RACE REPORT: 24th Annual West Point Sprint Triathlon


I missed cheering on my sisters in Tri at Iron Girl Columbia because the 24th Annual West Point Sprint Triathlon was on the same date – August 4th.


Ever since I started doing Triathlons, I wanted to participate in this race. Why? Well, DUH! I’m a gray hog. I’m the 12th Man. West Point is my Rockbound Highland Home. I am the Long Gray Line. ALL DAT.




I HAD to do this race. AWESOMENESS!


My Sherpa and Spectathlete, The FireMarshall, drove me up to West Point, NY and our classmates, Irv & Mavis Smith, put us up for the weekend. It turned out to be an awesome weekend as I was asked to make a presentation to the new Superintendent, got to shop at the Cadet Store, hung out in the new fangled Grant Hall (and am getting my very own DEAN APPROVED coffee mug) AND spent time with several of our classmates up at Bull Pond. WHO KNEW that there were two cottages up there and you could rent out the whole place for the weekend. A lake retreat up near Lake Frederick. Our classmates Poly & John Combs rented it out for the weekend and invited all our classmates that were in town to come up for a get together. I mooched a little early on Friday by getting in an OWS at Bull Pond. More Awesomeness.


The race was on Sunday. The goal that my coach gave me was simple. NO PIDDLING IN TRANSITION. Get in/Get out. Cut my transition times significantly. With that as my only concern, I relaxed and enjoyed the experience.


We got to the Camp Buckner early but kinda late for the limited parking and had to walk about a mile to the transition area. The FireMarshall took his role as Sherpa seriously and carried all my gear and pushed my bike all the way to transition. I was a all emotional as we walked down the hill to transition together and was bummed that I didn’t get a picture of us to put side by side with the one below taken about 28 years ago. All I have are some shots Ron took of me running up that same hill. The memories came flooding back every step of the way.

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He handed everything off to me and I got things set up and then hung out with other West Pointers I met in transition. …and then, just like that, my girl – my BFF, rides in on her Harley to cheer me on. When I saw her I started crying. I told her that it was because of the Wounded Warrior that had just started the swim (and that did get me misty), but It was really seeing her. You just don’t know how much it means to have your own personal cheering squad and paparazzi. I know how much energy and time it takes to hang out for 2-3 hours (or longer) while we swim, bike, run. Being a spectathlete is hard work. And she rode and hour to cheer. ILAGATOR!!!

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So let’s get to the race…

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SWIM 800m (23:55): The swim was in Lake Popolopen and wet suit legal at 72 degrees, but I didn’t bring mine. It was warm enough for me to swim as for Army. My only concern was I didn’t think they put out enough buoys. You had to swim out about 100m, make a hard right (without a buoy to guide you) following the shore line and then make a straight beeline to the 1st turn buoy. Yeah, sighting and fighting was the name of the game and I believe I lost some time in the cluster fugg trying to get around that corner. Other than that, I felt great on the swim and got out the water not feeling exhausted.

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Bike – 14 mile (1:07:18): Hill work is the name of the game. This was a challenging course – to me. Not in the short steep hills of Howard County challenging, but in the mile long (or it seemed even longer) steep climbs. It got to the point where, again, I simply did not look up – EVER – until all of a sudden I realized that I could pedal easier and was going down hill. I just kept spinning and moving my legs, chanting “Pull, Pull” until it was over.

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Run – 5k (44:44): It is what it is. I’m getting better. At least I can keep moving and the foot pain is pretty much gone (then again, I wear a compression sock). AND you can’t help but hustle up when ILAGATOR is behind you yelling “I’M RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!!!” Well, I couldn’t have that. And when I thought I was all alone out there on course, thinking “OH MY GOD. I’M DEAD ASS LAST. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN.” I heard Ila’s voice into the woods…”LIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSAAAAAAA!!! GOOOOOOOOOO!!!” I had to keep moving. “COME ONNNNN, LIIIIISSSSAAAA!!!! ALMOST THERE!” It was the energy boost that kept me going.

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Did I achieve the goal? YES. I cut my average transition times in half. Another milestone…I cut my clock time down by an average of 16 min. Now I am comparing sprint races that are variable distances and terrain, but it is close enough for government work for me.


But the coup de grĂ¢ce to the race for me was finding out (all after the fact) that I had place 3rd in the Athena Class. Granted, only 4 of the 11 registered actually participated – WHO CARES – Imma take it. Made my day, week, month, year!!

Athena Place



I put together a little slide show from the day. Stick to the end to see the OLD GRAD WOBBLE.


Roots: Going Home w/Momz

At the beginning of this month, I went with my mom to her hometown, Honesdale, PA, to hang out, visit some old “haunts'” and go to the 151st Wayne County Fair – where Monster Trucks, 4H w/giant zucchini and pig races are the major highlights and fun.



I remember a many visit to my grandparents house WAAAAYY up the hill from the town proper in Bethany (I suppose you could call that a suburb or development – kinda). Grandpa wasn’t all that thrilled about my parents getting married, but he sure did love his granddaughters.


He would bundle us up and take us to his favorite bar each night we were there and we would have chili burgers and drink “soda” (sometimes we had beer) out of those old Welches Jelly jar/glasses and listen to old soldiers, factory workers and coal miners tell stories and dote on us.




I remember hiding in the library, which was a little house that didn’t look big enough to hold more than 50 books. When I was a little girl, the house/library was huge, smelled of old books, newspaper and wood and was the most magical place in the world to me. I hid under the entry hall table with a book and read all day. The library is still there.


I remember Day’s Bakery and the special holiday treat of Lebkuchen cookies. Guess what! Day’s Bakery is still there and they had Lebkuchen’s available in AUGUST! GO US!


I remember shopping on Main Street and going to the movie house. The only movie I remember seeing there was Fantasia. The movie house is gone but we still found great shopping on Main Street, although we had no idea how all those consignment, antique and nic-nak shops stayed in business there.


I remember the giant star on the top of the hill that was lit up every night. The Star is still there and is now a memorial park.


It’s funny that now that I am doing triathlons that I look at roads in a different light. How difficult would that ride/run be? What is the incline or elevation I would have to climb? I came to the quick conclusion that there was NOT.ONE.PLACE in Honesdale or any of the surrounding area that I would dare ride my bike as the climbs are IMHO damn near impossible. If you need a HEMI truck to get up the hill, then my bike certainly aint gonna make it under LisaLeg power.


It was a blast of a trip down memory lane with my mother. We had a great time and just so you know…you have not lived until you have YEEEEE HAAWWED at a Monster Truck Show or bet on your pig to win in a pig race. Good Times!


Check out the video slide show for grins and giggles.



Triathlon by the Numbers


It probably all started – fear, doubt, uncertainty, second guessing – with IM70.3 Cozumel DNF last September. I was wondering if I was really meant to do this or even if I needed to do this despite how much I used to love it.


Then I fell and injured my foot. 2 xrays, 3 doctors, and 4 races where I just – IMHO – just sucked and the doubt increased/fun decreased exponentially.


I got pretty sick and some girl part issues (I ain’t discussing it here, but if you want to know details then hit me up off line) and I was pretty much ready to hang this game up.


But I’m not a quitter. Never have been. Never will be. I had to figure it out. I got myself a coach. Local pro, Suzy Serpico and her husband Danny (swim nazi extraordinaire) took me under their wing and have me well on my way back to my mojo.


After two weeks of following the training plan, I had what I considered a great race at the Maryland Women’s Sprint Duathlon last weekend. It got me to thinking…I’ve only been looking at one race at a time and/or compared a race to the previous time I did it. The question was “Have I been making any improvements over these past 3 years?” I wanted to see if all this doubt was justified. We all end up with injuries/setbacks sometime in this adventure of Triathlon and athletics. Does it mean that I’m not getting better, not improving?


Let’s look at the numbers:


Olympic Distance:

                           Nations                        Nations                       TriRock Philly

                        Sept  2010                    Sept  2011                     June  2013

Swim 1.5K         59.10 – 3.36/100m         no swim                 39.58 – 2.26/100m

Bike 24.85mi    2:17:20 – 10.8mph       1:38:19 – 15.2mph      1:58:03 – 12.6mph

Run 10k/6.2mi    1:31:56 – 14.48pace   1:22:41 – 13.18pace   1:41:51 – 16.83pace


What did I take from this? HEY! I’m getting better on the swim AND the bike. Nation’s is a flat course vs TriRock Philly which is wicked hilly so I am confident that I am getting much better on the bike as well, but, of course, need some work on those GOSH FORSAKEN HILLS. I was even getting better on the 10k after the bike until the foot injury set back.


How bout that? All is not lost.


Sprint Distance:

    Philly Tri –June’11     MusselMan –July’11      IronGirl-Aug’11       Philly Tri-June’12

     850m/17.7mi/5k      750m/16.2mi/5k         998m/17.5mi/5k       850/17.7/5k

S      37:20 –4:12/100     23:48 –2:34/100        34:15 –3:08/100      27:23 – 2:57/100

B     1:05:59 –14.3mph  1:07:06 – 14.5mph     1:30:26 – 11.6mph   1:06:43–14.1mph

R       32:28 – 12:42            41:00 – 13:12             48:07 – 15:27           42:16 – 13:36


What did I learn here? First, any swimmer can have a bad swim and panic. I did just that at the PhillyTri in June 2011. A month later, I was back on my game and got it done. Second, when the hills are not that bad, I am pretty consistent on the bike. HILL WORK!! Lastly, I am pretty consistent on a run that is essentially flat. Throw in a hill and I’m a mess. HILL WORK/HILL REPEATS!!


Taking a look at it another way:

                     Swim                    Bike                      Run

Sept’10      3:36/100m             10.8mph                14:48

June’11      4:12/100m             14.3mph                12:42

July ‘11      2:34/100m             14.5mph                13:12

Aug ‘11      3:08/100m             11.6mph                15:27             HILL HELL (B&R)

Sept’11                                   15.2mph                13:18

June’12      2:57/100m             14.1mph                13:36

June’13      2:26/100m             12.6mph                16:83      HillHell-Bike/Foot-Run


The message is clear – KEEP AT IT. Listen to my coach. Don’t shy away from the hills. Bike and Run Hill Repeats. Maybe even throw in a few run clinics.


…and this is all to compete against ME! To be the best ME in the sport I love. I know there are probably a bunch of my fellow Triathletes/Duathletes training buddies that are way faster and even place in their age group. There is always something to shoot for, but I do this for me and improving and getting better over time compared to my previous performances is satisfaction enough for me.


I don’t know if this analysis is helpful to anyone else that might be struggling with doubt, uncertainty or even the losing of their joy.  If you are thinking that all the work is for naught, check your numbers. It might just be better than you think – for you!


Race Report: Maryland Women’s Sprint Duathlon

womendu127This right here is EVERY. SINGLE. THING!

The race report – WHATEVER! The fact that Princess Cara wanted to race too and worked at it to earn her bling brought me sheer joy.

Watching all the kids pour their hearts out on that course was the highlight of the day. To see these kids hustling out there without fancy bikes (how bout that ToysRUs Barbie Bike with the basket on front or the SpiderMan “mountain bike” that looked like it just got its training wheels taken off), running shoes or heart rate monitors was AMAZING. Just getting some fitness in and having a blast doing it. Happy Happy Joy Joy!

This was my second year doing the Maryland Women’s Sprint Duathlon and it was the Inaugural RipItEvents Youth Sprint Duathlon. The Women’s Sprint went off first at 7:00am and Princess Cara insisted in coming with me at O Dark 30 to hang with mom and cheer me on until her race started at 10:15am.
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Cara and I racked our bikes, got marked and hung out with a bunch of ladies from LiveNowTriNow and SoleTriSisters. Finally, it was time for us to line up and get the party started.
womendu024 This was the first race since the dramatic (and depressing) performance 3 weeks before and 2 weeks into workouts with my new coaches – Suzy & Dany Serpico. Those two weeks of pretty damn intense workouts and focus had me feeling I was getting my mojo back.

The JOY WAS BACK. Three weeks previous and even before that, I stopped having fun at what I loved and it was sucking the life from me. JOY WAS BACK. I was having fun again.
RUN                           BIKE                               RUN

….and collect the BLING!!
Sooooo, how I’d do?

Despite the foot issue, I knocked off 5:39 min off of last years time.

GO ME!!!!

Where did I get the time. TRANSITION and a few min on the bike mostly. TRANSITIONS DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE and I am a big time piddler in transition. Which Suzy gave me the side eye on during our 1st meeting. “No more piddling around, Lisa. Get moving, keep moving.” Yes, ma’am.

                   2012 Results                                                2013 Results
Run             23:53:91  (11:57 pace)                                 25:54:51  (12:57 pace)
TI                  3:36:23                                                     2:14
Bike             1:08:57   (11.3 mph)                                    1:03:42   (12.3 mph)
T2                 3:31:95                                                      3:11
Run              30:46:51   (15:24 pace)                                30:02   (15:01 pace)
Total           2:10:45                                                      2:05:06

I was thrilled. I felt pretty good during the entire race and I realized that maybe, just maybe I’m not going backwards with all this work. I AM moving forward and improving. Am I getting faster as quickly as I’d like – no – but I am getting better and I’m still having fun.

As for Princess Cara…she RIPPED IT!!!!
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She came in 10th overall out of 52 in her age group and the 5th girl. I’m so proud of her! She wants to get into a youth running group to work on her running and she is looking for the next race. I’m glad she finds JOY in the fitness too…but who doesn’t like to collect the bling.
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