Egg Hunt Tri Wrap Up (spoiler alert: no eggs)

ahhhhh….yes…..an actual Triathlon!!! It’s been ages!! I haven’t raced since August 2017 to be (semi) exact. Why not? well…Irma cancelled 2 races outright, I didn’t evacuate with my bike so was nowhere near ready for a 3rd and then the 4th was cancelled as the race was about to start due to some crazy weather rolling in. Needless to say, I have missed me some racing! Was about to take to the streets with an old medal and just start asking random strangers to put it around my neck. Needless to say, I was excited to race the Egg Hunt!

kj kit

Glad Kelly Jane realized here kit was on backwards before we got to the start!! 🙂

I was a little nervous about the race. I wasn’t exactly feeling in tippy toppy shape. Also, this was my first Multirace event as a Multirace Ambassador. Multirace. (I’m not sure how many times I’m contractually obligated to say Multirace. har har. Multirace). I wanted to make a good impression and not embarrass them in their selection of moi. But I was racing no matter what!

Race day was coolish (for South Florida). Luckily it was a Duathlon and Sprint so we didn’t have to wait around for 6 hours after transition closed to start the race. And at only around 225 racers, it was a nice small crowd with a quick start. It was billed as a good thing that it was a lake swim. Here’s the thing. I HATE swimming in lakes!! For some of the following reasons:

  1. I can’t see the bottom. So obviously the snakes will get me.
  2. you have to wade through the soggy grass to get in. Probably disturbing the snakes.
  3. there is no salt water for buoyancy. And if you’re someone that say, ate there way through a hurricane evacuation and never stopped so your wetsuit doesn’t fit, u gonna sink.
  4. snakes
  5. Given that most people fear the ocean, there will likely be fewer panicking people for me to pass (and I may be one of the panicking people)
  6. snakes. Ok. I realize that is a silly fear. it’s bred from summer camp when we swam in a lake where there was a too healthy population of water moccasins (snakes). Most people at the start were worried about gators. I was like “sweet, they’ll eat the snakes”
  7. there is no 7. I can’t figure out how to not automatically continue this list when I hit the return key. son of a

there we go! Where was I? oh yeah, at the start where I was realizing that THIS SWIM WAS LONGER THAN THEY SAID!!! MAN! I hate that. I know it was only a 440 yard swim and I certainly can swim a mile (in just a shade under an entire day. i kid. sort of), it’s just argh, I hate it when it’s clearly longer. Like I don’t have enough to worry about with the sinking and avoiding the snake eating gators.

egg hunt swim

What? I’m not last???? Is there a snake behind me?

 

I was definitely a little freaked out during that swim. I kept waiting for something to grab me. I should’ve taken the gillyweed and grown some gills. Halfway through I just calmed down and enjoyed my glimpses of the sunrise (except for when I got all tangled up in the buoy line. boy did they put that anchor on the wrong side judging from all the people that got clotheslined). 10 hours later  In no time at all, with all the grace of a drunken sumo wrestler on sand, I exited the water.

 

Off to T1, no major hiccups there except for the fact that I am NEVER a picture of grace running (ok, lurching) into T1. I see you. I see you athletes loping like gazelles out of the water. I see you and I don’t like you. There, I said it!

It was time for the pancake flat bike course! time to fly! Like a twin engine prop plane encountering turbulence, I headed out onto the bike course. And it was flat! What a blessed relief to do a race in South Florida and not have to climb bridges that are built tall enough for a cruise ship to go under! I don’t know why I wasn’t faster.

egg hunt bike

so happy before the spill. and not at all aero

I really did push it. Especially since I have finally mastered the art of pedaling while drinking Rocket Fuel (BASE performance, here’s your mention!). Yes, you read that correctly. For the past 5 years or so I have been completely unable to pedal and drink water at the same time. But I’m good now! (insert triumphant Breaking Away montage here). Though I wasn’t getting the speed I thought I would, I was at a pretty good clip when I came around the corner and the “dismount here” sign snuck up on me. Another athlete got surprised too and we both came in a little hot. I unclipped one side as I usually do then swerved to avoid him and yup, down I went while still clipped in on the other side. Crashing in the dismount area is enough embarrassment but thankfully, there were plenty of people to witness it! thank goodness!! The bike is ok! (I know you were wondering. New saddle, new bar tape). When I fell I twisted so the bike wouldn’t really hit the ground. Cheaper to fix a broken bone than my bike?  I was pretty much ok. some road rash on my left leg and the next day would realize that the pain in my back was bruised ribs.

egg hunt run

dammit! not done yet! my boo boo hurts

Being super mature, I headed into T2 all kinds of crazy, irrational mad. I did not want to continue. Racing was stupid. I saw my friend KJ while I racked my poor bike. She was done! what? I suck. I’m so slow. I’m bleeding and embarrassed. She encouraged me to go on so I did. It was a two loop run. I told myself I’d just do the first loop and then quit. We all know that once you go, you go. I just plugged along, ignoring the sharp pain in my leg every time I ran. I did not run as much as I wanted to, but I ran more than I thought I would after the (low speed) crash. I only wanted to quit like 5 or 6 times on that first loop, lol.

Slightly (understatement) mortifying moment when I neared the finish after the first loop and everyone was like “YEAH! YOU DID IT!” and I was like “no! one more loop!” and then they awkwardly clapped. But around again I went. It was a really pretty course. Not shaded (you’re a liar, Kaspar!), but I’m pretty used to the heat.

egg hunt finish

YAAAY!

And finally, finally, finally, there it was. The glorious finish chute. There really isn’t anything like coming down that chute. And I was done. My first race in months and I only embarrassed myself a little. I knew that if I finished, I was on the podium. There were only 3 in my Athena group. Some (a certain Pathetic group) would say that my 3rd place means nothing. But it meant a TON to me! And I can’t wait to race again!! Thanks for joining me Kelly Jane!!

egg hunt podium

yaaay!! 3rd place!

 

 

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Happy New Year!! Wait…what?

I, like a lot of people had grand plans for 2018 starting on Jan 1. EAT CLEAN! TRAIN DIRTY! CLEAN HOUSE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY! NEW YEAR NEW ME!

yeahhhhhh….how’s that working out? turns out, not so well.

gym meme

mmm…are my earrings cherry flavored? @classicalartmemes

Here it is March 1st and I’m way below my own expectations as to how I thought this year would start. What follows is a thought by thought breakdown of everything I’ve failed at this year.

KIDDING!
Who wants to read all of that? And no thanks, I have zero plans of reliving and beating myself up. ugh. Time for another  a new start. I am just gonna try to let that sh*t go.

I’ve spent the last few weeks feeling disappointed in myself and others. and it has done me zero good. Instead of being Uncle Fester hanging out with his friend Petty Officer Tom Petty, I’m going to really try to just acknowledge the situation and then move on.

I can start over any day I want. And that day is today. And if I stumble. Whelp, than the next day is a new start.

I’ve got my first race in MONTHS coming up. I’m so excited. and I’m also not close to ready for a variety of excuses reasons.

run meme

How I feel right now. But so what? I’ll still have fun! @classicalartmemes

But who cares?! I have nobody to compete against except for myself. I’m going to go into this race remembering why I love the sport of Triathlon so much. It’ll be a great weekend of fun with friend for Las Olas on 3/11 and I cannot wait!

I’ve got a bunch of races coming up this year that I’m pretty pumped about. I just need to get the heck out of my head and just get out there. When I’m overwhelmed, I tend to just stop. You’ve heard of Fight or Flight? well, I just STOP. It’s not at all productive.

Let’s see if this old dog can learn some new tricks.

Happy March 1st everybody!

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Onward in Havana

Long time, no blog. oopsy. I’ve had some insane writer’s block. Plus I wasn’t sure what to write about. To say that 2016 was a disappointing race year to me is an understatement. It’s like saying “Trump’s tweets are a tiny bit of crazy”. I started 2016 with a DNS (did not start) at HITS Naples due to injury. My big Olympic Tri moment in Boston was over with the swim and some hypothermia (sweet!), then I ended 2016 with a DNS at TriKW (bronchitis).

To sum up: “blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine” Oy. Now you know why I’ve barely written anything in the last few months. Mentally and physically, I was DONE with triathlon. Was sick of training, sick of the routine, sick of not trying, good lord, I’m whining again. Apologies.

Basically going into Havana Tri last weekend I hadn’t raced since September 2016 (my beloved Escape to Miami). I was nervous as hell. Not only haven’t I raced in awhile, but I was racing in a foreign country. There were many logistical things that could (and did) go wrong. But that weirdly took the pressure off the race. I was heading to Havana to experience some of Cuba and whatever happened with the race, happened. whatevs!

The biggest worry about heading over to this race was getting the dang bikes there. It was such a hassle to figure out the bags and the flights and the…zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Yeah, was gonna go into details about the whole race, but gawd. How boring. Here’s what really stood out to me about the race. It was the most fun I have ever had from start to finish. Why? It’s probably many different things. Not to get all Stuart Smalley but it was pretty much the first race I ever did where I felt like I deserved to race. What?! You see, the mental game is always a struggle. For me, it’s the fact that I’m always last. I am always so slow and (so far) I always have to walk a good portion of the run. I always felt like a phony. I would say the most awful things to myself throughout the entire race. Like if I tried too hard than people would be like “look at her, like she shouldn’t even be out here, why is she pushing it” (which people have actually said to me in some form or another on the course). But this time was different. I was full of self love (relax pervert, I mean mentally). I was giving myself daily affirmations that would make Oprah be like “PREACH”. How did I flip this around?

Back in November, I reapplied to be on the BASE Performance Race Team. I wasn’t sure if I’d be accepted nor was I sure that I would accept. This team is chock FULL of Ironman finishers and triathlon rock stars. How would a (slow) Sprinter like me be worthy? But I got on again. And when I expressed shock and hesitation, the CEO and dudes in charge very vocally gave me their support. And have continued to do so.

The other thing? It was a book. Diana Nyad’s “Find a Way”. I was lucky enough to see her come ashore in Key West after her historic swim. When I saw this book, I had to read it. I started it in the airport on our way to Cuba and finished it the night before the race. I couldn’t put it down. One word of hers kept me going through the race. Whenever I started to flail, I just told myself “Onward”.  So when we had to swim 200 yards to the start and swim in a not so clean canal? “onward”. When I had to do the 6 miles of climbing in my big ring because my gears were broken? “onward” (ok, maybe some four letter words in there too) and when it was hot as hell during the run and I was DONE? “onward”.  When I was tired and done drinking that night in Old Havana? “on-hiccup-ward”.   And onward I went.

I managed to PR on the swim and the run for this race by a lot (when compared with the same distance of TriKW. Ok, you can never compare like that. Yet we do).

IMG_6929 2

FINISHER

And I missed the total PR by only a couple of minutes thanks to me stopping during the bike to see if I could fix my bike. Which was insane of me considering I have absolutely zero mechanical skills.

This race was fantastic! I came out of it feeling great and am trying to build upon it so that I can go into SoBe Tri on April 2nd and finally, finally, make that damn race my bitch once and for all.

photos by Kathleen O’Dowd kathleenodowd.wordpress.com

IMG_6928

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Afraid? Do it anyway!

My childhood dream was to be on Saturday Night Live. I heard you needed 3 characters to try out so I constantly invented them. I loved going to stand up comedy clubs, I love funny movies and I love to make my friends laugh.

When a good friend of mine and her boyfriend decided to bring comedy to Key West, I thought “ok, here’s my chance”. Well, it took me 2 months to get up the courage. I’m very comfortable on stage. I have emceed various events for work and fundraisers. I was just worried about being funny “on demand”. Last week I prepared 3-5 minutes of material. Well, “prepared” is a bit of a stretch. I prepared an opening and thought of things I thought would work. I made an index card of words that would prompt me to remember different bits and off I went! I loved it! I plan on doing it again and really hope I always play to an audience made up of like 80% people I know 🙂

Here’s the video. Moral of the story? it’s in the title above. Afraid? do it anyway!!! (kind of my triathlon mantra)

stand up comedy

 

enjoy! or, not. CAUTION!! LOTS OF CURSES! Apparently I swear like a sailor when nervous.

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Time to Roar

These times that we’re living in are causing me some emotional distress. The treatment of women is getting worse rather than getting better. If a woman is sexually assaulted, she is victim shamed. If a woman is fat, she is fat shamed. If you’re “pretty”, you’re stupid. Women are being told to “smile”. Powerful women are being told that they dress too nicely or not feminine enough. And the wage gap! Oh the infuriating wage gap. We also have the most powerful male political figure completely degrading women while those that support him (men and women) justify it as acceptable because it’s just “talk”. As if what you say to people and how you treat them doesn’t matter deeply.

 

If you’ve read this blog before, you know I’ve had to deal with a lot of fat shaming. And there are some who have let me know that I’ve brought it on myself because I “let” my body continue to be overweight (as if it’s not something I struggle with, to some degree 24/7/365). I’m gonna go ahead and assume those folks no longer read my words and that’s fine. Part of what makes America (already) great is the fact that people can choose to read or not read what they want. Unless you’re in 8th grade and dammit, you have to read Johnny Tremaine no matter how badly it bores you to tears.

 

And the lovely fat shaming doesn’t just happen to me who is obviously obese. A good friend of mine, who is one of the most physically fit people I know (I can feel her shaking her head as she reads this. STOP IT) got fat shamed by her DOCTOR. That’s right. The person who is supposed to be looking out for her physical and emotional wellbeing. She has run like 6 marathons for f’s sake and works out like a fiend. Does she fit the stereotype of a whippet like runner? Nope. But guess what? She can out run most people including that damn doctor. And she’s beautiful inside and out.

 

I belong to a couple of private triathlon Facebook groups. One is for Athena athletes past and present. There are stories like the one above on there EVERY SINGLE DAY. The leader of the group is an amazing athlete. She lost 100 lbs and just the other day someone in her life gave her a hard time about what she USED TO LOOK LIKE. Totally ignoring how far she’s come and the badass athlete she is (and was!). The other Private groups have women and men alike shaming the Athena and Clydesdale athletes for competing in what others think is an easier category at races. Ummmmm…excuse me, we do THE EXACT SAME RACE. And on and on and on….

 

I was raised by an incredibly strong and capable Mom. And my male role model was (is) my Dad who always believes in my 100%. I was always brought up to believe that I could do anything I wanted. There were no specific gender rules to follow. I was a tomboy through and through. I grew up in a neighborhood where for the most part, girls and boys played on equal footing. I was the only girl on my Little League team, I played basketball, I swam, I had friends that were boys and friends that were girls. Sure, I had Barbies and liked to wear pink and had crushes on boys and experimented with makeup and hair. But I was never treated like I was “less than” because I was a girl. I’m so grateful for all of that.

I was also physically, emotionally and sexually abused as a child by a close family member from the ages of 6-13 (estimated ages. I can’t really remember the start or end and I’m told that’s common for the level of abuse). I seriously contemplated suicide on more than one occasion. I essentially split into two different people. One was a confident person who had zero problems making and keeping friends. I excelled in school and sports. I joined any club that would have me after school. Anything to avoid going home. I had (have) a great relationship with my parents and never really majorly rebelled (though they’ll tell you that me registering as a Democrat broke their hearts) In a sense, the abuse fostered some of my best traits. The other person was a terrified child that was afraid to be alone in the house and afraid to go to sleep. This manifests itself even today. I can’t sleep if I can’t be aware of everything going on in my apartment. (I could never live in a house by myself) All doors open. And at least some ambient light to see what’s what. Anyone that shares a hotel room with me knows that I can’t sleep closest to the door (though they would also share that my snoring will keep any attacker far, far away).

 

I also gained a crap ton of weight when I was younger as a result. I wanted the insulation to protect me. I also got myself a super cool emotional eating habit. Sweet! Now, this abuse took place like 35 years ago (oy, I’m old). I’m not using it as an excuse by any means to justify my obesity. That is merely a result of the coping mechanism to stress and emotion that I’ve honed so well over the years. These patterns take a long time to break. I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten way better at it and improving all the time. I tell you this, dear reader, not to try to garner sympathy, more just so you know where I’m coming from!

 

It is so easy for us to believe the worst about ourselves. It makes zero difference that my friend’s doctor is a flipping idiot, it makes no difference that my abuser had severe mental health issues (doi), it makes no difference what other people say, right? Well, it does. The credibility of the person that make a ridiculous statement like “how are you so fat?” or “you’re not going to catch a man if you like that” or “you’re lucky you have a pretty face” and on and on and on…. Doesn’t matter at all. When you hear your worst fears about yourself or situation parroted back to you by someone, it is truly devastating. It’s very hard to get off the mat after it happens. But we do. We soldier on and hopefully the words don’t keep chipping away at us.

 

It’s hard not to let our own voices stop or stall us on our journeys. Running. Oh god, the running. Why can’t I do it? Well, I can do it. I do, do it (heh, do do). I just don’t run as fast or as far as I think I should be able to at this point. Why is that? Well, maybe I’m just slow to improve? Or maybe (more likely) is I let the voices in my head tell me that I can’t do it. It’s all the people that have told me I can’t. And the loudest voice is my own. I know so many people that do this too. I’ve let this voice win all year this year and it aggravates the piss out of me! Even when I’m doing well in a race, I back off. Like I don’t want people watching to think that I think I deserve to finish the race. What in the actual F is that?! I mean, I’ve encountered some vocal haters on the course and in training but really, I have so many people (friends and strangers) rooting for me. Why is it so easy to believe the bad voices in your head? I have another friend who is just an amazing mom to two girls. She’s also a great triathlete. She spends a lot of time training and racing and CONSTANTLY beats herself up for spending time away from her girls. Instead of focusing on what a positive role model to them she is! Makes me crazy. Another friend is crazy Crossfit strong and still picks apart her body at times.

 

And I could go on and on and on…..What’s the point of all this? I don’t know. Maybe just to let any person reading this that gets plagued with self doubt know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!! And also maybe to let people that say shitty things to women about their appearance or perceived athletic ability to STOP IT!!! Words do, in fact, hurt. A lot. You ain’t saying anything that a woman hasn’t already told herself. Don’t reinforce it.

 

Now let’s get off the couch and out there everyone and KICK SOME ASS!

 

<climbs off soapbox>

baaHalf

I am Super Runner! (just a slow one 🙂

 

 

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Local Races Rule!

We have a little race here in Key West that happens twice a year. It’s the FKCC Sprint Tri and it takes place every September and March. It’s (allegedly) a 600 yard swim (I got 440 on my watch this year), a 10 mile bike (8.6) and a 5k (close!). You get the point. But I LOVE this race. For many of us here on the Rock, this race was our introduction to Triathlon.

Though it was my first full Sprint 4 years ago, I had done it as a relay twice prior. And oh my god. Was I terrified. I still get nervous, but nothing like the first couple of times. I mean, race day is a bit like having the flu isn’t it? The night before the race is in bed early, tossing and turning, fitfully sleeping. Then up in the dark, fumbling your way to the bathroom feeling nauseated and sweating. You try to take in some food but really, solid food just makes you more nauseated. And you basically spend some hours living off of just electrolytes. You hope you’ll make it to the end but you’re afraid it won’t ever end. But, you finish! Sweaty, salty and happy to have survived! If you’re me, you probably had one last spectacular vom at some point during the run.

With a couple dozen Sprints under my belt, my pre race/race feeling is less horrific bout of flu and more like slight motion sickness (excited to be on the water! but a little nauseated). And though my nutrition is pretty on point, I occasionally have some GI issues (usually right in front of a friend. sorry Josh).

We just had the FKCC Sprint last weekend. It was super fun. I love racing with all my friends. It’s usually a pretty small field and I like it like that. It makes it way less intimidating for newbies. For the most part, everyone has a “let’s just go have fun attitude”. Sure, there’s some competition. But it’s mostly friendly and for pride. For awhile though, it wasn’t very fun. There are quite a few very talented triathletes on our island that would talk down about the race for a couple of years. They would , loudly, make sure everyone knew that it was “just” a training day for them. They’d want everyone to be aware that after the race, they were still going to go out and get their 50 mile bike in. They would definitely mock the “everyone gets a trophy” (even tho some don’t) aspect of this race. It was super disheartening for those of us who felt like this was an Ironman. We trained and pushed and this was (is) the extent of the distance we could do. It turned off newbie to the race, it caused a whole lot of discontent among the community. I have to say though, that in the past few months, that attitude has shifted. And I’m proud of our amazing Triathletes for that. It’s super important for all triathletes, no matter the skill level to go out and support the local race. Whether you race it with grace or you volunteer your time. These local races build our sport!!!

I no longer stand on the dock crying at the FKCC Sprint like I did that first time. But you better believe that I remember that feeling! Remember that the next time you do a “little local race”. Somebody next to you is probably a first timer and is fighting back the tears and nerves. All it takes is some encouragement and a smile and you can be the difference in the race for them! I can’t wait for the next FKCC Sprint!

(and I get down off my soapbox…)

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a Tri-ing memory

ahhh…Facebook memories. You are a fickle, bipolar Son of a Nutcracker. Sometimes it’s all “Look! look what fun you had!” or “Look! Look at that trip you went on”. And other times it’s “Look! you are boring as F! Nobody, and I mean, NOBODY gives the tiniest rat’s ass about that show, game, ocean smell, pasta, workout, fricken tree that you felt the need to share with the people that haven’t unfollowed you yet”.

And then today there was this:

img_4187

so proud, so hopeful!

This was 4 years ago today. My first Triathlon. I had done a couple of relays but this was the first time I did all 3 events. For the most part, the race was a pretty horrible experience. (You can get bored all over again read all about it here https://diaryofafathlete.com/2012/10/09/hello-world/

But I have never felt more accomplished about anything than when I finished that race. And I wanted to feel that again and again. That’s why I keep going back for more.

I had super high expectations back then after finishing that race. I figured within a year I would: write an award winning blog about how I lost weight and became the fittest me ever, get a book deal, go on Ellen, get sponsors, design a workout line for plus sized gals, complete an Ironman and run the Boston Marathon. yeah……like none of that happened in a year or even 4 years later.

What has happened? Lots of lows, lots of highs and lots and lots of sweat. I am way fitter! Though the weight part has definitely been a struggle (how can something so high make me feel so low? ba dum, dum). The training has been predictably up and down. It’ll be weeks and weeks of motivation and breakthroughs and then a few days (weeks) of self doubt, terrible self talk and zero motivation. I am nowhere close to running the Boston Marathon or doing an Ironman. Running has been such a brutal mental struggle for me. I know I can do it! I just can’t seem to shut myself up and just run! I’ve made improvements big and small in my swim and bike. My body image has vastly improved. You can’t wear this much spandex in public and continue to give many F’s about what it looks like. My bank account has been seriously depleted. But I’ve had a ton of fun on race road trips! I’ve made some really close friends and made stronger bonds with old friends. And I’ve learned to manage my expectations a bit. I’ve done about 20-something Sprint Triathlons. I’ve attempted 1 Olympic and crawled my way through a Half Marathon. I’m usually towards the back of the pack but my only goal is usually just to finish a tiny bit faster than last time.  I still have dreams of becoming an Ironman and running Boston. It’s just taking a wee bit longer than I thought. But I’ll get there! Eventually. And I’ll be rocking the spandex.

 

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