“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

 

The Boston Marathon: The Race

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” – Vincent van Gogh

Monday morning arrived fast. Before I knew it, it was time to head to the T with Mom. Once off the T, it was quick and easy to get to Boston Common and find the buses to the start. After I said bye to mom, I went through to the loading area. I was able to get right on the bus right away and settle in for the ride to the start. Thankfully, our Bus driver right off the bat knew where he was going and let all of us know. I sighed with relief after Stephanie said last year her bus driver got LOST. Say what?!

I ended up sitting with a woman from Australia which was amazing to me. She had only been visiting for 3 days and had a large trip planned in the states. We chatted on and off, mostly about how long it was taking to get to the start and that we were running a far, ha.

One we arrived to Hopkintown, I started to get excited. The athlete village was CRAZY. There were three HUGE tents, all the food and drinks you could want, plus a SEA of toliets. I decided that I would get in line for the porta-potty ASAP as I hoped it would eat up time but also I really had to go! I was scanning the crowds/lines while in line and wouldn’t you know who I saw? KRISTIN! I was so grateful!

Once we made it through the line, we just sat and chatted until we saw another college teammate Erin (who was in my wave/corral). It was a nice distraction especially since it was starting to get warm. Before we knew it Kristin was off to start. Erin and I just continue to chat before they would let us head toward the start.

It was finally our turn to walk to the start. Now, I was ready to just get going. One more bathroom stop and we headed to our corral. Finally it was the countdown to our turn to go!

To sum up the race, I broke it down to some thoughts per mile – otherwise we’d be here for weeks😉

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The Start: “Ooof, legs are a little stiff. They can get better, just need to loosen up.”

Mile 1: “Wow, stomach cramps already? Why do my legs feel so dead? Just shake it off. I’m nowhere near the goal”

Mile 2: Dodging people – “stay relaxed,” “Where’d this hill come from? I thought the first 3 miles are all downhill.. guess not. Poop.” “Why is my HR so freaking high..?”

Mile 3: “Ok, get some water and some gatorade. Stomach should feel better.”

Mile 4: “Umm.. this doesn’t feel right…why do I feel so terrible?… I have another 22 miles to go?…. Sh*t this is going to be a long day.”

Mile 5: “Take your gel – it’ll help. Ignore the stomach, ignore the legs. It’ll be ok..”

Mile 6: “I only have 20 to go… 20 miles is far.” “Look there’s the T, Kristin said I could ride for free..” “Just keep moving..” “Mom cursed me by buying that stupid jacket..”

Mile 7: *looks at watch* “Ignore the pace- it’s fine.” “It’s hot… this sucks.” “Maybe I should stop by medical and call my mom and Doug? They’ll know what I should do.” “Ironman Lake Placid is more important – what do I do?… I don’t know what to do>”

Mile 8: “Don’t cry,” “These hills suck and we’re not even to Newton.” “Santa get out of my face.” “Is that Stephanie?”(starts to hyperventilate – she would be my life savor). “Keep it together, Lisa.”

Mile 9: “calm down, calm down..” “I’m so glad I caught Stephanie.. she’s doing awesome” (Stephanie was telling me stories about her trips to Boston..). “Just run with Stephanie for a bit..”

Mile 10: “Take another gel.. just get it down..” “That last mile went by fast” “10 miles down, we’re doing this,” “Thank goodness I found Stephanie.” “I hope my family knows I’m ok as long as I keep moving..” “Hope everyone is still proud..”

Mile 11: “Wow, these miles ARE going fast,” “Are those the Wellesley girls already? They weren’t kidding about those screams.” (Just kept chatting with Stephanie).

Mile 12: “Those girls are LOUD…”

*This is where I read every sign the Wellesley girls had.. they were comical*

Here’s some of my favorites (view them & more here):

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*from here spectators are lined the rest of the way to Boston.. it’s insane.*

Mile 13: “Look for Oiselle.. There’s cowbell corner.. WAVEEE and look I’M SMILING!” (Unfortunately we were on the opposite side of the street. I also celebrated a little here – I made it halfway and was in a good place mentally – as good as I could be.)

Mile 14: “Gatorade down my mouth.. water over my head..” (I’m sure some guy ran into Stephanie this mile too.. and almost every mile after..).

Mile 15: The miles then went by fast – not sure what we talked about during this mile..

Mile 16: Newton = hills. Walked with Stephanie.. Back started cramping. “TWO HANDS TO GO!” (Yes – you get this desperate – 10 miles doesn’t seem that far.) “This is a big hill..”

Mile 17: Nuun guys were here – I thought that would be a good idea. “Nope.. (spitting it back out immediately).. not what my body wanted.” A woman says she has pretzels..”NOMS, that is definitely what I want.”

Mile 18: “Walking up the hills isn’t so bad.” “arhhhh.. quads cramping.”

Mile 19: Walking up a hill.. a fellow walker looks over and asks us why we’re walking… “Thanks for reminding me that my race is crap, and that this isn’t my day..” “Oohh.. it’s kind of cold now..”

Mile 20: “Eeeeeeek! We’re almost to one HAND and we’re past 20!” “Booyah” “AHH There’s Caitlin!” (gave her a big, gross, sweaty hug..) “We’re going to do this.” “Thank you to you volunteers” “Thank you to all the police officers” (this happened the whole rest of the way).

Mile 21: “Oh Heartbreak Hill.. this was easier than the first hill..” “MAPLE WATER GET IN MY BELLY” (That maple water totally saved my crampy upset stomach). Also where I saw my friend Matt  – finally someone who can tell Doug that I am not fully ok – but functioning.

Mile 22: “4 miles away. ONLY FOUR” “Hmm.. I see what Stephanie meant.. the road is sticky from the gatorage.. yucky..”

(At this point, I just soaked up all the noise – the drunk BC college bros made me laugh.. a lot.)

Mile 23: “Hmm.. Those people during the first 8 miles were cheering for me.. not some girl named Giselle…” (Stephanie laughs at me because I didn’t put two and two together, after we already talked about the Gieslle cheers were because people didn’t know it was Oiselle. I seriously thought there was a woman named Giselle around me at the beginning. Yes- it took this long.).

Mile 24: *Laughing at all the Gieslles* “ONLY 2 more miles” “THERE’S THE CITGO SIGN” “This is ANOTHER HILL? My legs and BODY hates me”. “Oooh that sign is funny – ‘If Trump Can Run, So Can You!'”

Mile 25: “OH GOD.. a mile.. That’s it..” *tears started to cry*

RIGHT on Hereford – *HOLD it TOGETHER HOLT – HOLD THOSE TEARS BACK* (this was my FAVORITE MOMENT on the course. IT was SO LOUD and it gave me goosebumps.. or it was that I hadn’t eaten in 3 hours ;))

Mile 26: “Here’s your Left On Boylson” “Wow, I can’t believe I’m here” “Oh Look there’s Doug!!! *Waves* I wonder where Mom is.. hope she’s not missing this” “Stephanie is amazing – she just did a marathon 19 weeks preggo.. wow”

Finish: Crying. *Hugs on hugs to Stephanie*

We were coherent, we were safe, we did it. I’m disappointed in my race (trust me really bummed) – but I had a great experience during the race. I was in a deep, deep, dark place prior to finding Stephanie. Full on tears at one point. I know this is no indication of fitness and I’m proud of the fact I finished (I owe a lot to Stephanie – if you didn’t get that). I’m proud of the determination, the grit and the fight I gave to this race. I’ll be back and I’ll try again, but any day I make it to the finish line is a great day.

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See I was smiling! pretzels in hand.

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One I’ll always remember

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The stupid jacket😉 Thanks Mom❤

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Post Race Snuggles

Post race hills, downhills and stairs were really fun, NOT. Biking the next day after race was hysterical. Still not entirely sure what happened race day. Part of it could be it was hot, part could be I finally got part of Doug’s cold I had been trying to avoid, or part could have been it just wasn’t my day. We learn, we live and we move on. Here’s to moving on and being proud of the races that don’t go right.

I’m impressed you made it this far, Thanks. I owe a big hug, lots of love, and thanks to all my friends, family and more for the support, tracking and love I felt that day. Words can’t describe how much every text, tweet, and message meant to me. I’m getting emotional as I write this now. I hope you all know you carried me to the finish line. Always and forever grateful❤

The Boston Marathon: Pre Race

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” – Vincent van Gogh

What a weekend – my heart is full of love, there’s fuel in the fire and I’ll be back to run the Boston marathon but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Doug and I headed home Thursday night so we could pick up my Mom and head out to Boston together for the marathon weekend on Friday AM! We rolled out around 10:30 or so and we had plenty of time to arrive as Doug was planning on running the BAA 5k. We had high hopes he would feel better as he happened to catch a cold a few days prior. I on the other hand was taking all the vitamin C I could.

We stopped for lunch in Albany, so we could visit with Stephy, Eli and Evie! It had been months since we had see each other and it was absolutely lovely to catch up. I sure give her a lot of credit and her kiddos are adorable❤

After the rather long lunch of mostly me playing with the kids, we sent out to finish our trip. We finally arrived at where we were staying and were welcomed with a nasty set of looks in a rather unsure place. Fortunately, our host was nice and patient with me, while he let me know we were not in the correct location. In fact we were in the oldest part of Boston and as we were leaving, Doug spent some time reading us facts about it – like townies, shamrocks, and other rather scary facts.

We finally made it to the correct (& safe location) around 7:30.. woof. After lugging everything up 3 floors and settling in, we ventured to a ‘tropical’ grocery store for some  dinner. Our apartment was great for what we needed it for (mostly a roof, beds and a shower), but I would never be able to live there, no stove, the dishwasher was broken and we set off a circuit breaker by using a blow dryer! It was kind of crazy, but it was convenient!

The next morning, Doug decided not to race, but mom and I wanted to head in to see the race, hopefully meet some Oiselle teammates and practice the T, as I was going to take it race morning to catch the bus. We ended up in a starbucks for some tea (mostly for the restroom) and cheered for friends in the 5k before heading back to get off our legs and clean up before the expo and then my Coeur Team Dinner.

The expo was a piece of cake, I was amazed by all the people, it was so surreal picking up my bib. After, Mom and I walked around the expo soaking it all in. After we hit Trader Joe’s and then met up with one of my best friends/college teammate Kristin, who was also racing! It was so nice to briefly catch up with her and her family.

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Mr Sam Adams himself

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Sampling the 26.2 beer

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Kristin❤

Next we headed to Maggiano’s for the Coeur Team dinner. The dinner was perfect to catch up with new and old friends – lots of laughs were had. After dinner, Mom and I took the T home and turned in for the night.

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Coeur Team Dinner!

Sunday involved a a relaxing morning, a shakeout, takeout (see what I did there) and more relaxing prior to a Oiselle Team Dinner at teammate Rebecca’s House!

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Oiselle Team Dinner – Photo Credit: Ashley

Rebecca’s house was great to chat with the teammates’ I’ve raced with before but also meet some new ones. It really is awesome to me that we can all just bond and mesh well together. A big shoutout to Rebecca for hosting, after reading her weekend recap – I wouldn’t have been able to hold it together, ha! You go girl. Around 6:30pm, mom and I made our way back home and turned in for the night.

Stay tuned for the more interesting The RACE in part 2..

St Patrick’s Day 4-Miler & Catching up

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.’ Frederick Douglass

Wow, life really does fly by. I can’t believe we’re almost halfway into March! Life has been really busy. but it’s your normal stuff. I’ve been focused on my job, coaching, more coaching and training, while still making sure my family and friends love me, ha!

Work is going well, we have a lot of fun events coming up (and just passed).  Coaching has been awesome, We hosted our conference meet and it was a phenomenal 3 days that I won’t forget. Truly inspiring performances, and if you know me, there were a lot of tears and hugs. It was amazing not only to be a part of the meet, but I was able to meet and catch up with a  lot of the alum. My voice wasn’t normal for 5 days, it was that insane.

Training has been going well – I’ve put up some of the biggest weeks I’ve ever done accomplished. Truth be told, I learned a new level of exhaustion. There were tears, there was frustration, there were smiles, and there was doubt. I’m wrapping up my recovery week but am finally starting to feel ‘normal-ish’ (today – on day 7). How do I know I’m starting to feel normal-ish – I’m feeling ready to dive back into training and see what else my body is capable of.

Now to the part you are probably interested in – the Race Report! Doug and I woke up yesterday morning and got ourselves around and headed to the St Patrick’s Day 4 Mile race in Binghamton. Once we arrived (super easy to get to), we picked up our packets (easy as pie) and before I knew it, it was time to warm up.

Nothing spectacular on the warm up happened, I turned off my mind and just prayed that my legs would be there (read above). I stopped mid warm up to do some drills, then continued on my way. After some more drills and stretching, I was finally starting to feel some pep in my step. Eventually, I switched into my trusty oiselle singlet and my saucony racing shoes. Prior to the start, they had a lovely Irish drumline, but to be honest, I just wanted to get going.

The gun finally went off and first mile was fast and slightly down hill. I tried to stay focused on myself but I still wanted to be competitive in the race. I didn’t pay attention the the first mile split but knew the miles 2-3 were honest and rolling. This is when I wanted to work. I was focused on my arms, my cadence and just trusting that my body wouldn’t fail me. Finally reached halfway in 12:35, saw my second mile was 6:34 and realized my first mile was 6:00. Instantly glad I didn’t look. Mile 3 was there a little slower than I would have liked but I just focused on my race (6:39). Finally the last mile came andddd there was nothing in the tank (6:36). My legs couldn’t move despite how hard I pumped my arms. Finished in 26:04.

Once we cooled down, we hung out and chatted with several friends who also raced🙂 I learned that I was 7th Female, 1st in my AG and ended up winning a sweatshirt and both Doug and I won pies.

Post race thoughts: I was pretty upset. I know I’m fitter than that. I know I can run faster. Hours after the race: Ok I did 3 weeks of over 15 hours of workouts (last one almost 17), this is pretty good. Boston is going to be fun. Now: I’m somewhat happy with it. There was nothing left in the tank AND it fueled the fire for my running, which I think is something that has been missing. Finally, really looking forward to Boston.

Here are some pictures:

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Finishing the St. Patricks 4-Miler

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Who doesn’t love free stuff!

Until next time!

A little late on the end of 2015, hello 2016

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar

I can’t believe 2015 already passed (and that we’re almost halfway through January as I’m writing this blog.. oops). I learned a lot from 2015; there were tears, smiles, sweat (lots of sweat),  joy, pain and more emotions than I can think of. I reached goals and I missed goals.

2016 excites me, it’s going to be a great year; there are a lot of goals, which will take patience, strength, composure, belief and a lot of the unknown. I wouldn’t have made it here if it wasn’t for the constant support and I hope you’ll join me for the next chapter in this book of life! A unconditional thanks to my friends and family for the love, support and encouragement, Coeur Sports and Oiselle for the support and not to mention cute, comfortable apparel, Honey Stinger and Osmo nutrition for keeping me full and hydrated, and FLRTC for the extras I need!

Before we say goodbye to 2015, here’s a photo recap of some of my favorite memories!