Post Ironman Blues

eeyore_cloudI KNEW they were coming… I did everything I could think of to ward them off including taking a 7-day cruise to the Virgin Islands and officially hiring my life/business partner and coach, Deb Cheslow, to help me figure out what’s next – and they still arrived on my doorstep like an unwelcome house-guest… the Post-Ironman Blues.

In my business I see it all the time.  People who Deb and I work with are working towards a HUGE, scary goal – they are passionate and driven to achieve it – bordering on obsessed.  They work hard in a place that is WAY outside their comfort zone and then, one day, BOOM – goal achieved.  It is a time of exhilaration, elation, and joy.  They ride the high for a while – sometimes days, sometimes weeks or even months, but then all of a sudden they look around and wonder, “now what”?

That is exactly where I find myself now that Ironman Florida is over.  I had the race of my life.  I don’t even know how it could have been more awesome – from the week before race to my execution of the race itself – it exceeded every one of my hopes and expectations.  And I rode that high for a while – in some respects, I’m STILL riding the wave.

im-memeEvery time I look at my wristband (yes, I STILL have it on, don’t judge me!), I feel such pride and such a sense of accomplishment.  I am an Ironman – ME!!  OMG!  Never in my wildest dreams as that poor, overweight, alcoholic woman back in Virginia in 2010 would I have EVER believed such a thing possible.  Heck, I wasn’t sure I believed it was possible 5 minutes before the start horn blasted!

So, I accomplished something that, for me, was “unrealogical” (our made up word describing something that is, at once, unrealistic and illogical), and unfolded in a way that I would never have predicted and was so much better than I ever believed possible.

How do you top that?

20161117_075406-1I was fine for the first couple of weeks.  The first week back home was very busy playing catch-up on all the things that had been set aside (or, more to the point, fallen through the cracks) until the race was over.  I knew I needed to take time off from working out to let my body recover, even though I felt pretty terrific.   And then, we went on an amazing cruise to the Eastern Caribbean and we walked an average of 7-8 miles per day (even on the sea days) and went snorkeling in St. Thomas and St. Maarten, and I enjoyed actually sleeping until I woke up each morning unassisted by a puppy or an alarm clock, so not officially working out was not bothering me.

But as soon as we got back from the cruise and I started swimming, biking, and running again I started feeling… well, kind of lost.  I don’t have any solid racing plans for 2017.  I don’t know how to BE this person who wakes up at 7am and works out for 30-60 minutes.  I almost MISS the 3am wake up calls and the 4500 yard swims and 100 mile rides and 15 mile runs of peak training – they felt BADASS.  And while I AM moving forward, I guess I just feel directionless in the absence of any real racing goals.

I started working with Deb the Tuesday after the race on a structured coaching program to help me determine what my next goal would be.  On the first day she asked me what I wanted… cue CRICKETS…

What do I WANT?  I WANT it to be November 5th again.  I WANT the magic of that day again.  I WANT the movie Groundhog Day only November 5th was what I got to relive over and over again.  I don’t want it to be OVER!

And the urge to pull the trigger on Ironman Florida 2017 or ANY other Ironman 140.6 race is almost irresistible!  It seems absolutely natural in this moment.

But here’s what I KNOW – as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow…

I could race an Ironman every year from now until the day I die and I will NEVER be able to capture the perfection of November 5, 2016.  I will never be able to gin up the enthusiasm and the strength of will to train like I did for that race, because I now know that I could go the distance with A LOT LESS training.  Like so many other “firsts” in our lives, you just can’t re-create the magic.

It can still be good…

It can still be worth doing…

But unless some freaking miracle occurs and I qualify for Kona, I just don’t see how to make it better.

That’s because there are 3 levels of goals.

Level 1 Goals are things we already know how to do.  It’s like saying, “My goal is to go to LA Fitness and swim 1500 yards in the pool.”  I KNOW how to do that.  I have done it hundreds of times before.  I dare say I could be half asleep and pump out 1500 yards in a respectable amount of time.  In fact, racing Ironman Florida again would be a Level 1 Goal – different day, different conditions, but I know exactly how to race that course.  There is absolutely no growth in a Level 1 Goal.

Level 2 Goals are things that we THINK we can do.  We’ve never done them before, but we can see a way to plan our way to achieving them.  At this point, I could register for any other Ironman race on Planet Earth and it would be a Level 2 Goal.  I’ve only completed Ironman Florida, but if I registered for IM Chattanooga today – even though it’s a completely different course, it would be a Level 2 Goal.  I haven’t actually raced CHOO, but I have trained for an Ironman before.  I know what’s involved.  I know how to adjust my nutrition for a hilly course, and so on.  I can make a PLAN to achieve that goal.

Level 3 Goals are FANTASIES!  They are completely unrealogical.  You have no idea how the stars will align to make this ridiculously HUGE thing actually happen.  All you do know is that you WANT it – and want it BAD!  That’s what Ironman was for me this time last year.  It was a fantasy.  I knew that many of my friends had finished similar races, so I knew it COULD be done. I just didn’t know how I was going to do it.  Honestly, I still wasn’t quite sure how it was all supposed to come together the night before the race!  But I wanted to be an Ironman.  I wanted to hear those words as I crossed the finish line.  I wanted it with a white hot passion.

And that passion drove me all year long – to get up at 3am to get my swims and long rides in without taking too much time away from my work or my family… To stop drinking alcohol because it got in the way of my workouts… To eat the good stuff and step away from the pizza – even when all I wanted was to stop at Mellow Mushroom and stuff my face… To do the things I needed to do, even when I didn’t want to do them.

Deb was my coach during the entire process.  Not my triathlon coach, but my MINDSET coach.  She kept my mind right and called bullshit when I started justifying less than I was capable of.  She sympathized when I said I was exhausted and then kicked me out the door to run 20 miles anyhow.  SHE knew I was working on a Level 3 goal – and she supported me 100%, but she was tough as shit on me too – which is EXACTLY what I needed.

Level 3 Goals are where we want to play, people.  Because it’s in the achievement of Level 3 Goals that we grow as a person and find out what we’re made of.  They stretch us WAY outside our comfort zones and teach us if we deserve that star we are shooting for.

I’ll tell anyone who asks me about coaching – do you need a triathlon coach to complete an Ironman?  Maybe.  I guess people would say I was self-coached in the traditional sense for Ironman Florida.  I had a training plan and I followed it (Be Ironfit by Don Zink).  Do you need a mindset coach?  ABSOLUTELY!  Especially as training starts to ramp and your brain turns to mush for anything outside of swim/bike/run/eat/drink/sleep, I believe EVERYONE needs someone to keep them moving forward when everything inside them wants to quit – someone to give them a toolbox of mental hardware to use out on the course when the dark and twisties come.  That’s what Deb did for me and it worked beautifully!

So, I need to find myself a NEW Level 3 Goal – and I can’t imagine it will be in the racing world.  I mean seriously, what’s bigger than Ironman – unless we get into the TOTALLY cuckoo for cocoa-puffs world of Ultraman or Epic 5 – and I’m not THAT crazy.

Likely, my next goal will have something to do with my business.  I have some ideas, but nothing that’s ready for publication just yet.

As far as racing goes, 2017 will most likely be populated with local sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, some running races, and perhaps a 70.3 in the Fall (Augusta, NC, and Great Floridian are leading the list so far).  Stay tuned!

39388573 - woman's hand with red pen writing word "what's next"

IRONMAN FLORIDA: The EPIC Race Report

ironman florida 230x120On Saturday, November 5, 2016, I had the most incredible, fun, awe-inspiring race experience ever!  I had the opportunity to race a full-iron distance Ironman triathlon at Ironman Florida in Panama City Beach, FL.  This will very likely be my one and only full-iron distance race – my life (and my body) just don’t support the volume of training required to make it through a race like that with a smile on my face (and if you’re not finishing with a smile, why even bother?), and I’ll tell you what – if I’ve only got one 140.6 in me, then I am so deliriously thrilled that this was it.

Ironman Florida has had a bit of a stigma the past several years – the cancelled swim and frigid (for Florida) temperatures in 2014 and the warm water temps of 2015 making for a wetsuit optional race – but Ironman Florida 2016 was terrific!  A little bit of wind and a little bit of chop on the swim made it challenging and exciting, but not ridiculous by any means.

Deb and I arrived in Panama City Beach on Wednesday afternoon around 3:30pm.  We stayed at the Boardwalk Beach Hotel (the host hotel) in spite of the warnings that it was not a great hotel. We were totally willing to trade less than ideal accommodations for the convenience of staying at the host hotel.  As it turned out, we were given a room on the 2nd floor of The Tides building with a balcony facing  the Gulf and the transition area right outside our front door!  PERFECT!

20161103_124308As we headed down to the Ironman Village to check in – me at athlete check in and Deb at VIP check in – I couldn’t help but feel so grateful that I had, in the end, chosen to race IMFL instead of IMNC.  I met up with my training partner, Megan, and her husband, Bryon, and we sailed through check in, getting out wristbands, packets, backpacks, and timing chips.  Most people arrived on Thursday, so being able to get everything done on Wednesday was a huge bonus!  It’s no secret that Ironman is a marketing machine, so it was no surprise that the athlete registration area flowed right into the Ironman store.

Folks, don’t even try to fight it, make some room on your credit card before you come to the race because you WILL buy ALL THE THINGS!!!  I had the most frugal of intentions… I wanted a “name” shirt, a finisher jacket, a 140.6 decal for my car, a coffee mug, and one of those framed shadow box things with the medal, bib, your time, and such.  That’s all I planned to buy.  Yeah, right…  LOL!  We found out that the finisher gear wouldn’t be out until 7am on Sunday morning – as it should be.  I had heard that the finisher stuff was out as early as Friday afternoon at other Ironman races, but I’m glad Florida held to tradition.

img_42251After check in, we headed out to meet our friend, Malachi, and his dad, Max, for dinner.  It was so terrific to see him again.  I’ve missed him terribly since he moved back up to Indiana in September.  We ate at Schooners – fish, potatoes, and vegetables – it was the perfect dinner! Afterwards, we made a quick pitstop at Publix to grab a couple of groceries and then it was back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Thursday was a difficult day for me.  There really wasn’t a lot to do.  The majority of the other athletes arrived on Thursday and the lines for check in were long.  Deb and I went over to the Ironman Village and walked around looking at all the cool goodies that were at the vendor tents.  I picked up my Beacon Tracker for the race and then we spent some more money in the Ironman store.

20161106_041145Then we made our way over to the Normatec booth to see what their “can’t resist” Ironman deal on compression boots was.  We were a bit underwhelmed at their offering, so we made our way over to the Rapid Reboot tent.  We knew what the Normatec boots felt like after using Malachi’s many times, so when we saw the price point of the Rapid Reboot product (substantially lower) we decided to do some comparative research.  Two of the owners of the company were there and were able to answer all of our questions, gave us a couple of icy cold bottles of water (it was HOT out) and offered us the zero-gravity reclining chair if we purchased a pair of the boots.  Honestly, I couldn’t tell a bit of difference between the Rapid Reboot product and the Normatec boots.  If anything, the Rapid Reboots had MORE compression.  They were awesome!  Shut up and take my money!!chair

20161103_111045At 10am, we met up with Megan, Bryon, Malachi, and Max for a quick swim in the Gulf.  I wore my swimskin because I really had no expectation that the swim on Saturday would be wetsuit legal – the water was delightful – around 77F.  I swam out a bit and then swam back in – I had what I needed.  The jellyfish were not nearly as plentiful as they had been a month earlier at camp, although there were some around.  I felt good – very comfortable in the water.  Then we went to the Athlete’s Meeting at 11am.  It was a good briefing – not a ton of information I didn’t already know from reading the Athlete’s Guide, but good reinforcement.

The rest of the day was spent in my new fancy boots and gathering up all the things for my gear bags and special needs bags for the race.  At 4pm, I wandered down to the Rusty Anchor bar and met up with several people who I had only met in Facebook-land.  We were part of a spin-off group from the Ironman Florida 2016 Facebook page who started a 90-Day challenge at the beginning of the year.  Every day we posted our workouts for all to see.  It was great accountability.  At the end of the 90 days we didn’t want to let it go, so we just kept on going – all the way to race week.  It was so cool to meet these folks in person and put a face and a personality to the workouts.

20161103_182856After our meet up it was time for the Athlete Welcome Banquet.  It was what you might expect – mediocre food and a program designed to inspire and get everyone hyped up for race day.  Mission accomplished!  Deb and I went back to our room around 7pm and turned in by 9:00pm and I had my last good sleep of the trip.  2 sleeps to go.

Friday was another tough day.  Megan and I started the day with another open water swim in the Gulf.  I figured I should probably swim at least a little bit in my wetsuit since I hadn’t done so since Beach 2 Battleship last October!  Happily, it still fit and the swim was really wonderful.  We swam out to the first buoys and back.  All systems were go.

20161104_103309Bike and Gear Bag check-in started at 10am.  We went downstairs and racked our bikes and then placed our gear bags in their appropriate locations for race day and then just walked away.  There was nothing left to do.  I hemmed and hawed and fretted over my special needs bags most of the day.  I had no idea if I had too much stuff, not enough stuff, or what – I just knew that I wanted OPTIONS!  I had several different snack items ranging from salty to sweet, a tiny coke, a couple of blister band-aids, a packet or 2 of biofreeze, Advil, a hand towel, an extra pair of socks, and some wet wipes in each bag.  It turned out to be ridiculous overkill, but if you ain’t never, you just don’t know!

14907076_10209256465422139_3087713003960658380_nBefore dinner I went down to the finish line and met up with some of the other Swim Bike Moms – including THE Swim Bike Mom, Meredith Atwood (SQUEEEE!), and the Women for Tri ladies. Again it’s just so terrific to actually meet these amazing people who you only know from inside the computer.  To my glorious surprise, Todd Nixon (aka Swim Bike Nap and Swim Bike Kid) was also in PCB!  Again, such a treat to meet these folks!  Triathlon brings so many amazing people together – it truly warms my heart!

Then, I met Deb in the Rusty Anchor for dinner.  We had fish, mashed potatoes, and veggies and it was delicious.  We walked down the boardwalk to our room and saw the last color of the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico and all I could think was “Until tomorrow Ironman!”  I was so excited, so terrified by what I was about to do – it seemed very surreal.  I applied my tri-tats, filled my bike bottles, and got my bike bag stuff together, but there wasn’t much left to do.  1 sleep to go!20161104_183436

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Race Day!!!!!

20161105_061646 20161105_061543I woke up at 3am on race morning and meditated, made coffee, and got ready for transition to open at 4:30.  Megan arrived at our room about 4:20 and we went down and loaded our bikes, pumped our tires, double checked our gear bags, dropped our special needs bags at Alvin’s Island, and then went back upstairs to eat breakfast, drink coffee, and get our swim stuff on.  As we were walking to our bikes, the announcement came over the speaker that the water temperature was 75.9F!  WETSUIT LEGAL!!!!  What a wonderfully welcome surprise!! Malachi and Max came by around 5:50 and we all got ready together. Max and Malachi had matching speedos, which was simply AWESOME!  Pictorial evidence was essential!

20161105_063200The weather was cool and breezy so we stayed in the hotel room until about 6:20 and then joined the other 2296 crazy people making their way down to the beach.  Hugs for Malachi and Max as they went to the speedy people corrals in the front.  Deb walked with Megan and me down to the 1:40-2:00 corral.  We kinda sandbagged our corralling but better to swim around people than get swam over in my book!

Many months ago, Megan and I hatched a plan to run this race together – from start line to finish line. Everyone we told about it said there was no way it would work because we would lose each other within the first 20 yards of the swim.  But we also had contingency plans in place if that happened. But when the start gun sounded, we grabbed hands and started down the chute together. We entered the water and walked over to the right side of the action and waded out over the sandbar until the water was about chest deep and looked at each other and said, “Ready?  Here we go!” and we started swimming.

IM-FL_SwimSide-by-side, stroke-for-stroke we swam the first 1.2 miles.  The further we swam from shore, the choppier the water became.  When we turned east at the turn buoy we were swimming against the current and the waves were 3-4 feet, although they sure felt a lot bigger. There were times when I would reach for the water to take a stroke and I would catch nothing but air… then I would fall into the trough of the wave.  Thankfully, that only lasted for 200 yards each loop.  There was one point near the end of the first loop when I lost sight of Megan for a moment, but when I got to the end, I got a quick drink and waited until I saw her and then we went back around for loop #2.  Again, side-by-side we swam and it was a thing of beauty!!  We came up the beach together and crossed the timing mat 1:35:30 (5 minutes under our goal time).

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We bypassed the wetsuit strippers (I was NOT laying down in the sand) and headed through the showers and rinsed off for just a second and then went through the maze to our bike gear bags.  A volunteer shouted out my bib number as I jogged down the appropriate row.  A young volunteer handed me my bag and I was off to the changing “tent” (which was actually a ballroom in the hotel’s convention center).

imfl-bikecensorT1 was interesting.  It was the first time I every really CHANGED in transition.  I just wore my swimsuit under my wetsuit because I knew I wanted to change into cycling shorts for the bike and it was chilly out so I didn’t want a wet tri-top from the get go.  So, I took a deep breath, told Megan to turn the other way (we still have to be able to look each other in the eye, LOL), apologized to the wonderful volunteer who was helping me and stripped down to nothing, right there for God and the world to see.  Talk about being outside your comfort zone!!!  LAWD!! My volunteer was AMAZING!  She rolled right with it and grabbed my cycling shorts and helped me tuck all my bits in the right places and then did the same for my kit top.  I was so grateful!  It just ain’t easy to stuff this body into lycra and spandex when it’s wet, ya know?  Then we started shoving nutrition and my beacon tracker into pockets.  I was lumpy, but I wouldn’t starve and people could find me!  #winning Finally, socks, cycling shoes, helmet, and sunglasses and I was done!  Megan had gone to use the potty and said she would wait for me past the bike mount line.  I took my time and walked to my bike row.  Another volunteer shouted out my number and by the time I got to my rack, someone was holding for me and I just took it and went on my way.  This was GREAT!

2_m-100745772-digital_highres-1594_007810-5236395I got to the bike mount line with about 30 other people, saw Megan and made my way to her carefully.  Then we started off on the bike leg.  It was windy.  I know Saturday did not provide the brutal winds that Ironman Florida has seen in the past, but it was a stiff breeze.  The weather app on my phone had predicted winds out of the NE at 5-10 mph, gusting to 15 mph.  Someone posted the actual wind speeds as measured at the airport and it was actually more like 13-18 mph, gusting to 28! Regardless, the crosswind gusts through the areas where there were high-rise condos/hotels on both sides of Front Beach Road were brutal and I had to hold tight to my bars to keep from being blown into the passing bike traffic.

39_m-100745772-digital_highres-1594_072041-5236432Once we turned north on 79, the wind was a mild head wind – it was manageable.  Our plan for the bike was to ride the first 60-90 minutes easy – small chain ring and go maybe 16 mph.  Let the fasties go on past – if we were conservative on the bike, there was a chance that the run wouldn’t be so punishing… a small chance, but a chance nonetheless.  We turned right onto Route 20 at Mile 20 and it felt like we were riding straight into the wind.  It was a hard 15 miles, but we did pass a number of people who were apparently having a harder time.  We also saw Malachi on his way back down Route 20 in 44th place overall!  There was much whooping when we saw him!

We stopped at aid stations when we needed to (I think we briefly stopped 3 times total, including special needs) and just kept plugging along.  At mile 35, we turned south on Route 77 and had a reprieve from the wind for 7 miles.  Then, a left turn on Bennett Drive – back into the wind for the rollers. Then a left on Blue Springs Road, which should have felt windy, but it didn’t.  At 53 miles, we turned left onto Route 20 again and enjoyed a terrific tailwind – I was going 26 mph at one point on the flat without pedaling!  I loved that part!  We stopped at special needs and I looked at the buffet options I had packed and really all I wanted was my peanut butter pretzels, my Aquafor, and some Advil.

34_m-100745772-digital_highres-1594_049349-5236427The return trip down 20 was about 25 miles of suck – I remember this being a pretty dark and twisty section when we rode the course at camp, but I still felt good.  We weren’t setting any speed records, but we were feeling good.  At Mile 74, we turned right and headed north on Route 79 and this was the worst part of the course!  From mile 74 to mile 81.5, we were riding directly into a stiff headwind – it was hard to go 13 mph.  At one point I looked down and I was only going 11 mph and it was taking a grand effort to keep it up! The turnaround at mile 81.5 was a delightful sight and the tailwind that came after the turn was even better.

Somehow, Megan got a drafting penalty at mile 90.  We had been very careful about keeping separation between us, so it was unintentional, but it is what it is.  We figured that the next penalty tent was at the next aid station and Megan told me to just keep going.  I told her that was silly and that I could use 5 minutes out of my bike shoes – the timing was perfect!  Only, the next penalty tent actually ended up being back at transition, so we missed out on our break.

20161105_121752When we got back to Front Beach Road at mile 106, we turned into a WALL of air!  It was somewhat deflating to be that close to the end and get tossed around by the wind even more.  But the wind wasn’t consistent at the beach – one minute it was a stiff headwind, the next it was a crosswind, then back to a headwind.  Those 6 miles SUCKED, but as we made the turn onto S. Thomas Drive, I got all choked up.  I had just swam 2.4 miles and biked 112 miles in an IRONMAN!  The wave of gratitude I felt for this amazing opportunity simply overwhelmed me and I had tears rolling down my face as I got off my bike.

20161105_160712IM-FL_RunMegan headed to “time out” (the penalty tent) and I headed to the run gear bags and changing tent to get ready for the run.  I changed into my tri shorts, stuffed more Infinit into my pockets, drank some water, walked around barefoot for a few minutes, and waited for Megan to emerge from her time out. She came running into the changing room with the biggest smile on her face, declaring time out to be “the BEST thing EVER!”  Only Megan!  Always making lemonade out of lemons!  She got ready and we headed out for the marathon.  When people told me that you get off the bike and think “it’s only a marathon” I was like, “yeah, right!”  I’ve run a full marathon and it sucked worse than just about anything I’ve ever experienced, but an Ironman marathon is very different.  I see that now.

20161105_184632We took our time walking through transition and onto the run course.  We were running 3:1 intervals.  We decided to walk the first interval just to get our legs back a bit.  Just as we started running, we passed Malachi who was headed to the finish line!  IMPRESSIVE AS HELL!  We ran 3:1s all day/night long.  We talked with people.  We thanked the volunteers and the police officers who were on the course.  We stopped to fill bottles when we needed to.  We saw friends on the course racing and we saw people who had come to cheer from Megan’s tri team.  There was so much to occupy my attention that I forgot to worry about how my legs felt.  Before we knew it we were at special needs.  Deb and Malachi met us there and we got the news that Malachi finished first in his age group and qualified for World Championships in Kona!  How about THAT?  No one deserves it more – we were so, so happy for him and it gave us a great boost into our second run loop.  I handed most of my special needs bag to Deb untouched.  All I wanted was my headlamp and my glow stick wand that Megan had gotten for us.

14962584_10207711174282815_8806589032818530402_nOn the way back out onto the run course, I saw Meredith and Todd and even got one of Todd’s patented race course selfies!  I felt on top of the world!  I could NEVER have predicted feeling this good after 127.5 miles!  The wheels started to come off the bus around mile 18 of the run.  I asked Megan if we could walk through an extra interval.  She obliged.  I told her that my feet and quads hurt.  She started sharing my own rhetoric with me.  She suggested that I take all the hurting bits and put them in a box and then put the lid on the box and put the box up on a shelf.  Then they wouldn’t hurt any more. Hmmm, where have I heard this technique before?  LOL!  Deb was SO proud of her!  :)

Then at mile 20 I kind of went on auto-pilot.  When I would run, I was running faster than I should have and by the end of the interval, I was way ahead of Megan.  Finally, she said, “Okay Angie, if you want to run so far ahead, you go ahead, but I don’t want to hear ANYTHING about taking extra walk breaks on the way back!”  Oh my Megan!  The perfect thing to say!  I reined it in for the last 6 miles and I’m so glad I did.  With about 4 miles to go we picked up a running buddy who was also running 3:1s, but his watch had died on the course.  He ran with us almost the whole way back.  It was his 5th and final Ironman race.  I hope he did well!

20161105_21385420161105_213901In my perfect world, Megan and I would have run the finisher chute and crossed the finish line together.  However, when I told her my idea, she adamantly said “No!  This is your only Ironman.  You need to have your moment.  I want you to go first and enjoy it and that’s final.”  I tried to argue, but she wouldn’t hear it.  So when we turned the corner at Alvin’s Island and then turned toward the finish line, I went ahead. My SBMAT teammate, Colleen, had messaged me earlier in the week and reminded me to soak it all in – not to rush to the finish line, and so I slowed down.  I high-fived children on the sides, I listened to the cheers, I saw the bright lights, and for that moment I was a ROCK STAR!  I heard Dave Ragsdale pronounce me a 1st time Ironman and I crossed the finish line.  A nice man “caught” me and shepherded me over to get my medal.  Deb was right there and it was the perfect exclamation mark on this journey for her to be able to place that medal around my neck! Megan crossed the finish line one second after I did.  I could never have done as well as I did without her out there with me – pushing me when I needed to be pushed, reining me in when I needed to slow down.  I am so grateful for her – as a training partner and as a friend!

Then the man took us over to the backdrop for pictures and he gave me a mylar blanket so I wouldn’t get cold.

20161106_001734Deb took me over to the pool so I could get something to eat.  I had a couple of bites of pizza, but that was a bad idea.  We sat around for a bit, but I really just wanted to go take a shower. LOL!  My plan was to come back to the finish line for midnight, but I fell asleep hard within 20 minutes of getting out of the shower. But Deb did go back down and said it was just as cool as everyone says it is.14963498_10157826569560455_1685699584_o

I slept like a rock until 3:30am and then my eyes popped open and it was like I was launched out of a cannon.  The man in the Ironman store said we should start lining up for finisher gear at 5:30am, so I went down and met Megan while Deb took the puppies out to pee.  There was NO ONE in line at 5:30…  By 5:45, we moved to the front of the building and there were 3 people in line, so we grabbed a seat.  Megan brought her warm, pink Snuggie, thank goodness, because it was chilly!  We begged the man in the store to open up at 6:30, but no dice.  By 7am, the line wrapped around the parking lot and down Thomas Drive, so it was totally worth getting in line early.  We got in the store, picked our finisher gear and checked out in 20 minutes.  I cannot wait for it to get chilly so I can wear my jacket!!

Then Deb and I went back to our room and took a nap until 9:30 when it was time for awards and the Kona slot rolldowns.  We wanted to go support our favorite tri-guy, Malachi Henry.  It was such a thrill to watch him take 1st place AG and claim his spot in the 2017 Ironman World Championships!  Now to make plans to go watch him race next October!  :)

After the awards, Megan and Bryon had to head home, Malachi was coming back to Port Orange for a few days to take his last board exams before officially becoming DR. Malachi Henry, DC, Max was heading back to Indiana, and I WAS HUNGRY!  We said our goodbyes and Deb and I headed to Schooners for lunch and I ordered the biggest cheeseburger they had on the menu (with avocado, of course) and it was THE BEST damned cheeseburger I ever tasted!  We went back to the room since we weren’t leaving until the next morning and took another nap.  I kind of regretted that cheeseburger when I woke up from the nap – good lord was I ever sick!  But still, totally worth it!  ;)

20161107_102046We said goodbye to Panama City Beach the next morning and headed home.  It was, indeed, the BEST RACE EVER!!

My Ironman experience was everything I hoped it would be and then some.  Malachi asked me the next day what I would do differently, and honestly, I can’t think of a thing.  My hope was to finish in under 15 hours.  I finished in 14:49:17.  My hope was that I wouldn’t hit the wall.  I really never did – not like I have in the past anyhow.  I fueled well, I executed my plan, Megan and I finished together, I raced with a grateful heart, I was present and enjoyed the day as it unfolded.  It was PERFECT!!  Sure, I imagine I could’ve gone faster here and there, but so what!  I carried my 51 year old body 140.6 miles in less than 15 hours!  I am immensely proud of that fact!  I had the best time EVER with my friends.  I raced with my bestie!  I got to see Deb multiple times throughout the day!  I saw my son from another mother qualify for the Ironman World Championships.  Days just don’t get much better than that.  Now, I just have to figure out “what’s next…”

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Lighten Up (And Other Thoughts Brought To You By The Taper)…

be-greatTAPER TIME!!!  Thank you Sweet Baby Jesus for allowing me to arrive at this point in my Ironman training alive and relatively in tact!

I’m in a very weird place right now – a place I have never been in before a race…  It’s a place where I am kind of numb…

I’m not freaking out over the fact that in exactly 2 weeks, I will be halfway to Panama City Beach en route to my first (and likely only) full-distance Ironman race…

I am not allowing the doubt over race day conditions to swirl through my head like a tornado – even though the past several year at IMFL have been pretty extreme…

I am not flipping shit because I missed a workout (or three) due to Hurricane Matthew…

I feel okay…  Actually, I feel better than okay – I feel pretty darned great!

hardI’m not delusional – I KNOW it’s going to be a hard day…  I KNOW it’s going to hurt…

But you know what?  I also KNOW I can do it!

Am I going to Kona qualify?  Hardly…  But can I finish this race in 17 hours?  Yes, I believe I can.

Someone posted a very nice perspective piece on one of the Facebook pages I follow:

All I need to do to become an Ironman and meet all the cutoffs at Ironman Florida is swim 2.4 miles < 3:19/100 yards, T1 < 15 min., Bike > 13.58 mph avg., T2 < 15 min, run < 13.33 min/mile

I can do all of that… I know I can…

I have chosen to lighten up on myself…  Of course I have time goals that I would like to meet, but you know, at the end of the day when you’re a middle of the pack age-grouper, does it really matter if you finish in 14 hours or 16 hours? Isn’t it just the FINISH that matters?  If I finish in 16 hours, I am still as much of an “Ironman” as the person who finishes in 13 hours.  I suppose there are those people out there who would disagree with me – that a 16+ hour finisher is not a REAL Ironman. They are entitled to their opinion, but I would suggest they lighten up.

de15d21ae07ac866ab5c1cf91c9a5030Because here’s the cold hard truth… I know a lot of triathletes – like A LOT!  And there is only ONE of them who can ever even hope to earn a paycheck from triathlon (Hi Malachi!!!😉 ).  The rest of us are out here to have fun… to challenge ourselves… to do our best… and to finish what we start.

I have learned that there is a whole population of triathletes out there who take themselves WAY too eff-ing seriously.  LIGHTEN UP, people!

For the first time in my life as a triathlete I understand the comment I have heard so many times before a race:  “Enjoy the day.  It is your victory lap.  Your reward.”  I believe that now – the training for this race has been harder than anything I have ever done.  My family and I have had to sacrifice A LOT over the past year for me to get to this point.  The past year has been a journey of getting to “belief.”  Belief in myself… Belief that I can finish what I start… Belief that I truly am stronger than I EVER dreamed possible…  Belief that my body is capable of incredible feats… Belief that I AM good enough.

And it has all been worth it!

17 days until race day… And now, back to my taper!  ;)13434941_10207022398979376_2030666058340802037_n

Things I Wish I Had Known BEFORE I Signed Up For An Ironman…

ironmanlogoWell, here we are in mid-August and it’s been 3 full months since I posted on this blog.  Why?  IRONMAN

See, that’s my blanket response for everything that has gone wrong, everything I have forgotten, procrastinated, messed up, or otherwise needed to come up with an excuse for.

Seriously, it’s a joke in my family about now…
Deb: “Ang, did you get those mushrooms at the market?”
Me:  “Oh crap, I totally forgot!”
Deb:  “I know, I know… IRONMAN…”

Ugh!

As of today, there are 82 days before I get this particular monkey off my back and can hopefully rejoin the world of productive adults.  Until then?  Well, it is what it is!

I have learned a lot over the past 4 months and there are some things that I wish I had known BEFORE I ever registered for an Ironman.  I mean, some of them are kinda “duh” things, but I guess I never really teased it all apart in my brain beforehand.  So, for those of you who may be interested in climbing the Ironman mountain at some point, here’s my list:

  1. repeatIt’s a part-time job…  Only it’s harder than any job I’ve EVER had in my life!!  I just started the “peak” phase of my training plan this morning.  This week, I will work out for 18-1/2 HOURS. That doesn’t count the time involved in packing bags, filling bottles, commuting to/from the gym, doing laundry, showering (more on that later)…  and this is only Week #1 of Peak…  It just gets better (worse) from here… At the “peak” of “Peak” it’s 22 hours.  LAWD!  And before you say “Oh boo hoo, poor you…” I know, I totally signed up for this myself – no one was twisting my arm.  I own it all!  I’m just putting it out there – Ironman takes a TON of time.
  2. im-sorry-post-itYou will fuck up… A LOT!  I can’t tell you the number of times I have said “I’m sorry” to Deb or one of our kids or Freddie or my Mom or a client, because I have Ironman brain and can’t keep a thought in my head to save my life.  Case in point:  My son’s first day of 8th grade was today.  Yesterday Deb asked me if all was good to go with the morning bus schedule.  Wide-eyed, I just blinked at her… Bus schedule?  Was I supposed to do something there?  I quickly banged out a web address and sure enough, Josh was not assigned to a bus.  SHIT!  Fortunately, there are a lot of middle-schoolers in our neighborhood, so the bus did indeed stop this morning and he did make it to school… Whew!
  3. You will miss out on stuff…  Because training takes a lot of time, you’re going to miss some stuff – maybe even important stuff.  I’ve missed swim meets, kisses goodbye in the morning, meetings, travel opportunities, parties, dinners out, and more because I was either training or going to bed while the sun was still up so I could get up the next morning to train…  This morning was Josh’s first day of school… and I missed sending him off to the bus for the first time ever… Yeah, put me up for Mom of the Year, stat!
  4. tiredYou will be tired…  I think this kind of goes without saying, and of course I knew I would be tired, but I was ill-prepared for the type of bone-crushing exhaustion that I feel almost every day.  I do sleep in on my Rest Days, but OMG!  I’m TIRED!!  Most mornings I wake up at 3:15am so I can do my personal development (don’t ask, it’s just my jam) before I head to the pool at 5am or get on the trainer.  I try to get to my desk in the office by 9am, work until 5pm, pick up Josh from swim team, eat dinner, and go to bed by 8:00pm, so I can do it all again the next day.
  5. You will stink… Dear LORD, why didn’t anyone tell me about the SMELL?  So today, I had a brick workout that went from 5am-8am and then I had errands to run.  I skidded into my office at 9:03 and sat down to work.  Shower?  I had no time for a shower… And so, I minimized my contact with people and grabbed a shower at lunch time.  :/  Triathlon STINKS!
  6. hungryYou will be constantly hungry…  I thought I was hungry when I was pregnant with Josh.  Pregnancy hunger has NOTHING on Ironman hunger!  I feel like I eat all the time.  It is not uncommon to catch me with my head in the refrigerator with a rice cake in one hand and an open container of hummus in the other double dipping like a crazy person!
  7. You will be bi-polar…  While we’re on the subject of pregnancy, you know how emotional pregnant women are?  Yeah, THAT!  I find myself in a heap in my closet or in the shower WAY too often, just crying it out.  Trying to figure out how the hell I got myself into this mess.  Wondering if there is a way I can get OUT of this mess without eating crow.   Pretty sure that I am losing my ever-loving mind!  I guess it goes hand in hand with #4.  And I thought it was just me, but I got a text from my training partner this weekend who was packing for a century ride and was sitting on the floor of her garage sobbing.  I guess it’s not just me…  Then there are other days when I feel like the Queen of the World and NOTHING can bring me down.
  8. You will feel so guilty and selfish… I don’t know how you get around this one.  You’re going to take time away from your family – you just will, so make peace with it or feel guilty about it.  I feel guilty about this all the time – and I have the most supportive group of cheerleaders EVER (my family) in my corner.  And yet, every time I head out in the dark on a  Saturday morning and know that I’m not going to be home until late afternoon, I feel so guilty about it.  Triathlon is a very selfish sport.
  9. Malachi-MegIt takes a village…  There may be those people who can survive an Ironman training cycle on their own, but I am not one of them.  I am 51 years old, people, and I have a freaking TEAM of people who routinely put Humpty-Dumpty back together again!  My training partner, Megan, keeps me sane and motivated and tells me that I “can,” even when I’m pretty sure that I “can’t.”  My chiropractor, Malachi, keeps me rolling and running on feet that do not like this whole running/biking thing. And then there’s a whole legion of people in my Swim-Bike-Fuel community who keep me grounded and eating what I should rather than what I want in any given moment (pizza/ice cream/cake/donuts/froyo…).
  10. You will amaze yourself time after time…  I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have been dumbfounded at the end of a workout.  Maybe it was just because I lived through it… Maybe it was a new PR time in the pool… Maybe (like on my birthday) it was averaging 20 mph over 60 miles on the bike (thanks Malachi🙂 )…  I have shocked the hell out of myself over and over again.  It truly is amazing what the human body is capable of if we just get out of our own way!

Look, I’m just a middle of the pack age-grouper.  I’m never going to win a long-course triathlon – EVER.  I’m never going to qualify for Kona.  And that’s okay.  Triathlon is HARD!  Ironman is HARDER!  But, as Tom Hanks said in A League of Their Own, the hard is what makes it GREAT!  I’m really looking forward to crossing the finish line on November 5th and joining a club to which only 0.01% of the people on Planet Earth can claim membership.  That will really put an exclamation point on the major transformation I’ve undergone over the past 6-1/2 years.  It may not be fast and it may not be pretty, but one way or another, I’ll get there.

So even though I’m stinky and scatter-brained and walk around like a starving zombie most of the time and cry at the drop of a hat and feel like a horrible Mom and partner sometimes, at the end of the day I am pretty damned proud of myself.

Oh, and if I can do it, ANYONE can do it!!

ironman florida 230x120

#82days #iCANdothis #IMFL2016

My Review: Swim Bike Fuel

SBFOne of my triathlon friends – and one of the handful of people who inspired me to begin my triathlon journey – is Meredith Atwood (MA).  You may know her better by the name “Swim Bike Mom.”  Meredith has done a tremendous job of building a following (The Army) and a brand since she entered the triathlon world and blogosphere on August 26, 2010 with 7 simple words… “I have decided to become a Triathlete.”

What resonated with me so strongly about her was that she was just a regular person… A wife, a mom, a career woman, busy, frazzled, searching… JUST LIKE ME!  She put it all out there – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  She became an advocate for the “every woman (and man) triathlete” – and people loved her for it.  Over the years, as The Army grew, so did the Swim Bike Mom brand… Tri kits, mantra t-shirts, cycling kits, swim caps, and so much more – oh, yeah, I own them ALL and they are awesome!

In April, 2015, Meredith was looking to make some changes.  She was strong as a bull and a fine triathlete in her own right with 2 full Ironman triathlons under her belt, but she was stuck weight wise, and she knew she was not reaching her racing potential.  Enter Meredith Vieceli… MV is a nutritionist, a triathlon and running coach, and a metabolic specialist – and an Ironman in her own right.  MV started coaching MA in April and the results were both immediate and drastic!  A 70.3 PR at Gulf Coast in May, followed by IM Lake Placid and her “best race ever” at IM Louisville.  The ever-shrinking Meredith Atwood was getting a lot of attention.  People wanted to know what she was doing?  What diet plan? What? Where? Who?  How?

I think ole Swim Bike Mom must follow the same philosophy as one of our business coaches:  Look at the things you say “No” to on a daily basis and find a way to say “Yes.”

And Swim Bike Fuel was born.  SBF is a one month program that reveals truths about nutrition that are not necessarily common knowledge – one lesson at a time, one day at a time.  It’s delivered in a way that is easy to digest and implement in your life.

I’ll be honest, when Swim Bike Fuel was rolled out late last year, I wasn’t really interested.  I thought it was a cool concept, but I had a really good base in sports nutrition and I couldn’t imagine what I could possibly learn from it (talk about arrogant thinking!).  Two cycles of SBF passed before I started looking at the changes in MA’s body and performance and took a long hard look at my own situation and realized that MV and MA must have some missing piece of the weight loss/performance puzzle that was eluding me.

I mean seriously, check out the difference in just ONE YEAR!!

Capture

So, I enrolled in the April, 2016 class.

Holy Cow! It was amazing!

The SBF folks set up a secret Facebook page for our SBF class.  I honestly don’t know exactly how many ladies were in the April group, but there were a lot, and yet the interaction was very smooth.  The lessons were delivered each day by email and the questions that were submitted for each lesson were compiled into an FAQ and posted.  There were 2 scheduled Q&A conference calls, although our group didn’t send in any questions for the first call, so we didn’t actually have that one.  The 2nd Q&A call went almost 2 hours and was jam packed with great information.

Meredith Vieceli was absolutely available to us when we needed her and Meredith Atwood chimed in daily with how the lesson du jour impacted her journey.  If we posted a question or asked for clarification on a lesson MV usually answered within an hour or so – and she lives in Utah, so the time zone thing was in play.

I found that most of the lessons focused on concepts I was already aware of, but that maybe I just wasn’t being consistent with or had forgotten or needed to tweak.  Over the month I had a number of “Ah-Ha” moments that really made a huge difference.  I loved that there was no prescribed “diet plan.” Never once was I told that I had to “eat this” or “workout like this” or “drink that.”  There were no pills, no powders, no restriction.  Just good old fashioned common sense, combined with the very best up-to-date nutritional information- a very holistic program.

I’m not quite ready to go posting my before/after pics yet, but after 1 month I dropped 4+ pounds, and shed 5-1/2 inches and I know more has come off since then.  But beyond that, I feel terrific!  I have so much more energy, I’m sleeping better, my skin is clearer, I’m healthy (all the old aches and pains are gone), I’m catching those old self-sabotage triggers that would normally send me running for the bag of chips or ice cream before any damage is done, I’m recovering faster between my workouts, and I had one of my best races ever at St. Anthony’s on 4/24.  It’s been really great!

So, if – like me – you’ve been diligently following your training program and have been eating what you consider to be a healthy diet (maybe with a few more treats than you planned, because hey, you just killed that brick workout), but you’re not seeing the results you expected manifesting on your body, I encourage you to give Swim Bike Fuel some serious consideration.

Sure, there’s an investment – that made me think twice too – but it was totally worth it – EVERY . PENNY!

And my main question was this:  Well, what happens after the month?  A month of hand-holding is great, but what happens when it’s all over?  The great news is that the Facebook page remains and each group can decide how they want to proceed.  In our case, we are going back through each lesson – day-by-day.  We post a thread each day discussing our victories and our struggles – we are each other’s cheerleaders and support system.  We hold each other accountable, and that’s what gives the program it’s staying power.

This is not a fad diet – it’s a lifestyle program – and it is awesome!  There’s a new class forming for July.  Check it out!

 

This is my unsolicited testimonial based on my experiences with the Swim Bike Fuel program.  Your mileage may vary.

RACE REPORT: St. Anthony’s Olympic Triathlon

sta-747St. Anthony’s Triathlon has been on my race bucket list since 2013!  I had planned to register for it last year, but it was only 2 weeks before Gulf Coast 70.3 and I was worried about having enough time to properly recover, so I decided to wait until this year.  I’m really glad I did.

The St. Anthony’s Triathlon is a premier race event known for attracting a wide range of professional and amateur competitors including Olympic gold medalists, Ironman world champions and celebrity athletes who compete on a scenic course along the waterfront of downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.  2016 was the 33rd annual race and there were ~3,400 triathletes participating in either the Meek & Mighty triathlon (for kids and novice adults) on Saturday or the Sprint or Olympic distance races on Sunday.

Deb and I arrived in St. Petersburg on Saturday afternoon and went straight to the expo in North Shore Park for packet pickup and to see what goodies the vendors were offering.  If I were to offer one criticism it would simply be for the race organizers to add street addresses for the expo/packet pickup location and bike check-in, so it would be easier to navigate there by GPS.  But, no harm, no foul, we found both places – we just parked a long way away…

Someone had ONE job....

Someone had ONE job….(and why did I get a Men’s Large?)

Packet pickup was pretty painless – it got a little clogged up, but there were so many people.  As a race organizer myself, I cut them a lot of slack – they moved people through pretty well and 20 minutes later I walked out with a sweet USAT pint glass, a nice bright yellow dri-fit race shirt, my timing chip, bib, and an awesome bag of race swag.  Then Deb and I went back to the car to get Chrissie (my bike) and take her to bike check-in.  Everything went super-smooth – you’d think they had hosted this race a time or two… or 33.  We checked out the swim start, we went back to the expo and poked around for a bit.

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The fancy pants!

Then we headed for our hotel to wait for our roommate to arrive.  We had the wonderful pleasure of having the super-speedy, Malachi Henry, stay in our room with us.  What a delight!!  He arrived and we all went for a walk on the beach and he bought us dinner at Sloppy Joe’s (which was connected to our hotel).  Malachi brought his Normatec compression boots with him and was very generous with them.  Oh, they are HEAVEN!!!  I actually went through 2 cycles with them on Saturday night and another cycle on Sunday morning.  Sooooo awesome!!!

Sleep came early and so did the alarm!

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Ahhhh! Sooo amazing! May need a pair of these!

I jumped right into my routine.  Double check transition bag, make coffee, have a piece of toast with almond butter, a banana, and a bottle of water, make almond butter & banana sandwich to eat before the swim start, get dressed, and then just sit and wait… only I got to wait in the awesome compression boots!  Malachi and I left for the race site around 5:15am.  Deb stayed at the hotel and was planning to come meet up with me at the finish line.  During the drive there, I started to get nervous.  I hadn’t done an open-water swim since Beach 2 Battleship (and let’s be honest, that was much more floating along with the current than swimming) and was a little freaked out about the prospect.  I wasn’t worried about the distance – I swim 2500 yards 2-3 times per week and it’s not a big thing.  But I was worried about getting hit and kicked and punched during the start.  Oh well, it’s part of the game and what was I gonna do?  Quit?  Not likely…

We got to the transition area by 6:00am and got out transition areas all set up.  The transition area was VERY sandy – not a lot of grass at all.  I couldn’t help wonder how nasty it was going to be when I got to T1 after the swim…😦

Malachi and I left transition and walked down to the swim start just in time to see the pros start.  Wow, I so wish I had my camera.  I have mad respect for the professional triathletes!  The men’s field included Cameron Dye, Tim O’Donnell, Tyler Butterfield, and Sam Appleton (and a bunch of others whose names I didn’t know).  The women’s field included my personal hero, Mirinda Carfrae, Sarah Haskins, Alicia Kaye, Lauren Goss (and others I didn’t know).  The cannon (yes, EVERY swim wave was started with a cannon shot) went off and man, those guys were so fast!!!

I ate part of my sandwich, got my wetsuit on, and then it was time for me to go warm up.  Malachi gave me a hug, wished me luck and I was off.  I went into the water, which was warm, but wetsuit legal, and just kind of got used to it.  I headed to the corral with my swim wave and looked over and who was standing right beside me, but Sister Madonna Buder – the IronNun!!!  OMG!  Such a cool lady!!!  We walked out into the water, the countdown started, the cannon went off and we were swimming.  I even remembered to start my Garmin… In Triathlon Mode even!!

And IT WAS AWESOME!!!!

I found a lane of clear water pretty early on and was thrilled with how (generally) straight my lines were.  I passed buoy after buoy – passing the orange ones, turning at the red ones.  And before I knew it I was at the metal stairs and a volunteer was helping me get my footing.  Up I went and I was off to T1.  (Swim Time:  33:44, Avg. 2:03/100 yds)

Just as I feared T1 was a sandy, dirty mess!  I stripped off my wetsuit, dried off a little and laid my towel down so I could sit on it and rinse my feet off before putting my socks on.  I had to rinse twice…:/  Socks on, bike shoes on, helmet, check… sunglasses, check… Bike food, check… sunscreen again… grab bike, throw wetsuit over the rack and go… only I walked out…  (T1:  5:10 – I gotta work on that shit!!)

The bike segment was GLORIOUS!  And Chrissie is an AMAZING bike!  I just love her so much!!  There are lots of turns on this course.  They call it a “technical” bike course.  I guess it was and I had to slow down to turn often, but every time I looked at Garmin, I was between 20-24mph.  About 14 miles in I hear an “On your left… THERE SHE IS!!!” and Malachi BLEW past me in all his Speedo clad glory – he must’ve been going 26mph!  Before I knew it, I was back to transition, dismounting my bike.  (Bike Time:  1:16:41, Avg. 19.4 mph)

T2 should’ve been super quick.  I have no idea what the heck took so long.  Racked my bike, changed my shoes, took off my helmet, put on a hat, got a drink, and headed out.  How does that take over 3 minutes?  I have no clue… (T2:  3:07)

The run course was beautiful!  We went over a bridge and turned into a very swank neighborhood – the houses were just breathtaking!  And the crowd support was amazing.  Along with the “official” aid stations every mile, residents had aid stations set up in front of their homes – some with beer even (which I did not partake of).  It was so cool.  I saw Malachi at about the 2.5 mile mark (for me) as he headed back to the finish line and he was FLYING!  I ran easy the first 4 miles and then actually raced the last 2.  I have NEVER raced at the end of a triathlon before.  HR zone training must actually be working! (Run Time: 1:07:38).

Total Time:  3:06:08

My goal for this race was 2:59:59 or less – I really wanted that sub-3.  And if my transitions hadn’t been so shitty, I could have gotten it!  You can bet I will be practicing before IMFL in November!

I place in the top half for my age group and my gender.  I was 12/39 on the bike (#ZwiftEffect).

12965217_1104521019604012_622696299_nShout out to Malachi, who took first in the 25-29 AG with a blistering 2:07:03!  His average run pace was 6:27/mile!  Incredibly and so inspiring!

20160423_094634I would definitely do this race again – and I probably will!  I have heard that the weather can be really fickle, but we had the perfect day for a race!  Next time we will stay at the Renaissance Vinoy which is right at the transition area so we don’t have to mess with cars, but all-in-all a great race!

Thanks especially to my sherpa-extraordinaire, Deb, my training partner in crime, Megan, and the folks at SwimBikeFuel.

Here We Grow!

13119690_mIt’s been a while since I last posted.  To say it’s been busy around here is the understatement of the century.  Deb and I spent the month of March on the road with a terrific group of folks from Ambit Energy, traveling around the country training their team.  It was great fun and we met some amazing people, but WOW, was it exhausting!  And the piles that we returned home to – OMG!  I am happy to say that I have just about caught up with everything… Finally… Mostly…

See me fly?

See me fly?

So, when we last met, I had just returned from our awesome (but unseasonably chilly and rainy) trip to Key West.  We had a really good time.  And for the most part, I achieved my goal of not eating my way across the island.  There was one slight mishap on the exercise front though.  On the first day of our trip I woke up bright and early to head our for a 1 hour run.  I had mapped out a beautiful route along the water before we left home and all was well until about 30 minutes in I found myself face down on the pavement out of nowhere.  My first thought – as I was falling – was that I had tripped on something, but no, that wasn’t quite right because I was flying through the air…  In actuality I had been plowed into from behind by a kid (maybe 12-13 years old) on a bike who was trying to avoid a puddle on the sidewalk on his way to school and he just didn’t see me.  I came down hard on my left hand and knee (one would think after doing all those front falls in karate over the years, that would have been my default, but notsomuch😦 ).

After making sure we were both okay, the boy and I parted ways and I did what any sane, normal person would do.  I turned my bloody, sore self around and ran the other half of my workout back to our condo.  My knee was fine – just a nasty scrape.  My wrist was not so fine.  Any lateral or backward bending hurt – a lot.  We went to Walgreens and I bought a wrist support and then I texted my chiropractor friend, Malachi, and asked for his advice.  He recommended a trip to urgent care for an x-ray.  So, the next morning – on Deb’s birthday – we spent several hours at Advanced Urgent Care.  The x-ray did not show a break and I got another super-cool wrist splint and was told not to use it for a week).

Anyhow, that was my excitement.  To be honest, it’s just now (over 2 months later) that my wrist doesn’t hurt.  I’m not so sure the x-rays weren’t wrong, but it’s all good now.

Pics from the trip (yep, mostly food…):

KW-collage

Did more treats slip in than I would have liked?  Yes, of course (case in point, the frozen slice of key lime pie dipped in dark chocolate that I conveniently forgot to snap a picture of…😉  If you haven’t tried this, you must – it was AH-MAZING!!!).  But all in all, I was pretty pleased with the decisions I made.

Then we launched into March with travel to Stockton, CA; Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; and Erie, PA.  Crazy busy, but so, so fun!

SBF        M-and-M

Fun and games came to a screeching halt on April 1st!  I signed up for “Swim-Bike-Fuel” – a one month nutritional training program for triathletes presented by USAT Triathlon Coach, Meredith Atwood (aka SwimBikeMom) and Sports Nutritionist, Meredith Vieceli.  We’re not even half way through the month and I have learned so much terrific information.  Some of it is new.  Most of it supports what I already knew, but had forgotten, or just wasn’t being consistent with.  I need to be very intentional, not just with my training, but also with my fueling to get me to the finish line at Ironman Florida in 205 days (but who’s counting…😮 ) and I will do whatever I have to do to show up as my very best self on race day.

On April 11th, my 30 week Ironman training program started and next Sunday (4/24) I have my first triathlon of the season at St. Anthony’s in St. Pete Beach, FL.  It’s been a stout training week and I just finished a 9 mile run that my body just didn’t want to do.  I told my friends that it was like a toddler in Target who didn’t get the toy they wanted – every part of me was bitching and whining and crying to stop, but I just kept moving forward… slowly, but forward nonetheless, and soon enough it was over.  I kinda want to curl up into the fetal position when I think about having to do that run 2 more times after more than 100 miles on a bike and more than 2 miles of swimming.  It seems impossible in the present moment, but every worthy goal always does until you grow into the person who achieves those goals.  I have 205 days to grow baby, GROW!!

grow