Exciting News!

Happy 2017 everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. I must admit mine flewwww by (I guess that happens when you work on the actual holidays…) and I am enjoying my time off before classes start next semester. It is going to be a busy semester, juggling work, taking three classes, and diving back into training (like that??!). BUT I think this might be one of my best years yet ūüėÄ

When I started this blog back in 2010 to keep track of nursing/my life/ “training” (I said I trained but everyone knows, I never believed in training until LP), I had no idea I would eventually try a triathlon,¬†or even contemplate attempting a 140.6 distance race. I certainly never ever thought I would¬†be on a triathlon race team.

This year, however, I’ll be representing Rev 3 on their race team!

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Say what?!?

Me?

Racing on a team?

YES!

I was waiting to writing this post until after I met the team down in VA and have a zillion photos of my new teammates and myself, but I guess life happens and I was not able to attend. So, to my dismay, I do not have a zillion photos to share with you. But I *WILL* have photos with my new family!

I love¬†Rev 3’s values, and cannot wait to represent them with everything I do this upcoming season.

So, with THAT being said, I really hope to see you guys at some (if not all!) of their races this year! ūüėÄ

Cheers to an exciting year!

“You are the best author of your own future. So, the next time you sit down to write your own story, remember that you are the creator of the best chapters that could ever be written. ” Catherine Pulsifer

Thankful, 2016 Edition

It may be a couple weeks past Thanksgiving, but it’s never too late to write down what you are thankful for. I’ve been meaning to write a post for awhile but just have not gotten to it.¬†I was lucky to have Thanksgiving off from work and jogged/walked a Turkey Trot with my mother. It was the first “race” I have done where I started at the back of the pack and¬†took my time. It it still a bummer I cannot run without pain, run long distances, or run at the speeds I was at a couple years ago, but it felt good to be able to participate in a Turkey Trot!

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The fact that today is December 6th already simply blows me away. Where did autumn go?

I just finished my last class and turned in my last assignments for this semester which is exciting! Juggling three classes next semester with work should be an interesting challenge.

There are simply so many things to be thankful for this year, but I thought I would jot down just a few.

  1. First and foremost, health and family. Jogging again is a blessing– you do not know how much you miss jogging until you are unable to do it for eleven months. Christmas is my favorite time of year to run (yes, in the cold temperatures) because the lights of the village gives me motivation to wake up at 0400 and jog before work (haha). ¬†Despite sisters being in two different locations, I’ve been blessed to be able to see them more frequently this past year which always makes me happy. I cannot wait until Christmas when everyone is back home.
  2. The incredibly amazing and uplifting guy in my life, who never ceases to love me, even during my crazy days, who puts up with my chaotic schedule, and never forgets to guide me when I feel lost.
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  3. Where I am today. I’m thankful that I am almost halfway through grad school. As much as I really do not like studying and writing papers and tests, I’ve met some pretty awesome people through school, and am excited at the work possibilities this will give me in the future being a Nurse Practitioner!
  4. Friends. Because without friends, what would life be like? People¬†who give you words of advice, don’t judge you, are able to laugh with you, keep you sane and¬†add fun to life.13438809_10209433031480092_7587248188497350002_n
  5. Aquabikes. Yup, I’m thankful that I was able to continue to participate in events that I love over the summer! They helped me become a better swimmer and cyclist, and in turn a better athlete.

I’m super excited to see what 2017 has in store (and I can’t wait to tell you what will be happening!!)

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Back At It!

I know it has been forever since I have written anything! But, K and I took our first vacation in three years and headed to Iceland for a couple weeks (which was incredible! That post is to come!).

There isn’t anything like coming home from vacation to return to school work and regular work to make you truly appreciate your time off!

Before we left, I decided to go ahead and sign up for the Toughman Aquabike Championship race in September that I qualified for! This is super exciting, as I have never qualified for a championship race. The bike course will be challenging (I plan on heading down within the next couple weeks to check it out) but it should be fun….Not to mention, it is (somewhat) close to home!

Now, it is back to training in preparation for September!

Cheers!

 

Toughman Tupper Lake Race Recap

Prelude

SO I know I stink at writing posts nowadays…But my life might seem boring to others as it is basically work/ school/ school work/ swimming/biking/ repeat.

Since I have a paper due, I figured now was the best time to write a race report ūüėõ

Sometime during this past winter,¬†¬†I decided to sign up for Toughman Tinman Aquabike, which¬†was a 1.2 mile swim followed by a 56 mile bike ride. Basically, a 70.3 distance, minus the run. Perfect for those who are unable to run. Since March, I’ve¬†put my share of swimming and cycling in– and have¬†focused more on my training than I ever have in the past (to include IMLP). This race was going to be a fun one: one where a bunch of other women from the Hudson Valley would be “tri-ing” out their first triathlon race!A fellow Hudson Valley-er (and terrific mother/athlete) helped organize some swim lessons with Jane¬†who helped me with my swim last year. They did Monday night swim workouts together, to prepare for this race!

(My apologies ahead of time for going on and on during this post!)

Race-Recap: They say sometimes you have good races, and sometimes you have bad ones. 

Friday I drove up to L.L’s¬†amazing camp in Long Lake, where she opened up her doors to us ladies doing the race Saturday morning. We went to packet pick-up and tried out the water where the race would be. (Oh, and side note: the race is not actually in Tupper Lake. It is in Raquette Pond!).¬†Dinner was low-key and relaxing– it reminded me of summers growing up on Lake George. I loved everything about it. When I grow up I want a lake house in the Adirondacks.

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The 30 year olds are ready to race!

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The first of many selfies!

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Just a couple of nurses contemplating life and the race course…Photo courtesy of K. T.

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Pre-race healthy carb loading dinner! Yes, we wore PJ’s at 5:30 PM

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Good night, Long Lake.

Saturday morning we woke up and had breakfast/ coffee, and headed to Tupper lake for the race. I had my english muffins with PB and a local honey blend (which is my new favorite breakfast, thanks to Devon!).

Driving up, I listened to music and thought about how fun the race would be. I was not prepared to go out super hard, because I had not been feeling well the week before. It was all about fun– riding and swimming in the Adironacks!

(Toughman Tupper Lake is a relatively small, local race, but really great value for the entry fee!)

I knew that the Aquabike (AB) field was fairly small, but as I racked my bike and prepared my transition area, I could not help but notice the other women who were doing the AB with me. They were fit, slim, toned, had (more) expensive bikes, aero helmets, and donned fancy team tri-kits.

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Transition

I could feel my heart drop into my stomach.

Holy crap. Look at them. They are hardcore triathletes. I’ll never be able to keep up with them.¬†

I put on my wetsuit and took a dip in the water to get acclimated, trying to stay positive and not worry about doing well, but just having fun. I found the other Hudson Valley women and wished them luck on their first triathlon. Then I found my swim coach Jane and fellow RN/ Ironwoman-to-be, D.J.

“Did you see the women doing the aquabike? They are so fit!I have nothing against them.” I remember exclaiming.

“Nahh, don’t judge a book by its cover.” Jane said. “Man, Molly, you are really an anxious racer!”

Uhhh, duhh.

We waited for our waves to start.The swim start to the race is so low- key and relaxed– you can wait with family/friends right until you enter the water.

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These triathlon newbies about to DOMINATE!

I was not sure how my swim would be, but I was hoping for under 39 minutes, which is what I was able to swim one lap of the IMLP course last year. Jane kept saying, “I think you can swim a 35– try for a 35.”

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Staying calm before the start…

“Yeahhhh,” I remember responding,” Or maybe a 40 minute swim…” I¬†have a fear of pushing myself in the swim, and did not think it was possible to do¬†it in 35 minutes.

The aquabike wave started after the mens half swim wave. It is no surprise that I hate swim starts. They just freak me out. All the kicking, bubbles, shoving…Especially when you are starting with men! My goal was to start hard and then settle into a comfortable rhythm. Before I knew it, we were off.

Unfortunetly, I felt panicked quickly and tried to swim away from the buoys and the crazy people. After a couple hundred yards, I was able to weed myself out of the mass and tried to ease into my 1-2-3-breathe rhythm, but ended up breathing with every stroke. Oh well. I didn’t push myself, but went at a comfortable pace. Eventually,¬†I made it to the¬†turn buoys. When I was heading back to the beach, I found myself catching up to the men from the wave in front of us.Which meant, men swimming into me.

More than once I found myself choking on water and doing breast stroke to gather myself back together, and then sight. They had warned about the sun being right in your eyes on the way back, but other races I have done, like Quassy, have a similar return swim. Finally, I was back at shore. One unfortunate aspect of the swim was you had to run on rocks to get back to shore. Major ouch.

I thought there would be a clock showing your time, but there wasn’t. And my watch had no OWS tracking capabilities, so I had no idea how I did on the swim. I remember hearing Jane shouting ” Go molly!!!!!” and yelling back, “What is my time?????”

When I reached¬†transition I had to make a decision: do I worry about putting my socks and cycling gloves on? When I grabbed a glove and was about to spend time putting it on I though, “screw it,” and started on the bike course.

I felt good starting on the bike and since I had not ridden further than 30-32 miles this spring, I decided to race to the turn around in Cranberry Lake, and then at the turn around, have a race back to the finish. I was told the course was not too hard– just rolling hills. They fail to mention that the rolling hills begin two miles into the course. Thank goodness I’ve made it a point to do hill work once a week– I think it definitely helped.

Once out on the course, I realized i had made the mistake of spraying suntan lotion all over my watch, so it was nearly impossible to see the screen (and with that, see my distance, the time, etc). Not knowing the time was going to make nutrition a bit more complicated. But, I was fully prepared with bars, gels, and gummy chew things. (Yes, I was that oddball triathlete with a $3000 bike who wore a camelbak…Hey, ¬†I did not want to have to stop to get nutrition on the course.)

I rode hard, and had a couple gel chomp blocks in the 30 minutes on the bike. I have never had gel chomp blocks (NOTE: there IS a taste difference between types of gelled blocks) and thought they would be like the Gu chomps I used when training for IMLP. Wrong. I had three of them and they left me with a disgustingly sweet aftertaste in my mouth. Ewwwww gross. So I just sipped on my water and Biocharge along the rolling hills.

The first 28 miles out I felt fine. I was pushing harder than I would normally on a bike ride, but felt like I could maintain what I was doing. I ate a VO2 prime bar over the course of the last hour, and made sure to drink lots of water.

This isn’t so bad at all!

When I turned around in Cranberry Lake to head back to Tupper Lake, things drastically changed.

I felt myself incredibly nauseous and light headed, therefore I continued to drink more water thinking I might be dehydrated. I then noticed that I was not sweating at all (which was very abnormal for the girl who sweats walking up a flight of stairs).

Sh*t. Something is not right. 

I continued to push myself, despite the way I was feeling.

At¬†mile 30, I wanted to quit. I was mentally and physically done with the race.¬†I¬†tried to hum music to myself, which has helped me in the past. But after “singing” a verse in my head, my nausea would return with a vengence.

Why am I doing this? This is not fun. Why am I doing this? This is the last race I’m ever going to do…Why am I doing this? F-ck you, rolling hills!

I kept pedaling.

This is stupid. Just stop. You aren’t a good triathlete, so who cares if you finish or not? You aren’t like the other women. Just stop.

Then I would think, “No, get to the finish line. Just get to the finish line and you are done. Just finish and you can go home. Just finish….Just finish…”

The¬†5 mile distance¬†signs felt like for-e-ver. With each sign I tried to reason with¬†myself by comparing the distance to rides I would do at home, “this is the ____ loop you do at home all the time….No big deal….You got this”¬†

I felt like I was riding slower and slower. People started passing me.

The rolling hills that I hadn’t really noticed going to Cranberry Lake, were like mountains.

I thought about how my nutrition and hydration was so out of whack. The “200-300 calories/hour” on the bike did not happen. I calculated the amount of calories I had consumed total, and it was less than the amount I consumed on my olympic aquabike course at Quassy. I kept waiting for my body to bonk. I could feel the tears starting to well in my eyes.

I hate this. This is not the way the race is supposed to go. I’m not going to make it. I’m going to have another DNF.¬†

When I finally hit the 50 mile point I thought I could make it.

“C’mon Mol, this is just like riding to the Fork in the Road at home. You can do this”

Except, at home, we didn’t have two “hills” to climb in those five miles.

After what I felt like was an eternity,¬†I saw the “Welcome to Tupper Lake” sign. I was almost done.

I was going to finish.

Finally, I was able to dismount the bike.

I felt sick, yet relief that I had finished, and disbelief that I had completed the 56 mile bike ride in three hours.

I found my fellow Hudson-Valley-ers who had already finished their races (and PLACED!!! woo HOO, those women ROCK) and tried to force myself to feel better. It was a shame that I honestly felt like crap, because the post-race food was awesome, and there was even a post-race beer tent.

After about half an hour and  forcing myself to eat some orange slices, I started feeling better. I was still concerned with the fact I was not sweating at all, nor felt any urge to pee, and felt nauseous as heck.

Jane sat with me, and we chit-chatted for a bit. There was a live band (ah-mazing post race!) and despite not knowing how I did on the race, I felt a small chance that I might have placed in the race. I wanted to wait and see what occured with the awards before heading to my Adirondack home to shower (Yes, L.L.РI consider your amazing Adirondack camp MY camp HAHA). Jane ended up finding the results and came back to me:

“Well, good news: you won¬†your age group– because you were the only one in it….And, you also are first place overall in the womens AB division!”

Wait– I actually beat those hardcore women triathletes in their fancy kits and expensive bikes?

Wait– I placed in a long distance race?

Wait– I qualified for a “series championship race”?

I never in a thousand years believed I was capable of doing well in a longer-distance triathlon. Never before did I push myself. I’ve always finished long distance races (well, just the three long distances triathlons I’ve completed) with the mentality of “just¬†saying I¬†finished.” I never thought I was capable of swimming fast, or riding my bike faster than 15 mph.

Heck, halfway in, I never believed I was going to be able to finish that race to begin with.

But, I managed to perform better than I ever have, despite feeling physically the worst I have ever had.

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Male and female aquabike winners

So, there you have it. I managed to have both my best race time wise, and my worst race physically.

I’m stoked I did’t let the voices in my head win and tell me to quit.

A HUGE thank you to L.L, D.J., and all the other ladies for a great women’s weekend away! It was super fun.

A HUGE thank you to my swim coach, Jane, for pushing me to go faster than I believed I could go.I don’t think I would have done as well as I did if you were not there.

=)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aquabike Training

I sat down to start my last project¬†of the semester and¬†somehow ended up on my wordpress site starting a blog post instead. What can I say?¬†Apparently I have no self discipline when it comes to end-of-semester-powerpoints…Especially when they are about¬†Nursing Leadership (yawn).

I figured I would blog about training, since I’m almost finished with my second¬†full month of training after a four month¬†swim/bike hiatus.It is hard to believe I started this blog about running and duathlons, and now it has turned into a blog about biking and swimming…How does that happen?

I can’t remember if I blogged about it, but I signed up for the Tupper Lake Tinman aquabike in June! I am overjoyed that I remembered some races have an aquabike option– which is awesome for people who cannot run. In fact, a fellow nurse is doing it too!¬†I figured an aquabike¬†would be good prep for my race in September, even if I am not running yet. Might as well focus on the sports I still can do, right? The event is composed of¬†a 1.2 mile swim and then a 56 mile bike.* Woot woot! My racing life is not over just yet! It is crazy, but after IMLP last summer, those distances seem like a piece of cake.

Swimming

From¬†the beginning of March when I started to swim and bike again, I’ve put in some major pool time (for me): swimming 3-4 times per week. To put it into perspective, 3-4 swims last year is what I would do in two or three weeks!

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I cannot believe¬†I¬†am going to say this, but I think not being able to run and focus on swimming has definitely changed my views of the sport. Truth be told, when I trained for my past two half IM’s and Ironman Lake Placid, I swam once *maybe* twice a week if I was feeling “inspired.” There were some weeks when I never swam at all. I thought that since I “was not a swimmer” I would never get better at it, and might as well focus on the run and biking. I was always reading how athletes should focus on their weak sports, but I never took on that mentality. Plus, being in the pool was a complete bore. I still have no idea how I was able to finish the 2.4 mile swim at LP only swimming once per week. My prior training methods should NOT be followed. Hah.

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All prepared for training!

After consistent swimming for the first time in my life (well, since I was maybe 10 years old) I actually see myself improving. Not only improving, but I’m pushing myself harder at the sport than I ever have, and pushing through my fears of swimming that still haunt me occasionally. I still basically have two swim speeds (fast and easy) and would love to learn how to do a kick turn, but I’m pretty¬†excited about¬†how far I have come from this point last year. Focusing on my weakness is slowly transforming it to a strength.

Training

Back to aquabike training. Training for this race is basically the same as training for a triathlon, minus the run. Part of me thought training for just two sports instead of three would be easier, but aquabike training is actually difficult. Part of the difficulty is probably due to the months I missed of all swimming/biking. The other difficulty is the fact I am trying to follow all the workouts the way they are meant to be, and pushing myself harder in my training than I did in prior years.

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A snapshot of last weeks training

My weeks are composed of 3-4 swims and 3-4 bikes, with a couple strength sessions thrown in,** and range from 6-9+hrs per week. Last week I swam more in one week than I ever have (totaling over 6 miles). I was looking back at my training for my first half IM and the hours I spent training for that race ranged were really not enough for that distance. Heck, for that half IM I went two months without swimming…No wonder it took me 55¬†minutes to complete the swim. Training sessions are short and focused, which I like. (In my opinion, there is no need to spend more than 2.5 hrs on an indoor trainer). There are still about two months before Tinman, but I am focused and dedicated to doing my best on this aquabike….Especially the swim portion!

I am SUPER excited that¬†my doc gave me the go ahead to bike outside and not only on the trainer!¬†I’ve missed riding up hills ūüėõ (No really, I’ve missed riding up hills!¬†All about feeling the burn.)¬†Being outside makes me feel like a human again.

Happy training everyone!

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“My attitude is if you push me towards a weakness, I will turn that weakness into a strength.”- Michael Jordan

* I also signed up for another aquabike later in July in the Hudson Valley! How could I not? I mean, without the running, it should be easier on my body…Right?!?¬†

**I went for a walk to see how my ankle and foot would do (lets be honest, it was a walk/slowwwww jog/walk/slowwwww jog) and the foot did not hurt! My leg muscles on the other hand felt as if I had just run a marathon. Baby steps!¬†Shhh, don’t tell my doctor.¬†

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My $$$$$$ orthotics, the cure for my foot problems…Hopefully

On the Sidelines

Training for IMLP took me away from speed training; I know a lot of ironman training programs do incorporate speed sessions. But my goal was simple: to finish the race within the 17 hour time limit. So I wasn’t focused on speed. Late summer/ early fall I decided it was time to gain my speed back. I’m not going to lie, running hard and fast is tough. But, I was able to get back to my sub-8minute miles, and was estatic. I made sure I was able to have Thanksgiving off in order to take part in our local Turkey Trot; I had a goal to beat my previous 5k time.

I failed to mention during this time, I switched shoes brands (and shoe type). From my first run in the shoes, there was pain in my left foot. But I figured it was just my foot getting accustomed to the new shoe. (I am “profoundly” flat footed and decided to try a minimalist shoe). There continued to be pain as I ran, but we all know that runners are pros at running through pain.

Then, one day, I started out on a run and it was too painful to run. I decided to take a couple days off from running, focusing on biking instead. A week later I attempted to run again, and found the pain was extreme. After working a busy shift, the pain was not only present when I walked but all the time.

Enter peroneal tendonitis.

Long story short, this is my second week in a CAM boot, out of work, in hopes the tendons will forgive me for being so cruel to them. I was unable to take part in that Turkey Trot, and haven’t run for almost a month.

I have been sidelined before (i.e. my appendix), but this injury has been a lot harder, emotionally. I still have the occasional pain when I walk without the boot, and I haven’t been able to bike for over a week, and kicking when I swim even aggravates the foot. The impatient person in me wants this to heal quickly–even though the damage I did was probably over a couple months. I’ve tried to do other activities, but nothing has “felt” the same way as a tough run or good bike ride feels. Truth be told, deep down I fear I may be unable to run again. The goals I had for next year’s races seem to be disappearing before my eyes. It’s lead to feelings of depression and sadness that I haven’t felt in a long time.

Yes, you might say I am being dramatic right now, but the fear of being unable to do the things I love, is real.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. A friend of mine reminded me that things happen at the times they were meant to happen in our lives. But right now I cannot seem to figure out what the reason is behind this injury…

Has anyone else been sidelined by an injury? How did you cope?

She’s Back, and Just as Crazy as Before

Well, I cannot remember the last time I wrote on this blog. Okay, that is a lie, I know the last time I wrote was back in July after I finished Ironman Lake Placid. There have been numerous instances when I have thought about this blog, including really interesting topics to discuss. But alas, life got in the way, and grad school has become a priority over blogging. Only three more years of school to go!

Anyway, fall has come and almost left in the Hudson Valley. The leaves have fallen, or are almost gone. I have no idea where September or October went. Before we know it, it will be the Holidays! Between work and school, I was able to take full advantage of the gorgeous fall days that we had and take a plethora of foliage photos. The scenery never gets old for me here.

I have heard of people becoming a bit depressed after finishing up their first ironman triathlon. I would not say that I became depressed. In fact, it was nice not having 5-6 hr rides planned on my days off from work. I did find myself wondering what to do with all my free time (back before I started school haha). I actually found myself highly unmotivated to do anything related to triathlons, especially swimming. So, I took a three month triathlon hiatus and focused on things that I had neglected while training for IMLP, including spending time with my man, and doing activities such as mountain biking and trail running. I must admit, it was a nice change of pace.

But now with the days getting shorter, and the weather getting chillier, I decided I want to train for a couple other (short) races next year, and do another triathlon. In fact, all through Sept/October (especially since I started trail running again) I kept thinking about S.O.S: Survival of the Shawangunks. I remember mentioning the race back when I first started this blog five years ago and writing:

I’ve studied the map and website for the race, gawking over the different stages, and give any athlete who has completed the race my utmost respect. There is no way I could ever complete a race like that.

At that point in my life, I had not started swimming again and had just completed two sprint duathlons–I never imagined I would (1) ever do a triathlon let alone (2) completed a full iron distance race. I guess a lot can change in a couple years.

Anyway, I thought it would be really challenging, and super fun, if I was able to do S.O.S. After all, the race is local, which means it would be easy for family to get to, and I could do a large part of training on the race course itself.

The first challenge of this triathlon would be registering for it. Apparently, it sells out within minutes of when registration online opens. I am not one to wait for any registration to open. In fact, I am not one to wait in lines for anything to open (except for that one time in September when Kevin wanted to get a special release Beer up in VT). But, I guess I’ve changed. So the night of registration, I drank lots of caffeine and ate some candy* and waited¬†for the registration to open.

Within eight minutes, the race sold out.

And I was lucky to snatch a spot for the race in 2016 ūüėÄ

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If you are unfamiliar with what S.O.S. is, it is an eight-stage triathlon that takes racers through Minnewaska State Park and Mohonk. It starts with you riding for thirty miles¬†(with the last 5 miles all uphill), then you¬†run, then swim, then run, then swim, then run….then swim….then run up to the finish at Skytop tower. The thing that¬†is unique to this multi stage event is you must carry everything you will be using from your first bike-to-run transition. I still don’t know how I am going to do that, but I have some time to figure it out.

This brings a whole new set of challenges for me, including swimming with shoes , and having multiple swims and runs during a race. But I embrace the challenge, and am giddy with excitement for this next event!**

I guess this means I should start swimming again, huh?

*I actually had¬†pizza and a beer instead of coffee¬†and candy, but¬†neither choices are healthy, so¬†why does it really matter? ūüėõ

**I will be recruiting the best support team out there to help me with this next challenge if they are up for it (wink wink to my man and soul sister)

Ironman Lake Placid: Days Leading Up

It is insane to think that Ironman Lake Placid is over. I think that reading this will probably take longer than the whole race itself (just a heads up!) I figured the best way to handle such an event would be to break it up into a couple different parts.

After a couple days of craziness (IE work, cupcake order, packing, last minute race shopping, lack of sleep due to excitement), Kevin and I took the trip up to Lake Placid on Thursday morning to get their early.

Packed and ready to go!

Packed and ready to go!

I wanted to get there with plenty of time, and to have a couple days to just “bum around” before the masses of athletes went up. Packet pick-up was composed of signing my life away with waivers, getting weighed (that was a first at a race!) and getting my race number, chip, and cap. We also took a look around to see where “The Miracle on Ice” occured.

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The Olympic Oval!

The Olympic Oval!

Site of the Miracle on Ice

Site of the Miracle on Ice

We walked around the town for a bit before attending an athlete meeting and then headed to Saranac Lake to our lodging for the next couple of days. We stayed in (what used to be) a bed and breakfast that was nice. There was a refrigerator in our room and a coffee maker, so we could prepare breakfast and lunch (which ended up being PB&J sandwiches). It was about 20 minutes from Lake Placid and about 1/3 the price of what I would have had to spend to stay in Lake Placid itself.

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For dinner, we headed to this neat small local restaurant called Eat and Meet (thank you, Yelp, for helping us). If you are there, you should check this place out. It has outdoor seating that is actually on a little hill so you can sit on the balcony and look down on the street. There was a little fire pit with a fire, and it is also an old mini-golf course! There was some rain as we ate outside, but the ambiance was awesome. I think we fell asleep by 7:45pm– let me tell you, I cannot remember the last time I was so exhausted.

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Friday morning we went back into Lake Placid so I could take a quick swim in Mirror Lake. Ofcourse when we left Saranac Lake I realized I forgot a vital piece of swim equipment: my goggles. So we wasted a bit of time in town before the Athlete Village opened so I could purchase a pair of goggles. I mean, you can never have enough goggles anyway.

Mirror Lake is gorgeous. Compared to what I am used to (which is, swimming in a murky pond) I felt in heaven. It is crisp and feels “fresh.” Over the past couple days I had been concerned that I would overheat in my long-sleeved wetsuit (pre-race jitters probably contributed to it). After much back and forth with whether or not to try a sleeveless wetsuit that a friend of mine had lent, I decided to just go with what I know and use the full-sleeve wetsuit. There were other people who were doing the full loop of the swim, but I kept mine short ¬†(about 20 minutes) since I knew I would be swimming enough in a couple of days!

After the swim, Kevin and I headed to a little race info session presented by Endurance Nation. I really wanted to go, since I had never ridden the bike course before, and figured I could use all the help I could get with this race being my first Ironman. It was very informative, and gave Kevin a chance to take a snooze. We even got a free training DVD and some gummy chews.

Kevin picked up a few extras while I went to the restroom. Haha

Kevin picked up  just a few extras while I went to the restroom. Haha

In the afternoon, we headed back to Saranac Lake and took a leisure ride around the area, which was gorgeous. The air in the Adirondacks is crisp and the weather was beautiful. No humidity whatsoever. Perfect.

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The views were amazing

After the ride I packed all my bags and prepared my bike. They give you five bags: one for AM clothes, one for the bike portion, a bike special needs bag, one for the run portion, and a run special needs bag. I’m pretty sure all IM athletes are just as anal as I and packed/unpacked/repacked all their gear at least two or three times before actually placing everything in the appropriate bags!

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My packing list:

Morning Of bag:

  • tri-top,
  • tri-shorts,
  • flip flops,
  • long pants,
  • sweat shirt,
  • body glide,
  • wetsuit,
  • goggles (x2),
  • swim cap,
  • timing chip

Bike:

  • Helmet,
  • gloves,
  • long fingered gloves,
  • arm warmers,
  • bike shorts,
  • jersey,
  • spare tube/ co2 cartridges (three on the bike),
  • socks,
  • bike shoes,
  • sun glasses,
  • sun tan lotion,
  • chap stick,
  • wet wipes,
  • towel
  • sunsleeves (which were horrible! cheap does NOT mean better)

Bike special needs:

  • rain jacket
  • wet wipes
  • contact solution
  • contacts
  • chamois cream
  • luna bar
  • 2x cliff bars
  • extra tube
  • extra CO2 cartridges
  • advil

Run bag:

  • running shorts
  • compression calf sleeves
  • socks
  • running shoes
  • visor
  • race number
  • fuel belt (with tums/salt tabs/ chap stick)
  • nutrition waffle

Run Special needs:

  • contact solution
  • nutrition waffle
  • arm warmers
  • long sleeve t-shirt
  • wetwipes
  • gloves
  • advil

Nutrition:

  • cliff bars (goal: eat one per hour on the bike; I cut them into six pieces so they are easier to eat)
  • energy waffles
  • bio-charge
  • Salt tabs
  • O2 Gold

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Once that was done, we took a little trip down to Schroon Lake to visit my parents at their campsite and have dinner as well as go through race day arrangements.

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Saturday

Saturday morning, we awoke early and headed back to Lake Placid for a hearty breakfast and took a nice walk around Mirror Lake. Then it was time to drop off my bags and bike. Since the weather forecast showed rain overnight, I left out the clothes that I wanted to stay dry overnight. Let me tell you, there are some pretty cleve people who came up with ways to keep their bags dry if it rains (hints for a future IM race?!?) I checked in my bike (and they even take pictures of every bike!) and we headed back out of town. I kind of wanted to get away from all the craziness/ excitement and just relax outside of town.

Perfect day.

Perfect day.

Loading up!

Loading up!

I ordered a

I ordered a “side pancake” and this is what I got. To put it in perspective, that is a pint glass of water in the back. It was HUGE. And yes, I ate it all.

My love helping apply my number

My love helping apply my number

Bike is racked!

Bike is racked! Thanks to the wonderful volunteer who took my photo.

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We visited a local Hudson Valley-er¬†(and also triathlete!)at their campsite for a little while for a beverage (well, I had gatorade) and then headed to an early dinner. By early, I mean 4:45pm early. There, we met up with another fellow ex- Hudson Valley-er/ mountain biker/road rider/duathlete/ my soul sister Jen C) for some pre-race de-briefing. It was important that I had my pre-race veggie burger and french fries–a¬†pre-race tradition that is vital! Low and behold, I found out this restaurant did NOT serve french fries (whatttttttt???????). Jen, I love her, spoke up and asked why they do not serve french fries if they serve chips. The waitress was great and offered home fries instead, and Jen and I had some of those instead of french fries. We chatted about everything and then headed back to our lodging early so I could relax and, yet again, go over all the things I would need in the am.

Veggie burger with....home fries

Veggie burger with….home fries

Love this guy

Love this guy

My soul sister :-) Traveled all the way up from FL to be here with me!

My soul sister ūüôā Traveled all the way up from FL to be here with me! And yes that is a brownie which I just HAD to have.¬†

….To Be Continued

The Emotions of Ironman.

…Okay, tomorrow it will be¬†one week until the big day.

Calm my excited, rapidly beating heart.

I finished my last “big ride” (50 miler) today. Tomorrow morning before work I’ll head for a short 6 mile run and Monday I plan on another swim around here. (I am not sure what is in store in terms of next week’s workouts, but I’m pretty sure next week is all about taking it easy.) I found myself wanting to go out and do more (of either running/biking/swimming) today, but in a weeks time I will be doing plenty of all three (and hopefully all under 17 hours).

As I was driving around picking up some last minute items to pack, I was trying to figure out what I really feel in regards to this race.

Disbelief. When I started setting out all my gear the other day, I could not really believe that I am taking part in IMLP. For years I have followed the blogs of triathletes; I have read about their own packing lists and experiences training and racing in Ironmans. But I never actually thought I would be doing one someday. There is a difference between wanting to do something, and actually going out there and doing it.

The start of my packing task

Packing has only just begun.

Fear. No doubt about it, I am scared. I am scared of the mass swim start. I have only swan 2.4 miles outside once before, and that was by myself. I am scared of bodies swimming over me and the feeling of “drowning” under them. I am afraid of not finishing by the cut off times. I am afraid of not finishing, period. I have invested so much into this race, the thought of not completing it is frightening. I am afraid of having to stop and waste time going to the bathroom (i know, silly things). I am afraid of failing. I fear all the missed workouts from surgery, or when “life” happened, will add up and ultimately, my body will not let me finish.

Regret. Parts of me regret those times when I “listened to my body” and refrained from going further, or pushing myself harder. The times I took an extra “rest day” when my coach had workouts planned.

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Sadness. There are parts of me that are sad that this journey I started in October is almost over. What will I do with my life? My weeks have been planned around my long rides and long runs! (Well, we all know I’ll be going back to grad school in the

Stress. There is a certain element of anxiety/stress that goes along with every race I do: getting to the race location, making sure everything is all set up by the time it needs to be; the stress of parking and finding family members (and also knowing the stress that family members will encounter trying to find me! I know I will hear about it after the event.)

Joy. I’ve talked about it before: ironman training has created an emotionally unstable being in me…Atleast when it comes to watching ironman finish videos. Tears of joy seem to well up in my eyes when I imagine myself crossing that finish line and becoming an “ironman;” hearing my name by Mike Reilly on the loudspeaker…I choke up inside thinking that that could be me. Seriously. I do not know how people watch those YouTube videos without crying. (Lets face it, those people must simply be robots).

And the biggest emotion I have felt recently is excitement/anticipation. I am definitely excited for next weekend (rather, Thursday, when Kevin and I head up to Lake Placid). I have embarked on other adventures in the past, and have challenged myself physically and psychologically, but nothing compares to taking on the challenge of an Ironman. ¬†I cannot wait to get my race packet– to see my number with my name….To see Mirror Lake in person…To meet other triathletes I have come to “know” online, who have given me tips and hints on the big day…I am sooooo excited!

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It’s Doable.

There are 15 days left until race day.

A little over two weeks.

While tying that I just had a “Ohh sh-t” moment. Seriously, only two weeks left?

Where did the time go?

Ironman Lake Placid has been a part of my daily life for the past 8 months. I’ve thought about it, in some capacity, everyday. Whether it was a long training ride, or jitters I had the night before a tough training day, or if it was a “rest day,” I’ve thought about this race on a daily basis.

Crazy? Yea, probably.

For me, it is crazy to think that now I am “tapering.” I don’t think I have ever really “tapered” before. There are parts of me that want to make up for all the long runs and rides I never finished. But I know that pushing myself now will not get me to the finish line any quicker in this type of event. It takes weeks to build up to riding the full ironman distance ride (and run, and swim). So one extra day will do nothing.

It may be because  I have settled into a more normal pattern at work, and finished up that summer class, but I feel I have all the time in the world at the moment (which I know will not last once I go back to grad school in the fall). So I figured I would enjoy this time and blog.

It is funny how as the length of the race you train for increases, your perception of training decreases. For example, I remember training for my 70.3 triathlons and thinking, “Holy crap, a half marathon after a 56 mile bike ride? Are you kidding?” Now, the thought of jumping on the bike for a 56 mile ride is nothing (heck, any ride under 4 hours is a short ride). I run half-marathon distance runs weekly, as if it is “just another run.” ¬†I never thought I would be able to finish a century ride, especially alone. But I’ve completed four 100+ milers since the end of May.

Despite wanting to complete an ironman in my lifetime, I never really thought I would ever be able to swim 2.4 miles in the open water without the use of flippers or a buoy (as crutches to use when I was tired). Yet, I finished my first 2.4 OWS alone on Monday. To my surprise, I did not drown, nor have a seizure, nor be eaten by fish. I put my mind to completing that distance, and I did it.

I remember vividly my first time back on the mountain bike last August after my nine month mountain biking hiatus. I was horrible. I was scared to ride over rocks and roots that I once was able to ride over without difficulties. The ride was supposed to be fun. All I could think about while trying to concentrate on the trails through my tears was how I wasn’t good at anything. I ended up walking more of the bike ride than riding. I gave up. I’ll never be a good mountain biker. Why can’t I do this?¬†Why can’t I buck up and be brave? I suck at mountain biking. I’ll never be good at anything.

¬†It is during this bike ride that I made the mental decision to sign up for IMLP–to prove to myself that I can do something that I put my mind to; that I can be brave, that there is something I am good at.

(Mind you, the next day of mountain biking was the complete opposite– I guess it took awhile for me to get my “mountain bike legs” back.)

Now, I am just your average beginner triathlete. I’m not out to gain a slot at Kona by doing IMLP. I’m¬†a back of the pack swimmer, and your average cyclist and runner. I don’t think I will ever be a triathlete who gets to Kona, and I am okay with that. I am¬†doing this race¬†because I want to do it. I’ve turned into an emotional guppy during training; whenever I see a video of people crossing the finish line at IM races, I start to cry. Yes, it is because I may be tired, but crossing that finish line is something I want to do so badly that even the thought makes me tear up.Why? Because completing this type of event is beyond what I think I am capable of doing.

Despite those little voices that tell me I can’t finish this race, there is a voice that states, “It’s doable.”

I did not realize those two (or three) words could have such an impact on me.

This Ironman is doable. Just like the 2.4mile open water solo swim was, and a century ride was.

It’s doable.

I know I am physically in the best shape I have ever been in. I’ve gained stamina and strength through all the training I’ve done. I’ve gained knowledge about my body, and the power of nutrition. I’ve learned that no matter the weather, you are still able to ride/run and swim. I’ve realized that on those rides where I’ve been cold, wet, and tired, I never gave up. (Well, being alone in areas without reception, you kind of have no choice whether you give up or not, because no one can get to you). My last long ride was horrible. I didn’t even finish the distance I was supposed to,nor did I finish the long run I had planned. But, I know in a little over two weeks I will be doing it all again. The next time time, though, there will be thousands of other athletes around me.¬†We will all be in the same boat together. Attempting for the first time (or second, or tenth¬†for others) a race¬†that so many people have called us crazy for attempting. Doing something that people say is impossible, and that is unnatural for the body to do. We will push ourselves, mentally, physically, and emotionally, to see what we are capable of doing.

Despite the doubts, pain, and fear, we will do it.

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