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!

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!

Race Report: Big George 70.3

“There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes things happen.” – Jim Lovell

Way back when, no clue why, I signed up for the Big George 70.3. I guess I thought it would be good to get another race in between IMLP and IMAZ before the weather got really unpredictable in CNY (and now Northern Mass). I love the Adirondacks and why not get another opportunity to race! I had been struggling for a bit with feeling like I was in a funk and I was leery of what would happen for this race. I was so on edge that I even texted my chiro in a panic about my L Hip (Sorry Sarah!), got a massage and then somehow PR’d a bunch in some fast 50s. In the end, I had such a great day.

I headed up solo to the Albany area (about an hour south of Lake George) to spend the night with my best friend Stephanie and her beautiful family. I absolutely love getting to visit with her and  play with her little ones!

Around midday on Saturday I started to make my trek up to Lake George! I was definitely a little nervous about doing this all by myself, but I was determined to make it a positive experience. On the way up, I stopped at a Panera for some CHO loading. After, I decided to do the drive from where I was staying to the race venue – let’s minimize all potential issues on race morning right? I was so fortunately to be able to spend the night at race director, Paul’s House – A HUGE thank you to Paul and his family! He was great to let me know that I could pick up my packet early, normal packet pickup was 5-7PM which is not ideal in my book. By chance, I actually ran into Paul on my way to try to find packet pickup and we caught up a little. Once I got my packet, I headed back to his house, got my stuff around, checked Timmy’s gears, and snuggled up with the two dogs to watch 70.3 Worlds before lights out around 8PM (6:45 AM Swim Start).

Surprisingly, race morning came fast – after having slight anxiety about the mosquitos in the room, ha – I did get some sleep. I woke up quickly and ate breakfast. I was trying something new on race day (I know what you’re thinking..) – a different breakfast but I figured I would be ok. Typically I don’t have issues with breakfast on race day, but what I was hoping to do was make sure I didn’t have any issues on the run, later in the day. After getting around and ready, I made my way to Lake George, stopping at a Stewarts for coffee (I drank 3 sips and decided I didn’t want it).

It was SO easy getting to the race venue and transition. I love small races for that reason. There’s minimal stress because things are a more low key. I set up my transition area in a spot, then forgot my uniform top, headed back to the car, forgot I had to pick up my timing chip, forgot about body marking, etc. Then I realized that we had assigned rows – the guide said that it was first come, first serve in transition.

Basically, I was having brain farts left and right and was acting like a total newbie. I wasn’t really sure what was going on, but at the end of the day, it was fine and everything got done. ALSO – as I was walking back from my car, I was saying how silly I was and hoped that things were ‘done’ being silly – but some crazy guy started biking straight towards me (keeping in mind it was still dark outside), it turned out to be my good friend JARED! I knew he was from the area, but last I knew he was on the west coast and meant to text him but totally forgot. He decided to do the race as his FIRST triathlon! I instantly started to feel a little better about being ‘alone’ at the race.

Before body marking, I ran into my friend Kim – mostly because we were in the same row and after I realized I needed to move my bike haha. It was relaxing to see her, Kim and I did our first triathlons together WAY back in 2012 at the Cayuga Lake Triathlon, then Kim did her first 70.3 last year at Syracuse. I feel like I’ve kinda been adopted into Kim’s family (more my thought than theirs I think). Kim and her family always seem to be at the big races, always see me and cheer for me. It’s one of my favorite things – and her Mom has done an insane amount of Ironmen!

After one more bathroom stop, it was time to head over to the swim start. I really wanted to make sure I got a decent warm up in – I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not good at it, mostly because it’s crowded (bigger issue) or that not many people are doing it. I decided that I was willing to be the only one who warmed up. So I did as much as I could. The water was so crystal clear, and SO warm (73), especially compared to the air (53- brrrrrr). As always, before we knew it, it was time to line up and get the party started. Before we got fully lined up, I saw Kim and her mom again. Her mom reminded/asked that the goal of today was to have fun, I quickly nodded, unsure what to expect for the day.

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Swim: 2100 yds – 36:59, (Actual 2,120 yds – 36:25, 1:43/100yds.), 14th F, 6th AG * PR

As we were lined up, I reminded myself that I needed to get out hard and find fast feet. Well as soon as the horn blew, I got shut out and then just focused on finding feet. I’m not happy about this, but during the swim I realized that I’m not comfortable with being uncomfortable in the water. Now that I know, I have something to work on and a goal to change it.

I found some feet rather quickly, then saw Kim. Apparently there was a little group of us swimming together. There wasn’t many buoys to sight, but it was clear and I just trusted the feet in front of me. It seemed like we were swimming forever until we got to the first turn buoy, but then things moved a little faster. I tried to push the last half of the race, which was in return slower than the first half, go figure. I had no feet. When I got to land, I just focused on remembering what to do when I got to my bike.

Bike: 56 miles – 2:49.10: 19.9mph, (56 miles – 2:47.15, 20mph), 3rd F, 1st AG * PR

Once in transition, (remember it was 53 degrees?) I dried my arms off, threw on my Coeur Sports Zele Top, put my helmet on, grabbed my sunnies, and off Timmy and I were! I had overheard yesterday that there was a long gradual hill out of town. Not knowing where I was in the race, I just settled in and started drinking and eating. It was chilly on the bike, but no where NEAR IMLP in 2014 during the thunderstorm so I just stayed focused and kept chugging away. The coldness of the morning was a weird feeling, my skin was numb (and toes and fingers) but my body was warm.. if that makes sense. Oh and that gradual uphill? It was nothing compared to IMLP or some of the hills in Ithaca.

I didn’t drive the course before hand, so it was kind of exciting to see how it all unfolded. It was a great bike course. Lots of rollers and straight-aways. I won’t lie, my favorite part of the course was where you ride around another lake. I couldn’t help but just smile. Oh, Adirondacks, I love you.

On the data front: I was a little nervous as my HR was so low and I was pushing harder than the ‘planned’ watts but I was racing at the effort I felt for a half ironman. Also, a huge shout out to Cobb Cycling for helping me find a new saddle. My new V Flow Max was perfect and I was able to do what I needed to do.. if you catch my drift.

As we made the descent back in town, I was ready to see what I had left in my legs. I was a little nervous as about watts I was seeing, but if I’ve learned anything from triathlon: bike legs and run legs are VERY different.

Run: 1:30.13, (12 miles – 7:30/mi),  1st F, 1st AG.

Back in transition, I made a note of how many bikes were left (not many!) and grabbed my run stuff. It was time to see where I was in the race and make it hurt.

I started running and saw none other than Katherine! She was going nuts and I was SO confused as to who was cheering for me (Thank you Katherine!!). Again, not knowing the run course, it was kind of exciting. I was trying to follow my race plan, but I felt SO good. I just wanted to go. Around mile 2, I saw Paul who told me I was 4th woman, about 5 minutes back and it was time to go chase people. At the first turn around I saw the 3rd place woman and took note that she was about 2 minutes ahead of me. I really needed to maintain composure and reminded myself that it was 13.1 miles, not 5.

Next we were heading to the long out and back, before we do the small loop (which consists of the short out and back you in the first part of the race). I kept reminding myself to be patient, be a runner, take my nutrition and get the fluids down. At mile 3 (I think?), I saw Paul’s wife and daughter which put a smile on my face. Then we went down, down, down to the turn around. I saw Jared – correction, Jared saw me at about mile 4 which put a smile on my face. The turn around wasn’t too far after that and I saw the first and second woman, with first being about 4 minutes ahead.

At the turn around, I was reminding myself about hydrating, eating and being patient. The way back up wasn’t as bad as I had feared on the way down, there was basically no hill back up. I was excited, I knew how I was feeling and it was giving me more confidence. Not to mention, other athletes in the race were cheering for me too. It was amazing all I could do was smile.

At mile 6, I just couldn’t hold back anymore and caught the woman in second place. As I ran by, I made sure to make the move strong and assertive, but I wanted to hunt down 1st, I wanted to make it hurt. So I wasn’t done. I focused on what I could control, my brain, only positive thoughts and to keep moving.

Slowly the miles started to tick away, we ended up back near transition and out the way we started for the ‘smaller’ out and back. I remember thinking ‘what if’ and not doubting myself. Up that stinking hill again to the out and back, Jared yelled to me that the first woman was only a minute ahead. I saw her before I got to the turn around. I gave the last miles everything I had but came up short. Later I found out she was in the wave behind me, so even if I did catch her, it wouldn’t have mattered. I was happy I didn’t know that, ha. It enabled me to really dig deep and believe in myself.

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Second OA Female

I was on a high from this race for a while. I had SUCH a great time. I can’t thank the community of Lake George enough, it was a wonderful venue, it was so welcoming and I felt at home. A huge thanks to Paul, the volunteers (including his family) and again the community of Lake George. A huge thanks to everyone who wished me luck, sent messages, and helps me on a regular basis. Once more race for the 2016 season: Ironman Arizona in November! But first: a move, a few trips, and another move!

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Until next time Lake George!

 

Race Report: Chris Thater Crit & Life Changes

Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Before we get to the race report let’s catch up a bit. Yes, you all know about Syracuse 70.3, Mini Mussel, and Ironman Lake Placid, but the behind the scenes stuff..

We’re moving. I think I told almost everyone, but I’m truly sorry if this is how you’re finding out. Please forgive me. Last year Doug and I made a plan that whomever got the better job/job offer the other would move to accommodate that job. Well despite some job interviews and lots of applications on my end, Doug was successful with a job offer. We found out in April, that Doug was offered a job in Bellingham WA with the USDA. It was great, Doug had been stationed near there when he was in the Navy and I know how much he loved the PNW. I told a few people, and then we waited to jump through all the hoops etc. At that point we had briefly talked about me staying in Ithaca through July so I didn’t have to make a move during Ironman training (not to mention I didn’t have a job lined up and the whole insurance thing). While the office was dragging their feet, Doug applied to another position near Lowell, MA.

Now I was more than willing to move across the country with Doug, but I won’t lie that I was thrilled that he was applying to this position in MA. 5 hours is a whole lot shorter than 41 hours of driving. I would just be a short drive away from my family and friends. Eventually, Doug had to make a decision and after learning that the office in WA was letting people go and short staffed, we decided on the MA job. We weren’t willing to take a job at an office that was already short staffed and had let people go ACROSS the country.  Thus, Doug started his new job on August 8th, he came to Placid to cheer me (and his athletes) on, drove to Boston on Tuesday, flew across the country and raced Ironman Vineman where he finished 8th in a fantastic race.

So I was more proud of my training and performances so far this season as I don’t handle change well and I didn’t know exactly where we were going to be OR I was blessed to have training to handle everything and have a grip on something. A HUGE thanks to my friends and family during this time (and now) to help me and my emotions/fears/etc. As of this week, we’ve finalized all of our plans/ my move.

Things since IMLP have been fine, not amazing, but fine. Some things have been off until thankfully recently. I did go out of my comfort zone and joined the Tuesday night group ride with all the boys. I got dropped so hard on the first hill that I laughed at myself, but then I held my own on the second loop. I LOVED everything about it. Then I was fortunate to spend some splendid quality time with my family from WV and my family in Syracuse. I learned I was going to be an Aunt to a Baby Girl – Madeline June. I visited Doug in MA and set up our apt and cleaned and packed so much here.

During that time at home, I may have stumbled upon a bike race in the area, the Chris Thater Memorial Races, there is a crit Sat/Sun and a 5k on Sunday. Well I looked into it further, new that it would be special to me being in the area and I’ve been working on growing and getting out of my comfort zone. I asked Doug and he was on board so I signed up. It was probably a good thing that I had a couple adult beverages with my mom that night otherwise I may not have fully committed.

Knowing that the goal race is IMAZ, I knew we would just continue to train through the race. Well this week I had some good bike workouts and some great swim workouts, so I was kinda excited about seeing what would happen in the race. I didn’t get really nervous until Saturday Night. Basically I had three goals (1) keep the bike rubber side down, (2) don’t embarrass myself, and the super secret goal (3) place in the Cat4/newbie wave. Doug decided to come visit, which was a wonderful surprise this weekend in addition. I felt bad making him come to the bike race, so I almost decided to go solo or to just not go, but he insisted and so we went.

We got to Binghamton/Race venue relatively easy and found a parking garage and race registration easy. It was eerie as the place was deserted, like a ghost town. I took it as a good omen. Once back to the car, I decided I would try to warm up on the trainer. Because our heat (is it called a heat in bike races?) started at 8:30am I wanted to make sure I was sweaty before the race. Except I was an idiot and forgot to pack the trainer skewer after a brief panic, mostly because I was nervous, I was happy to remember we were the first heat! So we were able to warm up on the course as the race crew was finishing setting up the course. After a couple loops, I felt comfortable with the turns and learned of the spots I wanted to avoid. Then a gentleman at the finish line called out to me that I put my number on upside down. What a noob I am. I stopped and he fixed it for me, while we were joking around with another man about me ‘being harassed about my number’. I later welcomed this little bump in the road and was grateful.

Then on the final loop of my warm up, another girl in our race definitely noticed that I wasn’t a bike racer. She offered some good tips on how to take the turns so I don’t get boxed out (again- does that work?). Finally when we rolled up to the start, it was time to line up and get going.

First thoughts after the horn went off: here goes nothing, and crap, these girls are fast off the line. Eventually I got going and followed the race plan of just sitting on someone and seeing what would happen. Well in the first lap I knew the girl I was on was riding too slow for me, so I took off. Then happened to see the chase pack behind the leaders. I had no clue where I was but I wanted to race. When I reached the second group (only noticing that I hadn’t seen two of the different jerseys) I sat up and waited to see how they were racing. Finally after a loop, and a nod from Doug, I went off. I wanted to hurt, I wanted to see what I could do. I think I pulled for 5 laps before someone came up to help. I had no intention of pulling so long, but I tried everything to get someone to take over and no one would.

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Starting haha

 

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Photo cred: Chris

One of the riders’ coach was sitting in the perfect spot to give us feedback (THANK YOU). He mentioned that we were catching third. I was TOTALLY on board for working together. Thankfully most of the group was too. The first women who rolled up slowed us all down ~3mph, which annoyed me, the second woman pulled for a bit, but I assumed she was tired. The third women did a decent job but still I found myself pushing harder and going faster. So I pulled the last part of the race too. With two laps to go I really tried to give it everything I had. I did NOT want one of the women behind me to just slingshot around and out sprint me. At some point during this, we did catch 3rd. However we had lapped some other riders at this point so I had no idea.

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Photo Cred: Chris

This is where the first woman from above made a move. I followed as did one of her teammates. Then I’m fairly confident that the rider who made the move asked if her teammate could ‘hold me off’. I couldn’t exactly hear but this is when the teammate started pushing me out wider on the course. I immediately thought ‘f this’ and took off. I caught the woman on the hill and we rode together through the final turn where I was somehow able to out sprint her. As soon as I crossed the finish line I almost had to stop to see my breakfast again.

I survived, I competed and I held my own. We did another lap real easy, chatting and I was still a little heated about them potentially (again I didn’t hear) blocking me and may have let it slide that I was triathlete training for an ironman. I didn’t want to hear the rider talk about how she couldn’t sprint hard enough. The bike official also asked me why I was in the small chainring instead of the big.. I had no idea ha! Honestly, it felt comfortable with a higher cadence. Yeah I maybe couldn’t get on the wheel right away, but I was there soon enough. After the lap, I tried to maybe do another but skipped it as the men were lining up. This is when I learned that I had actually finished 3rd. It was awesome, everyone had a good day and there was nothing sketchy. The woman I talked to at the beginning of the race came and asked how it went which I thought was awesome. She had mentioned she was also a triathlete prior and so could relate to me unable to get off the line etc.

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3rd place!

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Giggling over not knowing the cycling things

So I learned things, I learned what gear to be in, I learned that the number has to be easy to read and I learned that I made that race happen – at least in the back half. I hit a new PR for HR – 187. I learned to hurt more. I also had so much FUN! Thanks to my friend Chris for the awesome pictures and a BIG thanks to Doug for coming and supporting me today. I know the 6AM wake up call wasn’t so fun, nor was the 2 hours of driving but I’m so glad you were able to be there today. Additionally, thank you to the race volunteers and supporters. Though everyone knew I was the newbie of the group, I felt so safe, secure and comfortable. Hopefully we’ll be back next year!

What’s next? The Big George 70.3 this Sunday!!

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