Wednesday, August 31, 2011

...cuTTiNg oFF LiMbS...

I cannot take credit for this blog post--I actually found the blog and this post from a friend's post on Facebook the other day BUT it is one of those powerful messages that I think everyone should read and anyone could apply to their own life.
I just had to share.
Big or small, we all have had limbs that need to be cut--It doesn't matter if you needed pruning shears or a commercial chainsaw.

From the blog
(go and check out her blog!)

...cuTTiNg oFF LiMbS...

A few years after I moved into my house, I decided that I wanted to plant more trees. I only had 2, so I added 3 more. I chose specific trees for specific spots for specific reasons. At first, each of my new trees had stakes with wires that wrapped around the trunk. I didn't like the way it looked but I knew that it was important in order for them to grow straight and be protected when storms or high winds came. Soon, it was time to remove the support system. My trees were big enough to stand alone.

After a couple of years, I was excited to see that my trees began to much so that they needed trimming. My brother, that doubles as my handyman, explained how you know what branches to cut off. Any branches that were too low or growing down or even small branches growing inward, needed to be trimmed off because they were taking "energy" away from the healthy branches and doing nothing to help the tree become bigger and stronger. It's important to not wait too long because as long as there are branches that need trimming still there...they are taking energy and nutrients away from the branches that are good. And if you never trim the tree, it will never become as big or strong or beautiful as it COULD have been.

Back in February, I did something I thought I would never do...something I thought I would never need to do. I started seeing a therapist. My marriage was a mess and demons from the past were haunting me. I felt like I needed someone to talk to that didn't know me and wouldn't judge me. I still remember the first day sitting in a strange room...on an old ugly couch...looking at a I wept uncontrollably and tried to tell her all the things that have hurt me or that are bothering an hour. I am a control freak. I like to have control because there were times as a child when I had all my power taken from me...times when I should've been protected but I wasn't...feelings I felt that were not feelings I should have been feeling at that age. And so I try to have as much control now as I can, even though it doesn't change the past. I like to do things how I want to do them...when I want to do them. I like to always look just right and stay composed when I can. I felt so out of damaged. This was completely out of my comfort zone, but there was something strangely comforting at the same time about just getting it all out...telling all my secrets...admitting my shame...letting myself be vulnerable.

After I purged myself of all the things that were bothering me...I quickly began to try and regain control by telling the therapist what exactly I was doing to make changes and try to correct these problems. I told her how hard it was/is and how disappointed and upset some people were with me. I told her that I felt alone and scared. Finally, when I let her speak, she looked at me surprisingly unfazed and said,

"You have been hurt badly. You have held it in and made the choice to never use these things as an excuse to protect everyone else and keep a sense of pride. No one would ever believe the things that you have suffered because you have covered them up so well. Now, you have chosen to correct this by cutting off the things and people that cause you pain. The problem is that you are like a tree that hasn't ever been pruned. Instead of getting rid of these things as they came, you waited and let them continue to grow. You had so many limbs to cut off that you now feel very bare and very alone."

This made perfect sense. I had let things grow that should have been cut off sooner and made some huge changes in my life. It wasn't until the secret pain became unbearable that I finally did something about it...and I did it all at once. It has been scary to make these decisions and hard to deal with the consequences that have followed, but every day is a little better. New branches are growing where old, unhealthy ones were and the people that love me are learning to accept my changes and love me unconditionally.

So, you probably wonder what this has to do with anyone other than me. It's a warning if you will. Don't let unhealthy "branches" grow on your "tree" because it seems too hard to get rid of them. Take the things out of your life that weigh you down or keep you from reaching your true potential. Don't have friends that don't accept your commitment to eat and live healthy. Don't surround yourself with jealous people that want to drag you down. Avoid unhealthy relationships that cause you to doubt your worth and rob you of your goals. And when you do need to cut off branches, be brave. Value yourself enough to put in the work it takes to be your best. Don't be afraid of feeling alone at times or vulnerable, because in time you will be glad you made the changes. Finally, don't be too proud to ask for help. When trees have large branches that break or need to be removed, sometimes it takes a professional because the job is too big to do on your own. Rely on the people that care about you to help you make changes.

Just as it takes pruning to help a tree grow tall and strong, it takes making uncomfortable changes in our own lives to become the person we are meant to be. After the struggle...because of the work it takes to get the end...we will become stronger than we ever thought possible.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Aftermath

Well, here I am--a week out from Timberman and I am ready (itching!!) to tackle another one. I had so much fun and recovered so well, I could certainly be race ready again very soon.
Plus-I really, really want a redemption run!!
At no point during the race did I feel like I wanted it to end. The distance was fun challenge but now I gotta see how much faster I can go.
Forget taper madness, I am going bonkers with the short workouts. And I took TWO FULL DAYS off in the last week (Monday-the day after Tman and yesterday). I need to shift my focus and goals to something new to avoid this post-race let down! Plus with the decreased training volume, I have put on a couple of pounds!!  Well--my nutrition has not been all that great this week either...

I am already planning next years race schedule and have 2 half's on the books for sure.
If you have not already read about it, Revolution 3 is bringing a half-iron and Olympic distance triathlon to my back yard!! (well, not my backyard but it might as well be-it's just a few miles down the road)
This is FOR SURE my late season A race!!

I also want to squeeze in a trip to Lake Placid (hmmm-could this be a hint of things to come?) next summer and of course, there will be those fun sprint distance races I love to do.

I spent yesterday spectating at The Fireman Triatlon which got changed to an AquaRun due to Hurricane Irene. Yes, there was an open ocean swim but it was in a protected cove and the water was quite calm.
The rain stopped long enough for the race and it was perfect racing conditions as far as I am concerned.
I was a little antsy not racing but I was happy to cheer on my Kennebunk Triathlon Club friends!!

Getting ready to swim

The ladies Sprint wave getting ready to go-see calm water

The Club cleaned up at the awards ceremony with tons of AG medals

I only have one triathlon left for this season-The Mainiac Sprint-and I hope to beat the pants off last years time.

So for the time being I am working on getting my speed back on my run. I have a trail 1/2 marathon I'll be running in October and I am getting my butt back into the weight room. Depending on how the next couple weeks of running go I might attempt to pull off a marathon...who knows.

Some other new things on my horizon-now that Timberman is done, I am finally buckling down and studying to complete my ACE PT Certification and this fall I will be teaching a couple early morning boot camp classes at the YMCA. I am excited to begin this new chapter of my life! I am so passionate about health and fitness and I hope to help others discover how much fun being active and healthy can be! Plus if I can start making a little money doing something I love so much--a huge bonus!

What's next on your training agenda??
What goals are you setting for yourself?
What is your next big race?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bloody Hell! Timberman 70.3 Part IV

This post contains graphic descriptions of normal bodily functions. I am tellin' it like it is so if you are squeamish or just don't wanna read about that kinda stuff, you might wanna skip this entry. But this is what happened in all it's gross glory. Ahhh, the glamorous life of an endurance athlete!!

I wasn't really sure how to title this entry. So many funny and gross ideas came to mind...but I didn't not use any of them. Maybe I'll run some sort of contest for the best title.

Did you read Part I? How about Part II? and of course, you need to read Part III!
Yeah, obnoxious. I know. I'm breaking it kind. It's my first 70.3 and I wanna remember every single detail-good and bad. But to really appreciate THE RUN portion of this race report, you may want to skim over some of the details mentioned in the previous entries. It'll all come together soon enough.

Remember how I did not take my hydration belt but grabbed a few "essentials"? Yeah well let's back track to Wednesday for a few minutes.
Last month I knew that I might have some additional issues to deal with come August 21st. You see, on July 21st I started my period and you know what THAT means. One month later to the date was THE BIG RACE. I did not sweat it since my body is like clockwork. 3 1/2 weeks between each cycle and Bam! "Aunt Flo" arrives for her visit, no big deal and she is gone in 3-4 days.
By Wednesday before the race "Aunt Flo" had not arrived and I was freaking out. The one thing I did not want to have to deal with come race day was my period.
Friday-Really freaking out now.
Finally, late Friday night, "Red Tide" arrived and I was relieved BUT annoyed. I knew this would not give me enough time to be completely rid of "the curse" for Sunday.
Earlier this summer I was with a friend who suffers from heavy bleeding and it was suggested to her to wear two tampons if needed. Race morning, this conversation replayed in my head and I decided to go with it. Hopefully, wearing two would get me thru the race.
The above mentioned essentials? Yeah, I shoved two tiny OB tampons into my tri top just in case.

The Run-

My legs felt fantastic off the bike, they were not fatigued considering the ride I just did and I was ready to run.
I saw Lola along the side lines so I stopped, hugged her, kissed her and got my HIGH FIVE.
I was so excited to be able to see my girl and I was ready to GO GO GO.

Heading out on the run

I'm watching my pace on my Garmin (I have a terrible time controlling my pace of the bike) and saw that I was running at a sub-8 pace. I needed to slow it down or I'd pay for it later. I got my pace down to the 9's and then proceeded up the first 1/4 of the route--a low grade constant climb. I kept my pace in check and felt good. The heat was certainly increasing and it was getting muggy so I grabbed some snow from the UNH Hockey aid station and shoved a little down my top and held tight to two tiny snowballs in each fist.
I finally crossed the first timing mat, grabbed some water shortly after that and then continued on my way.
Then I felt it.
Earlier in the day when I skipped the port-o-potties, I knew this error would come back to bite me in the ass, lliterally...I am pretty far from the next set of potties along the course and at this point, it becomes a game of Mind over Matter. I don't recall much from this portion of the run except it was Mission Port-o-Pottie.
Finally, I reached a lone potty and ducked in. This is when the freak out started.
If you read the first post, you know I have a huge phobia about these things. They disgust me. Obviously, this is something I am going to have to overcome if I am going to continue in endurance sports but I would rather go on the side of the road then be in one of these things. My biggest fear-I am attempting to go without so much as toughing any surface of the potty, trembling and freaking out about how gross it is. Losing time, precious. But I took care of business and excited the Green Tomb of Hell a new person.
Time to Run Jen!!
Run run run
It's getting hot-I grab a wet towel and wrap it around my neck-ahhhhhhh. It felt soooo good. Grabbed another water and kept going. Up up up another hill and then there was a gentle decline that allowed me to rest a bit.
Oooooh! A right glute cramp-that felt good but I was able to run thru it.
Even with the slight decline, I could feel my pace slowing.
Garmin is flashing high 9's--
The run course is a two loop course so you have to run right by the finish line and then do it again. I wondered what kind of mind screw this would do for me but it was not bad at all. I was looking forward to the crowds and hopefully seeing my family again.
Hot hot hot--I grab some sponges and shove those down my top. I thought of Macca's ever present sponge made man-boobs and laughed. As I ran towards the shoot and took the right lane for the loop two runners, my second mishap of the day would occur.
As I am running, the tampons I had put in earlier this morning were COMING OUT!!
Half in and half out.

The Middle of the Tampon Malfunction
Sorry fellas but you have no idea really how awful this is.
Ladies--I'm sure you've been there at some point in your life-but probably just one. Not a double dose.
I'm running through the chaos, my hoo ha is hurting from 56 miles on the bike and tampons hanging of it, but still laughing at the absurdity of it all.
What else could I do but laugh. It was funny, it was annoying and it was no big surprise!! Of course this would happen to me.
I looped through, got to high five my girl again--saw the family and friends then booked it to the next potty-
This time--I did not care. More time lost but what are you gonna do?
I was happy that I had the thought to pack extra supplied earlier in transition.
I peed and Mess #2 taken care of --I was off again.

NOT the peace sign, I wanted to know that this was LOOP 2!!

Another run up that slow climb. Now, my glute is still spazzing out. I am soaked from sweat, water and humidity. I had run many miles in my compression socks but never soaking wet. My feet feel like they are on fire. I look down at my shoes and see blood all over the tops of my sneakers.
I'm pretty sure that my feet are bleeding by this point.
The I get the pick me up I needed.  I hear my name and look over to see Tracey!!
We have been communicating via Facebook for months and she was moving to Maine from Florida. She competed in the sprint race the day before!!
I stopped to say hello and give her a nasty, sweaty hug! (sorry girl)
On I went-
Just before reaching the timing mat for the second time, I take a walk break to take in some fluids and suck down a gel. I chatted with a guy who asked what my mileage was on the Garmin. We were both close and showing about a 1/3 of a mile MORE than the course. Hmmmmm
Oh well--time to run. See ya and have a great race.
I run by the Barber Shop Quartet guys again and thank them for being out there. They sounded amazing by the way-
run run run
You are almost there girl. GO.
I'm not super tired, I want to run. My legs feel just fine. It's my feet. WOW! did they hurt. and my toes. On the descent, my toes were taking a beating. The glute is still spazzing a bit but by now I am just able to ignore it. I tell myself that the last 1/4 mile of the race, NO STOPPING.

The red streaks down my compression socks. Sweet
Run thru it. You are almost there.
So I run. and run. and run.
Then there is that damn hill again. I decided to walk a bit for some fluids-I walked longer than I wanted but then it was on. RUN JENNY RUN
All I remember is I know that I was not far from finishing.
I saw the 12 Mile Marker in the distance.
This was it. It was almost over.
Again, I was sad. I did not want this day to end.
Even with my feet on fire. I was quite sure they were bleeding. My toes felt like they had been run over by a truck from the constant slipping in my shoes and pounding.
But my heart was full of excitement and joy. There was a smile on my face.
The spectators at Mile 12 yelled GO PURPLE!! Looking strong and then pushed me. I thanked them and just continued to smile.
It was then that I thought about 140.6 and yeah, I can do that!
Mile 12 done-it's into the shoot.
Sprint time.
I ran with everything I had in me.
I saw the finish line and heard the cheers..
I smiled. I ran. I finished with arms in the air and feeling like a million bucks.

I saw her
There she was-it was Chrissie!!

All goals for the day achieved!!

She said Congratulations and put my medal on my neck. I then told her that all I wanted out of my race today was to finish with a smile and get my medal from her. I think I may have told her I loved her too.
(ok, so I totally told her I loved her)
She gave me a huge hug and I felt like I had won the race.
And as far as I am concerned, I did win.

Projected Run Time: 2:05-2:10
Actual Run Time: 2:16:21

RUN SPLIT 1: 3.275 mi3.275 mi (31:26)9:35/mi

RUN SPLIT 2: 6.55 mi3.275 mi (33:34)10:14/mi

RUN SPLIT 3: 9.825 mi3.275 mi (38:07)11:38/mi

RUN SPLIT 4: 13.1 mi3.275 mi (33:14)10:08/mi

My Garmin reports a run time of 2:15:43 and 13.39 miles.

I moved along the shoot, stopped to smile for a picture from the event photographer. Someone then removed my timing chip, I was given my Timberman hat and a bottle of water.
I then saw my family and friends.
And my daughter.
Then I lost it.
The tears came.

Here come the tears!
All of this has been for her.
Being a Mommy was the catalyst for change.
When I was fat, I did not want to be fat FOR HER.
I wanted to become a woman that my daughter could be proud of.
I pushed myself to achieve each and every goal I set for myself over the last 2 1/2 years.
Over 110lbs of fat gone.
Along the journey, I discovered that I was doing this for me too.
I rebuilt my body and my soul.
I found joy and real happiness. I learned to love myself and I forged a new confidence that I never knew I had. I discovered that I am stronger and more resilient than I ever gave myself credit for being.
I found passion. I made real, honest friendships that mean the world to me.

I buried that fat, sad, miserable girl out on that Timberman course on August 21st. I said goodbye to her with a smile and a wave of the hand, gone is all the hurt she held inside for years.

I crossed that finish line with a smile and a new set of goals.
Now I know what to expect from a 70.3 and now I know what I have to do next.

Say hello to the new Jen and the animal that was born on August 21st, 2011.
Now I'm out for something new.
Now I want faster.
and I'm out for blood.
The "beast" has emerged.
And she is smiling...and hungry for more.

I never found out my final finish time until that evening when my best friend, Dawn gave me my splits. She had been following me all day on Ironman Live.

Goal Finish Time: under 6:30
Actual Finish Time: 6:00:51

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hello Hills-Timberman 70.3 Part III

I'm ready to roll!
I had a fantastic time pre-race
My swim is done
Now, it's time for my favorite part of the day-and the most challenging!

I grab my helmet, glasses, Garmin, all on. I skip the arm warmers because the humidity is building. Calf sleeves, socks, bike shoes, all on. Grab Tiger and it's out
run run run run

Running out of Transition to Bike Out

My Mom cheering me on as I head out to bike
I see my parents and friends along the bike barricade along bike out and smile, wave and shouted something
I'm ready to rock those hills

The beautiful Timberman bike elevation chart-shaped like the top of a heart~

I was smart enough to ride the bike course in July-I had heard horror stories about this course from friends who had done this race -- I needed to see it with my own wheels.
I am not afraid of hills, I actually enjoy them. Sick? maybe...
I knew what to expect. I knew when to be calm and easy. I knew when to be strong. I knew when to drop the hammer. But I also knew when to be safe.
I also knew I needed to stick to my nutrition & hydration plan.
If I stayed in my own head and did what I planned--
Everything would fall into place.

Off I went into the beautiful rolling hills of of New Hampshire with a smile on my face and a tremendous amount of joy in my heart. The first 1/3 of the bike course is lots of climbing and luckily the WTC rules would be a bit lenient in regards to drafting on a couple of the climbs that they considered steep.

Just after the MOUNT line

I don't really recall too much about the first 15 miles or so but I passed a lot of people. I felt fantastic and I was having so much fun. I finally hit the mid-third of the course which allowed a break from the climbing for a while. I had been playing cat & mouse with a couple dudes on tricked out Cervelo's--passing them on the hills and then they'd catch me on the downhill. Once we hit the flats we chatted for a bit about road bike vs. tri bikes. I appreciated the fact that these fellas were kind and funny while we rode together. It felt like any other group ride-

My experience that day with several other guys I passed was not so nice. Many of them would try to hammer it when I was passing. One guy refused to move right, kept trying to block me to keep me from passing. I wanted to knock him upside the head with my water bottle. NO matter how many times I'd scream LEFT, he'd block.
Finally, I got past that bonehead.
Sorry Charlie, but you got chicked--and chicked hard.
**of course I had to check his bike split post-race**

Somewhere after the 1/2 way point with a BIG SMILE

Next thing I knew, I was passing the midpoint timing mat. My legs were feeling fantastic, my heart rate was right where I wanted it and I was having an amazing ride. I was staying on top of my hydration/nutrition and had already exchanged out both bottles.

Then it was time to go.
You know--GO.

There were only a handful of cyclists way behind me-so I went.

You can't wear the I PEE ON MY BIKE shirt if you don't pee on your bike.

It was really starting to warm up now and the humidity was tangible. The air was getting thick and sticky.
At the next hand-off, I grabbed extra water to drink and then poured some on my neck and legs to cool down and to wash a bit of pee off of Tiger. My gel flask had leaked a bit so I washed my hands and left shin too.

Then it was like I was alone on the course.
I wasn't alone but I was no longer paying attention to those few around me.
I only had about 10 miles left and I was having a wonderful, amazing, fantastic day.
I cannot say how awesome I felt on the bike. There are really no words to describe it.
I started to get a tad emotional, I teared up a bit and thought of all I have experienced over the last couple of years. I thought of my daughter and how all of this had started because of her.
I want her to know that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING.
Nothing is impossible.
Today was a day I had dreamed of  and thought about for over a year. It was here, I was doing it. Something I never thought possible just a few short years ago and I was enjoying every single second of it.
Before I knew it, the spectator crowds were getting bigger and bigger! This guy yelled
"only three miles left!!"
Three miles? that's it?? Really...
I screamed
WOOOOOO HOOOOOO and gave that guy a huge fist pump
It was almost over and it made me sad.
I am a runner. I got into triathlon because of running.
At some point over this summer while training for this race I fell deeply in love with cycling.
There is something so freeing about being out there in nature but going fast. Climbing hard. Enjoying the view. The wind. It's amazing...
Those three miles were over in a heart beat.
I rounded the corner into the shoot and it was off the bike.

Run run run run
Now it's time to run.
My legs were loose and fast. My heart rate spiked with excitement.
I felt those butterflies surge in my belly. I had set myself up for a hell of a run.
Racked my bike. Bike stuff off.
Compression socks on-running shoes on-Tough Chik visor on.
Hydration belt--hmmmmm, do I need the belt?
I decided to skip the belt but grabbed a couple essentials* out of it and shoved it all into my tri top.
There would be plenty of on course support with aid stations at almost every mile.
Mandy (Caratunk Girl) told me about the snowballs and I was ready to have a snowball.

Projected Bike Split: 3:15-3:20
Actual Bike Split: 56 miles 2:56:25 19.05 mph avg
split 1-27.2 miles 1:28:16 18.49 mph avg
split 2-28.8 miles 1:28:09 19.6 mph avg

I am very proud of how well I did on the bike-I kept to my training plan and had PLENTY left in me when I was done. I would be curious to see how I could ride this course if I did not err to the conservative side. I finished the bike 22nd in my AG

The final challenge.
I'm ready to run...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ready to Race-Timberman 70.3 Part II

Yes, I really am going to break this race report into segments...that being said. If you missed it, here is Part I

I did not have much of an appetite all day due to excitement and pre-race nerves (plus, I had a big breakfast of maple walnut french toast that stuck with me all day it seemed!) We did stop at a little diner on the drive home.

At the Pro Panel that day they talked about their pre-race nutrition-how they chose with simple "white" carbs and small portions since they did not want much food in their system come race day, it was that much less that they needed to eliminate. I kept this is mind and chose a small, simple dinner-BLT on white toast with some fries and tons of water. I normally have a burger, sweet potato fries and a small salad as my pre-race meal and this is what I had during training and race sims as well. At the time I chose the BLT, I had no idea how important this change would be later on-

Finally I was home. I need to get to sleep but first, I needed pack up my transition bag, morning clothes bag, breakfast and be ready to rock-n-roll at 1:00 am.

Lola was up when I get home and she "helped" me pack up everything and I got to talk to her about the race. I got to bed exhausted and ready to face my first long course triathlon in the morning. All I keep reminding myself as I attempt to relax in bed, waiting for sleep to come is-
"this is your race. stay inside your own head. don't worry about what jane doe is doing. this is your race. pace your race. smile."

I actually slept better this night than any other pre-race night in recent memory. I woke up, eyes wide open and glanced at the clock. 1:00 am on the nose. The alarm was set for 1:05 am. I shut off the alarm, jumped in the shower & then called Marc, he was ready to go! I hugged my still sleeping daughter good-bye and gave her a kiss on the forehead.  I said goodbye to my husband and he got up to wait with me. I would be travelling to the race with Marc and my husband, Casey would be coming to the race later in the morning with Lola. My parents were planning on arriving in time for the swim start.

I skipped having coffee since I wanted to sleep on the ride there. No sleep but I did manage to rest and tried to relax. I went over my race day plan over and over.

We had planned to stop at a Dunkin Donuts en route and close the race for coffee and to get hot water for my oatmeal. Not a single Dunkin' Donuts was open on the way there!! It is a race day ritual for me to have a DD coffee before a race-it's a good thing Rasmus said that some days you need to be flexible. I remembered those words and had to laugh.

We finally arrived at Ellacoya State Park at 3:30 am. They only allow a limited amount of athletes to park right there at the race site and the lot fills quickly. All others must drive to Gunstock Mountain and be shuttled into the race venue. At 3:30 am the lot was still closed but would be opened at 4:00 am. We asked the cop where to get coffee and the only option was a 24-hour McDonald's in the next town. Luckily, we had some time to kill so we drove there. I got coffee and Marc got some breakfast. We the drove back to Ellacoya and there were already lines of cars waiting to get in. This is when I perked up and I could just feel the surge of energy fill my body. It was like someone plugged me in-

The line or cars waiting to get into Ellacoya

It was here.
It's finally race day.
My biggest race to date.

We got to our parking stop and we were SO CLOSE to transition, the finish line and the bike in/out. Awesome!!

There was NO getting into Transition yet...
I started drinking more water and getting my things ready. Transition did not open until 5:00am so we had some time to walk around. We chatted with other athletes and visited the port-o-potties a couple times.

Now, I will pee anywhere at anytime-but I do not like public restrooms and I have a huge phobia about port-o-potties. They totally gross me out. It's almost like I can feel all kinds of germs crawling all over me once I have been in one. I do not touch the walls or the seat or anything in them. Now take 2,200 endurance athletes pre-race and those port-o-potties are pretty much DESTROYED! I knew that at some point I would need to visit these to eliminate any food in my system before the race. But being up at 1am, not having my usual coffee, race nerves and my PPP (port-o-potty phobia)--it was just NOT happening for me. Marc kept telling me I had to go but no luck. I knew that at some point during the race, I would probably pay for this.

Transition opened up and it was even more packed than the day before. I had a very small space to set up which was just fine with me.

Off to set up transition and check my tires

The Pros were starting at 7:00am and my swim wave was dead last into the water. While this gave me time to see the Pros swim it also gave me lots of time to think. It was a huge bonus to have Marc's truck parked so close to the venue too so I could go back and dress when ready and I had a spot to keep my wetsuit while I waited.
The sun was starting to rise and I walked over to the swim to check it out.
It looked FAR. A long ass swim...
So much further than any 1.2 mile swim I had It was beautiful but FAR.
I chatted with a couple other athletes on the shore of the lake and they said the same thing-
That looks like a BIG SWIM!!

At Sunrise-I got to swim in the beautiful lake! Isn't it amazing??

Can't really see the buoy line in this one, but they are there

I just started out at the long line of buoys and repeated what I needed to do today on this swim.
Focus on MY swim. Stay calm. Find clean water. Avoid getting caught up in the "race" and swim just as I had trained. Calm and steady...calm and steady...calm and steady.

Almost ready to go swimming!

I got my race kit on, chomped on a Clif Bar and met up with friends. We chatted, watched the Pros swim, cross the timing mat and then it was time for me to suit up.

Just as I was making my way to the swim start to warm up, my parents made it and I was able to chat with them for a bit and get good luck hugs & kisses.

I got into the water and swam for a bit. The water was sooo nice and I felt good, started to relax a bit. I chatted with a few ladies in my wave and lined up. I saw Marc on the shore with the camera and gave him the thumbs up. I was ready to go!!

Well, here's goes nuthin!

Heading into the water giving a big THUMBS UP

My RED CAP swim wave #17-last to go!

I got to the back of the wave in the middle and we stood there for several minutes waiting for our turn. Then it was GO time. As with any race, there is the usual crush at the beginning but I moved myself to the outside (left) of the group-my feet got grabbed a couple times, I got an arm smack here and there but nothing major. After just a few mins, I was on my own and staying calm. Swim, swim, breath. Swim, swim breath. I used the mountains on my side to sight and started at the black, deep water and little green floaties in it and smiled. It was going smoooooth and easy. Just.Like.I.Trained.

It was a clockwise swim and the further out we got, it got a little choppier and there were waves from the boat but not too bad. Better than the training swim there. Luckily, most of my OWS training is in the ocean. This was cake. Stroke, stroke, breath. Stroke, stroke, breath. Nice...and that is all that really happened until I reached the first turn buoy. I was shocked that it came so quickly.
Then I started seeing yellow caps and blue caps and I was passing them. Hmmmm-no kidding.
I just kept swimming. And I was really enjoying it. I felt good. I was calm. I was happy.
what the heck??

Next turn buoy...really. I looked up to get my bearings, find a new sighting point and see how far I really had to swim. By this time there was another red cap swimmer on my right side, right on the buoy line and we kept even paced for quite a while. I'd sight off her cap and the other buoys. I was pretty pleased that I was swimming really straight too! Next thing I knew, red cap girl was no longer there and I was passing more and more other colored caps. Then I could see the bottom of the lake. GO GO GO
and then
It was over.
My swim was done. I was ecstatic! I could not believe it was that easy. I even enjoyed it!!

I kept to my race plan and had an awesome swim. I exited the water to hear screams from the spectators and the voice on the loud speaker, though I had NO idea what he was saying.
Run, run, run thru the swim exit. Make my way over to the wetsuit strippers-zip, off in a breeze and run to my bike. Time to go have some fun on those hills...

Projected swim time: 45-50 minutes
Acutal swim time: 41:41

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Timberman 70.3 Part I

Day One of my amazing Timberman 70.3 weekend started on Thursday.

My BFF Dawn came over and we had a bike cleaning session together as she was heading off to compete at the Age Group Nationals in Burlington! I spent plenty of time getting Tiger ready, checking each gear and riding for a bit to make sure all was running smooth. I packed my tools, CO2's, tubes, patches, dollar bills and anything else I needed in case.
Tiger was looking sweet and she ready to race and eat all those hills for breakfast!!

Friday was the day to pack-meaning: obsess about each and every detail of what I needed to pack then lay it all out and stare at it until my eyes got blurry. Go thru my checklist 14,000 times and then go through it again.

I reviewed my race plan, nutrition needs, back up plans to "what ifs" and tried to rest. It was also time to start drinking! water that kitchen became the Hydration Station.

Tough Chik all the way!

I continually checked the weather reports as they were changing on a daily basis. The early reports were cool temps (78*) and partly cloudy but as the days ticked by there were reports of thunderstorms, high humidity and heat rolling in.

Athlete check-in and bike drop off was to take place on Saturday along with several seminars and the mandatory pre-race meeting. The plan was to depart Maine early Saturday morning with my bike and Marc (my good friend and training partner). I wanted to sleep in on Friday and Saturday morning to take advantage of as much rest as I could sneak in leading up to race day. Friday night I did not sleep well and I was up more than I slept most of the night. I did try to sleep but by 3:45 am I was up and ready to go. Since Marc is an early bird too we decided to leave a bit earlier than planned and were on the road by 6:30 am.

The plate says EMZBENZ! Of couse I thought of the ONE and Only EMZ!!

About 2.5 hours later we arrived in Lake Winnipesauke and I could feel the excitement building within. We found Gunstock Mountain-where the check-in, Expo & meetings would be-and then decided it was time to eat. We ventured back into town and had breakfast at this little hole-in-the-wall place and I played one of my favorite games: Guess who is a TRIATHLETE. Although, on this day, my little game was far too easy. Most patrons were wearing some sort of compression garment, Ironman shirts/hats/visors etc. or their zip laces gave them away. After eating, it was back to Gunstock Mountain.

Hills, hills and more hills
The lines to Athlete check-in were pretty long but once you got thru the first check-in point, it was smooth sailing!

And we were there EARLY!

signing my life away to IRONMAN & WTC

The first seminar I attended was a Q&A with Rasmus Henning, Caitlin Snow and THE Chrissie Wellington.

Caitlin Snow, Chrissie Wellington & Rasmus Henning
I have listened to many interviews with Chrissie on my iPod over the last year and I find her quite charming and funny. She did not disappoint at this panel discussion either and had the audience laughing several times.
I even got to ask THEM a question-
"Do you have any race day rituals or superstitions?"
All three said that they don't really have any superstitions or rituals-that they stick with their normal race nutrition and let their training take them where they need to go come race day.
Rasmus had a good point in saying that he does not have anything set in stone since he has to travel so much, certain foods may not be available or time may not allow for a particular "ritual". He did not want to have the thought that something did not go right for him before going into a race.

When the Q&A was done, Rasmus and Caitlin stayed around for a few minutes to chat with us while Chrissie was whisked away and out of the building.

While I still love Chris Lieto, he now has some stiff competition. I will gladly sub in Rasmus as Boyfriend #2 any day of the week. He was SO nice
was a freaking rock*star on the bike at Timberman!!
2:07:11 for a avg pace of  26.42 mph over 56 miles

Aren't we a darling couple??

 After meeting Rasmus and Caitlin, my friend Marc spotted Chrissie out on the grounds and so we decided to take a walk to check it out.

Chrissie was giving a presentation and awards to the Make-A-Wish racers so we watched from a bit of a distance. That is when one of her photographers told me that he loved my I PEE ON THE BIKE shirt from Triathlon Rocks and he had taken some pictures of it. He then said it was ok for us to hang out at the Make-A-Wish event!!  So we got a little closer and got to cheer on all the racers who raised money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire.

The Make-A-Wish racers celebrating their fundraising with Chrissie

After that, I talked to my friend the photographer and asked if I could go talk to Chrissie and he brought me right up to her, introduced us and showed her my shirt!

SHE LOVED IT and laughed. We then had a very charming discussion about the art of peeing on your bike!

Chrissie laughed & laughed...

...and I could not stop SMILING ear to ear!!
 I could not believe it-- I got to meet my idol!! And she was just as sweet as anything. The woman is so kind, warm and funny. A class act all the way.

One of my big goals for this race was go to get my finishers medal from Chrissie-now if that did not happen, I would be ok since I got to meet her.

Then it was time to head back to more seminars and the mandatory pre-race meeting. After that was done, we had to drive back to Ellacoya State Park to check in my bike.
We got into transition (oh my tight quarters!!) and then walked around a bit checking things out.

I decided since I was NOT going to be getting any red/yellow cards on my race, I could enjoy a moment in the PENALTY BOX!

Then all of a sudden it became so real to me.
It was FINALLY here. The day I had been training for all summer was here and I was ready. I was excited. And I was sooooo happy.
Now it was time to drive home, get some sleep and get up for 1:00 am...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

13 months

Did you know that I missed my very first Bloggerversary?

Yeah...July 20th of 2010 was my first blog post!! Go read the end of that post--then come back.

The goal of doing an Ironman someday was just a little seed that had been planted and I was not ready to share it quite yet. For some reason, I held this little "secret" very close to my heart and felt that if I shared it, somehow it would end up tainted or damaged.
Sometimes, saying it out loud or putting it out into cyberspace makes it just too real.
Maybe I was not ready for that little dream to be reality so I kept in protected.
Or perhaps, other more experienced athletes would laugh and say
"no, YOU cannot be an IRONMAN"
or maybe was it actually ME questioning if I was IRONMAN strong??

Of course, I am no longer afraid to share that goal and we all know that I have 140.6 on the horizon  But let's get thru my first 70.3 first, kay?

I also have seen first hand what I can do -- mentally and physically -- and I have been able to surround myself with like minded individuals. It's amazing what this little blog has done for me-I have been able to connect with others all over the world.

People who inspire me, motivate me, make me smile and keep me on reaching for the stars!
I am so lucky to have been able to meet some of the fantastic bloggers in "real life" and there those of you I have yet to meet but I WILL (even if it means a road trip to Texas and Arizona!!)

So now 13 months and one day after my first blog post (hmmmm a different kind of 13.1?)
I will be at Timberman doing my first half Ironman


It's been an amazing year and I thank you for being a part of it.
So many of you have touched my life in ways you may never know or even understand, but please know that on Sunday, August 21st while I am swimming, biking and running through the lakes and mountains of New Hampshire, there will be a piece of you with me!!

and I will smile


I was brought to tears this winter when someone came up to me at the gym while I was working and said that they had read my blog. This person did not realize that I used to be fat.
They then opened up to me about some of the "demons" they were fighting when it came to their own well being. I have been able to connect with this person and help then recharge their own fitness goals and become a much healthier person in the process.

I started writing this blog as a way to document how I was progressing on my own journey. I thought that if I could reach just ONE PERSON and inspire them to make a healthier change with their own life, my goal would be accomplished.

So lets celebrate my "Bakers Dozen" Bloggerversary-
Happy 13 Months Miles Muscles & Mommyhood!!

I look forward to the next 13 months and cannot wait to see where the road is going to lead!!

If you are a new reader, or even if you have been here since Post #1, here are some fun early MM&M posts to revisit!!

Beach Babe Belly Flops

Yoda's Wisdom

My F*UGLY Feet

Lessons from Lola

Fat A$$ Friday

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cinco-Fem-Cinque-पांच = FIVE

Only five more days until Timberman 70.3

I cannot believe that it is "here" already. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every single week of training that has passed since I decided that I was going to do a half this season.

This weekend I completed my last big brick (43 mile bike/4 mile run) before the big show-I felt great. Fantastic. Happy. Ready as I'm gonna be!!

-and I actually got a bit emotional. I thought about the last couple of years and how much my life has changed-how much I have changed as a person, both inside and out. The last couple of months have come with some ups and downs; and I would not change a thing. I thought about how this is the start of yet another journey for me and new goals-both short and long term-are being thought out and planned!

This is the extended weather forecast for Sunday, August 21st.
Looks like high 70's for race day with a slight chance of showers.

Dear God-
for once please let those meteorologists be correct.

I have finally decided on what I am wearing race day.

I know you all have been on the edge of your seat about that one huh?

I will be wearing the new Tough Chik tri top. I have been training in this for the last couple of weeks and I really like it. Look for a full review on this top coming soon!!

I made some fun arm warmers too-tiger stripes-for the bike! I was really hoping to find some in purple and/or hot pink but these will have to do. I like 'em

I will be running in my BRIGHT GREEN Saucony Fastwitch 4's paired with my CW-X compression socks.

I wish I had time to track down a really snazzy pair of compression calf sleeves--something a little more exciting than WHITE--I guess I could always use a Sharpie to make some tiger stripes on 'em huh??

All I know is that I am excited and ready.
Ready to finish with a smile on my face.

And if I'm really lucky--
I'll get my medal from my idol!!