Summer 2018 Update

“At some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening.” – Heather Hepler

This year has had its up and downs, good and bad but you have to roll with the lemons you’ve been given and do your best to make lemonade.  Between 3 weeks of a nasty sinus infection (May/June), a wonderful trip to Europe (June/July), my first bike crash (July) and some minor injuries that prevented a lot of running – the plan this year was tossed out the window and I’ve pulled the plug on IM Chattanooga for 2018.

It was pretty heartbreaking to make that decision but the last few months have sent me on an emotional and physical roller coaster. In that roller coaster, I haven’t had the motivation or been able to physically to keep moving forward, so I finish my 2018 Triathlon season this weekend with Pumpkinman 70.3. We’ll see what’s left in the tank and hopefully it comes out with a great end result.

What I have been doing that’s been SO FUN are the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Cycling Races on Thursday nights put on by Sunapee Cycling. They’ve been totally getting me out of my comfort zone – think crit style racing with mostly men. I even had to get my wheel fixed once because one of the guys’ kept leaning in and his skewer kept hitting my spokes (I’d also like to say I kept it upright and rubber side down!)! HOWEVER – these races have been super fun, helped my confidence on racing and I was even able to make some moves and grab some points. I started later in the season but here’s how the racing played out:

  • Dropped by the lead pack but a bunch of us rallied and started picking off stragglers.
  • Dropped on the first hill of the third lap – HAHA. All I could do was laugh.
  • With the lead group the whole time and finished in the top 10, this is where I first made some moves to try to help the ladies. The races are co-ed with like 20-25 men and 4-5 women.
  • Was in the breakaway and scored some mid races points before getting caught and racing with the group the rest of the way.
  • On the same course as Race 2 – I was holding my own until someone in my line hit some cones which caused the whole line to hit cones. Pulled the plug on that race because tri season isn’t over. Overall it’s so fun and I can’t wait for next year’s season!

I also did the NH 10 miler – boy 10 miles is a lot easier to manage than a marathon 😉 It was fun to do this race with friends and as a workout. It was a confidence boost a few weeks out from Pumpkinman.

 

Moving forward goals: find happiness in training, spending some QT time with my mountain bike, racing for fun with friends and spending more time with my family and friends in the off season before I hunker down and get after it for 2019 stay tuned!

 

In the meantime, here are some of the amazing things I did this summer!

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Olympic Park – Munich, Germany

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Olympic Park – Munich, Germany

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Marienplatz, Munich, Germany

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Old Port, Nice, France

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Baths of Caracalla, Rome, Italy

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Colosseum, Rome, Italy

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Chris’ 40th

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Puppy Snuggles at home

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Riding in CNY ❤

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Riding to Skaneateles Lake

 

As always, I’m super grateful for my amazing loving, caring, supportive friends, family and athletes, and the companies that keep me going: Coeur Sports, Drink Maple, Skratch Labs & my favorite bike shop – Fast Splits!

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Race Report: Patriot 70.3

There is no perfection, only beautiful versions of brokenness.” – Shannon L. Alder

Wow, it’s been awhile. March and RNR Nola seem like forever ago, which is probably for the best. Truth be told, training had been going SO well, I was really excited to see where my fitness was and get out and be competitive. Then life throws you some curve balls, some life changes, and a nasty head cold turned into a sinus infection 3 weeks out completely derailed training. While I tried to be patient and let me body heal, I was also getting so antsy to get back into my routine and get those workouts in. In the middle of the three weeks of that cold, I had an amazing weekend up in Waterville Valley. This totally reinvigorated me but then my body and cold had other plans resulting in 3 more days off. I tried to not let it stress me out but you know me – I was stressing.

This year was the first in 4 years where I wasn’t racing IM Syracuse 70.3, while bittersweet, I was excited to be racing Patriot as I have heard such great things about the race. I headed down Friday before to a hotel room I booked – which wasn’t the best but so it goes. Hit the pillow super early and slept really well considering. Race AM came fairly quick and I woke up prior to my alarm. I sneaked in the bathroom to eat breakfast and do my race day braids. Staying with two of my best friends – Meaghan and Chris –  race AM was more relaxing than normal. Before long, we loaded up the cars and headed to the race venue.

Race venue was easy enough to get to, parking was plentiful and everything was well marked. This was also the first race in my life where I registered in the elite/open field. I was pretty nervous about it, especially with the cold situation and the fact I finished my antibiotics on Thursday, but I was feeling better and I decided to stay in that wave rather than drop down to my AG.  In the end it was absolutely the correct call, and I’m really glad I stayed in the Open/Elite wave.

In the process of getting transition set up, I noticed the replacement tubing for my aero bottle was causing my Skratch to leak out of my bottle. I instantly tried to remind myself to stay calm but problem solve. I figured someone had to have electrical tape and I could tape the fluid in. I found Jorge – the founder/Coach of E3 and Meaghan’s coach – and asked him if he had any. While he went to grab some, I also asked the guys at laundry’s. Fortunately, Jorge had some I could use. I taped that sucker and took a deep breath.

Unfortunately, my Skratch was still leaking out of the bottle. Knowing it was going to be hot, and the first aid station was well over an hour into the bike, I ran to Meaghan and asked if she had a spare bike bottle. I figured a bike bottle was better than not having enough fluid. Thanks M <3. Phew, problem solved.

After that snafu, I headed down to swim out for a quick little warm up. I wanted to get into open water prior to race day, but I didn’t have much of an option. Getting in the water, I felt really relaxed and just enjoyed the moment. If you know me, OWS makes me somewhat nervous, but this lake was so beautiful and SO nice to swim in. After a couple minutes, I got out and headed over to swim start. There were only 4 women in the Open/Elite wave, which was cool and also kind of weird.

Swim: 33:58 (2,089 yds, 1:37/100 yds)

We were the only wave to get an in water start, but they had us enter the water two at a time, which was kind of weird. We also started with the Men’s Elite/Open field. I reminded myself to find feet and to just be relaxed, but I was definitely nervous about starting with the men. I hate to admit, but it threw me off.

When we finally got going, I dived out of the way, and grabbed one of the female competitor’s feet. Within minutes, I was so mad at myself, it was too slow. Upset at myself for not having confidence in my swimming, I passed her and just kept chugging along solo. Maybe someone would catch us from a later wave and I could grab on their feet? Fortunately, it did happen, and I tried my best.

Swimming solo, I noticed just how choppy the water was, I was getting tossed a bit. At the second turn buoy, I was ready to be on my bike haha. This is also around where one of the men, in the wave behind me, caught me and I was able to get on his feet and swim hard to the finish.

Bike: 2:41.58 (56 miles, 20.7 mph)

Getting to my bike, it seemed like a lot of bikes were gone, but tried to shake it off. Grabbing Benny and running to the mount line, I immediately noticed the bottle in my cage between my aero bars was leaning forward. I wasn’t sure what to do but hopped on and tried to fix the zip ties to get back on my bars. I worked at it for a couple miles, trying to keep myself from getting too frustrated. Knowing that I needed to make sure I got fluids in, I finally pulled off to the side and fixed it. Feeling frustrated, with my bike, with the cold, I wasn’t in the best of moods. Somewhere Chris caught me and his happy, racing mood completely helped me get out of my grumpy, feeling sorry for myself mood and I was able to remind myself that racing is the fruit of all my hard work, even if there are other plans in life (like being sick). Finally, I was able to focus on the bike and enjoy my time on my BMC.

Nearing the end of the first lap, we had a beautiful view of a lake or reservoir which was a welcome change. The course was nice, however the roads were in pretty terrible shape. ALSO, the drafting and the littering was outrageous. C’mon people – race clean, and guys – it’s ok for women to be strong cyclists, so let the EGO GO! There were a lot of men I would pass, only to pass me, I’d have to pass again, and then not see them for a while. It’s just annoying.

Riding by the park was a nice pick me up before the second loop – which was more of the same. Except I started to get SUPER nauseous – I immediately took some extra licks of salt, had a few burps and was able to get my stomach under control to where I could get more fluids down (especially knowing it was going to be close to 90 that day). I was super happy to have some Skratch and Drink Maple still the bottom in my aero bars – once again it helped my stomach on top of the salt.

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Run: 1:36:35 (13.1 miles, 7:23/mi)

Before long, we were nearing T2 and my legs weren’t really feeling that great. To be honest, like most of the time in T2, I kinda just wanted to be done. I took an extra moment, a big deep breath and collected myself to head out on the run. Wouldn’t you know though as soon as I saw Meaghan I lost it again and just started crying. It’s becoming a new normal ha. Clicking into auto pilot, I just kept shuffling along, trying to focus on one mile at a time and to just keep moving forward.

Feeling sorry for myself, being frustrated and not looking forward to running, I wasn’t in the best of moods. Again, Chris saved me at mile 2 or so. Reminding me that this is my best leg and that I’m a runner. I’m usually not THIS negative in races, but he saved me again. I really started to let things go and just run. Jana, his coach, and Jorge were out on the run course giving splits and info, which was super helpful. I generally like one and two loop runs, two loop is nice as you generally see more people, but one loop is nice too because you don’t have to pass things twice and it’s like a normal long run, but it’s rather pretty lonely. I tried to focus on making sure no one would catch me, and to keep moving to catch others forward. Also, the normal go to: the faster you run, the sooner it’s over (especially as there were fun plans in Boston that night – including a Margarita – happy 30 birthday!).

The miles ticked by, alternating with scratch (in a hand held, Gatorade and coke – I’ve gotten pretty good at double fisting but also choking every once in a while, haha. Hope the volunteers weren’t concerned. Before long, we were on the last straight away, finishing up the run course through the park – being mindful not to trip on the roots haha – and crossed the finish line.

Crossing the line with almost a new 70.3 PR in 4:58.32 (would have been had I not stopped to fiddle with my bike cage) I felt rather proud of the race. Things were less than ideal leading up between some life circumstances and getting a nasty head cold into a sinus infection but I competed and never gave up, despite being rather negative. It was a good starting point of the 2018 season and being the 3rd overall female in my first open/elite wave was really reassuring that I had made the right decision to stay in the wave. It was a great race and ended up being a lot of fun.

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I’m beyond blessed and grateful to all my family and friends, to Coeur Sports, Drink Maple, Skratch and to Fast Splits, for making sure my bike was ready to go. Next up, some travel before getting back to work!

 

Race Report: RNR New Orleans

When it rains it pours…but soon, the sun shines again

Wow, unsure where to begin on this one, it’s not a good report that’s for sure so if you’re looking for something that’s going to give you some motivation – I’d search elsewhere. This was one of those trips where what could go wrong, will go wrong.

Leading up to the race, I had been running faster than ever since I started the triathlon journey. I knew I was fit, had been taking care of the small things and I was getting ready to run fast. Life is stressful, but that’s always. Some big changes! I guess first and foremost – We’re ENGAGED! So that’s really exciting. Work life has shifted again but so it goes – it’s all for the best – so sorry there hasn’t been too many updates on the blog.

We’ll fast forward to race week and start with even getting out of town. If you haven’t heard the NE has been getting hammered with some crazy weather, including a giant snow storm and then 70s the next day (happened again last night, I’m typing this from my apt which has no power). This weekend was like no other, there was another storm with hurricane force winds that were expected to wreak havoc. This trip was supposed to be a girl’s weekend, fortunately one had to work (lawyer) and the other two were snowed in. So even if I DID get out, I was going to be solo in NO. Well, I went to work like usual – although I did call southwest before 6AM to see if they knew anything and asked if they had suggestions. At work I just kept monitoring, my mood went from assuming I wouldn’t get out, to getting mad that I wasn’t going to get out, and, as I had just dealt with some kick a** workouts, I really wanted to get out and give it a go.

Well, wouldn’t you believe, I got out of work, and flight was still on. D took me to the airport, I was as anxious as ever, because I still wasn’t sure. Wouldn’t you know that my southwest flight was going to take off.. We boarded and I let everyone know. Our Pilot came out and gave us some funny jokes and told us he was going to get us to Nashville. Needless to say, the flight wasn’t bad, in fact it was probably one of the best flights I have ever been on.

In Nashville, I arrive to CNN showing the coast of MA and how hard it was getting hit. It made me really sad, but I took it as a good omen that I had been able to get out. The next flight was smooth sailing and I landed in Nola without an issue. This is where I wondered about that good omen…

I picked up the rental car around 9:30PM, then struggled to find parking that wasn’t an insane amount but just prayed nothing would happen to it and dealt with the $$. I started walking to the Airbnb, which was only two blocks away. In those two blocks, I could smell beer already and there was a wonderful gentleman who was peeing on the sidewalk 3 ft from me as I walked by. HOLY CRAP I thought.

The Airbnb was in a building with a locked entrance and the security guard was kind enough to help me get into the apt. Once in the apt, I unpacked and tried to get my anxious self to bed. As I crawled into bed, I was surprised the bed was still standing. Every time I moved, the bed shook and felt like it would fall apart. As a laid there, I had the soothing sounds of police sirens and ambulances to help me fall asleep. After an hour, I switched to a sturdier bed and was finally able to fall asleep.

After a solid 6 hours of sleep . . . I started to move, check email, check in with family & friends, and prayed that maybe I’d have some silent quiet miles to myself this AM. With one look out the window, I not only saw a second man peeing against a building in the dawn of the AM but realized I would be taking my phone with me, just in case. On my shakeout I felt pretty good, looser than expected which was nice. I ran in the French quarter, near Louie Armstrong park and was able to take some of the architecture in, with a side of stale beer and urine, sweet.

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Some of the Architecture

Once back, I showered, had a nice breakfast at IHOP, ran some errands and then headed to the expo. The expo was relatively easy to get to ($$$$ for parking was crazy) and you had to walk a mile to the room where the expo was but it wasn’t terrible. Post expo, I hit up whole foods for some staples and headed back to get off my feet. As I snuggled in bed to continue my binge of Parks & Rec, I noticed an awesome stain in the bed I SLEPT IN. I was giving my gf a play by play of my experiences and we quickly tried to convince me that it was BLEACH, bleach I said.. but I highly doubted it.

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Welcome at the expo. I thought we was a little creepy.

Later, I met up for a coffee with my friend, Stevie, and her friend from DC. I was so excited to learn earlier in the week that Stevie would be in NOLA. At least I would know someone, and someone who gets me haha. Besides getting home, this would be the highlight of the trip ha. After, I headed back, packed up and hit the hay (yes in the same bed BECAUSE IT’S BLEACH) where I slept solid.

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Flat Lisa Ready to go!

Race AM: I woke up, ate breakfast and laid back in bed binge watching a few episodes of P & R. At 6:50, I headed to the car, dropped off my bags and ran a half mile to the start line. I was really excited to start the race, I was still riding the high of getting to Nola and ready to put my fitness to the test. As I stood in my coral, all I could see was half marathoners. I didn’t realize that both the half marathon and the marathon had the same coral assignments. That was kind of weird to me, and if I’m being honest – I didn’t really like it.

It wasn’t too long before we were off. The first mile went pretty fast, as did mile 2. I settled into a nice rhythm for my legs and my HR. I kept reminding myself I was running 26.2 miles. I tried to get some water in at the first aid station – knowing it would be hot and sunny and that Gatorade was another 2 miles up the road. I reminded myself to run the tangents and to just stay relaxed. The first turn around came relatively fast and I was still feeling good. As the race progressed my main focus was to keep getting as much fluid down as possible – which is tricky with water every 2 miles and Gatorade every 4. Up to mile 10, the race went along, just getting to the next mile. Around 10 is when we turned to the straightway for the half marathon finishers and all I could think about was the sun and how there was no wind, it was hot. At mile 12, we split off from the half marathoners into a head wind for the next 6 miles. It was lonely.

At mile 14, I headed into the john for a quick bathroom break, and then at mile 15, my legs started aching. I was trying to stay positive but at mile 16 I knew I was in trouble. I tried to keep moving, which was equally hard as now there were some hills on the course, there was no shade and not too many runners around. Everyone was doing their own thing, in their own battle.

At mile 17, I stopped at the medic as I was chilled, nauseous and knew that the fluid was just sitting in my gut. I asked them for anything to help and received some super concentrated Gatorade. It was supposed to help me vomit, but it didn’t. At that point, I kept going until the turn around at mile 18. At mile 19 I ran back by the medic and decided this was probably the best way to get back to the finish. Also, there were NO bands out here. It was just speakers and music.

When I hit mile 20, I started begging the opposite aid station for Gatorade to try to clear the fluid from my gut and was cursing myself for not bringing salt. Mile 21 started the walk, jog, which continued until the finish of the race. I stopped at another medic tent at mile 23 and asked for more Gatorade but they didn’t have any, so I continued on my way.

During this shuffle, I thought about my girlfriends, this was supposed to be a fun girls weekend away, but one had work obligations and the other two got snowed in and I was the only one who made it. They’re the big reason I finished. I didn’t go to run another subpar marathon and I’m really disappointed that I botched another opportunity, but so it goes.

I’m really thankful Stevie was there, with her and her friends cheering along as I finished then sat by me as I continued to chug Gatorade, chocolate milk, water and then found me a coke. I’m forever grateful for our trip to Louisville and you staying with the rest of us crazies despite not knowing us!

Not too long after finishing did I have to scoot out and make it back to the start. I chatted with a lovely woman on the shuttle who was doing a race in all 50 states. She ran a 50k trail ultra the day before and said she had a great day in NOLA. I was super impressed.

Once back the real issues happened, I rushed to the rental car, dropped it off, ran through the airport, in all my race gear, straight to the bathroom to try to change and clean up, grabbed a beer, and boarded the plane home. Only the engine started smoking on the plane while we were taxing, thus, we pulled back to the gate. 90 minutes later, after some drama with the police being called (NO, not me), we were boarding the plane to INDY where I was praying for something on my side. Landed in Indy, missed the connection to Boston by 50 minutes, begged southwest to let me fly to Newark where I then rented a car and DROVE home. Arrived at 1:30AM, slept for 5 hours and off to work I went. Needless to say, this was quite an adventure and I have no desire to go back to NOLA. NOLA got the best of this girl, without heading to bourbon st.

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The best part about the race, puppy kisses post race!

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So thankful for this girl!

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Some more fun buildings!

Cheers to 2017

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I can’t even begin to describe how fortunate, loved and lucky I am. As another year closes, I look back on 2017 in awe and amazement. It’s the first full year I’ve lived away from my family and some of my closest friends, but this move has also blessed me with love from new family and friends. I truly am a lucky girl. I’m blessed with wonderful family and friends, a great job (or three), athletes that make my giggle AND roll my eyes, and a amazing team. Here’s a look back into 2017 by month:

January

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February

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Fat biking in the white mountains

March

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April

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May

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First Stage Race w. Kait ❤

June

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July

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August

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September

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October

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November

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December

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Words aren’t enough to show my gratitude but thank you to all my family and friends for the continued love and support. Also, a HUGE thank you to a few awesome companies in my corner – Coeur Sports, Drink Maple, Fast Splits, QT2 and Honey Stinger. I’m excited for what’s lined up in 2018, cheers!

Race Report: Ironman Louisville

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

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

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Team dinner ❤

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

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

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

Bike: 5:51.11 (19.14 mph)

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

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

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

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

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End of bike – Photo Cred: Christina

Run: 3:27.53 (7:56/mi) *PR 

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

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

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

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

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So much pain.

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Free Blankets FTW

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

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25-29 Podium

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

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

Next up: A REAL Vacation in Aruba 🙂

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Walking to Indiana!

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Post Race Ice Cream!!!

Pumpkinman 70.3 & Hogsback 13.1: Race Reports

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

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

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

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

Bike: 2:40.54 (20.9 mph)

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

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

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

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

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

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2nd on the AG Podium!

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And because we went to the ocean.

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

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

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

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

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This hurt a bit.

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

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and we went apple picking

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

 

 

 

Race Report: Cayuga Lake Triathlon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bike: 1:10.54, 20.4 mph

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

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T2: completely uneventful, was efficient and running.

Run: 48:04 (7:45 pace)

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

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The waterfall is so beautiful

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

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I love this place ❤

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When your BF gets to hand you your award ❤

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

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Ithaca, you sure are beautiful

Up Next: Pumpkinman 70.3 in Sept.