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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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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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


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My First Tri

After making the decision to compete in a triathlon, today was my first opportunity to actually attempt a swim, bike, and run consecutively. There are five different lengths of triathlons; super sprint, sprint, olympic, half ironman, and ironman. The two triathlons I have signed up to compete in this summer are both of the sprint distance. A sprint tri consists of a quarter mile swim. One then transitions from the water to the bike to ride 10-12 miles then back to transition to run a 5k (3.1 miles). Each event separately is not overly difficult for me, but try to complete them one after the other creates a bit of a challenge. The swim portion is my weakest link, but I have been feeling more and more confident recently after a few months of swim lessons.

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Prepped to go before the race

Today the swim portion took place in an outdoor pool, to complete a quarter mile you must swim 16 laps. The water was cold, but after a lap down and back my body quickly adjusted to the temperature and I started to focus on my breathing to keep on pace. I hopped out of the pool and jogged over to my bike where I slipped on my biking shoes. I just purchased a tri specific bike shoe from Garneau, but I didn’t get time to adjust the cleats yet! I then took my bike out for a very hilly 10 mile ride. Looking for the positives in the hills, once you work your way up, you get to coast down! The run portion of this was only 2 miles and by this point in the morning even though still early, was very hot! This 2 mile run was an out and back with one big hill to conquer.

This race was completely organized for and by the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club. It was great practice before an actual race, there was no pressure, only bragging rights in the end. The race was over much faster than I expected and I enjoyed every moment. I was very happy with my overall performance and the times reflected in my Garmin watch.

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Some of the women that completed the triathlon this morning.

When preparing for your race the night before its key to write down each segment of the race and what is needed. For example

Swim

  • Goggles/Swim Cap

Bike

  • Helmet/sunglasses/bike shoes

Run

  • Sneakers/sunglasses/socks

Other key items include:

  • Sunscreen/lip balm/body glide/water/energy gels or chews/hat or visor

 

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My first try at a triathlon was a complete success. I’m excited to get in some open water swims soon and start prepping to train for longer distance triathlons such as the half ironman- 70.3 miles to complete between swimming, biking, and running.

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Train hard or go home.

xo

Leann


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Blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family. 

I had a story I wanted to share on the blog, but I didn’t know how to spin it or how I was going to include my father. After this weekend I’m glad I waited and I am able to share these two seperate stories as one that allows me to tell you about my family.

As I child I was pretty active playing soccer year round. I wasn’t the star on the team, but I could hold my own. Eventually my Dad became my soccer coach as the town needed someone to volunteer their time. Everyone thinks at first it will be cool to have their parent as their coach- think again kids. He was extra hard on me because I was his kid. I can still remember a time where I hurt my ankle and I played the entire rest of the half until he was convinced I was actually hurt. My Father by no means is the athletic guy. 405718_10100569194795943_395316907_nI just learned he quit his high school football team even though he probabaly would have been great because his size and stature. Soccer gave my Father and I something to bond over and fight about all in the same. When I eventually burned out on playing soccer I gave field hockey a try, something I enjoyed, but eventually learned that my heart wasn’t in it.  I had been playing soccer since I was 5 years old! In my junior year I decided I would go back to playing soccer, but only problem was my high school did not have a girls team! The team allowed girls to try out if you could keep up! So the summer before my junior year I enlisted the help of my mom who has always been active and athletic. Long story short I made the team and both my parents were very supportive, never doubting my abilities or choice to join the boys soccer team.

Fast forward, over a decade later. A newspaper reporter reaches out to my mom and I. About what you ask? Our progression from running races together- 5ks to half marathons to marathons and now our biggest challenge a triathlon. You can read the full article here.  The completed article appeared on the cover of the Courier Post on Mother’s Day!

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My Mother and I have always had a strong relationship. She’s been my best friend and number one supporter from the beginning. We still have that amazing bond, but it’s gotten stronger and we challenge each other to push out of our comfort levels.  I don’t believe my Mom thought I would push myself and her to the ideas we have now of training for a half ironman which covers 70.3 miles between swimming, biking, and running. The thing is I’ve seen our progression from self training and it’s been amazing. This is the first year we have enlisted the help of coaches to take us to the next level. So proud of you Mom. Thanks  for never telling me goals were crazy or out of reach. You have always told me if I want it bad enough then I have to work for it because it’s not going to be easy.

Just this weekend we were out to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. He’s one of those guys who will never tell you what he wants and really doesn’t need another shirt. It dawned on me we still have not been to see the Philadelphia Union ( Philly’s own MLS team). My Dad is far removed from his side line coaching days, but this game is something that brought us together. As we cheered on the Union who brought home a win Saturday night-we booed the Rapids and gladly cheered when the referee threw yellow and red cards at the opposing team.

There was an awesome energy in the newly and specially built stadium for the Union as the challenge for Philly to get a major league soccer team was a struggle. The Sons of Ben (SOBs) fought for this team long before they were even a thought. The story and Netflix documentary captured my interest if you have the time check it out.

Both my Mom and Dad although have very different styles of encouragement have been there for me. Each supportive in their own way and challenge me on a daily basis to be a better me.

Whoever may be there for you at the end of the day make sure you recognize it.

Xo

Leann