Monday, November 30, 2009

This is my friend Jess, she runs marathons ...

Friend: This is my friend Jess, she runs marathons. She's even won marathons.
Jess: I don't run marathons. I've actually never run a marathon.
Friend: No, you totally run marathons, you've done a ton of them, you even won a few, I know you did.
Jess: I've really never run a marathon, I do triathlons.
Friend: Oh, same thing.
Jess: ...

I've had this conversation about 938792 times in the last several years. It's true, I've never run a marathon (okay I technically "did" a marathon at IMC but I would hardly call that "running" a marathon).

Anyway, last weekend I (stupidly) decided to do the Philadelphia Marathon. The race was sold out so I bought a bib off of a dude who was injured and couldn't run. I felt a little like a bandit but not really since I at least legitimately paid for it. Yes, I did my first marathon as a 33 year old doctor named Ping.

I flew into Newark on Friday and spent the night in a hotel and took the train into Philly on Saturday morning ... okay afternoon. I ended up walking way too much and probably eating all the wrong things.

Saturday night I stayed with my very dear friend Jon who was kind enough to give up his bed for me and my other dear friend Mimi who was running the half.

We woke up around 4:45 AM (1:45 Seattle time) ate a light breakfast and we were on our way.

Mimi and I parted ways around 6:40 so I could pee and line up and so she could find some safety pins.

I managed to find the 3:40 pace group (just follow the estrogen cloud). I had originally thought I could do 3:30 but I didn't want to be too ambitious on my first marathon. Also, I really didn't train very well for the race. I hadn't done a long run in about a month and hadn't been running much over 20 mpw for the months leading up to the race.

Kind of an aside but I've actually trained for an not run 3 or 4 marathons. This time I decided not to train for the marathon but still run it.

Anyway, we set off in the 3rd or 4th wave at around 7:06 AM. The pace felt easy and comfortable. It was a little tight since we were such a huge pace group and I was trying not to get annoyed with one particularly pushy girl ... I'll just call her "pushy."

I just focused on staying with our pacer although pushy liked to be closer to him than anyone, checking the mile splits she had written on her arm obsessively. Around mile 7 we went by a water station and pushy actually f'ing shoved me out of the way to get some water.

Running through the crowds at the half mark was a really nice boost. The pace group was ahead of schedule by about 40 seconds.

Around mile 14 or 15 pushy started to fade and we dropped her ... too bad so sad.

At mile 16 or 17 I started to get a cramp in my left quad. Run it off. By mile 19 my other quad was cramping as were my feet and my calves. Luckily there were people handing out beer on the side of the road. Yes, I took some ... and I took some more after the turnaround.

Little by little I started pulling away from the pace group. I just wanted this thing to be over and I didn't feel like I needed the pacer anymore.

Around mile 23 I realized I wasn't going to make it to the finish without a pit stop. I pulled into an utterly disgusting portapotty and when I came back out the 3:40 pace group was just coming by. I passed them again and rationalized myself through the last few miles ("just a lap around greenlake ... just a jog to the track and back ... just 4 times around the track ... just down to the grocery store and back")

Everything was cramping soooooo bad by the end. Check out my badass pain grimace.

I finished with a 3:38:34 chip time. I would have qualified for Boston if I hadn't been too irresponsible to register on time and actually run under my own name. I guess that's my punishment, if I want to run Boston, I have to do another damn marathon.

The walk back to Jon's house was about 10 blocks and took us roughly 45 minutes including two pit stops.

Almost home.

Jon was also my hero and got me 3 bags of ice and a big cup of tea for my incredibly painful ice bath.

I spent the next few days completely unable to walk. I had to take stairs backwards and was walking at about a 1 hour/mile pace.

I do want to do another one. Maybe next time I'll actually train for the bitch.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where have you been?!?!

I've admitted before that I'm the worst blogger ever, it's true.

A lot has happened in the last several months.

After Lake Stevens I raced the Black Diamond Sprint Triathlon and finally won that bitch after 6 years of trying.

I also finished out the road season with a bang, finishing 4th in the Washington State Criterium Championships. It would have been nice to finish on the podium but I'll take it (especially after overhearing a team captain coaching her girls prior to the race, seeing her point at me, and hearing "can't sprint").

I gave track racing a shot and was immediately hooked. Sadly, my first real night on the track was the last night of the season but I am working on getting a bike together for next year!

Miss n Out 2 laps to go

Finally, and most fun of all, I've started racing Cyclocross. I still don't have a bike but my amazing teammates have graciously loaned me bikes all season so I can continue to race. I've done 8 races on 4 different bikes!! Last weekend I had a solid win (by about 1m 20s!!) at the Woodland Park GP on a very very muddy day. I'm about to upgrade to Cat 2 and get my ass handed to me at Elite Nationals in Bend, OR.

Here's a ton of pictures thank you to Kevin Tu

Oh and also, I totally passed the Bar and got a job, so that's cool too.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lake Stevens 70.3 (belated)

The decision to do this race was a little last minute. I had been half planning to do it for a few months but kept vacillating between being pretty sure I was doing it and pretty sure I was not going to do it. The race came only 2.5 weeks after I finished the bar exam so I really wasn't expecting anything special.

I waited to register until the Thursday before the race to be sure that the weather was going to be good. Then, in an attempt to totally screw myself, I rode my bike about 250 miles in the 5 or 6 days leading up to race day. I also was careful to barely swim at all for a couple of weeks beforehand.


The swim actually got delayed a little bit because it was so cold out that a thick fog had formed over the lake. When we finally went off at around 7:00 AM, I still couldn't see a single buoy. Luckily at Lake Stevens there is an underwater line that you can use to guide yourself through the swim.

When the gun went off, three girls immediately went off the front and I found myself in a chase pack of three more girls. Everything went smoothly until we started picking up the wave in front of us and the three of us were blown apart.

After the turns I found one of the girls I had been working with and just stayed on her feet coming out of the water together.

I really felt like I had had a good swim but my time definitely didn't evince that. I really need to start swimming more.

Swim: 34:02


I definitely screwed up my transitions at this race last year so I was determined not to make the same mistakes this year. My transition spot was really far from the bike out so I opted to clip my shoes in ahead of time even though I hadn't practiced doing this in a long time.

I was out of my wetsuit quickly, had my awesome borrowed Rudy Project helmet on and was on my way out.

T1: 1:52


I got my feet into my shoes mostly without incident although I'd had them rubberbanded to my rear brake caliper and when I broke the rubber band it rotated my caliper just a little and gave me some brake rub. Honestly, my rear brake wasn't really working to begin with and I wasn't planning on using it unless totally necessary so I just undid my brake a little to get rid of the rub.

About a mile and a half into the bike I came upon a girl, racer #734, Jennifer Mathe. She had come out of transition just ahead of me and was riding pretty much on the yellow line even though she wasn't passing anyone. I said "on your left" to her ... nothing. I said "#734, on your left" ... still nothing. "on your left, please move to the right" ... nothing. At this point I'm right on Jennifer Mathe's wheel and other racers are telling her to move right to let me pass and she won't freaking budge. Finally, I just shouted "HEY! I'M ON YOUR LEFT, LET ME PASS!" She swerves over and I pass. As I'm passing, she let out a "F*&% YOU C*%$!" I was totally shocked. I mean, did this girl think she was going to block me for the entire 56 miles? Did she think that she should just let me pass at her convenience? I thought about reporting her to the officials after the race but opted instead to just out her poor sportsmanship here.

After that unpleasantness I continued on with my bike. It was really cold (in the low to mid 50's) but I was feeling really good. I was having a little trouble shifting due to cold hands but other than that, everything was golden.

Around mile 30 I went to take my sport legs and some immodium but when I reached into my pocket and took the lid off of my little pill case, I managed spill them everywhere on the road. Crap. I knew I had more sport legs in my bag right in transition and decided I would take the couple extra seconds in transition to find them and take them.

Around mile 40, the wheels started to come off. I started feeling really sick. Up to this point my nutrition was spot on but once I started feeling ill, I started throwing up. I was throwing up everything that I drank. It totally sucked. I slowed down quite a bit and tried to take in more liquids but I just couldn't.

At around mile 50, I made the left turn to go back towards transition. I was feeling so bad at this point, I was considering dropping out. Since the run in Lake Stevens is essentially a double figure 8, I decided to do the first 5k of the run and then reevaluate.

Bike: 2:40:29


I knew T2 was going to be a little slow since I wasn't feeling well and I really wanted to take some more sport legs. Luckily they were right where I thought they would be in my bag and I was able to grab them and run out, grabbing some water in the transition area.

T2: 2:04


I went out onto the run sitting in 1st in my AG. I was feeling so bad though that I kind of knew I would be giving up a lot of places if I decided to finish the race.

As I was running, I tried to stay relaxed but I just couldn't. No matter how much I slowed my pace, I couldn't get my breathing or my heart rate (don't wear a HRM, I could just tell it was really high) under control. I have a history of asthma and I was definitely having a mild asthma attack. I could breathe, but it was shallow and I was gasping.

Kara Nielsen passed me about a mile and a half into the run (this is a familiar story) and I just couldn't stay on her heels.

I finished the first 5k-ish loop without being passed by any other women. I decided to keep going even though the breathing problem wasn't getting any better (it also wasn't getting worse).

On the second portion of the run, I started to get really sick again. I had to pull over to throw up some more.

At the halfway point of the run, I decided I was going to finish even if it meant walking. I've never DNF'd a triathlon and I wasn't about to start.

At around mile 7, I pulled into the bushes to throw up again and then one more time at mile 8. I made my last pit stop at around mile 11 and then pushed it into the finish.

Run: 1:47:06

FINISH: 5:05:33

This was the first time I have ever cried after a race. I haven't had a real meltdown in a while (everyone kind of melts down in IM so I'm not counting that). I think my last one was the Black Diamond Half in 2007. I was feeling so crappy and dejected that I just talked to a few people (cried at them) grabbed my bike, and left.

I wasn't crying because I thought I did bad but just because it sucked to spend 2 hours totally unable to control your body. Maybe I should have dropped out but I think I would have felt even worse had I done that.

I was already part way home when I started getting phone calls asking why I had left and congratulating me on my race. Unbeknownst to me, I had taken 2nd in my age group (30-34) and had finished as the 5th overall amateur and 18th overall woman including the pros.

Final results were:

2/45 30-34 Women
5/271 Amateur Women
18/286 Overall Women

After the race I went on a memorial ride for Jose and I was lamenting my race with my buddy Shawn who wisely told me "you don't need to feel good to have a good race."

So there you have it, the 2009 Lake Stevens 70.3. The best bad day I've ever had.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Friday, July 24th

Our beloved brother and friend Jose Hernando passed away gently, peacefully and held in pure love this afternoon. His family had the gift of being with him at his side.

I feel sick

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seafair Triathlon

I can't believe that this was my SIXTH YEAR racing Seafair. Wow!

I went into the race this year not really knowing what to expect. I have been training less and less as I'm studying more and more. My runs have been lackluster to say the least and I've only swam open water probably 4 times all year. I still had myself placed in the elite wave and again set an (A) goal and a (B) goal

(A) finish under 1:10:00 (I went 1:10:26 last year)
(B) don't embarrass myself a la 2007 when I was the 2nd to last woman to finish in the elite wave.


The swim was the swim. I never swim too fast and I never swim too slow. We got a little bit of a late start which sucked because it was cold standing in the water waiting. Once we went, we went hard. Even though there were maybe only 50 people in the mixed elite wave, it was so rough, everyone was just sprinting for position. I kept finding feet to sit on and then losing them.

I came out of the water somewhere around the middle of the pack, roughly 3 seconds faster than last year.

800 Meter Swim: 12:11
~1:23/100 yards


I have been doing this sport far too long to still suck at transitioning.

T1: 1:31


The bike was fun despite a minor clothing malfunction (note: try riding in your swimsuit before racing in it). It was like it always is when you're a fast female cyclist: pass dude, dude passes you back at approximately 35 mph, pass dude back 30 seconds later never to see him again.

Around the turnaround I passed some snotty 22 year old who had been rude and condescending to me in the transition area before the swim start. He was not having that so I leap frogged with him the whole way back into transition.

Also, I passed a lot of ladies on the bike and came into T2 sitting in 3rd overall for the women.

12 Mile Bike: 31:06
23.15 mph


Okay, I have an excuse for this one. Someone - possibly snotty 22 year old - had racked their bike all weird and I had to do some rearranging just to get my bike on the rack.

My transition still would have probably been slow.

T2: 1:20


I saw Lucy coming out of transition and she let me know that I was in fact in 3rd. I figured I'd have to run pretty darn slow to get passed by the other 15 or so elite women behind me ... this is always a distinct possibility.

Snotty 22 year old came out of transition just ahead of me and luckily he appeared to be kind of a cruddy runner too so I just tried to keep him in my sights.

Christina passed me just before mile 1, there was no hope of staying with her. I was feeling not super great but I was actually holding what felt like a decent pace. Up the hill I felt slow, I was slow, but the people in front of me were slow too so it was all cool.

At the turnaround I saw two women right behind me, both were really cranking. I recognized one as Stacia who had picked me off in the last mile at Onionman last May. The other woman I didn't know.

About 1/4 mile from the finish, the woman who I didn't know picked me off. I knew she was coming because some guy behind me yelled "go, you can get her girl!" Thanks dude ... really. I did my best to stay with her but there was no catching her, I rolled in 8 seconds behind her for 5th place overall but a solid run PR.

5k Run: 21:41

OVERALL: 1:07:49
5/16 elite women
5/720 women
48/1458 finishers

Afterward I went for another loop on the run course with my pal Carly who had a solid day with a 9+ minute course PR! Then I went home and hated life a little more.

6 days until the bar - kill me.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Not that I am capable of hate ...

Vehicle vs Bicycle Collision

On 07-17-09 at 6:36 p.m., an 06, Chevy Van, driven by a 29-year-old male was traveling northbound on Lake Washington Blvd S. approaching S. Orcas St. At the same time a 44-year-old male was riding a bicycle traveling Southbound on Lake Washington Blvd S. also approaching S. Orcas St. The Van started to make a left turn from Lake Washington Blvd S. onto S. Orcas St. and crossed the center line, when it was struck on the passenger door by the bicycle rider. Seattle Fire Department responded to the scene and treated the victim, he was then transported to Harborview Medical Center (HMC) with life threatening injuries.

HMC personnel later gave an update of the 44-year-old male’s medical condition stating; he was critical and still life threatening.

A Drug Recognition Expert Officer responded to the scene and completed an evaluation of the 29-year-old driver for signs of impairment. None were noted during the evaluation.

Traffic Collision Investigators responded to and processed the scene.

I have never hated anyone in my life. I've disliked people and disagreed with people. I've met people who have left a sour taste in my mouth right off the bat, but I have never hated anyone. That said, the closest I have ever come to hate is the feeling I get when I see or hear about careless, selfish, distracted, self-important drivers who are too busy talking on their phones to see a cyclist, who are in enough of a hurry that they are willing to take the calculated risk of taking a cyclist's life just to get wherever they are going 10 seconds sooner.

These are the only people who make me fly off the handle (Teresa has witnessed this ... I've gotten better about it, I promise). I am so disgusted and hurt by them it makes me see red.

Yesterday a friend and teammate of mine was hit and nearly killed on Lake Washington Blvd. At this point, he will be lucky to walk again. The injuries he sustained are going to change his life forever. Lucy talked to the surgeon who initially operated on him and had he sustained these injuries 10 years ago, when the technology was not as good as it is today, it would have been a death sentence.

Please, to everyone, be careful out there and look out for yourself because the drivers aren't looking out for you.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

on possibly not sucking at crits

I don't have time/am too lazy to write up a real race report but basically, I raced a crit last weekend and finished 5th out of 29 giving me some small sliver of hope that I don't totally suck at crits and if I pay more attention to tactics rather than hypoxia, I might actually be okay at them.

Also, kind of a quick aside, but a bunch of people have asked me why my blog url is "jesslover."

It's actually a not too interesting story having to do with me posting on an internet messageboard using the handle "hey lover!" which is a reference to an Aislers Set song that was released on a Split 7" they did with a band called "The How." As a result of me using that handle for several years, people who I knew from the messageboard would sometimes call me jess lover.

As to "Hey Lover," I recently reacquainted myself with this awesome song and thought I would share it with all 6 or 7 of my loyal readers. I really do recommend listening to it, you're in for a real treat.

The Aislers Set - Hey Lover


Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Last weekend ended up being pretty special for a lot of reasons.

It was the final race in the Carnation Time Trial Series put on by Neal Goldberg of Footworks Cycles. I won't lie, I went into the final race with a pretty hefty lead in the points series. Since I had crashed the weekend before a bunch of people suggested I just soft pedal may way into 5th or 6th place but yeah ... that wasn't acceptable.

Long story short, I won the 27.1 mile race by exactly 1 minute taking home my biggest purse ever, $700, and a $150 gift certificate to FSA.

Here's what was really special though. Since I was the series leader, Neal gave me bib #1. It was the first time in my life I've ever gotten to wear #1. I thought this was especially cool since, at least in my experience, #1 is usually given to the male leader or the previous year's male winner. Also, I got to be the last woman to go so I had 20+ carrots in front of me to chase. :)

I cannot recommend these Carnation races enough. They are so well organized, Neal gets excellent sponsors and prizes, and he is super accommodating to any questions or concerns. The races are truly a labor of love on Neal's part.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Welcome to Cat 2*

* it wasn't a bad crash and no one was at fault, although i do feel a little like the fates hazed me into the 2's :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Methow Valley Stage Race

This weekend was the Methow Valley Stage race. It was probably my last chance to get a large number of points towards my Cat 2 upgrade so I really was motivated to do well.

The race was 3 stages in 2 days. A time trial and a hill climb (in lieu of a crit ... awesome) on day 1 and a road race on day 2.

Time Trial

The time trial was hard and demoralizing. It was almost nothing but hills which generally I like but I just felt SLOW on this one. Luckily, I had a bunch of carrots in front of me and I just concentrated on picking girls off the whole race. I think I passed 3 or 4 girls. I finished 2nd behind Robin Secrist. I'm proud to say that I'm the only woman who finished within a minute of her.

Hill Climb

The hill climb was so hard but so fun. About 1/2 mile after we started climbing, Robin and Sally Fraser started pulling away and I did my best to stay with them. I never quite got their wheels but I kept them in my sights until Robin dropped Sally. I caught Sally on a flat section and realized that I too had broken from the pack. Sally and I worked together taking long pulls to the top. We weren't able to put any time into Robin but we kept her in our sights almost the whole climb, finishing about a minute behind her. At 200 meters I gave it what I had left and got 2nd place over Sally by about half a wheel.

Road Race

The road race was not exactly my kind of course, more rolling than hilly but I was excited nonetheless. I went into it 2nd in the GC 4 points behind Robin and 7 ahead of Sally and another girl tied for 3rd. We all agreed to take the first lap as a warmup which was really nice.

So here's what I'm really proud of ...

Going into the second lap, right before we were going to "really" start racing, I flatted in the rear. The wheel car stopped for me and quickly gave me a new wheel. I was really upset and said to the mechanic, "I'm not going to catch them, am I?" The mechanic was so nice and just told me "go! I think you can get them!" The pack was probably a minute up the road from me. I had flatted at the bottom of the only decent climb, right in town. I hammered up the hill and just as I crested, the wheel guys pulled up next to me and offered me a pull. I paced the car for a few miles which was scary and fun at the same time. Finally, we got the pack in our sights. I kept hammering behind the wheel car until I was about 100 feet behind a truck that was stuck behind the follow vehicle. The guy in the wheel car waved me through and I jumped and caught the pickup truck. I sat behind him for a second before passing him and catching the follow car. the driver of the follow car waved me through and I jumped again, catching Tamara who was hanging off the back of the pack. Tamara and I worked together and finally, about 4 or 5 miles after flatting, I caught the pack again.

The rest of laps 2 and 3 I just sat in. I was really hurting after chasing back on. Liz from Starbucks was awesome and helped me through the rest of the race so I would have a shot at holding on to my GC place. at 1k she gave me what lead out she could and I gave what little I had left in my legs. 3 girls went off the front and I managed to barely out-wheel a girl from Valley for 4th in the RR, holding onto my 2nd in the GC.

All in all a really fun weekend and as an added bonus, I think I finally earned that Cat 2 upgrade ... updates will be forthcoming.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ravensdale Cumberland Road Race (aka another win)

I raced the Ravensdale race yesterday. I don't know why, but I'd totally psyched myself up for this race. I'm really familiar with the course since the Black Diamond Triathlon is run on a large portion of it so I knew what to expect around almost every corner. Also, I'm only 7 points away from my Cat 2 upgrade and man ... I just really want to join Travis and Chris and all the other Cat 2's living the luxurious life of a 1/2 tomato.

The 3's were supposed to be raced alone but there wasn't enough of a turnout so they ended up combining us with the 1/2 women. At first I was kind of bummed but then I got excited since racing with the 1/2 women tends to be more fun and can give me faster wheels to sit on if there's a break.

The pace started out easy but that didn't really last. little by little attacks and counter attacks started happening. I chased maybe half of them and sat in for the ones that I knew wouldn't stick. Around 10 or 15 miles in Cheryl from Blue Rooster went off the front alone and just kind of hung out there. For me it was kind of NBD since she's a Cat 2 so I didn't really have anything motivating me to chase her. I guess no one else was feeling motivated to chase her either because amazingly, she stayed away the whole race. I later found out that it had something to do with the Washington Cup and the Wines women not wanting Michele Conrad to win and make up points on Tricia ... I don't know ... it doesn't really matter to me as a 3.

Once it was clear that we weren't catching Cheryl (by the beginning of lap 2 she had 1:30 on us and at 40 miles it was over 2 minutes) people started attacking again. When it was a faster woman attacking I chased since I didn't want anyone else to get away, when it was someone who I knew couldn't stay away, I just sat in and let everyone else chase.

We really started pushing the pace up that hill after the hard left (corner 2?) and I was definitely working to stay in. Gina from Wines was just hammering up the hills and I just tried to stay close to the front so I wouldn't have to waste any extra energy chasing back on.

When we made the left to the finish Gina attacked and took me and one other Cat 3 with her. I stayed in the saddle and on a wheel to save myself for the final sprint. 200m came faster than I was expecting and I put my head down and started hammering. I realized as I was sprinting that I was spinning out ... still in my small ring ... crap. I was leading but there was another 3 right on my wheel ... crap. I took a risk and shifted into my big ring at full tilt. Luckily no jammed chain or shifting issues. I pushed it across the line, winning the field sprint by what I was told was a decent margin and getting the overall win for the 3's.

Sadly, there were less than 11 women in the 3's so I only got 3 upgrade points. If there had been a few more women I would have gotten the 7 points I need for my Cat 2 upgrade. Oh well ... c'est la vie. I may put my request in anyway and see what Martha says :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Enumclaw Stage Race: an exercise in pain

Last weekend was my first stage race since my failed attempt at the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic as a Cat 4 in 1999 (I dropped on day 2). I raced the Enumclaw Stage Race in beautiful Enumclaw, WA (horse f*$%er country).


Saturday was a 10k (actually 6.5 miles) TT in the late morning and a 40 minute crit in the evening.

Lucy and I rolled up to packet pickup to find out that our start times had been pushed up about 20 minutes so we had to scramble to get dressed, pinned, and out to the TT start. Once we got out there I was unable to get air into my front tire. Travis and I both tried to get it to work to no avail and neither of us wanted to pull the valve extender off and screw with it anymore. Luckily my awesome teammate Tim came to my rescue and loaned me his HED Stinger for the race. I warmed up for approximately 3 minutes before heading over to the start tent.

I had never done a TT this short so I just pushed it until my lungs burned the whole time (this was not hard considering the heat and the pollen count).

The course was flat to rolling with one little kicker at around mile 4. I crossed the line in 15:08, comfortably over my goal pace of 25 mph although slightly slower than my reach goal of a sub-15:00 TT. This was good enough to win the Cat 3 TT by over 30 seconds!

After the TT, we had about 7 hours until the start of the crit. I hid out in a room in the hotel and studied while Lucy watched the crits.

It was still hot by the time the 1/2/3 crit started and I wasn't feeling super confident. Unfortunately, I got a really bad start position in the back of the pack and had to fight my way back on as girls were getting shelled.

The crit was like a 40 minute drag race. It made me realize how much I need to work on my accelerations and cornering. I think I just get a little timid in these races and won't fight for a place closer to the front.

I finished a disappointing 12th out of 25 or so Cat 3 women moving me from 1st to 5th in the GC.


Sunday was the road race. the 1/2/3 women didn't go until the afternoon which meant two things (1) that I got to sleep in and (2) that it was HOT.

We did 4 laps on a 14+ mile course for a total of about 58 or 59 miles. about half way through each loop we climbed mud mountain, a decently brutal 3k climb with two or three 10%+ kicks and slogs.

Lap 1 we shelled a few women and about 4 women got away from the pack. We chased them down, catching them a few miles into lap 2. Same thing happened the second time up the climb.

Lap 3 I was able to stay with the lead pack. The 4th time up the climb, a few women just totally took off and I ended up in a chase pack of 5. We never did catch the lead pack but thankfully there were no other Cat 3 women in that lead pack so I was able to sprint across the line for a 3rd place finish, moving me into 4th in the GC and winning me a total of about $150.

All in all I'm pleased with my performance. I wish I could pull it together in the crits but I'm still pretty new to this so I have a lot of time to learn and improve.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My first win on the road + Onionman Triathlon

I guess this post is kind of a two-fer.

On May 9 I raced the Market Street Road Race in Ravensdale, WA. The Cat 3 women raced with the 1-2 women in this race but were scored separately. The race was 5 loops on a rolling 9 mile course.

We started with about 22-25 women. There were a bunch of Wines, Group Health,, Blue Rooster, and even a few Hagens women. I was an orphan as were two other women. The pace was decently fast for the first lap and I think we shelled a few women. The second lap was pretty pedestrian. There were a few half-hearted attacks but nothing stuck.

Then, at the beginning of lap 3 a Group Health girl attacked and took a few other women with her. This break of 5 just kind of hung in front of the pack for a few miles. After a little while, I noticed that the break had a girl from almost every large team in it which is why no one was chasing. Right as I noticed this, Martha, who was also racing alone, made a move up the side of the pack. I jumped on her wheel and when we got to the front I attacked and started chasing the break. It took me a couple of minutes to catch the break and once I did, I realized that I hadn't taken anyone else with me!

I sat in the back of the break for a few minutes while I caught my breath before rotating in to take some pulls. One other girl from the pack caught us making us a group of 7 before the follow car was finally behind us.

The pace was manageable for the rest of laps 3 and 4. On lap 5, the wines girls (who had 3 in the break) started attacking and counter-attacking. I just did my best to hold on. It was during this last lap that I noticed there was only one other Cat 3 woman in the break so all I had to do for the win was beat her.

On the final climb before the 1k mark, we really pushed the pace and dropped one girl. We let off a little bit over the top and then 4 of the 1-2 women took off. I stayed with the other Cat 3 woman and let her pull me to the 200m mark where I sprinted around her and one of the other 1-2 women who had taken off. I finished 4th overall and 1st for the 3's. Not as glorious as being first across the line, but I'll take it.

Last weekend was the Onionman Triathlon in Walla Walla, WA. I did this race once in 2007 and ended up with a really disappointing result, barely finishing in the top 10. This year, I wanted revenge.


The swim is 2 laps in a small reservoir just outside of downtown Walla Walla. It's a small race so we do a mass start. Just like last time I did this race, the start was rougher than an Ironman start. Just tons of clawing and dunking and punching. Not much fun.

It took me probably 300m to find a comfortable space to swim in. I was in a pack with a few men and one other woman and I managed to stay with them for the whole swim.

About 3/4 of the way through our 2nd loop, I passed a woman who was still on her first loop. More power to her but man, I couldn't imagine having an hour+ 1500m swim.

I was disappointed with my swim time but when I compared it to other people's I realized that I actually swam really well, the course was just probably long.

Swim: 25:15
4/75 individual women


T1 was uneventful. The transition area is kind of steep so i did more of a shuffle than a run out of the water and onto the bike.

T1: 1:29


This bike is what destroyed my race in 2007. I was determined not to let it happen again. The bike is an out and back but it's a false flat the entire way out. I've heard that you gain somewhere between 800-900 feet in the 12.5 miles out to the turnaround. It can also be windy as heck. Sunday was no exception. It was so windy out that when I took my bike out of the car and put the disc wheel on, the wind nearly blew it out of my hands.

The bike was fine for the first few miles until I hit a crosswind near an onion field. I definitely got blown over a foot or two but managed to keep it upright and keep moving.

I passed a few women right off the bat and kept just powering away knowing that after the turnaround it would get a lot faster. At the turnaround, I realized I was in first place although Kara N. was right behind me. I made it my goal not to let Kara pass me until I was off the bike (girl can run) and this was my motivation not to slack just because I was going down hill.

I came into transition feeling good but not super confident in my current run fitness. Kara came in seconds behind me.

Bike: 1:08:34
2/75 individual women


T2 was also fast and uneventful. Kara's T2 was faster than mine and she passed me in transition. Dang.

T2: 0:51


I know I said I fell apart on the bike in 2007 but the run was where I had really paid for it. I think I ran a bit over 50 minutes last time I did this race ... really disappointing. My goal for this year was to run somewhere in the neighborhood of 48 minutes. My running has been going pretty well although I have been slacking lately so I wasn't sure that I could do it.

Since Kara was just a little in front of me heading out on the run, I did my best to keep her in my sights. I won't lie, I felt like shit. It was windy and hot and my feet hurt and *complain complain complain*.

At the turnaround, I could still see Kara, she had put some time into me, but not too much and no other women had passed me. After I turned around I saw two women right behind me. One was closing in fast and the other was still about .2 miles behind me but was running really fast. I tried not to think about being run down by these women and kept trucking.

A little before a mile to go, one woman passed me. She had definitely picked up the pace and I knew I just didn't have it in my legs to chase her. I tried to stay on her heels but once we hit a hill, I just couldn't.

I kept wanting to look behind me to see if that other woman was going to pass me as well but I made myself just keep focusing on the finish. I could tell that I had blisters on my arches (txs new balance) and I just wanted to be done running as quickly as possible.

With 200m to go, I was pretty darn sure I wasn't going to get run down. I rounded the corner to the finish and saw 2:22:xx on the clock. Awesome! a 10 minute improvement over 2007.

I crossed the line feeling very pleased with myself.

Run: 46:28
6/75 individual women

Overall: 2:22:37
3/75 individual women

All in all, very pleased with this race. I'm happy that all the bike racing I've been doing hasn't killed my triathlon mojo and I'm extra special happy that I got revenge on this race!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

pushing on

I've had a really trying couple of weeks due to school and illness (I'm a GIANT baby about being sick). I can't believe I only have 2 more weeks of law school left. holy crap!

Racing has been going well. I took last weekend off because I had a huge school project/performance due on Saturday the 18th. However, my awesome little sister Lucy went to Walla Walla and raced her first stage race ever and finished 9th in the GC for the Cat 3 women! So proud.

Lucy and I both upgraded to 3 a few weeks ago and our first race in the 3's was a crit with the 1/2 women ... awesome. I raced 2 crits in two days and learned that I'm still not very good at crits which is not surprising. I did manage to take one prime at the brad lewis memorial crit and took home an 8g Zune which was pretty cool!

Today was the Green Valley TT in Auburn. I managed to finish the 12 mile course in 28:08 which was good enough for 3rd in the 1/2/3 race. Tomorrow is Vance Creek, a 53 mile RR which I am told is my kind of course (hills) so I'm excited!

Also, I acknowledge that I'm a bad and inconsistent blogger, I'll get better about it soon. I promise.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

finally, a breakthrough

So I'm obviously more of a triathlete/cyclist than a runner. Running has always been really hard for me. Doctors and my PT have told me that I'm just not built for it (really short stocky legs) and I'll never be very good at it. I can accept that I'll never be like ... great at running but thought I could be at least "respectable"

I've always really struggled with longer distance running. Anything over like 5k and my speed totally drops off.

I ran Mercer Island this morning, a tough half marathon, and decided I was going to "jog" it since I raced my bike yesterday. My previous best was 1:47:33 or around an 8:13/mile pace so I just wanted to go a little faster than that. I started off at what felt like a comfortable pace. At mile 5, I asked a guy next to me what our time was, 36:40, way faster than I expected ... probably a little too fast but it didn't feel hard. I crossed the 10k line just under 46:00 which is actually a 10k PR for me. Around mile 10 I started to feel a cramp in my left hamstring but I ran through it even though it slowed me down a little bit. at 12 miles I gave it what little kick I had left in my legs. As I crested the last hill just before the finish I saw 1:39:xx on the clock and was like "holy crap!" and sprinted across for a chip time of 1:39:24 or a ~7:35/mile pace.

A funny aside, my old running coach was watching at the finish and was so shocked to see me she said "Jessica! What are you doing?!?" I was like "running faster than we thought I could I guess!"

In other news, I'm pretty sure I earned enough points to upgrade to Cat 3 in cycling! I want to wait until Lucy gets enough points to upgrade with me. It shouldn't take her too long though, if our calculations are correct, she's only 2 points away!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Okay, so I was never really OUT of the saddle but I have started racing again. I joined a cycling team (Cucina Fresca for anyone who cares) and have started racing road. Okay, so I haven't done a real road race yet but I have done a couple of time trials.

I did the Frostbite TT on Sunday, February 22 and the Icebreaker TT on Sunday, March 1. Both races went really well for my (sort of) roadie debut.


There's not much to say here. This was a 9 mile out-and-back on a totally flat course. The road was wet and dirty so by the end of the race I was also wet and dirty.

I started out hard and just kept repeating my mantra "leave it all out on the course, you don't have to run after this."

I finished in around 22:00 (~24.5 mph) which was good enough for 2nd place (behind the inhuman rhae shaw) in the Cat 4 women. My teammate's wife was kind enough to take some pictures.


I made a small mistake at this race. The day before the race, I went on my first ride on a tandem. My teammate Z and I rode 56-ish miles (him on the front and me on the back) the morning before and then I ran 4 or so miles on Saturday evening. I knew I was kind of blowing my race but it was TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Sunday morning I could still feel the burn in my legs, oh well.

Icebreaker was a 10 mile rolling out and back course that is slightly downhill on the way out and ... of course ... slightly uphill on the way back. I felt kind of like crap the whole time, like my legs weren't really there but I still pushed it as hard as I could. In hindsight, I probably was pushing a bigger gear than I should have as I kept it in the 53x12 for most of the race and my cadence was probably closer to 75-85 as opposed to 90+ which is where it should be.

Either way, I finished in 25:07 (damn, wanted to break 25:00) for an average speed of just under 24 mph. This was again good enough for 2nd (behind rhae again) in the Cat 4's.

This weekend I have two road races, both out on the peninsula. This will be the real test. I have been feeling strong but I'm not strong enough to TT off the front for a win (especially if rhae is in the pack). I'm going to just do my best and try not to live up to the triathlete reputation of not being able to ride in a straight line.