Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pocono Mountain 70.3 Race Preview

On October 2, Amber and I will be competing in the Pocono Mountain 70.3 Ironman event. As always, I will be coming in unprepared having not swam in several months and biking less than 50 miles per week. Amber on the other hand, will be coming off a game-changing Timberman race where she found herself with Chrissie Wellington on the bike. She scratched Syracuse 70.3 from her race schedule as she wanted to get some rest before going into Ironman Arizona in November and Poconos should provide a great tune-up for her.

Currently, the following seven pro females will be racing for a podium spot at Pocono's. However, I suspect after Las Vegas there will be several more pro's that decide, last minute, to enter this. So far, the pro field has a variety of athletes: some veterans at Ironman and 70.3 distances and others who appear to have, until now, focused on the shorter, but far faster, Olympic distance. It will be interesting to see how the race turns out.

As of August 31, 2011 the pro females are:

Heather Leiggi

2011 New Orleans 70.3 3:57:51-12th
2011 Florida 70.3 4:32:14-3rd
2011 Rev3 Quassy 4:51:26-12th
2011 Buffalo Springs 70.3 4:45:47-7th
2011 Rhode Island 70.3 4:40:39-3rd
2011 Steelhead 70.3 3:54:42-5th

Sharon Schmidt-Mongrain

2011- Timberman 70.3- 5th Place Female
2011- Ironman Texas 11th Pro Female
2010- Tyler Arboretum 10k 1st Place Overall Female
2010 -St. Croix 70.3 Ironman 1st Place Amateur, 6th Overall Female, 5:11:52*
2010- Savageman 70.0 Ironman 2nd Place Overall Female, 5:24:02
2010- Pittsburgh Triathlon 2nd Place Overall Female, 2:11:12
2010- Philadelphia Women’s Triathlon 1st Place Overall Female

Jennifer Tetrick

2011-Oceanside 70.3 15th Place(first 70.3)
2011- Columbia Tri 5th Place

Mirjam Weerd

2011- Ironman Regensburg- DNF(First place after the bike)
2011- Ironman Frankfurt- DNF
2010- Ironman South Africa- 4th Place
2010-Ironman Wisconsin- 3rd Place
2009- Ironman Germany-6th Place

Kristin White

2011- Eagleman 70.3 9th Pro Female
2011- Florida 70.3 4th Pro Female
2011- Providence 70.3 4th Pro Female
2010- Syracuse 70.3 1st age group, 1st amateur finisher, 3rd female overall
2010-Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 1st age group, 1st amateur finisher, 6th female overall

Missy Kuck

2011- Logan International Triathlon 2nd Place Female
2011-Independence Triathlon 4th Place Female
2011- Philadelphia Insurance Olympic Triathlon-11th Place Female 

Amber Ferreira

2011- Timberman 70.3- 6th Place
2011- Ironman St. George (after two broken spokes and a flat tire)7th Place

2011- Mooseman 70.3 5th Place- 2011 Providence 70.3 -4th Place
2011 -Ironman Lake Placid(after ANOTHER broken spoke)-4th Place
2010 -Ironman Lake Placid- 8th Place
2010 -Snowshoe Championships-1st Place

Like I mentioned before, I suspect several more professionals will be entered as we near the final days before the race. Either way, should be very exciting to watch.

Up Next: Amber: Rest and Recovery until Pocono's Oct 2nd. Danny: Adirondack Marathon Sept 25th and Pocono's Oct 2nd.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2011 Timberman 70.3 Race Recap

So the predicted field at Timberman was a little different than who showed up. Chrissie Wellington and Caitlin Snow did show, but there was no Angela Naeth. In her place were Annie Gervais, Tamara Kozulina, and Sharon Schmidt-Mongrain. So instead of competing against three other pro women, Amber was now competing against five others. As noted, Chrissie and Caitlin have pretty good resumes, as did these ladies:

Annie Gervais's Results:
2011- Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island 2nd Place

2011- Ironman 70.3 Eagleman 4:33.43 8th Place
2011- Ironman 70.3 Mooseman 4:53.19 5th Place
2011- Ironman 70.3 Florida 4:35:21 5th Place
2010- Ironman 70.3 Timberman 4:29:04 4th Place

Tamara Kozulina's Results:
2000 – Austria Ironman – 2d Overall
2002 – Nederland Ironman (Almere) – 1st place Overall
2004 – New Zealand Ironman – 3d place Overall
2004 – Long distance WC – 1st place Overall
2005 – Zofingen Powerman WC – 3d place Overall

 Sharon Schmidt-Mongrain's Results:
2010- Tyler Arboretum 10k 1st Place Overall Female
2010 -St. Croix 70.3 Ironman 1st Place Amateur, 6th Overall Female, 5:11:52*
2010- Savageman 70.0 Ironman 2nd Place Overall Female, 5:24:02
2010- Pittsburgh Triathlon 2nd Place Overall Female, 2:11:12
2010- Philadelphia Women’s Triathlon 1st Place Overall Female

Only three weeks out from Ironman Lake Placid, Amber wasn't sure whether she would race Timberman this past week. As of the day before the race, she was considering doing just the swim and bike. Of course, everything changes once the race starts.

The gun went off and so did the women. From the shore it was hard to see who had joined Chrissie in the front pack but it was soon clear that there would be a distinct lead for that first group of three women. As the ladies pulled towards the last buoy, I was able to make out a swimmer without sleeves on her wetsuit: Amber! Amber swam the 1.2 miles with Chrissie and Cait coming out of the water less than 30 seconds after them. Not only was she with the lead pack but she also had put a nice 3 minute cushion on the next fastest pro. Coming out of transition, I could tell Amber was not going to be just doing the swim-bike today.
Amber getting out of the water.
After a much quicker transition than Providence or Lake Placid, Amber took off on the bike.
Speedy Transition
While Am took off on the bike, I was able to see some of the other triathletes that I knew getting ready for the swim as well as during their transitions. My favorite picture is Steve Soba, leisurely getting ready for his swim start:
 Relying heavily on my phone for status updates on Amber's bike performance, it appeared that while giving up a little speed to some of the other riders, she still maintained the third place position. Sure enough, as she came into T2, she was only about six minutes back on Chrissie and less than a minute back on Caitlin.
Chrissie Starting her run
Amber in third place being lead by Lisa Ransom

 Amber looked so strong but I also knew that she hadn't wanted to push it too hard so close to Lake Placid and with still several more races remaining on her 2011 calendar. Sure enough, about three miles later, Am dropped back her pace allowing herself to drop to fourth place, with Annie Gervais passing her.
About Mile 5, in 4th Place
Amber remained in fourth of another 7 or so miles but running at her steady run pace and still not feeling well and having to slow down a bit more.
Dumping water trying to cool off.
 Between the miles that I saw Amber run, I, again, saw many local triathletes:
John Rymes of S2 taking on the hill

S2's namesake, Sean Snow, on his way to another sub 5 hour 70.3

S2's Steve Smith posing for pictures

Tri Hard's Steve Reed
 With Tamara and Sharon coming in hot on her tail, Amber picked it up a little for the last few miles, but by then just didn't have it in her to hold them off. She ended up finishing in sixth 33 seconds off of fourth.

While someone looking just at her splits may say that she went out too fast and blew up, I think that this race is actually a sign of improvement, as she swam with the fastest she has this year, biked competively and actually had a negative split biking 22+mph for the last 28 miles and still was able to run a solid half marathon. In the short term, she lost out on a podium finish, but in the long-run this race makes her stronger but also more confident that she can compete with the best triathletes in the world. With more training and better preparation, I expect Amber to only see further improvements in the races and years to come. Stay tuned.

Timberman Pro Female Results:

Wellington, Chrissie 1/1/1  swim:27:08 bike: 2:27:51 run: 1:18:44 Total: 4:16:33

Snow, Caitlin 2/2/2  swim: 27:09 bike: 2:33:57 run: 1:22:52 Total: 4:26:36

Gervais, Annie 5/5/3 swim: 32:05 bike: 2:31:16  run: 1:28:33 Total: 4:34:24

Kozulina, Tamara 6/6/4  Swim: 32:09  bike: 2:34:00 run: 1:30:41 Total: 4:39:25

Schmidt-Mongrain, Sharon 4/4/5  swim: 31:36 bike: 2:31:14 run: 1:33:55 Total: 4:39:30

Ferreira, Amber 3/3/6  swim: 27:38 bike: 2:34:04 run: 1:35:12 Total: 4:39:58

Friday, August 12, 2011

Timberman 70.3 Preview- Pro's Racing. Chrissie Wellington Looking to break 4 hours?

Chrissie Wellington ran her way to a 4:11 at last year's Timberman which was good enough for 10th place overall. It appears that she may have scared off some of the other women she raced against.

Of the 23 women professional triathletes that raced in the 2009 and 2010 events, it appears that only Wellington and second place finisher, Angela Naeth(4:24:59) will be racing again this year.

It's difficult to find out who's pro with the Timberman participant list as there is nothing differentiating the athletes.
However, including Wellington, Naeth and Amber Ferreira, I found only one other pro woman: Caitlin Snow.

So the four pro women currently listed(that I can find by cross-referencing all pros with participant list) are:

Chrissie Wellington

1st Place - 2011 Challenge-Roth
1st Place -2011 K-Swiss Ironman 70.3
1st Place - 2011 Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa
1st Place - 2010 Ford Ironman Arizona, Tempe
1st Place - 2010Timberman 70.3
1st Place - 2010 Challenge Roth, Germany

Cait Snow

1st Place- 2011 Hyannis Half Marathon(Danny tried racing with her for first few miles during his marathon

3rd Place- 2011 Puerto Rico 70.3
10th Place-2010 California 70.3 3rd Place- 2010 Ironman St. George
2nd Place- 2010 Rhode Island 70.3 2nd female 4:30:58 July 11th, 2010
2nd Place- 2010 Ironman Lake Placid
8th Place- 2010 Ironman World Championship
Angela Naeth

1st Place- 2011 70.3 Ironman Boulder
3rd Place- 2011Rev3 Quassy
1st Place- 2011 Leadman Epic 250

2nd Place- 2011 70.3 Ironman St. Croix
2nd Place- 2011 70.3 Ironman Texas
1st Place- 2011 Kemah Olympic Triathlon
5th Place- 2011 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon
Amber Ferreira

7th Place- 2011 Ironman St. George (after two broken spokes and a flat tire)
4th Place- 2011 Mooseman 70.3 5th Place- 2011 Providence 70.3
7th Place- 2011 Ironman Lake Placid(after ANOTHER broken spoke)
8th Place- 2010 Ironman Lake Placid
1st Place- 2010 Snowshoe Championships

This field should make for a SUPER FAST race. Chrissie and Cate have some of the fastest run times ever for Iron and half Ironman distances and Angela holds a few bike course records I believe. And, don't forget Amber. The sleeper at Timberman coming off an annoying mechanical at Lake Placid may turn a few heads if things go well for her. She may just have to forget to cry uncle and as the saying goes, "you've got yourself a game!"

Up Next: Timberman 70.3 in one week from Sunday for Amber. Munich, Germany for Danny.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Debt Crisis

Danny: The Dow has already dropped almost 600 points today. This occurred after Standard & Poor downgraded U.S. debt  and created worries about domestic and global growth combined to push stocks to their biggest one-day losses since December 2008. The US debt crisis, and to a lesser degree the Europe's, was a contrived crisis. Politicians rangling for upcoming elections, or delayed responses from certain EU countries to bail countries out have been attributed to much of the mess the stock markets are currently in.

Amber: Wait this is not an economic blog!

Danny: That's true but this forced debt has implications on endurance athletes as well.

Amber: Because they're not going to be able to afford to enter races anymore?

Danny: Maybe so, but I was thinking more in the sense that endurance athletes often put themselves in debt unnecessarily by racing or training too often and not giving themselves a chance to recover.

Amber: Oh! Like when you got a stress fracture from running 25 miles with me on my birthday and then the Flying Pig Marathon that Sunday?

Danny: Well, err, yes but also in more insidious ways.

Amber: Insidious is insidious.

Danny: Yes indeed.

Amber: You're right. Athletes often times don't like at all the microtraumas that they cause, not only to their muscles and bones but also hormonal and enzymatic changes. That's why it is so important for me to fully recover after an Ironman.

Danny: Amber- it's been three weeks, I don't need to carry you everywhere anymore, do I?

Amber:In another week or so, in the meantime can you bring me to the fridge, a Skinny Cow is awaiting.

Danny: Grumble, grumble... Anyway, making sure that your body goes through the entire cycle of tissue degeneration and regeneration requires that you not only do the activities that degenerate your body(i.e. exercises) but also allow yourself adequate amounts of regeneration and proliferation where the benefits of your exercises can be seen(increases in: muscle fiber size, intracellular mitochondria, the number of capillaries, total blood flow and total oxygen-consumption capacity).
Amber: Let me stew this over and get back to me more about this.
Danny: Alright, tomorrow I'll talk about the importance of rest within a training week as well as the larger training cycle throughout the year.