Race Report: Ironman Louisville

Surprise yourself every day with your own courage” – Denholm Elliott

Wow, I can’t believe the 2017 season has come and gone already, it seems like just yesterday we were gearing up for the end of 2016 with Ironman Arizona. We flew to Louisville on Wed night and, after a delayed flight, we arrived at our airbnb. Our host was nice to give us a tour; despite our exhaustion it was a warm welcome. Thursday consisted of checking in, getting our bikes from Tribike Transport (thank you again for such wonderful service), and a quick ride. Friday was an easy swim, driving the bike course, and a wonderful coeur sports teammate dinner down at 4th Street live. Saturday was a shakeout bike, and an attempt to run. I hadn’t run in a week due to a lower leg issue (not sure what it is) and the week leading up to the race I was trying to alleviate some of the pain. I had two acupuncture appts, was wearing compression 24/7 and it was starting to feel better. Welp, that ‘run’ was about a minute and I knew what I was going to have to deal with on race day – feeling that spot for a marathon. I was ok with it, I had completed some of my best running workouts to date while dealing with it. After bike check in, quick hugs from Meghan, Rosalyn and Chris, it was off my feet for the rest of the day.

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Team dinner ❤

Race Day: Up later than normal, thanks to the dark skies so late, we got to sleep in on race AM until 4:30! Ate my normal pre race breakfast, but was having an issue getting my protein drink down… eventually I think my nerves got the better of me. D and I found parking fairly easily in the garage, and transition was fairly easy to set up. After body marking, we headed up the road (almost a mile) to the swim start. Not sure how it happened, but wouldn’t you know we stubbled upon Meaghan, Chris and Rosalyn in line. THANK GOD. I was about to loose it emotionally and these guys completely get me. Instantly I felt so much better. My other teammate, Christina, somehow stumbled upon us as well, it was so good to see her! Eventually, D and I said our goodbyes, then Chris said his goodbye to us, and soon followed Rosalyn did too. One of my FAVORITE things about this race – walking to the start and jumping in with one of my best friends. I was so much calmer, so much more relaxed having Meaghan by my side.

Swim: 1:02.20 (4120 yds, 1:27/100 yds)* PR

Meaghan and I said our last minute ‘love yous’ and plummeted into the murky Ohio River. After calming myself down for a few strokes, I was under way. This swim starts upstream then turns left into the middle of the river. I was passing people left and right, which was a little weird as we started in the back of the 60-70min swim group. I was finding some good feet and felt comfortable swimming, focusing on my form and breathing. Not too much sooner, we started turning left towards the middle of the river – and HOLY COW was it choppy. Which kind of made it fun. I was really proud of my effort so far and kept rolling with it. I was still somehow passing people all around me. I told myself, even if I didn’t PR in this swim, I would be proud because I was swimming hard, smooth, strong and focused the entire time. I almost didn’t want to get out, which was silly because the water was kinda gross. I kept pretending in my head I was swimming in Cayuga Lake, so I suppose that’s good thing. Before long, I could see the last red turn buoy and thanks to Lauren, I made sure I didn’t smash my legs against the steps.  Before I got pulled up, I stopped my watch and saw the time. I freaked out. I got to the landing, got my wetsuit ripped off, and basically freaked out (I think both Rosalyn and Christina saw that). I swam a HUGE PR and was pretty content with the race ending there, ha!

Bike: 5:51.11 (19.14 mph)

As I was running towards my gear bag, I have to say, I realized my leg was feeling great so I was optimistic about the marathon later. Transition was quick, but I was a little sad to see ALL the bikes gone around me, but reminded myself there was a LOT of racing left. One downside to this race is you literally have the longest transitions ever to bike out/run out etc. They took FOREVER but before long, I was on my bike and on my way.

D and I talked about the wind and more specifically to keep my head in it (unlike Arizona last year). The first 20 or so miles were slightly uphill, but a major tailwind so I flew, then you could start to feel the wind. I constantly reminded myself to continue to be patient. I saw Rosalyn in La Grange which was a welcomed sight – I got a little emotional seeing her, but pulled it together. The spectators out on the loop part of the course were awesome. I was a little disappointed in only seeing ONE course marshal the entire 112 miles on the bike and NO one in any of the penalty tents because I tended to see a LOT of drafting. Can I also tell you – the sky got SO DARK on the first loop. Like seriously on top of the wind, I was waiting to see some sort of funnel cloud but fortunately none came.

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The second loop came fast, I was sad not to see Rosalyn in La Grange (she was a great sport and wanted to make sure she was back at T2), then that HUGE bump (those who know the course know what I’m talking about) had people almost bike into me. What a disaster that was for people. Bottles everywhere, some people had road rash. I passed a car going up the hill with the pirates in speedos handing out rum so that was fun. Eventually after some uneventful miles, some car dodging, there was the last part of the bike – the 33 miles back to Louisville, in a major head wind. I kept reminding myself of what Kona would be like, but with about 20 miles to go, I felt so defeated. I was watching my HR, focused on keeping my feet moving and keeping it rubber side down. BUT wouldn’t you know, 5 miles from T2 – there was some sort of CRAZIER wind, rain and idk what. Let’s say I just tucked down in aero and fought my way to the end. I got back, shook my head (trying to keep it together) at both Christina and Rosalyn and made my way down to T2.

I basically threw my bike at a volunteer (sorry Benny, it was me, not you) and ran towards my gear bag. I grabbed the bag and a volunteer was running with me. I told her I was about to loose it, but that I was ok. As soon as I said it, the tears started flowing. Dear volunteer, you were awesome, thank you for not freaking out and just being helpful. With one more moment sitting in the chair, with a deep breath and some cheers from the volunteers, I ran out of the tent and decided I would try to run (still crying as I was heading out to the run course).

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End of bike – Photo Cred: Christina

Run: 3:27.53 (7:56/mi) *PR 

Heading out on the run, I had no desire to go. The bike was so mentally draining, I was over the race. I had no idea where I was and I figured there was no way I would achieve my main goal, but nothing was really physically preventing me from running, and I couldn’t see D so off I went. Poor Rosalyn, she was so excited and I was crying as I ran by. Girl – sorry for all the emotions ha. Not too much later I caught back up to Kate W, whom I have to also give a big shoutout to – having you near by was so helpful to me on the bike and the run. OH also, pro tip: change your HR monitor battery before any big race. Yes, mine died with like 20 miles left on the bike. Fortunately, I knew the effort I needed and knew what paces I had been running. ALSO by the grace of god, my HR on my watch was somewhat accurate.

The miles ticked by, around miles 2-3 I saw Beth and Kait, who looked great running and I kept putting on foot in front of the other. I could feel my leg, but it wasn’t getting worse and fortunately my shoes felt just right. At the low points of the race I was thinking of D, my mom, my wonderful supportive friends and family, B Jackson, my athletes, our members at work and for once, myself. This run was about me, and what I could do. I shut the mind off and went on auto pilot, I just ran. I ran into Chris at about mile 6, where I was still unsure, he helped reassure me to just keep going. I felt like I hadn’t seen anyone in my AG all day, which was heart breaking because I knew I couldn’t have been leading my AG, which meant no Kona slot. I dismissed this thought more than once, but it was hard to try to be honest with myself but, I figured I would still give myself this chance and see how many people I could run down. My first goal was to try to keep out running D (I saw him at the end of his first loop) and to get to half way.

My stomach was a mess. I couldn’t go to the bathroom on the bike (sorry for the bluntess) and I didn’t want to stop on the run. I kept downing coke and gatorade. D passed me around mile 11 and a few of the male pros and top male AGers gave me some reassuring feedback about how strong I looked and to keep it going. At mile 13 I saw Christina and sadly asked her where I was – she tried hard to find it quick (super appreciated it!!) but I missed her. Fortunately Rosalyn at that point told me I was in 5th and was running 20 second/mi faster than everyone in my AG. That was when I decided to keep trucking along. A HUGE shoutout to the Drink Maple crew for the pop up stand – the SECOND time in a race where they’ve been there when my stomach needed something else. I carried that bottle with me for 3 or 4 miles. When I reached mile 18, I started doing some math in my head and realized I could run a sub 3:30 marathon – which would be a big PR. At mile 20, I decided to make a quick pitstop as I feared I would throw up (again still had to pee). I didn’t want to stop, fearing my leg would tighten up or I would ruin my rhythm, but I feared losing my hydration more. It was a quick stop, then I was on my way. At this point, it was about getting to the bridge, to the aid station, to the out and back, etc.

Meaghan was on her first loop, where I practically broke her hand giving her a high five. She looked so good, and I just tried my best to hold it together for her. I so wanted her to have a good day, she’s been working so hard and giving it so much. With 3 miles to go, my legs finally started to really ache, like really ache and I started the convo in my head that these were the last miles of the year. Mile 24-25 was the worst, and I pulled it together for the last mile, especially after a police officer let a car go infront of me. I was SO scared to stop that I wouldn’t get going again, I screamed noooo.. but there was plenty of time. In the last mile, I just kept pumping my arms, thinking that this was it, that I was almost done, just a few more turns. Running down the last bit, hitting that red carpet, the noise, I completely lost it. I tried to pull myself together (Sorry mom I didn’t smile, it was all I could do to get to the finish line). I pulled out a big PR, a lifetime PR in the marathon. Upon finishing D told me I beat 4th by 8 seconds, which was my last mile where I dipped under 8 for the last time then I was wheeled away to medical… where I was nauseous again, shivering uncontrollably, and laid there with 3 blankets for an hour.

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So much pain.

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Free Blankets FTW

I ended up 4th in my AG, with PRs in the swim and run, and an overall PR with a 10:31. It’s crazy how competitive my AG is, and I do thank the other strong woman for constantly pushing me to be my best. I started the day thinking this race would make or break me emotionally. This year has been so trying, mentally, physically and emotionally. The lows were so low and the highs at the end of the season were incredible. I thought if I didn’t KQ I’d be done, I’d be a wreck. I left Lousiville knowing I left absolutely everything out on that course. I have no regrets and I am proud. I know I’ll get to Kona, this year wasn’t in the cards for me, but I trust it’s there.

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25-29 Podium

Thank you to the volunteers, the southern hospitality of Louisville and the wonderful community who welcomed us crazy athletes. You all were amazing. Thank you to the woman who was working TSA when we left and mentioned how strong I was and asked how my race went. It was at this moment that I was, and AM, SO proud of how much I’ve faught to be a STRONG woman, a healthy woman.

I can’t give enough words to my Mom, Alex, Meaghan, Rosalyn, and my other friends and family near and far who constantly believe in me and who understand what it takes to do this. A big thanks to D, who is always so supportive, who wants me to just be happy, who handles my emotions when I can’t and who is always trying to build my confidence and my belief. To Coeur Sports and my teammates, I can’t thank you enough, year four has been amazing and I’m incredibly grateful for this new family, for you girls who welcome me with open arms, bring me up when I’m low and continue to push me. To BT Nutrition, Drink Maple, and Honey Stinger for keeping me fueled, hydrated and happy. To Brian and Linda at Fast Splits for taking care of me, my BMC and for always giving me hugs and giggles. To my coworkers and members at the Elliot, for thinking I’m crazy but welcoming me with open arms and not questioning how tired I am or how much I eat.

Next up: A REAL Vacation in Aruba 🙂

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Walking to Indiana!

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Post Race Ice Cream!!!

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Pumpkinman 70.3 & Hogsback 13.1: Race Reports

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That quote pretty much sums up both races – heading into Pumpkinman 70.3 I had no expectations but was seriously just hoping things would play out and I’d get some confidence heading into the last build before IMLV. We headed up on Friday night (D was racing both days) and stayed in this cute cottage not far from the ocean in Ogonquit, Maine. Saturday AM we were up and out the door for the Sprint race of the weekend. I had the pleasure of playing sherpa/spectating as D and friends raced. After chatting, cheering and hugs, I got my workouts done and we headed back to relax for the rest of the night.

Race morning came after a SUPER great night of sleep and for once breakfast was easy to get down, as was my AM coffee. That was short lived, however, because as soon as we started driving I was really nauseous – to the point of almost making D pull over. Once at the venue, though, things were smooth. Bike racking was a little tight but we made due, and as I was exiting transition to hit the loo one more time, another racer commented on my braids and asked if I could do a braid for her. I did, which reminded me of how calming it was when I did my teammates’ hair in college. Her smile was all I needed to give me an added sense of calmness as she wished me good luck. I did miss the loo but it turned out to be ok 😉

Swim: 34:30 (1:39/100) * PR

There was a delay for fog and as the air temperature was so cold, I opted for a dry land WU with Kait, who was a champ for racing both days and WON both days, not bad for a weekend! 😉 Not too much longer we were shuttled into the starting corral and entered the water. I had a great start, pushed hard from the beginning directly into the sun, following the bubbles in front of me. The swim course was two loops (then two smaller loops for the OLY), about half way through the first loop I was pushing hard, then lost the feet I was on. This may be the first swim where I was ENJOYING swimming, not sure why I really was happy in the pond. I kept trying to press the rest of the way and before I knew it we were closing in on swim out. I was so excited about my PR swim and trying to get up the HUGE hill to transition I forgot to split my watch for a while. Once out of my wetsuit, up the hill I went in search for my bike.

Bike: 2:40.54 (20.9 mph)

The bike was pretty uneventful – I was a little nervous getting on my bike soaking wet, but reminded myself that I’ve been in cold conditions before. Surprisingly my HR was exactly where it should be despite the cold start (53 degrees). The bike was a lot of me eating, drinking, and trying to keep my head in the game. I was happy to be racing, but with the fewer numbers of a smaller race and the roads having constant curves, I felt really alone. The course is like a lollipop with two circles at the end and in the middle of the first loop, I saw a drink maple kit – I was SO happy to see Kate. I’m sure I looked like a crazy lady biking up next to you, Kate, with a  huge smile on my face but I was happy to see someone I knew haha. The other memory I had from the bike was dealing with my Xlab torpedo. I bit too hard on the straw and a piece came and got stuck in my throat. I tried coughing, but alas just swallowed and kept riding. I figured it would end up ok (and it did). I made my way back to transition and prepared for the run.

Run: 1:36.05 (7:21/mi) *PR

Heading out of transition for the run, I was pretty happy. I knew my running had been going well and I was ready to see where I was in the race – and see how D’s race was turning out. The first few miles are one way, before two shorter out and backs. A shout out to the volunteers – They were super helpful and supportive the entire race. At mile 3 – I saw D and he was looking good, in 2nd place, yelling at me about how someone cut the course. At mile 4 I saw Kait – with the lead biker, and then I could see the women after, which led me to believe I was first woman off the bike in my wave and 4th female overall (Elite’s had a 5-6 min head start). I was running quick in my zones and kept my head down focusing on each mile. Just before the turn around I could see the 2nd and 3rd place women (from the elite wave) ahead of me, and made moves around them. I was thinking about how perfect of a day it was and if I kept moving, I’d not only finish with a swim PR, but a run PR and potential overall 70.3 PR. At the turn around I noticed an E3 athlete and encouraged her to catch the two women behind me. Then I realized I had to try to put some more space between us. I kept trying to check in at certain points but Kristin was running a fantastic split and caught me at mile 11 (or 10). I was working hard to keep the gap close, but my legs had nothing left to give. Everything hurt so much. Before long, I was heading up the last big hill, around a few curves, then running downhill (in the grass – OUCH) towards the finish, with a bright shiny new Swim, Run and OVERALL PR’s. Not to mention third woman OA. What a day.

I could hardly walk after the race, but I didn’t care (and skipped that dreaded post 70.3 run). I was so elated to have had such a great race off a really great build. We chatted with friends, relaxed a bit and had a FANTASTIC turkey dinner (CANNOT WAIT FOR THANKSGIVING) before we headed back home. This was a wonderful event, and I cannot wait to come back.

Overall: 4:55.50 – 3rd Female OA, 22 Overall

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2nd on the AG Podium!

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And because we went to the ocean.

Hogsback Half 13.1 – 1:28.32 (6:43/mi)

THENNNNN a few weeks later (like last weekend) D and I traveled to CT to do a half marathon. First – it is SO much easier to not travel with bikes – wetsuits – nutrition – trainer- and everything triathlon related, but oh well. We stayed in this adorable bed and breakfast about 10 minutes from the race start.

Also – local races people – there’s no huge issue getting your stuff for the race, the race directors are genuinely excited (and most are volunteers) and things run smoothly. We arrived 45 min before the start, got our packets, said hi to the race directors (Hi Kelly and Ryan) a short warm up in, and off to the start line.

Kelly introduced me to the lead bike for the women (Who was just fabulous) and one of the Oiselle Birds, Michaela, as we were both shooting to go sub 90. When the gun went off, I went into auto pilot and let me body take over. The first four miles were all pretty downhill so I stayed relaxed and just rolled with the terrain. At mile three, the eventual winner passed me (Good luck at Hartford!) and I tried to keep her within eye sight but then reminded myself that there was 13.1 miles, not 6.2 and settled into my own rhythm. This was perfect as it was on the country roads I miss so much, but also a great test of will and determination. At halfway, I thought about how it was a road PR and would have been content with the finish there as the rest of the race is spent climbing back up from the start. Fortunately for me, the course was rolling. I started catching the early starters around mile 7, and to my benefit they gave me something to focus on. With two miles to go, I kept reminding myself that I could do anything for 15 minutes while waiting for the final hill. This is also when one of the men started catching me. First, I didn’t care, then I got competitive and DID care and carried that with me to the finish.

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This hurt a bit.

I can’t remember when I did just a running race – this was a great day and I had so much fun. A huge thanks to Kelly and Ryan for letting us come race this wonderful little event.

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and we went apple picking

As always, thanks to Coeur Sports, BTS Nutrition, Drink Maple and Honey Stinger for keeping me comfortable, hydrated, and fueled. A bigger thanks to my family and friends for their continued support and understanding while I chase these crazy dreams. Next up: Ironman Louisville!

 

 

 

Race Report: Cayuga Lake Triathlon

The Most simple things can bring the most happiness.” – Izabella Scorupco

So about a week ago, I decided on a whim to travel back to Ithaca to visit and do one of my all-time favorite races, the Cayuga Lake Triathlon. This races means more to me than just being in my second home, but its where I was welcomed into the triathlon community and started my love of triathlon. In 2012, I wore bike shorts over my spandex shorts because I was worried about my lady parts hurting too much, then forgot to take them off and ran in them HA. Can you imagine if I could look back and tell myself then – embrace the chaffing and there will be a company that makes SUPER comfortable shorts. It’s where I used side stroke and breast stroke to get through the swim. Lastly, it’s where I still felt like a runner after my third stress fracture where I ran the fastest female 5k split. I finished 3rd in my AG in 1:31.30 not knowing anything about anything in regards to triathlon.

Following that race, in 2013, I did my first Olympic, signed up for my first full, and THEN did my first half. Side note: the Olympic distance is my least favorite – there’s just not enough time on the bike and run compared to the swim to make up for my swimming. Hence why I race the longer stuff – give me the extra .2 miles in the swim, 30 extra miles on the bike and 7 more miles on the run.

Back to THIS race though – I decided to do the Olympic, keeping in mind it has been 4 years since my first Olympic distance. I rolled into town Friday night, cried immediately driving through downtown, met up with two girlfriends (Liz and Alex)  and we headed straight to Ithaca beer. I wanted this weekend to be pressure-free and above all have fun, especially as I hadn’t been back in Ithaca since I moved 10 months prior. After giggles, good food, and a few beers, we headed back to my Liz’s, where we then chatted until WAY past my bedtime. No regrets, none, it was so lovely.

Saturday came way too fast and I headed out for my ride and chatted with Alex. An hour ride was never enough before I moved and it sure wasn’t enough for today. It was over way too soon and I headed for my run, trying to keep it in ZR but was WAY to happy to be running in Ithaca. After the workouts, I met another friend for lunch, headed back to clean up and made my way to packet pickup, where I saw my coworkers and more friends. Eventually I grabbed a burrito – Viva I have missed you, and headed back to get off my feet, relax, which was perfect until bed.

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Race AM: Woke up LATER than when I normally do for my early shift at work, so what a BONUS. Ate my normal pre-race bfast and headed to Taughannock State Park where the race was located, with a HUGE smile on my face. I am very fortunate that my mom came down, and upon seeing her we both burst into tears, because that’s what we do. I set up my transition and we sat by the lake chatting until the race start.

Swim: 29:24, 1740 yds, 1:41/100

I was in the last wave for the Olympic, no real race nerves, I had goals, but I was rolling with what my body wanted to give me that day. I knew it would hurt, but that’s what we look for when it comes to racing and to be happy with a race it’s most likely going to hurt. I lined up in the front, trying to be aggressive, and waited for the horn. Once the horn blew, I felt I was in good position and I tried to find some feet. Not too far in we hit some rough waves. Instantly, my chest tightened as I couldn’t get air and I couldn’t convince myself to exhale. I was at the second buoy and thought about turning around, saying how stupid it was, but more importantly, I didn’t want to have a full blown panic attack. After a few breast strokes, I got near the buoy line, only to have to take a few more breast strokes, and really force myself to exhale. I was able to get back into a rhythm and caught some people on the line. I decided I needed to swim faster than they were, so I moved around and found some feet that were moving pretty well. Eventually I got into my normal rhythm and passed the green buoy (sprint turn) pretty fast. We made our turn buoy pretty fast and I decided I was going to try my best to get back to shore and put a hard acceleration in. Turns out I should have just stayed on those feet, she somehow got ahead of me and I was pretty much in no man’s land back to shore. I tried to stay positive, but was also thinking about how TIRED I felt, knowing I had a hard day ahead of me. I did end up catching the ladies 3 buoys to the shore, which I was kind of annoyed with myself about but so it goes. Got to shore and just wanted to get on my bike.

T1: I was pretty happy to go bike, had a great transition until I got to bike mount and my chain was off. There were a few curse words (some slight panic) and of course I felt like I had been there forever. It turned out to be a minute, but let’s be real, it was FOREVER.

Bike: 1:10.54, 20.4 mph

Bike starts straight out uphill after about 400m from transition. Immediately my legs felt dead, but I rolled best I could. It was pretty uneventful bike. I love riding down by the lake – There were SO many spectators out cheering and waving that all I could do was smile and wave back. THEN, no lie, a tractor pulled out in front of me up the road. At first I was like no biggie, I shouldn’t catch him, but that was a mistake. I was CATCHING him, I tried to get his attention, waved a few times and then finally had to PASS the TRACTOR. Seriously, I just laughed and figured it was better than any Amish or Mennonites – they make me so nervous with the horses. Quick left turn and up the hill I went – passing one of my athlete’s, TR while trying to figure out who it was with their ironman tattoo. Once up the hill, it was to get back to T2 as fast as possible, but sure enough not before a truck stopped in front of the sprint turn around as three intermediate athletes were trying to pass. Fortunately for me, I got by without any issues and cruised back to transition.

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T2: completely uneventful, was efficient and running.

Run: 48:04 (7:45 pace)

The plan was to be strong the first loop, then race the second loop. First mile was rough, just tried to ride out the achy legs. Second mile was good, I felt like I was in a good rhythm and was looking forward to it, mile three is when my legs started getting achy again and it stayed that way to the finish line. I just couldn’t really move – seemed to be the theme of the day, head wanted to go harder and body was all NOPE. So I watched as the third place woman ran by and I had nothing to try to cover the attack but a ‘good job’ to her and just focused on getting back to the finish. I did take a moment to really be in AWE of the water falls, the community, and the cheers (even if I didn’t acknowledge you – I’m sorry, I was hurting). I finished near my time goal, but a little short with a 2:32.26. I was 1st AG, 5thFemale. 3rd was 30 seconds ahead, and 4th was 3 seconds, which is always a bummer, but I gave it what my body had on that day.

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The waterfall is so beautiful

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Post-Race was filled with lots of laughs, catching up, Ithaca Beer, Purity Ice Cream, NO post-race workout and lots of hugs. Not to mention tears, lots of tears. My heart is so full, I’m so honored to have been in such a wonderful, welcoming community for almost 6 years. I miss it so much but as the wind carried me to Ithaca, it carried me back home too and I have another wonderful weekend to remember. I’ll be back and I’ll try to make sure it’s not 10 months again.

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I love this place ❤

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When your BF gets to hand you your award ❤

As always, a big thanks to the companies who help make training comfortable, and possible – Coeur sports for the AMAZINGLY comfortable kits, BT Nutrition, Drink Maple, and Honey stinger for keeping me fueled and hydrated pre, during and post. Fast Splits for such a SWEET ride. A huge shout out to the Ithaca community for the support, cheers and hugs, and as always, my family and friends: who keep me sane and provides their continued love and support.

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Ithaca, you sure are beautiful

Up Next: Pumpkinman 70.3 in Sept.

Not all smiles and giggles

“Never give up, and be confident in what you do. There may be tough times, but the difficulties which you face will make you more determined to achieve your objectives and to win against all the odds.” – Marta

I’ve been debating on writing this post for a while, it’s raw, honest with things I’ve been struggling with for a while. With the honesty of so many of my teammates lately, they’ve inspired me to write about it. Things are always so easy when they go right – when you’re hitting every send off, over the prescribed watts at a lower effort and running is effortless. That’s not to say even when you are fit, things just hurt, it’s just sometimes easier to hurt. That’s what we’re training for, to embrace the suck, learn our limits, am I right? Triathlon is not easy and the fitter we are the more it seems to hurt to reach that next level. Most of the time, I thrive off that pain.

I’ve always struggled with depression – since I was in middle school (there’s more about this too but that’s for another post). It runs in my family and at some point in my HS days I figured out running mostly helped it. Fast forward to college – first semester was my first stress fracture. Besides being new to college, still emotionally dealing with my Dad’s heart attack and getting my first running injury, I was a complete wreck and the one thing I knew would make me feel better I couldn’t do. I remember my new friends (at that time) were so supportive (they probably thought I was crazy.. it was only 4 weeks on campus) and my coach had a chat with me I remember to this day. He said I needed to find something else to identify to, that Lisa as a runner was ok, but Lisa only a runner was not. Needless to say, I tried and had NO idea what he really meant. I still don’t even today in my 4th year as a triathlete I still classify myself as a runner. Side note: I think this is also when I developed my love for coffee.

After numerous other injuries, including another stress fracture, I came into my senior fit as ever, running 60 miles in 6 days and lightest since HS. It was probably the only time I felt confident in my appearance and my running – and I ate whatever I want and was even conscious of getting extra calories in (a beer a night – I was 21). Then I got hurt (go figure) – I was utterly devastated, I kept competing that fall because I felt that was the right thing to do with the team and my coach made me feel I was needed as I was only Senior. Once the season ended, the tendonitis (we think) cleared up almost instantly and sure enough I was back to being super fit. I pr’ed in the 3k during indoor track, and then bam the same thing happened, injury number 2 of the year (I ended up having three injuries this year). This is when I was really depressed, started losing hope and looked to control what I could. I started restricting because that was what I could control, and if there was any hope of being fit for outdoor (in my mind) that was the way. Eventually, my college boyfriend figured it out, probably because I was so moody and cried at everything, and threatened the only thing that could help me snap out – tell my mom.  I made it through my senior year, and needless to say, running and I broke up my first year after I graduated.

Fast forward a few more years, I was happy to be running, and was feeling good. I ran my first 13.1 (and a few more after), I was close to my 5k PR splits, and even ran a sub 19 5k off no real 5k training. I got my third stress fracture – the next day, I signed up for my first Triathlon, our local one, the Cayuga Lake Triathlon. I loved every second of it. I was completely hooked. Triathlon has helped in a LOT of ways. It keeps my demons at bay, sometimes more than just running; I get to work hard in three different disciplines. Triathlon has helped me to be more at peace with myself, most of the time. I’ve gained 15 pounds since the fall of my senior year of college – and I know its muscle and I’ve been healthy.

Fast forward to where I am today – my biggest struggles: 1) all of my run workouts are considerably slower and 2) I struggle with my body image and my weight.

Both of these demons butt their ugly heads when I feel training isn’t going right, note: I said when I FEEL. I’m sure training is going fine. I swam one of swim workouts the fastest ever last week. My cycling is coming back, and running is fine. BUT it’s the mental aspect. This sport is hard, the balance in this sport is hard, something I’m still constantly learning and applying to my goals. I had a great race at Chattanooga 70.3, but I would be lying if I said I was 100% happy. My biggest goal of the day came up short, WAY short. Then to be honest, Syracuse 70.3 was a complete clusterf*ck  in my mind and I came up short again. The following weeks I struggled with wanting to finish the year, I still trained after a few days off, because that’s all I know. From a young age, it seems all I’ve done is be active, plus there are those demons above.

Failing at both goals it hurt, a lot – my heart was (and is a bit) very heavy. You give so much to try to achieve your dreams. I started a new job in the middle of training – have been working a lot more than anticipated. If you know anything about me, you know I don’t do well on not a lot of sleep and I’m not the best sleeper. The early AM wake up calls, then long hours (some shifts are 11 hrs with drive time) and turn around to some nights with 2 workouts, dinner and straight to bed. I applaud all of you out there who have crazy schedules. I know I chose it, and I wouldn’t change it but it’s so much easier when you’re willing to do it to achieve the dream. My dream fell short not once, but twice this season (now my season isn’t over but still, it’s hard to go 10 months straight).

So it brings us back to present – I’m struggling, some days are better than others. I’m still finding that utter determination, waiting to start feeling fit, to not get frustrated with how slow (compared to my college days) a runner I am, and find the drive to dig deep. I know it’s in there, I see glimpses some days. But for now, I keep chugging along.

 

And since that’s a low, here are some happy pictures:

As always – a big thanks to the companies who help – Coeur sports, BT Nutrition, DRINKMAPLE (FriendofHolt – for 15% off), Honey Stinger and my always supportive and loving family & friends.

Race Report: Syracuse 70.3

Someday everything will make perfect sense. So, for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.”         –Unknown

So, truth be told, I don’t really want to write this race report, but it’s time to get it out and completely move on. One of the biggest reasons I chose to go race Syracuse 70.3 was to give myself another opportunity of getting a 70.3 Worlds Slot. I’m not a HUGE fan of chasing something, but I didn’t want to keep having the what ifs… so we chose to go for it. The other big reason, seeing my family and some of my Ithaca friends and getting to see some of my athletes.

We rolled out of MA/NH at a decent hour and hardly hit any traffic, arrived at my Mom’s around 7:00PM, we all got dinner to go and my brother, his girlfriend and my niece were there in addition to my mom and Pippy as the welcoming committee J The next morning consisted of swimming at my fav Y (the bville Y that the pool is a reasonable temp and it’s NEVER crowded), then carb loading and heading to the race venue to drop of Benny. At the venue, I learned how warm the water was (a WHOOPING 72 degrees) and ran into my athlete Will. As we were heading home, I see what looks like a Coeur teammate running down the road, sure enough it was Amy and she was laughing hysterically about something. We pulled over and I grabbed a few photos and laughed along (Sorry Ruby). Once home, it was feet up and full of snuggles between Pippy and my mom!

Race morning came quick but somehow, I was asleep by 7:45PM and slept through to 4:15. A SOLID 8.5 hours! That’s better than most days during the week! I quickly got around, got my breakfast in, still couldn’t drink coffee and we were out the door at 4:45. Normally I’m not a fan of arriving so early to the race venue, but there’s really only one road to get into the park and I HATE sitting in traffic. We arrived at the park and made our way to transition.

Once my stuff was set up, my mom and I headed to the porta johns where we ran into Joe and Marc, which is where we stayed until the start of the race. Eventually #hotmessmom and one of my best gf’s Alex made it with my BBF Wolfie and John. Side note: I never really know how I’m going to act on race morning – like anxious and not talkative, relaxed and chatty or just want to sit there in silence. It’s one of the things I really don’t like ha, but fortunately my support crew gets it. This AM, I was pretty chatty and saw one of my athletes, Dee (who was supporting her husband this race), my good friend Kim (& family), and my Coeur Sports teammate Rebecca.

Swim:  37:21 (1:41/100yds)

Eventually it was time to warm up, only that they were forcing people to leave the WU area as it was close. So, there goes that plan. I worked my shoulders and tried to get myself warm in my wetsuit. As we lined up in the water, I was feeling relaxed and ready to go, when the cannon went off, I was ready. I found feet and we started the day.

This was the first time I felt motivated and good in the water, I was focused on my form, breathing and trying to keep moving forward. About 6 buoys out, I started to feel the WIND we were having as I was getting thrown forward and tried hard not to think about how coming back would feel as it’s more exposed. Made it to the first turn buoy fairly quickly (must be all those 4k swims in the pool) and had passed a lot of people from previous waves. Swimming across to the next turn buoy, I focused on maintaining my line and not getting a mouth full of water (which happened anyways).

As we passed the second turn buoy, I tried hard to find some decent feet to help pull me back in but no matter what I had to dodge slower swimmers and was getting thrown left and right. I buckled down and really focused on my form.

Back on shore, I was really upset when I saw my swim time. I have worked really hard in the pool this year, took 12 seconds off my 200 time and haven’t had the swim to prove it. I really felt good mentally about this swim and I just had a heavy heart seeing 37 minutes on my watch, but I brushed it off and was ready to see what I could do on the bike.

**I finally looked at my splits (literally just now) and they’re kind of interesting. I actually did have my best start – first 500 at 1:35 pace without the wind at that point. So, feeling a little better about my swim now, haha.

Bike: 3:10.58 (17.6 mph)

I really love my BMC, and I was excited to see how much improvement I could have on this course compared to last year. Rolled out of transition and was frustrated I couldn’t get my new (awesome) Smith Podium TT helmet to sit right. Eventually I got it and settled in. Heading up Sweet Rd was insane, not only is the first 14 miles of this bike course climbing, but we were straight into a STRONG headwind. I reminded myself I couldn’t control the weather and focused on getting up the hills as quickly as possible without completely killing my legs. I also thought about how windy AZ was last year and reminded myself it would be ok.

However, it turned out to be my darkest bike to date. At the top of sweet road, it took me an HOUR to go 14.5 miles. It was 6 miles slower than my first hour at Chatt 70.3. I thought about just riding back to transition and grabbing my mom and D and heading to Dinosaur BBQ. I wasn’t having fun and I didn’t want to race anymore. I quickly tried to dismiss it, reminded myself what D told me about the wind, and prayed the other women in my AG felt the same way. I may have quit triathlon 4-5x on this bike course, even stating I didn’t care that I had a brand-new bike this year (but we made up). I also envisioned being out on the Queen K and thinking it had to be somewhat close to that, we had some nasty crosswinds and I was really worried I wouldn’t keep it rubber side down. I often thought about Alex, she’s been improving her outlook on the bike so much and I was worried she’d hate it again after this ride (fortunately she didn’t!!).

I really love the loop around Deruyter Lake and this is also where I remembered I had a 100mg Chocolate Cherry Gel, which I continued to down as fast as humanly possible hoping that would help. Turns out it did. My mood was instantly a little lighter and I tried to buckle down and finish strong. Well, it was probably the combo of the gel and realizing I was at least close to 20mph again with the wind. This is also about the time I couldn’t choke any more food down. I was having ‘those’ burps and was paranoid about losing everything. I knew it was hot out, so I forced myself to drink more, thinking it would help dehydration and with the missed food calories (this was a first time EVER occurrence for me).

About 12 miles from the finish, I saw my Coeur Sports teammate Olivia, which was a welcome sight. She’s a great cyclist and racer. About 3 miles from the finish, there’s a small curve with a timing mat clocking our speed, we aren’t allowed to go over 25 mpg. I forgot to put speed on my computer (which was still a good decision with the wind), I based myself off this gentleman who was going really slow, then booked it home.

Run 1:56.35 (8:53/mi)

I had a pretty good T2, and headed out of the run. At the corner about a half mile from T2/the finish line is where B. Jackson stood for my last 3 Syracuse 70.3s. A bunch of people stood there in his honor and wrote all his sayings on the road. I cried, not only did I cry once, I cried every time I passed it, which is 4 times.

HR was ok and I was feeling ok – until about mile 4. I was double fisting all the fluids, and ice EVERYWHERE. I got my first gel down and that was enough ha. Then proceeded the death march – I was nauseous on every uphill and downhill, which is pretty much the whole course.  I saw Noga and Amy, cheered for them, yelled at Amy to not step on my gel (it fell out on an out and back and I wanted to not waste it). At the end of the first loop, I was so ready to be done. It was stupid, everything was, I yelled at my mom (sorry Mom), I was mad D wasn’t there to tell me what to do, I didn’t care about finishing.

Alas, D was nowhere to be found and I couldn’t pull myself off the course, so I headed to continue my death march. Still pushing fluids down, walking through aid stations, thinking of all the things B. Jackson would say to me and trying to keep the tears at bay. Thought about the puke and rally many times, but just wasn’t sure what would be better: keeping it down, or letting it out. I decided to try to keep it down. Finally, in the last mile, I saw D and just lost it when he said I was doing fine. Fortunately, I couldn’t get any words out, otherwise they wouldn’t have been nice.

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besides looking like a wreck – I’m crying.. could you guess?

I was about 50m from the finish line, and looked over at someone saying my name, it was my dear friend Liz. She came up to see us race and I COMPLETELY lost it. I’m bib 1436 if you want to see those ugly finish pics hahaha.

Post-race: They brought me to this amazing sprinkler, where I just sat there, in the cold, refreshing water. Then I chatted with Liz, my Mom, D, John and Wolfie, caught up with my Coeur Sports teammates, Amy, Noga, and Olivia. Cheered Alex to the finish; stopped by the Meta massage tent to say hey to Tiffany and John and caught up with Kim.

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Momma ❤

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Always a good time racing with these speedy ladies!

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Stealing his heart back

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<3<3

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I sent my mom on her way (always a rough time), and made my way back to the finish line, where I came across the Brendan Jackson corner, with people still there, I shared my story, ugly crying and all. His legacy will always live on and he’ll always be with me.

We stuck around for awards and slot allocation where our friend/D’s athlete Lynn got a slot and I missed out again, and then made our way back to MA, but first – we hit Wegmans for dinner.

While this is my slowest 70.3 to date, I left with a very, very full heart and feeling so loved. It’s easy to be happy on the days that go right, it’s easy to relive those days, and this was not one of those days. This day hurt in more ways than one.

This past week, I’m happy to say I fell back in love with training. I did what I wanted, which included 4 days of yoga (Jasyoga FTW), I road my bike twice, ran twice and even swam twice. The first day I road, it was a beautiful day and I was smiling. The first day I ran, I almost quit after a mile, but it turned out to be just what I needed. The first day I swam (I was proud for even going), I raced two kids with kickboards. Each day brought a smile to my face. The second day I road, I went 90 miles with my girlfriend and Coeur Sports teammate Meaghan. The second day I ran, I was so happy to be in the sunshine and the second day I swam it felt good to be in the water (also caught up with a friend). I also drank a lot of beer, ate carbs outside the window 😉 and didn’t follow my diet to a T. This week I’m ready to get back to training, following my diet, but still drinking beer.

I can’t thank my support crew enough, for picking me up on days like today, and cheering with me when things go right. A big shout out to Coeur Sports and my teammates, you guys got me through this race. Thanks to BT nutrition and drink maple for keeping my hydrated (drink maple NEVER tasted so good post-race). Honey stinger for fueling me – and getting me through that 90-mile ride. To friends and family afar for the love, support and thinking of me. Here’s to the next one, but first – a weekend one of my favorite places, Lake Placid.

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Sometimes we wear real clothes and go out ❤

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I’d go 90 miles w. you any day ❤ #nobuttselfies

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FINALLY met Tucker! ❤

Race Report: Chattanooga 70.3

It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”– Paul “Bear” Bryant

Woah, it’s been a while. I think close to 6 months to be exact – well I’ll let you get settled (surprised some of you are reading this). I know you want to hear about the race, well feel free to skip down, but I feel it’s necessary to update about the past few months – Don’t worry I won’t draw it out.

The first big news – I started a new job as a fitness specialist in a hospital up in NH and I LOVE it. I was hired part time, which was going to be great with training and coaching, but things change and I’m flexible. I’ve been working 10-15 hours more than anticipated from when I was hired. It’s fantastic but makes for some long days and not ideal workout times ha! I’m officially part of the 5am crew everyday and it’s been nice. Being so far east, the sun comes up super early which makes it a bit better getting up that early.

Training has been going great too – seeing lots of improvement and excited to see what happens this season! I also joined a cycling club, Minuteman Road Club and will be riding some races for them – starting with my first stage race this coming weekend – Killington Stage Race!

See not too long on the background! D and I flew out of Boston on Friday AM to get down to Chattanooga. We arrived in Atlanta and had to wait an hour for our rental car – then got a bigger car, a freaking Toyota Forerunner. That thing was a truck, but it fit a bunch of bikes so we won’t complain. The drive from Atlanta to Chattanooga took WAY to long, and we decided we wouldn’t do that again. We’ll just fly direct next time. By the time we got to Chattanooga, we rushed through packet pickup, and grabbed our bikes from tribike. BTW Tribike transport is AWESOME. It was so easy, effortless and worry free. I highly recommend using them. It’s totally worth the money AND you don’t have to deal with pesky airlines that might cost the same.

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The Chattanooga Choo Choo

Once we grabbed our bikes, we hurried on home to our homestay, unloaded everything and rushed off to QR headquarters. It was pretty cool, we got to tour their new facility and Kim gave a great speech on nutrition. We didn’t leave QR until almost 7PM which made for another super long day and no time for us to swim. I tried to remind myself that it wasn’t the end of the world and since I was so exhausted from the week, it was probably for the best.

Back at our homestay, we had a wonderful dinner together (Beth, Kim, D, Steve and I all stayed at the same place) and not before long I was ready for bed.

Saturday AM, two of D’s athletes, Damien and Sophie, came over to ride/run with him and I invited myself and tagged along. It was really nice to just ride with people, even if it was ZR and loops around the neighborhood for 35 minutes. After our ride/run, D and I jumped in the neighborhood pool for 10 minutes. Don’t worry, I remembered how to swim.

We headed downtown to grab breakfast at this adorable little bread shop – the French toast with pears was exactly want I wanted. Before long, I finally racked Benny (my new BMC) and hoped that the crazy storms we were supposed to have that night and all day Sunday would be gentle for him. The rest of the day was in bed, off my feet and trying to make sure my body would be ready for the task. The last thought before bed was a slight freakout (storms were rolling in) about hail hitting my brand new bike and how I would fix it/pay for a new one – Fortunately, Benny was completely fine the next day.

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Our Wonderful Homestay, Jim and friends!

Race day: Race morning was pretty uneventful. I slept the night before which was welcomed just from how exhausting the week ended up and how we had been scrambling to get everything done the days leading up to the race. Had my normal pre-race breakfast, did my race day braids and out the door we went. Found some easy parking in the garage two blocks from transition and headed down to get our bikes ready. I was fortunate to have a spot on the end of the row and right in front of bike in/out. Once ready, we headed to the bus to be transported over and up the river to the swim start.

Swim: 1400 (18:23, 1:19/100).  New this year was a self seeded rolling start instead of the normal first come start. I was pretty happy as the line was already a quarter mile up the road and we were in the first of the second wave of buses, meaning there was almost 2000 who hadn’t made the trip to the start.

D and I said our goodbyes and he headed up the line for the pro M start. Later, I found Damien and Sophie and hung out with them until we started. Originally the swim start heads upstream for about 300 yards before swimming across and then heading downstream to transition. We all noted how long it took the pros to swim upstream and how some were having a hard time swimming straight before turning right and heading down stream. Wouldn’t you know, our time to start our swim came and went which then we noticed they were moving one of the red turn buoys upstream. Sure enough, they decided to let us just swim downstream.

So around 7:30, they let us start to jump in the water and head downstream. It wasn’t too much longer until it was my turn, so off I jumped and the L side of my goggles immediately filled with water. I tried to ignore it, but then was focused on that more than swimming, so I stopped to empty it. I was ready to get going again but they filled up again. I started swimming and tried to ignore it again but finally caved and emptied it.

I finally found my rhythm and counted the buoys and going under the bridge. The water wasn’t too bad, I mean it wasn’t clear but it wasn’t like things were floating in it. One, two and finally the last bridge and swimming towards the ‘gate’ in the river heading towards the steps to get out of the water. A huge thanks to the volunteer who literally yanked me out of the water – that first step was TOUGH. I checked my time, but had no concept of what it meant so I focused on the next task – my bike. The wetsuit strippers were awesome, probably the easiest time ever to get my Roka suit off. Don’t you know though as I got up to head up the hill to transition, I slipped and fell – dough – always! I brushed it off and kept going.

Bike: 2:37:43 (21.5mph) – I was really ready to see what I could do on the bike. I’ve been working really hard since Arizona and was anxious to see the hard work pay off. I settled into the ride right away, although I was weaving around other cyclists who were too focused on getting their gadgets right or nutrition down and not really paying attention.

I LOVED the bike course, it was tough but it was so beautiful with the mountains and the clouds still low, I couldn’t help but smile. I was having SO much fun on the bike. It’s had been a long time since I was enjoying the bike and Arizona was still so fresh in my mind. Controlling the controllables, I was focused on my HR, nutrition and getting bottles down and not getting caught up in the drafting happening around me – especially the AG men, stop drafting off the women and do your own thing! The volunteers at the aid stations were awesome, bottle handoffs always make me nervous and the hand offs I had were perfect. Before I knew it, we were less than 10 miles from T2 – I forgot how fast 70.3s go by! It’s almost astounding ha.

Run: 1:38:34  (7:30/mile) – Made it safely back to T2 – racked my bike and wouldn’t you know my helmet was caught on my braids. I tried to get it out, then just yanked. I did not want to lose time to the other girls in my AG. Slid my shoes on and off I was ready to see what my legs could do. Reminded myself to relax as much as possible and choked down my first gel (ha sorry Coffee flavor wasn’t want I wanted at that moment in time, but caffeine ;).

I was really happy to be running – the last 8 weeks I was having on and off point specific shin pain and was really worried I wouldn’t make it through the run, so when I felt awesome running off the bike I knew it was ok. Running up the hill to the first mile, I thought of my support crew and reminded myself they were with me and on my side. I thought of my dear friend Brendan always reminding my of where I came from, and to shuffle easy up the hill. I started to cry, but pulled it together because that’s what He and my family and friends would want. The important thing was I knew they were with me, and it was time to buckle down. The first 5 miles just ticked off and I was feeling good. It was great to see Kim and Beth on their second loop, I didn’t feel so alone as I hadn’t seen D all day.

The first loop went by pretty quick and when I headed out to the second loop I started to let the crowd carry me, but needed to chill until mile 7. At mile 7 I was allowed to really run the rest of the way. That’s what I did. I focused on getting fluids in at the aid stations, doing my favorite of double fisting coke and Gatorade as well as ice and water down my neck and top. This run course is harder than it sounds, the small hills really become noticeable on the second loop, but I was proud for maintaining my rhythm and being in a positive head space.

With 3 miles to go, I was over the bridge turning from the finish line and was in so much pain. My quads have never been so achy, I was trying everything to get my legs to turn over. I hit mile 12 and just kept telling myself 8 minutes left. You have to cross back over the Tennessee river on a old wooden pedestrian bridge, which is pretty cool and I’ve spectated on it before, but I never realized the bridge has these little mounds in it. I could have sworn the first time there was only three mounds. So, the second time I was counting them, mostly so I was paying attention and I wouldn’t trip over them. I got to the third one and wasn’t half way over the bridge, just prayed I would stay up on my feet. Finally reaching the last downhill, I was doing everything in my power to get to the finish line – even had a convo with myself, teeth gritting, asking if I could go faster, answered that I was in so much pain, and found a deeper place to get to the finish line.

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Photo Cred: teammate Danielle Worthington

Overall: I did everything I could with what I had this day – a 12 min bike PR on an honest course had me ecstatic, following it up with a decent run with less than ideal training leading up to the day had me smiling and trying to remind myself that I can be happy with the day. I am happy, and as time passes, I’m more happy and ok with the results. I walk away with a great day, having fun racing, and stayed in a great mindset out on the course. I wouldn’t be honest if I wasn’t disappointed I missed a podium and a worlds slot. It was a big goal for me and I have been thinking during almost every workout about since I signed up months ago. However, I’m happy the sport is growing and my AG is super competitive (minutes separated 4-9 I think).

 

I can’t thank my friends and family enough for the never ending and constant support, especially picking me up after an insane workout, a bad workout, or even just when the day gets the most of me, especially you D. You have to deal with my constant state of tired and emotions when the training gets tough – thank you! The biggest thanks to Coeur Sports and my wonderful teammates, Honey stinger, Drink Maple, BT nutrition, and my favorite local multisport shop, Fast Splits. Stay tuned for what’s next!

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Donuts

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2016 in Review

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Seneca

First, wow. Just wow 2016. A year I’ll surely never forget. Some big milestones: two Ironmen, the Boston Marathon, a trip to Hawaii, and moving out of my home state! Rather than write a novel about the year here are a few of my favorite memories from 2016:

Feb: Grateful for girlfriends and family ❤IMG_6099

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March: California & D’s Birthday

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April: Boston Marathon!!

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June: IM Syracuse, Family & another trip around the sun

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July: Mini Mussel, Training and IMLP.

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Mini Mussel runnnnning, it hurts.

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August: First Crit, friends, puppy snuggles & happy runs

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September: Lake George 70.3 and all the babiesss

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October: Kona ❤

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November: IMAZ!!

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December: Family and a NEW BABY.

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Poor exhausted brother

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Brand new niece! ❤

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making faces with Emi ❤

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So eternally grateful for the support and encouragement from my support crew, family, friends, Coeur Sports, Honey Stinger, Oiselle, Smith, BT Nutrition and Drink Maple throughout 2016 and can’t wait for what comes of 2017! Thanks for following along!