5 Weeks to Quassy Half

I remember the morning that Kevin and I drove to MA for the Patriot Half Ironman last year pre-race jitters and nerves had consumed my body and I stated, “I just need to finish this, and I never have to do another one of these again.”

Fast forward eleven months and here I am counting down the weeks to my next 70.3 triathlon. The pre-race nerves have not hit yet, but I have no doubts that they will return a couple days before the race. They always do. If there is any athlete out there who has no pre-race anxiety whatsoever, lead him/her to me so I can learn their secret.

I’ve read, and heard, many things regarding the Quassy triathlon, with one common opinion: it. is. hard.

I must admit, I chose the Patriot Half because I knew it was flat. For me, flat equalled easy, and flat equalled something I could finish. In reality, even flat courses are difficult; having your body endure a race that lasts longer than 70 miles is not a walk in the park.

This race coming up in a little over a month however, is the opposite of the Patriot Half. I have heard that it is hilly. I have heard it is difficult. I’ve heard it is one of the more difficult half ironman distance races in the US.

Does that scare me?

I’ve decided to turn feeling “scared” into feeling “challenged.” It will be a challenging race for sure, but one that I am looking forward to in seeing how my training for IMLP is going.

Last week, I completed the longest brick thus far: a 40 mile bike ride and then a 8 mile run after. Long story short, it was a horrible training day. Even though I fueled well, I felt weak. I felt tired. Riding my road bike brings such discomfort that it is hard to muster any energy to pedal because of the pain I have in my shoulders. I was supposed to ride 60 miles, but gave up after 40. I couldn’t even keep up a 13.5mph speed. Throughout the run after I kept thinking, “How am I possibly going to finish a race in a few weeks when I am in such discomfort after only riding 40 miles? Maybe I should just quit all together. There is no way I will be able to ride 112 miles. Too much training lost from my stupid appendix. It’s just a waste of time trying.” Negative thoughts began, and we all know those are evil and to where they lead.

A week later I had a 70mile ride scheduled and then a long run after. I decided to take my triathlon bike out and test it on hills and real roads (not just a rail trail). There was a decent amount of climbs and descents, which is what I wanted, so that i could become more comfortable with my tri-bike handling skills. Let me just say, I finished the ride and felt good for the first time off the bike in who knows how long. Yes, there is a certain discomfort you have when riding a tri bike, but I had no vision-changing, piercing pain that slowed me down on my rides on my road bike.

Not a bad place to learn how to ride your Cervelo.

Not a bad place to learn how to ride your Cervelo.

I made sure to fuel well and hydrate.

Nothing like the pre-ride PB&J

Nothing like the pre-ride PB&J

Wrappers I emptied from the pockets of my jersey...

Wrappers I emptied from the pockets of my jersey…

I learned that taking pictures while riding a tri bike is extremely difficult to do.

I had no idea I was taking a picture here....

I had no idea I was taking a picture here….And I think it is quite funny. Hello nostrils! 😛

For the first time in who knows how long, I enjoyed it. Yes, there were a couple instances where I feared for my life, and I did have to stop for about 10 minutes in order to talk myself into continuing down a extremely scary road (and I am sure, not the safest hill to ride down, especially if it is your first time riding your triathlon bike near cars.) But, I survived. And I managed to average a faster pace than on my road bike. (I am still far from those 20+mph cyclists out there.)

https://www.strava.com/activities/294951653/embed/cf5d6e93f128483049d613530e1f4da444520dcb

Not only did I survive a road, I figured how to take a picture without falling off!

Not only did I survive a road, I figured how to take a picture without falling off! (Don’t judge the backpack–it is a second skin now)

At the end of the ride and run I thought to myself, “Man, that was a challenge which I survived; I think I’ll be able to finish Quassy!”

It is amazing how positive thinking can evoke such excitement for the rest of my training. Yes, rides will be longer, runs will be tougher, and swims will be exhausting. But anything is possible when you believe in yourself, right?

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Here’s to the Next Chapter

Okay, lets give this a second try (sometimes I despise technology). Yes, I am alive, even though I have not written anything in almost four (yes, FOUR!) months. Seriously, time, you go by too quickly. Please slow down.

I was reading a couple of my first posts on this site from four years ago, and found this blog almost to be a bit of a diary of my life since I moved up to the Hudson Valley. To bring you up to speed on these past four months, I give you pictures (as this overcast/windy weather has caused me to feel a bit lazy this afternoon. That, and the tough swim workout I just did).

Back at the beginning of the summer I completed my first sprint triathlon with some fellow colleagues, and had an absolute blast (I didn’t do too shabby, either). It was so fun to do some training ride/runs/swims with other people, and to see them finish their first race!IMG_5201 In August I was reintroduced to mountain biking after a nine month hiatus while I was training for the Patriot Half. The first day back was up in Rutland for Kevin’s birthday. I must admit, the first day back in the saddle was rough. I could not get myself to relax, nor be able to see the trails through my tear-filled eyes. Over time, though, I found my mountain bike legs again, and cannot believe I spent so much time apart from this type of biking. It is exhilarating when you are able to challenge yourself and tackle obstacles in the woods. I do have bruises from when I was not so successful at those obstacles, too.     IMG_5289 IMG_5307   IMG_5574 IMG_5579 IMG_5411 I’ve been busy baking (I even had my first wedding order!) and saving lives at work, “one percocet at a time,” as a nursing friend of mine said once. IMG_5558 I’ve also been doing a lot of soul searching, taking one day at a time to try and better myself and face internal deamons and any road blocks that might come my way full force, as hard and painful as it might feel. I was given the chance to live, and I am going to do it. IMG_5468 IMG_5235 Since fall is my favorite time of year, I’ve tried to take advantage of the amazing weather we’ve had (excluding today) with runs/long rides. Kevin even went for a 60 miler with me! (To be fair, I did not realize the ride would be that long.) By now, however, he knows that when I suggest we go for a ride/walk/jog, he needs to actually double my suggested distance. :-p IMG_5452 IMG_5533   IMG_5553   I also signed up for the next challenge in my life: Ironman Lake Placid 2015. I’ve thought long and hard before signing up for it, and, as long as I can remember, (and as long as I have been documenting in this blog!) I’ve been in awe of the event. There has always been something deep down inside that has drawn me to the race. Everyone has their reasons for embarking on their “journey to Ironman,” and, for sure, I have my own. Yes, my family and friends think I am bonkers for wanting to do such a race. But, ever since the Patriot Half, I’ve missed training (maybe I really have gone off the deep end!). I know the training will be tough. I know it will be painful. I know it will take a lot of time. I know I have nothing to prove to anyone. Still, it’s something that I am determined to do. For me, the journey means just as much as the race.

In the Summa’ Time…

What’s been happening so far this summer?

On the 4th of July, my first holiday off since Thanksgiving, I decided to go for a mid-century ride. Despite my detailed directions, I got lost, and never ended up where I wanted to go.

How can one get lose with  directions like this?

How can one get lost with directions like this?

Views from who knows where

Views from who knows where

I lead my first mountain bike ride! We fought the heat and mosquitoes.

Not a real mountain bike ride unless there is blood.

Not a real mountain bike ride unless there is blood.

I decided to be girly and get my nails done professionally.

Sparkles for the 4th of July

Sparkles for the 4th of July

Sweaty runs have occurred.

Selfie

Selfie

Vegan baking adventures have continued.

Blueberry Banana cake

Blueberry Banana cake

Chocolate with mocha frosting-- a hit!

Chocolate with mocha frosting– a hit!

Kevin and I have explored the new addition to local trails….

IMG_2053

IMG_2054

And he even went wildflower picking with me!

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His picks matched his shirt

His picks matched his shirt

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I’ve spent time riding a true Dutch bike…Or trying to ride it.

The bike has got to weigh atleast 40 lbs

The bike has got to weigh atleast 40 lbs

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What have you been upto?

Autumn Rides

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” William Cullen Bryant

Autumn; it might be my favorite time  of year. I was blessed to be able to live in an area where we can see the colors of the trees change from green to golden brown to shades of  golds and ambers;and to have the opportunity to jump into piles of crispy, crunchy leaves that hath fallen from trees (yes, the youth is still in me). In all honestly, where did September go? I feel the month disappeared without my knowing. I guess all the overtime at work had something to do with it.

Autumn. Think about it. Trees change colors, you do not sweat to death walking to you car….Yes, it might be chilier, and snort sleeve jersies will be replaced with long jerseys. And the change of leaves brings yet  another challenge to (esp) mountain biking, since paths are covered by leaves ( as well as rocks and roots)…Not to mention we have started the  hunting season, which brings a whole different change of mountain biking.  Thankfully, Ferncilff  Forest is a “safe’ zone for riders; i.e. hunters are not able to hunt in these zones (hallelujah!).

On my first couple days off in  a row after hellish days 0f non stop insanity at work, I decided to get back on my road bike– one which, I am afraid to say, tool somewhat of a back seat this summer. I guess with Lyme you need to pick yourself back up and just pedal, pedal,pedal to get back into the shape you once were. Not to mention, most of my recent rides have been mountain bike ones.

Running is getting better as well. I cannot believe the amount of strength I lost–but am determined to get it back, not only that, but he healthier, leaner, and stronger. As well as start swimming again. I am not going to get one little tick bite destroy the goal of mine to do a triathlon.

So, I convinced K to go for a ride with me–a road ride….And for some reason my GPS system doesn’t work (okay you got me on that one….I simply forgot my garmin–gasp. But I think it was about 35miles around through Dutchess and Columbia counties. I have done this route multiple times before, but never with someone else… I’m more of  a solo rider). Below are a few pictures–a few taken by me…the rest taken by him.

Off of River Road

 

Pretty road

River Road….Freshly pave…like riding on clouds.

K  found flowers….

And to top off the day, I created homemade pumpkin pop tarts and pumpkin cinnamon rolls….That post will follow.

Third Year’s a Charm

It’s hard to believe I’ve been in the Hudson Valley for three years already. Where did the time go? And what has happened?

I’ve gone through a variety of different sneakers…Some getting wet, others getting dirty.

I’ve endured scrapes, bruises, and tick bites.

Major ouch.

I survived my first road trip adventure, including sharp descents, rocks and roots.

I’ve made life long friends.

The Valley Girls

Best. Cousin. Ever.

I learnt how to make lemonade when life gave me lemons…Or juice out of berries.

I’ve taken lots of photos.

I watched things grow from seeds in my (first) garden.

I’ve gone for many rides.

Yes, all my bikes get used.

I’ve baked lots of cakes, both big and small, round and square.

I built my first bike, from scratch.

I expanded my family.

I met the love of my life…

Obsessed much?

Oh wait, I mean this love of my life.

I learnt it takes a strong person to compete in a race, and sometimes stronger one to know when to stop.

I was reminded how fun it is to dress up, and that every person is beautiful.

I learnt not to take myself too seriously.

I learnt how to ski, face my fear of open water swims, and mountain bike.

Most importantly I learnt that life goes on.

Thank you, to all of those whom I have met on this fabulous journey.

Impressive Bike Handling Skills

Watch, and you’ll be in awe of Danny’s skills.

Let’s Du it!

I feel it’s been a while since I wrote my last post. Work has been busy, training has been tough, and life in general has just been busy—you know what I mean.

I can tell you,it IS FINALLY spring here! It only took until May for it to arrive. I’m not going to lie, Mother nature must take pleasuring with messing with our heads: one day, it’s in the 70’s, the next, down to the 40s and downpour for most of the day. I think this year she didn’t get what she wanted for christmas and is taking it out on the residents of the Hudson valley.

Getting my crap together

And it’s official: tri/duathlon season has started! And, I do not think that working night shifts go hand-in-hand with trying to compete in early morning races when your body is telling you that that is in fact not the time to be running races, but rather sleeping. Then again, do you think the lack of sleep ever stops me from putting my body through an hour and a half of imense torture? Pshhh. It never stopped me in the past. Other than that one incident where I set my alarm for 7pm instead of 7am and awoke to find I missed the race? No, I don’t. I  must admit, my body h-a-t-e-s me when I compete in races when it does not want to–you’d think it would learn by now that I’m not that easy going on my poor exhausted limbs.

Today I finished my first duathlon of the season, the 8th Annual Trooper Biathlon in Memory of Mike Kelly, Ken Poormon, and John McKenna, put on by the New York Tri Organization. All my races that I did last year (multi sport races) were through the NYSTri organization, and they  do a great job organizing them–Bravo! Plus, I have a special place in my heart for NY state troopers after they helped me with my cycling mishap, as I wrote in this post about troopers.

8th Annual Trooper Biathlon

Walking to the start

The weather was perfect for the race- warm enough that once you were sprinting (either on your feet or on the bike) it was enough to create small beads of sweat flow down your face, dropping of the tip of your nose and silently hitting the handle bars. There were lots of TT bikes, all of which I was envious of, but my Scott did a fabulous job helping my fatiqued body keep speeding down route 28.

The run was a two mile out-and-back deal, and the same was for the run after the biking portion, and I’m not going to lie, all the 14 and 15 mile long slow runs I’ve done for Mooseman prep have did little to help me with simply running 4 miles.

In retrospect, I should have checked out the route the night before, but I was too busy playing on my new toy to scope out the race scene, so everything was fresh for me. As you probably know from reading my posts, I hate hills. Especially when you are on two wheels having to pedal up them, and running on a basically empty tank of gas because you only got two hours of sleep the night before.  (The amazing moutain bike ride the night before probably didn’t help give my thighs a rest either…but the non-rest was worth it). The bike ride had rolling hills and followed the Ashokan Resevoir for a little ways, which was very picturesque, especially on a crystal clear morning that we had. The route then went down 28 and turned onto Hurley Mountain road, which had more rolling hills and which I was able to gain some speed on. And then, we had to turn and go up Doug hill Road, which was basically, 4 miles of straight uphill, which I was not prepared for. I swore my way up the hill, passing some people who had to get off and walk their bike up (I tend to embarass myself enough when having to hop of my mountain bike with X and walk up short hills on our past mountain bike rides).I was determined this time to go “slow and steady” up this 4miles of not-so-nice race course.

Hill: done!

Alas, I made it to the transition, and the last leg of the race–the same two mile sprint which preceded the bike ride. I must admit, all my training in the past have been for Mooseman, which has a long ride and long run, so I have not really been doing too much speed work (don’t tell my coach, because technically there is speed workouts on my weekly training schedule that I kind of….”tweak” since I hate speed work) and my lungs and legs could feel my lame attempts to sprint. However, my detested hill work in Dutchess county was the one thing that helped me going up dug hill!

Finally, I ran down the finish line, legs burning and intestines regretting the coffee I had that morning.But, I made it! First Duathlon of the season done! I must admit, in the middle of the race, I always find myself asking why I am doing this, especially since my body does not want to cooperate with me in early hours of the morning (damn you night shifts!!!!!). But after all is said and when your foot touches the ground below the finishers banner, you feel this immense sense of achievement. I did it! No, it wasn’t in the time that I was hoping for, but I was able to overcome the mental negative thoughts of “you are too tired to do this….you don’t do speed work….” etc etc and actually make a decent time!

All in all, it was a great organized race, and I totally see myself doing the same one in the future. Perhaps by that time, I’ll be working day shifts so I’ll even be just a tad bit rested before the race!!!

Congratulations to all the participants, and thank you to all NYS troopers, for everything you do for us.

It's over!

Theme song to the race ( i know, I know, I’m a dork. I admit it. But it has the great ability to pump you up prior to race time.)

Yayy!

When was the last crazy post written?

April 2019
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