Destination Dirtbag.

Here I sit, amidst change, evaluating opportunities.

Opportunities to pursue new outcomes.

Opportunities to run down more dreams.

This month, I have been between my last career opportunity and preparing to embrace my next career opportunity. I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve had time to reflect.

Time to find a new adventure. (Or two, or three, or…. I’m always dreaming up new adventures. And this year has a few lined up!)

ANYWAY, after putting most of my “other” plans on hold to pursue the BIG plan of 2015 (i.e. my Ironman). I’m ready to go after new plans.

First up?

Destination Dirtbag.

 

Yes, that’s right. I’m going to be living the dirtbag life. For a few days anyways…

This is my vacation between jobs!? It may not sound like the traditional or ideal vacation for many. They sort of vacation that involves sitting on a beach, drinking fancy drinks, and soaking up the sun. That’s not my type of vacation. I’d rather pursue a new adventure.

So, with that in mind… I’ll be flying out west, grabbing a van and living out of it for 10 days.

I. Cannot. Wait.

Now, I am fully aware I’m only fake dirt-bagging it here since I do have a new career path locked down and a start date on the calendar. And I still have my home and my established life. Clearly, I’m not going to be living from a van for an extended period of time which would provide me with true dirtbag status, but a girl can try to experience all she can while she has the opportunity to pursue it.

Living from a van. Traveling from National Park to National Park – hiking, taking in the beauty, getting as dirty as I can, embracing as much of nature as I can, meeting as many new people as I can – as I travel through UT, AZ, and maybe part of ID, WY and MT – depending on how much time I choose to spend in the first part of the trip. I have a tentative list of places to see but no real agenda or schedule. I’m just going with the flow and taking whatever time I want to, and feel I need to, in order to truly explore each park to my hearts desire. Heaven. No schedule, no plan, some time to hike, relax, and soak it all in. (Like I said, I cannot wait!)

Now, I will take a (small) moment to let you know that I am not disillusioned here. I am sure there will be low points mixed in with the high points with this action. Tenting and van sleeping are not always the most comfortable of solutions, especially for a bit of an extended time. Hiking every day will likely leave me sore and tired some days, but I am convinced that the scenery will help to fill me up and reward the work that is put in.

So with this, I am signing off and unplugging for the next bit of time as I fly off to my next grand adventure.

Cheers!

To live

In memory of…

Two months ago, one of my friends that I met through my swimming, biking and running adventures passed away suddenly.

The endurance community in CNY lost a great and kind soul.

Jason was a fierce competitor, relentless in his pursuit of becoming better at cycling, at improving his skills, strength and endurance. After years of cycling, he had recently started to enter the world of triathlon. To push himself further, to learn new skills, to pursue new goals.

In addition to improving his own dedication to sport, he constantly worked to motivate and encourage others to push themselves, to stretch to new goals, to pursue their wildest dreams. And when those dreams started to seem overwhelming, he would lend a hand at just the right moment to help you to keep going. This often came in the form of a text/facebook message or more likely a motivational video.

Jason was one of the reasons that I began to believe that Ironman Lake Placid was a good idea, that signing up would be an amazing adventure and something that would never be taken from me. While I may still question the full sanity of pursuing the IMLP goal, I was lucky that Jason continued to provide support after helping to convince me to pursue this goal. Right when I was at my breaking point in the training, I received this video from Jason – it was delivered with perfect timing as I prepared to take on my 140.6 mile adventure last July. The support prior to and during IMLP from Jason and his girlfriend Kim was phenomenal, they were all over the course cheering and taking photos, helping to motivate and provide a little extra ump all day long. Truly a blessing during that long hot day.

It was apparent – whether Jason was in the race or on the sidelines – he loved endurance events and seeing people set and reach their goals. I am extremely fortunate to have gotten to know Jason, to learn about CX racing from him, and to be able to call him a friend while he still walked this earth.

Jason was truly an amazing person. It was seen with the outpouring of love that came at this time of terrible grief within the community, it was seen at the calling hours with the special honors that friends bestowed onto him, and at the funeral with a procession of cyclists fighting the cold temperatures and wind to pay tribute in the absolute best way.

There is no explanation for why certain people are taken from this world all too soon.

There is no use in trying to understand it, to try and make sense of the crazy turns in life.

All we can do is take advantage of the time we are given.

To pursue our goals. To try things. To fail. To stand back up.

To live the life we are meant to live.

In whatever form that may be for each of us individually.

Make your dreams a reality.

Live a life you love.

So with this, Jason, here is a motivational video for you. You certainly will be remembered for your friendship and inspiration that you provided to so many of us.

And Kim, please know that you are loved by so many. My heart continues to break for you. You were so blessed to have Jason in your life. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

 

 

Choices, Chances, Changes.

Choices, Chances, Changes.

We all face them every day. They may not be big choices, grand chances or colossal changes. Yet they occur. All. Day. Long.

Choices

We decide what time to get out of bed.

We decide what to eat.

We decide what to wear.

We decide our activities for the day. Our priorities.

We decide if we go into auto-pilot with our day-to-day, with our weekly routine, with our lives. Or if we decide to take chances…

Chances

We are blessed that we are able to decide when to take chances.

To refuse the mindless routine. To mix it up.

To choose chance.

To actually take the chances that are presented to us.

To jump out into the unknown. To make new friends, to rekindle past relationships, to extend a hand, to assist others, and often, in turn to help ourselves.

We get to take the changes, to embrace change.

Change

Pursue change. Big or small. Try new things.

Try a new flavor of coffee, try a new workout, try a walk down a new path.

Take the chance to adventure up a mountain or across the sea.

To experience all the world has to offer. People, places, things. Embrace them.

To learn. To grow. To evolve. To change.

There are abundant opportunities to dream of, and to embrace change.

Choices, Chances, Change. 

We grow through choices, chances and change. Some choices, chances and change are small. Other choices, chances and change will rock your world to its soul. There are positive choices, chances and change. There are the not go great (and yet still oh so valuable) choices, chance and change. They come in all shapes, sizes, and stature. They can have satisfying and exciting outcomes. They can also have depressing and stressful outcomes. Yet I have found, regardless of the outcome achieved, there is always always always something to learn, to experience, and to grow from.

Choices, Chances, Change.

These are the things life is made of.

 

 

Finishing 2015, and the start of 2016. Racing & Other Things.

Hello hello hello.

It’s been a long time. And a lot has occurred. (Be forewarned, semi-long post ahead.) 

Part of me cannot believe that my last post was all about my Lake Placid Ironman experience. (And another part of me knows EXACTLY why my last post was about IMLP.)

But anyways… what has been going on since IMLP? Well, there was a  (short) period of recovery where I also interviewed for a new job and decided to leap from my career of nearly 10 years into something new that would allow me to move back near my hometown permanently.

The goal was to spend more time with family and friends from home. I have always felt a strong tie to the Saratoga region and after 10 years of being away for my job, plus the 4 years of college, I decided it was time to make the move back.

Starting the new job, meeting new coworkers, learning all about the products my company carried, going through formal and informal training and getting out to meet my customers all across New England kept me pretty busy…

Also, I kept training. I ran the inaugural Old Forge Half Marathon trail run with a couple friends then I ran in the ADK Ragnar Relay on an Ultra team (we took 2nd place for ultra teams – pretty awesome!) and finally participated in a fundraising ride in October.

In November, I was accepted back onto Team Betty for 2016, which was so amazing because I love my Betty Squad!! The women around the world that make up Team Betty are amazing and an inspiration. They were also a major reason for my return to racing in 2016!

After my three Fall events, I took about a month off from training before jumping back into training for the Walt Disney World half that I ran with my sister and my mom in January – we ran as a team and stuck together, it was so much fun! It was my sister’s first half marathon and she did awesome, I am so proud of her!  (BTW, I am now fully convinced that Disney World IS the happiest place on earth, even if you are a 30-something adult without children….) It was an amazing trip with the family. I wish we could get away more together. It was great to see my parents  and my sister and her husband relax and enjoy!

After Disney, I rushed out to San Diego for work. While most of the time I was in San Diego, I was stuck inside of a hotel – I did get out one afternoon and rode a Segway. This was my first time on a Segway, it was so fun once you got the hang of it!

After returning to home mid-January, I knew it was time to decide what I was going to do with 2016. Honestly, I was feeling pretty burned out from training in 2015 but I knew I also didn’t want to sit around and go from 100% crazy in 2015 to 100% idle in 2016. So, with this in mind, and knowing I needed to change some things up, I hired a new coach for 2016 to see what new workout strategies I could learn with some new direction. I also decided to sign up for Tupper Lake Tinman, a 70.3 distance race, for 2016.

I was thinking 70.3 would be cake easier less intense after last year racing 140.6. Now, in early April as I encroach upon closing month #3 of training for this 70.3, I have been fully reminded that a 70.3 is just as intense as ever and still a lot of work! I am certain I should have stepped back into sprints and oly’s for this year since I am still definitely feeling a bit burned out, but I am lucky because I do have a new coach who IS teaching me new strategies and ways to train for distance racing and I am definitely seeing improvements in my swimming and running. I am not a quitter. I will see this 4th 70.3 distance race through to the end.

My swimming has been exciting, I’ve not made it to the pool as often as my coach would request, but I’ve seen improvements and PRs when I am swimming.

My biking is also coming along, although a bit slower than I had hoped – I’m praying that once I finally get outside (this spring has been much colder, much longer than one would hope) that I will see the work put in the last 90 days has paid off. My biking is almost build back up to where it was in late 2014 – last year, Ironman training had the effect of actually weakening my bike leg. I was able to put in the distance but lost some of the power I had when biking shorter distances. I’m excited to build in this region again.

Finally, my running is starting to speed up again (whoop!). I have been doing a bit of strength training and yoga along with my swimming, biking and running and it is definitely paying off. My legs feel better than they have in the past 2 years and I am currently closing in on my paces that I used to run in 2013. I’m cautiously excited about this – I know I have to keep a close watch on my strength, my flexibility, and my prior injury tendencies as I continue to try and push my speed back up into the sub 9s and possibly sub 8s at times.

All this improvement is coming despite trying to juggle quite a bit of traveling with the new job, and the realization that the first career move made after 10 years with my prior company has not been the best fit for my professional life. (Cue changes ahead.) The past few months have been interesting, I have learned quite a bit, but I am ready to embrace yet another chapter of my life in the very near future. (Stay tuned.)

For racing in 2016, I just ran the Bacon Hill Bonanza 10K last weekend at an 8:17 pace (not so bad after about 18 months stuck in the 10-min pace range!), and I am looking forward to racing a couple sprint tri’s (especially Pumpkinman in Maine with my Betty Squad!). I can’t wait to see how my fourth 70.3 in Tupper Lake comes together this year and I have another Ragnar Relay trail race on the calendar which I am super stoked for (they’re so FUN!)!

On the non-racing front, I am excited for the next transition in my professional life and a couple of non-work trips. One is coming up here in a couple weeks and another at the end of June. I’ll definitely be sharing pictures and reflections on my adventures!!

Photos//
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Old Forge Half Marathon Trail Run

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At the start line of ADK Ragnar Relay – Ultra Team!

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OktoberBreast 50 Mile Bike Start Line!

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Team Betty 2016!

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The family in Disney! Post Half-Marathon Breakfast. (Jackson couldn’t take his eyes off the characters!)

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Half-pint motivator.🙂

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Segways in San Diego!

Race Recap. Ironman Lake Placid 2015.

I have to admit, it’s been a week and my head is still spinning from last Sunday! During training my coach kept telling me that race day would fly by, and I thought she was crazy. My long bike rides during training took F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to finish and that was only one part of what I was going to go through during the Ironman. Now, after the race, I can’t believe it – the entire day feels like it took 10 minutes! (When I was actually awake and moving around for 21 hours total start to finish on Sunday!) So crazy. I guess it’s kind of like getting married, you set the date a year in advance, you think about the day, you plan for the day, you prepare for the day, you put in blood, sweat, and tears for the day (maybe more applicable to triathlon than getting married – hopefully), and then the day arrives and it’s over before you know it!

I will predict that this race recap will be a long one, so you are going to have to be really interested to actually read this whole thing. However, if you stick around I promise you’ll get the entire story of how my day unfolded, even the part of my day that I would rather forget (spoiler alert, my race didn’t really end when I crossed the finish line – not the ending I wanted, but oh well…).

I’m going to break my race up into Pre-race, Swim Loop 1, Swim Loop 2, Transition 1, Bike Loop 1, Bike Loop 2, Transition 2, Run Loop 1, Run Loop 2, and finally what I am calling 140.7, my extra stop after the finish line of Ironman Lake Placid. This way if you’re more interested in one part if my recap, OR you find yourself getting bored and need a break you can easily come back and pick up reading later.

As an alternative to reading my lengthly recap, if you get sick of reading this, you can feel free to just skip to the end to scroll through the photos.🙂

Race Morning 

Woke up at 3:15 am, showered and took an Imodium since I was still feeling off. (I was a bit sick the couple of days leading up to the race, despite avoiding restaurants and trying to eat very plainly per my coach’s food plan… ). Then I went downstairs in our amazing rental house and started to eat breakfast around 3:45. Bagel with peanut butter and honey and a scrambled egg. One cup of coffee and a glass of water. At 4:15 am I finished getting ready and grabbed my gear bags. At 4:30 am, I left the house with my parents, found a parking space about 2 blocks away from the start line. Even though the house was close, we wanted to get a spot for the car so that my sister and parents had a quick place to stash things, and also since Baby J is only 7 months old, we thought it would be good to have a “home base” very close to the race start/transition/finish.

Now up in the village, between 4:30-5:30 am I was body marked, then entered transition to place a final items in bike and run bags (like my heart rate monitor and nutrition, didn’t want that out in the rain all night!), then I placed nutrition and fluids on my bike, and dropped off my special needs bags with the few items inside that I had just in case I was having a horrendous day and needed a break at the halfway point of the bike or run. After I dropped off everything, I went back down onto Mirror Lake Drive and headed to the T2 tent to hang out until the race start. It was neat because so many people were walking by, I got to wish some other athletes good luck and got a last minute hug from Emily (aka Zippchick), my Betty Teammate from Syracuse! It also gave me a few minutes to just sit-down, collect myself and just chat a bit with Ed, Kristen and few of the other T2 athletes.  At 6:00 am I took a salt tab and Gu – first race nutrition in for the day. Then a bit of the pre-race anxiousness started to set in, and I started the eternal struggle of putting on my wetsuit.

Swim Start

Once my wetsuit was on, I said my last goodbye’s to my parents and some T2 teammates, then headed to the swim start. On my way to the water bumped into Amy from Team Betty and chatted for a few before wading into Mirror Lake for a quick warm up. A few quick pick-ups in the water, and was feeling good. I had a couple really great swims Thursday and Friday in Mirror Lake so I was excited to see how things were going to unfold for the race. Around 6:20 I found my way to the 1:00-1:10 estimated swim time mark in the swim start and found my coach. Perfect!

It’s a bit funny to me, but my coach was planning to draft off me in the swim – with everything that has gone on with my biking and running in the past year, my swimming has been my bright spot and strength this year (a much different story than when I started more distance swimming in 2013!). It’s the one aspect that dramatically improved rather than slowed down during this process.

6:30 am – National anthem and the butterflies started rolling in my stomach. The swim start started to move forward, the first group was in the water. A few seconds pause and then before I knew it, I was in the water! This was really starting and it came quick! Couldn’t believe how fast the race started once we started walking. There wasn’t much time to think, just had to jump in and go which was good. (I hate how you get in the water then have to wait for a minute before you start in other tri races. I really liked the rolling start!)

Swim Loop #1
The swim was congested for a buoy or two. Then it thinned out. I found the infamous underwater yellow cable around buoy number 5 or 6 but didn’t stay there long. Way too many people bumping into me – plus the cable was difficult to see – the water was dark, not sure if this was due to it being cloudy or from the fire the night before! At this point I worked to find my way back to about 5 to 6 feet off to the left of the line again. Close enough to sight off others following the line but not in the mess. In the swim, I drafted off someone every chance that I was able to. My coach had given us some lessons in swim drafting during our training weekend in Lake Placid so I kept working to find someone swimming about my pace (another nice thing about the rolling start based on anticipated swim times) and would swim right behind their feet or just off their hip. Unfortunately it seemed that I would only find someone for a few hundred yards before I’d be alone again, but I always found another person to draft pretty quickly.

The first turn buoy of the swim was chaos. I had people swimming over me, so I can easily say this was my least favorite part of the swim for sure. Once I cleared the second turn buoy, I worked to get out of the crowd. I decided I was again best to swim a little wide of the course and avoid the swimmers that were super aggressive on the inside. At this point, I realized my goggles were fogging up!! I was so bummed because they were brand new! I couldn’t believe it. Somehow, I ended up on the cable again for a bit by mistake, it was less crowded but not great.  At least I could sight something since my goggles were becoming less and less useful. Swam along the cable for 2 or 3 buoys, then I was getting close to the end of loop 1 where the final turn buoy is and the exit onto the beach. It was getting really crowded again so I tried to find some space and just get through to get in for the second loop.

Swim Loop #2
Out of the water, I looked at my watch and it read 33 minutes! Was so pumped. I wasn’t pushing my pace at all during this first loop and I had no idea what my watch would read when I came out of the water since there had been a few points where I had to stop and swim around people. My first loop certainly didn’t feel that fast, and was surprised since I thought the swim felt slow/congested so that was perfect. From talking with the other Betty’s on Friday I knew I had to be careful not to run too fast on the beach before entering the water for loop 2. If you’re not careful, you can really spike your HR which will impact your swim. At this point, I also wiped the inside of my goggles while on the beach since I could barely see anything for half of the first loop.

Before I knew it, I was back in the water and back to work. Started a bit off the cable, my strategy was again to stay off the line to avoid the crowd. Immediately my goggles were fogging again (ugh), decided to just suck it up and ignore it the best I could. The trip back out to the turn was fairly uneventful until I approached the turn. Just kept swimming, swimming, swimming. As I neared the turn I had two guys (green caps) one on either side of me and neither of them were swimming very straight. The guy on the left came right, and the one on the right came left – this resulted in an Amie sandwich. They hit me at the the same time and one punched me in the head. I was not impressed. They both swam apart again but I could tell they were quickly both coming back toward me and I really wasn’t wanting to get smushed again. Not knowing what else to do, I pulled back a bit and let them crash into each other. When they spread back apart, I swam threw them.

Now entering the turn of the course, I was back into the washing machine of athletes. I started to get beat up again around the turn, but decided I wasn’t going to take it and decided to just bust through. I came through the turns and quickly found my happy spot just off the line by a few feet. It was time to head in, I kept sighting off other people that were on the line. Again, somehow ended up on the line. (Apparently I must swim a bit to the left.)Swam for a bit longer on the line this time. Again couldn’t really see the cable very well since the water was so dark and my goggles were fogged but at least I knew I was on course. I was pleasantly surprised the cable was not more congested. I was able to comfortably stayed on the line for 4 or 5 buoys without having to battle anyone. I was so happy how quickly the swim was going by, but I knew this was just one small (and my favorite) part of my day.1105_010067

As I neared the end, it was so packed. So many people… I must have caught the end of the swimmers still working to finish their first loop PLUS I was with the group I had swam the course with. At least I knew I was finishing the water and wouldn’t have to battle the crowd much longer! Out of the water, and saw 1:08 on my watch! Ran toward the end of the suit strippers and got my suit off and off to T1!!

Official IM time: 1 hour, 09 minutes, 07 seconds

T1
Unfortunately, both my transitions were not pretty. For Swim to Bike, I grabbed the wrong bag. I didn’t realize it until I got into the tent and opened it and saw my sneakers. I was SO BUMMED. Ran back out of the tent, a volunteer took my run bag and said she would re-rack it for me. Left it with her and went and grabbed my bike bag. Back in the tent and scrambled to get ready. For some reason, despite the fact that I knew it had been super humid all morning, I still had the weather forecast of rain and cooler temperatures in my head and thought it would be cold, especially on the decent into Keene, so I put on my arm warmers and vest. This ended up being a bit of a mistake for the day…

Out of the change tent and happy that I had heard four different volunteers had announce my number so that my bike would be waiting for me. Unfortunately, when I got to the bike rack 2 volunteers were standing at the end and started apologizing since they had not heard my number. They told me to wait, they would get my bike. I ended up standing there watching the volunteer struggle to get my bike unracked. A little frustrating but nothing I could do about it. Ran out of transition and got on the bike.

Official IM time: 7 minutes, 26 seconds

Bike Loop #1
Rounded the sharp corners to leave transition, and started to focus on getting down out of town without crashing. Saw my family cheering – so great to see them! Made it down the steep decent and started out on the course, life was good. At the start of the bike, I knew I needed to focus on trying to settle in and get my HR under control. I sipped some Nuun and took a salt tab in the first 10 minutes. Kept biking and working to focus on settling in. Saw my Betty teammate Amy, (she had wanted to swim a 1:05 and did! amazing!) cheered for her as I passed her on the climb. Shortly after that, my coach KRoe passed me. She’s an amazing athlete! At 20 minutes into the bike I ate 1/2 of a Gatorade chew packet. Before I knew it I was riding along the water and almost to the decent to Keene. Whoa, looked at my time and was biking much faster than normal… this is when I started to worry I might be pushing too fast. The number one rule for the LP Bike course is pacing. If you bike the first loop too fast, you risk blowing up on the second loop. With over 5800 elevation change on the course, you’ve got to pace yourself!1105_029145

Right before the decent to Keene, I ate 1/3 of a power bar. It was 35 minutes which was a little early but I had planned to take the calories before the decent and decided earlier was better than pushing all my plan back by 5 minutes for the day. The decent to Keene was beautiful. Flew down the decent to Keene and caught back up to my coach near the bottom. I arrived in Keene in 45 minutes. About 8-10 minutes ahead of any bike I’ve ever done in LP. Decided there was nothing I could do about it, so just focused on settling in and managing the rest of the bike. At this point, I took off my arm warmers – it was getting hot and was humid!! I finished my first bottle of fluids (Nuun) as I headed to Upper Jay. Filled up my bottle with the pre-mixed scratch that I brought with me. At 60 minutes I had 1/3 of power bar and another salt tab. For those that have not done a long course triathlon, the biggest thing I learned was that you have to have a nutrition plan and you have to follow it. The biggest reason I would have a bad run or bike during training was due to not following my nutrition plan. In a 70.3 distance you still need a plan to follow, but you can generally recover if you mess it up. I found with 140.6, there is much less room for error.

Grabbed a Gatorade at the aid station before Jay. Also grabbed a water and poured some down my back to cool me off. Had the last 1/3 of my power bar at 1 hour 20 minutes. Out to Ausable and was now 15 minutes ahead of plan. Whoops. Was nervous about this and how it would impact the rest of my ride but decided to just keep going and monitor my pace the best I could. Emily (Zippchick) passed me on the way out to Ausable right before the turn. Was surprised she wasn’t ahead of me, but it was great to see her! Made the turnaround (surprised how tight the turn was!) and headed back. At 1 hour 40 minutes I ate the other 1/2 of the Gatorade chew packet (60 cal). Filled my bottle with the Gatorade I had grabbed at the aid station. Turned to start the climb to Wilmington. Grabbed another Gatorade at the aid station to put in my water bottle holder. Took the salt tab right after the aid station and took in a Gu. At this point, I was in a pack of bikes. The steep little climb into Wilmington had a bit of a pack of us together, ended up talking with a guy who had done LP a few times. Not really sure what we talked about now, but it was nice to talk to someone for a little bit. It was getting so hot! Couldn’t wait to ditch my vest at special needs but knew I couldn’t focus on this and needed to finish the first loop. Kept sipping Gatorade. Was sipping my fluids about every 5 – 7 minutes as planned. Gatorade was starting to not feel great in my stomach but not terrible yet.

Now in Wilmington, quickly did the 2 mile out and back toward Hazleton. During this out and back, I managed to spill Gatorade all over my right elbow rest pad.  That was fun (nice and sticky) for the rest of the day. Grabbed a Gatorade then grabbed a water here (after plowing through 2 volunteers and spilling the water they tried to hand me, third time was the charm… not sure what was going on here, have to apologize to the volunteers… at least they were laughing!!). Even though I knew having two bottles of fluid would be extra weight for the climb up “the notch” to Lake Placid, I wanted to make sure I had water if I needed it for my stomach. Took in 2 shot blocks at 2 hours 20 minutes. They were in my plan and I had trained with them but for whatever reason, didn’t taste great today. Now stared the dreaded climb from Wilmington to Lake Placid. Slow and steady…

At 2:40 of the bike I took in a Gu. I skipped grabbing anything at the aid station out here since I was still working on the Gatorade and water that I grabbed at the prior station. I kept sipping Gatorade, it didn’t feel that great on the stomach but was still going down so I stuck with it – it was the best bet I had for electrolytes and calories. As we neared Lake Placid, we started to see more and more people along the course. Some were biking the course backward and cheering, others were camping out at random places along the climb. I saw my friend Jay here! So great to see someone I knew!! At 3 hours, I took in 2 more shot blocks and a salt. Nearing town and started to climb the final set of hills named the three bears – the crowd was so awesome here!! Costumes, noisemakers, signs and just general craziness. Definitely the place to spectate the bike course in the future! Turned onto Northwoods and climbed the last little (yet very steep) hill that a few of us have now started calling “Goldilocks”. Ate my final 2 shot blocks after the climb. Turned onto Mirror Lake drive and the crows were lining the street all the way through town. So great!

As we had started the climb into Lake Placid, the sky had turned dark and my bike computer told me that the temperature had dropped from 74 degrees down to 62 degrees. Decided that I would keep my vest for the second loop after all, and hoped I wouldn’t regret this decision (I did.). I passed by special needs without stopping. My food was working and I had enough supplies for the second loop. The fluids on the course were going fairly well and I knew I had nuun tabs if needed something other than Gatorade. Finished loop #1 in 3:25. A 10 minute PR for me for a loop. Was slightly worried about how loop 2 would go for me but knew I just had to put my head down and pace the second loop the best I could.

Bike Loop #2 

(Warning, the details for this loop are not as sharp, the day really did fly by, but I’ll just share what I can remember…)

I came around the sharp turn to start the second loop and down the steep hill, I saw my parents, sister and Baby J cheering for me! I was surprised to see them since I came through town a lot quicker than expected! (Later I would find out, they had just walked up when I came zipping down the hill – perfect timing!) After departing Lake Placid for the second loop, it got hot, fast. I IMMEDIATELY regretted not leaving my vest in LP but had to quickly accept that I was just going to have to deal with it. Grabbed a Gatorade at the aid station after LP. At 3:40 bike time, took in 1/2 a Gatorade chew these went down much better than the shot blocks. At this point, I realized I was running ahead of my bike plan and decided to adjust my nutrition plan accordingly. I knew I needed to take my solids on portions of the course that were not climbing (the body can’t digest as easily on climbs), so I eliminated the Gu that I planned to take at 4 hours and skipped down to the next line of my plan. At 4 hours, I was at the top of the decent to Keene and knew I was in my window to take my remaining power bars pieces in. I took in a salt tab and 1/3 of a power bar. Rocked down to Keene and was surprised to see Pandora from home had driven up to cheer me on!!! Started to tear up, couldn’t believe she made the trip (about an hour and a half drive) just to see me for a few seconds!! It meant so much to me!!

On my trip out to Jay, I had another 1/3 of a power bar. I grabbed Gatorade at the aid station after Keene. I also grabbed water and poured it over my back because I was hot and I was feeling it. At the next aid station, someone was asking for salt which made me realize that I was starting to feel a little off. I took in another salt tab at 4:40 and also took in the last 1/3 of my power bar. At this point onward for the bike, I took in a salt tab every 30 minutes. At 5 hours I was on the Ausable out and back – I took in 1/2 Gatorade chew packet and kept drinking Gatorade. I knew I was nearing the end of my ability to take in Gatorade (my stomach was less and less impressed with it) but still kept sipping it. Also, I was nervous at this point because I realized I had not peed since the swim despite taking in lots of fluids all day. Started looking at the aid station bathroom lines and did not really want to take the time to wait in line… On the climb from Jay to Wilmington, I grabbed a water and added a bit of it to the Gatorade in my bottle. My stomach was finished with straight Gatorade so I added water to the Gatorade to lighten it up a bit but still hopefully get the benefit.

At 5:10 took a salt tab. At 5:20 I took in a Gu. At 5:40 I was just before the Hazleton out and back. Took in 1/2 Gatorade chew (luckily I had an extra packet of these, so swapped these for the shot blocks I had planned to take since shot blocks really did not go well on loop 1.) Also took a salt tab. Finished my Gatorade in my water bottle and then put in my water that was left from the prior aid station and put a Nuun tab in. At the aid station I grabbed another water and topped off my water bottle. The line for the bathroom was long here too. Decided to keep going I put in another Nuun tab to strengthen the overall mix in my water bottle. I did not take in anymore Gatorade on the bike after this but was thinking the Nuun and extra salt tabs would be enough. Poured some water over my back and neck to try and cool down a bit more before the climb into LP.

Started the climb to LP at 6 hours. Still running about 10 minutes ahead of prior bike times. Took in a GU and headed up. At 6:10 took a salt tab. Made it to the aid station and stopped to go to the bathroom. There was no line and I figured T2 would be chaos (i.e this was my last opportunity before the run). Sorry for the detail, but when I stopped, holy cow. I don’t think I’ve peed that much in my life. Apparently I have a bladder of steel or something. Was back on my bike after a couple of minutes. Luckily there was no line and a super awesome volunteer had grabbed my bike and held it for me. I was good with my Nuun – had the perfect amount left on the bike and a little extra water in my water bottle. 6:20 took in a Gu. Climbed back up the bears and passed a few guys – I love the bears, I’m really not sure why people complain about them so much! My friends Kim and Jason were there taking pictures, Kim started screaming the guys I had passed that “they had been chicked” it was pretty funny and a good spirit lifter!  Even though it was early, I grabbed a salt tab and the final half of the Gatorade chew packet and took it in since I knew I was  going to be subject to aid stations and whatever food they had available for the next 26 miles of the event…

Official IM time: 6 hours, 57 minutes, 53 seconds

T2

Handed the bike off to the volunteers, ran into the bag area. Noticed that some people looked really bad coming off the bike. Was glad I wasn’t limping or feeling too sore. Grabbed my bag and headed to transition. Another frustrating transition for me. Came into the tent and a girl grabbed me to help and then Christine, who I know from home, came rushing over to help. Put Vaseline on my feet, put my socks on, put on compression socks, put on sneakers, changed shorts. Put on my visor. Then put body glide on (my only hope to avoid chafing issues). Was asked if I needed anything else from my bag, I decided to go without my extra gels and I luckily did not need the Imodium tabs that I had put in my bag, but when I looked at my gear in my bag I never saw my salt tabs… and I forgot about them… not good. This set me up for a bad run. I ran out of the change tent, got sunscreen on, crossed the timing chip line and then realized I did not have my salt when I was about 50 meters down the road….

Official IM time: 5 minutes, 29 seconds

Run Loop #1
Headed out and started to panic about forgetting my salt. I had a few long runs and bikes completely ruined in training because I had not managed my salt intake correctly. I knew this could potentially be a long run… I also knew I had salt tabs in my special needs bag. But that was 13 miles away. Then, I remembered they were going to have salt on the course so decided to just settle in and grab salt for my run as soon as I could. It was also a little funny as I headed out on my run because the lead woman was just starting her second loop of the run and her name was Amy… everyone was cheering loudly for her. So I did what anyone in my position would do, I pretended everyone was cheering for me.🙂

Arrived at aid station 1 – no salt. Not too happy but grabbed a Gatorade and water. Sipped some of each and continued on. Saw Laura out cheering and taking pictures. She was amazing. Such a mood lifter! AND even more amazing since she was planning to participate in IMLP until only a few weeks prior when she ended up injuring her foot and could no longer run… so sad to have put in all that work (and money) and then be unable to toe the start line. Ran to aid station 2 – they had salt. Hallelujah. Got the quick rundown (literally, the girl ran beside me as she explained how to use it) and carried on. Took in salt and water, grabbed a gel (strawberry banana, gross) took it, took a sip of Gatorade then went to grab a sponge and bumped into Janel who was volunteering! I met Janel last year when I had volunteered at IMLP, she is a wonderful person and I was so happy to see her! She gave me ice in addition to the sponge (score!!!), I then ran down to river road, and saw Ed coming up the hill on his first loop. Hit up the aid station for water, Gatorade and Gu. Took in salt. Was trying to get the entire Gu down each time and as much of the Gatorade and water I could as I walked the station. I knew there would come a point when I would not be able to get the calories in, so I was working as hard as I could to eat through this entire first loop.

Ran across the first timing mat on river road, realized my first split was right on track, but simultaneously realized I wasn’t going to be able to hold that pace for the entire run which was a bit of a disappointment. Slowed up a bit to keep the HR in check. At some point soon after, I saw my coach KRoe again – she was headed in on her first loop. Arrived at the next aid station – I remember the volunteers cheering a lot here, it was needed! Grabbed Gatorade, water and a Gu. Took in salt. Forced down another strawberry banana Gu, not impressed with flavor selection (I swear they just use the flavors nobody will buy at these races) but knew I needed to eat it. Kept running. My strategy was only to walk the aid stations and to run (er maybe I should say shuffle) the rest of the course. Arrived at aid station 5. Started to feel really bloated and started to worry I was going to have GI issues. Had a little Gatorade, water and salt.  Tried eating a pretzel to see if it would help my stomach but it was too dry and I felt thirsty. Had some water and had some Honey Stinger chews that I had brought with me to slowly chew on as I ran out to the turn around.

My friends Kim and Jason were at the turn so that was awesome to see them again! They were all over the course on Sunday, it was amazing. Managed to eat the rest of the my honey stinger chew packet down before I got back to the aid station, grabbed water, took in salt and gatorade. Kept running. My stomach really wasn’t feeling well. Next aid station just went with water and gatorade. Kept grabbing ice everywhere too, would put it in my hands and down my top to help keep me cool. This also started the port-a-pot tour of my first loop…. I really felt awful for about 7 or 8 miles of my first loop, turns out I wasn’t actually sick but my body was having a hard time understanding what was going on…. I think I tried to eat more of the chew packet down but wasn’t going very well. Just grabbed water and gatorade and an orange at the next station and visited the bathroom, just in case… Walked up the hill by the ski jumps. Got up to the aid station grabbed water, took in salt, some gatorade and grabbed sponges. Stopped at the bathroom, even though I was stopping at every aid station it turned out I really didn’t really need to stop – false GI distress. Oh, and the port-a-pots were especially nasty, so I really didn’t want to be hanging around them. Anyway…

At this point I decided I was just going to keep running since I didn’t actually had to go to the bathroom, just a side-effect of racing all day… At this point I had been moving for over 10 hours. I saw Laura again which was awesome!! Arrived at the aid station before the climb into town. Grabbed a Gu (it was caramel!! So happy that it was not strawberry banana nastiness!), grabbed water and gatorade. RAN UP THE HILL (I’m sure it was more like a slow shuffle, but I was moving faster than most). Saw Chuck from T2 and a Betty teammate, Ginny, who was cheering for me – big boost as I shuffled up! Ran up onto Mirror Lake Dr, saw my family at the turn by the T2 tent, high fives with Carrie and Tracy at the pub then ran out towards Northwood.

The mile +/- to Northwood felt like it took FoReVeR. Arrived at  special needs and grabbed another packet of honey stinger chews from my bag since they were a good supplement to the Gu. And then neglected to take my spare salt tabs with me, I thought the Base salt I was using was working (in retrospect, post race, I would say I should have grabbed the Salt Tabs). After special needs – went to the aid station, grabbed water, took in salt, grabbed gatorade. Kept running. Saw a Betty teammate, Lymaris, that was spectating and shot up some spirit fingers for pictures (might as well look like I have energy!). Took in a few chews from my partial packet. Got to the turn. Was so thirsty. Walked a few steps, got back to the aid station and grabbed more water and Gatorade. Took in salt again. Ran back down Mirror Lake Drive. Saw my family and almost started crying (I think the fact I had 13 miles to go was a little overwhelming at that point, but I also couldn’t believe how well (relatively) I was doing) 2 hours 30 minutes. Was right on schedule for a 5 hour marathon which was a little slower than I wanted, but given the hot and humid conditions things were going well. Despite the slower than anticipated time, I felt good since I was still running while so many others were walking. The training was working.

Run Loop #2
Luckily, as I started the second loop, my body seemed to have settled a bit and was no longer seeming to revolt against me, not 100% but started to feel a little better. My goal for this loop was to keep eating as long as I could. Got to the aid station, grabbed a Gu (caramel, score!), gatorade and water, took in salt. Also grabbed a spare Gu, strawberry kiwi flavor, was thinking it might be better than strawberry banana. (This one was still in my pocket at the end of the race. I never managed to eat another Gu during the race.) Ran to the next aid station, grabbed water and coke, took in salt. Had been telling myself to wait until River Road to start sipping coke but decided I could start now… I had earned it.🙂

Ran down to river road, grabbed water, coke and an orange (I think). Forgot to take salt, but then finally finished my second honey stinger chew packet. I saw KRoe and Joe T on their second loop back into town and they were walking. It surprised me to see my coach walking but thought she was just catching up with Joe for a few since he had an injury and wasn’t supposed to be running. I will admit seeing her walking was a little mind game for me for a few miles, but knew I had to just keep running as long as I could.

Arrived at the next aid station, grabbed water, took salt, took coke, took and orange, took ice. This was now my 1105_082704pattern for the rest of the run. I didn’t eat much of anything for the rest of the run. I might have had 1 more partial Gu but mostly stuck to coke, water and took salt when I remembered to. I was pretty good on the salt but I know I missed a few stations. When I got to mile 16, I started my initial countdown. It was really the first time I started thinking about my distance to go which was good. I got to mile 20 and was still going. I was starting to get sore and knew I was in new territory for my running since I’ve never gone longer than 19 miles. My hips and knee were slightly sore but manageable. Grabbed Ice at the aid station before the turn and put it in my shorts on my hips to help a bit (likely this was more help mentally than physically, but whatever… you do whatever you need to just to keep moving forward).

I kept things rolling but definitely started to walk a bit longer for each aid station than I had been previously, but still held onto the rule of only walking during the aid station. When I arrived at the middle aid station on River Road, they were just stating to bust out the chicken broth, I thought about trying it since I had heard it was a magical mix to help with salt and settling the stomach but decided to stick to coke, water and taking in salt since it was working (and it was still hot out). Also grabbed an orange slice and ice at each station.

I never really wished for the event to end until about mile 22 (thankfully) and then I knew I had 4 miles to go and I could definitely do this. I also knew I wanted to maintain my 5 hour estimated time that I had after my first loop, but knew I had to listen to my body. I walked the hill by the ski jumps. Starting up running again was becoming more difficult but kept things rolling the best I could. One of my goals for this race was to finish in the daylight and I knew that goal was well within reach as long as nothing bad happened in the next 4 miles. Grabbed sponges from the aid station, coke, water, ice.

Ran into town. Got to the aid station below the hill – water, coke, ice and an orange. (I wasn’t actually eating the oranges, just taking the juice from them… kind of gross now that I think of mixing coke and oranges but it was working.) Walked the big hill into LP this time, but after the turn ran/shuffled up the less steep part onto Mirror Lake Drive. Saw my family on the sidelines and gave them high fives, couldn’t believe the end was getting so close and that I was still running! Only a couple miles to go. At this point, I felt a few twinges/cramps in my calves (my injury from last Fall started this way) as I turned onto Mirror Lake and knew the last 1.5 miles was going to be tough and that if I wanted to run in the oval I couldn’t push it. Ran to the aid station, water, coke, ice. Ran to the turn near Northwoods Drive and walked 50 yards (ish) then ran to the aid station grabbed coke and water. Ran down (again a relative term) Mirror Lake Drive past all the crowds. My calves started cramping again in front of the LP pub. Was really afraid I wasn’t going to make it. At this point, I was KRoe (my coach), Maura and Lynne from T2. So happy to be heading to the finish!! I couldn’t believe it was almost over!

Official IM Run Time: 5 Hours, 10 minutes, 54 seconds

Finish Line

I took the turn off Mirror Lake Drive toward the oval. As I entered the oval, I focused on staying upright, not falling or slipping. As I made the final turn in the oval, my family was on the sidelines. I was so happy, I wanted to stop and hug them all but was afraid if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to start running again, so I gave high fives to them all again. As I ran down the finish shoot I had to fight back tears (hence, why I have my sunglasses still on in the pictures, it wasn’t due to the sun…), raised up my arms, worked to soak it all in and listened for Mike Rilley to say “Amie Thomas, you are an Ironman!”

Official IM Time: 13 Hours, 30 minutes, 49 seconds

At the end of the day, I can’t believe I held it together and was able to finish strong. As I write this, I still can’t believe I manged to run a full Ironman event. A couple years ago this felt like an impossible feat. But here I stand (er, actually sit) looking back at just 1 week ago and I did it, I actually became an Ironman!

The day flew by, it all went so fast. It definitely didn’t feel like it was 13 and a half hours of swimming, biking and running! Like I said at the start, the day from the moment I crossed the start line until I crossed the finish line feels like it was 10 minutes long. Crazy.

Amazing.

But mostly, crazy.

Ok, now here is the added bonus part of my day…

140.7 —> (i.e. what happened after crossing the finish line.)

After crossing the finish line, a couple volunteers grabbed me, gave me my medal, my shirt, my hat, a Mylar blanket and found me a chair. Then I was served some water and pizza (have I mentioned that the volunteers at IMLP are amazing and second to none?!). I managed to eat about 5 bites of the pizza and then did not feel like eating anymore. Then I was handed a coke to sip on. I was so hot out and I had not cooled down yet so I took the Mylar blanket off. As I was sitting there and chatting with another athlete, my stomach felt a little off. A volunteer gave me chicken broth, I tried it, it tasted awful (was glad I didn’t try it on the course). Decided I was done with the finish line area and wanted to get a massage since I knew my legs were going to be sore.

As I headed over to the massage tent, I was surprised to see my mom was there grabbing my gear bags for me. I stopped and talked to her, and she followed me to the massage tent. It was at this point that I realized I really wasn’t feeling great. I got into the entrance of the tent, and sat there for a few minutes, tried sipping water. Started feeling worse. At this point, I saw a guy in a medical shirt and told my mom to grab him. He talked to me for a few minutes and told me he was going to grab a wheelchair because I felt really dizzy. At this point, I was wheeled over to the medical tent, I was weighed in, and I apparently gained 17 lbs compared to my weigh in at the race check-in (apparently they were having major problems with the scales – it’s pretty impossible to gain weight during one of these races… especially 17 pounds!!). At this point I was taken over to a cot and I was suddenly freezing. They laid me down and kept asking me questions, I was coherent but still felt awful.

After about 15 minutes, the medical staff had me sit up and take water but felt nauseous at this point. All this was about 45 minutes after the finish. The staff was reluctant to do anything because I was answering questions well and was coherent. Finally they decided to take a blood sample and run some labs. About 5 to 10 minutes later the results were in – my sodium level was extremely low. Despite my best attempts all day, I did not managed to get enough salt into my system, which left my system flushed of sodium from sweating and the hot temperatures. I’m guessing most of this happened during the run portion of the day since I was without my normal salt tabs. At this point, the medical staff quickly worked to put a high saline IV solution into my system (unfortunately for me, I was a bit dehydrated and it took three attempts before the staff successfully was able to get a needle in, due to the dehydration my veins were not easy to get to and they finally had to use an IV specialist to put in the needle). After being hooked up to the high saline IV for about 45 minutes I felt much better and started to eat pretzels. It was only at this point that the doctors starting saying that I really had looked pretty bad and started to joke around that they thought they were going to lose me for a while. I just remember being so cold – they ended up with four heated blankets on me and two Mylar blankets, so I was nice and cozy as I hung out on my makeshift cot!! (They were using the plastic reclining lawn chairs for cots.)

As I finished the IV, I was lucky that someone let my mom enter the tent with some warm clothes. I also felt blessed that I was not being sent to the hospital like a few others were. Two hours after I crossed the finish line, I finally left the med tent. I did feel better enough to walk around but had very sore legs, so I decided to swing over to the massage tent since the rest of my family was already a home (it was more than 2 hours after I had finished the race). After the light massage, I hobbled to the car (the volunteers were again super awesome and let my mom park right on the corner of transition area to get me) and went home. Around 11 pm I finally got to catch up with my family and have a mini celebration with them as everyone was getting ready to go to bed. Not exactly the finish line celebration I had hoped for, but it’s all good. (Like I said, at least I wasn’t headed to the hospital.)
Photos//

Before leaving home… packing my race day nutrition. Luckily my coach forced me to write out what I would be eating, step by step, for the entire day, so actually packing wasn’t too bad. I’d already done most of the thinking!

Packed and ready to go! Actually… not as much stuff as when I was a spectator last year! I think this is part due to the fact that what you have with you on race day is what you have to stick with! Transition is set up… this was a few days prior to the race when I arrived in LP.

Iconic (and obligatory) Ironman Rock/Mirror Lake Photo.🙂The back porch of the amazing house we stayed at! If the owner wanted to gift this residence to me in his will, I would be ok with that!

Mirror Lake.

  Typically the IM road art is on Mirror Lake Drive, this year it was on River Road and commemorated the 35th anniversary of “Miracle on Ice” from the 1980 Olympics. It was also neat to know that David Silk from that US Ice Hockey Team would be completing Ironman with us on Sunday.

Betty takeover in LP! I invited the Betty’s that were in town over so that we could all meet before the race – so fun to meet these amazing women in real life!! 4 of us were racing and 1 was volunteering and spectating so she can race LP again next year (she raced LP in 2014 and qualified for Kona!)

Getting ready to pack up my bike, run and special needs bags. This was stressful to try and figure out what I wanted to have available throughout the day…

My parents and me before the start. They were amazing spectators (I think spectating is just as exhausting as participating in one of these!) and it meant the world to me to have their support.

Before the swim start. This is only a small portion of the crowd on the beach. Seeing 2500+ people enter a swim start is craziness. It took my breath away last year, luckily this year I couldn’t see the magnitude of the swim crowd,  only the people around me.

Swim finished!

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Near the start of Loop #2 of the bike. Also about the time I started cursing for leaving my vest on…

Finishing up the 3 bears, Loop #2 when Kim was yelling at the guys that they had been chicked!

My nephew’s face cracks me up.

  Rounding the turn on River Road on my first loop of the run. About 6 miles in, 20 to go.

Another action shot of Jackson’s spectating and cheering efforts.🙂

  Running on Mirror Lake Drive. I think this was loop #2… based on the sun.🙂

Seeing Lymaris on Loop 2 – Mirror Lake Drive almost to the turn. Spirit fingers for my Betty’s! (They also make me look like I’m still going strong… the fact that finish was finally coming was the only thing keeping me going!) 

   The most amazing moment. Crossing that finish line.

The hardware. This one was definitely earned.


What Doesn’t Kill You…

In the words of my friend Nadine, I’ve officially completed the “what doeIMG_1691sn’t kill you makes you stronger” portion of this Ironman Training.

And I have to admit, I’m glad that it is behind me.

And yet, it is not lost on me that my pain and struggles have been self inflicted. And for that I am grateful. I am grateful that I have the choice to train for Ironman, have found the strength and ability to see myself through all of this training, and will be luckily enough to find myself at the start line of Ironman Lake Placid next Sunday. I am grateful that I have a body that can run 1 mile, let alone allow me to run 26 after biking and swimming. A body that will carry me through the day Sunday. A body that is not revolting against me.

It is not lost on me that I am extremely lucky, especially as I know many in this world, including some friends and family, that struggle with illness and other issues that prevent them from running and doing active things that they love. So I am grateful, and I am blessed for this body.

So, it’s coming to that time to recap, what did Ironman training truly entail?

I’ve successfully finished my five 100+ mile bike rides (4 of which were set up as brick workouts with a run following the completion of the long ride), I’ve trained for my 2.4 mile swim covering that distance and then some in both open water and the pool, and I’ve successfully finished out my running training with a 19 mile run logged to close down the last build in training. I’m now in mid-taper and Ironman Lake Placid is barreling down the pipe. That’s right. As long as there is no crazy and wild curveball thrown, by this time next week I will officially be an Ironman.

It’s pure craziness.

Especially when I think about how much I hated loathed running in high school. When required to run a mile for gym class, I wanted to cry. In fact, I refused to run distance for indoor track… I sprinted (or attempted to) just so I didn’t have to run as long or as far, despite the fact I was terrible at it and my body really is built for a bit more distance (If only my gym teachers, and track coach could see me now… ).

Especially when I remember that I had never run a full 5K without stopping to walk until about 6 years ago when I completed the Iron Girl Triathlon in Syracuse.

Especially when you consider that I wanted to die during my first half marathon, and questioned what I was doing as I ran in my first 70.3 triathlon.

Especially when you consider that I never even considered a full Ironman to be a possibility until about a year ago after I finished my second 70.3.

Especially when I think about all the cold cold early winter mornings and late nights that I spent time in my basement, or my friends basements training (I was renting rooms from various friends in Syracuse this winter so that I could maintain my job and still have a house near my family in Saratoga…).  The early mornings shoveling snow from my car to get to the gym to swim… or to run…

Speaking of all the workouts, I thought it would be fun to provide the grand totals that I logged while training for Ironman Lake Placid.

In the past 7 months, to prepare there were:

  • 59 Swimming Sessions
  • 74 Biking Adventures
  • 78 Running Workouts

My total milage for each discipline:

  • Swimming: 140,680 yards (80 miles)
  • Biking: 2,314.5 miles
  • Running: 478 miles

In hours this was:

  • 39.9 Hours of Swimming
  • 157 Hours of Biking (mix of indoor on the trainer and outside)
  • 78.8 Hours of Running

Grand Total:

  • 210 Workouts
  • 2,872.5 miles covered
  • 276 Hours

Really, making it to the start line of an Ironman, trained for the event, uninjured, and mentally ready is a feat in itself. The level of exhaustion experienced during different points of the past few months was pretty impressive as well. Sleeping was no issue, and bedtimes came earlier and earlier in the evening. Also, the mental training that accompanies the physical training was equally intense. There were a couple points on those solo 100 mile+ rides where I was ready to give in. Especially on the occasions when I messed up my nutrition and electrolyte balances. You can find some really dark mental places when you’re out biking on your own hour after hour. Lucky, I was blessed to experience these things in training which has allowed me to prep for just about anything to come my way on race day. It also has allowed me to prove to myself that I can put my head down and persevere even when things get tough.

So, as taper continues and next Sunday nears, I can finally say I am ready. (Or as ready as you can be for a 140.6 mile long race). I am expecting anything and everything to happen on Sunday. It’s Lake Placid, there will likely be rain, there might be sun, there will hopefully be no thunder or lightening – but it could happen. Regardless of what mother nature throws at me, I’m going to take it all in stride knowing there are only a couple things I can control:

1) My attitude <- this race is my party for all the training that I’ve done since January. The training has been done, my fitness level has been established, so it’s all up to enjoying the day on the course with 2,500 of my closest friends.🙂

2) My nutrition <- my coach made me write my nutrition plan out for every 20 minutes for the entire day. I’m going to follow that thing like a boss… after all, I’ve learned the tough way how much the correct nutrition can make your day, and how much messing up nutrition can break your day. (Luckily, I’ve also learned how to recover if a mistake is made…).

Just about everything else is up for grabs. And I’m so excited to see how this all unfolds!

Lake Placid, I’m ready for you.

Weekly Workouts//

Week of June 29:

  • Monday – Rest Day
  • Tuesday – Zone 2 Ride planned… cancelled flight from Philly resulted in me driving home instead of flying. no bueno.
  • Wednesday – 3100 yard swim
  • Thursday – 1 hour 45 minute bike planned with Zone 4 efforts – 52 minutes completed before I ended up with a sliced tire and instant flat
  • Friday – 4000 yard endurance swim ladder
  • Saturday – 112 mile Bike + 5 mile Run, 8 hours
  • Sunday – 17.2 mile Run, 3 hours

Week of July 6:

  • Monday – Day Off
  • Tuesday – 30 minute Swim + 30 minute Bike
  • Wednesday – 1 hour, 30 minute bike with Hill Repeats + 20 minute Run
  • Thursday – 1 hour run planned – due to work travel, this was cancelled
  • Friday – 4200 endurance swim planned – due to work travel, this was also cancelled.
  • Saturday – 102 mile bike – in 90 degree heat, learned all about electrolytes today…
  • Sunday – 19 mile run, 3 hours 15 minutes

Week of July 13: (start of Taper!)

  • Monday – Day off
  • Tuesday – 3700 yard Swim
  • Wednesday – 40 minute tempo run
  • Thursday – 1 hour 15 minute Bike
  • Friday – 1200 yard Swim
  • Saturday – 2 Hour, Zone 1-2 Bike
  • Sunday – 35 minute Run

Photos//

Work trip… quick out and back to Cleveland. And unfortunately an extension of the trip since my flight back was cancelled… which meant I was driving home. ugh.

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 My friend for the evening (aka the rental that got me back to my own bed).

IMG_1656Had help putting my board report together. So helpful at such a young age! IMG_1670An epic blowout mid Time-Trial effort… (I know, less than impressive in the picture).

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House Project… Before…

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  After!!

Had to eliminate the carpet since Bronco was allergic to them (go figure), but makes my house feel like a totally different house, I love how they turned out!! A big thanks to my high school friend Craig that installed them for me!

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The kitchen counter post long Saturday workout. Water bottles everywhere!

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So our church was in need of a new steeple. Our community has been raising funds for a few years now and finally had enough money to start the project. So much fun to watch the building progress!

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Happy 4th of July! Chillin’ with my mom at the Annual Family Picnic.🙂

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Roxie got a new bed. There is some confusion over who the bed is really for…

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Taper week = new knitting projects.🙂

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 A Betty Baby!

(His dad is going to kill me when he see’s this, but I couldn’t resist!!)

P.S. my nephew is super cute. Love being around to hang with him and my sister. He’s getting so big!

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Recovery Week & Ragnar Trail.

We’re all MaD HeRe!

This past weekend was a wonderfully Ragnar Weekend! I finally got to a spot where I could fit in a Ragnar Trail relay to my schedule and it was GLORIOUS! Last winter when Ragnar Relay announced that they would be having a Northeast Trail Run, I just knew this was going to be my only chance to jump into one of these events this year. After checking in with CBW we quickly decided that this relay must be run and that it would be super fun to have a women’s only team (mostly because it would be less drama) and we were right!

As per my normal Ragnar team experience, the team we registered with in December was about half of the actual team that appeared at the event with us, but that is half the fun right?! With one teammate out due to a torn ACL while playing soccer, a second out due to an illness, and a third out because she had qualified for 70.3 Worlds – we had quite the revolution and change out of teammate during the spring months. However, I think it was all for the best since we had an amazing group of women from all over the East Coast (and one from the South/Central part of the country) get together for a crazy fun weekend! AND to make it all the better, we decided to roll with a super fun theme of Alice in Wonderland er, I mean Ragnarland! (Whoop!)

Ragnar Relay New England was the perfect mix of camping and running through the glorious woods around Northfield, MA. A challenging but not too crazy course and we totally lucked out with an amazing weather weekend (about 50% of the Ragnar Trail relays seem to be a wash out, so I consider the weather a gift from the running gods).

When we arrived at the campground, it was still earlish (9am) but the campsite was filling in quickly. We walked all around the field and assessed the open spaces to quickly decide that we might be better off up on the hill overlooking the site. Luckily, we found an awesome space on the edge of the area with our own little private direct back trail over to the start tent. Seriously, we only had to share it with a couple other teams and the Ragnar Staff that were running in the event. It was pretty sweet.

Speaking of pretty sweet. My friend CBW had an amazing hat. She was fairly adamant that we should dress up as the characters from Alice in Wonderland so I quickly assigned her the duty of being the Mad Hatter. She did not disappoint. Seriously, her costume was amazing. In fact, the entire team totally got into it and I think we all had some pretty kick@$$ outfits. Especially KK who joined the team with only 1 week notice and had just completed the Syracuse 70.3 the prior Sunday. She saved our tails from having to run extra legs, AND ended up playing the roll of Team Mom since she brought EVERYTHING we could EVER need for camping. – Seriously. She even had a vacuum! Prepared friends are good to have.

Ok, enough randomness about the camping portion. Let’s talk about the running. Oh the running. I started with the red loop (hardest loop), followed by the yellow loop (moderate) at night, and the green loop the next morning. I honestly really loved all three loops. We had about 2800 feet of elevation over the course of 14.8 miles. So really we were like little mountain goats for part of this relay. Each loop started UP the same path and then split off – with the red and yellow loops headed up the mountain first thing the looping back down. I had zero expectations going into the relay, and 1 focus for the relay. TO. HAVE. FUN. No worries about paces, speed, time, etc. The goal was to complete the relay, uninjured (no twisted ankles, no stubbed/broken toes on roots, rocks, etc.) and to relax a bit out in the woods. This was my break from Ironman training and a much needed break before finishing out my training for Lake Placid. At the close of this weekend, I can say I accomplished my goals.

Ok, back to running. The red loop. This was the longest, most technical loop. It required a bit of patience as you climbed the mountain and reached the summit and then carefully made your way over the path down the mountain before you got out into the grassy trails. I loved it. I have not been able to run trails much this year and I just loved being in the woods, listening to my own breathing, and focusing on where I took my next step. The red loop was 6.3 miles long, with the first 5 miles being out on the red trail and the last 1.3 miles or so being on the track where all three trails came together. The first 5 miles were pretty relaxing since I only saw a few people out there. The last 1.3 miles was fun and fast as everyone came together and knew they were on the home stretch back to base camp.

The yellow loop was my night time run. I knew it went straight up and then back down the mountain. At 4.8 miles, it was a similar experience to the red for the first 3.2 miles of being out in the woods and the grassy trails, a few more people were around since all the teams were out running at this point, but largely you had to just focus on the trail in front of you, focusing on each step. It was so dark and the headlamp really didn’t provide enough light alone. I was very happy for the handheld bike headlamp that KK had brought for us all to us. It really was a lifesaver, even if it was a bit of a pain to carry it. With that loop done, a few of us ended up grabbing beers and heading to the campfire for a while to hang out and chat. I swear, I could do this every weekend. With or without Ragnar. I just need a few friends that want to camp and run.🙂

After the relaxing by the fire, it was time for some sleep. This is where Ragnar Trail went over the top for me and completely had me falling head over heels. I got 4 WHOLE HOURS of sleep! Usually at a Ragnar Relay, I am lucky to log more than 20 or 30 minutes of sleep during the 30-40 hours of the event. With the combo of just being tired all the time from IM training, plus the fact we had flat ground to lay on and I had no where to be until I had to run the next morning, I was in heaven. Totally passed out from about 1 am until 5 am. I felt like a new woman in the morning!

Finally, the green loop. The easiest loop, yet, my legs were still a little cranky from all the climbing during my runs the day prior (I think the entire team experienced that… and some more than others.) The green loop was about 3.4 miles with about half out on the wide open grassy trails on the mountain and then again the final track into camp. When I hit that final 1.3 or so miles, I was so happy. This was just such a fun event and our team was doing so well. We had all gotten along, we had all enjoyed our running and the challenge of it, and we had only a few runners left until we wrapped up.

It really was a great couple of days and a fantastic opportunity to take a break from all those 100+ mile bike rides and runs on Saturdays and the long long runs I had been doing on Sundays. I took this last loop of the relay course to reflect on how far I have come these past 3 years from when I set out to do my first 70.3 until now where I am training for a full Ironman (something I thought I would never do!). How far I had come from my first real trail race a couple of summers ago, and how much more I still want to experience. It was just one of those runs where you can really reflect and get excited about what you have accomplished in the past and how much more still lies ahead of you in this life.

So, that’s it. A wonderful recovery week, closed out by an amazing Ragnar Trail Relay.🙂

Weekly Workouts// (Recovery Week)

  • Monday – Day Off
  • Tuesday – Bike Fit
  • Wednesday – 90 Minute Brick/Bike 60, Run 30
  • Thursday – 2800 yd Swim
  • Friday & Saturday – Ragnar Trail New England! (14.8 Miles)
  • Sunday – 1 hour Bike/Recovery Ride

Weekly Photos//

So, here we are, about a month until Lake Placid and I’m searching for a new bike seat. Good times.

  As seen on my run after my bike ride on Wednesday.

I really do live in a beautiful place. I love that my neighbors are horses.
The Mad Hatters Campsite at Ragnar Trail New England!
  

Rocking our costumes before we started on Saturday! 

Hanging out at the start line!

 Aaaaannnnd we’re off! Love the enthusiasm! (This may be the best race photo ever…. just saying).

Heading out for my first loop!

KK aka the Queen of Hearts wrapping up her first loop!

KC finishing up her first loop.

Ragnar Trail New England – Tent City.

So many tents. Such a beautiful day. So much awesomeness.   

Why yes, our campsite also had the added benefit of our own personal built-in drying rack!  

Saturday afternoon – chillin’ with a few beverages.

EM Finishing up her first loop!

Sunset

 Campfire! YESSSSSSS!

It may have been about 10 am when this was opened. But hey, that’s what happens when you’ve been running through the night! The Mad Hatters at the finish line – yes, we busted the costumes back out!

Like I said. Pure awesomeness.

If you ever have the chance to run a Ragnar Trail relay, do it.

Find some chill people, and just go do it.

I swear, you’ll have fun.

Well, at least as much fun as you allow yourself to have…🙂

An Intentional Act.

It’s been very quiet on this space since Raleigh.

Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t.

Either way, I’ve been quiet. I’ve been trying to sort through my thoughts around the race I had in North Carolina. To assess what went well and what did not. I’ve been trying to recover and ramp up my training again. I’ve been swimming, biking, running. And I’ve also had a small injury which I have dealt with and that I hope is mostly behind me now.

I’ve been slapped upside the face with the reality that Ironman is barreling down the pipe and will be here before I know it.

I’ve realized HOW HARD this endeavor truly is. There is no escaping it, Ironman is a difficult race, no matter how much training you put in. You have to earn each stroke of the 2.4 mile swim, each peddle of the 112 mile bike and each step of that 26.2 mile run. And even if you put in all the training and work behind each event that you possibly can (while balancing your normal/non ironman life), you still have the nutrition and hydration factor to balance – oh so carefully – during the course of the training and the actual race day. As it turns out,140.6 miles doesn’t come easy. 140.6 miles is a very intentional act.

Here I sit 34 days from the event, the nerves are setting in. I sprained my wrist so swimming has been not so great the past 2 weeks. On top of the wrist, I’ve biked the course in Lake Placid the past two weekends and finally come to terms that my bike seat just isn’t working for me. Leaving me essentially 2 weeks to figure that situation out. Oh, and it’s become clear that I need more practice on hills. Much more practice. Ugh. Finally, the running. Oh the running. We’ve been careful with my running since I was injured last fall with my calf muscle bringing my racing season to a screeching halt. As of 2 weeks ago, I had not run more than 13 miles but have increased up to 14 and 15 these past two weeks. Hopefully I will get at least one 17 or 18 mile run in before race day.

Ok, well now I have that out of my system and into the universe. The world can take my worries and let them disperse. I know that there is not a whole lot left I can do training wise at this point to propel me across that finish line. At this point it’s more about listening to my body, focusing on nutrition and working on my mental strength to get me through. 

July 26th is going to be one for the books. No matter what happens. All I know, is that I have not come this far to not give it my all. 

140.6 miles is an intentional act.

So, what have I been up to these past 3 weeks?

Weekly workouts//

Week of June 1: Recovery Week, post Raleigh 

  • Monday – 20 min Recovery Swim (hotel pool, Kansas City)
  • Tuesday – 30 min Recovery Swim (hotel pool, Kansas City)
  • Wednesday – 40 min Recovery Bike (hotel gym, Chicago)
  • Thursday – 30 min Run (hotel gym, Chicago)
  • Friday – 2200 yd recovery swim
  • Saturday – 2 hour bike
  • Sunday – 1 hour run

Week of June 8: Lake Placid Training Camp Fri-Sun

  • Monday – 3600 swim ladder (attempted with injury, not great…)
  • Tuesday – rest day
  • Wednesday – brick: 90 min bike, 30 min run
  • Thursday – 45 minute Base Run 
  • Friday – (#1) swim 2.5 miles in Mirror Lake, (#2) 32 mile bike – including biking up Whiteface Mountain Road… 
  • Saturday – (#1) Bike 110 miles (I skipped the out and back, ran into a few issues on lap 2…) and (#2) run 3 miles (was dehydrated at had to cut my run short 
  • Sunday – (#1) Bike 56 miles and (#2) run 14.5 miles

…. Yes, we bikes 200 miles on the LP bike course over 3 days. And yes, this course is no joke. One loop is such a different story than 2 consecutive loops. Hello hills. 

Week of June 15:

  • Monday – Rest day
  • Tuesday – Sports massage for recovery 
  • Wednesday – Swim 4200 yards
  • Thursday – 50 min Tempo Run
  • Friday – plan to swim 3200, got out after 1300 – couldn’t hold anything remotely close to my normal pace, so I listened to my body and stopped… 
  • Saturday – back to LP, biked 115 miles and ran 4.5
  • Sunday – ran 15.5 miles in the heat & humidity… Not my favorite run of recent memory. 

Total miles? A lot. Since I’m actually typing this post from my phone, I’m feeling too lazy to put together the math right now.🙂

I’m definitely into the “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” part of Ironman training. 

Only a couple weeks left, and I’m determined to stay positive and optimistic about this. (And for my friends and family’s sake, I’ll try to keep the complaints to a minimum. I am still aware that I chose to do this of my own free will AND that I actually paid to enter this event.)

Now, for the fun part, the photo recap (or what I actually stopped to take a moment to capture…) 

Kid President is the best. 

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My newest addition while biking. Bonk Breaker Salted Caramel. Yum! IMG_1505
Yes! Next winter’s running adventure with my Mom and sister!!

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So much wisdom. Life truly is too short and if I’ve realized nothing else during the pat year it’s that I spent too much time with people too concerned with how they are viewed by others. 

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Volunteering at the Hudson Crossing Triathlon.

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Oh yea, I turned another year older🙂 loved this from my friend Kim! IMG_1513

Sprained wrist = 3 to 6 weeks with this training partner. (I give this about 2 weeks, then hopefully we’re moving on.) 

Getting ready to celebrate a new baby! :) 

Our Friday bike of Lake Placid training weekend… Check out that climb up whiteface. Glad we only went up about 3 miles of the 12 mile road!! 

 Bike course elevation for LP. A bit overwhelming… And leaving me wishing I had found more hills to train on… 

5:30 am. My favorite time of day. So peaceful, fresh & new.


Betty Designs secret swap! Looks like my Betty had help decorating the box! 

And apparently chocolate doesn’t like traveling across the country. 

But these spoons were so cute!! 

Biking in LP… At the out & back in Ausable. Probably my least favorite part of the course… 

Still fine tuning my hydration set up. Taking in the right amount of fluid is turning out to be one of the hardest things for me to balance. So frustrating. 

Heading back into Wilmington – last true decent on the course before the 13+ miles of climbing into Lake Placid. 

In retrospect, I probably could have picked a flatter Ironman course to tackle, but there will be no question that I earned my medal once I cross that line on July 26th. 

This will be the most concentrated effort that I’ve ever had to put forth to achieve something in my life. This journey has taught me a lot and I believe has so much more to teach me before I cross that finish line. 

Thank you to everyone that has supported me and continues to support me along this road that I’m taking. It truly takes a village to achieve something like this and I couldn’t do it without each and everyone of my friends and family cheering me on. 

140.6 miles. It’s an intentional act. 

Raleigh 70.3 Race Recap!

Late last summer, my coach emailed our team and asked if anyone would be interested in racing in IM 70.3 Raleigh. I was excited at the prospect of racing a new venue for a 70.3 after racing Syracuse the past two years and jumped on-board. Then, I promptly put this race on the back burner in my mind – my focus has really been on getting myself to a point physically and mentally where I can successfully swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles without having a break down.

I have to admit it was a strange experience to throw a 70.3 race in the middle of my Ironman training. I’ve been so focused on training for the 140.6 miles at the end of July, this race crept up on me. I had my first realization that the race was coming up quick a couple of weeks ago and had a mini freak-out session with my coach. I just felt like the winter was so cold, that I hadn’t had the chance to get where I wanted to be before this race. My swimming has gained a lot of strength in the pool, but my biking and running has been much slower than last year since the focus of my training has been endurance and building distance rather than working on any speed.

Luckily, my coach did a good job of talking me off the ledge (while also admitting she was having similar feelings about her own training… she raced with us Sunday and took 3rd in her age group!) and we threw in some speed work during the past 2 weeks. The workouts leading up to the race built up a bit of my confidence with some really strong (and fast) swims, a couple stronger bike rides, my solo century ride, and my half mile repeats that were at last year’s fast(er) pace. It seemed like everything fell into place the week before I started my taper – it was amazing!

Last week was taper week – i.e. low volume of workouts, focus on nutrition, and trying to rest up prior to the event. Starting on Monday, my coach had us cut out all veggies and almost all fruit from our diet. Also, we had to avoid fiber sources and whole grains. The focus was to eat simple carbs and increase healthy fats in our diets to help build up energy stores in our bodies for race day. Turns out, it’s really hard to eat in this manner – I think this was the most difficult part of preparing for the race… by Saturday I was crying for a salad. (And all I wanted post-race was a giant salad!!)

Anyhow… on Friday my coach and a couple of the other T2 athletes met up at my coaches house, packed up the car and started our trek from Syracuse to Raleigh. After an entertaining 12 hours in the car (traffic held us up in DC a bit…) we made it to Raleigh just in time for packet pick up. We had a blast driving down south, I was amazed at how quickly the ride went! We may or may not have raced a couple of guys in their little Subaru with bikes on top, found inspiration for packing our next road trip, missed taking pictures of almost every state sign, and were in awe of some things that could be purchased in c-stores in the south. It was a good day. (see pictures below…)

Saturday was hectic for us, turns out that competing in a race that was a point to point race (verses a closed loop) that has 2 transitions makes for a busy day. For IM Raleigh, the start and finish line are about 40 or so miles apart which made for a lot of time running around back and forth between the two transition areas. After we did our final workout near transition 1, headed back to Raleigh to check in some more of our teammates, drove back to transition area 1 to drop our bikes, grabbed food for the evening and got back to the hotel we had spent a solid 10 hours running around. Once at the hotel, we had the fun task of sorting out our transition bags – we had to figure out what to pack for each site.

The way the course was set up, we started in Jordan Lake which was located west of Raleigh, after swimming we would come out of the water and get our bikes. Then you biked the 56 miles from the site at Jordan Lake into downtown Raleigh to a second transition area where you would leave your bike and grab your running gear to start the 13.1 mile run. This means you had a bag in T1 with your bike gear (helmet, shoes, sunglasses, food, etc.), and a bag in T2 with all your run gear (sneakers, visor, food, etc.). Also, unlike Syracuse 70.3, you were not allowed to lay out your gear – everything had to be contained inside the bags – if you left anything outside of you bag it was an automatic 5 minute penalty for each transition area. This type of transition and course definitely took some planning and thought – I have to admit, I struggled with it a bit!

Alright, I’ve definitely gone on enough about the preparation leading up to the race, so let’s get down to the ACTUAL race recap…

Sunday morning, our alarms went off at 3:30 am so that we could leave the hotel by 4 am and head into Raleigh to park and drop off our T2 bags with our run gear. Transition in Raleigh was only open until 5:15. After we parked, unloaded our stuff and found the rest of our team, we got in line for the shuttle bus to take us out to Jordan Lake. That whole process took a little bit of time but we were at T1 by about 6 am. Then we set up our T1 gear (bike gear, including any water we needed for our bikes). T1 closed at 6:45 am – by the time I had filled my water bottles, found a bike pump to borrow, and had things set it was time to get out of transition.

During this time, we found out that the swim would not be a wetsuit legal swim. Whomp, whomp… total bummer but the water was extremely warm, so I almost can’t imagine how HOT it would have been with a wetsuit! I also was a little bummed because while the race started at 7 am, I did not start my race until 8:16 when my wave went off. However, this did give me time to meet the other Betty’s racing from Team Betty which was nice.

After waiting around with my teammates, watching them all take off on their waves, I warmed up for my swim and felt good! I was excited to tackle the swim course with how strong my swimming has been this year. The unfortunate part about Sunday’s race was that IM Raleigh was my first open water swim of the year – with the weather being so cold in NY this winter, the open water swimming opportunities in NY are JUST starting to become available but most of the water options are still quite cold (high 50s and low 60s for water temps) – and I had not had an opportunity to swim and practice sighting this year.

Before the race started, I was thinking I would nail the swim, hang on for dear life with the bike since I’ve not really rode very fast this spring, and then finish out my run at an easy pace considering the fact that the weather was supposed to be in the 90s by the time I would be running.

In reality, despite feeling confident when I entered the water, my confidence quickly faded after the first 500 yards of the swim. I think I got a little caught up in the front of the swim pack, and had a successful start but it was a little too quick. As soon as I realized this I slowed up a bit to pace myself – then I  started to run into the prior waves. I think my wave was number 20 of 22 prior waves so there were quite a few people in the water, and a LOT of people struggling with the fact that it was a non-wetsuit legal swim. A LOT. I spent the rest of the course trying to avoid people that were struggling from the previous waves and I had a difficult time staying on course and sighting. Additionally, on the long edge of the course, away from the shore we ran into some rolling waves which was a bummer. For much of the midsection of the course you were fighting against the rollers that were coming at us and getting pushed backward/sideways a bit. When I hit the halfway mark on the course my watch said 26 minutes and I was bummed. My coach and I had thought I would have nailed the swim in about 32-33 minutes with how strong I had been swimming. Mentally this was a bit of a blow, but with triathlon training, I’ve learned to never give up, and never give in. There is a lot that can happen during the day and you have to be able to take a set back or two, keep your head up and just keep moving forward.

Once I got past the waves in the course and turned the last corner to swim to shore, I kept my head down, kept my pacing a bit better and kept working to dodge the slower swimmers from the previous waves. It really was a crowded course the entire way which was not ideal. As I exited the water, my watch read 38 minutes. Not great, but nothing I could do about it now. Just had to run down the (very long, very narrow) transition to grab my bike and move on to the next phase. My bike was racked near the bike exit so I had a bit of a distance to run to get to my bike. Again, a little bit of a mess as I was trying to get around other people who were walking with their bikes and trying to get ready to leave the transition area.

From my warm-up the day prior, I knew the first 1.5 miles of the course was a climb and that most of the first 3.25 miles was uphill to a quick turnaround point before you really headed out toward Raleigh. I was focused on just trying to settle into my bike, lower my heart rate and try to keep my power numbers in check. Unfortunately, my bike computer was almost completely useless to me on Sunday. When I got on the bike, my HR was not syncing with the computer, my power meter kept saying it was connected but I had no readings coming through, and after the first 1.9 miles the speedometer stopped working. Around mile 5, I rebooted my computer and gained my HR reading. At mile 10, I again hit the reboot and then the computer managed to pick up my distance, but my computer was about 8 miles behind the course all day. At this point I realized that I just needed to go with what I had, keep an eye on my HR and go by feel. One hour into the bike I hit the 18 mile mark – which was a little crazy since with my training my speed has not been the focus and I’d slipped backwards from last year – lately I’ve been averaging about 15-16 mph on my rides so 18 was a bit of a jump. To be honest, I was a little worried that I was going to burn through my legs but decided to just try and maintain my pace as best as I could.

Overall, the bike course was beautiful! Compared to NY, the roads were in amazing condition (in the Northeast we have SO MANY potholes and damaged roads, they’re terrible), and the scenery was beautiful! When we had looked at the elevation profile of the course, we were thinking it wasn’t going to be bad from a hill standpoint – there were no really long climbs and nothing as steep as the Syracuse course – but it was a bit deceiving! Turns out that while the Raleigh bike course is just a series of rolling hills, you’re never really on flat ground anywhere, and by the end the legs were feeling it – especially with the last hill climb into transition before the run. At the end of the day, it was a fun bike course, the last hour was very hot with no shade to speak of and temps rising to the high 80s, also the bike course had about 1,000 more feet of climbing than the Syracuse course! My time on the bike course was 3 Hours, 11 minutes – the same as Syracuse 70.3 last year, which was great, all things considered.

Transition 2 was the one I was least impressed with on the course. Again I was racked at the back of the area, near the run out. This meant that I had to run my bike through 2 parking lots and over a major curb between the lots. I’m not kidding when I say it was hard to even see the bike in sign from my spot in transition. However, this was something completely out my control – but I do think these transitions were a bit un-even for those that ended up slotted near the back end or each of them just due to the length and obstacles. (I’m done complaining now… moving on).

As I was finishing up my bike I could feel that my shoulders were starting to feel a bit scorched. I was starting to wish I had thrown my sunscreen in my T2 bag… normally I would not stop to reapply during a race, but I felt like the sun was especially intense and I knew I was not likely to PR this course. I have to admit I was very happy to see that they had volunteers at the exit applying spray sunscreen to any athlete that wanted it – I hopped in line and then I was off to start the 13 mile run!

Ugh. The first mile of this run was an uphill battle (literally and figuratively). My legs were feeling tired but I knew that I had survived these runs before. Both years that I have competed in Syracuse it’s been a bit of a death march in the heat. So mentally, I was prepared. My plan was to try and settle in at a 10 minute pace, stop at every aid station for water and ice – I was a bit dehydrated coming off the bike… I failed to take in enough fluids and knew I was potentially in trouble – and just slug through the run.

Mile 1: 10:03. Right on pace. Mile 2: 10:01. I was still good. Mile 3: 9:51. My legs were starting to feel better despite the gradual incline. I could tell I had some pep left in them, I just wasn’t sure how much I could push. I had seen some of my teammates from Syracuse and a few of the Betty’s and cheered them on. I find it’s easier to trick my brain into continuing to think I’m ok if I am more concerned with cheering on others… also, around mile 2.5 or so one of my teammates caught up with me and started to run with me so that was fun. Mile 4: 9:29. We had made the turn at 3.5 miles and now were coasting downhill a bit – stopped at the aid station and ended up losing my teammate in the craziness. Continued to push on and I felt good. I mean, really good! Mile 5: 9:49, Mile 6: 9:23. Was back in town and ready to start loop number 2… Mile 7: 9:02 – probably a bit too fast, but it was hard to not get caught up in the excitement of the crowd. Mile 8: 9:35, Mile 9: 10:04, back up the hill in the blazing sun… Mile 11: 9:34, made the turn to return back on the final leg of the course & still feeling strong. Mile 12: 9:10, starting to push it a little but try to remain smart and still stop at the aid stations for water/coke/ice. Was going to pass by the final aid station in the race but was feeling a little light headed so played it smart. Mile 13: 8:15 to finish! A strong finish for me – I’ve been averaging 9 minute+ miles lately so to nail an 8:15 at the end of my half marathon to finish was great!

Total time start to finish on Sunday was 6 Hours flat. Just 3 minutes slower than my time in Syracuse last June. I was hoping that my swimming would have let me go a bit faster, but it just wasn’t in the cards Sunday. Despite the fact it was not a PR, I’m feeling pretty good about it. This was one less month of preparation compared to Syracuse and it was treated as more of a “pit-stop”/training event rather than an “A” race in my training. Also, I am finally starting to feel like my calf is back to being repaired after my injury last Fall, which is a BIG win (now I just have to be smart as we ramp up running mileage over the course of the next 7 weeks (EEEK – this Ironman keeps getting closer and closer!)).

Sunday’s 70.3 race went really well from a nutrition standpoint (the fourth element of endurance triathlon that can make or break your performance) – I managed to eat what I needed to on both the bike and run despite the super high temperatures. I also raced using Salt Tabs for the first time and that went really well – I felt like I was able to manage my electrolyte/salt loss without any huge issues (I’ve struggled in the heat in the past). The biggest area of failure was my fluid intake on the bike. My coach said we should go through about 5-6 bottles on the bike with the heat we had – I managed to get through 2 bottles of scratch and about half of my speed fill which means I only took in half of what I should have. I definitely felt this on the first few miles of my run. This is something I need to focus on as I work on my Lake Placid training – I won’t be able to make it through the run if I skimp on my fluids during the 112 mile bike. Lucky for me, I have 4 more 100 mile+ rides to practice on before July 26th. (Yes, you read that right. 4 more 100+ mile rides. I already know what I’m going to be doing for 4 of the next 6 Saturday’s of training…)

If you’re still reading this, congratulations. You deserve a gold star. I’m done rambling through my recap and you’re still hanging on! I feel like I’m still trying to decipher and digest the race because I have yet to return home this week… I’m working on my third hotel room since Sunday. Yes, it’s only Wednesday. Super fun.

Weekly Workouts// {Taper Week}

  • Monday – Recovery Ride – 1 hour, 15.4 miles
  • Tuesday – Swim with speed work – 31 minutes, 2000 yds
  • Wednesday – 1 hour, 15 minute Bike, 19.4 miles
  • Thursday – 30 minute Run, 3.1 miles
  • Friday – Rest/Travel Day to Raleigh, NC
  • Saturday –  Pre-race shake out – 20 minute bike, 15 minute run (we were not allowed in the water to swim…bummer.)
  • Sunday – Ironman 70.3 Raleigh – 1.2 (+.1?) mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run – 6 hours

Total Time: 9 hours 45 minutes

  • Swim: 4250 yards / 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Bike: 97 miles / 5 hours 50 minutes
  • Run: 17.75 miles / 2 hours 45 minutes

Photo Recap//

Memorial Day project – makeover for the front door!  Should have done a before and after pic but painted the trim to brighten it up and then went from a dirty white door to the grey! Also spray painted the knocker from the rusty gold to silver to match the doorknobs I installed when I moved in – love the way this came out!

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Memorial day also brought a nice quick recovery ride around my hometown. Really enjoyed the scenery and the chance to go for a nice relaxing ride. IMG_1433The other project that needs to be done at my house… changing out a timer switch to a normal switch in an attempt to get my front porch lights to work. So far, no dice. Project continues…

IMG_1429This is what packing for 10 days looks like when you have to go to work for 2 days, travel to NC for a 70.3, then head out to Kansas City for 2 days followed by 2 days in Chicago, looping back to Syracuse before actually returning home. …have I mentioned how much I love travel and packing?!

(Although I am actually getting better at packing only what I need… silver lining.)

Flipped my calendar to June before I left for the weekend. This is slightly awkward to have on your calendar at work. Yes. I enjoy looking at girls running on a beach.  Bronco continues to perfect his flop (and some of his “feel sorry for me” looks).     Raleigh or Bust!   Road trip games, spot and take pictures of port-a-potties enroute.   So we missed the state signs for PA and MD. Finally got one in DC while waiting in traffic…  And Virgina!   Then we realized we were doing this road trip thing all wrong…   And there was this. No, we’re not competitive. Not at all. Apparently you can buy liquor at C-stores in Virgina. For only $1.99! Such a bargain.   Missed the NC State sign, but we got this one!   My friend sent this to me on our trip down. Love it.  We’re here!! Checking in to the race!   Bikes in the lobby.

The boys in the background wanted to know why they didn’t get to bring their bikes to the hotel after seeing us roll ours out of the elevator and into the lobby.🙂   Jordan Lake Saturday Morning. Too bad the lake wasn’t this calm on race day!     Ironman Village – take 2.   Checking out my spot in T2… if you squint you might see where I ran my bike in the next day… (the black arch in the middle of the background)  Picture of T1, standing near my bike… we ran in from the far end… yes I know you can’t see it. I was serious about these transitions being long distances from start to finish!!  Dropping the bike off Saturday afternoon.   Attempting to figure out my transition bags. I was tired, this took a lot of thinking. It was hard.   At the finish line with Heather and Tanya! These ladies rock!           At the start line with 3 of the 4 other Betty’s that raced Sunday. It was great to meet these ladies after talking with them online over the course of the past few months!    And another finisher pic, with Lynn this time! Ironman Raleigh is in the books!  Came back from the race to an email from my dog… you can see Roxie was super enthusiastic about cheering me on.

Post-race dinner. I was craving a salad ALL WEEK. Finally got to order one – this hit the spot!

Also, not sure if it was the pre-race diet, or the nutrition during my event, or the fact that my body is just getting used to all this crazy mileage – but this was the first time that I have finished a 70.3 and had an appetite after the race.

It was pretty amazing.

And if you’re STILL reading, hope you all are having an amazing week!

Thanks for following me and reading about all my craziness – the journey to Lake Placid continues!

An Epic Weekend & it’s Taper Time!

But first, just a little note on Memorial Day.  I just want to say THANK YOU to all those that have served and provided the ultimate sacrifice for our country, to protect our freedoms that so many of us take for granted. I know, a simple THANK YOU really pales in comparison to what our armed forces and their families endure to ensure that we can continue to live our every day lives in a country where we can basically do whatever we want to do, and pursue our dreams. I spent a lot of time thinking about the meaning of memorial day over the weekend, and I just wanted to express my gratitude to all those who have served in the past, serve today, or decide to serve our country.

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Alright, well, now that I’m done trying to {somewhat unsuccessfully} express my deepest gratitude, let’s move onto what happened this past week/weekend. These past 3 weeks of training was a definite build period for me. My long bricks extended my bike miles and ramped them up from 65 mile rides in the last cycle up to 100 miles in this cycle! This weekend was the pinnacle of this cycle with some really major workouts for me – Friday through Sunday included 2.3 miles of swimming, 117 miles of biking and 13.5 miles of running – and I managed to nail every one of my workouts! I was so pumped – especially as I wrapped my run on Sunday and managed to get through 7 half mile repeats at my old (pre-injury) pace. Every once in a while, things just click!

This last weekend was a big win for me, all though this training season I’ve been struggling. It seems if my swim is going well, my bike and run are off. And if my bike is going well, my run and swim are off. And if my run is going well… well actually that has not happened yet this season since my injury has continued to drag me down a bit… this was the first weekend that I just felt like everything went well. Which is HUGE since we’re headed into IM Raleigh 70.3 this weekend. Now all I have to do is focus on my taper week activities – a few shorter workouts, some speed work, and making sure I eat well.

Oh, and of course, what would taper week be without watching the weather ALL WEEK long. Speaking of weather, it’s going to be HOT, HOT, HOT in North Carolina (big surprise). Looks like hydration will also be key this week. Luckily a heat wave has rolled into the Northeast for this week, so my body has half a fighting chance to acclimate a little before we get down South. But hey, what would a 70.3 be if it wasn’t 90+ degrees and humid?! I’m not sure I would know what to do with myself… Syracuse 70.3 has been awesome for this weather pattern both in 2013 and 2014 with a last minute heat wave for race day. Eh, oh well.

Alright, well, here goes nothing. Race day is next Sunday. Kind of weird to race a 70.3 when I’ve been so focused on IMLP, but I’m just going to focus on enjoying myself and taking in all the new scenery next weekend – oh and my first open water swim for the season – craziness!

Feeling a little dysfunctional and underprepared, this race just kind of snuck up on me since it’s not the focus of the season, so I’ll just have my fingers-crossed that everything goes well!🙂

Weekly Workouts//

  • Monday – Rest Day
  • Tuesday – Brick: 1 Hour, 45 minute Bike; 30 minute Run
  • Wednesday – AM – 3100 yard speed work swim planned, was bombing on this one and cut it short at 2100 yds
  • Wednesday – PM – 60 minutes of sports massage to work out all my issues.. haha.
  • Thursday – track workout planned, life interrupted my plans… no workout today.
  • Friday – AM – 3700 yard Swim
  • Friday – Noon – 1 Hour Bike
  • Saturday – Brick: 100 mile Bike & 30 minute Run
  • Sunday – 1 hour 30 minute Run, with 800 repeats

Total Time: 13 hours 30 minutes

  • Swim: 5800 yards / 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Bike: 144 miles / 9 hours 20 minutes
  • Run: 16.5 miles / 2 hours 30 minutes

Photo Recap//

Working Albany Corporate Challenge for Ragnar Relays – this event was CRAZY – 10,200 runners makes for some overwhelming traffic through the tent (especially when there is free Ragnar swag to be had.)

The “egg” in Albany – our view for the evening and the calm before the storm of runners!

After some great conversation this week, this thought just kept popping in my mind.       My lunch date on Friday. I’m in love. If only every lunch date was as good.😉

My date Friday night. Couldn’t ask for a cuter guy to hang out with!

100 miles done!! Had to take a picture to capture the moment. First of five 100+ mile rides during this training cycle. Managed to complete the entire thing without a mapped route, no support (had to carry everything) and totally solo.

We can all achieve much more than we ever dreamed possible.

It just takes a little work, dedication and perseverance.

After Saturday’s brick, I came home and found these in my mailbox!! The beautiful and wonderful Ginger at Plaid Lab Studio strikes again! She makes  beautiful jewelry – much of which is bike inspired!! She sent me the skull and butterfly bracelet for my Betty Super Powers – perfect timing with Raleigh 70.3 coming up next weekend!!

 

Sunday morning 6 am, track workout. This went SO SO SO well for me! I was totally pumped since I came off my longest brick the day before!!

Part of the reason for my 6 am wake up… my nephew was baptized Sunday!

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And after Church, I noticed that 2 red hats were hanging out in the backseat of my Jeep… love these girls!  DSC_0021

Sunday afternoon, I scooted up to Old Forge in the Adirondacks for a little R&R with some friends. Love me some lakeside relaxing!

Um… yea, so apparently it doesn’t matter which 70.3 I sign up for. I get to race in super high heat/humidity with very little heat training under my belt. This should be fun… but hey, at least I’ve done this a couple times before!

Well, that’s all, I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend and spent some time remembering those who have served our country so that we can all continue to enjoy the freedoms that are given to us. I know it was a great weekend for me – family, friends, and some great workouts!

Never settle for the dream you think you can reach. Settle on the dream you want.

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