South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.


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Tri AC-Race Report

Where do I start? Tri AC (Atlantic City) for those of you not from the area, was my second fully timed and USAT (USA Triathlon) sanctioned race. This means referees checking your gear and even being able to receive time penalties for not following the rules. Anyway back to the race report. Friday I arrived in Atlantic City around noon at Bader Field, and old abandoned airport field where the tri would start and transitions would take place. I checked in, received my race bib, number 57 and racked my bike.

Being able to come in the night before makes a world of a difference I feel. You get an idea where and how to go thru transitions. The swim portion of the race was taking place right there in the bay. I got the feel of what the flow would be for the race.

I had a really great night sleep before the race and felt well rested when I woke up Saturday morning. I stayed in AC to avoid an hour drive in. I had my typical race breakfast; coffee and a whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter and banana. I packed my bags up and headed out of the hotel ready to go!

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The swim portion of the race I completed in 10:59. A big improvement from the NJ State Tri. This swim was in the bay and was a mass start. You jumped in the water off a dock. I actually really enjoyed this start as I felt the crowd allowed for people who were faster to naturally go first and the slower people seemed to wait to go near the end. The water temp was 88 degrees, so again not wet suit legal. My swim over all just felt better. I was more focused and felt that my technique just flowed.

The bike portion of the race was fast and flat. I finished this portion of the race in 34:59. Again, another improvement from the last race. What was really cool was the bike route took you on the AC Expressway where cars normally rule the road, being able to bike down the road and ride thru the toll booth was fun. The roads were a little wet splashing up on my legs, but that made it even more exciting. My biking still needs work, but I was able to crank out an average of about 20 miles per hour for 11 miles.

And the final portion of the tri, the run, my favorite and strongest part of the race. The 5k run started back at Bader Field and took you up on the to boardwalk and onto the beach for a short portion to finish at the Boardwalk hall. My run was pretty strong. I felt good, but I didn’t want to even look down and see my pace. Mentally I was in a good place and I felt really strong. I managed to pace out an 8 min/mile.

My race finish time was 1:14:01. A solid 8 minutes shaved off from two weeks ago. So I have to proudly say when I checked the timing table I was just so excited to see the big improvement. It was my Mom who pointed out my biggest accomplishment- I placed 3rd in my age group! Second triathlon and getting on the podium, really, what just happened?!

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My tri season might be over, but I’ve got a lot of things to work on to build up for next year. Now it’s time to amp up my running. This year starting to enter triathlons has brought a lot of excitement. Being able to combine running and biking has been awesome. Adding in the swimming was a little overwhelming at first, but as I take a step back I can see my top two events are running and swimming. Looking forward to more training and an even better season of running this fall!

xo

Leann


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Holy Hills-Spellbound Brewing Century Ride

Yesterday was my first official century bike ride. A century is equal to 100, so yes I rode 100 miles on a my Trek road bike! The ride was hosted by Spellbound Brewing in Mount Holly, New Jersey. This was the third year this event took place, but the first time I was able to take part in this event. There are were several distances to chose from; the century (100), metric century (62), 40 miles, and 22 miles. My Mom and I chose this ride to do our first century and as the website read, century riders receive a medal at the finish!

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Prior to the race, the weather on Friday was pretty horrific. Rain! Rain! Rain! Saturday morning felt more like a mid October morning with gusts of winds, rain off and on, and no sunlight in sight. Still we proceeded to pack up the car and drive to the brewery to find out if the ride was still happening. It was! Good thing my Mom had packed windbreakers because the summer riding gear was not going to cut it! We checked in, got our riding numbers, made sure we had plenty of air in our tires, filled our water bottles, and rolled out of the parking lot on our bikes by 7am. The ride was capped at 750 riders and I don’t think many of the riders were following the century route, marked with orange arrows.

Rests stops were about every 20-24 miles apart. At each rest stop as a century rider you had to collect a sticker to claim your medal at the end of the ride. Now this was not a race, you did not win if you finished first. My Mom and I did not encounter many other riders during our time on the road. One thing I usually do love about sports like running, cycling, and triathlon, it brings people of common interest together. At one point doing the ride we came upon two women wearing riding jerseys that said jersey girl strong, with the logos for triathlon. Out of curiosity and being friendly, we asked could they tell us some more about their club, as we are always looking for groups to join. The one lady snapped back in a harsh tone, “what do you want to know!” Wow. I was totally shocked and my Mom and I just looked at each other, ok, so you don’t want to talk to us, got it!

Moving on later in the ride, I almost got hit by a car! As a cyclist and especially during these types of rides, you must follow the rules of the road just like a car. Bikes ride with traffic and obey all traffic signs and lights. As we were riding through the green light a car decided to cut off everyone and turn left in front of us and nearly hit us and caused me to fall off my bike into the middle of the intersection. Not cool dude. Not cool at all! The driver didn’t even stop to see if I was ok. Thankfully my bike and I were both okay. I picked up my bike walked it across the road and back on I went.

One thing I will tell you when riding such a distance; hydration and nutrition is key! Drinking plenty of fluids is so important. I alternate between water and an electrolyte drink-my choice is nuun. For nutrition you have to learn your own body to not over do it, but I really like the honey stinger waffles, honey stinger energy chews, and power bar simple fruit energy food. At the first stop I did have peanut butter and jelly sandwich and later I had a half of a banana.

The course was tough. According to my garmin I had a total elevation climb of 2,108 ft. One climb alone was 181 ft in elevation. Ridiculous. Mind you, when we turned on Hill Road, my Mom said to me I hope this isn’t a sign. Holy hills, you bet your legs it was!!!! With the wind pushing against us, it wasn’t an easy fight. We pushed through and with a steady time we stayed on track. Some where along the way back though, we missed the last turn and with GPS made it back to the brewery and tacked on an extra 5 miles. So really I’m celebrating 105 miles!

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We rolled back in the same parking lot we started and received compliments of not looking like we rode 100 or in our case 105! Even though the conditions were not what I would consider the best, I still felt great and was ready to have a celebratory beer! I was handed a bag with my reward of a shirt and then I was looking for my medal that I worked so hard and stopped at each rest stop to collect those stickers! Only to my dismay to be surprised to be handed a keychain bottle opener that said Spellbound Century. Really? This is the medal I was promised??!?!?? Well, if you know me personally, this really didn’t go over well with me. I had to take a second to regain my thoughts and soon I found someone who I though was an employee, turned out to be one of the owners to listen to my two cents about keychain vs. medal. I was then directed by the owner to talk to the person who ordered these medals (KEYCHAINS) this year and give him my feedback, and surely enough I did. Well some other workers over heard me voicing my concerns and gave me a commemorative coin that was for sale for $20 for free because they said they had the same thoughts of what had happened this year.

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What a day Saturday was! My Mom and I conquered 105 miles, nasty attitudes, crazy drivers, and a disappointing medal. You better believe that keychain is hanging on display with all of my other medals, because I didn’t bike 105 miles to not receive the medal promised. I will always look back and laugh at that silly keychain that can not double as a medal.

Keep calm and bike on!

xo

Leann

 

 


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NJ State Tri-Race Report 

Yesterday was my first official triathlon-NJ State Triathlon. All of the time I spent training came down to yesterday morning. I am super excited to report that I was happy with my official finish time of 1:22 and 18th in my division. I want to share with you my overall thoughts on the race and break down each part of the race: swim, bike, and run! LEANNNJSTATETRI

Set up for transitions

I arrived at Mercer County Park around 6am to set up my transition area for the tri. Everyone had to out of the transition area by 7:15am. Being this was my first race I made sure to ask plenty of questions to USAT referees. There are many different reasons you can be disqualified or receive a time penalization.

Swim -12:30

The dreaded swim! Ugh! My weakest link in the triathlon. I’ve put a lot of time and energy to the swim training. Open water swim is very different than swimming in a pool.  As I lined up in the water with my age group reality set it. When the announcer said, get out of here, the group started to swim! I started off my swim feeling pretty comfortable until there were a few kicks here and there. It became hard to get in my groove because everyone was thrashing around me. I had to talk to myself and ensure myself that I had this under control. The water temperature was 88.9! Bath water!

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Transition-3:10 swim to bike

Bike 38:28

So this ride was 11 miles and I averaged almost 18 mph. For the majority of the ride it was flat with a few little hills. There were mostly right turns and at every turn there were police officers with flags making sure everyone was making the turn. The only thing I wish there were markings of the milage. I would have liked to know at least the half way point. It wasn’t until I was re-entering the park I knew I was close to the transition. I felt I had a solid ride, but would like to improve my time here some.

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Transition-2:43 bike to run

Run 26:02

The run, my strength! At this point it was brutally hot. I told myself, it didn’t matter how slow I ran, but I was going to finish strong and not walk. I still had plenty of energy and felt good. The downfall of this run was it was on a paved trail inside of Mercer County Park and it was narrow. This was an out and back course and the runners shared the one path. At times it became a little tough to be able to pass, but at the same time I liked the camaraderie. The other triathletes seemed to encourage others to continue on, not give up, and the finish was close up. When I rounded the corner and saw the 3 mile sign, I knew it was time to release all the energy I had left and give it my all until I crossed the finish.

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Overall, this was a great race. I was able to meet some of my Mojo Racing teammates. Which was awesome! My experience at my first triathlon was great. I’m already hooked and looking forward to my next race in two weeks at the AC TRI!

Keep calm and tri on!

xo

Leann

 

 


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Flying Fish Brewing-Bikes and Beers

By now you might be noticing a bit of a trend, I like to talk about working out and enjoying good food or drinks! This morning I took part in a 30 mile bike ride hosted through Bikes and Beers at Flying Fish Brewing Company, in Somerdale, NJ. In the price you pay to bike either 15 or 30 miles, a portion of the benefits goes to a local cycling advocacy organization to help improve cycling conditions in your city! (There are rides all across the US) How awesome is that!!!! So for this ride the money went to The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia!

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My Mom and I posing after the ride!

Being that we were riding in Jersey, there were some pot holes at the beginning of the ride that you really had to dodge! Other than that it was a really great ride. I clocked an average speed on my Garmin of 15.5 miles per hour with my max speed being 25.7 mph. The weather was pretty hot though. The only downfall was the ride didn’t start till 9:30am and toward the end temps were reaching close to 88 degrees.

After finishing the ride all participants received a Bike and Beers pint glass, koozie, raffle ticket, and two tickets to redeem for beer. I decided to be the designated driver for this ride, but don’t worry I picked up some beer to bring home. Later in this month I will be riding the Spellbound Brewery Century ride and the tables will be turned and my mom will be the DD. (Please always be responsible and have a DD!) Flying Fish offered four beer for riders to chose from; Daylight Savings IPA, Farmhouse Summer Ale, Bayshore Oyster Stout, or Hogfish IPA. My mom picked to have the Farmhouse Summer Ale and from the sip I tried it was very easy and refreshing to drink. Flying Fish does offer seasonal and other beers on tap in their tasting room. I would definitely recommend checking them out if you are on the East Coast or seeing if you get their beer in your local beer distributor.

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Bike for the Beer!

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” John F Kennedy

xo

Leann


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Biking & Beers

In my quick escape down to LBI I still had to get in some training. Wednesday morning I went out on the bike for about a 17 mile flat and fast ride. With little to no elevation changes I used this time to work on a few sprints here and there. Speed training is helpful to build up power and explosiveness.

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After a great ride it was time to reward ourselves with the finest of beers on the island at Ship Bottom Brewery. Go check it out, get a free tour to drink some great beers! I had a flight. There were about eight different beers available on draft at the time of our visit. In my flight I had the Blueberry Bikini Bottom Wheat, Cerveza, Beach Patrol Hefeweizen, and Barnacle Bottom Stout.

My favorite was between the blueberry wheat and the beach patrol hefeweizen. Getting the miles in to enjoy the beer was well worth it. Ship Bottom Brewery started in 1995 and seems to having major growth. Most, if not all of the names of the beers have something to do with different things or places on Long Beach Island.

Bike for the beers!

xo

Leann


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Tri and Tri again…

You are probably familiar with the saying, ” if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Well I’m learning the same goes within the triathlon world. It doesn’t matter how hard you train and how well you think you are prepared or the gear you have when it comes down to race day there are several things that can affect you. What are race conditions? Are you familiar with the area you are racing in? How do you feel? Did you get a good nights rest? And then ofcourse training and gear comes into play. You have to do the work to be prepared, just like studying for an exam, very few people have the ability to not study for an exam and go in and ace it. And even if you did study you may have missed some information or not understand a question. The same applies to a triathlon- if the course is not marked clearly you may swim a couple extra yards or miss a turn on your bike causing you to be set back.

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Today was my second mock tri. This time the swim was in open water. The first mock tri I did the swim was in an outdoor pool. Now I did have the opportunity to swim in the lake prior to the race. This allowed me to have a higher comfort level, understand where the buoys were and sight lines of where to swim (some areas being more shallow then others). Today we jumped in the lake five seconds apart from one another. (Talk about pressure to get moving). My swim went well. I felt pretty comfortable and even passed people! By the time I finished my swim though I was out of breath! Defiantly something I need to work on and as you see from my Garmin results, I forgot to turn off my watch during transition. (Opps). I ran up on land and had an easy transition from my wetsuit to my bike shoes and out on the road I went. img_7907

The bike was comfortable for me. I felt powerful on the fast and pretty flat course. It was all right turns making it easy to navigate with traffic for the most part. After reviewing my pace I was happy with my speed, but would like to build some more power and finish out as close or under 30 minutes if possible.

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The run is my strong point and what I feel should be. I slipped on my new cloud ON running shoes and headed back out on the road. If you have ever heard the term brick it is in reference to biking then running because your legs feel like bricks!!! It takes a little adjusting, but it’s best to keep moving. My pace was steady and at the turn around I heard someone shout, I’m going to pass you. That’s all I needed to motivate me to go faster. (lol) The run was just a smidgen under 3 miles, but it felt great.

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Overall, I was pretty happy with my overall times and how I felt. I know I can improve upon the breathing techniques in the swim, build more power on my bike, and speed up my run. It’s good to have your own goals. It’s going to take time and practice to push myself harder, but I like the challenge.

Love the pain!

xo

Leann

 


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Triathletes Aren’t Born, They’re Made 

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riding thru my hometown

Building off my last blog post about training being part of my lifestyle. I just want to give you a little insight to what things look like day to day. Today started with a 6am bike ride for an hour. I got up around 5am to get some coffee in my system, because if you truly know me I am not a morning person. Please give me coffee before you ask me to do anything. I had to limit my ride to an hour before I had to be back home to get showered and head out to physical therapy ( I’m in week 2 of the final 3 weeks)! After a day of running errands, doing some homework (yes still working on my doctorate), and taking a quick 30 minute nap I was prepping for an open water swim. If I’m not up getting in a morning ride, its either an early swim or early run (how else can I fit it all in). In fact, tomorrow morning at 6am I’m taking a master’s swim class. Now masters does not refer to education level, its a swim class for anyone over the age of 18. The class will be an hour long with other swimmers and a coach.

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So much to do so little time

Getting back to my open water swim that I did tonight-this swim was in a lake. Open water swimming does not bother me as I used to scuba dive when I lived in Florida. My mom who is also training for the triathlon is not such a fan of the water, but she did great tonight. The lake was marked out with buoys for a quarter mile distance. The temperature was actually pretty nice probably high 60s. We quickly covered about a half a mile in distance.

After a full day, I’m prepping for another day of training tomorrow. Start with the swim, back to PT, and in the evening I will either get back on the bike or go for a short run. This sport takes dedication. There are times I doubt myself and times I ask why I am doing this, but when I reflect I realize how much I truly love this sport. I feel great after my workouts and sometimes you have to love the pain. You are your own competition. I am committed to pushing myself to be the best I can possibly be.

This not a hobby, this is a lifestyle.

xo

Leann