Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011- Athletic Year in Review- 10 Things

Two years ago, in Dec 2010, if someone had sat me down after just having hip surgery and said you would have a fantastic 2011 season I would have told them they were nuts! I had just had my hip surgery and was in the midst of training for my second half marathon- Hyannis 2011- running was slow. Miles on the bike were purely for recovery from a long run and swimming was a filler for days when I didn't feel like running or cycling. As you can see from my New Years Blog from last December there wasn't much written down for goals. I am not one for resolutions but I do like to use the New Year for trying out new things to see if they stick and generally like to use it to set new goals.

That being said and since I didn't set any outright last December I am really amazed at some of the things I did this year. My 10 things I learned blog and my 2011 season: how to learn from your season blog wrap up some of the accomplishments and lessons learned. But lets get some of it down here:

1. I DID IT! I managed to log over 2000 miles for 2011- actually finishing 2011 with 2003mi. Since I didn't ultimately plan this for the year I was psyched that it happen.
2. I DID IT! I finished an Half Ironman. Yes that is I trained for and finished the 70.3 miles! I can't wait to try again and see if I can get under 7 hours
3. I got a new bike! DAMN SHE IS SEXY! Can't wait to get her out on those roads when it gets warm. I also got an aero helmet for Christmas- Thanks D!
4. I did 2 Half Marathons this year! Not bad after having hip surgery in 2010.
5. I did my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. I learned a lot about racing at this race. I did 3 sprint triathlons. A mile swim! and LOTS of 5ks and 10ks!
6. I learned a ton about fueling and nutrition this year.
7. I am getting faster this off season! The time I am spending running hill repeats and doing plyo runs is really adding up to great new PRs!
8. I am hoping to get faster on the bike still! Time in the saddle this off season compared to last year will help!
9. I still struggle with finding my balance- training/everyday nutrition.
10. I just want to figure out why I can't seem to lose weight! PLEASE! anybody?!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

3 Straight Weeks of Racing- Not So Much...

This past sunday was supposed to be the 3rd straight weekend of racing- Hot Chocolate 15k , and Double 5k weekend with PR!. But last week I spent battling a monster cold and then to add insult to injury as my cold feels better I get a stomach bug on Saturday night. That meant to racing the Yulefest on Sunday. I spent all day in bed and D did a great job taking care of me. I am bummed to miss it though. Looks like everyone had fun!

I am wrapping up my holiday tasks. I wanna do a bit more baking stuff and I NEED to finish wrapping. Merry Christmas!!!

My training plan this week is light with enjoy the holidays. I am trying to get myself to the 2k mark by the end of 2011. I have 47 more miles to go. Need to get running and riding! I have a ride tonight and a long run planned this weekend and I've got next week- I think I'll make it.

What are your end of the year goals?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Off season? New PR :)

After coming home from a great vacation in DC- lets just forget aboutHot Chocolate 15k Race Recap the horribly executed 15k I ran down there. We signed up for a indoor bike time trail at the Trek store in Portsmouth. My coach runs it so I kinda had to go. I also went to pick up my new bike... SHE IS GORGEOUS but that is another post for another time.

So the indoor TT sires works like this- you get on your bike warm up and then the group goes all out for 20 min. Hard as you can to get the best power reading. Power meaning working the hardest for the 20min not going the longest distance or getting there fastest. It is an interesting concept. I actually was in my hardest gear with another 5 min to go and after we got off learned I could have changed the trainer to get higher power... oh well. Next time.

On Saturday I told J I would run a SANTA 5K with her. The whole premise being you sign up get a Santa suit and everyone runs the 5k in a Santa suit. Okay I'm down this is a total fun run. Who can run fast in a Santa suit?! I went with Santa hat, jacket, and stuck to my trusty team sparkle skirt. I am really enjoying wearing that. J and her friend Laura and I ran a fun race. We ran and sang Christmas Carols.

Sunday was the Winter Classic. The course is pretty flat. Last year I ran to pace a friend and this year I wanted to see what I had. I did a little warm up since coach wanted me to- usually I just toe to the line and go. It was FREEZING as it always is for this race so the warm up felt good. As I stood waiting for the start I had that I might be getting a cold feeling- which I was and now currently have!- and I thought I'm not sure how this is gonna go I did a 15k, a time trial, and a 5k yesterday. Its been quite a week. I set my watch for a 8:40 pace and hoped maybe I could hold on to PR but didn't have much expectation. Mile 1 was a 8:55, Mile 2 was a 9:02- my legs started to really feel all the racing. I decided might as well bear down and see what I can get out of this. I also started to pick off each person in a costume that was in front of me. Christmas Fairy- down, gift bag girl- down, santa suit girl- down. Mile 3 was a 8:48 pace. I didn't hit the 8:40 pace I was looking for originally but I did end up with a PR of 27:33. The pace was 8:53- this was my first sub 9 min pace 5k! The look of shock on D's face as I came close to the finish w 27 min up on the clock was great. I'll take a 30second PR especially after all I did all week!

The power of the team sparkle skirt wins again! So for the count that is 1 bling 5k with a course PR, a 10k PR, a new 15k PR (first ever 15k), a santa run, and a shiny new 5k PR! That purple skirt is makin for a ROCKIN WINTER season!

We had a fun Sunday D had a course PR by a min and half, almost had a PR and had a great run. My friend Danielle got a nice shiny new PR out of the race too. We all went and had a great brunch and stuffed ourselves to capacity.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hot Chocolate 15k- Race Recap- Logistics/Course Nightmare

(pre race on the bus heading to the race)

To be honest I have been holding off on posting this race report because I didn't know how to write this. Lets start with this- I had hoped to finish around 93 minutes- that would be a 10min pace. Figured that would be pretty good for me. Finished in 1:34 so pretty close and I am happy with that given the race issues.

Lets get into that. We flew down Friday to do our packet pickup- took a very expensive cab ride (thanks D!) out to National Harbor. The jacket sizing was a mess and we finally got the right sizes then realized even though we had received a corral assignment they were not on our bibs and had to go back in and fix that. Spent Friday night with my Aunt and Uncle who graciously hosted us at their house. My Aunt spent the night trying to convince us that a run along the Patomic would be so much better than getting up at 4:45. (we should have listened!)

Since we signed up for a shuttle from Crystal City to get us to the Harbor start line we arranged for a 5:15 cab. The cab driver was a lovely gentleman, by which I mean I was subjected to an early morning death metal concert in his cab where he told me he would die if he tried to walk 15k. This is where the day started to go wrong!

We loaded a shuttle quickly and she headed us toward the harbor or so we thought... after getting lost 2 times and 2 u-turns and some very interesting driving we arrived at the "plateau". The start area. It was about 6am at this point. The race was supposed to start at 8. The wind was howling and there was really no where to stand to get warm. Warming tents would have been nice!

Since we got up early and I know myself with fueling I had planned to eat oatmeal w almond butter at 5. A protein shake at 6 and at 7 shoot a hammer gel before the start. I followed that plan.

We met up with some friends and all hung out talking about the mess that things seemed to be this morning having no clue how bad it was going to get. We heard announcements about traffic issues and heard the 5k start about 40 min late. No one told us what was going on with the 15k. With it becoming obvious we were not going to start at 8 somewhere around 8:15 they moved us to corrals.

We stood in corrals till 9! No updates- no planned start time. NO NOTHING! I knew my stomach was not going to cooperate with the new start time and I was down to the pack of chomps I had for during the race. I figured wait it out eat the chomps as you run. At 9 ish we started- the course was awful down and back for 3 miles with hairpin turns on one lane of an open parkway! Anyone else read that as- NOT SAFE?! At about mi 3 the lack of fuel kicked in. My brain went okay don't usually eat this early but today we are gonna... slowly eat the chomps so you a have enough and over the next 3-4 mi I ate the package. I grabbed gatorade and water at the aid stations that actually had it- yes some had no water or gatorade!

The hills on this course were awful. I had no idea the first 2 or so mi were downhill until I was looping back on it- going up! We all then realized when we came back down that we were going to have to go up a hill to the finish! OMG really?! finish on a hill? We then looped out to a part of the harbor- again HILLY- and then hit 2 off road sections, one was a loop and the other a 2 person wide path for close to a mile of the race. My hip doesn't deal well with running on unpaved paths- its similar to sand- the running is like me being on a balance ball and I have to work twice as hard to stabilize. Guess I should get back to some PT exercises to help this if it ever happens again.

At this point my hip is hurting and I know I have to go back up that hill. My heart rate sky rocketed but I just wanted to be done and I knew I was close to my goal time even with the logistics/course mess! When I came to the finish I couldn't even cross b/c there was a backlog of people. I found D and my friends and just shook my head they all burst out laughing because they felt the same way.

We headed to get our promised TONS of chocolate- we were only allowed one container with a little dipping chocolate and 5 things to dip. One coco. Not a SINGLE chocolate bar to be had! Every time we tried to stop to enjoy our fruits of our labor (running 15k) we were yelled at by volunteers to keep moving! Finally we had had enough. Our friends headed home and we tried to get in the shuttle line. The line was at least a couple hour wait. We decided forget it lets get on a metro bus. Unknown to us the metro suspended service to the area. Now it was 1pm we were cold tired and hungry. We got in a cab and headed back to the house. It ended up being a mess of a day.
(post race photo- notice the half hearted smile)

After taking a nap I quickly realized how outraged the other runners were, there was a facebook page created, and a post on the Washington Post just to name a few. People's blog recaps explain a lot of the issues. A email from the race director followed on Sunday filled with excuses and shed light into issues I didn't even know happen- like the lead cyclist of the 5k took them in the wrong direction resulting in a 3.3mi-5k. I will never again sign up for an event by RAM racing- and I don't suggest anyone else reading this does. As of 5 Dec 30 complaints have gone to the better business bureau against RAM for this race. Everyone is demanding a refund- there's even a petition on I'd like my 65 bucks back please- you did NOT provide the services you said you would!

(D and I while getting ready to find an alternative way home- shuttle FAIL!)

We did have a good vacation down in DC following the race- here's one of our touristy photos ;)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Challenge- No OFF season Just Winter Training

To quote my coach "Remember there's no OFF season, just winter training ;)" So I finished out the DVD challenge current weight 180.6 <- ended up down about 5lbs. Can't fight with that. I figure with today being Dec 1st- Its time for a new challenge. I was going to try another DVD or another something. But to be honest- I just don't really have an interest in that right now. So- new thoughts a twitter friend,, has a challenge #backtobasics for the month of December. I think my #backtobasics focus and challenge will be to make sure I am eating ENOUGH good foods!

I am going to continue my workouts as planned for the month. Soon I enter my "unstructured training" with my coach. I am going to have my runs I need to keep up since I have Hyannis Half Marathon in Feb to get training for but I will be having a bit more time for yoga and fun workouts. This is at least my hope- I have not done an "unstructured training" time yet with my coach so we will see what it brings :)

This weekend we head to DC for the I am excited for the jacket we get for our swag bags and of course for the chocolate at the finish! Coach and I still haven't talked pace plan for the race. But I am looking forward to this one a lot. Never done a 15k before- so automatic PR! Tons of friends are going to be there! And another race in my sparkly purple skirt from I will keep you posted on the weekend in DC should be a good time- Keep you posted on the #backtobasics plans :) Happy December Everyone!

New December Challenge:
1. #backtobasics - make sure I am eating ENOUGH good foods!
2. "unstructured training" plan- enjoy the time with unstructured workouts add in more bikram and just have fun with training.
3. Get my 2011 mileage to be 2000 total miles! I am at 1909 right now... I think it is do-able. Follow me on

Monday, November 28, 2011

10k Turkey Trot- New PR!

Every Thanksgiving since 2009 D and I have done the Thanks-4-Giving race in Lowell. The first year I did the 5k last year was 10k and this year 10k again. I have gotten to know the course very well since I have run these races on it and the New Years 10k and all the Lowell Triathlons are on a similar route.

Earlier in the week I wrote down my course PR and my 10k PR on a post it in my office and calculated the pace I would want to go if I wanted to break either. First goal: beat course time of 1:05:14 Goal 2: beat PR of 1:03:05 Goal 3: go for an hour or under.

Like I said I know this course pretty well- I know where the hills are and where to kick it in. We hit the first hill and the not so often 5k runners started walking like crazy. I think I should for my next turkey trot put myself further forward- not do my usual start farther back. Did a bit of dodging and weaving around folks for the whole 5k route. Since it is a double loop course the 5k runners peal off and the 10k'ers continue on. I crossed the timing mat at the 5k feeling pretty good. Mile 1- 9:50, Mile 2- 9:31, Mile 3- 9:40

The only change on the second pass is there is a jump into a neighborhood. It is on the hilly part of the course and it is through very winding roads so my time for this mile dropped. Mile 4- 9:58

I had seen my other paces and knew I was going to be able to beat goal one, and I was getting close to being able to beat goal two. Okay time to be sure to kick it in- only 2 miles left come on.... Back on pace with mile 5- 9:33. Miles 5 and 6 are the flat stretch of road on the course so I knew if I could get comfortable and cruise I would be okay. Somewhere in mile 5 it hit me not only was I going to beat goal two now but I was possibly going to make it for goal three. Okay Juls put your head down and get this done.

Mile 6- 9:39. I honestly have no idea where the mile marker was or when my watch went off but I knew it was time to finish strong. D came out and finished with me. I told him I couldn't talk. I just wanted to put my head down and finish. I wanted to finish in 1:00 or under. He helped push me through to a strong finish. As I crossed the line a friend who had finished around the same time as D was cheering and taking photos. I looked down at my watch when I crossed 1:00:48. I DID IT! Goal One, Two and Three done! I couldn't have been happier.

The last lil bit was at 8:42 pace. The course was 6.3 mi according to my garmin and 2 other people's also- so 6.3mi 1:00:48 works out to 9:39 pace. Race results with 6.2 mi course say 9:49 pace.

I knocked 5 minutes off my time on the course from last year and knocked 3 minutes off my PR! Not a bad Turkey Trot morning! D PR'd too! We both had a great Turkey Trot and definitely deserved our deep fried turkey that night! Goal 3 for the next 10k: under 1:00

For the record: that's 2 PR's in my new Team Sparkle skirt.... maybe the thing has magical powers?!

Monday, November 21, 2011

DVD Challenge Week 3- 30 Day Shred

I have been remiss in my blogging of this past week's challenge. Sorry all I was on the road. But I did do my photos and I did do my DVD and I did weigh myself- so let me get down to it. It was an interesting week or so... hard training week w 5:30 planned hours from coach then the week after was my recovery week. And- being that time of the month with a rough training week made me exhausted and of course didn't help with the scale! I stuck with level 2 but I think it might be time to get ready for the jump to Level 3! :) Thinking I won't be losing the "up to 20lbs in 30 days" like the tagline says

I am not overly impressed with the photos this week but maybe the same thing as the scale... that time of the month?! who knows!

yes diff background because I was traveling and wanted to be sure to take my photos :)

And the Stats:
This week's workouts- Tues- hill repeats, DVD#12, Weds- bikram yoga, Mon- Cycling 6.52 mi, DVD#13, Fri- off not feeling well, Sat- Cycling 18mi, DVD #14, Sun- run 3.06mi, DVD#15, Mon- yoga, Tues- cycling 9.58mi, DVD #16, Wedns- off from training but did DVD #17, Thurs- short run on the beach in FL 1.6mi, DVD#18, Fri- day off from training but did DVD #19, Sat- Cycling 15.4 mi, Sun- run 3.06mi, DVD #20

Weight Tuesday Morning- 182.6lb (up assuming this is water weight from that time of the month~ we'll see next week?!)

Nutrition- Example: Breakfast- Apple w honey spices and granola- 247cals
Lunch- stir fry chicken w veggies and brown rice- 350cals
Dinner- lasagna home made with meat and veggies- 469cals
Snacks- cereal- 160 cals
Total: 1226 cals <- NEED to get this up!

Thoughts- Still low on the calories... counting seems to always do me in. So only 10 more DVD days left to get to 30. Hopefully the scale and the pictures show some progress. Starting to think what my next challenge may be....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review: Marathon-Photo

For those of you that follow me on twitter you saw my tweet about this but here's the story. I ordered my 5x7 photo from the Army Ten Miler on 19 Oct. On 31 Oct I was told they shipped and it would be 2 weeks for the picture to arrive and in just under 2 weeks I received my picture. I promptly went out and bought a 5x7 frame for my new race photo got home and IT DOESN'T FIT! I spent 23 bucks on a picture that I can't frame?! In order to frame it at the size it is at 5x7.5 I would have to buy a custom frame.

Frustrated I turned to contact the company, . They don't even have a number or email I can contact them in the US! WHAT?! So I entered into their automated system my frustration.

======== COMMENTS/QUESTION =========
I am very disappointed with the service of this company. It took almost 3 weeks for me to receive my photo. The photo I received was supposed to be a 5x7 and when it arrived it will not fit in a 5x7 frame and is actually 5x7.5. I would like a refund given the fact that the photo is not what I ordered! I am so unhappy I will gladly send the image back (if you provide a shipping code- I will not be charged to send back a photo I am not happy with). I look forward to your response.

Thank you,


And this was the response I received:

Hi Julia,

To have our quality control check this photo and possibly offer a replacement or refund, we need you to post back this photo.
Please enclose a note of explanation - a print out of this email would be good - and post to:

PO Box 60
Hamilton 3240
New Zealand

You might try writing "Return to Sender" on the original packaging to post back to us - please check the address is clearly as above.

Or post to:
Chris Parry, Dean Lodge, 16 Frieth Road, Marlow, Bucks, SL7 2QT, England

* Also, in case of a refund, please give a Visa or Mastercard number ( WITHOUT the expiry date).

Kindest Regards, Sheryl

Sheryl Laurie
Customer Services

Which prompted me to return this message:


You have to be kidding me? I have to pay to ship back a photo that you obviously printed wrong and now you want me to just send you my credit card information. You have to be joking send your credit card number to a foreign country with a package. This is rule one in protecting your identity. I am appauled that this is the way you treat customers and I have sent a detailed email to the Army Ten Miler support staff explaining my issues. I will not be returning the photo and I will not be sending my credit card information for a POSSIBLE refund. I will never be ordering a photo from your company again and plan to let all my friends know that are athletes too to keep an eye out for your company in future events.

Thank you. And best wishes in the future!


I am awaiting a response from them. I will keep you posted with any further developments. I have sent my issues to the race directors of the Army Ten Miler, also.

Just an FYI companies out there- you need to realize that customer service is bigger now than ever! In a second I can say don't use this company and my 800+ followers on twitter read it and one of them retweets it (@trirunner302) and you have your name disgraced to over 2000 people. Then add in the fact that @runteamsparkle put the comment in their newsletter and the reach goes exponentially. You just need to take the time to realize what you are saying and whether you want that out there in public because it is no longer I tell 2 friends I don't like you and it stops there. To be quite honest I didn't even realize how far my reach is but it is really worth while for companies to keep in mind especially with the economic times when people are worried about spending money and not having it be a worth while experience.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

5k for Pre-K Race Report- #sparkle

Saturday 5 Nov was the second year I put my toe to the line of the 5k for Pre-K. This race is TINY! They allow no registration online the only pre-registration is to drop off at the church where the preschool is that they run the race for in Holliston, MA. So obviously registration day of is popular. It is a cheap race at only 20 bucks for registration. There is no race shirt just a simple number no chip. Kinda nice. And super local.

I grew up pretty close to the start line so my parents were up for racing too. Mom did it last year and won her age group. D raced last year and placed in his age group too but this year a duathlon rescheduling caused him to decide against a double race weekend. Dad decided to join us this year even though he was doing the same duathlon as D (his first) the next day.

Last year my time on the course was probably my slowest 5k. Mind you I was 2 months in to being able to run again post surgery and this course is no walk in the park. It is possibly one of the hilliest courses for a 5k I have ever done. It starts at the bottom of a hill and ends with a nasty climb. Since I knew the course was gonna be tough I just wanted to beat my time from last year and have fun with it.

Dad offered to help pace me to beat my time from last year. I wanted to be sure I had enough in the tank to make it up that last hill so I told him around 10s- knowing I could probably do better than that. And as for having fun- I raced my first race in my Team Sparkle skirt. I made a decision a couple weeks ago to buy my first skirt and join the team when I realized all I was going to be doing was running races for a few months. I am not a fan of running races. I always feel so slow so I wanted something to add a little fun to it. The #sparkle added a lot of fun. I got lots of compliments!

Dad and I ran the first mile in 9:24- not bad did I mention it starts UPHILL! The plan was to try to stay around a 9:30 now for the rest of the race. Mile 2- 9:41- well a bit off. The last mile of this course is the worst mostly up hill with a killer hill at the end managed a 9:49 pace. Worked out to a finishing time of 29:58 with a 9:36 pace. Crushing my previous course time by 3 minutes! Mom managed to stay right on Dad and I's heels so she finished 30 something also beating her time by 3 minutes from last year.

This race also has a lovely tradition that the parents of the preschool make baked goods for all the award winners. There is a table full of goodies that you get to take a WHOLE plate of cookies, brownies whatever after accepting your award. They also did a fun little raffle. The times weren't posted when they started awards we were all hoping Mom would repeat her AG win. WHICH SHE DID! GO MOM!

The 18-39 age group- I know HUGE age group- was called and I couldn't believe it when they said 3rd place- ME!? I was in total shock! I have never placed in a running race. I have never gotten a medal at a running race that wasn't the medal they gave everyone who crossed the finish line! I think my #sparkle may have helped. Coach told me it is all the hard work of the season paying off. I have to say I have worked hard and I am glad I could wear my skirt and have a little fun too!

Mom and I with our awards :)

Side note: the rest of the weekend I was support for D and Dad's duathlon. It was Dad's first and he went all in with a costume for the Halloween themed race. D ended up doing great with a new course PR and got 4th in his AG. SO PROUD! I think Dad has a new found respect for multi-sport events. Maybe we can shame him into actually training to do another next season! My friend Julia was there too- she rocked out a 2nd place OA female award- WTG Jules!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DVD Challenge Week 2- 30 Day Shred

Let's start off with a bit of honesty. I was a bit lame in doing my DVD this week- was away over the weekend which turned into way longer with the snow-apocalypse, had to tend to my bridesmaid duties, and had a race to prep for and run. So I wasn't as good about my DVD this week as I had been but that is the truth and it isn't like I did nothing so anyway.... Truth be told to start off!

I stuck with Level 2. I actually like the exercises in Level 2 and need to work on my plyo moves. I am still super psyched I can do the skaters but still working on the other jump moves- squat thrusts I am OKAY at but the plank jacks need work! I am not too sick of Jillian's voice for this level yet.... but getting there.

I don't think the photos look super different. Maybe a bit of slimming in the mid section?! or I am just being optimistic this morning.

And the Stats:
This week's workouts- Sat- ended up day off by accident with the wedding, Sun- Run 3mi, DVD#7, Mon- Cycling 15mi, DVD#8, Tues- Ran- 2.62mi (hill repeats), DVD #9, Weds- Ran 3.4mi, Thurs- 1450yds, DVD#10, Friday- day off to prep for race- wanted to save my legs and body, Sat- 5k (no gas for a DVD after), Sun- Sick, Mon- swim 1600yds, DVD #11

Weight Tuesday Morning- 181.4lb (down ~2 lb)

Nutrition- Example: Breakfast- Cereal w skim milk- 267cals
Lunch- chicken sausage, tomatoes, spaghetti and an apple- 532cals
Dinner- salad with blue cheese and steak w a hard cider- 672cals (ate out after social run- still survived the calorie count)
Snacks- bar- 105 cals
Total: 1576 cals <- better but still need to get this up!

Thoughts- I have decided that Jillian just says every over used motivation in the 20 min. I think I may need to start doing it with my own music again!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Taking Control with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

I have gone to an acupuncturist for close to a year now. I originally went in with hopes of acupuncture helping with stress and then my hip and shoulders. It has helped immensely with my stress and I am shocked how much it has done for my hip and shoulders. I actually don't even have to have her do anything for my shoulder anymore and the hip is just when it bugs me. I find the hour of relaxation helps with stress and mood overall.

Many people who know me know I have a constant struggle with my weight. Though I feel silly saying that. I feel like I am being vein since there are so many people in the country that are morbidly obese and I just need to lose 20 or 30 lbs. I am not sure what it is but I workout a lot and eat right and I can't seem to drop any more weight! I have been to a doctor to have regular blood work done and "your fine" was the result. I need to get to an endocrinologist to have some more tests done.

Since it is something that has really been eating my lunch this off season I have decided to do something till I can get to an endocrinologist. This is where we come full circle to the acupuncture- I asked my acupuncturist if she could help following my last appointment. She said actually you are a perfect candidate, someone who doesn't medically have something wrong, who is already doing things to help the weight loss- ie working out and eating right. Ive been to a nutritionist and know how to eat well and I have to say I am pretty good about it. The only thing I am bad about is making sure I eat enough. And you all know I work out!

She offered a tradition Chinese Medicine to start the process- Free and Easy Wanderer Plus- Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan. She said it would help with mood and overall function. In reading it looks like it helps Liver function mostly. She said it is something she often gives to women for many issues and it helps a lot. I am taking 8 of these TINY little pills 3 times a day on an empty stomach. I started last Wednesday morning with the pills and the other thing will be acupuncture once a week focused on weight loss- first appointment is tomorrow.

After my talk with my acupuncturist I looked into some research on acupuncture and weight loss. I found some great articles everything from how it works to Dr. Oz to the truth that it can't be all you do to lose weight. Essentially it appears the acupuncture is used to help your body's function, with digestion and metabolism, and help with stress to help aid weight loss. Acupuncture releases endorphins which help with weight loss also. The truth is it is like anything else it isn't the magic cure all you have to do work yourself- eat right, exercise etc. These were some of the articles I found online:

This was my favorite with one of its article concluding in " So if you are getting tired and frustrated that your weight loss efforts do not seem to give you any favorable results, you should definitely try using acupuncture for weight loss; when combined with a proper diet and exercise, you will be amazed at how much improvement you will get from this ancient medical treatment."

So my thought is I am going to give this a shot. I am also going to keep working on getting in with the endocrinologist. I will continue the medicine and acupuncture appointments once a week for all of November- then at the end of the month re assess if I think it is working. I'll be sure to report back :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Farm Share - Go Organic?

Last year my parents had a share at a local Organic Farm, Silverwood Organic. They got some great veggies over the summer and were interested in the Winter Share, but sadly they only offer big Family shares (win for me!). We ended up splitting the Family share for the Winter Share.

Now some of you may not know this but I LOVE TO COOK! It is kind of a zen thing for me, get me in a kitchen it relaxes me and makes me feel so much better. Not to mention with my travel schedule it is nice to be home to cook! I saw the share as a great way to learn some new recipes with some new veggies I'd probably never have tried before. The other win is the farm is Organic.

Last night I made Candied Carrots and mixed up the saute greens with a shallot and some garlic (all from the share). Add some chicken and you have a meal. I am looking forward to making soup from the squash and pumpkin we got this week. Next Saturday is the next pickup- YAY more things to try!!

Since my veggies are gonna be Organic now... maybe I should make the switch to all Organic. I have been thinking a lot lately. I know it is more expensive but I just think I love supporting more local farmers, love the thought of less chemicals on my food, and I could just be making this up but the veggies taste better and I feel like I get more nutrients. Anyone out there Organic? why did you switch? is it more expensive?

Healthy food for training is my thought since as my coach just said "there is no OFF season only winter training!"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

DVD Challenge Week 1- 30 Day Shred

Well challenge accepted and I have kept it up. Doing the DVD has really kept me doing my strength training and to be honest I don't want to let everyone down that has read this and has seen on twitter. So week 1- I guess that's what we call it since it was the first full week- was fun and a bit of a challenge but that's the point!

By the end of this week I was sick of hearing Jillian's voice and really sick of the HORRIBLE music that goes with the DVD so I went with my own music blasting and the DVD running. I have to say by the time I reached the end of this week I have decided I will be doing Level 2 now. I am in a bit of a quandary though is it 30 calendar days? or 30 days of the DVD? I guess we will get to 30 calendar days and see... then maybe go for the 30 days of DVD? What do you guys think?

So I have to say the photos don't seem to have changed much- oh well but here ya go

And the Stats:
This week's workouts- Sat- Cycle 19.09mi, DVD #2, Sun- Run 3mi, DVD#3, Mon- Swim 1900yds, DVD#4, Tues- Run- 2.62 (hill repeats), DVD #5, Weds- Bikram Yoga, Thurs- 1500yds, DVD#6, Friday- Cycle- 10.9 (speedwork), DVD #7 (level 2)

Weight Friday Morning- 183.2lb (down 2 lb)

Nutrition- Example: Breakfast- Cereal w skim milk and Mix1- 360cals
Lunch- potato w ground beef taco meat little sprinkle of 50%fat cheese and some cashews- 537cals
Dinner- Chicken, mashed butternut squash, asparagus- 215cals
Snacks- mini Luna bar, mini cheese, mix1- 331cals
Total: 1443 cals <- better but still need to get this up!

Thoughts- Some of the exercises are easy and I was so proud when I started Level 2 and I could do the skate move with the jump. Last time I did the DVD was before and after my hip surgery and that move hurt a ton! So win! I am also shocked at how some moves are no problem and others I just must not use those muscles while training! Crazy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My 2011 Season- How to Learn from Your Season

I know I did my 10 things I learned this season but I read this article on Active this morning which got me thinkin I should try to answer these questions. So here goes
1. In hindsight, were your season goals clear and attainable?
Considering my big season goal was to finish a half iron and I did. I would say yes the were clear and attainable.

2. What were you most proud of this season?
Top would be finishing the half ironman with a close second of keeping the dedication to train for the half ironman. It took a lot of hard work and dedication to get to that finish line, not just on race day but for the months leading up to it.

3. What would you like to duplicate next year?
I am definitely going to stay with my coach, Balance Multisport. Sorry your stuck with me! I want to continue to take on new challenges like I did.

4. What frustrated or disappointed you the most this season?
I want to work on my run and cycling speed. I am starting to work on that now for the off-season with hill work and speed work.

5. What do you not want to happen again next year?
Nutrition issues! No more puking, swelling etc. I need to get this all figured out!

Here's where the questions get tough!

6. What did you learn by going through these experiences?
I really learned that it is going to take a lot to keep me from finishing a race! Not puking, not a flat tire, not even a incoming storm could keep me from crossing the finishline.

7. What decisions did you make that were empowering for you?
Deciding to change coaches to go with someone who was more similar to me really paid off. I am still working on nutrition in daily life and racing. I found I have a great support group around me now, with D being my biggest supporter!

8. What habits seemed to hold you back from achieving your potential?
My mental preparedness. I need to work on mentally being prepared for a race and going into it with a level of confidence. (I need to work on this for other parts of my life not just racing!) Along the same lines I need to learn not to rip apart my performances and see the accomplishment for what it is!

9. What decisions should you make in order to have your best triathlon year ahead?
Decide what races are A and stick to it, those are the bigger deal and the larger focus. This will help with the mental racing issues, I'd think. Every race can't be an A race some days are meant to build up to bigger things and I need to be sure to keep that in perspective. It will also help in appreciating the accomplishment of that A race or that not A race!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cycling: Yes I have the RIGHT to be on the road!

I was out for my Saturday ride just a lil hour 15 jaunt around the homestead. Lately I have been riding with D but Saturday he decided he was going to lift at the gym while I rode. I decided to take the route that isn't super hilly for a little change. And while about 2 miles into my ride I had my first fight with a passenger of a car! This is how it went down.

I was riding just to the left of the white line of the shoulder to avoid all the sand and pot holes. A car pulls out of the lot to my left turning into the lane of traffic I am traveling in. He pulled in just as I was coming by pushing me off into the shoulder. Luckily I am not a novice cyclist and I just adjusted instead of freaking out and crashing out. As they did it I screamed "REALLY?!" And we pulled up to the one light in town. The female passenger rolls down the window and goes "Really what?!"
I said "You nearly hit me."
"Well, we didn't. And you are on a F*ckin Bicycle, get off the road and on the shoulder where you belong."
"Actually, if you read the rules of the road I have just as much right to be on the road as you do."
"Actually, according to the rules of the road you have to be off the road on the shoulder."

Then the light turned green and the driver finally pipes up and he says "Well at least I didn't hit you!" and they sped off.

I was fuming! Which actually fueled a great ride. I couldn't believe how wrong they were and how they chose to fight with me about it. I couldn't believe the driver hung his hat on *not* hitting me even though he could have easily caused a crash! A crash that he would have been 100% at fault for! I know I am bound to have a lot more run ins with cars- hopefully none literally! I have done 3 and a half hour rides and never had someone be so blatantly rude or WRONG!

Just for clarification I did look it up- the basic rule in Massachusetts is "Same Roads. Same Rules." This site has some great info on the rules for cyclists and motorists in Massachusetts, "

And I did check with a cop on Sunday. He said I was right I am allowed to be on the road cops prefer that you stay as far right as possible to be safe but I am allowed to be on the road I don't have to be on the shoulder. Then the very nice officer asked if it happen somewhere in his area that he could do something about it. haha :)

Anyway- I just wanted to make people aware of their rights as a cyclist and make motorists aware to be careful! I have a hope that maybe my fight with the woman in the car will cause someone that saw it to think twice, or look twice, to keep cyclists safe. I know the guy that was driving the car behind them slowed way down and looked all the way over his shoulder before he made a left to be sure I wasn't coming close. Hey maybe it paid off a little?!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Challenge is ON!

The Challenge has started!!! As I said in my last blog post I decided to take on a new challenge to help combat my post season blues. I will be doing my DVD- 30 day Shred with Jillian Michaels and heading back to Bikram Yoga. So its ON! Well actually I decided to start it on Wednesday night by taking my "off day" and going to Bikram Yoga. Anyone who has done Bikram knows it is far from an "off day"- 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises in a room that is 105 degrees with 40% humidity. FUN TIMES! Actually I really like it. It helps me a lot mentally and really helps me physically too. So this is part of my month long challenge.

Yesterday before I started Day 1 of my DVD my friend Kissing_frogs read my challenge and decided to join me- virtually. Perfect another motivator! So here's the plan on the virtual challenge DVD portion: We came to the decision we will do the DVD 5 days a week MINIMUM- with the goal of 6 to 7. We will do level 1 for 10 days, level 2 for 10 days, level 3 for 10 days giving the 30 day shred!

I did my run that my coach wanted me to do yesterday then it was time to start the challenge. After much debate (since I am not pleased with what I see) I have decided I will post before (now), progress and after pictures. I guess it is the best way to gauge if the challenge works. So here we go.... please be gentle- try not to judge me too much!

The Challenge Deets:
Do my coach prescribed workouts for swim, bike, and run- generally 6 days a week and races are planned in here too. Do 30 Day Shred DVD- 5 days a week minimum with the hope of 6 or 7. I will also be doing Bikram Yoga as often as I can with my schedule- trying for at least one day a week. I will post progress photos every Friday and weigh myself on Friday mornings- hopefully it really works and the photos get better and the scale shows the hard work! I will also post a day of the week's nutrition- just so people can get a feel for what I am eating too. And of course... my 2cents on the whole thing will come along with the posts :)

The stats:
This week's workouts- Mon- Swim 1400yds, Tues- Bike 7.91mi, Wednes- Yoga, Thurs- Run 1.89mi and DVD Day 1, Fri- Swim 1500yds (still need to do DVD Day 2)

Weight Friday Morning- 185.2lb

Nutrition- Breakfast: 1 apple w 1tbsp honey, spices and 1/3c granola- 247 cals
Lunch: veggie chilli, cornbread, red fat cheese, apple- 383 cals
Dinner: ground beef taco meat on a salad w chips, NF sour cream, and cheese. dessert- GF cookie w strawberries and SF caramel- 605 cals
Snack: tortilla chips and salsa- 152 cals
Total: 1,387 cals <-not enough! need to work on this!

Thoughts- I am not going to lie- Day 1 of that DVD was not easy. I have done it before and my stamina and endurance are way better but there are some muscles I just haven't used in a long time- youch!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Post Season Blues

As you may have noticed from my London blog and my other post season wrap ups the season is over here and I am lacking some motivation. I am not a fast runner- so fall running races aren't super appealing to me. I am not a fast cyclist so put that with my not a fast runner and a duathlon doesn't really sound appealing. Plus- lets be honest a duathlon takes out what I am good at- SWIMMING! So with races right now consisting of mostly 5ks and 10ks and duathlons I am kind of stuck in a rut.

The other big thing that contributes to my lack of motivation and being stuck in a rut is I seem to have some sort of health issue that keeps me from losing weight. I can workout and eat right but it just doesn't come off. So when you aren't racing and you aren't seeing results its hard to go to the gym. At least when I'm racing I have goals to keep me going everyday. This whole lack of weight loss is another whole blog story for another time but anyway- to help myself get out of this I have been trying to come up with ideas.

I started coming up with a race plan for the next couple months of a couple 5ks and a 10k and even a late winter half marathon. Okay working down the right path. But to be honest- I know even if I don't train I can finish all those races. I am stubborn enough and have a decent level of fitness. So let's see I need something else!

Last night while at home I came across my Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD. 3 different levels of 20 min full body workouts. Wheels started turning- I know I need to keep up my swim, bike and run fitness over the off season to be ready for next season but- I could add more right? I need to work in more strength workouts anyway right?

So thoughts for a new challenge are: Continue my regular workouts my coach is giving me right now- so my swim, bike and run- but now let's add doing the 30 Day Shred DVD everyday for a month. I will take some before pictures and blog about the experience to work as a review of the program and see what we get for results.

The other thing I am going to bring back to my routine is Bikram Yoga. For now starting with my "day off" from coach and possibly adding more days as my schedule will allow. So I think I've got it a new challenge, a new motivation, a new goal with any hope this will help get me over these post season blues. Hey who knows maybe if it works out in a month I will pick a new challenge.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Army Ten Miler- Race Recap

After my much needed break in London I was home for a mere 3 days before heading to Washington, D.C. Now anyone who knows me knows I am in DC enough to potentially call it home if not my second home so flying there was no sweat. The plan was to fly down Friday afternoon get to the expo spend a bit of Saturday sight seeing then run Sunday. Well the best laid plans don't always work out. I have seen all the sights of DC MANY times but D in all his travels to DC hasn't seen any so I was planning on playing tour guide.

When we arrived Friday afternoon we were still fighting jet lag a bit from London. We decided not to rush to the expo and be rushed looking through it and just take the night easy. We went to what is quite possibly D's fav restaurant for dinner Chic-fil-a. It was nice to have a very low key night. We decided to get to the expo in the morning.

It was CRAZY packed. The line to get in almost reached the street. But like any good military operation things moved quickly and we had our numbers quicker than expected. While walking around and spending WAY too much money- like I always do at an expo we ran into a couple co-workers who were running. Always nice to see friendly faces.

We headed back to the hotel to relax and get off our feet. Now to be 100% honest- I didn't have much expectation for this race. I had heard it is very crowded and I honestly just wanted to take it all in- running around the mall and just being in the environment. Somewhere in my brain I came up with the idea of wanting to finish in about 2 hours seemed to make sense with my half marathon times. After a great dinner of risotto (a gluten free GEM pre race!) we picked up some breakfast options that we could do in a hotel room with no fridge and no microwave- cereal soy milk and some bars.

I laid out my race clothes after laboring over the capri, short, skirt decision- I went with capris and my new headband- "this is my race pace" and my new arm sleeves "if it wasn't for me you'd have no body to pass". The plan was to walk from the hotel to the Pentagon- I went with the follow the crowd method. It paid off and we got to the gates just as they were opening the start area. D was in wave one and I was in wave 3- slightly different paced runners huh?! D hung with me for a bit back with the slow folk and then headed up toward the start a little before 8.

As I was standing by myself waiting on my start time of 8:15 I made friends with the girl standing next to me. I know shocking huh?! We got to chatting and realized we both wanted to run about the same pace- hopes of a 1:45 with actual thoughts of being around 2 hours. She had never run a 10 mile distance before and honestly it was my first 10 miler but not my longest run so I figured this could be fun. We decided to stick together. To be honest it was great. Sometimes you worry about wanting to run a race with someone you don't really know (at all) but pacing was good a little bit but not too much conversation. We hit the 10k timing chip and I am fairly certain it was a 10k PR at 1:03- though the silly timing pad company had a different time.

On the loop back around the Air and Space museum I slapped hands and saw a co-worker. Let me just say that city isn't as flat as it looks. The long slow down hills killed my quads and the long slow up hills were crushing my calves. The 14th street bridge was a smasher! The sun was coming up and it was starting to get hot and that up hill climb was tough. Just as we hit the mi 9 marker we went by 2 Wounded Warriors both single leg amputee's. I turned to my new running buddy and said "okay that's all I needed to make it to the finish- I think this is tough on 2 legs I can't imagine how hard that is!"

With that we finished out the last mile- I was trying so hard not to puke before I crossed the finish. I crossed the finish at 1:44:50 by my watch- 1:45:50 officially. I can't believe I not only killed my thoughts of 2 hours but made it in the lower end of the time I thought. My new running buddy crossed a bit before me and was so excited to have finished her longest race. The finish line was congested and I quickly started to seize up and was desperate for water. When I could finally get some moving room and some air and water I felt like a million bucks. I had a good race.

D had a great race too when I found him around the Finisher Coins. He had a 10 miler PR by 3 min! I was happy to have a new found running buddy and to have finished in well under the time I expected. I will definitely do the Army 10 Miler again- hopefully next year. Next time I will write down a faster race time so I don't have to do so much weaving around people walking before we even hit mile marker 1. But great race awesome environment and if you want a race filled with motivators what is better than running by a ton of Wounded Warriors?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

London- A much needed break!

About 2 weeks ago while driving to a meeting on travel I called my coach. I had a horrible feeling- did my half ironman steal my mojo? We had a great talk. I told her I had a AWFUL break down on reach the beach the weekend before. I was running my second leg at about 1 am it was a VERY hilly 9 miler. I was so mad about people passing me and how slow I felt. During my run in my head I composed the email to my coach saying I was quitting. No more swimming, no more biking, and definitely NO MORE RUNNING! Obviously after I finished I realized it was just the run talking. But given that I had just done my half ironman then a sprint triathlon then reach the beach I had reached my physical and mental breaking point. Coach told me that was completely normal experience for reach the beach, and after doing an half iron and my mojo would come back.

On Monday I left for a much needed vacation to London for 7 glorious days. A few months ago D and I found a great deal on tickets and our friends offered to host us at their lovely home. We got on the plane with little plans for what to do when we landed- other than the booked tickets to Buckingham palace and a 5k the other 5 days were whatever we felt like.

Both of us quickly realized when there isn't anything else to stress you out sleep is so grand! We both slept like rocks. It also helps that the guest bed was SOOOOOOO comfy! We did go see everything we planned to see: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Big Ben, Eye, saw a show- War Horse, Piccadilly Circus, shopped on Carnaby St., and went to the British Museum. In between all the walking all over London was the 5k.

London was in the middle of a week of indian summer- temps 80-85 everyday. The race was a lunchtime 5k. It was hot and my legs were dead from all the walking. My time was slow- but I ran a race in London.

Other than the walking around everyday and the 5k all the workout clothes I packed didn't get used. I actually took a break. Mostly because by the time I got out of bed each day it was so hot and humid. I had no bike to ride for my planned training and the one day we were going to swim we slept through the alarm. I have to say normally I would feel horrible about this but right now I am starting to think it was the much needed break I was looking for.

Work had me stressed to my max. I was physically and mentally done with training and now I can honestly say I am looking forward to my next workout. I think London was just the break I needed. Hopefully I will feel the same way when I am slugging through the Army Ten Miler on Sunday. EEEK! I think I will just go out to enjoy it!

Monday, September 12, 2011

10 Things I Learned from My 70.3 and This Season

I have learned a lot about my abilities as an athlete and a lot about myself this season. I had a great season! It finished far better than I could have imagined! My triathlon season is over with 1 half iron, 3 sprint triathlons, 1 olympic distance, and a couple OWS races but these are the top 10 things I have learned.

10- I LOVE the sport of triathlon- I have found my new athletic love. I enjoy the competition I enjoy the goals I enjoy the drive and I enjoy the finish! I also have found that I love how accessible the pros are in this sport. I met Cait Snow at Timberman and walked right by Chrissie Wellington setting up her transition. It is amazing how much they are just like other racers on race day and how much they appreciate age groupers.

9- Trying out your gear is key and knowing chafe spots! After spending more than one race nursing back some nasty cherries under my arms from chafe spots I now live by the train in your gear. You can't keep them from happening all the time but it sure helps- I also now put everstride under my biceps and anywhere else I tend to chafe.

8- Wet suit strippers are awesome! As I said in my Timberman Race Report they are the best. No more evident than my sprint this weekend where I wore my wetsuit but had to get myself out of it :( I missed my wet suit strippers.

7- SOCKS (and cut toe nails)!!! I learned my lesson at my first Olympic distance tri that it is worth the couple seconds to put on your socks for longer distance runs. I still have a scar on each ankle from the holes I wore into my feet. I also learned this past weekend the power of trimmed toenails. Even tho it was a short run and I didn't wear socks, I still ended up bloody thanks to a long toenail. PEDICURES are key!

6- I enjoy endurance racing. Honestly I am starting to think fast twitch muscles are just not my thing! I think I need to train more to learn the differences between going all out at a sprint and the speed and endurance for a half iron. But for now I just enjoy the longer stuff.

5- I need to work on my run speed. I am by no means a fast runner. My PR for a 5k is just under 28. I need to work on getting a faster turnover and then work on maintaining that for my runs. I plan to work this one in the off season!

4- I need to work on my bike speed. I am not a fast cyclist. The goal of this season was to make it so that I could do the distance of a half iron. I was no where near the time cut offs but I want to get faster. I am a fast swimmer- I come out of the water at the top of my age group without really having to work it. I want to work the other two parts of the race to bring them up to my swim.

3- I CAN DO IT! and I DID IT! I set my mind early this season for a goal that I didn't know if it was possible. I worked hard to train for it and I DID IT! I learned a hell of a lot about what I CAN DO! I am pretty determined and I will push myself to do it. And know this now DON'T TELL ME I CAN'T! That is what my road ID says and it is what has driven me through a lot of things in life!

2- Fuel/Food. I am apparently a freak of athletic nature. I can and enjoy working out with a full stomach. The only times I have ever had issues with racing nutrition wise- are when I didn't eat ENOUGH! I have never had a race where I said man I shouldn't have fueled that much. I thought that might happen at the half iron especially when my coach warned me about fueling with solid food but I NEED that heavy stomach feeling. I get sick without it! I guess I am just a freak in that way- sok apparently my Dad is the same way.

1- Weight/Body Image. Those of you that know me, know I am not a little girl. I am 5'10" and somewhere in the area of 170lbs. I know I do not look like the women on the cover of triathlete magazine. I also have come to realize that athletes come in many different shapes and sizes. My nutritionist actually made it akin to the dogs of the world they are all different sizes and shapes but they are all dogs. I have noticed that triathletes- mainly females- come in many different sizes even pros. Most are very well built bean poles but some are not. Even the great Macca says he can't race well when he is thin- he actually strikes a balance with his weight to get the best performance.

All that being said I know I may not look like what you think can finish a 70.3 but I know I DID IT and NO ONE can take that away from me! So I may not be a fitness model anytime soon but I think I am okay with that. I would rather have 70.3 Finisher on my resume!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Race Report: Timberman 70.3- My First Half Iron

When this season started I decided to take on the biggest goal I have attempted athletically yet- FINISH a 70.3 Half Ironman. I chose Timberman since it was local. Training became my life outside work and spending time with D. The weekend of my race quickly came and with lots of anxiety, nerves, and excitement we headed to NH. I took Thursday off from work to do final race preparation which included packing and cooking all the food I needed for the weekend. Friday we packed up the truck and headed to NH.

I checked in at the race expo. I was really surprised how small the expo was- check-in, an ironman store, and probably 5 vendors. Got my wrist band, packet, chip and t-shirt then I hit the ironman store. I wanted to get myself some things. I got an awesome shirt and poster from the race that had the typical ironman M-dot with all of the participants names. I also had to get a coffee mug.

I tried to sleep in Saturday but it didn't work out too well. We got up and watched my friends finish the sprint and headed to the expo again. This time I ran into my USS Swim Coach from High School. He was racing too and introduced me to Pro triathlete Cait Snow. She was really sweet and had some great words of encouragement for my first 70.3. I can't thank either of them enough for their comforting and encouraging words!

After racking my bike on Saturday and having my pre made corn pasta dinner, Saturday night I laid out all my gear one more time to be sure I was ready for Sunday. I sat on the floor of the hotel chatting with my mom, dad and D. It was a perfect relaxing night pre race. Alarm was going to go off early so off to bed.

I actually slept! When the alarm went off I went right to work- made my 2 eggs, GF bagel and packed up the rest of my food and drinks for the day. We headed to the parking lot to get a prime spot for transition to open at 5. I set up my transition area met a new friend or 2 and tried as best as I could to stay calm. I knew I needed to eat 2 PB&Js before the start and get my hammer gel in 15 min before my start time.

As I was pulling on my wetsuit and eating my gel we saw my coach and my friend Kelly. Coach had some pointers for the wet suit strippers and just like that I was giving D a kiss and heading for the water.

Now let me tell you... a race plan for just wanting to finish a race is pretty cool. There are no existing marks on the wall its just FINISH being the goal! My plan for the water was to save some energy and not try to have an insane swim split. The bike was to keep in aero as much as I could and to EAT and drink. The run was to just keep a steady pace and keep fueling.

Swim- 36:52 (official split- D said I was outta the water at 32)- I had a good swim. I felt good in the water. It was nice to pass some other colored caps and know I was keeping a good pace.

T1- 3:16- one of my slower T1's- but I wanted to take my time no need to race through it. They had wetsuit strippers this was a first for me. I did my best version of the Night at the Roxbury- you/me- and this guy ripped my wetsuit off pulled me up and sent me flying to the middle of transition area. Let me tell you I LOVE WETSUIT STRIPPERS!

Bike- 3:35 (avg 15.6mph)- I can't complain. I thought I wasn't going to make the bike cut off and I made it by close to 2 hours. The hills were tough but I was so glad I knew the course from riding it with my coach. I stayed in aero as much as I could through the straight a ways and made sure to stay on my fueling plan. I knew when I was getting close to the 1/2 way point and there was a time cut off there of 11:15, I switched my watch to time and realized it was only 10. Holy crap I was 25 miles into this and I was going to make it. I started to cry realizing that swim was done I was going to make the bike cut offs and I was actually going to finish this. Gave myself the pull it together man talk and kept riding. I was starting to have a bit of a sugar rush so I went for a banana at the 3rd aid station and at the 4th I went for a banana and another water bottle. Somehow I had lost one off the back of my bike.

T2- 3:27- yet again slow- the bike from across had fallen off the rack and I couldn't get to my stuff. I worked as best as I could but also didn't want to rush. Somehow I ripped my number- I ALWAYS DO! and headed out on the run high five-ing my family, friends and D as I left.

Run- 2:51:57 (OUCH SO SLOW!) let me just say that little hill coming out of T2 kicked my butt. It took everything I had to get myself running. I gave myself the talk of run and you can walk the aid stations. I grabbed water and coke at the first few and stuck to water or gatorade at the rest. The cold/wet towels and sponges were the best! The run was hilly and to be honest I don't really remember much other than just keep moving. The run was a 2 loop 10k- D had told me to think of it as 4 laps. I was on number 3 when a golf cart pulled up to a girl in front of me to ask what loop she was on- they told her they would let her finish she was on loop 1- SIGH OF RELIEF. I crossed the mat of lap 3 and was heading back to the finish line- I raised my arms and smiled big. The volunteer said "we'll see you next year." I told her we'll see. haha

I got maybe a half mile up the street and a fireman told me they were going to close the course in 30 min. There was a horrible storm coming. My brain raced- 30 min on a good day if I hadn't just done a 1.2mi swim and a 56 mi bike the last 3 miles would be a push in 30 min. Then I convinced myself he was lying to me but I was going to keep moving as best I could in case he was right. Soon a golf cart pulled up next to me, he told me as long as I kept going they were going to keep me out as long as they could. So I pushed- I mean for how I felt at that point I was pushing as hard as I could. I stopped eating since that meant I would slow down. My splits for the 3.272mi were 42:28, 42:57, 45:52 (yuck), 40:37. Can you tell they lit a FIRE under my butt?!

I was within a mile from the finish when some old woman on the sideline goes "don't let the bus catch you." I wanted to PUNCH HER! I have never been so angry at a spectator!

I came toward the finish chute and there was D right at the edge of the road. He ran on the other side of the fence with me the whole way. I cried! I cried hard! Hard enough that I had to tell myself outloud to stop so I would be able to breathe and cross the finish. D cleared a thigh high fence and screamed at the people crossing the finish chute that were in my way. He also screamed my name so the announcer would call me out as I crossed. And I did it I crossed the finish line. With tears streaming down my face I got my medal and my hat.

It was pretty amazing to have my parents there when I crossed and my coach and my friends. My friends even made me a half ironman tiara. The best was to hug D when I crossed. He told me "I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!" All I could say was "I DID IT! I actually DID IT!" I cried so hard while I hugged him I couldn't believe that I actually finished what I started months and months ago!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Race Recap: Not so Fun Last Min. Added Fun Sprint

On Friday D mentioned possibly wanting to do a Sprint Tri in Lowell on Sunday. I figured my coach would veto this assuming my next race was Timberman on the schedule so no need to screw with it. But she said go right ahead- no rest just go out and have fun. I already had an OWS/bike brick on the plan so why not just add a short 5k. All sounded like a good idea.

So I registered Friday afternoon. D decided not to race :( but as usual was an amazing sherpa! Race morning I had my scrambled eggs and we got going out of the house. When we got to Lowell I realized I had left my HRM strap at home and my race belt (whoops). I figured oh well the race is for fun anyways.

Pre race the transition area was a mess. They kept it open while the Olypmic distance racers were going. I listened to pre-race announcements- all they told us were the swim course. No info on the transition, bike, and run- which had a horrible map on line and little to no marking (we will get to more on that later). I did my usual PB&J an hour before start time and a few min before the start had a hammer. Put on my wet suit and stood waiting the start count down.

Swim went really well! I was in the top 10 women out of the water. I did the 1/4 mi swim in 6:08- pretty good day in the water if you ask me. I got out felt pretty good. Moved okay though transition but since I wasn't really mentally prepared to race I didn't mentally prepare for transition. I had planned on testing out the theory of pulling on my new tri top in T1. That took forever it was a tangled mess. I will not be doing that for my 70.3- lesson #1 learned.

I headed out on the bike to the messy area of mount- the cops did a horrible job with traffic om the 4 lane road and the mount line wasn't marked. Again could have been a great help for the pre race announcements! Anyway- I was having a decent bike- I knew most of the course from the oly I had just done in Lowell. The bike went off in an area I didn't know and that is where it fell apart.

I came down off a hill in aero and hit a little bump in the road. Then it happen the dreaded PSFSSSSSSSSSSS! Crap I blew out my front tire. First thoughts this can't be happening to me. I am having a great race no effin way. Well I calmed down popped the wheel off and started attempting to pull the tire out of the rim. The kevlar bead just wouldn't let go. I needed tire levers- I didn't have any. A few people rode by and apologized, a couple asked if I was okay and kept riding even though I said NO. Then came along my savior- just as I was about to put the tire back on and hoof the bike back to transition. I just couldn't bear the thought of my DNF being blamed on a flat. My hands were bleeding from trying to pull off the tire but I wasn't ready to give up. This guy stopped and helped- pulled the tire off put the tube in and inflated my tire. He even stayed behind me for a bit to be sure the tire was okay. I don't think I could have said Thank You enough!

My bike took forever- I think it really took about 42 min to do the 11 mi taking out the time to change the tire. Official results 1:11- YOUCH! Lesson #2- I need tire levers and another change a flat class or 2!

I put my head down and just wanted to finish. I took t2 as it came. Did what I could. And headed out for 5k when really I just wanted to stop. My fueling was thrown all off my the tire problem and I just wanted to be done! But- I put my head down and got the task done. The run course had little to no marking and since I was so far in the end I had really no one to follow. I made my guesses on the course based on the little map I had seen on line. Another great pre race announcement where the run course is and where is the turn around.

Like I said I had a tough time with fueling and t2. I forgot to grab any fuel for the run and of course the run course had no aid station until the turn around. Lesson #3- continue fueling even through hiccups. I made it to the first aid station and grabbed 2 waters. I had no idea it was the turn around until I saw a hand written sign and the volunteer told me. Another good to know from a pre race announcement!

I trudged through the second half of the run. Made sure to try to keep it together for the race photographer. God I can't imagine how bad that pic is!? Surely a put your head down and get through this! I finished the run in 32:24- not great but I just wanted to finish.

According to the race results- I raced Athena for this race- I was the 1st in the Athenas out of the water, 5th out of 5 on the bike (damn flat), and 2nd best run time. Man if I could take that flat back.

I am really just trying to see it all as a learning experience. I am really hoping it took my bad racing juju out of me before Timberman. Though the competitive part of me is crushed! I know it was just a fun last minute add but I had really hoped for decent results. Again- learning experience. I keep telling myself- hoping soon I will fully believe it.

My hands are finally starting to recover from the cuts caused by the flat tire and I definitely learned lesson #4- it is time for a small first aid kit to be kept in my tri bag. I could have used a way to wash them out and bandage them before the hour long ride home. So as for the other lesson's learned #1- I will wear my tri top under my wetsuit for Timberman, #2- already had another flat class and added tire levers to my saddle bag need another lesson or 2 in the coming weeks, #3- FUEL, FUEL, FUEL- I may need to put that on my handlebars!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mill City Olympic Tri Race Recap

Couple things- this post is more for me to get everything out of my head from this race in prep for Timberman and this was my FIRST Olympic distance race. Saturday did packet pickup and some recon- swam a bit in the river and did a bike on the run course (ended up doing 6.86 mi and avg pace of 15.5mph). Saturday nights dinner was corn pasta w a meat/tomato sauce and peas. I made sure to drink a big gatorade on Saturday knowing Sunday would be hot! Got to bed around 11- alarm set for 4:45.

Got up made breakfast- 3 eggs scrambled GF bagel with cream cheese and started sipping on a gatorade and seltzer water. I had 2 endurolytes. Made a PB and J on GF bread to eat later. Left the house around 5:30- finishing my bagel on the way.

Arrived on site around 6:30. Set my transition area- towel with running shoes and visor on top, cycling shoes with race belt and number, gps on top. Helmet, sunglasses and headband on aero bars. Food in bento box- 1pkg gu chomps, 1pkg margarita blocks, 1 odwalla bar (cut in half). 2 bottles on the bike 1 gatorade, 1 water. 1 sm water bottle on towel and extra fuel (margarita blocks and gu's).

Hour pre race ate PB and J finished my gatorade. After eating I put on my wet suit and got ready to hop in the water for a little- just to get wet. Ate a hammer gel approx 15 min before the race start time. Listen to pre race announcements and I was in the first wave.

.9 mi swim- 31:31- There was a strong current for the first portion then the current pushes you back for the second half. About the same time I had with my last swim at Merrimack River. Not a super fast swim but good pace. Wore my wet suit for another race with it. Made sure to kick and worked on sighting. Had trouble sighting on the way back with the sun in my face- wore my mirrored goggles but it was just super sunny.

t1- it is a long run across a 4 lane road to transition got my wet suit off no problem and was able to toss my goggles and cap to D. Got myself mentally prepared for t1 while in the water- bondi band, sunglasses, helmet, watch, race belt, shoes. I should have turned on my garmin a bit earlier in the transition so it was a bit more accurate. D reminded me to take it slow and catch my breath so I was sure to take a sip of water.

26 mi bike- 1:29:24 w transition- got on and immediately ate 1/2 odwalla bar. I knew I was going to crave fuel soon. Once I got in a rhythm and got my heart rate down a bit I could eat the other half. I worked on the gatorade first. At a half hour on the bike I was sure to have my first half of the margarita block sleeve. I continued to sip on the gatorade and was sure to finish it by an hour into the bike. At an hour on the bike- I had 1/2 the pkg of gu chomps. At an hour in I looked down at my watch and was happy to see over the hour I had avg'd 17.5 mph. Once the gatorade was gone I worked on the water bottle- not sure how much water I got in for the 1/2 hour I had left on the bike- I think about half. I ate the other half of the margarita blocks as I came close to the transition to finish off the pkg. Put the other half chomp package in the pocket in the back of my suit. Coming into transition I dropped into an easy gear to prep my legs for the run.

t2- didn't think about this one as much before (which I need to do). Got everything off okay. Put my visor on and slid on my shoes. Took another sip of water. As I went thru transition I could feel the chafe on the inside of my arms from the long ride in aero and rubbing against me. But nothing I could do now just had to get thru the run. Grabbed the other package of chomps for the run just in case.

10k run- 1:09:16 with transition- headed out of transition and my reaction is to usually push hard thru the jelly leg feeling then settle into a pace. I started out with a 8:30 pace then slowed to around 10 for the first mile. At the 1/2 pkg of gu chomps in the first 1/2 mi to continue the fueling. Stashed the other package in the pocket. At the first water stop- 1 mi- grabbed a water skipped the ice. Second water stop was just before 3 mi. Grabbed a water and an ice package. The ice felt great as I stuffed it in the front and lower back of my suit. Next water stop was just after 3 mi. Grabbed a gatorade. Once the ice melted I poured it over my head which helped me cool down. Just before I hit mile 4 I started to feel my feet chafing. Left foot felt like a blister in the arch and right foot was a rub on the heal which already felt cut wide open. I slowed after the water stop around 4 after taking on water and ice again. Slid my shoe off to see if maybe if I put my foot back in it would help. My feet continued to hurt thru mile 4- again I put the ice on my lower back and in the front of my suit and dumped it over my head when it had melted. At the sign for mile 5 I told myself I could tell my body to shut up for a mile. So I grabbed a water and an ice bag again. This time I figured out how to get the ice just over my QL on my R hip. I got it completely numb then dumped the water over my head. The last mile my feet hurt really bad- but I was close to finishing and I just wanted to be done. The heat was pretty bad and the run course was mostly in the sun. The ice bags really helped. And I need to coat both my cycling shoes and my run shoes in anti-chafe everstride. Run splits 10:17, 10:36, 11:17, 11:17, 12:21, 11:45, 8:45. As you can see it was about mi 4 when my feet really started to bother me. When I finished I had D remove my shoes immediately. My feet were so swollen even as loose as they were they were hard to get off. My rings wouldn't pull off my fingers and they are usually so loose they spin around. I am not really sure why I am swelling. I felt pretty good- my nutrition plan seemed to work fine. I really need to figure this out it has plagued me off and on throughout my training.

Overall finish time 3:10. I was happy that my nutrition plan had worked and I wasn't hungry at any point nor did I throw up. I need to consider socks at least on the run if not for both the ride and the run. I think if I hadn't had the issues with my feet the run time would have been a lot better. I had a solid swim- given the current. I am very happy with the improvements to my biking speed- I figure I avg'd just under 18mph (taking out time for transition from my bike/t1 time). My sprint tri in May my avg pace on the bike was 14.73mph so that is a big improvement- due both to aero bars and training. I think my run could have been faster- the chafe really got to me and the heat. The last mile and a half it took a lot mentally to keep running- and to not just walk.

This morning I realized this was the longest (time) race I have done yet. It left me feeling good for Timberman. I know it isn't going to be easy but I still have about 5 wks left to train. I think given the improvements I have been making I will be ready to go. This Friday I am riding the Timberman course with my coach and that will only help me feel more prepared!