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 😀


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? 😛

**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)

100 Days to Ironman Lake Placid

100 days– that may seem like a long time for a lot of people. But truth is, it isn’t. If time continues to fly by as it has been recently, it will be here before I know it.

After about a month and a half of my forced R&R (post appendectomy) I have been able to get back into the grove of training, and I have found returning to training mentally and physically exhausting. The weather is finally nice enough to bike outside again (yay!) but on my most recent ride, I found myself feeling extremely discouraged and doubting my abilities to finish the bike leg before cutoff time at Lake Placid.  Knowing all the training I missed adds to the self doubt of completing an event of this caliber. I won’t go into detail about the actual number of training sessions I missed, but I’ve felt that since I missed a bunch of training, I will not be able to finish.

I know I should not be so hard on myself– my body is still on the mend and I just returned to training a couple weeks ago–but the fears of not finishing are very real. I have been told the first outdoor rides of the season tend to be the most difficult– due to the amount of clothing you are wearing and the difference between riding on outdoor terrain vs on a trainer. But those excuses do not nearly change the fears I have about missing the bike cut-off time. I’ve already had dreams about messing something up during the race. For example, in one dream, I felt really confident and strong getting off the bike and heading out to the run, when I realized I still had another lap on the bike to complete! I also had a dream where I had a seizure right during the beginning of the swim portion and kept sinking further from the surface of the water. I know other people have had their own ironman nightmares, but the ones I’ve had seem so real!

Over the past day or so, I have tried not to focus on all the training I have missed, nor how slow I was on my bike ride the other day. I decided from now on, to train like I would race: to put the same mental and physical energy into my training sessions as I would during a race. In the past, during races, I’ve tried to be positive and optimistic; rarely were there times when I told myself, “Man, you suck at racing. You should quit now.” There are plenty of times when I have questioned why I decided to do a certain race (actually, I feel like I think of that during every race haha), but that is not negative. Anyway, I’m going to put more effort into the remaining training that I have; not like I was a slacker before the surgery. But now it is different. I want to tell those voices in my head which told me I would never be able to finish this ironman–that I am too slow or too out of shape–that I can finish it, despite missing 6 weeks of training.

During the next 100 days (and 51 days, for the Quassy Half) I’m going to try and change the negative and fearful thinking into positive. I mean, if other people can finish one, why can’t I?

This week’s training (thus far– I plan on attempting a half marathon on Sunday–gulp)

Monday: 40mile bike ride

Tuesday: AM Brick: 14mile “speed” workout on the new tri bike (first time outside on the bike!)+ 5mile run, then in PM 1500 yard speed swim

Surprisingly I did not crash

Surprisingly I did not crash

Wednesday: rest

Today: my first mountain bike ride since November (a fun and challenging “spin”) and 2500 yard swim


Tomorrow (plan): AM run before work

Saturday: fun day with my man (possible bike ride? hike? we shall see)

Sunday: Half marathon (+3miles for a total of 15miles)

….And, we all know triathletes have huge appetites, so here are  some pictures of food items to which I am currently addicted:

I don't have a problem with Luna bars....

Luna Bars (they are sooo good!)

...or greek yogurt....

And greek yogurt (this picture shows half the number of containers I bought during that shopping trip)

My new favorite special treat...If you like PB and chocolate, this is for you!

I consumed one box in a day (okay, that might have been a bit much)– they are sooo tasty and a great treat if you are craving chocolate….

My favorite post-workout snack: protein smoothie bowls! Delish!

My favorite post-workout snack: protein smoothie bowls! Delish!

If you are a triathlete, how have you been able to deal with self doubt regarding a long distance triathlon?

Patriot Half Race Report: The Ride and Run

As I mentioned in my last post, I believe I could use some more training in the water if I ever want to do another triathlon again. I think I added more distance by swimming away and then back towards the buoys. I was five minutes slower than my goal time in the water, and yet felt breathless jogging up to transition. Official race pictures show an angry Molly.

I thought I was happy that I finished the swim?!?

I thought I was happy that I finished the swim?!?

I was lucky to be helped by a volunteer who ended up stripping my wetsuit for me and I slowly grabbed my bicycle gear and was off. I considered a trip to the porta john but did not want to waste time as my swim was slow. (In reality, if you swim once a week in a pool, I guess my time isn’t too horrible.)

The Bike: 2- 28mile Loops (3:26)

I must admit, I felt really good on the bike. Despite my LSD training rides being no longer than 52miles,  I finished the 56 miles faster than my goal time. I think all the hills around where I live really helped me physically, and the fact the race course was basically flat was awesome. I made sure to try to eat my GU chews as I practiced on my training rides, every hour, and hydrate. Racing on an overcast day helped as I didn’t have the sun beating down on me like Mooseman. I guess nutrition has a big part to play during a race. When I finished the bike portion, I thought, “I’ve got this.” Mooseman I didn’t make the cut off limit for the bike. And with this race, I had plenty of time to finish the run portion. I decided I now needed to use a quick stop at the porta john on the way out.

Running out of transition

Running out of transition

The Run: a 13.1mile loop (2:13)

At the beginning of the run, I decided I needed a plan to help me get through the half marathon. Yes, one would think you should have a plan set in place before the day of the race, but I don’t really function like that. Sometimes I work better under pressure. There was no music to keep my mind off of running, nor too many cheering crowds. From prior training jogs (which always ended up as fast walks) I knew if I started to walk, it would be difficult to start running again. Since there was an aid station/ water stop every mile, I planned on jogging to each water station, walk through the station to drink water, and then jog again. I had a gel around mile 3 and 7, and right at the start of mile 8 my race bib ripped away from my belt causing a small amount of anxiety as I do not run with spare pins. This actually seemed to keep me occupied for a while as I jogged: trying to figure out how to attach my bib (sound familiar?). Despite my trying to rig up something, I decided to bag any of my ideas and realized crooked race bib would simply have to do.

Only the run is left to go!

Only the run is left to go!

My jog-walk plan seemed to work well until about mile 11 when my legs started getting really tired. I think mentally I felt tired and just wanted to finish the race. I already approached my mid-race goal of 6:30 and negative thinking started to set in. But I kept trucking along, slowly. Finally, we approached Cathedral Camp and the finish line. Any potential negative feelings turned into positive ones, and I saw Kevin and Bev along the end, cheering me on. Passing through the finish line I heard “Here comes Molly Geuss from Rhinebeck, New York.”


I Finished.

I heard my name and home town announced, something I never heard at Mooseman.

I finished my first full triathlon, not to mention, a half IM distance triathlon. In 6:36.

I may not have placed, and I may not have finished in 6:30, but I originally set out to finish in the allocated time, and  that I did. I managed not to have a panic attack in my wet suit, and finish without asking for assistance in the water. I was able to follow my nutrition plan on the bike and run.


In September she finished her first oly triathlon and I had finished my first oly duathlon. That day, we both finished our first 70.3 distance triathlon!

I was able to witness my Mountain Biking/Triathlete friend achieve third place in her first long distance triathlon as well.

A huge thank you goes to my man for being there at the finish for me, and enduring 6 hrs of waiting and boredom.

A huge thank you goes to my man for being there at the finish for me, and enduring 6 hrs of waiting and boredom.

I remember on our drive to MA telling Kevin I just had to get through this race, and I would never have to do a triathlon or 70.3 distance race ever again.  He told me he wanted a written, notarized statement from me saying that I would never want to do a 70.3 again. I suppose that is the effect pre-race jitters have on you.

The post-race high, however, might have changed my mind about future 70.3 races 😛

Patriot Half IM Race Report: The Swim

Yes, I am aware I have been slacking on this whole blogging thing; such is life. But, I figured I should post something about my recent triathlon–one which I actually FINISHED (insert a million smiley faces), not only that, but finished faster than I expected. Since there is so much to share regarding this race, and the fact it is almost dinner time and I need to work the next couple of days, I decided to separate the post into a couple different installments. Yes, the post about Mooseman was gut wrenching to write. But this post may just be the polar opposite 🙂

Before the Race

The days leading up to the race were raining and yucky–perfect for stopping any motivation I may have had to sneak in an extra ride or run. Truth be told, my conception of “tapering” meant “do as little training as possible.” I did follow my training plan for the most part. And, I even swam in my wetsuit twice (I’ve mentioned how I despise swimming in one). With all the hills around us, I just couldn’t be motivated to do longer than 50-55miles on any long ride, especially knowing I would be jogging after. Sure, back in the autumn I went on multiple 50+ mile rides a week, but those rides never proceeded runs. Or attempts to run. My thought process was, “hey, I’ve run numerous half marathons this year. I’ll be find running on race day.” My mindset preparing for this race was completely different than the last time I trained for a triathlon. Nutrition? Unlike the last race when I thought you would be able to complete a full half IM eating perhaps one power bar and drinking gatorade, this time around I started my nutrition plan when I began my long rides. In the end, I think it helped. Finishing a couple long bricks made me hopeful that I would finish this race. I was filled with postitive excitement for the race.

And then I had a seizure. One week before race day.

Yes, I’ve had them before; I was diagnosed with Epilepsy when I was 16. But I’ve gone for a couple years being seizure free. This one, however,came out of the blue. I kept thinking, “I didn’t even do a long hard brick work out today….I fueled well…I think I hydrated myself enough…” It has been years since I have had two seizures within six months of each other. If you have epilepsy, you know the feelings associated with having a seizure. Thankfully for me, I know when I’m going to have one. But despite the fact that I know I will “survive” a seizure, the post-ictal phase (or when you are “coming to” from having one) freaks the living day light out of me. It is a weird out of body experience, and there is always a small part of me that is terrified that I will have a seizure that will be prolonged requiring medical intervention.

By chance I had a doctors appointment a day after I had a seizure and I was trying to think of things which might have provoked it. It couldn’t have been physical exhaustion; I had completed far tougher brick workouts in the weeks prior, and the day before the seizure I only did a small easy brick–one I’ve done time and time again- which never caused me to have one. Even thinking back to when I worked night shifts with sleep deprivation and lack of nutrition, I never had one. My doc, on the other hand, thought differently. In fact, he advised me against doing the race. He told me I was at a higher risk for having a seizure when my electrolytes were out of balance and probably had one as a result of not a single work out, but an accumulation of stress on my body. “It is your body, but just keep in mind what can happen when you push yourself to the limits.”

Not exactly what you want to hear the week before a race which you have been training months for, huh?

Having this seizure changed my feelings towards the race. It especially changed the feelings I had towards swimming. Before, I had no problems swimming by myself. Heck, it was something I loved to do–being the sole person swimming at dawn at Onteora (or Stissing) while the water is still with a mirrored reflection of the trees, and the songs of birds brought on a sense of serenity and peace that biking and running never really brought. It was a sense of calm. Over night, my feelings about swimming changed drastically. For the first time, I was afraid to swim by myself. I remember a couple days after having the episode, going to Stissing and looking out thinking, “there is no one here. What if I have an aura…What if I have a seizure and no one sees me and I drown?What if I get to the beach, but can’t swim back to the car? What if I have a seizure during the race?” These feelings of anxiety were different than those I felt having to swim in a wetsuit. I actually feared for my life. (Sounds crazy, I know).

Somehow, I managed to just face this forgotten fear of the water and just swim. Race day was soon approaching, and the thoughts of Mooseman were still fresh in my mind. I couldn’t just give up on all these months of training because of what happened. I’ve never let my epilepsy stop me from doing what I wanted to do in the past, so why let it govern my life now?

The Race

The Patriot Half IM takes place in East Freetown, MA, a little less than three-and-a-half hours away from me. My chief cheerleader and chauffeur took Friday off and we drove down, and, like we have the tendency to do on races that take place out of town, made a mini-trip out of it. (By “trip” I mean stay in a hotel and eat dinners out. Yes, very exciting I know. But when you have not had a weekend off from work in over a month, an over-nighter trip in a hotel in a different state is freaking amazing.) The race itself is small–limited to 1000 participants and that includes the aquabike portion (please don’t ask me what aquabike means. I assume you swim then bike then swim, but really have no idea.) The whole vibe from the event differed tremendously from Mooseman three years ago. For one, it was raining and dreary. For another, there weren’t a zillion vendors offering free samples (I admit it, I love those free samples from race expos!). Long pond, where the swim would take place, is the largest body of fresh water in Massachusetts. Kevin willingly stayed while we listened to pre-race tips and then we headed out to dinner for the big pre-race dinner. As we departed and learning what I should do for my transition, Kevin stated the only transition he would be doing is from his bike to the couch with a beer 🙂 Ohh my love.

I think I have everything I need

I think I have everything I need

It is my tradition to have a veggie burger with french fries the night before any race (I’m not a pasta kind of girl) but the restaurant we went to didn’t have any veggie burgers. So, I decided on a sandwich with french fries. I don’t think I have ever, in my life, said, “I think I will eat this because it has more carbs.” I may never say that again, either.

I’ve read that it is typical before long-distances races for participants to have trouble sleeping; I was no exception to this. I kept thinking of the place I was in three years ago before I attempted my first half IM and triathlon. Man, I’ve grown so much since then, not only as an athlete but as a person as well. So much can change in three years.

My  0430 alarm went off sooner than I would have liked. I’m not sure if I know of any non-athletes (or athletes) who enjoy waking up at that time on their weekend days off. But my man was a trooper and we were able to grab some grub before I did some last-minute foam rolling and were out the door headed to the race course. (Our hotel provided early breakfast for those participating in the Patriot Half.)

I got my body marked with my number 700 and set up my transition area.

I've never had a specific spot in transition before.

I’ve never had a specific spot in transition before.

Triathlons include way more accessories than duathlons and the transition area seemed so much more cluttered than my usual transition areas at races. Mind you, this race was three times longer than my normal duathlon race so, I guess there would be more “things.” I got zipped up in my wetsuit and kept thinking calming thoughts. Instead of fearing the suit and thinking it was constricting my airway and choking me, I decided to think of it more as a flotation device to help me in the swim. Mind control :-p

Pre-swim warm up...I'm the one in the wet suit

Pre-swim warm up

There were people getting into the water to warm up a bit and after I had a gel, decided to do that in order to acclimate to the temperature of the water. I swam for a couple strokes to warm up and the fear, tension, and anxiety I felt was nowhere to be found.

See me? I'm the one in the wet suit and pink cap haha

See me? I’m the one in the wet suit and pink cap haha


No panic attack means thumbs up!

No panic attack means thumbs up!

It just so happens a fellow Hudson Valley-ite/mountain biker/triathlete/duathlete who has been in a number of local races I have done in the past was at this triathlon too. It was great having her there, to get triathlon/swimming tips from someone who has done triathlons and group swims in the past. She also brought it to my attention that my number, 700, could be read as “007.” Little did she know that would have a big effect on me during the run portion of the race.

Bev--an amazing athlete :-)

Bev–an amazing person 🙂 and fellow Hudson Valley athlete

The 1.2mile Swim

Unlike Mooseman, Patriot’s swim start was a “time trial” start. Instead of having a mass exodus of swimmers (which is what I remembered), three swimmers ran into the water to start the swim every ten seconds. Swim waves were categorized by age group. A pro to this style of swim start (not that I can really speak of triathlons, since I haven’t really ever completed a full one before) is that you are not surrounded by thousands of swimmers splashing at you and trying to drown you. A con is that you are unable to acclimate to the water. ( That mini-swim I decided to do ended up being a good idea as I knew what the water temperature would be likes). Before I knew it, it was my turn to start the swim. If I was able to finish the swim portion of Mooseman in frigid water, I could do this. And sure enough, I did. From the start I was able to get into my normal rhythm of breathing. As I swam I thought, “Just keep swimming.”

And, we're off

And, we’re off

Just keep swimming...

Just keep swimming…


…To be Continued…

Twenty Six Check Marks in Black Boxes

I’m somewhat of a geek when it comes to lists of things I need to do. Whether it be around the house, or things that must be accomplished at work. And there is no better feeling than either crossing the task off, or checking the little boxes I placed adjacent to each idem needing to be done.

Unfortunately, I do not have the computer skills to add little boxes to my list of things I would like to accomplish before I am twenty-seven nor have the ability to check them off, so, black slash marks will have to do if I, or when I finish that mini task (or goals). I started this list after by 26th birthday– taking the idea from a friend of mine, Bekka, who has her own blog and, might I add, has the most adorable daughter ever! I have a link to her blog on the right of the screen if you would like to read a fantastic blog. Then I  thought I should finish it, even though it has been a couple of months since I turned 26. So, before you, I have twenty-six items, each of which I hope to do or attempt, before I turn (gasp!) 27.

1. Finish an olympic distance duathlon

2. Finish Timberman  stupid Lyme Disease.

2. Feel comfortable in a new type of nursing job–one which I’ve never done before.

3. Apply for graduate school.

4.Try a new recipe every month. Specifically, make homemade pasta, without a pasta machine….It is possible.

6. Create more complicated cake pops and cakes** I have done some here .

7. Ride the whole of the Tour de Catskills course. Not at the same time as the riders though. If I did that, I’d be dropped like a donkey taking drugs. (I have no idea where that thought just came from). 

co. of tour de Catskills

9. Take a random, spontaneous, weekend trip with no plan or destination in mind.

10. Cycle through NY, MA, and CT then back to NY. In one day.   (It is possible)

11. Find one new book to read (non medical related)—-every month—-have any suggestions? (I borrowed this idea from Bekka.)

13.  Go camping in the Adirondacks, bringing only the bare necessities, and bikes.

14. Travel to Europe.

15.  Crochet an afghan.

16. Run another half marathon. Or 5k.

18. Go on a group road ride. I’ve gone on several mountain bike group rides; basically the same thing except the type of bike being ridden.

19. Learn medical Spanish.

20. Learn how to meditate.

21. Run before work ( tough when you are on your feet for 13 hours a day).

22. Race two NYCROSS races.

23. Hike up Mt. Washington

24. Hide the scale and only use it in Doctor’s Offices.

25. Move out on my own.

26. Complete a course in Complementary and Alternative medicine and therapies.

Reflections of Two Years in the Hudson Valley

Yes, it is hard to believe I have been living up in the hudson valley for two years. Wow. It seems like forever ago, and so much changed during that time– hospitalizations, learning how to live with certain illnesses, being unemployed, a horrible break up with the man I was going to marry, living (for a short period) which my grandmother–God rest her soul– switching jobs, stress with job hunting. Then, there was returning to my amphibian roots and actually loving when I can get into the water and swim…I could go on and on

Two years ago today, or to be more precise, two years ago minus a day, I got my first drivers license in VA. Wow, and I remember my first car trip alone to Boston on the Mass pike not even a month after I got my license and how t-e-r-r-i-f-i-e-d I was.They don’t call Massachusetts drivers Massholes for nothing. Yes, boston is only about 3 hrs away. But I am planning my first vacation where I will be driving longer distances in my car for my vacation next week (which will be a post in itself!)

It’s amazing how much can change in two years. Job wise, the amount of knowledge that I know is insane. There are still times when I freak out (internally) and when horrible things happen, but that is the nature of the job. It is not a place I see myself for very much longer, but we’ll see.

Personally wise, I’ve developed amazing friendships with amazing people, and have had the ability to get to know my cousins and aunt and uncle more than I ever did growing up. (My dear friend who also moved here about the same time as me has a blog–City Mouse in the Country— about her two years. You should check her blog out- it’s awesome, and I love her dearly).

I love the fall in the Hudson Valley, esp in the Catskills. Gorgeous.No, it’s stunning. The hiking and mountaineering possibilities are endless. I love being able to be so close to places where I can pick my own fruit. I love that mini pumpkins are beginning to grow in the garden behind the house.

I started biking again which I had not done since high school (except spin classes) and can’t remember why I ever stopped, because it is a passion of mine. Not only that, but starting to pursue different types of biking–like mountain biking, and I hope soon cx biking, which will be easier in the winters.

I’ve developped a passion for racing. I always did small 5k or 10k races, and then the NYC half and three marathons, but those are different from triathlons. In the midst of my vacation, I’ll be doing my first sprint triathlon. I decided to be easy on my body and move my way up in terms of training for larger event races since I was unable to finish the other race (I am no quitter). And, this fall, inbetween the triathlons, will do my first mountain bike race ever. Who knows, maybe even start cross racing.

The two years weren’t all peaches and cream. Work has been stressful. My grandmother who I had lived with passed away. A dear friend of mine passed away in November of 2009. For the past couple months, I had family living with me, which can be hard when you work a night schedule, and all the construction/lawn mowing is done in the morning right when you want to go to sleep. I’ve spent so much time on my bike that running, actually, has been more difficult for me due to some weird knee problem that has resurfaced.Living alone in a house during the last winter of 2010/2011 was horrible–old houses plus lousy/long/cold/ bilzzards is no fun. I think I worked every holiday. It was the first Christmas I spent alone while the rest of my family was back in Luxembourg. Talk about depressing.Esp. when you worked the 23/24/25th of December. But, I did have someone come over to say Merry Christmas to, which, if you read this and know who you are, I thank you dearly, because it meant a lot to me.

I’ve matured in so many ways, not only into a young adult, but in what I do, too. I used a John Deere mower for the first time (by my self!) today. It was a bit dicey–there were definitely lots of “eeks” when riding down the hills around the house (if you have seen the house, you know what I am talking about). But, I did it! I’m learning how to garden, and seeing the produce spring up is awesome.

I don’t know what is going to happen in the future, or happen tomorrow even (although I have a pretty good idea about what will happen). But, despite all the ups and downs of the past two years, they have been good ones, and I’ve made great memories that will be with me for the rest of my life.

The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.

~ Abe Lincoln

When was the last crazy post written?

March 2023

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