feel like I make choices daily I probably shouldn’t… but in the broader picture, they’re not a big deal.
  3. What was your biggest fear as a child? Oddly, I had a fear that our house would be broken into and because I was a terrible sleeper, I thought I’d get ‘taken’ first by a robber. This caused me to keep my parents AWAKE for hours when I was going to bed… just to make sure someone else was awake after me. #terriblechild
  4. What is your biggest fear as an adult? I’m overwhelmingly afraid of failing. Whether it’s failing myself or others, it’s not a good approach for an athlete. Have to take risks, have to fail in order to learn how to really succeed and excel.
  5. Your most embarrassing triathlon story, using exactly 11 words. First Olympic tri:  stepped to starting line with wetsuit on backwards.
  6. What  is the one piece of advice you’d give the 10 year old version of yourself.  “Follow-through. You’ve got more potential than you let yourself think.”
  7. What is the best meal that you’ve ever made yourself?  Seared tuna with asparagus
  8. In or out? All in.
  9. What is your dream car? Something that isn’t a car and doesn’t run on fossil fuels.
  10. What is the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike? hahahaha.  Um. I have no idea.  I’d guess 45? I’m a bike WUSS.
  11. What is your least favorite part of triathlon training/racing?  Evening track workouts, on my own anyway.

Now– Questions for YOU 11 people I’m tagging!

1. Best race moment?

2. Ideal date (can be real or for future reference)?

3. Favorite Snack?

4. Favorite workout?

5. Best vacation?

6. Biggest disappointment?

7. Best part of college?

8. What are you doing on a typical Friday night? (or what do you LIKE to be doing)?

9. South Park or Family Guy?

10. Strangest racing superstition or quirk?

11. Nicest/best compliment you’ve received?

Now, if you’re one of the lucky 11 that I’m going to tag on Twitter, you will need to 1) post 11 random things about you and then 2) answer the above 11 questions I’m asking you and then 3) Read the rules above above to make sure you’re doing the right things and 4) send off to the interwebs for perusal + answering!

I’m tagging:

Kacie @Kacie_Tri_ing

Joshua @TriHollywood

Chloe@ChloeElfrin

Kellie @EatSleepSwimm

Julia @DoubleDAthlete 

Jean-Louis @RangerDutch

Peej @Peeeeeeeeej

Danielle @nell033

Shannon @tri2cook

Katrina eatdrinkandbeactive.com

Jessie @kissing_frogs

Have fun, peeps!!

Any thoughts on these matters from the peanut gallery??  🙂

WINNERS!!

Results of my Bike and World Champsionship Fundraiser: Thank you to everyone for donating!  More than 65 donations were made, which totaled over $2500 towards a replacement bike (mine was stolen in the fall 😦 )!  I am incredibly grateful and humbled by everyone’s generosity!  Thank you thank you thank you! The bike will be purchased shortly.  I want to make sure I get the best bike possible for me (a short, new-to-tri, but still going to World champs … type) and so I am working with my local triathlon center and my tri teams to see what the best deals are.  I will be purchasing soon and, believe me, I will update you as soon as I do!

Thank you, additionally, to all of my incredible sponsors.  Wheelworks, Landry’s, VMPS Triathlon Center, TriGuyCoaching, Mina at Riverbend Massage, Nancy Clark, Tufts University, Mix1, FIRM Racing, UbiSoft Games and Everstride.

World Championships are not until NEXT October though so in the mean time I will probably host yet ANOTHER spin-fundraiser and continue to fundraise in general.  If you are interested in coming, or simply supporting, please let me know!  The next spin-fundraiser will likely be in March 2012.

I will be contacting our winners individually– but if for any reason a winner does not hear from me (by January 7), please get in touch! (jledewitz [at] gmail.com or just leave a comment below!)

The following donors have won these awesome items in the World Championships Fundraiser Raffle

Meg Reilly Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate (from Tufts University)
Adam Rosenberg Jules’ Baked Goods
Christopher Schaffner 1 hour Nutrition Counseling with http://www.nancyclarkrd.com/
Stephen Normadin Free 2012 FIRM Race Entry
David Meyers UbiSoft Video Games
Danielle Marquis 1 free 1BandID www.1bandid.com
Benjamin Berry EverStride Gift Pack
Emma Kosciak VMPS Triathlon Center Gift Certificate
Jessica Kraus Case of Mix1
Whitney Rauschenbach Landry’s Bicycles Gift Certificate
Flavia Chen Jules’ Baked Goods
Katie Bond Landry’s Bicycles Gift Certificate
Josh Flanagan VMPS Tri Gift Certificate
David Altman 1 Month coaching/training plan from http://triguycoaching.com/
Joe Vukson 1 hour Massage from http://riverbendmassage.weebly.com/
Jeffrey Longcor Landry’s Bicycles Gift Certificate
Michael Nislick Swim Lesson
Rod Azadan Landry’s Bicycles Gift Certificate
Allyson Huntington WheelWorks 90-Minute Bike Fitting
Ben Martens Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate (from Tufts University)
Charlie Ticotsky Jules’ Baked Goods
Thomas Rodrigues  Stefani Danes’ Homemade Quilt
Joanne & Ryan Kennedy Jules’ Baked Goods