Friday, May 18, 2012

Team Aquaphor 2012! I'm IN!!

Team Aquaphor and Active Ambassadors sent out our acceptance invitations today!!

You have been selected to become a member of the
2012 Team Aquaphor!!

This will be my 5th year on the team and I'm just as excited this year as I was the first year that I was accepted!  Chosen to be on the team initially when we lived in McKinney/Dallas, I've raced for Team Aquaphor in Fayetteville, North Carolina and then Sunset Beach, North Carolina and now in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  Everywhere that I've represented Aquaphor I've had nothing less than an extremely positive experience and reception and I know this will be another great year with this Team.

Through the social media (our Team Facebook page) I've come to think of my Teammates as friends although I've only met 3 of them in person!  We are an extremely close group and the support and encouragement only makes me try harder and race faster!!

Great Team - Great Product - Great Sponsor! 
I'd call that a Win-Win for sure!! 
Ready to represent in 2012!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Vacation Time!!

We're going to Dauphin Island on Saturday for a week of vacation!!  Beach Time!  Island Time!!  Relaxation time for my very overworked husband!!

No cycling for me but lots of running and ocean swimming in the forecast!! 

On the beach!  Cute isn't it!  Our home away from home for a week!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Crawfishman Triathlon Race Report

Raced the Crawfishman Triathlon yesterday!!  In usual fashion Crawfishman delivered a great race!  It's been pretty warm the last few days and naturally, race day didn't disappoint.  Bill and I drove down the day before with the boys and stayed with our family that lives in Covington, Nina and Lonnie!  My friends Deanna, Judy and Lesely came down the day before too.  Lesley's husband Phillip was the designated driver and chauffeur for them for the weekend!! 

Post Race Pic! 
Deanna - 4th Age Group*
 Judy - 1st Age Group (3rd fastest Swim women)
Lesley - 5th Age Group
My alarm was set for the usual 4:00 am race morning wake up.  I had my typical breakfast of Oatmeal with crunchy peanut butter, banana and vanilla soy milk.  Made a bagel for Bill and we headed off to the race site.  Got there at 6:00 am when the transition opened.  An hour and a half before the first wave started.  Perfect!

"Celebrity Race Number... Small numbers are lighter and have less wind drag coefficient...."

I was racked right next to two tough women - Kathy Abela (#14) and Susan Boudreaux (#13).  Last year they both caught me around mile 3 on the run.  I was able to run Susan down just before the finish line but couldn't catch Kathy.  It was a pretty "close" finish! 

Kathy Abela 1:48:01
Ginger Spansel 1:48:05
Susan Boudreaux 1:48:11

I chatted with Kathy as we set up our bikes - reintroduced myself (we'd also raced against each other at River Cities and she kicked my hiney).  You think we were racked all together on accident??  I think not!

Had plenty of time for a run and swim warm up - perfect - no stress.  There were 5 waves for the swim with all the women going off together in Wave 5.  You'd think with the number of women in the wave it would be a smooth start??  Not a chance.  I got pummelled!!!  Kathy was just to my left and I think she tends to swim right, she kept pushing me farther to the right away from the buoys.  I finally had to back off and swim over her legs to get on her left side and let her drift off on her own.  I finally got into a rhythm and ended up catching a lot of the girls who'd sprinted out at the start.  Felt pretty good about that because usually it's me getting passed at the midway point during the swim. 

"Hi Bill!"
On the final leg of the swim we were parallel to the shore and I could see Bill and our neice Michelle walking alongside so I had to give him them wave!  She asked how he knew it was me - he said he recognized my swim stroke and that I'd just waved at him!  :)

My awesome husband and race photographer!
When I came out of the swim I heard Lesley's husband Phillip call out 16:30 for my time!  I was happyeeeeee!!!  Keep in mind that a swim course in a triathlon is never exact from year to year but last year my time was 20:38.  That's what swimming consistently can do for you.  Since I moved from Texas I haven't had any kind of consistency in my swim training until last year.  I'd swim once or twice a week leading up to a race, counting on the fact that I've always considered my swim to be my best event. 

Pushing the "Lap" button on my watch.
Off onto the bike for 18 miles of rolling hills.  I felt really good on the bike, got my Garmin to properly scroll so I could actually see (for once) how fast I was going.  Hmmm.... what a novel concept... knowing your speed!  The only aggravating thing this day was the men around me.  There was one 58 year old guy who kept passing me then slowing down... you know the scenario. I'd pass him back, he'd pass me back.  Finally I couldn't take it anymore and told him to just go and stay ahead.  Then there was the little old man who didn't seem to have a problem drafting.  Blatently drafting.  So in my electrolyte haze I asked him if he was enjoying the draft.  Just up ahead there was a draft marshall who'd slowed way down, I wonder if he got a penalty??

When I got back to transition my spot on the rack was gone.  3 bikes taking up all of the space.  I was mad!!.  Where should I put my bike now??  I wasted some time trying to move one over just enough to get mine close to my number.  (fyi - penalty for not reracking your bike in the proper location).  In the end I just put it about 3 places down and felt really bad for whoever was supposed to be there.  As I ran out of transition I saw the race director and yelled out something about my bike place being taken, hoping I wouldn't get a penalty.  (yes... I am a rule follower).

The run was hot and hilly and I kept hoping that Kathy and Susan wouldn't catch me again.  Worry... worry... worry..... pathetic!   I finally told myself that worrying about those two girls was only eating up my energy and put it out of my head.  As it turned out I was safe! This year it turned out like this:

Ginger Spansel 1:41:10
Kathy Abela 1:43:49
Susan Boudreaux 1:47:07

I won first Masters Female, Kathy won her age group 45-49, and Susan regained her title of Grand Masters Female. 

Swim: 16:39  HR Avg 167 / Max 168
T1   :51.9
Bike: 49:48 / 21.6  HR Avg 165 / Max 173
T2   :56.1
Run:  32:54 / 7:49  HR Avg 17 3/ Max 184

Our niece Michelle out watching her friend Jonathan Hobbs race.

Female Champions!  L-R
I don't know the first guy's name :(
Susan Boudreaux - Grand Masters
Stephanie Smith - 1st Overall
Sophie Capmartin - 2nd Overall
Ginger Spansel - Masters 6th Overall
Barbara Kerby - 3rd Overall
Mark Salvetti - Race Director

The beautiful awards were custom and created by Mark's son Nicholas Salvetti!  He did the painting!!  Very cool!  This is Nicholas - he also helped at the swim exit helping the athletes out of the water.  We were chatting here about the awards and his artwork!!

*I just have to add that Deanna was in a horrible bike crash 9 WEEKS ago.  A big pit bull ran out in front of her and she hit it dead on.  She went over the handlebars and broke her left clavicle (9 pins) and right wrist.  Just being out here to race is impressive let alone placing 4th!  She was only released by her doc to start training three weeks before the race.  Triathletes are TOUGH!!!

One more thing - awesome t-shirts.  Every race now days thinks they HAVE to do a DriFit Tech shirt and some of them give really bad quaility ones.  I miss the cotton tshirts.  Crawfishman has great cotton t-shirts and this year they also had Tech Shirts (in gender specific - thank you) sizes for sale!!  Deanna, Lesely and I all got one!  Great idea - good marketing!  I even wore mine after the race!   AND.. we got stemless wineglasses etched with the race logo as we crossed the finish line.  Those Louisiana races... well done!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes - Crawfishman Triathlon

One year ago Bill and I were driving from our home in Sunset Beach, North Carolina to New Orleans for a vacation to see family and for me to race in the Crawfishman Triathlon in Covington, Louisiana.  Little did we know at that time that in a month or so we would be moving to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. 

Fast forward one year and it's time to race the Crawfishman Triathlon again this coming weekend.  How quickly life can change in a year.

I am so lucky to have met a great group of triathletes and runners in Hattiesburg.  I feel like I've known the three girls that I am fortunate to call friends as well as training partners, for years.  They (whoever "they" is) say that it is extremely difficult for women over 40 to make friend.  Aquaintences yes, but not good friends.  Life here would be very different if I hadn't met Deanna that day at Masters Swim practice last June.

A triathlete that I knew years ago (he used to manage the Champs Sporting Goods store across the mall from the Victoria's Secret that I ran in Cortana Mall, Baton Rouge, LA), Chris Boyd happened to live in Hattiesburg where he teaches Exercise Physiology at the University of Southern Mississippi - he is now Dr. Boyd.  He introduced me to Deanna and told me that I should ride with her.  He said that she was just getting into triathlons and was very competitive (big time understatement - Deanna consistently kicks my you know what on the bike).  Through Deanna I met Judy and Lesley.  I am proud to know these women - they are kind, they are smart and they are also fiercely competitive athletes.  Deanna played basketball on a scholarship in college, Judy swam at Auburn on a swimming scholarship and Lesley is a lifetime athlete and the Athletic Director and Coach at Laurel Christian School.  They've all been competing in triathlons for several years and this year we're all planning a lot of races together. We all train together several times a weeks with coffee following up a lot of our workouts.

I've raced at Crawfishman a bunch of times, with a lot of different distances including when it was a Half Ironman (I think it may have actually been my first Half).  In keeping with Louisiana tradition the post race festivities at this race are awesome!!!  Lots of great food, beer and frozen margaritas made on the spot!!  The awards are tasteful and something you'd like to have in your home.  Last year it was a signed and framed print from artist, Jose Balli who lives on the race course.  (Check out the Art link on his page.)
This is a really great race and I would recommend it to anyone.  It didn't take much convincing to get Lesley, Judy and Deanna to sign up for it!  We've got several others from Hattiesburg racing on Sunday there too, including Judy's husband Sam who was 3rd Overall last year and Chris Boyd.  We're hoping to make a good showing for the Hub City!

The swim is always long, it is advertised as .6 mile, but is usually longer - Judy and I are really happy about that!  A hilly (it felt really hilly last year coming from the beach in North Carolina) 18 mile bike and a hilly 4 mile run.  I remember last year being really worried about my knee, it was the longest run race distance I'd done since my knee surgery at the end of 2009.  I also raced this one on my road bike with the aerobars.  I got the Felt just before we moved, so I'm also looking forward to seeing if there is a difference. 

I'll let you know how it goes!!

From the website:
The race was founded in 1983 by Charlie Hoolihan, Mark Salvetti and Rick Ramirez. We started with a three-race series 1983 and along the past 26 years we have received numerous awards and recognition for putting on a quality race in South Louisiana. We've come a long way since the first year.....the introduction of clipless bars....heck, we used to put up "changing rooms" for transitions!!!
A little known fact is that in 1985 the race was twice as long as today, at that race the very first Scott DH Aero bars were used by Andrew McNaughton to defeat Mike Pigg in a classic battle. Mike Pigg went on to clean house that summer and become known as one of the fastest time trialists in triathlon history.

The race was run continuously from 1983 until 1993, it slept until the brash trio of Steve Sperier, Tom Holland and Donnie Jarrell re-created the event in 1996 then again in 1997. In 1998 Mark and Kirsty Salvetti moved back to the Northshore to form the core with Steve and Lori Sperier. Tommy Holland still heads South from the Mason Dixon line to help out every year, and Charlie Hoolihan comes out race day to help with logistics and race announcing. Charlie is kind of like the "Nash Roberts" of school like old school.....!

The Brain Trust: Steve and Lori Sperier, Mark and Kirsty's all good. We're not shy....We put on a great race !!!!!!

Our race has always made efforts to assist the community monetarily, to that end we are always pleased to donate to Denise Gutnisky of the Have A Heart Thru Art Foundation. We have also made monetary contributions to the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Donnie Jarrell fund, American Red Cross, Kids Connection, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Office, Franco's Fins Swim Team, Mandeville Police Department and the Mandeville Wrestling Team. Our race is put on by the efforts of great race volunteers and generous sponsors. Next time you come across either one, say thank you.

Got any questions? Email us at

"Spanish Moss in my Hand, turn me into Crawfishman!"