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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“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” – Thomas Carlyle

Wow, it’s amazing to me how every Ironman has a completely different story and as an athlete you can experience something completely different. This year’s ironman lake placid is no different. Leading up to the race, we (Doug, my Mom and myself) came up on Thursday to our Airbnb, which is about a mile from the swim start. While a convenient location, an a clean bed, it’s probably not worth staying again. Kinda dirty, but oh well. The days leading up were pretty relaxed, some swimming in Mirror Lake (with Alex, Dana and Hollie), some biking (with Dana), and a little shuffling. I also had the pleasure of meeting up with a bunch of my Coeur Teammates at Mr. Mike’s. I just love our team, it was great to catch up with friends and meet new ones. I love how a bunch of random strangers can be instantly friends!

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Post Swim with Dana

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Coeur Sports Team Dinner❤

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Bike Drop Off!

Race AM went really smooth, woke up after a good night’s sleep. Ate breakfast, had half a cup of coffee, did pre-race braids, sat for a minute, then it was time to get dropped off. Once in transition, it was time to get Timmy all set up (tires pumped, nutrition, and filled my aero bottle) and Dana found me. I’m typically not that talkative race morning, but it was so nice to see her. Once transition was set, I headed over to Mirror Lake to hit the port pot one more time before getting in my wetsuit and a short warm up. I was able to see Alex, which was also a wonderful distraction ha. After the short warmup, I gave my mom a hug and it was off to get in line for the rolling start.

Swim: 4200 yds, 1:14.32, 1:55/100m, 23rd AG, (actually swam 4368 yds – 1:42/100yds)

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From ironman: I was so excited about the fog!

I typically like the rolling start, but good grief. This was the most brutal swim of my life. I self seeded in the 71-80min group, which was accurate, in hopes that I would be closer to the 70 min mark for the swim. Well, they also had pauses within the rolling start (which I did not remember from 2014). After the first pause, they finally let us go and into the water we went. I’m not sure what people were thinking as they walked into the water, but I pushed on through and started swimming as soon as possible. I felt very relaxed in the water, I felt like there were people all around me, clawing, hitting, etc. It was insane. Not too long after the first 2 buoys, I noticed my left eye couldn’t see and assumed it was full of water.. then I got punched in the left eye which hurt a LOT. Before I knew it, we were at the turn around. To be honest, I felt like I was going too slow, but couldn’t find a good pair of feet and couldn’t really get going. It was incredible to me how fast the swim went by.

Once we got out of the water for the first loop, I emptied my goggle, and fixed my garmin strap (making sure the more important issue got fixed first) and AGAIN people were taking their sweet time getting in the water. I thought to myself: C’mon people.. don’t you just want to finish this and get on your bike.. cuz I DO!! Finally I found some feet, I jumped around to try to keep moving up, and wouldn’t you know it.. I got ELBOWED in the left eye AGAIN. Fortunately the gentleman apologized in the middle of the swim, which calmed me down a bit and I went back to work. Again, the second loop went by fast even though I couldn’t get going there either. Finally made it back to the dock and the swim was over. Still unsure of what the other racers were doing as they walked up the ramp, but I thought about my bicycle and ran to the wetsuit strippers. Unsure how I swam so much extra, but it’s fine. I just wanted to go ride my bicycle.

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If you look closely you’ll see all the red dots – this is not doing it justice ha

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

Bike: 112 miles, 6:06.57, 18.3 mph, 10th AG (actually 6:03.01, 18.5 mph)

Once into transition, I hurried to my bag, and went into the change tent. Ladies who volunteered in the tent – THANK YOU. Both of you who helped me were incredible. Thank you so much. Before I knew it I was out to get my bike. While not a big deal, I was a little surprised that I heard my number several times and no one grabbed my bike. Good thing I knew exactly where it was ha!

Once over the dismount line (which was really crowded) I settled in and followed my very specific race plan keeping an eye on my watts and my HR, while eating, drinking and letting my ego go as I was getting passed by a LOT of people. I kept reminding myself that it would help me later. The Keene descent was a lot less scary this year than in 2014. 1) it wasn’t raining, 2) there was no real cross wind, so 3) I was a little ballsy and went down in aero and kept up with some of the guys. Someone made a comment to me but I think it was a good one. Also – huge shoutout to the gentleman who helped me scream left on the descent to get the other guy out of the way. I appreciate the men on the course who respect the women competing. Not too long later I caught up to Dana (thanks to the FLRTC bottle on her bike), and asked her how she was doing, she mentioned she died on the swim (she swam sub 62.. I WISH I could). Then continued with my plan. Enter random thought: I was kind of cold, but told myself that I would want this temp on the second loop and it’s no where near as cold as 2014 so keep going and don’t think about it.

All I could think about was how fast the course was going by, focused on my plan and my nutrition. Even the out in back to Ausable Forks wasn’t terrible. Before I knew it I was climbing back by wilmington and smiling thinking of 2014 where friends were at the campground and thinking about the three bears at the end before the end of the second loop. The three bears is probably one of my favorite parts on the course, people line up on both sides of the street and it makes me feel like I’m in the tour de France. I always get goosebumps coming back into town too. I heard my name right in front of the brewery, and saw a friend’s dad on the side across from special needs. Not too far down from special needs I saw my mom, going bananas with her cowbell. Then it was on to loop two.

Heading back out of town I reminded myself of the grind, being patient and following the plan. I also wondered where Doug was, then wouldn’t you know he appeared! We chatted and he said to start cranking it down slowly. So I tried to, I noticed my HR was creeping up and decided to start to pour water over my neck, back and legs at the aid stations. Next was the second Keene descent – this is also where I gave up trying to pee on my bike (sorry if TMI), I promised myself after trying for 70+ miles and failing, I would just get off and go at an AS. I really really had to go. Once back on it clicked in my head, I couldn’t go because I changed SADDLES. So I’ll be in the market soonish.

Moving on at a more comfortable position and pace, it was time to do the first out and back again. It definitely took a little longer this time, or at least mentally a little longer. Once done, another woman and I were excited to hear ‘Cake by the Ocean’ and were chatting a bit about this and that, like food, how long she had done triathlons etc before I started moving again on the downhill. Wouldn’t you know what happened next: my CHAIN DROPPED. I was kinda in shock, thankful it was on a downhill and immediately started thinking about what Doug told me a while back – just keep shifting. So I did and it caught itself and everything was grand. Then I was just paranoid it was going to happen again, fortunately it didn’t. It had never happen before, fortunately it was the only thing that really happened on the bike. Around mile 100 I as ready to be off and even chucked to myself thinking about my long ride during over load week as it took SO MUCH LONGER😉 Before long it was back up the three bears, down into town and time to get off my bike.

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, 6.5 bottles of Osmo, 2.5 bottles of gatorade, 2 HS waffles, 2 Gu Stroop Waffles, 1 1/2 sleeve of Clif Shot Bloks, Base Salt every 10 miles, 1 banana.

Run: 26.2, 3:51.08, 8:49/mi, 6th AG

To be honest, I didn’t want to get off my bike and run. I thought about how I was content to just be done. I was tired but I was trusting of my body and trusting of my training. So, I got off the bike, grabbed my gear and headed into the training tent. A huge shout out again to the volunteer who helped me. She was fantastic. Before I knew it, I was headed out on the run and into the sea of cheers.

I prepared myself on the bike that I would feel terrible getting off, however to my surprise I felt pretty good, granted it is downhill. So thinking about what people had been telling me and I just let my body fall down the hill through town without any real effort. I saw mom, Alex ran next to me telling me where she thought I was, and then Doug was down further. We chatted and agreed to stay around 155 for my HR. So I focused on my HR and making sure I was running, not shuffling.

Before I knew it, I was turning onto River Road and just reminded myself of taking the tangents, focusing on my hydration and get to the turn around. My Coeur teammate Denise was out there volunteering which was such a huge relief ha. It was nice to see her out there. I kept reminding myself that I love river rd, the beauty is unbelievable, not to mention there is shade. However today, I wasn’t really in the mood to love River rd ha. Around mile 5 my legs started aching. Really aching. I tried not to think about the fact I had 21 miles to go, and focused on putting on foot in front of the other. I thought about all the time and work I had put into the day, the hours spent working out, the sweat, oh the sweat, and the amount of honey stinger waffles I had eaten in the last 8 months. Eventually, I made my way to the turn around and then focused on getting back to Mirror Lake. Around mile 8, I gagged choking down some Honey Stinger Chews (happens every race, working on this, even with Tums this race) and decided it would be liquid from the aid stations from now on. I was paranoid about loosing all the hydration and nutrition I had gained thus far and did not want to end up in a bad place.

Heading back into town, I saw Doug again and informed him of my close incident and he said more salt and coke. Well, to be honest, my mouth was so cotton like I couldn’t get anymore salt down and I typically hate coke. I tried it two years ago at IMLP and almost got sick but prayed this year would be different. Thus for the rest of the aid stations it was – water, gatorade, coke, ice, repeat. I was pretty amazed at the amount of fluid I was putting down and I figured that if I took gatorade and coke at each aid station then I had to be getting enough calories. So I took a deep breath and prayed that would get me across the finish line.

Running up that hill in town SUCKS. It’s not even that big, but after the swim, the bike and running 10 miles it just wipes you out. So I shuffled, and shuffled and put my head down and shuffled. Once in front of High Peaks Cyclery, I felt like I could get into a decent running Rhythm then and saw all the QT2-ers which was a good boost before running out to the Mirror lake turn around. While I appreciate all the noise, cheers, etc, the beer I could smell along mirror lake was gross. I had a brief moment of envy of all the spectators but quickly dismissed it. Once at the turn around, I was searching for teammates behind me, gave them cheers and got back to work focusing on getting myself back to that River Rd Turn around.

Running back through town, I think I saw my mom again, Alex, Tim, Tom, Kelly (thanks for the BIG cheer and forcing me to smile), and I think Doug again – I don’t remember what he said this time hahah, but my head was down and I was focused. Focused on the people around me, pretending we were best friends, focused on the aid stations (powering through), focused on getting to that turn around. The turn around came relatively fast and I willed myself after to  try to pick it up more, move my legs, give the end of the race what I had. The last part on River Rd went quickly and at 5k to go, I saw Doug again. He told me I could run hard for the 3.1 miles. So I gave it more. I also saw Coeur teammate Meghan, multiple times out on the run course, she always gave me an extra boost and was so positive.

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Telling myself to give more

Finally back in town and up that stupid hill the last time, I kept moving, knowing I was less than 2 miles from being done. Ran onto Mirror Lake Drive, Heard some insane cheering from my Oiselle teammates Stephanie and Mollie – seriously, I may not have smiled but almost cried, totally one of the high parts on the run course – and just kept trucking as much as I could to get to that last turn around. Finally hit it and all I could think of was move, move, move. This is it. Third Ironman will be in the books, get to that OVAL. I won’t lie, running on the the oval is one of my FAVORITE parts about this course. I get goosebumps, BUT it seemed like it took FOREVER this time haha. I was relieved that I didn’t have to out kick anyone this year like in 2014, that was just silly and crossing the finish line I throw my hands up to make a heart (I hope it worked) and heard Mike Reilly say my name. Just like that, it was over..

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Finishing – 11:21:00 – photo creed: Laura &Tom

Gear/Nutrition: Coeur Sports Team Tri Top, Coeur Sports Team Shorts, Coeur Team Trucker Hat, Smith Pivlock Sunnies, NB 1500 Shoes, Feetures Socks, 1 pack HS chews, all the gatorade, coke, water at aid stations, Base Salt.

Finish: 11:21:00, 16th AG, 43rd Female, and 235th OA (46 min PR on this course from 2 years ago*).

Once finished, it took me a bit to keep moving, you know you’re a little tired after an Ironman, in case you didn’t know😉 A huge thank you to the volunteers and to the medic who fetched me some sprite as I was feeling sick. I met a nice gentleman who had finished and had done it with his fiancé, he also helped distract me from the other fellow who was using the garbage can.. Once through transition, I saw Coeur Teammate Olivia, who was near me all race. She raced FANTASTICALLY! We chatted for a bit and hugged each other. We had similar race plans this year so we’ll toe the line together in Arizona too🙂

Finally, met up with my Mom, Doug, Alex, John and Wolfie (the cutest baby EVER), and chatted, before long I was too cold and had to go shower. Always the adventure as I was so SORE. I returned in time to catch my athlete Dana finish and caught up with her for a bit. She had a great day out there and is such a trooper! She was all smiles! Another athlete of mine, Will was racing too. He had a great swim and fell hard on the bike, BUT I love his determination as he got back up and made a new race plan of focusing on each aid station, before he was pulled. He’ll be back some day and be stronger!

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My BFF Wolfie with some baby snuggles❤

I was finally able to get some food in too, which was new. So I’m figuring things out! Post race soreness was in full effect for a few days (again, I had never been so sore), but was able to hang out with family and friends, eat at Lake Placid Brewery, finally hit the Tail o’ the Pup, and took mom up Whiteface.

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Driving Up Whiteface with Mom

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Top of Whiteface Mountain

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all the noms – Tail o’ the Pup

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Puppy Snuggles

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Happy to Ride 3 days Post IMLP

Overall thoughts: I had a good day, not great, BUT I walked in the swim start line and was going to be happy and give the day what I had. If the cards played out in my favor, fantastic but I would be 100% ok with the results if they didn’t. I am happy with the results, but something was missing during the race – I just couldn’t get going. While I swam a Swim PR, I know I can swim faster, I wasn’t tired when I was done and I was dealing with a tight back/hips all week. My Bike was great – I wanted to go sub 6 but that may have been a little greedy. I was 8 minutes off my run time from 2014. I’ll call that a win. Had I known (how was I supposed to know, but I learned and now KNOW) that my legs wouldn’t ache more, I think I would’ve dug deeper, but such is life. I am tougher and wiser from Ironman number 3 and am ready to start building towards Ironman number 4.

I can’t thank my family, friends and teammates for the support. I thought about all of you during that day. Everyone was with me, seriously. A huge thanks to Coeur Sports, Oiselle, Honey Stinger, Finger Lakes Running & Tri Co, my Mom, Doug, Alex (J and W), my Chiropractor Sarah, Ian and SO many more. The list is so incredibly long. I am so blessed and grateful for the continued support, love and encouragement, not to mention being ABLE to do these crazy events.

The hunger continues…

“Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.” -Les Brown

Race Report: MiniMussel & IMLP Build up

“Difficulties in life are intended to make us better, not bitter.” – Dan Reeves

Eeep! 2 weeks ago (I guess not THAT long ago) I raced a sprint triathlon in Geneva, the MiniMussel. Last year I did the half here and decided I wanted to add another race (more experience) in addition, Doug was doing the half on Sunday, so we spent the weekend up in Geneva. Here’s the race report for the Mini Mussel:

Swim (750yds) – 12:29 (1:37/yd) *PR

This was my first in water swim and after Syracuse, I wanted to remind myself that I am tough, that I can swim fast as well as not freak out in the water. After what seemed like forever in the water to start, I pushed, hard. I found a great pair of feet for a few 100 yds before she went too far right (we swim to the left) and then I just kept pushing. I didn’t have a clue where I was but I wanted to be proud of this swim. Before I knew it I caught men from the first wave, but literally, they were a few feet in front of me when I first saw them as the water was so green you couldn’t see. Eventually I finally got to the ramp, saw my time, saw Coeur Teammate Jenelle not too far in front of me and I knew I swam well. Not to mention that I was on there verge of getting sick – unsure if it was because I swam hard, the water was gross or because it was so warm, but I kept on trucking!

Gear: BlueSeventy Reaction Wetsuit, Roka R1 Goggles (love, love love these), Garmin 735xt.

Bike (16mi) – 45:18 (21.2 mph) *PR

I wanted to go, I had permission to go, and legs felt dead. I reminded myself to be tough and give everything that I had. So I did. It was weird to not eat or drink THAT much (hello ironman training), but I tried. Unfortunately, I didn’t make as much ground on the girls in front as I had hoped but pushed as much as a I could. ps. hello major headwind on the way out, but the last part of the course is utterly beautiful.

Gear/Nutrition: Coeur Sports Zele Tri Top, Coeur Sports Team Shorts, Rudy Project Aero Helmet, Smith Pivlock Sunnies, Shimano SH-WT60 Triathlon Shoes, 1 bottle of Osmo, 1/2 sleeve of Clif Shot Bloks.

Run (5k) – 22:41 (7:07/mi)

Started the run hoping to really get after it (did you get the theme of the race?) and let me tell you – my legs were.. OUCH! There was just nothing. I was trying to hold on for dear life. I tried everything – getting on my toes, pumping my arms, telling myself it was ONLY a 5k. Nothing worked, but that was ok. I reminded myself what I was training for.

Gear/Nutrition: Coeur Sports Zele Tri Top, Coeur Sports Team Shorts, Smith Pivlock Sunnies, Saucony Grid Type A Shoes, Feetures Socks.

Finish: 1:25:25, 1st AG, 8th Female, and 40th OA * PR

I ended up pr’ing – only other sprint course I’ve done is CLT (twice). I absolutely love local races, their convenient, you get to see all sorts of friends and it’s fun! As always, a big shoutout to the volunteers, thank you for everything you do! If you’re looking for a great, fun, family event. Musselman weekend is definitely ideal! There’s something for everyone, besides sprint and half races there’s a fun family/kid event friday to kick off the whole weekend! Not to mention, local wine and almond butter as AG/Overall Prizes!🙂

Prior to Mini Mussel, I put up two of my biggest training weeks ever which were truly incredible. One of my favorite sessions was my 100 ride around Skaneateles and Otsego lakes. It was beautiful. Up next: Ironman Lake Placid.

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looking at Skaneateles Lake

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Obligatory Puppy Snuggle Pic

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Overload DONE

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Cursing my wetsuit, as always

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bike, bike, bike

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Mini Mussel runnnnning, it hurts.

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Podium

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Doug racing Musselman

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Friends!

Race Report: Syracuse 70.3

We must believe we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” – Marie Curie.

To be honest, I didn’t want to write this post. I’ve been feeling an overwhelming amount of emotions, mostly embarrassment, sadness, and even some depression. I’ve thought about what happened, I’ve wondered how I let it happen, I’ve thought about people I’ve let down. I’ve swirled in the negative emotions since Sunday, but now it’s time to let them out and let them go. I have bigger dreams ahead and it’s time to focus on those.

The build into this race was probably the best three weeks of training I’ve ever had. I’ve been swimming some serious sets in the pool, finally found my speed again running, and had been doing some crazy things on the bike. I knew I wouldn’t be as recovered going into Syracuse this year but I tried to be positive and get excited to open my 2016 triathlon season.

Needless to say, all week I felt like a whale. I felt huge, sluggish, exhausted and seriously emotional. It didn’t help that it was my birthday the Wednesday before and I kept being paranoid about what I was eating, drinking and lord knows what else. I wasn’t sleeping and definitely wasn’t recovering. It was probably the most negative week I’ve had in a long time.

BTW, my birthday was incredible. I felt so loved.

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Bday dinner with D❤

Doug and I headed home to my Mom’s on friday, where we relaxed and ate a lot of pizza (yay carb loading!). Saturday I woke up feeling excited about racing, we headed to Jamesville Beach to get my race packet and rack Timmy. It was already pretty warm out at 10AM. Reminded myself to keep pushing fluids down and eating lots of salty foods.

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Dropping Timmy off.

After Timmy was dropped off, my mom and I headed to my Aunt’s/Uncle’s/Cousins’ house to help with my cousin’s HS graduation party. I had a great time, tried to stay off my feet, drinking all the hydrating beverages I could find (including my own 2L of fluids), and caught up with my wonderful family. Looking back – it’s definitely not my ‘normal’ pre race day as it was still really warm out in the shade, but I also know it kept me distracted from looking at the race. In any rate, eventually we made our way home, where I did some last minute race prep (getting bags around, bottles filled etc) so I didn’t have to think as much in the AM.

Race AM went pretty smooth, I ate a normal pre race breakfast and enjoyed my coffee. Got some puppy snuggles and before we (Doug, my Mom and myself) knew it was time to head to Jamesville beach. We took the long route – which was by far the winner – and before I knew it I was rushing solo off to transition to load up Timmy and get everything ready for the race. This is where I met Coeur Teammate, Olivia Haverson (sorry I wasn’t more talkative), our bikes were racked next to each other! Once done, I went to get in the porta-potty line and then proceeded to get my wetsuit on. Well, actually I proceeded to sit in the grass, choking down a Honey Stinger Waffle, trying to hold myself together. At this point, I had almost cried 4 times this morning and was (making myself) nauseous with anxiety and fear.

Upon getting myself together, I decided I should get in the warm up area and see if I remembered how to swim, and swim in my wetsuit. I also needed to make sure that I liked my NEW ROKA R1 Goggles. Don’t worry – I LOVED them. So clear and so comfortable. Didn’t think about my goggles the rest of the day – except in T1 because I didn’t want them to get stolen (what?) or crushed. Once I did a little swim (I’m terrible at warming up for triathlons – I get so annoyed and just want to be left alone) I found Doug and almost lost it again. His response – Just keep swimming.

Before I knew it, it was time to line up for our wave. I was in wave 4, which is a mix of AG. This is where I found Rebecca, it was so great to catch up! I think I voiced that I was so nervous and anxious, but we talked about it would be fine when the cannon went off…

Swim (1.2 miles) – 39:34 (2:02/100M), 35 AG (out of the water)

Well, the cannon went off and I tried to start, then the unthinkable happened.. I had a panic attack.. I couldn’t breath, couldn’t even get myself to put my head in the water. I floated on my back for a minute, trying deep breaths, tried to swim again (side stroke – to keep moving), tried to swim normal, couldn’t again, floated on my back.. Watched my wave swim away. I stared at the kayaks, I stared at the platform, I wondered why they didn’t ask me if I was ok (glad they didn’t, I always tell the life guards to not save me at the pool, let me suffer). I thought about quitting. I thought about quitting triathlon. I thought it was all so stupid. What’s the point in making myself so exhausted.. I thought about how my family and friends would be ok with it.. and then.. I thought about what Doug said.. ‘Just keep swimming,’ I thought about the lovely gift my ex-roomate gave me for my birthday, a bracelet that said ‘just keep swimming’. Then I decided I would get through the swim.. one stroke at the time. Oh- and this all happened between the start and the first buoy. Go Lisa.

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Our Swim wave. Photo cred: Olivia

So I started swimming, really terrible at first, breathing to my right every two strokes (which my normal is 3). I started gaining on people. I tried to go 3, and started to panic, so went back to 2. I did this until the turn around. I started catching people. At the first turn, I thought about how stupid I was, how I cost myself my race, how I cost myself my goals, and then I decided I was just going to focus on the here and now, and just keep swimming.

By the next turn buoy, I started getting competitive. I started fighting my way. I got into my natural swimming pattern, despite the awkward chop on the way back in. I tried to find fast feet, but I was swimming faster (tried to not get disappointed in myself again, knowing I let all the girls go). I just kept counting the buoys and just kept swimming. About 2 buoys from the end of the swim, I thought about how I just wanted to do another loop and pretend I had more time to catch people and just practice my swim for placid, but clearly decided against that ;) Before I reached land, all I could think about was my panic attack, that I’m sure Doug was wondering what the heck happened and was wondering if I should even continue.

I eventually hit land and started moving. Yelled at the wetsuit strippers to not worry about my watch or my wetsuit and just rip it off so I could get going (sorry!). I yelled to Doug that I had a panic attack and waited for feedback where he just said don’t worry. I finally reached my bike and had a heavy heart when I saw that there were hardly any bikes there, but focused on just getting my stuff together and just be ready to ride hard.

Swim positives: my sighting was awesome (best I’ve done), I felt strong (once I got myself completely under control).

Gear: BlueSeventy Reaction Wetsuit, Roka R1 Goggles, Garmin 920xt.

Bike (56 miles) – 3:04.57 (18.4 mph), off the bike 10 AG, 9th fastest bike in AG

Got on the bike and just started eating and drinking and reminded myself it was time to get to work. The first ~14mi on this bike course are all uphill, a pretty steep uphill, so it’s hard to eat and drink. I’m always aware that I need to just start right when I leave the park. Then you climb, and you climb and you climb some more. The first half of the bike is the same as last year, the last half well.. is a lot harder compared to the previous course ha.

It was my first race using power as a metric along with HR, so honestly, I ate, I drank, I watched my power (which kept dropping) and watched my HR. I kept it in what ‘felt’ like 70.3 bike effort. I make sure I was following the rules. I made sure I looked around at the beautiful country side. I played leap frog with another women for almost the whole ride, that was fun and really helped me stay focused. I thanked policemen and volunteers.

I enjoyed riding around DeRuyter lake, especially after having to scream at the top of my lungs on a crazy downhill for a guy to get out of left of lane as he was just monkey-ing around. C’mon man. That’s dangerous. Another guy thanked me for it. Above all, I tried to stay positive. I tried not to think about the swim, I tried to focus on catching the women (and men) in front of me. I tried not to get negative again when my goal bike split came and went. Instead I ate and drank more and prayed that others were riding about the same speed. I prayed that my run legs would be there every incline when my quads burned. I also prayed that when there was a speed cap, I didn’t get a penalty. Wasn’t sure what I would have done if that happened too.

Finally made my way back to T2, tried not to cry as my swim didn’t go well and I really had no sense of how my bike was. It looks like the Bike was ~700-1000 ft more of climbing than previous years (based on other people’s Strava files, my watch is also broken). Again, I thought about calling it a day. I felt like my bike sucked and just was over the race. Then I thought about my athletes I coach, and my athletes in the race. I sat on the ground (to pee in the grass – at least I drank enough!) and put my stuff on and decided to go see what my body could do.

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Gear/Nutrition: Coeur Sports Race Kit, Rudy Project Aero Helmet, Smith Pivlock Sunnies, Shimano shoes (idk what they are!?), 5.5 bottles of Osmo, 2 sleeves of Clif Shot Bloks, 1 Honey Stinger Waffle, Base Salt Lick every 10 mi.

Run (13.1 miles) – 1:47.16 (8:11/mi), 7th AG, 2nd fastest in AG.

Starting the run, I felt terrible. Strangely, I thought of Jennie Hansen’s blog and how she always feels terrible off the bike. Doug told me not to worry about the bike, as everyone ran slow. He said I was 35th out of the water (which I was glad I didn’t know prior to getting on the bike) and I didn’t hear where he said when I got off the bike. I groaned when I saw B. Jackson and he reminded me of Kona – all I wanted to do was cry, thinking my dreams were gone. Instead, I put one foot in front of the other, took gatorade at the first aid station (literally all I want when I get off the bike), forced some Honey stinger gummies down knowing I need to practice eating even when I didn’t want to (nauseous, anyone else?), put sponges on my shoulders and ice down my top. Did this routine this at every aid station.

Rather than worrying about my pace, I reminded myself to be a runner, not a shuffler, and look for women. The men out on the course had already started cracking and I was determined to be strong. This run course is tough too, not to mention it was getting hot. Fortunately, I didn’t really feel effected by the heat, I just kept doing my thing and focusing on what I could control and prayed that I would fall apart less than others.

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Finishing Loop One. Photo Cred B. Jackson

Before I knew it, I was at the turn around for the first loop, which is also up a massive hill, and gave a hoot. I got a couple strange looks, but knowing that I had already ran up the toughest part of the course once and only had once more was exciting to me ha. Running back I focused on seeing familiar faces. I saw Dave, Lynn, Rebecca, Olivia and kept a look out for my athlete/best friend Alex (although I knew I’d only see her once on the second loop – her swim wave was almost an hour after me).

Back through the turn around I saw that I had made up more ground on the women in front of me and just keep chugging along. Once I hit mile 8, I started counting down the miles. It seems like a lot, but for some reason – 5 miles to go or one hand to go, is relaxing to me. Kept shoving ice down my top, water on the back of my neck and gatorade down my mouth. My multitasking in aid stations is awesome – I wish I could do it more regularly. I hit the turn around again, walked through the aid station making sure I could get as much in as possible – then really started moving. I was paranoid the girls behind me would start catching me and I did NOT want that to happen. So I moved and I wanted to be done. The last strip went by fast. On the downhill, I finally saw Alex, and had to hold it together. If you don’t know – she had a baby 4.5 months ago, was racing, put in serious training and then her back flared up in the beginning of taper. So seeing her on the run, being in my emotional state was all I could do to not cry.

 

Before I knew it, I was back on the annoying grass part (you know what I’m talking about), back on the paved path and in the finish chute.

Gear/Nutrition: Coeur Sports Race Kit, 3/4 pack of Honey Stinger Chews, Gatorade at 5 aid stations, Smith Pivlock Sunnies, NB 1500, Feetures Elite Cushion Socks.

Finish: 5:38.35, 7th AG, 23rd F

I struggled the rest of the day, fighting feelings of disappointment, failure and all the other negative emotions. I went to my dark space – of hating my body, all the insecurities I have reared their ugly head. Who am I kidding, I’m still struggling with those feelings, I’ve cried – a lot (mostly alone), I’ve walked around with my head down feeling defeated. But I’m ready to let it go, it’s time to let it go. I know I wasn’t fully rested for this race, I know this wasn’t the race of my potential, I know I have more in the tank. This was the hardest 70.3 I’ve done to date. It’s also my 2nd slowest. This wasn’t the race I wanted/needed to give me confidence, but I know that I’ve been putting in the work. I need to trust that it’ll be there on race day in Lake Placid. So I’m keeping it real and I’m going to let it go.

I can’t thank my  friends, family  and teammates enough for the support, luck, love and encouragement, it really does take a village. Here’s to my overload weeks. Someone pick me up off the floor when I’m done.

 

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”—Christopher Robin to Pooh, A.A. Milne