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.

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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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<3<3

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!

Race Report: IM Arizona

A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.” – Elbert Hubbard

Doug and I arrived in AZ on Thursday, where we proceeded to build my bike, check in, grab D’s bike and do our workouts. We shipped my bike via Bike Flights which was a fantastic way to go: no airline fees and Timmy arrived in perfect condition! That night we were invited to a rather interesting (hello politics) dinner party with our Homestay and guests, which somehow included Mirinda Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell.

Friday also consisted of a swim, bike and run, as well as a Coeur Sports Team dinner. My love for this team just continues to grow. I love all the giggles, smiles, meeting new teammates and catching up with old ones!

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Saturday I was able to have some fantastic french toast and catch with my two girlfriends, before racking Timmy and dropping gear bags off. The rest of the day consisted of New Girl episodes and laying/napping in bed all afternoon/evening.

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headed to drop Timmy off.

I slept rather well Sat night, which is becoming a little more normal before a full ironman.  I was so fortunate to have Alex and Emily there, as well as one of my athletes Dana. I’m not sure why, but I was so emotional. I literally just burst into tears when Amy came over (sorry Amy). Before I knew it, it was time to get in my new Roka Wetsuit and get in line.

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Before all the crying with Alex and Em ❤


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Dana and I – who killed her race!

Swim: 4200 yds – 1:13.27, (Actual 4,315 yds – 1:13.04, 1:41/100yds.), 9th AG * PR

Once in line, I found one of Doug’s athlete’s and my Coeur Sports teammate Ashley (who is strong and finished with a stress fracture!). Finding these two kept me so calm that I was ready to just jump into the chilly 65 degree water and just swim! I felt great as soon as I got in the water and started passing people. I kicked myself for not seeding myself faster. I reminded myself of all the swim work I’ve put in, focused on my form and kept pressing on. The buoys seemed like they were passing relatively quickly, but it was also still a little dark. I noticed how beautiful the sunrise was and turned my focus to getting to that red buoy.

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Swim start. Photo Cred: Stuart

Eventually, I found some feet and stayed on those until just before the turn buoy. Once we made the turn, I started chasing as many pink caps as I could, with one goggle full of water. At this point the river/lake was pretty choppy – I definitely wasn’t expecting that BUT it was great as I was focusing on my strength!

I felt like I moved up the entire time and really pushed the last quarter reminding myself that these were the last yards of the season. It paid off, I have a shiny new swim PR, although I might have to owe it to my brand new Roka Maverick Elite Wetsuit (yes – I was that person).

Gear:  Roka Maverick Elite Wetsuit, Roka R1 Goggles (can’t speak enough about these – still no fogging!!), Garmin 735xt.

Bike: 112 miles – 5:48.30: 19.28mph, (5:41.11, 19.5mph), 7rd AG *PR

Oh my lordy where to start. I was SO excited to go ride. Heading out of town, the wind, oh the wind and I couldn’t see out of my L eye from the water. Fortunately, it cleared up after a few miles. When I could see, I tried to just buckle down and be as aero as possible. HR was good, Watts were WAY low and I just prayed they would come up. Around mile 16, a HUGE peloton of 20+ riders FLEW by me. I was beyond annoyed and reminded myself Karma. Well, wouldn’t you know, as a female rider passed me, then braked heading up the hill, putting me into her draft zone, and I wound up with a drafting penalty. I was livid as the group was still in eyesight. I told myself to hold back the frustration and not get another penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Of course, none of the riders from the peloton were at the penalty tent when I arrived. I focused on calming myself down, filling my aero bottle and gosh darn it, take advantage of the time to PEE.

From then on, I tried to keep the demons at bay. I attempted to focus on what I could control (nutrition, hydration, etc), but this was my hardest bike to date. I was in a dark place the entire time. I cried 3-4x because everything was uncomfortable and I wasn’t having fun. I thought about how it would be more fun to get off, have a few drinks and cheer with my best friends. I thought about how stupid triathlon was. I thought about my failed last long ride where I got off 2 hours before I was supposed to and sobbed in the corner. I vowed to never do another ironman again.

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Do you see that face? About ready to throw my bike. Photo Cred: Kate

My saving grace: my best friends Alex and Em and my teammate Meaghan. Alex and Em (including J & W) were cheering every lap, they gathered how rough it was going on the bike for me, and they kept pushing me on. Meaghan, bless her sole, cheered every time she saw me on the out and backs. All I could do was smile at these little moments of love as I prayed for my run legs and kept myself together as I pedaled to T2.

Gear/Nutrition: Coeur Sports Zele Tri Top (so perfect), Coeur Sports Team Shorts, Rudy Project Aero Helmet, Smith Pivlock Sunnies, Shimano SH-WT60 Triathlon Shoes, 2 bottles of NBS hydration (love that hawaii flavor), 1.5 bottles of Osmo, 5 bottles of gatorade, 6 Gu Stroop Waffles, Base Salt every 10 miles.

Run: 26.2 miles – 3:35.44, (8:14/mi), 3rd AG *PR

Once arriving into T2, I sat in a chair and I sobbed. The volunteers freaked out and kept telling me I’d be ok. I dumped my stuff and just asked if they could help me put stuff on as I was crying. I was ok, just really tired and sore. Then it was time to run.

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Alex telling me where I am. Photo cred: Stuart

I headed out to T2 unsure what to expect. There was one more cry session when I saw Alex, Em and Amy (seriously, I promise I’m not THAT crazy) but then I managed to pull myself together. The miles started to flow by. My HR was right where it should be and my pace was great right around 8 min/mi. After the first out and back, Alex was able to let me know that I was around 8th place and that there were 3 girls in front that I could catch if I held it together. So, I followed a pattern of coke, gatorade, a lick of salt and kept running.

Things started to hurt around mile 14 – which was a lot later than I expected – but I had the goals in mind and I was running well. I wanted to really put together a good marathon. I started focusing on running aid station to aid station and mile to mile. Thank goodness for the Coeur signs and group at mile 20, I may have given you the dirtiest look, but you were so wonderful and deep down it was what I needed. There was a slight pity party around miles 21-22 but when I crossed 23, I reminded myself that these were the last few miles and I always have more to give (Thanks T. Knibb). So I ran with my heart and I gave it all I had.

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Was in pain here, look at that sign HA – photo crew: Stuart

Gear/Nutrition: Coeur Sports Team Tri Top, Coeur Sports Team Shorts, Coeur Team Trucker Hat, Smith Pivlock Sunnies, NB 1500 Shoes, Feetures Socks, 3 Huma Gels, all the gatorade, coke, water at aid stations, Base Salt.

I crossed the line at 10:44.27, was 4th AG, and the 58th F. Thank you to my wonderful teammate, Elissa, for catching me at the line and helping me get in a wheelchair. I went to medical for about ~20 minutes as I was a little lightheaded, nauseous, and couldn’t really stand on my own. I was ok after some chicken broth and moved on my way! Even the fun trip to the medic couldn’t stop my smiling from running a 3:35!!! I was SO excited, not to mention when I learned that I made my first IM podium!

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Finishing! Photo Cred: Caitlin 😉

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With that, I’ve put together a tough long year between races, moving and life changes. I’m so grateful for the village that helps me day in and day out. To Doug for always being there and dealing with the crazy bouts of emotions. To my Mom and family for the unconditional support even if they don’t understand. To Alex for always understanding. To my wonderful friends who never question my sanity, love me because I’m crazy, and always pick me up when I need it. To Coeur Sports for always keeping me comfy and caring so much about all of us.

Hello off season!

Michigan, Hawaii, Mass and closing in on IMAZ

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s amazing how fast things can change in 4 weeks! I left my job, packed up my Subaru to the brim and moved out of Ithaca. If I said it wasn’t emotionally heartbreaking, I’d be lying. I love Ithaca, CNY and the people who’ve helped me call Ithaca a home. I feel fortunate to be welcomed into such a wonderful community and Ithaca will always have a special place in my heart, but it was time to start the next chapter.

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the view I’ve had running/biking for the last 5 years

After packing up, Doug and I had a bit of traveling to do prior to my fully moving out of NY. The first weekend in October we traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to catch the Wolverines take on Wisconsin in Doug’s annual Michigan football trip. Needless to say, the weekend didn’t disappoint and as always, it’s wonderful to see Doug (even if we seem to be traveling someplace to see each other) and his friends!

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Then there was a 36 hour turnaround (with lots of training) before I got back on a plane and traveled for 20 hours to reach HAWAII!!!! I didn’t even mind the 10.5 hour flight from JFK to Honolulu – and no, I can’t sleep on planes. When Oahu was insight from our plane, I just couldn’t help but smile. Upon landing, I couldn’t stop smiling, where was I and how was there an airport where you could walk outside!? Eventually it was time for the last leg of the flight and the final destination, the big island and KONA!

I’m not really sure how I can describe the trip, the people, the experience and the amazingness of what really happened that week, I’m still living the high. I had the pleasure of helping one of my favorite companies, Coeur Sports, all week! I was so excited that I opted to help out upon immediately stepping off the plane!  I couldn’t stop smiling the whole way to the expo, seeing the lava fields, Palani Drive, Ali’i Drive, the bicycles, the palm trees.. oh my gosh I just couldn’t believe I was in Hawaii, not to mention getting to work for one of the companies I love and meeting/seeing all my teammates/friends in real life!

Right away, I was able to meet Reg & Kebby, whom I always seem to miss at races, and Rae! It was like we had been friends for years – I LOVE those types of relationships! THEN I couldn’t believe I was able to meet the legendary Michellie Jones and Paula Newby-Fraser within hours of being on the island. I was so shy, I just stood there, like a deer in headlights. When the expo finally started winding down, we headed to grab some dinner and a beer at Kona beer works. I had been up for 24+ hours at this point and was surprised I didn’t fall asleep at the bar!

The next morning consisted of meeting up with Jay from Lava Magazine for the Coeur Sports Photo Shoot! Oh my, can I say again how great it was to see friends/teammates again! During the shoot, I got goosebumps being out on the lava fields in the middle of THE Energy Lab! After the photo shoot, I was able to go swim in Kauila Bay – which words can’t describe how much I enjoyed it. Even the salt water. The fish were so colorful and I just smiled.. yes, while swimming. However, remember how I was up 24+ hours straight – I caught a cold and completely lost my voice (it didn’t come back until this week!!!!) and felt horrible about getting sick but I tried my best to rally through and keep on trucking

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On the Lava Fields in the Energy Lab

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The days were a mix of meeting teammates, swimming, beautiful sunrises and sunset, running, sharing my love of the brand to others and trying to be as supportive/hardworking as possible. Upon eating amazing food, drinking incredible coffee, the infamous underpants run, the goosebumps on race morning (plus race day hugs!) and witnessing the pure emotion and fight of the athletes in the race were incredible – a sight I surely won’t forget.

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Acai bowl – YUM

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UPR – photo crew: Competitive Image

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Photo Cred: Nick/Erin (Sweetsweatlife)

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Coeur Sports Brunch – Steph from Witsup.com

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Honuuuuu!!! 

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Kona Sunsets

The amount of love and gratitude I have towards the whole Coeur family – Kebby, Reg, Hailey, Rae, Ash, Andrea – is overflowing. I kept saying how full my heart was and is. It’s a true experience I’ll never forgot. I hope that I get to see Palani, Ali’i, the Energy Lab and the magical finish line on my own two wheels/feet some day.

Upon arriving home – I had a few days to spend with my mom and our puppy before making the move to MA. I also was able to catch up with my best friend on my way out to MA. Steph gave birth to another beautiful healthy girl. So much love to this strong momma.

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Sweet Emilia Mae ❤

So – officially a resident in a new state – a first for me! So far, it’s been different with the traffic, but I’m getting used to it.

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Up next: IMAZ – the countdown is on!