It’s All Fun and Games Until The Bib Numbers Come Out!

It’s All Fun and Games Until The Bib Numbers Come Out!

About 11 months ago, my dear training BFF, Meg, and I got the bright idea to register for Ironman Texas in 2019. We had such a fine time at Ironman Florida in 2016, it seemed only natural that we reprise our roles and jump into the insanity that is Ironman once again.

We waited… And we waited… And we waited some more until the glorious day – July 18, 2018 – when registration finally opened for the 2019 race. We held our breath, put in our credit card numbers and hit the submit button.


I updated the “Countdown” on my Garmin screen and it read 283 days. 283 days… It sounded like all the time in the world! My training block wouldn’t officially start until October – everything seemed so FUTURE!

But, as time has a way of doing – especially once you hit middle-age – those 283 days have blown past – well, 247 of them anyhow – and here I sit 36 days away from the start of my 2nd Ironman 140.6 race. Tomorrow, I have a 4 hour bike ride… The next 14 days are the “peak” of the peak training block – century rides, 3 hour runs, long, long swims. It’s both terrifying and exciting, all at the same time.

This morning, I noticed that the Athlete Guide for the 2019 race had been uploaded to the race site. This afternoon, the Bib List was uploaded. You know, it’s all shits and giggles until they assign you a bib number!

So, 36 days to go… hundreds of miles of training hay still to put in the barn. There is only one thing that I know for sure… Everything being equal and disasters aside, I CAN DO THIS! I’ve done it before. I’ve overcome A LOT to get to this point and I’m 15 pounds lighter and a world more experienced than I was in 2016. Will I be fast? Probably not… Will I finish? Oh yeah, just watch me!

Coming to A Head

Coming to A Head

volcanoLife is kind of coming to a head right now.  There are so many things that are either ending or beginning in the next few days and I’m finding myself feeling a little stressed out over them, so I thought writing about them might help… :/

First, Deb’s dad has been visiting us for the past month.  He’s such a dear, sweet man and we have really enjoyed having him with us. Tomorrow he heads back to Maryland and we’ll be readjusting to a house of three again.  On one hand, I’m sorry he’s leaving – he’s a cool guy and I like him a lot!  But on the other hand, I need to get back to my routine, and eating at restaurants 3 times per week is NOT part of my routine. He doesn’t get our plant-based eating style (he doesn’t like and won’t eat vegetables), so finding things to eat here at home (when we’re not going out) that will work for all of us has been challenging to say the least.

Second, my training plan for Great Floridian Triathlon begins on Monday, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it.  I’ve really enjoyed my off-season.  I’ve enjoyed lifting again.  I’ve enjoyed just flying by the seat of my pants and doing what I FEEL like doing instead of being so structured. It’s very different from last year when I was chomping at the bit to get to the training.  I’m sure it’s just a matter of getting back in the training mindset and I’m counting on my body and my mind jumping right back into the groove.

massive-actionThird, the house is still on the market and we are getting antsy to get on with it. There’s no pressure to get it sold, but we’ve found the place we want to move and we’re just anxious to move on to the next stage of the adventure.

Fourth, Unrealogical has gone to the publisher and we’ve already gone through the first round of content review with the legal eagles and are now waiting for phase #2, and that’s a little nerve wracking.

3HUFifth, I start Round #3 of Swim Bike Fuel next week (or Round #1 of 3HU, depending on how you want to look at it) and I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to really GET IT RIGHT this time.  I’ve had great results with both of the previous rounds, but I get a little loose with the rules sometimes and I really want this to be a “third time’s the charm” type of thing.

excitementSo, lots going on and I just feel stressed out.  I’ve been using all my tools, but my stomach feels all knotted up and I can’t seem to unravel it.  Right here, in this moment, I am VERY uncomfortable.  And when this happens, I get excited, because it usually means I’m on the verge of some major life shift.  Something is out there looming on the horizon – something big – I just can’t quite see it yet.

Stay tuned…

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

My Biggest Time Saver Ever

keep-calm-and-speed-up-33I keep thinking that life is going to calm down and I’ll be able to coast for a while, but you know, it just never seems to happen.  As soon as one project is completed, there is another one right on its heels.  As soon as one race is done, I register for another one so that I keep a goal out in front of me, and so on.  Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I truly function 100% better in life when I am busy and when I have big, scary goals out in front of me that keep me moving forward when I’d rather stay in bed with the covers pulled up over my head!

collage 15Kcollage 20151016_171515

20151007_0824532015 has been no exception.  Triathlon-wise, this has been the year of the 70.3.  I completed two half-iron distance races, as well as 6 running races, and a sprint distance triathlon.  It was a fun year.  Work-wise, it’s been the year of the big events!  We hosted a 4 day retreat here in Florida in June, and we’re getting ready to take our show on the road for a weekend event up in Albany, NY next month.  Our non-profit company, Building Remarkable Communities, organized and hosted a 3-race running series – The Remarkable River Racing Series.  Meanwhile, we’re putting the final touches on a new business development program that has been more rigorous than any book we’ve written.

DVD-walmartTo say that spare time is at a premium is an understatement and the ONLY way I can get everything that needs doing in a day done is to be super organized.  And let’s just say that organization is NOT my strong suit.  :/

So, I looked to successful people who are just as busy as I am to see what they do… Success Leaves Clues, you know.  One of the things that I am responsible for is preparing meals.  I love to cook, so it is no hardship, but I was finding it increasingly difficult to get a home-cooked meal on the table for dinner each night without cutting my workday short – this got even harder when Josh started swimming on a team that practices after school 5 days per week until 5:45pm.

I discovered that many people prep their meals in advance and then either assemble them each night or just reheat.

meal-prepSo, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 3-4 months and I’m pleased to report that it’s working great.  I get up early on Sunday morning (my rest day from working out) and prepare 3 lunches and 3 dinners before anyone in the house even wakes up.  Then, during the week, all I have to do is reheat one of the meals I’ve prepped and – voila – (nearly) instant food!!

It has saved me SO much time and taken a whole lot of stress off my shoulders when the inevitable “What’s for dinner?” question comes.

Other super timesavers:  grocery shopping only once per week (I used to pop into the food store at least 3 times per week), shopping with a list (if I don’t have a list, I don’t go to the store), shopping alone (shopping with kids or a partner inevitably leads to “squirreling” and to things going in the cart that don’t need to be there), and shopping at the same store each week (I know the layout of my beachside Publix, I know what they have there and what they don’t), online shopping (eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, there are a lot of things that I might need to detour to a health food market in order to find.  I place a monthly order with to get these special items and to stock up on things that they sell much cheaper – check them out!).

Anyhow, these are some things that have worked for me.  I hope they help you too!

2015 Swim-Bike-Mom Ambassador Team

eat-sleep-runThe past couple of months have gone a lot like this:  RUN – EAT – WORK – EAT – SLEEP – EAT – RUN – EAT – WORK -… you get the idea.

With the Space Coast Marathon going down in only 5 weeks, the mileage is ramping quickly.  My mid-week run was 9 miles this week, for the love…

Yesterday, I did my long run – it was 18 miles!!!  OMG!!

suck-it-upHOW am I supposed to tack another 8.2 miles onto that run in only 35 day?  I just don’t see it!!

Last Saturday, my training program called for me to run 16 miles, so I signed up for a virtual half marathon – why not get the shirt and a medal for my effort?

But enough about my running, running, and more running.  Let’s get to the GOOD stuff!

A couple of weeks ago, Deb and I went to meet with our race gurus, Chris and Brendan, to make some plans for the Remarkable River Racing Series for 2015 (another post for another day, but stay tuned, because it’s going to be really cool and totally in alignment with our company’s mission!! 🙂 ).  When I got home, I checked my phone and had missed a ton of calls.  As I started listening to my voicemail, I heard a familiar voice.

matwoodIt was Meredith Atwood – aka Swim-Bike-Mom – the IronMom Blogger!!!!!

Let me back up just a second…

I have been following Meredith’s Swim Bike Mom blog since shortly after I started training for my first sprint tri last year.  I was immediately attracted to her style – raw, honest, funny, no holds barred – a real person – someone I could relate to as a partner and a mom with a more than full-time career, AND athletic aspirations.

A couple of months ago, Meredith announced that she was forming an “Ambassador Team” for 2015.  The mission of the team is to “embody the Swim Bike Mom spirit of “Just Keep Moving Forward” and who will represent the Swim Bike Mom “Army” across the U.S. during 2015 races.  We want to let all women know that they can be changed through the sport of triathlon Members of the SBMAT must embody a positive attitude, determination, excellent sportsmanship, and a love for the sport of triathlon.”


There was an application process, so as soon as I read about the team I filled out the application and submitted it.  It was like 10pm and I was headed to bed and really just kind of stream of consciousness threw up all over the form, telling my story of transformation through triathlon.

Later, I came to learn that over 250 other women had applied for just a handful of positions on the team – Man, I wanted to yank back my application and put some real time into it, but too late for that.  So I was not terribly surprised when, a few weeks ago, Meredith announced the 2015 team and my name was not on the list.  But the women who DID make the team?  Wow, they all have INCREDIBLE stories!

So, back to Wednesday afternoon.  Meredith is on my voicemail – I almost fell off my chair.  There was something about the team, asking me to call her, I didn’t hear much after that.

So, I called her back.  She told me that one of the ladies had to back out of the team because of family issues and that she hadn’t intended to fill her spot, but I was the 1st alternate (story of my life) and she re-read my application and knew she wanted me to be a part of the team.

WOW!  I was floored!  I was ecstatic!  But mostly I was honored to be offered the opportunity to give something back to a sport that has given me so, so much!

sbm-ambassadorSo, I am a member of the 2015 Swim Bike Mom Ambassador Team!

What does that mean?

sbm-tri-kitWell, for starters I will be wearing this super HAWT tri kit at every race in 2015 – Deb told me last month that I needed a brighter, more distinctive kit so she could pick me out on the bike.  Think this qualifies?

I might get a call to race in a local race to represent the team (must stay in good shape, must stay in good shape).

But mostly, I just get to keep spreading the word that triathlon has room for everyone – it’s not just for the Crowie’s and the Rinny’s of the world – anyone can be a triathlete!  It just takes the desire and the will to do the work (and being just a little insane helps too).

To say I am excited about 2015 is an understatement!!



Bike Fitting 101

Rightsize_imageHoly Smokes!!!  Wasn’t there a time back in the day when you stood on a box and if the bike seat came within an inch of your crotch, the bike fit?

Hmmmm, well apparently those days are gone!

When Deb and I bought our road bikes in August, 2012, we found a reputable local Trek dealer, we went in and told the salesman (who was an avid road cyclist) that we wanted a middle of the road road bike to train for a century ride.

The guy measured our inseam (I think) and told us we needed a certain size frame and that was essentially that.

I remember Deb and I adjusted our seats ourselves and then rode over 1,000 miles in 3 months training for a 125 mile cycling event.

At the end of that ride my butt was numb, my lower back was aching, my right foot was numb, but ridiculously painful…

Obviously the distance had something to do with it, but I imagine an ill-fitted bike was a player as well.

So, fast-forward a year and a half, and I decide that it’s a good idea put Ironman – Florida on my calendar in 2015.

One of the first things people who have BTDT told me was, get a professional bike fitting!!!

shapeimage_2Enter Michael Cottle at OutSpoke’N Bike Shop in Lake Mary, FL.

I met Michael at a triathlete nutrition seminar on December 30th.  We spoke briefly about his philosophy regarding bike fitting, which was considerable!  He also came highly recommended by several people whose opinions I regard very highly.

Last Friday, I took my Trek Alpha 1.2 to Michale for a fitting…

Oh my goodness!!  So many measurements… So many adjustments… So much pedaling…

bike-fit-assessment-step1dAnd EVERYTHING on my bike is wrong!!  Okay, not EVERYTHING, but lots – and not because Michael owns a bike shop and was trying to sell me stuff – I believe what he said.  I’ve known my bike is too big for me since the century ride, but what do you do?

He adjusted my seat – the height, the angle, how far forward it was positioned.

He adjusted my cleats so that my heel had more play.

There were lasers and plumb bobs and levels and t-squares and a gigantic protractor and compass involved!!

He is putting on narrower drop bars, a shorter stem, new pretty red tape (okay, that was me, not him), and new aerobars with pads that flip up when I’m not in the aero position so I can use the middle of the bar.

bike-fit-measurement-step2dTo figure all that out took 2 hours.

It will take him a few days to put mu bike back together.

Then I go back and we do the fitting all over again with the new configuration.

What I am positive about in all this bike fitting stuff is:

A.  The dude at the original bike store sold be the wrong bike!

bike-fit-adjustment-step4cB.  I will have as close to the RIGHT bike as Michael can make it when I take my bike out of his shop.

C.  I want a tri bike that Michael fits to me BEFORE I buy it!

If you are doing any serious cycling, spring for the $150+ and get a pro fit!  You won’t regret it!!


What?  Doesn't everyone have a bike in the middle of their office?

What? Doesn’t everyone have a bike in the middle of their office?

Yesterday morning I was scheduled to do a quick hour on the bike, but I had a bunch of errands and a ton of work to do, so I wanted to ride early – as in, before the sun came up.

So, I set up my trainer in my office so I could watch the sunrise.

Anyhow, when I came in the office yesterday afternoon, I had to giggle at the sight of my bike set up in the middle of my office and thought I would share.

Who knows, perhaps I can talk Deb into letting me keep it here – I am quite creative during my rides.


trainer-workoutBTW, I MUST calibrate my speed sensor today – it clocked me at an average speed of 26.4 mph (Bwahahahaha!!!) during my trainer ride, which is just a tad faster than my usual speed. 🙂

A Swim-Bike-Run Christmas

2013-12-24 001 2013-12-23 009What a wonderful Christmas we had here at the Cheslow-Flynn house!!

The majority of my presents had a distinct “theme” – SWIM – BIKE – RUN!!

A Triathlon Christmas – how WONDERFUL!!

Indoor trainer workout videos, compression socks, new running shoes, running shorts, a SBR magnet and keychain, yurbuds, a speed/cadence sensor, a footpod…

garminBut my very favorite thing was the Garmin Forerunner Running GPS.

Now I can do all those fun speed intervals that Pam wants me to do without having to guess.

I know I said I was taking a couple of weeks off from running, and I have…

But I just HAD to try the watch out…

I mean, it would have been ruse not to, right?

So, I headed out for a nice, easy 4-1/2-ish mile run yesterday afternoon, and then came home an excitedly uploaded my run to application that shows all the cool charts and graphs that I love so much.

chartsYes, I run Galloway.  Right now, I do 2 min run/30 sec walk for a 9 min mile.  I am planning to get faster.

Yes, my elevation gain was 16 FEET!  I live at the beach.

One thing that was immediately apparent, even though there WAS a north-to-south wind is that my pace is not consistent.  I go out quick and then the pace fades.

I will have to work on that.

I can also see that I will have to monitor the amount of time that gets sucked away by my new toy.  I’ve already spent a lot of time looking at all the features and playing with the monitor itself.  Once I get the bike speed/cadence sensor and footpod there will be even MORE data to play with!

My heart is so full!!! 🙂

Hope you all had wonderful Christmases (or whatever holiday you celebrate).  I’m looking forward to an amazing 2014 filled with all kids of firsts!!

A Decision Point…

when-youre-doneThis is how I usually approach my training.  I don’t necessarily jump out of bed thrilled about what lies ahead, but I ALWAYS know that I will feel awesome when I’m finished.

Such was the case on Saturday when I headed out the door at the crack of dawn for my 105 minute brick – 90 minute bike, 15 minute run.  I was shooting for 25 miles on the bike leg – aggressive for me, but I wanted to go for it since the run on the back side was so short.

I fueled up before I left the house… I was properly hydrated… Properly supplemented…  The weather was great… There was no wind to speak of – nothing to indicate an other-than-optimal training session.

However, halfway through my ride, I fell apart.  My legs felt like lead.  My head was exploding.  Everything hurt.  I could barely keep an 18 mph pace.  My cadence was erratic.  My heart rate was far higher than it should have been.  I . WAS . MISERABLE!!!

And that’s when I faced a decision point.

COULD I push through and finish the workout? Absolutely.

SHOULD I?  That was the question…

OvertrainingI have been training hard for the past 18 weeks – 6 days per week – busting my ass, running, biking, weightlifting, karate – rain, wind, shine, heat, cold (okay, cold for FLORIDA!).  I’ve been eating clean and supplementing properly.  I’ve been sleeping well.

And then about a week ago, the wheels came off the bus.  I wasn’t sleeping well at all, I was moody, I had cravings that I haven’t had in a long time, workouts were hard, I was unmotivated, I wasn’t recovering well in between.

Overtraining has set in.  I looked up the signs of overtraining and I have almost every single one – Awesome! 😦

I decided to stop my ride on Saturday at the 12 mile point, after 45 minutes.  I was done!

overtraining signsFortunately, I have a week off scheduled into my training, starting Christmas Day, but I’ve decided that I am taking off from today, 12/23 – 12/31.

My next workout will be a 10 mile run on New Year’s Day.

OvertrainingMEME1I’m a bit nervous about it, but I know that pushing through is not going to do anything for me other than send me backwards.  So, I am really trying to make peace with my decision.

I am, by nature, an incredible stubborn person.  This has served me well in my training, because I will not quit until I am done.  Period.

But, I also know the importance of listening to my body – especially since I am still recovering from some injuries earlier in the Fall.

So, here’s to a training break!  I know I’ll come back on January 1st better than ever!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

merry fitmas

Looking Back and Moving Forward

introspectionEvery year, about this time, I start getting a little introspective.

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklersThe year is closing out and the New Year is just close enough to touch – full of possibility and potential – unspoiled perfection.

In year’s past I would sit and look over the year gone by and there were always successes to celebrate, but, I never seemed to see them – instead I would dwell on my failures – on the things left undone or the goals not yet achieved.

In year’s past, sitting in the thick of the holiday season, I would likely have gained several (or more pounds), thinking, “Well, as soon as the New Year comes I’ll get back on track.”

An endless 365 day loop, played out annually – over and over and over again – for decades…

This year is very different.  I am a different person exiting 2013 from the person who entered it.

I have changed.

Endless_Summer_Triathlon 2013-07-13 028I have transformed.

There have been so many wins at work that are very exciting.  Our team has really gelled and become a functional unit moving in one direction and the results bear out how effectively we work together.

But even more than my work – where I generally feel pretty confident, I have experienced successes that I never dreamed possible.

I am a triathlete!

PI-5K3I am a runner!

I have leaned out so much this year and my performance has improved in all areas.

I am much more confident in my appearance.

I feel amazingly healthy.

It feels so good to be approaching 50 years old just hitting my stride – getting better every day, rather than starting to fall apart.

InevitableGoalMy physical goals for 2014:

  • Finish Disney Princess Half Marathon in under 2 hours
  • Run a Color Vibe 5K in under 25 minutes
  • Test for my Blackbelt in Karate in July at a level I am proud of
  • Join Master Swim
  • Compete in 3 Sprint and 2 Oly Distance Tris in the late summer/Fall
  • Compete in IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta on 9/28/14
  • Release another 10 pounds
  • Register for Ironman FL 2015
  • Assorted 5Ks
  • Register for a Marathon (I have no idea which one) to be run in early 2015
  • Train hard, train smart, and listen to my coach

Aggressive? Absolutely… Achievable?  Most definitely!

No regrets 2013 – it’s been an awesome year!