Eye of the ummmm…kitten

South Beach Triathlon 2016

What can I say? <spoiler alert> I did it! I finished it! I swam real nice (and s.l.o.w.), I KILLED those bridges, I ran like a….like a…… a little bit like a…. ok. I walked. I walked like a…I don’t know what. Like a zombie? I did run a bit and when I ran, I ran like a hippo. That just finished eating. and was slightly wounded. But dammit, I finished.

Let’s start at the at the beginning, shall we?

Daylight broke over the beautiful vista of azure colored waters stretching endlessly in front of me as I stood at the swim start contemplating all of life’s mysteries and glories.
Just kidding. I don’t write like that! It’s far too exhausting and would require me to actually go back and read what I wrote and edit and stuff. Not for me! Most of the time at the swim start I’m thinking any or all of the following: a)Do I have enough time to vomit again b)no way is that girl an Athena c)I’d give ANYTHING to look like her-anything that didn’t require much time or effort d)that is a LOT of people getting rescued e)I have a wedgie and then in a mini, wavering inside my head voice: f)I’ve got this.

Ok, now we’ll start at the beginning. The very beginning of this race was approximately 5 minutes after my DNF from last year. Recap last year: nerves, food poisoning, self doubt, severe dehydration, swim!, medical tent, attempt at mounting bike I couldn’t really see and lastly DNF.

The very next day when registration opened up, I signed up and booked my hotel room (holla Bentley South Beach!). The rest of race season last year and training for this year, SoBe Tri 2016 was always in the back or front of my mind. Bridges, Bridges, Bridges went my brain for nearly a year. My coach Liz (Little Butt Fierce) Love and I planned everything pretty much around me finishing the race this year. What seems to fell me with this dang race are the bridges. Living on a flat little island with one small bridge doesn’t really build the best foundation for the mammoth bridges in South Miami. But I hit my trainer, I biked on windy days, I took spin classes. By the time race day came, weirdly, I felt the most confident in the bike portion. I know! Weird! I worked on my swim stroke to try to pick up speed. I worked on that god forsaken run. As I headed up to the race, I was excited! I really felt more ready than I had for any race previously. The only goal I had was to finish. Sure, it’d be nice to do better (MUCH better truthfully) than the other time I finished SoBe. But really, I just wanted to finish no matter how long it took. Amazing feeling to rid yourself of any time constraints and just concentrate on finishing. It’s how I was for my first few races before I started getting frustrated that I never saw huge improvements in my times. There’s a lesson in there for sure.

Everything leading up to the start was pretty uneventful overall. My friend Brandon and I went to packet pickup and other than the person handing me my stuff being absolutely SHOCKED that it wasn’t my first Triathlon, it was fun seeing other athletes, getting my bike envy on and looking at all the goodies I didn’t need to buy at the expo. We had an early dinner and then got our stuff ready for race day. We were both pretty relaxed and loose. It’s absolutely invaluable to have for me to have the company of a fellow racer that can joke around and is laid back about stuff (thanks Papi!) I went to bed and fell asleep quickly. Didn’t get the greatest night sleep ever but I’m not sure any racer does? I woke up like every hour on the hour. The hotel was right across the street from transition (yaay!) but also right in the thick of the peak season, South Beach action (boo for racing. great for partying though). Every time I woke up I heard people whooping it up. Luckily, I always fell back asleep right away. My alarm went off and I was immediately wide awake and went about getting ready. Listened to music, choked down some breakfast, lubed all the relevant places and we walked across the street to the race.

One of the things that brings me back to this race (other than the Unfinished Business theme) every year is the size of the race and the energy. Though I enjoy our small local races, it’s hard not to get amped up when there are around 2000 racers getting ready to tackle a course. It’s electric! (boogie woogie woogie). I’m not one of those people that spends HOURS setting up their transition area. It’s the one part I’m super efficient at. I make a list on my phone a day or two before and eliminate at least that part of race day stress. I chatted with the other Athenas, tried to chill out a bit and then walked down to the swim start. There are real bathrooms over at the swim start so I was excited not to have to be in a dark port-a-potty, barefoot, trying not to vom over the smell. One problem, THEY NEVER OPENED THE BATHROOMS!!!! So there we were, a whole lot of triathletes all peeing in the water. oh well. At least I didn’t have to run back to the transition loos to poo (poet alert!)

I warmed up a bit and was heading to my designated corral when, yup, had to vomit. Just a little though and off to the start I went. The conditions were definitely the calmest I had ever experienced with this race. There were thunderstorms threatening all morning but thankfully didn’t happen. I was glad it was overcast. There was a bit of a current which was challenging but definitely pretty good conditions overall. I was swimming along calmly and doing pretty well (for me. can we just note that from here on out, it’s always good/decent/pretty well “for me”. I know I’m not Rinny). With the outgoing tide, it was easy to get pushed a bit further out so I was sighting probably more than I should’ve been. This helped me spot all the jerky people cutting the turn buoy. Like what in the actual F? DON’T CUT BUOYS!!! It’s not fair to those of us that don’t CHEAT!!!! ok. I’m calm now. I wish the lifeguard on the paddle board was better at sighting so he didn’t put himself where I swam right into him. When I made the turn and started swimming for the exit. I was still a good 100 yards out and the life guard (same one that I ran into) very helpfully started screaming at me to stand up. I’ve always been taught to keep swimming as far as you can until your scraping the bottom. And that was a ways away. He was so insistent that I actually did stand. BIG mistake. Way too far out. In fact, as often is the case with the ocean, it got deeper again closer to shore. I had mistakenly taken my goggles off so couldn’t put my face in the water. I took my goggles off because the left one was filled with water and I couldn’t see. My eye would remain red and angry for several days. I hit the beach and a volunteer said “good job! you made it! all easy stuff from here”. He was so nice and trying to be encouraging. I said “that was my best leg” and kind of maniacally laughed. I headed for transition. That was in like Ft Lauderdale. Since there was no shuttle bus, I hoofed it to T1.

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hooray! my best leg behind me! sigh.

I got on my bike and took off like a shot!! not really. I always have his weird panicky moment when I first mount my bike where I can’t clip in. It’s like it’s the first time I’ve ever done it. Every time. Actually, I’m pretty sure I clipped in better the first time that I ever tried it. I calmed myself down and got on with it. There’s a short, slightly steep bridge that I hit pretty quickly that I did just fine with. I knew I had a couple of miles til I hit the GIANT bridge so I concentrated on hydrating with my BASE Rocket Fuel (aminos, hydro and salt) and going as fast as I could as I knew I’d lose time climbing. Little did I know how much true that would be. (oooh…foreshadowing!). I seemed to have solved my GI race issues. I just do liquids. I use BASE products and some Skratch Labs. I keep some blocks on my bike and my run belt in case I need some more calories but really, the bonus of being an Athena athlete is I have plenty of “storage” to pull from already. For me, my problems happen with dehydration. Damn I dehydrate fast! Salt truly does save as my fellow BASE athletes know. I was thrilled that it remained overcast and hoped the rain would hold out. Then the first big test, heading up the MacArthur Causeway Bridge. UGH. But wait a minute, I actually passed some people. There were two people that walked their bikes up all the bridges. How do I know this? The bastards kept passing me on the straightaways. dammit. But that bridge was to be my bitch that day, my friends! I had zero trouble getting up it. Now that’s not to say I flew up it. Nope. slowly slugged my way up but not once did I think of getting off my bike and throwing my bike over it. Another straightaway through the cobblestone streets of Belgium. Wait we’re in Miami. What the F is up with these crappy roads! Me and my vajayjay made it through relatively unscathed and onto the next set of bridges known as the Julia Tuttle Causeway (I don’t know who she was but if she was anything like her namesake bridges she was a stocky, steep, mean lady). I made it over them pretty easily and then hit the turnaround. I felt like I was making good time until I hit the two Tuttle bridges on the way back. What the deuce? my gears kept slipping a bit. I made it over but it wiped me out a bit. Back over the cobbled streets of Belgium Miami and pretty soon (so not soon enough) I was back at that Bastard MacArthur Causeway Bridge (yes, I’m aware that “Causeway Bridge” isn’t possible but I don’t know what that bridge is actually called and I’m on an airplane writing this so can’t look it up. Try to move past it people!). Man! I struggled up that bridge with my gear slipping, my will slipping, my vajayjay numb and a BAD pain in my right hamstring. But I did it! and then I killed that last little bridge. Ha! Suck it, bridges!!!! Now why did I really have some trouble this time out? Oh, I never switched to my small ring. Yup. I sure am an idiot. I was so foc

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This is my mid race attempt at a smile

used on climbing the bridges that it never occurred to me for even a second that I should GET OUT OF THE BIG RING. whoopsy. (sorry Dave). I eased into the dismount area with all the grace of an elephant trying to well, get off a bike. My hamstring was killing me which made actually getting off of the bike a challenge. I ended up basically dropping it and stepping over it. I’m guessing you don’t see that move a lot in Kona. Whatevs. It got me off my bike. I headed into T2 and that’s where it was super (not) fun. Here’s my PSA to the Olympic athletes, fast racers, etc: I’m required to be out of transition HOURS before my start so that you can start and have a clear path. So please do not come back into transition after your race until the designated time. It is not at all fun while I’m still racing to try to get past all of you clinking your finisher medals and moseying out with your bike. I think I can speak for all the back of the packers when I say “GET THE F#@$ OUT OF MY WAY!! I’M STILL RACING, AHOLE!”. Oh and thanks for all the encouragement. All 2 of you. Ok. rant over.

 

I swiftly hobbled out of T2 to the run. I had a plan going in. I would walk at X pace and run at X pace at X intervals. Well, my hamstring was killing me, by brain was telling me to quit. Almost everyone was done but me, whah, whah, whah. I was actually running slower than I was walking? huh? so I decided to just walk and get my shit together. Man, if anyone actually said the things to me that I say to myself during a run? I’d go ape on them. Oh wait, there’s a guy now “you know, if you lost some weight you could probably run like the rest of these folks”. really? REALLY? F-off dude. Nice. I didn’t go ape. I just took the punch and continued on. About mile 2 my hamstring started loosening up and I took off like I turned into Meb!!!! Ok, not really. I did start running though. I was just going to take it 1/2 mile at a time. During one of my walk breaks there was a voice that said “if you don’t run, you can’t call yourself a triathlete”. Bad enough when one thinks it to oneself. Luckily it was another Dbag along the course. People are just lovely! We had luckily avoided the hot Miami sun most of the race…..but there it was! I just kept going. Was able to start running a bit more. Any goals I had of finishing in a respectable time completely vanished. Now it was me against me. I started taking it 1/4 mile at a time and then an 1/8 of a mile at a time. Promising myself that if I just finished, I’d never ever have to do this race again! Eventually I spotted the turn onto the beach. There was a lovely tourist family that was heading to the beach that were FASCINATED by me and the race and they stuck with me until the chute. I’m pretty sure they were real. Once at the chute I broke out into a swift shuffle and FINALLY crossed the finish line!! I was so excited! and emotional! and very very nauseated. But I WAS DONE!!!

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not my finish times. Just ignore the numbers and focus on the huge cheering crowds. 

It wasn’t my easiest race (then again, none of them are). It wasn’t my prettiest (again, none of them are) but it was definitely one of my proudest. And I never have to do it again. I swam like a person that had never done it before, I slayed the bridges, I conquered did the run (walked, whatevs). I had a score to settle with the South Beach Triathlon and I did it!!! I was dead freaking last but I did it! (insert inspirational thought of those that I beat those on the couch, the DNF’s etc) Never again would I have to torture myself with this race! Fine! SoBe, you were a worthy opponent and I gently knocked you out.

The End!
hmmmm….I bet if I did it next year, I could do it better…..dammit……

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South Beach Tri or Bust!(with terrible pictures!)

It’s the weirdest thing today. I’m actually super excited and feeling confident about the South Beach Triathlon this weekend! Now most of you are like “what’s the big deal? you like to race. Why wouldn’t you be excited”. While those that know me and my past with this race are like “Did you fall down and hit your head. Somebody call an ambulance!!”.

My SoBe “journey” started in 2013 when it was Nautica South Beach Triathlon. Ahhhh…high hopes. I had successfully completed all of like 2 Sprint Triathlons. Quite a few people were heading up to South Beach and I got swept up in the excitement. Traveling for a race! With my friends! It’s gonna be so fun!! (spoiler alert: It wasn’t). The seas were angry that day my friend (as they would be for every single year I’ve done it). I quickly figured out that my swim skills were lacking. Wasn’t afraid, just wasn’t very good at it (so cute how I use the past tense there. sigh.) I made it through the swim and hopped on my bike.

sobe 2013

Notice the people behind me….heading out on the run while I head out on the bike. The look on my face says it all.

 

Was feeling good(ish), even passed some people!! Wellllllll…..I headed up that M-Fer of a bridge and was pedaling, pedaling, ped-a-ling, ped OUCH MY BACK! figured I walk the last 20 yards and shake it out so I tried to unclip and FAILED. Tipped right over. Sure did. Hit my head, handlebars messed up, chain off. It was a mess. By the time humpty dumpty got itself together again, one of the king’s men informed me, ever so helpfully, that I was going to miss the cutoff for the bike and encouraged me to pack it in. DNF.

 

 

 

 

Then came SoBe 2014 and what was to be my crowning moment of glory!! I trained hard. I paid special attention to the bike training so I could conquer those damn bridges. I was ready! and I did it!! It wasn’t pretty, but I crossed that finish line severely dehydrated, overheated, perhaps minutes away from sunstroke, but PSYCHED!

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HOORAY!!!! I feel so alive…..ugh. it’s Hot. could I get some water? and some shade?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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me no feel so well

Then there was last year. SoBe 2015. I was ready. I was prepared. I was up all night the night before with food poisoning. I was up there alone as the super tough conditions had most people I know skipping it. As I should have. I decided to just grab a SUB to go from the place right across the WAY from the hotel I was at. The place looked super sketchy but I did it anyway and paid the price. I made it through the swim and then added an extra transition when I went to the medical tent right after. Tried to mount my bike and decided to bag the whole thing when I couldn’t really see the bike I was trying to get on. DNF

 

 

So here we are for South Beach Triathlon (as it’s called now) 2016. It’s 5 days away and I ain’t scared! I’m excited! I’m pumped! I may be slightly delusional. But that’s the beauty of this sport. You can always fool yourself into thinking things will be better. and I really believe it will be. I’m MUCH better prepared and have done enough of these to know that I can always gut it out. Unless of course my guts are actually out.

A few months ago I did a scary thing. And it kind of reminds me of triathlon. It was a gorge swing. You get all strapped up and then step off a platform into the abyss 400 some odd feet below fairly confident you won’t actually die. As you start it you’re “WTF am I doing???? I am so scared”  You reach the bottom and you’re like “NEVER EVER AGAIN”. By the time you get to the top, you’re like “Hell yeah! I can’t wait to do this again!”

Enjoy the excuse for me to post this video yet again (sorry). SoBe or Bust!!!

gorge swing (quick video)

 

 

 

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Activity Tracker and OCD, Which Came First?

WARNING: This post kind of got away from me a little. Little all over the place. And since I don’t reread and edit before I post, I’m guessing I’m not going to fix it. Plus, I’ve got a deadline.

I’m a stat girl, a planner and very organized (in most aspects of life anyway). I read the box scores after every Bruins and Sox game, I spend MONTHS planning vacations and workouts (I’m much better at following the vacation plan than the workout), when it comes to work I’m organized to an almost psychotic degree (DO NOT move things around on me!). So when the activity tracker craze really kicked in the last couple of years, I’m like “sign me up!!”.  The problem with me is that I don’t have much of an attention span which generally makes the stat fan, planner, organizer useless.

The idea of an activity tracker appeals to me. Why? no idea. My job is either super active or completely sedentary. It’s nice to have a reminder to move around on a day when I’m at my desk all day. Apparently keeping a year round Triathlon training schedule isn’t enough?

I started a couple of years ago with a nice slim activity tracker. Now if you even half read the former sentence you have figured out that this tracker was not for me. I don’t want to bad mouth it as I’m sure it works for many people. I’ll just call it a “Mawbone” . This looked like a very sturdy bracelet. Very unassuming. It was kind of pretty at first. Navy blue and silver. I promptly started using it. That lasted like a week. I didn’t like the fact that it kind of looked like a medical alert bracelet. When you’re a little large you don’t really want to look like you may need medical attention at any time. It was just a bracelet without a screen. It would flash different sequences of lights that meant you should move, or you were sleeping or the batteries were low or you should dismantle that bomb. I don’t know. It was all very confusing to me. It probably would’ve made sense if I had read the directions. But then you don’t get paper directions anymore. It’s all on a website. And usually when I go to look something up I get distracted by other things on the web like the latest news (not really) and reality show blogs and shopping and well, anything shiny. Then I’m tired and need to take a nap. But my bracelet requires me to hit a button to track my sleep so now I don’t know if my nap was good or not. And the bracelet wasn’t as tiny as I thought. I still need to wear a watch for my job and it was just way too much. and just argh!! So the Mawbone was abandoned pretty quickly.

Next up was my beloved Garmin Forerunner 920 XT. Sigh. A lovely training watch. First one that can track all 3 sports without having to time your swim with the skiing activity (like 5 garmin wearers will get that). It also counts steps!! So you can wear it every day, all day! Except it’s GIANT! Not noticeable training or racing, but feels like you’re suddenly wearing a house arrest bracelet in daily life. It’s ok though 920XT, you still my boo.

And then I found the Garmin Vivoactive. I heart this watch. Cause it’s like a watch! but it also tracks activities! I can wear it biking, running and even swimming. I can get notifications. It also tracks my steps! Truthfully I just use it to track my steps and to you know, see what time it is. I’ve got Garmin Connect on my phone. I paid way too much money for the Garmin scale. I’ve got Connect synced with the scale and the Vivoactive and My Fitness Pal (food diet). I look at my Connect stats every night and analyze. Still have no idea what a SWOLF is. I keep meaning to look that up online. oops.  I’ve had it for almost 2 months and it’s helped me a lot with a little streak I have going.

Every year (ok, almost every year. Well, some years. Ok fine, like a couple years here and there) I start an exercise streak on Jan 1. How original! I’ve lasted only into March. once. That streak ended when I fell down the stairs. True story. Doing laundry is super dangerous. What qualifies as exercise to make it part of THE STREAK? It’s whatever you decide as your minimum. So for me, it’s 5,000 steps on office days plus CORE exercise. And 10,000 steps on work days plus CORE. I’m not talking like 1 billion sit ups or planking for 3 hours. I mean the minimum I let myself get away with is 25 sit ups. Sounds absolutely ridiculous, right? It is. Mostly. I’ve been dealing with a shoulder injury (100% healed now!) and some hip and lower back pain (75% healed!) so I’ve been limited on what I can do for Tri training. Plus I got a serious case of the whinys (85% healed!) where I just have been depressed about not being able to train so that when it comes to a workout I can power through, I don’t wanna! (insert foot stamp. but not too hard). I’ve just been pissy and poopy and a bit of a something else starting with a p and ending with y (meow). February 1 (as seems to be the trend) has seen me have a 180 in my attitude and I can’t wait to workout now! Well, not now. I’m watching The Challenge on Mtv (may they never drug test). But in general, I’m ready to get back at it full speed(ish. we know I’m not fast). And the stupid little STREAK has saved me from losing a ton of fitness. When I was unable to swim/bike/run, I was still obsessed with THE STREAK. But I’m also super forgetful. I had more than one evening when I was in bed and then “crap. I forgot about THE STREAK”.  And then I’d hop out of bed and bust out the sit ups. For reals. And the step counting. So obsessed. To a bit of an alarming degree. Even if I took the Vivoactive off to swim or bike (I only wear it for running), I still need the damn steps!!! I do get irritated when I’ve bike 20 miles and had a strength training session and then the damn thing buzzes at me to “Move!”. F U Vivo. YOU move.  But I’ll still get those steps. In fact, I’ve got 20 mins to run around my apartment. 900 steps short! See ya!

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Looking Back…(or how I choose to remember)

I always hate when tv shows I love bill an episode as “new” yet it’s just a recap of past episodes or a clip show. I mean, really. I’m a fan. Don’t show me stuff I’ve already watched and call it “new”. Just cause you’ve got a little writer’s block and are out of ideas. Jees. Writers can be so lazy.

So, here’s my 2015 Clip Show! (what? I’m tired)

Started the year off with my eyes on the SoBe Tri in April.

MARCH

Wanted to start off light(ish) and supporting our local Sprint Tri: FKCC Sprint Triathlon. It was going to be a little different for me as I would be racing alongside a Special Olympics Relay Team. It was interesting training. I spent 1-2 times a week training with my Athletes who required varying levels of attention.

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Packet pickup L to R: Linnea, Jennifer, Michael

Race day was an experience I’ll never forget and definitely one of the highlights of my year. Before the race I wasn’t sure if any of them would be able to go the distance. I knew better than to doubt them. They hit it out of the park! Each of them showed a determination and just true love and enthusiasm for competition that taught me a lot about how a good attitude can get you far!

APRIL

Up next was the dang SoBe Triathlon “classic”. It was anything but. Food Poisoning, Swim, T1=medical tent, attempted bike=FAIL

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May

Much more fun! The MaraTri 9. Just a super fun race weekend. Few of us stayed up in Marathon the night before. Had a fun race! then went to watch a friend dominate at Miami Man Speedway. Any weekend that is all about Tri is a great weekend! (cough DORK cough)

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Me and my steed at MaraTri9

 

JUNE

Heartland Sprint Tri. fun race! hilly (for me), vomity (not unusual at that point), finished.

Heartland 15

One of us is wicked fast. The other one is me (why yes, my number is backwards)

 

AUGUST

(lordy, this wrap up is boring me. sorry!)

Mack Cycle Tri

Last minute course change on bike. Lots and lots of vomit (I think I have race bulimia) but 1st podium at a bigger race! Score!!

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winner winner chicken dinner! (which if I were racing right after, I’d probably vom)

NOVEMBER

RocketMan Tri

Went with my favorite race travel buddy. Hilariously bad swim conditions (super shallow: couldn’t swim, had to walk. Swalk PR), best bike ever around Cape Canaveral!! Run was good. finally got my act together and didn’t vom. Thanks BASE! Just a super fun race weekend.

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Somebody is glad to be finished. and looking super sexy (or like I’m mid seizure)

 

DECEMBER (I know, thank god this wrap up is almost done)

TriKW (sprint)

Got kicked in the shoulder during the swim by Bret Favre (not really), wet bike, great run. PR! And best post race party of the bunch. I definitely PR’d in Fireball.

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This race and the year are finished!!

OK, to sum up: Great races, some injuries, LOTS of vomit. good times

Thanks to everyone who has supported me on and off the race course and this blog!

Special thanks to Liz Love (Liz Love Fitness), StayFit Studio Key West for sponsoring me, Key West TriClub for all the support and my crew and boss at Lazy Dog Adventures Key West for covering me so I could take off and race.

2015 medals

Bling bling…hello?

And a funny look at the map of my readers in 2015. Guess I should learn Portuguese?

2015 countries

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Graceful Racer?

Another race, another opportunity for me to look like an elephant in a tutu. I’m not sure why I would start doing Triathlons when I am not at all known for my grace. In fact my Dad and my Uncle Ross have called me “Grace” most of my life. And not in a cute, cuddly way. In that sarcastic, Masshole way of giving you a nickname based on what they can make fun of you for. If we mock, we love! I mean, I am constantly tripping and falling down. Or, almost falling down. I’m pretty good at quickly getting upright. Give my BFF Sarah any opportunity and she has a MILLION stories about me falling. And they’re all pretty hilarious. It’s like I never got out of the awkward stage of sixth grade when I had a growth spurt. Back then it was like I couldn’t handle suddenly being tall. And the last few years as my weight skyrocketed, I never got used to making room for my body to get through spaces so I am CONSTANTLY knocking stuff over. If I ever have a day where I don’t trip or knock something over, be very afraid. That would mean the Earth has suddenly tilted on its axis or something.

Naturally, with my natural grace, I’ve chosen the sport of triathlon. Where  could the danger be for an ungraceful person there? We start the race generally by making our way through the water usually over rocks that are slippery. The gun goes off and you head through what can best be described as a melee through the sometimes (usually) rough ocean. Then very awkwardly high step out of the ocean trying to unzip your wetsuit while trying to shake off the 50 blows to the head you received. Dizzy and out of breath, RUN barefoot over soft sand where you are sure to get every pebble possible imbedded in your feet. In Transition, throw those bike shoes on and (soaking wet), run with your bike to the mount zone and try to get on and clip in without falling. Now there are lots of folks who are able to have their shoes ALREADY CLIPPED IN and they do this flying leap onto their bikes and put their shoes on while peddling. We call them real assholes  athletes. btw, I can’t even possibly fathom getting to that point. Like ever. Lordy, the bones I would break! Me, what I like to do is half jog/walk (wog?) my bike and then stop, mount and then take roughly a dozen tries to clip in. (note: this method may not be for everyone). Then pedal as fast as you can while trying to get some nutrition/hydration in. All the while avoiding potholes and other athletes. ON YOUR LEFT!! yes. I know. I heard you and your fancy wheels coming up on me like a freight train, Mr Aero. Incidentally, my Indian Racing Name is On Your Left. Someday I hope it’s because that’s what I say the whole race instead of what I hear. But I digress. On the bike you gotta take the bottles in and out of the cage without looking (I apparently like to do this without pedaling. #notatallefficient), I usually have stuff in my shirt pocket to take, and then there are the turns and bridges and oy. There’s the dismount zone! Once remembering to unclip (not always a guarantee), there’s the ever so graceful dismount. A friend of mine has a lovely picture of me from a race when I dismount and the crotch of my shorts gets stuck on the seat. I can call him a friend instead of a former friend cause he never posted said picture. Legs tired, run with your bike and slippery bike shoes into Transition again to get ready to run. I always have a lovely moment where I almost fall over trying to get my run shoes on. Like every single time. Then off on the run! Pretty simple right? just run and don’t trip. Just watch out for that curb/crack/pothole/homeless person. I once tripped over ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in a 5k and fell down. Ripped my leggings. (the other runners were nice enough to ask how I was as they stepped over me). I’m still waiting to actually fall down at the finish line. I’ve tripped many times but recover like a champ.

And that’s all just racing. The daily grind of training gives me many many more opportunities to potentially hurt myself. Me getting on and off my trainer with the tile floor/bike shoe combo is my own personal Hurt Locker every time. Pre dawn runs on the uneven sidewalk while trying to maintain form makes a baby deer on ice look like they’ve got their S*@t together!

So why am I drawn to a sport that has that much potential for embarrassment and injury? Well, for those moments in the water when I feel lightweight and smooth, on the bike when I feel fast and it’s effortless  and on the run when……..well….when it’s over.

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TriKW 2015 (or Brett Favre was in my swim wave)

Another year, another TriKW in the books. Yup. That dude from those Wranglers commercials was in my swim wave. Cool. He was the only one wearing a full wetsuit. By all accounts, he was super gracious to all the people that wanted photos. I never got to ask him for one. I did have a moment when we passed each other on the bike when I shouted “BRETT FAVRE!!“. Not sure where that came from as I’m not really into the Footballs. Or Wranglers. I may have given myself a heart attack if like Patrice Bergeron or Trot Nixon were racing. #4 did well! His wife did better. More than one great athlete in that family!

Yesterday’s race was a perfect example as to why this is one of mine favorite races. It’s amazing to be out on the course racing and see so many of my friends racing too. It’s awesome to have so many people I know cheering us on at every point. It’s great to have everyone you know at the after party (which should really just be sponsored by Fireball. oy)

It’s also sometimes tough to have so many people you know at a race. I end up feeling pressure from it. If I fail or something goes wrong, there’s a whole lot of people to witness it! And some stuff did go wrong!

This race began with some pre race weather related stress. Like every single forecast predicted like hurricane conditions for the race! Ok. Maybe not a hurricane but definitely a whole lot of rain. What’s the  matter with a little rain? Welllllll…..this island is not so good with the whole draining thing. We got so much rain Thursday and Friday that even if it didn’t pour on Saturday morning, there was definitely going to be a lot of standing water throughout the race course and transition.

Saturday morning came and thankfully every forecast was wrong! Yaaay! So one major worry off the list. But turns out, I had bigger issues. The following is TMI fo sho. But these posts are warts and all. (unfortunately for you). Basically, I was gonna have to race with Aunt Flo. And not super sweet Aunt Flo that gets you some cookies, tea and a nice rest. No, this was mean, vicious Aunt Flo. The Aunt Flo that you would beg your parents to not make you visit cause she keeps punching you in the stomach like non-f’ing stop and makes you sick. She’s a peach. I long for Victorian times when they just made your stay in bed for the whole thing. Except they didn’t have cheese curls and Advil so that’d be a bit of a bummer. Any who, pre race I wasn’t sure I’d be able to leave the bathroom long enough to get dressed in my super squeeze (uncomfortable) race gear, never mind racing for 2 1/2 hours. But I ain’t no quitter! I am woman, hear me, well, whimper! The main problem with this is that my pre race fueling was basically Advil and hope. (oooh….FORESHADOWING!)

I hopped on my bike and took off for the race. Which is like my favorite thing ever. I live 1/2 mile from the race! I don’t thoroughly enjoy going past my house 6 times (!) but I love the fact that I live on the course and it’s where I train. I got to the course and forgot about the fact that a battle was being waged on my insides. So great to see so many people I love racing and cheering! I had friends doing all distances, divisions and relays. Super cool to see so many friendly faces. I went through the pre race set up and then proceeded to spend my time pre race either standing in line at the port a potty or inside the port a potty. Luckily, lots of friends to wait it out with. Normally when I have at least an hour from transition close to my wave start I eat a bit and get some electrolytes in. But I just couldn’t this time. I was so excited to race and let the chips fall where they may.

Race time! I decided to not wear a wetsuit as the water was fairly warm. The size of my ass allows me to float at the surface so I don’t gain much buoyancy in salt water with a wet suit. And frankly, I wanted one less thing to deal with. I headed into the water and the horn went off. Start time! I took off like a shot out of a cannon! ok. more like a Conch on the move. There was a bit of a current going against us but I soon found my rhythm (slow as it was). Problem though. I’m so slow that the next wave of racers was fast approaching. I had one dude literally swim right over me. Like I was a patch of seaweed he needed to get through. That was unnerving, but fine. Just pushed through. Then another dude came out of nowhere and kicked me so hard in my shoulder that it took my breath away. MAN, that hurt like a MoFo. I shook it off best I could and swam on. It became crystal clear instantly that my swim was going to be a little off after that. It hurt every time I pulled my right arm. Oh well. I pushed through and finished the swim (and not last either! holla!).

I stumbled my way to transition, grabbed my bike and took off. As always during a race. Like ALWAYS. I suddenly forgot how to clip in and had a super awkward start. Aces. I was worried about my internal sitch vs bike seat but luckily the pain in my shoulder brushed that right aside. Had some wind against me on the way out and was definitely being a big, fat whiny pants. I was literally riding without using my right arm and bitching about it to myself when a dude with NO RIGHT ARM blew past me. I swear to Dog it was as I was feeling like I couldn’t go on. Talk about a “suck it up, Buttercup” moment. So I told myself to shut up and keep going.  I was trying to get some electrolytes in me as much as I could and before I knew it, I was at the turnaround for second and final lap. As I headed into the wind again, I started to not feel so good. Uh oh. “I’mFineI’mFineI’mFineI’mfineOHMYGODIHAVETOPUKE” was pretty much the way it went down. I knew Dave Harris would skin me alive if I vommed on my bike (plus that’s just gross) so I pulled over and let it fly. I was just thinking “thank god nobody is here to see this” when I looked up and saw my friend Josh running towards me, blazing his way to his 2nd overall finish in the Olympic. Oh crap. He asked if I was ok, I tried to act like I totally meant to do that and we post moved on. You see, I like to get to my run as light as possible. Yup, that’s it.

Finished the bike and got to the run. (I’m boring myself now. Sorry, almost done). I didn’t feel great on the run. Like at all. I think I was pretty dehydrated. My calves started cramping. My back was cramping. My cramps were cramping. ugh. I had some BASE salt with me and I just kept trying to take a lick every 10 mins just to save my race. I was doing a walk/run/shuffle thing. The great thing about Triathlons is fellow athletes are generally super supportive on the course. It was an out and back run so I got to encourage others while they were encouraging me. I had turned around and was at my lowest point when my friend Seth suddenly came up next to me and really helped get me going again to get to the finish. I was so happy to get to that damn finish line lol. It’s a glorious thing to head down a finish line chute after (literally) leaving everything on the race course. I was smiling from ear to ear. I got my medal and went to find beer and my friends (Yes, in that order).

Final results? 5th in Age Group (yes, there were only 6 of us). I knocked 4 mins off my swim, 4 mins off my bike and 2 mins off my run. I lost too much time in T2. mainly cause I felt so horrible. I had a ton of trouble putting my shoes on. I was super dizzy. I hit the higher end of my goal on the swim, bike and run. and missed my overall goal by 4 mins. HOWEVER, I did knock 7 mins off my best time for this race (which, weirdly was year one)!  Overall, I’m super happy with the results. Two days later I’m still a bit banged up but am ready to get back at it! only one month til my next race……..

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Happy Anniversary to me?

I got a notice from WordPress the other day that my blog is two years old. Two years old! And I’ve written about a month’s worth of posts in 2 years time. Quite the output. I am the George RR Martin of the blogosphere. With (slightly) less bloodshed. And a lot less anticipation of my words.

Looking back at the first post is kind of crazy. I had just barely finished my first Sprint Triathlon. I remember very clearly standing on the dock waiting for the swim start so terrified of what was ahead of me that I couldn’t stop the tears rolling down my cheeks. My friend Sassy saw me and came down to the dock and gave me the best pep talk ever. Something to the effect of “stop it. get in the water”. Totally effective. I got off the bike and was so dehydrated and drained that I wanted to quit. My friend Brad made the dbag course sweeper wait and not only talked me into finishing the race, but he and Renee walked me the whole 5k. Brad (who was fairly new to Tri at the time) finished Ironman Kona this past Saturday! I’m sure I was his inspiration (KIDDING!).

Me at the end of my first Tri

Me at the end of my first Tri

My goal in starting this blog was to track my progress as I lost 100 lbs and hit podium after podium in a year. There would be book deals, and endorsements and talk shows. The cover of Triathlon magazine would be mine. Bradley Cooper would beg me to date him. I’d drop the puck at the Bruins Winter Classic and on and on and on. Well, 2 years later Bradley Cooper is dating a super model and I can’t even go to the Winter Classic never mind the weight I haven’t lost. oy. So what happened?

Well, it’s not that easy for a lot of us. (I know, waaa, waaa, waaa). I’ve had some health issues, injuries, low motivation points, etc. We all go through it. It’s just taking longer than I thought it would. This is a sport that not everybody does. Because it’s frickin’ hard. Especially if you struggle with weight issues.

One of the biggest struggles for me personally is the dang run. I’ve done about 17 sprint tris since that first one and the run is still the thing that gets me every single time. Every. Single. Time. I’ve started the Couch to 5K run approximately 1 billion times. I’ve worked with coaches. I’ve read a billion books. It’s all a mental block at this point. But I’ll keep trying! (ha! get it? TRIing)

Facebook reminded me today that it was one year ago this day that I finished the BAA (Boston Athletic Association) Distance Medley. I signed up for it to force me to face the running. To get the f out there and run! It was a 5k, a 10k and a Half Marathon all spaced out nicely for training. Well, I didn’t fully run any of the races. I ran/walked them all. But I finished them!

One year ago today

One year ago today

And F it. Who cares. I did it. And someday I’ll fully run those distances. I’ve got the SoMo Half Marathon on my radar for next year. I was fortunate enough to be able to work the finish line this past weekend as a volunteer and was once again moved to tears as I watched people accomplish their goals with so much heart! As I run my Tris, I’ll definitely be working towards that goal myself.

I think the lesson in all of this is to set realistic goals and to give yourself a break. The amount I mentally beat myself up for not living up to my expectations is ridiculous. If I heard someone saying the things to my friends that I say to myself, I’d kill them!!! I’ve learned that it just takes me a bit longer to reach my goals, and that’s totally fine (I feel like Stuart Smalley). I’ll likely never be the (seemingly) effortless amazing runner that my friends Rabbit and Bethany are, but I do believe that one day I’ll love running as much as they do!

So let’s all keep at it!

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