Solana Beach Race Report

Considering this race was a sprint and took exactly 10 hours less than my last Ironman I should keep this blog short. How about summing it up text message style:



Oh my gosh! I'm Out of Breath!

Sunday was such a fun day. I honestly had no expectations. In the three days that lead up to the race my training plan consisted of 3 X 12.5 (actually 13 hour) work shifts with a 40 minute run. I had one goal to go as hard as I could and that I did. When the gun went off I charged into the water. It seemed like everyone gave in when we got into the surf break. I smugly thought they forgot we were supposed to go hard in a sprint. I kept running. Soon I ran out of breath. I started to dolphin dive (or really dolphin die) . It worked I moved to the front of the group. The waves weren't big like last year but the trade off was there was no rip to pull me out to the first buoy. When the first sizable wave came, like a good little triathlete I dove to the bottom. I could not hold my breath long enough to stay under until the wave passed. I felt dizzy because I was OUT OF BREATH. I guess I started out too hard or something. I came to the surface and the wave pushed me back. A long way back. Kind of like in a board game where you are sent back to the beginning. I scrambled through the white water breathing every stroke thinking OMG, OOB over and over. I realized I wasn't going to catch my breath or a break today. I figured I'd roll with it. I have asthma, but this wasn't it. At the swim's end I realized despite my "suffering" I was not too far back. I whipped off my wetsuit and prepared to chase them up the hill to transition. My run up the hill would have to wait. I managed to get both ankles stuck in my wetsuit. The harder I pulled it the more it stretched. The wrestling with the wetsuit while your competition run away did not help my heart rate come down. I started to panic a bit as I wasn't convince it would ever come off. Finally I was free of the ever stretching wetsuit and running up the hill.
Transition was quick. I was thankful to have aero bars to collapse onto, I mean be aero dynamic in.   Not much to say about the bike course other than it was 9 miles with for 180 degree turns and then it was over. Over too soon for my liking. It takes me 10 miles to warm up. Then it was on to the run. I realized despite not being able to catch my breath my legs felt light and fantastic. I tried to run fast and get it over with. I could catch my breath at the finish. I didn't know what place I was in but I tried to close in instead of give in to a comfortable pace. At mile 2, I was disappointed as I was unable to conjure up music in my head. Turns out I can't sing song to myself when I am panting. "Darn it !" I thought until I saw my watch  and realized I was running fast for me. At that point I changed my tune to "Who cares. Race now. Sing later." I finished in 4th. I don't have any excuses. I just need to do everthing a bit faster or swim a LOT faster.

 After the race eneded I skipped the post race pizza and donuts and headed out for a cool down run. It was awesome. So easy compared to racing, like a luxurious spa treatment. Then it was off to run errands. I was home with all my gear cleaned by the time Tim got done with morning rounds.

I wanted to share some fun with Tim so we went moutain biking. I was a little worried I would struggle and fuss since I already expended myself. The opposite happened and somehow all of the twists and turns just came to me super easily and it was FFFFUUNNNN. FUN, FUN, FUN.

 I tend to favor the longer distances because I think I am better at them. I used to think short races aren't worth the time effort and hoopla. Truth is the short races I race for an hour and then I have the rest of the day to feel high. Can't really argue with that.

Lighting A Fire

Post race Tim and I always talk excitedly about all the things we want to change and improve for the next go round. Problem is I seem to forget those things in the time between races. Tim is measuring the size of his "hairy bagel" below.

This time I decided to beat myself to the punch. I scored a last minute entry for the Solana Beach Sprint on Sunday. I confess I didn't really think I wanted to repeat this race this year because last year I got dropped on the bike by a girl wearing skirt thingy and lipstick. My only hope is that she was wearing the waterproof lipstick, because if she reapplied lipstick in T1 and then dropped me, ugh. I realize though  that lipstick or no lipstick that's just my ego. Work and finances dictate missing opportunities and that's life, but I don't want my ego to ever stand in the way of racing. Racing is fun. It's the closest thing to flying.

Post Race Randomness

I am aware that I am slightly off tilt and semi outrageous so if you are ever offended reading my blog please note it's me not you. Sometimes things roll off my tongue and fingers without passing my cerebral cortex.

After 1/2 Ironman #8 The statement  "The more things change the more they stay the same."

Case in point  #1. In T1, I have an overwhelming  feel that I need to be swimming everyday. Maybe twice a day. I say before the next race I will. Once the race ends my bike casts a spell on me and I forget all about how I wanted to improve my swimming.

Case in point #2. After every race Tim and I talk about how much faster we could run if we lost 5 lbs by not eating so many cookies. It seems I practice my own form of triathlon on a regular basis. 5 hour ride, transition run, bake cookies. No wonder my swim is so's swim, bike, run not swim, bike, bake. Over the past year I have been replacing a portion of the butter with flax meal and increasing the flour content but seems lately flour has earned quite the bad rap.

Case in point#3. Sister Madonna Buder. 80 years old and still racing triathlon. She certainly doesn't seem to age much.Wonder what her secret is? Maybe she bathes in Holy water. Maybe she fills her bike bottles with communion wine.
Once I was hanging out with my Grandmother, Hilary Clinton came on tv. She was wearing a frumpy skirt. In a sort of dry, disgusted "kids these day" manner my grandmother said "I might be 80 years old but I still have better legs than Hilary Clinton." Age has slowed Madonna Buder down a bit but look at those legs. (Ok ...and her glowing smile)  How many women have legs like that?  Ever? Not even on the best day in their life. Do you think if she wasn't a nun she'd be posing for Playboy....the Senior Citizen Edition.

Vineman 2010

Vineman 70.3 July 18, 2010
I couldn't imagine a more cool venue.
Classic or what?
Swimming in the Russian River was delightful. Tim's wave started 8 minutes after mine. He literally caught me on the swim. That was fun and funny. Tim recognized me by my stroke and my watch. I recognized Tim by the turbo propulsion of his flipper feet. Swimming behind Tim is like swimming behind the motor of a boat.
Someday I'll keep up on the swim. My swim time was slow as ever, but the barrels of wine that mark the swim exit. Those are the type of wine supported by this venue, the other whine is not needed.

Time to get on the bike a get moving. My legs and lungs felt fantastic on the bike. I must not be meant to use a Garmin while racing 1/2 Ironmans. My Garmin froze trying to load the satellites that morning. Having no heart rate monitor meant I would have to race by heart not heart beats. I tired to go hard but not too hard. I'm not sure what effect starting the bike 13 minutes back from the fast girls has on me. Psychologically it's great to be passing people but I wonder if it doesn't make me a bit conservative thinking if I am passing all these people maybe I am over doing it. I was a bit nervous about the bumps, the traffic, and pilot error....entering a corner too fast like I did a few weeks ago. I saw two accidents along the way. In the end I would liked to have gone faster through the descent's and the turns, taking full advantage of "free speed."  I just didn't have the confidence to do so today. That means one thing only, I need to get out and ride. Work on the craft until the mojo comes back. That's all. The ride went through some beautiful areas. Scrap that, everything is beautiful there. More than one can possibly take in while racing. Someday I would like to return to this area.  Maybe to race again someday or maybe as a family and friends training/vacation camp. Maybe,when we have more free time. Hee, hee. That's a good one because judging by myself and the company I keep life seems to be chucked full of experiences and adventures 100% of the time. There will never be more free time.

Speaking of's time to get back to this race report. That's Tim cruising the run. I gave him the annoying summer cold I had just in time for Tim to race Vineman. He could have called it a day and flown home but he didn't .We doped him up on a little ibuprofen and caffeine pre race and he PR'd. I am amazed both at what Tim and the human body can accomplish even when not 100%. "Wow"

Meters or Yards?

I am pretty sure the second runner in this photo is me with about 600 meters to go. Legs felt good starting the run. No cramping, no gut issues. Nothing. When I saw the hills in front of me I worried they might cause me to blow up. They didn't. Oh wait...I run hills all the time. Despite not having my Garmin for the run I negative split by over one minute. It might be good for me to someday not negative split. Go a little harder, "eat shit and hang on". That's someday though for today I am very happy with a new personal record. I knew from the start of the run I could set a PR. I knew from the turn it was possible for me to go sub 5:20. I didn't focus on it until mile 10 though. I waited until I was done with the hills to reassess. One mile to go and I knew it was possible but it was close. I was pretty excited and picked up the pace. It was getting hard to sustain and I needed to see the finish line. I saw Tri club Ron (whose Facebook page I stole these pictures from). He was cheering the usual last 1/2 mile "good job, your almost there". "How much further?" I shouted. I couldn't see the finish. 600 he said. My mind screamed "meters or yards"? Proof, I am becoming a swimmer after all. Special thanks to Julie, if not for the 10 x 400's we did on the track one day I never would have gone sub 5:20. However, because I ran the final 600 like a 400 I made it in with 25 seconds to spare.
That was really cool and I felt redemption for the only "real" mistake I made this day. I didn't fully clasping my race belt in T1 and stopped my bike to fix it in the fist few minutes of the bike.  I probably would have let it blow off if the race belt wasn't $10 :)

As I crossed the finish line the announcer said "Wow, that's the third Neuschwander to finish today. They must be a real racing family". PR's for Tim and Jen, and a Clearwater spot for Bruce not bad for a days work.

Special thanks to husband Tim should have flown with his tight work schedule but didn't so that his wife wouldn't have to drive alone in the non air conditioned car. Special thanks to the in-laws, who hosted us and supported us again despite our semi- sensical and whirlwind ways. I am sure if we would have asked you would have recommended Tri Bike Transport....why didn't we think of that? None the less....what a weekend! What a great life we have.

Washington D.C.

July 7-11

Tim won a scholarship to an the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Seminar (or something like that) in Washington D.C. This meant an opportunity for professional growth for Tim and for me, just an opportunity. I'd never been to Washington D.C. before and it definitely was on my "places to go" list. A few shifts swapped and I was in. It seemed they rolled out the red carpet for us.

We stayed at the convention center outside of the city. National Harbor is very " resortish", clean, and new.  The running was goodexcellent. Each day in enjoyed the a multi state run. Yup. I started in Maryland and ran all the way to Virginia and back. Like "honest Abe" I cannot tell a lie. It was only a few miles to the boarder.

I enjoyed the views from the Woodrow Wilson bridge. I could see the Washington Monument from the bridge. I really enjoyed running in Alexandria, Virginia. The cobblestone streets were cool. Yes, we were there during the heat wave. I'm not sure if it was the heat or the "darn cold" I managed to lug from from San Diego but I found myself seeking refuge underneath some sprinklers. Thank you to the City of Alexandria I owe you a cold one. Each day it seemed cooler and my cold a bit better. By day #3, I didn't even have to steal water from people's hoses.

 In the afternoons Tim and I took the shuttle into the city.

Correct me if I am wrong. I have the distinct impression that the East Coast exists for work and the West Coast for play. We grew tired and hungry while site seeing. Good thing we found a place to rest .

We found a Farmer's Market.
Tim said "it was grub"
In case you are wondering "grub" means good.
We were thoroughly impressed with our nations capital.
May I mention I wanted nothing more than to go for a swim. No disrespect to the nation's capital intended.
We were not allowed to tour the White House. That must be arranged 6 months ahead.

We had a tour of the Capital building.
The spiral staircase was classic.
We also got tickets from the State Representative for the Congress and the Senate.
 National Harbor is on the Potomac River. It looks inviting for swimming but I think there is something about swimming down river from a big city that is "no bueno"

Views from the nice air conditioned in door yet outdoor atrium. I find that so confusing. Anyway, Tim said if he was the next James Bond he would scale down the glass and save the president. I said, well then I would be the next  "Bond girl". I could scale down that in stilettos clutching a Prada purse. Tim did not get chosen as the next James Bond and I was not selected as a bond girl. (I'm really upset!)  It's back to the west coast.

Next stop for us. Vineman.

Happy Birthday America

July 4th

Happy Birthday America!

July 4th was more work than fireworks. Luckily, this was the view from my front porch. Just a few more shifts of work and I would be off to Washington D.C. to celebrate the nations birthday properly.

Smiles As Big As Slices of Cantaloupe

 It was Saturday and another chance ride to explore roads less traveled by. 10 of us embarked on this journey. It's safe to assume we all had some smiles along the way. Smiles like this.

Special thanks to Julie and Jon for organizing and thinking of bringing a knife to slice the cantaloupe.

I was worried a stuffy nose and cough would force rain on my parade. Visions of me waiting for Tim to bring the car danced in my head. Thanks to the good energy of my friends, caffeine for energy and ibuprofen for the throat and cough pain I actually felt better as the day rolled on.

 At mile 100, I stepped on the gas. It was going to be my victory dance in celebration of beating the common cold. I couldn't loose because it was all down hill.

 I forgot about the how tight the first corner of the Highland Valley Road descent was and how fast it would come at me. Ssuddenly, I found myself going way too fast in the direction the road was no longer going. There was no way I could make the corner. I touched the brakes. They locked. I (involuntarily) skidded my back tire like a mountain bike. I got it back. I felt the bike fishtail back and forth a couple of times. I unclipped my foot preparing for the worst. The side of the road was approaching and things were not looking good. Just in the nick of time the bike slowed down and I found myself balanced again and able to steer around the corner. Yikes, that was lucky! I felt very blessed and slightly nauseous.

My apologies to those who had to watch. I think for most people something like that is uncomfortable to watch. My husband doesn't seem to be to rattled by my misstep. Currently the Tour De France is on. Crashes from years past are being highlighted. Every few minutes Tim alerts me when a tour rider loses control of his bike. He states with "That's exactly what you did!" There is pride in his voice. Every cyclist want to hear they emulate the tour in some way. Not quite the image I was dreaming up. I was thinking more for the hands in a "V" finish. I guess I'll have to settle for being loved as I am: the character narrowly averting disaster.