So after hearing the good news saturday morning, we headed out the door and drove north till the temperature dropped to about 28 degrees (it was 70 degrees when we left my home) and the wintery mix started all around us. And that's when we knew we were there! I dont know what it is, but whenever we go up there, it's freezing!! For the longest time, Ryan told me the weather in southwest Missouri was mild - averaging about 10 degrees below our temps here in Mandeville. I took that for truth...and that's the big joke!!! Last year, we went up for a few months after Christmas, and they had an ice storm. We had no power for like a week or something and, well, it was a mess. I've been thru many hurricanes, and the aftermath of Katrina(no power for weeks, no phone or cable for 3 months), and it was no fun. But there has never been the added factor of freezing to death in the midst of a hurricane! It was 0 degrees with no power up there.....and when all that passed, it snowed the rest of the time we were there!! hmmmm.....whatever happened to global warming? ha! so that was last year.....
This year there was no ice storm, but there was ice and snow and plenty of coldness, and we poked fun at the fact that this weather comes in as soon as we visit. We had a great Christmas with his mom and family, and headed home yesterday after I had a day of shopping in Springfield. Back to the warm and muggies - it was 65 this morning when I ran...
Now, for those of you who know me, you probably know this website stuff is WAY over my head, so thanks to the connection of a dear friend and big supporter, I have been working with a company out of Baton Rouge called MODIPHY, and they have been an awesome resource (check them out!). So, please contine to check up on my blog as I vow to update it more regularly, and look for new things to come on my website www.csmithrace.com.
The training has been going OK. I'm struggling a bit with getting it all in through the holidays, but that's to be expected with all the extra stuff going on. I continue to get in most of my key workouts, but have been having a pain in my knee the last couple of days so I decided to not run at all today and tomorrow and see how it feels. I will be visiting Mike Aldridge(my massage guru who cures all my pains) today for a little work - and hopefully it will disappear. Thus far in my triathlon career, I have been very fortunate with respect to injuries, and I plan to continue the streak. When I get little aches and pains like this, I am careful not to run through it, and rest whatever it is until it's back to normal. As for me, I believe that this is the key to keeping a little pain from turning into something big and bad!!! So for now, all is good and I will use these days to rest, recover, and swim a little extra!
This morning started off a little rough. 4am - the alarm sounds and I have to peel myself out of bed since i was up past 11 unable to fall asleep. This always happens to me when i start back to training after a break. I'm still not sure why, because logically I would think I would fall asleep from being so tired. but no. It usually takes a few weeks for my body to get used to all this and get into my regular pattern. so anyway, I was out of it early on - drinking my coffee and gathering my stuff for my looming 3 hr workout that i even questioned if i would make it through. i grabbed a banana and made it out the door late, but to the gym in the nick of time to start my cycle class promptly at 5am. as soon as i got my legs moving, i somehow shifted into gear and ended up having a pretty good morning training session. After my weights and stretching, i felt great - glad to have completed a big workout by 8am, and glad to have not gone back to sleep....I was ready to head home for a big breakfast and a shower and when I exited the club, an old(er) man was walking in and looked at me and said "Congratulations!". I was stunned. was he talking to me? I looked around, and it was just me there. I said "thank you", and we both continued walking on. Here's the thing. I looked closley at this old man who must have been around 70, and I have no idea who he is. But he knew me, and knew i did something he thought i should be congratulated for. I can understand people in triathlon knowing i did well in some races this past year, and i am humbled by their support, but to have someone who is pretty far removed from the scene notice....well, it was way cool. What this old man said had an immediate effect on me - I was already feeling good, but now i was feeling great! I still have no idea who he was....
For the last 2 weeks, I have been resting to the max. I've slept in nearly every day. I've been doing a little running and biking here and there, but not much. Just enough to wipe the guilt away. I have a really hard time just letting go of doing some sort of exercise every day. I admit it.
Ryan and I decided we couldn't take it anymore. Enough is enough. We both felt sluggish and unhealthy. It was doing a number on us! When we let go of the training, our nutrition when out the door with it and it got ugly! I'm not sure I've ever eaten that much ice cream in a week - although I'm pretty sure Ryan has!(hehe). Anyway, we had to get back on some sort of schedule to get back on track. so we decided to do it on monday -after Thanksgiving....we were ready....or so i thought.
We headed up to Ryan's home in Missourri to visit his family and friends for the holiday leaving Thanksgiving day. This was going to be our blowout weekend before training officially starts. Like we hadn't done enough damage already! On Thursday is when I first felt sick - and I decided i wouldn't do any exercise at all as long as i felt bad - and i stuck to it. I mean, it was my off time and i didnt have a big race looming..... and this was my time off (did i say that already?), so i would just rest the entire time i was sick instead of trying to manage mileage with illness - like a normal person. It was a good call. But by the time Monday rolled around, I was still in no condition to begin training, so i stayed in bed - until wednesday. thats right. 7 full days off with nothing but rest and sleep. It's been a long time since i've done that. Maybe since i broke a rib back in '03. well deserved time off. real time off. i needed it, and wanted it - but it took me to catch a cold to get it. and it was a good thing. hmmmm...everything happens for a reason.....
That's pretty much what I've been doing for the last 9 months. So now what?
The season's over, and it's time to prepare for next year.
First thing on the agenda - Take time off.
In my opinion, one of the hardest things a competitive triathlete can do is take time off of training. Yeah, I know it sounds weird to those who aren't in an endurance sport. You would likely think (and I can hear it from some of you now) "it's about time you stop doing all that stuff and give it a rest anyway!!" And you're probably right, but it's hard to just stop. It's a battle between mind and body. My body wants to rest (hell, it needs it- and i know it), but my mind want's the endorphins and the feel-goods....My body doesn't care about the extra weight and tight clothes(whatever!), but my mind won't let that go....and i feel bad when the jeans dont fit. I have to keep reminding myself over and over -- it's a good thing.
So...Now is the time for my break. I only get 2 weeks beacuse next year comes fast. And with such a big year ahead of me, I will need the running work thru the holidays. I can only hope this short time will be long enough for me to recover from such a big year. Sometimes it takes a while for those training "needs" to fade and become "wants" yet again.
Posted by Michael J. Montalbano November 14, 2007 10:02AM
Swim, bike, run.
If you put these activities together, you have the makings of an extreme event, and cities are eager to snag the ultimate triathlon competition -- Ironman.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Ironman 70.3 New Orleans will take place April 5, 2009, in the Crescent City. The grueling but uplifting event, which could have an economic boon of about $5 million to the Crescent City, according to race organizer Bill Burke, will consist of a 1.2-mile swim (in Lake Pontchartrain), a 56-mile bike and a 13.1-mile run -- for a total of 70.3 miles -- in a field that will include professionals and age-group athletes.
The New Orleans event is the equivalent of a half Ironman -- a full Ironman consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile run -- but it still will take a supreme effort for the competitors in the Crescent City to experience the thrill of finishing.
"In a city that was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina just two years ago, there only appears to be promise in its future," Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu said. "Rebuilding efforts are fully under way, and the city welcomes Ironman 70.3 with enthusiasm.
"Louisiana is in the business of hosting major sporting events. .¤.¤. We are extremely thrilled to be part of the Ironman 70.3 series. I can't think of anything that stretches you more than an Ironman event."
Ironman 70.3 New Orleans will be the only Ironman 70.3 World Championships qualifier in a five-state region (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia). Fifty spots (46 age-group slots and four professional slots) will be up for grabs for the 2009 World Championships in Clearwater, Fla.
Only about 30 Ironman events are scheduled around the world for 2008.
"New Orleans is certain to become a favorite destination for the Ironman community," Jay Cicero, president/CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation said. "Our unique architecture, cultural ambiance and world-class hospitality will provide an unforgettable experience for athletes. New Orleans has a long history of raising the bar for events.
"A triathlete is a highly driven person. We like to have those type of people in New Orleans."
The field for the Ironman 70.3 New Orleans will not exceed 2,500 participants, and there will be no cutoff time for each individual segment -- but an overall cutoff of eight hours will be enforced.
One local triathlete jazzed to hear that the Crescent City now is on the Ironman 70.3 series schedule was Mandeville's Caroline Smith.
Smith was the first amateur female and won her age group (35-39) by nearly five minutes at the 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Championships on Saturday in Clearwater. Smith finished in 4:23:43. She completed the swim in 28:26, the bike in 2:15:10 and the run in 1:33:48. Smith finished No.¤227 overall in the event.
"I'm excited about the race coming to New Orleans," Smith said. "In this sport, we have always had to travel to the big races -- and to have one come here is a real treat.
"There are a lot of folks from New Orleans and its surrounding areas who train and participate in triathlon and the healthy, active lifestyle that comes with it. I think the magnitude of this race will help the sport gain some much-needed recognition here in the city."
Ochsner Health System has signed a three-year agreement with Premier Event Management to be the title sponsor of Ironman 70.3 New Orleans.
"This will be an event in a city like no other," Burke said.
Like any event of this magnitude, volunteers will be sought to ensure the success of the race. About 300 volunteers will be needed throughout the course.
Leading up to the event, a more detailed schedule for athletes and volunteers will be provided.
The race itself will be eye-opening.
The average water temperature in Lake Pontchartrain during April is in the mid-70s, and if the water is that chilly, participants would be allowed to wear wet suits for the 1.2-mile swim. The bike course will weave to Lake Catherine and head back to the Lakefront -- with the run concluding in "spectator friendly" Jackson Square.
Smith, who also completed the 2007 Ironman World Championships in 10:39:19 (finishing No.¤625 overall) last month in Kona, Hawaii, already is looking forward to the New Orleans event.
"It will be an A race for sure," she said. "I think triathletes across the Gulf Coast will show up in big numbers. Because of the conditions of the roads and Lake Pontchartrain following the hurricane, runners and those in triathlons lost some races. This will be a rebirth."
Winners in the men's Ironman 70.3 series competition usually finish in about 3:50 to four hours, with the women's champions finishing in about 4:20 to 4:30.
Visit www.ironmanneworleans.com to register for Ironman 70.3 New Orleans. The cost is $225.
November 10, 2007
1st Place AMATEUR FEMALE
1st Place W35-39
15th Place Overall Female
Wow! What a day it was!
Ryan and I got to Clearwater late Wednesday night - and when we got there, it was downright COLD! I think the temperature was in the 50's which was way too cold for Florida in my opinion. Haha - I know, 50 isnt cold, but when you live in Louisiana and you're coming out of the heat of summer, the first chill seems a lot colder than it really is.
Anyway, we got settled into a beautiful condo (thanks to "the missle"!) just 3 blocks from transition. for the next few days, we went about the usual pre-race rituals - register, shop, buy stuff, clean bikes, pack transition bags..... We went for a swim friday morning to test the water which i was sure would be a little chilly - but mainly because the air was so cool. HA! the water was freezing(ok, again, i am not used to cold water. it was 68 degrees), and I was glad I brought my long sleeved wetsuit along because the sleeveless I was in wasn't warm at all.
I bundeled up as the air was going to be in the 50's and windy - so I layered it on all the way down to the hat. I just dont like to be cold, especially before a race. We made it down to transition in plenty of time to get set up and wait on the beach for nearly an hour before our waves took off. The waiting is no fun, since the wind just picks up as the day goes on, but that's the way it goes - just stay warm and stew.
Finally the time to go was here. I was unusually calm again (I think the pre race nerves may be gone for good now as I havn't had them in a long time) and ready to get this race over with and put it behind me. It has been a long year, and I really didn't know what to expect about this race - really I was just here to do it with Ryan and see how I could do 4 weeks after Kona. Kinda like an experiment! I didn't feel very good, and weighed in 7 pounds heavier than in Kona, but you never know. So I was curious to see how all this training prepared me for this distance - and to see if all that rest did me some good, or not. Little did I know what was in store....
Off we went - I put myself in front to the left as I usually do and ran into the water. I had an uneventful swim, thinking my arms felt heavy and tired - but i figured that was just from the long-sleeved wetsuit. I found my way in line with some other faster girls, so it was easy to follow them along - especially since one kicked a lot, so I could follow her bubbles without looking up too much. then we turned into the sun, and it all changed - I couldn't see squat, I lost the pace line, and was running into swimmers from the waves before. but somehow, I continued to swim straight and found my way out of the water in 28 minutes - not too bad I thought...
I picked up a water from Mike who was there volunteering, got my wetsuit peeled and was off to T1 and out on the bike. the Bike was a bit congested going out. The way they funnel us thru town made it difficult to keep your distance, but it loosened up after a few miles. for the first 10 miles, there were cyclists everywhere, and I was aggrevated with the fact that these athletes like to draft and don't care about it. But like I said, once we got out a ways, people settled in to their paces and the bike was awesome for me! This is the fastet bike course in the 70.3 series. plus, the addition of the winds which were perfect made it even faster. I was pushing a bit on the bike - excited to see 27+ mph - and cruising. It was great----until about mile 40 when my laft quad cramped. this has never happened before, and i didnt know what to do. i tried to lay up, use my right leg more than my left ....but i didnt want to stop. I knew i had to be in a pretty good position in my age group, and wanted to try to hold onto it if i could. so, i changed my position a bit, and shifted the bulk of my efforts to my right leg while trying to massage the cramp whenever i could. I just wanted to make it to transition where i could get it massaged maybe before the run - oh gosh, the run. i didnt want to cramp on the run. I didn't know what to think. so, here's how i looked at it. just keep moving forward. it was tolerable at the time, so i told myself to just keep it moving, increase the blood flow, and try to work it out. I remember my swim coach telling me when i was a kid that if i had an abdominal cramp to swim thru it and it would subside. i don't know if that was really true. I think it was his way of telling me not to be a whimp - and to make me tough. so, if my quad wasnt totally locking up, maybe i t would go away, or not get worse.....and i could just get thru it....
So after I slowed up a bit - the pack behind me caught me. And this got me fired up. there had to be 100 guys in this pack, and they weren't going a lot faster than me, but enougth to catch me. what got me fired up was the 2 girls in my age group tucked away in the middle of this pack sucking the wheels of these guys. I was steeming. I watched them just stay tucked in the whole time - not trying to get away from it at all. I was peeved to say the least. I lost sight of them after a mile or two, but knew what they were wearing, and was motivated more than ever now to hunt them down....if i could only get rid of this quad issue.
Into T2 - I asked for the massage girl who came over with some biofreeze while i put on my running shoes and hat. I was ready to go, but like in kona, decided to wait a minute to let her work on me. maybe it would help. It wasn't locking up as bad, but it hurt the way a muscle hurts after a bad cramp. why not wait a minute.....so i did. then walked out of the tent and went into a light jog out of the chute....
the run: mile 1 - settle in. after the first mile,my legs felt ok - yeah, I knew the quad was there,but it wasnt cramping and that was good. I wanted to be sure it was ok before I climbed the bridge in mile 2, and so far so good. at the mile marker sign, i decided to do something i have never done before - take my splits on the run! I usually dont do this 'cause I dont want to know pace - as i like to race based on how i feel, and i dont want to get caught up in the time thing. but i wanted to know - so mile 2 i took the split - 7:07. SAY WHAT? but i felt good....then mile 3: 6:48....i thought "surely these signs are too close together and there is going to be a really long mile in here somewhere.....then 7:11, 7:15, 7:06, 7:20, 6:58, 7:12....and so on. and I was feeling great too. (( OH, and yes, I passed Cheater #1 at mile 2, and Cheater #2 at mile 4)) at the mile 10 turnaround - a guy mentioned we had 5k to go - so i looked at my watch and saw 4:02. I thought - I could do a 5k in under 25 minutes for sure - how cool would that me to do a sub 4:30 here today....maybe better....and i felt pretty good - so i tried to keep up with him. the way in was awesome- lots of spectators and feeling great all the way to the finish. I still cant believe my time - 4:23:43. I wondered if that would win my age group?? it was a fast day for everyone, so I had no idea...
After the finish, I saw Russell and Melissa and we waited around for Ryan to come across. I was just amazed at the day. I had no idea I had this race in me - with all that time off. I was feeling so sluggish too...
Ryan came across on 5:06 - a PR for him too.
We went off to eat Pizza and checked the unofficial results - and that's when I saw how i did. I was excited, amazed, shocked, and didn't believe it. maybe they forgot something, or another wave of women had to come in.....I couldn't believe it. I still can't, but i was there....too cool.
It goes to show - good training + great recovery = best race ever.
Thanks again for all of the support and well wishes from everyone!
I barely slept last night - probably a mix of anxiety and fear - but ready to get this thing underway. I have put a lot of time into this one day, and was ready to see what it had in store for me.
I got uo early to eat and get my food and drink together, then Ryan and I were on our way to transition. when I got there, it was already a mad house, and I made my way through body marking into transition to get my tires aired up and stuff my bento box. After that, it was off to the swim start to watch the pro's take off, then into the water for the 15-minute tread before the cannon goes off. That's right, Deep water start, and apparently, if you don't get the the front early, you don't get there...so I opted to swim out just after the pro's, and affix myself to the giant Ford Buoy to the very left of the swim start - along with a number of other athletes! It was crazy.
so, for about 15 minutes, i treaded water, grabbed the buoy (not so easy to grab a big blown up thingie the size of a boat to keep you up!!) and tried to keep a decent position so I wouldn't get too beat up on the start. There were tons of surfers going back and forth the keep the line even and everyone back - it seemed like forever before the cannon went off as i tried to keep my legs relaxed so i wouldn't start cramping before i usually do!! then BOOM! off we went !
What you can do is limited only by what you can dream.
RACE #: 1379 Smith, Caroline F 36 W35-39 USA
OK, so far so good. I am still directed (by me) to rest as i don't want this stuff to turn into anything i cant race with.....so i am laying in bed on saturday morning at 8 am, which is something i haven't done in i cant can't tell you how long! it's nice, but i want to go ride my bike. but i won't. Ryan's out running.......
instead, i am going to ironman.com to read all the stuff on Kona. Oohh...i'm getting excited. I keep waking up in the middle of the night thinking about the race. visualizing my day. it's going to be a good day, whatever happens.
The first week, i wondered what was going on. I ached so badly. I had 2 massages that week and they hurt more than any other in the year (lots of cursing from me (hehe) - and patience from the extremely talented LMT Mike Aldridge in Mandeville). This was part of the process, i know, but as an athlete, it is sometimes difficult to trust in the program set forth- but you just have to. That's the only way it will work. My training is right on, and the first week in the taper is supposed to feel like this. I know this, but for some reason I struggle with it. In the monent, I just think i'm supposed to feel good right away - ha! I know that the timing of fatigue and mileage are different, but for some reason, i let my mind question what i know. thats the wacky athlete in a state of mush talking. this is what taper does to me. suddenly everything changes, and the stars are out of allignment, and most people around me don't get it. That's what makes it difficult, yet kinda funny at the same time. Like I'm the only one "in" on an inside joke....I look forward to the taper in the heavy mileage weeks, but when i get here, it wreaks havoc. but you gotta love it. the big day is nearing....
week 2 - things start turning around...Just yesterday after about 10 days in, my body stopped feeling all the fatigue i have had over the last few months and the "burn" in my quads was nearly absent the entire hour on the bike.
On the flip side, BOOM..i have had some tightening in my chest and am scared to death i am getting sick. scared so much that i have been inside resting and bombarding my body with fruits and vegetables, soup, tea, vitamins, zicam and other medicines - whatever i think will help. to get this far, and to have an illness come up - well, im trying not to think about it. The hay is in the barn, as Donnie used to tell me. and only rest will help me now. I have never just went cold turkey a week before for an Ironman, but if i have to, i will. this is a mental battle - for so long, i have trained nearly daily, and a week before the race - nothing. but focus in on the 13th. i will stay positive - it will pass before the race.
I leave for Kona in 3 days.....
10 weeks of super hard training, and now it's taper time. This morning started with a 2k swim, a massage, then a big breakfast of eggs, leftover pot roast, and grits. now, i'm down for a nap. tough, isn't it? ha!
The past few months have taken a lot out of me. It has been an emotional as well as a physical journey to do all of the training along with other necessary day to day activities (like eat, sleep, work.....) but i have done it and i feel a sence of relief and accomplishment. Even more than my other Ironman's, this one is sweeter. I have prepared harder and smarter for this one, and when it all comes together on race day, it will mean more than anything. no matter what the day holds.
My last long run was yesterday - and as goofy as it sounds, it was an emotional closure to this phase. it was one of the toughest runs mentally - to push through the fatiugue, and just go. and now it's behind me, and it's time to rest and prepare.....
(this post will be updated several times during my trip as i add pictures and tid-bits along the way...)
Day 1, Sunday (and day 2, Monday)
August 26th & 27th
For one of the first times this year, my flight took off without a hitch and I was off on a 17 hr United/ Lufthansa plane ride that would take me to Washington/Dulles, Frankfurt, then to Hamburg, Germany for my first trip Europe, ever. All 3 flights were great – but the one from Dulles to Frankfort (Lufthansa) took the cake. I have never been on a plane that big in my life – it was double-decker with over 16 flight attendants on board. It was just sooo big…. The service was awesome, and the flight was not full, so we all had some breathing room for the 7+ hr overnight flight. I went into this flight thinking I would be able to sleep ok, but even with an ambien in me, no luck. I resorted to drinking 2 German beers (yeah, I know) after about 3 hours into the flight hoping it would help me fall asleep – and thankfully it did. I got about 3 hours shut-eye at the most, and I am sooo glad for that. And kudos to the Lufthansa – no charge for in flight cocktails!
We landed in Hamburg right on time to some cooler temperatures, overcast and rain. Of course, I had to go through the normal anxiety about the state of my luggage and bike, but it all came out quickly and unharmed as far as I could tell, and that was a big relief. So, now it was off to stuff the station wagon rental car with all the luggage and a bike and a drive to Berlin where we (me, my Dad, and Emily (my step-mom)) would be spending the next few days before returning to Hamburg on Thursday for the pre-race to-do’s.
OK, as warned, driving in Germany is a little tough. Especially in a city. Things are just marked differently, and after getting a little turned around and a little lost (and feeling a bit like the Griswold’s….hehe), we finally found our way out of Hamburg and onto the Audubon (no speed limit –and lots of fast cars) and were off to Berlin. The Audubon was an experience to say the least – lots of fast moving and short stopping!!! I have already come to the conclusion that Europeans are the most aggressive drivers ever….but that’s another story for another day. We made it to Berlin in time for a shower and some dinner, then a long sleep thru the night – FINALLY!
Day 3 (Tuesday)
I slept in this morning and woke up at 8am. Since I had taken the Sunday and Monday off for traveling (plus, it was a recovery week and I really needed the rest) – I was ready to get out and go for a run. The hotel was situated right next to a park with some structures on a hill I could see from my room. So I just went, no knowing where I was, and that turned out to be really cool. In my running along the trails and roads, I came up on a public pool hidden in there – with lane lines on the bottom and all. [I was sooo excited, since I had no idea when or where I would get to swim this week!!]…continuing my hour run I followed the trails uphill and downhill thru the trees and up stairs to find myself atop of the hill in what seemed to be an old army barracks. The view was beautiful – an aerial view of Berlin, dwarfing my 8 story hotel across the street. I didn’t have my camera with me…figures…
After my run, we (dad & Emily too) were off for some sight seeing. We played the tourist thing, and bought a ticket on a tour bus that would take us around the city letting us get off and on the bus at will……little did we know (or failed to read the brochure fully) that the bus stopped picking up people at 3:45!! By the time we found the tour bus starting point it had to be 1pm, then we got off at the first location and there was so much cool stuff to see, then we wanted to eat, and shop…by the time we made it to get picked up at the location- it was too late! (This is when we read the brochure fully!) Okay….so, after we sat down and figured out where we were on the map, we just decided to walk down to “Checkpoint Charlie” to see where the Berlin Wall was, then make our way back to the hotel via the extensive train system. No problem, right? Ha! That’s a whole other story….Checkpoint Charlie was incredible to see. It is hard to believe the stuff that went on there just 20-40 years ago. I knew a lot from history and all, but to see it all really brought it to light. I am so glad I decided to go to Berlin while over here in Germany. I think it will be one of the highlights of the trip, if not the best one.
After a long day of walking around, we headed back to the hotel on the U and S-ban (train’s). it took us a while to figure it all out, but we got there eventually and all in one piece. We finally sat down to dinner at the hotel at about 9pm…..end of another good day!
Day 4 (Wednesday)
Again I slept in till 8 this morning and went out for a swim at the pool I found yesterday. Of course, I brought my wetsuit along since I had a feeling all of the pools were going to be cold over here – and I was right! The temp in the water was 20C (68F) – and I was the only one in a wetsuit! I must say, Germans are tough. Or I’m a weenie….. Probably the latter!
After my swim, we were off again to look around, but today we drove. Again, this is a challenge over here! We had a few things we wanted to do – one of them being to see the Brandenburg Gate and to go on a boat tour on the Spree River thru Berlin. So we drove down the square where the boat tours embarked, and took a great English/German tour lasting one hour. The sights from the River were awesome – to see the old architecture in contrast to the new right next to each other) was breathtaking. As usual, the pictures do not do it justice, but they are good enough.
After the tour, we went to eat at the square then headed off to the Brandenburg Gate, then back to the hotel and dinner.
This morning, I awoke early to find out no one is open with coffee until 6:30 (none in the room either). Since I was up, I just went ahead and worked out a bit this morning being limited to the exercise bike in the “spa” at the hotel (which was little to be desired, yet still a safer way to ride than the streets!). I rode it for an hour watching the only channel on TV in English – CNN (I have had my fill of CNN for EVER since that is the only channel in English here!). After that, I ate a big breakfast at the hotel then went to my room and fell asleep! I was still so tired – don’t know if it was jetlag or what. But I got up at 11 and we loaded up the car for yet another eventful trip in the car back to Hamburg….
Dad and Emily dropped me off at the Hotel in Hamburg at about 3pm where I checked in, met some of Team USA and the USAT big-wigs and got the skinny on what was going on. (They went on to their hotel which was closer to the race site across town). USAT had already changed some stuff life moving the meeting up a day (so I missed it?!), but generally, all seemed to be about what I expected. EXCEPT the weather. It was not only cool (50-65F), but rainy too. And apparently, this is to be expected thru the race on Sunday. On every weather.com I looked at before I left, I never saw rain. Just clouds. Oh well. Looks like the race will be just like Portland – cold water (63F) and a cold & windy bike…
As a team, we headed down the race site for registration, the opening ceremonies, and a group photo at around 5pm. On the bus (now this is nuts), I sat across from a guy who is from Wisconsin – and who was familiar with the Abitaman races and the Opelousas du, and the Du Donnie Du – and as a matter of fact – he came down to race it a few years back when Donnie was still with us. He told me about what he witnessed – how everybody gathered around this guy – and how touching it was to see. Of all the people here, this is who I sat next to. It is amazing how things play out.
The race site was cold, windy and raining (the theme for the week I think), so I didn’t really feel like hanging out for the ceremonies – so I went out to eat with Stacy Richardson, then shopped at the expo a bit, the headed back to the hotel.
Day 6 (Friday)
I thought I might wake up early this morning, but again, I slept till 730. I wanted to finally ride my bike today, so I tracked down some coffee, set up my bike and dressed warmly. Yes, it is raining still. And the wind was howling. (It is raining the way I remember it in Hawaii. No major thunder storms and deluges, just gray constant wetness…) Mmmm fun! But I had to try to get in 45 miles – today, or not at all. So, I went. I found a nice route with little traffic on a country road following a river. It was a great safe route and I got my miles in. I stopped a few times along the way to look around, and once at a fruit stand to get some stuff to eat in the room. Back in the room, it was time to thaw out and warm up…. there were busses going all day down to the expo and race site, but i felt tired all day, and since it was cold and rainy, i decided to stay in. I watched CNN again (blah...blah...blah...), and took a nap, played on the computer and chilled out. i needed to do that. I had a massage at 5pm which was much needed since i hadn't been able to see mike since last thursday morining. as it turns out, this guy will be in kona too, so it was good to meet him so i can set it up long beforehand. there was a pasta dinner at the race site this evening, but again i didn't much feel like bussing it down to the race site in the cold rain to eat mass-produced sub-standard pasta, so i walked down to the "chicken store" and ordered a pizza and a salad to take back to the room. it will be an early night for me i think.
Day 7 (Saturday)
this morning i woke up a little earlier to got get a quick 2 mile run in - just to stay loose. it was still drizziling outside, and the wind was blowing pretty good. After breakfast, i decided to go into the city / race venue for the elite womes race starting at around 2:30 pm. After shopping around the expo again, i watched the swim start and some of the bike then had to get going to catch the bus to get back to the hotel for the team dinner. all i could see on the pro bike was sarah haskings flying by in the lead pack. there were people everywhere! and the entire city is baracaded off. this is amazing how seriously they are taking this event here - but when you think about it, ther are thousands of people competing in several different races. this morning there was the local race olympic & sprint distance, then the pro women this afternoon. yesterday, the U23's went off (in a deluge of rain i might add). the race numbers go up to 14,000.
Day 8 (Sunday) RACE DAY
In a nutshell....I got 7th in a fast race with tough conditions......I will write more on the plane tomorrow.....
Athlete steels herself for next big challenges
Caroline Smith is one of those people you can't help but cheer for.
But it's not so much that she happens to be a Mandeville resident who is one of the world's finest amateur triathletes. It's more because of the hurdles she cleared on her way to the top of the racing scene.
Smith, who is asthmatic, didn't take up the sport until she was 30. And to do so, she had to make the decision to quit smoking, to stop hanging out in clubs until the wee hours of the morning and to begin the difficult task of shaping her body into one that can swim 2.4 miles, bike for 112 then top it off by running a marathon.
In other words, she gives the rest of us hope that we can make a 180-degree turn for the better.
Athlete on the run
Smith, 36, is about to embark on an incredible journey -- one that will take her across 10 time zones in the span of two months. On Sept. 2, she'll compete in the International Triathlon Union's Short Course World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. That event will have her facing the world's best sprinters who will cover a 1,500-meter swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10K run.
She'll follow that by competing in the Ironman Hawaii championships on Oct. 13 -- the granddaddy of multidiscipline sporting events. That race, which takes place in blistering heat (athletes literally run and bike through volcanic fields), can take some of the world's finest athletes as many as 10 hours or more to complete.
Then on Nov. 10, Smith will travel to Clearwater, Fla., for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. The distances there (1.2-mile swim 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run) are exactly half of what she'll face in Hawaii.
Smith qualified for the ITU Championships at a race in Portland, Ore., in June. She earned entry to the full and half Ironman title races in a triathlon in Santa Rosa, Calif., in July.
Displaying her trademark determination, Smith said she expected to race her way into each championship.
"My goals coming into this year were to qualify for each race," she said. "But it was a one-shot deal. There's no other qualifier for short course other than Nationals. So, you've got to do it whether you're sick, whatever. You get it done."
Inspired and inspiring
Smith realizes she is an inspiration to some, but preferred to focus on those who have inspired her.
2008 SPECIALIZED TRANSITION PRO
OR CALL 225-296-5535