November Goals

Story of my life...

Story of my life…

Now that October is over with its time for some new November goals, but let’s review my October goals and see how bad I failed well I did…

  • Continue building my running fitness with zone 2 running. About half way through the month I’ll begin adding more speed and Half marathon specific runs to my training plan. The November half is not an “A” race and thus my time goals are not anywhere close to setting a new PR. Running has halted to a zero due to some pelvic issues and thus both half-marathons are off the books for the Fall 🙁
  • Work on core strength and improve my overall mobility and stability. I enjoy trying new things so I plan on trying out BarSculpt at Pure Movement, hit up some yoga classes and also some boot camp-like classes at some of my favorite studios. I’ve been a total yoga rockstar lately due to the fact I can’t do any running at the moment because of my pelvic issues. I also can’t do any strength training because of the pelvis so no BarSculpt until I get clearance from my doctor.
  • Devote at least 30 minutes each day to work on my french learning skills. I’ve been doing pretty good with this, but still need to continue…
  • Clean up my eating and focus on making a majority of my meals at home. With the new Fall weather I can break out my crock pot and make lots of yummy soups and stews! Yay! I’ve been doing well with this, but that damn Halloween candy…
  • Find a place to volunteer at and make contact once I figure out my new work schedule. I joined the Junior League of Portland (which I absolutely love!) and have found a place to start volunteering at that is related to my career interests 🙂
  • Write and update my blog on a regular basis! I’ve been slacking lately, but I have some really awesome ideas for posts. They just haven’t happened yet. I wish I come just connect my brain to my computer and write posts as I think about them (which happens a lot during my training sessions). The transition to the new job as been a bit tough with my schedule so I’ve been slacking a wee bit, but I have some good posts in the future and also a new blog look in the works too!
  • Grow my coaching and personal training business. Hint hint: I’m accepting new athletes and clients! Still working on this (and always will!) 🙂

November Goals:

  • Getting my pelvis back into alignment (literally!). My pelvis is getting twisted again and putting apart at my pelvis symphysis, which is actually quite painful. I’ve been working with my chiropractor to get my pelvis back where it should be so I can get back to my daily routine. Yoga had been helping some and I recently got a massage that released a lot of the tension in my right adductors.
  • Making meals at home and eating out less. I did quite well with this in October and will continue to make this a habit going further.
  • Continue with my french learning.
  • As soon as I get the okay from my chiropractor I hope to begin bike training again on my trainer. Last year I lost a great deal of my bike power and I hope to spend the winter regaining my power back to its 2012 numbers.
  • Continue to be a rockstar yogi! 🙂 I can almost hold a decent crow pose!

~ Happy Training!

Ironman Lake Placid: The Why, the Data, and the Photo I Carried

So, it’s been over 3 months since Ironman Lake Placid and I finally got around to uploading all my data from my GPS devices for the day. Better late than never, eh?

The Why

I’ve never really come out and said why I wanted to do an Ironman. For a long time I never thought I would want to do an Ironman. The miles and time involved to complete an Ironman seemed impossible, especially for a mediocre athlete like myself. Swimming, cycling, and running over 140 miles in under 17 hours was ridiculous and best left to the crazy, ripped and lean athletes. Even after my first Half-Ironman in 2011 I didn’t want to do an Ironman. Then, I watched the 2011 Ironman World Championships tracking my coach and a few fellow Maine triathletes and watched Chrissie Wellington not only come from behind to win, but with broken bones and serious road rash. I realized that there was something special about Ironman. My resistance against the idea started to turn into curiosity and finally the seed was planted. I was determined to become an Ironman someday. Ironman no longer seemed impossible, but a major goal that I was seeking to reach. Perhaps I was crazy to think little old me with my overabundance of injuries could hear Mike Reilly say that “You are an Ironman.”

I’ve always been very self-critical of myself. My father was very hard on me growing up and often pushed me to my breaking point with harsh, uncalled for comments. But, it formed who I am today. I am stubborn and I don’t give up easy. I will die trying. I hired a wonderful and supportive coach in 2012 to help prime me for my potential debut Ironman in 2013. I was still on the fence about it until I went to training camp and realized that I could do it. The impossible became the possible. I chose to do an Ironman to prove to myself that I am capable of what I put my mind too. I’ve always strived to be the best and worked hard to achieve it. I’m competitive by nature. I know I’m not the best. Many people are stronger and faster than me, but I strive to be the best and strongest person I know I can be. Completing Ironman Lake Placid this summer allowed me to put the little voice in my head that is constantly telling me I’m not good enough to rest. Ironman, the holy grail of triathlon, is achievable to anyone who is willing to take the leap and put in the work.

The Data

As I mentioned above, I finally uploaded all my Garmin devices to Training Peaks. During the race I used my Garmin 910XT and my Edge 800. Of course, being the technical idiot that I am, I messed up my 910XT and had the longest transition one of 112 miles! 🙂 Luckily, I had my Edge on my bike to catch a majority of my bike leg.

I felt like I had a good swim leg. I stayed off the cable to avoid the flailing arms and legs, but I guess I also swam an extra 0.26 miles by doing so! But, that also brings my pace down to 1:38/100 yards!

My awesome ability to swim a straight line...

My awesome ability to swim a straight line…

My bike data was fun to view. According to Training Peaks I gained 10,423 feet! I’m thinking there is a major glitch in their elevation algorithm since I know I didn’t ride my bike a few times up and down Mt. Washington! I averaged a cadence of 80 rpm, which I’m happy with since that includes all the zeros from the 10k downhill section riding into Keene (that happened twice!), thus my cadence is actually higher. Winning! My power VI was 1.15, which is good for me, especially with the ups and downs of the course.

My run data was kind of sad to view, watching my declining pace over the course of 26.2 miles. But, I knew it inevitable. Darn, knee…

Declining run pace

Declining run pace


The Photo I Carried

I knew my first Ironman would be special. I also knew it would be a long, long day that might involve some mental negative talk. I needed and wanted some motivation over the course of the day. My father refused to come to Lake Placid to watch and cheer me on and I was definitely disappointed about that. My mother was always one of my biggest cheerleaders in life and I knew that if she was still alive that she would have been there, getting up at the crack of dawn to drive me to transition and been there until I crawled across that finish line. On race day I carried her in spirit and also a picture in a little baggie tucked into my sports bra. When my thoughts turned negative and the little voice started whispering that I couldn’t do it, I thought about my mother. I was able to find my strength again and proceed onwards to the Olympic Circle. When my knee gave out at mile 18 of the run I thought back to her battle with CJD and realized the last 8 miles of the run was nothing compared to what that disease did to her.

My mom and Duke riding in Acadia National Park circa 1998

My mom and Duke riding in Acadia National Park circa 1997

My advice to anyone doing an Ironman is find something (a photo, a pin, a quote, etc.) to either carry with you physically or mentally throughout the day that will remind you why you are doing the race because there are times that your thoughts will go dark and you start to doubt your fitness, ability, and training. The mind can often push our bodies far past its breaking point when we believe we have a reason bigger than ourselves to be doing the crazy things we do.

One of my favorite quotes! (Source)

One of my favorite quotes! (Source)


~ Happy Training!

Fall and October Goals

Let’s be clear. I don’t function in life without goals. I’m Type A through and through. Since I’m not training for anything big right now, I don’t really have any immediate goals to accomplish. However, with a new job and a new career path on the horizon I definitely have some professional goals I’m currently working on. Normally I set my goals at the beginning of a new year. Here’s a list of my 2013 goals:

1. Become an Ironman! Check!

2. Learn to piss on my bicycle! Fail! Perhaps in 2014…

3. Increase my bike fitness and finally achieve the perfect VI so I can get an A from my coach! I definitely saw a lot of improvement in my VI (aka riding steady), but my power just plain sucked compared to 2012.

4. Focus on doing at least 10-15 minutes a day dedicated to mobility, soft tissue work, and core strength. Uh yea, partial fail. Definitely a focus this Fall.

5. Continue learning and seeking out knowledge and advice from the leading health and fitness professionals so I can continue helping my clients and athletes reach their health and athletic goals. Always on going! 🙂

6. Continue working on achieving a healthy body composition through proper nutrition and training. Always on going too!

Since there is a little over three months left in 2013 I still have time to reach my 2013 goals. Well, maybe not the whole pee on my bike thing since it’s a bit cold for that now…

Here are my Fall Goals:

  • Learn and do well at my new job! I’m excited to begin my new job because it’s a first step in my future career. I am finally leaving the behind the lab rat life and moving into the office world. I’m excited to be able to use my public health education and learn new skills such as project management and grant-writing and management.
  • Get more involved with my local community! I recently joined the Junior League of Portland for multiple reasons with the main one being getting more involved and volunteering in my local community. The Junior League also is great for networking and leadership development skills. Also, a majority of the most powerful women (i.e. political figures, CEOs of companies, etc.) are Junior League members. Just saying… I’m also currently looking for an opportunity in the Greater Portland area to volunteer in the HIV/AIDS and/or access to clean water and sanitation fields since they are my passions in public health.
  • Learn French! I want to work in the global public health field which requires me to be fluent (or close to fluent) in a second language. I took a years worth of Spanish in college so I have some basic understanding of the language. I read it way better than speak it! Languages are not my forte. Probably because I had some speech issues as a child, which is why I was always drawn towards science and math. However, I need to overcome my fears and challenges to become bilingual. Not only is it a necessity in my future career path, but it has become almost necessity in everyday life due to rapid globalization. I chose french because it is spoken in Western Africa and Africa is calling my name. This Fall I’m focusing on learning French through the Instant Immersion program I picked up at the bookstore (similar to Rosetta Stone but at the fraction of the cost) and the website Duolingo (which is totally awesome and free!). In the spring I’m going to take lessons at The Language Exchange in Portland.
  • Run two Half-Marathons! My run season was pretty pathetic this year due to my knee/IT-band/hip issues. I’m slowly beginning to build up my running fitness with a lot of zone 2 runs. I’m sooooo slow it’s not even funny, but I know it will be worth it in the end. I’ve decided to run the All Women & One Lucky Guy Half Marathon on November 3rd and the Jingle Bell Half Marathon on December 14th.

Now, in order to reach my “big” goals of the Fall I’m going to break them into smaller monthly goals. So, here are my October goals:

  • Continue building my running fitness with zone 2 running. About half way through the month I’ll begin adding more speed and Half marathon specific runs to my training plan. The November half is not an “A” race and thus my time goals are not anywhere close to setting a new PR.
  • Work on core strength and improve my overall mobility and stability. I enjoy trying new things so I plan on trying out BarSculpt at Pure Movement, hit up some yoga classes and also some boot camp-like classes at some of my favorite studios.
  • Devote at least 30 minutes each day to work on my french learning skills.
  • Clean up my eating and focus on making a majority of my meals at home. With the new Fall weather I can break out my crock pot and make lots of yummy soups and stews! Yay!
  • Find a place to volunteer at and make contact once I figure out my new work schedule.
  • Write and update my blog on a regular basis! I’ve been slacking lately, but I have some really awesome ideas for posts. They just haven’t happened yet. I wish I come just connect my brain to my computer and write posts as I think about them (which happens a lot during my training sessions).
  • Grow my coaching and personal training business. Hint hint: I’m accepting new athletes and clients!

    Anyway, that’s what my Fall season entails. What are your Fall goals?

    ~ Happy Training!

Hello Again!


Remember me?

I use to blog here…

Yup, I’m back!

Last week I put out a couple of book review posts, but haven’t really mentioned what I have been up to in the past couple of months. Well, September is my favorite month of the year! However, the weather in Maine this year as been a bit hit or miss. This past week I was hit with a cold plus allergies since Mother Nature can’t make up her mind whether she wants to be 90 degrees and sunny or 50 degrees and pouring rain! It’s been a bit of a snot fest…

Anyway, I have big news!!! I got a new job! Finally. It’s been a long and frustrating process. I came close for a couple of jobs that I would have loved but no cigar. However, I tend to think that everything happens for a reason and my new job is going to be awesome and a good first step in my future career path. I’m so excited to start a week from today. 🙂


What have I been up to lately? Here’s the short list:

I’ve watched a lot of this on Netflix lately while drinking tea…

I totally love Gossip Girl so don't judge me...

I totally love Gossip Girl so don’t judge me… (Source)

My new favorite show... I want to be Olivia Pope when I grow up!

My new favorite show… I want to be Olivia Pope when I grow up! (Source)

I’ve done a fair amount of running lately. All my running has been zone 2 easy runs to build my baseline running fitness back up again since I really wasn’t able to do much running all year-long due to my knee/hip issues.

I’ve played and hiked with my dog, Reagan, a lot lately. She has also joined me on a majority of my shorter runs.

Playing fetch in the backyard

Playing fetch in the backyard

View from a top Pleasant Mountain

View from a top Pleasant Mountain

I’ve shopped for new clothes for my new job since I actually have to dress up and look presentable now. Not that I looked like a homeless bum at my lab job (well, that may be debatable because I often wore my winter hat while at work since it was cold), but when you work in the lab you learn not to wear nice clothes because chemical spills and your cashmere sweater are not friends. Trust me on this one!

New shoes, new nail colors, new jewerly, and just about new color blazer from J. Crew

New shoes, new nail colors, new jewelry, and just about every color blazer from J. Crew


I’ve also been doing a great deal of reading lately.In the past few weeks I have probably finished close to 10 books. I recently finished (finally!) an autobiography of Lance Armstrong that I started 2 years ago. I won’t be doing a book review on it since Lance isn’t worth my time. All throughout the book when it was telling his Tour de France victory stories all I could repeat in my head was “DOPER.” I mostly just wanted to get the book off my “to read” bile. I’m currently reading Maryn McKenna’s Beating Back the Devil, which is about the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. The EIS is an elite group of medical and public health professionals that on a drop of a pin must jet off to where ever there is an epidemic breakout of disease. I plan on applying to the EIS after I earn my PhD in the future.


So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Nothing super exciting, just nice and relaxing for a change of pace. Half marathon training is going to begin shortly! 🙂 Until then…

~ Happy Training!



Post Ironman Honeymoon

After two weeks the honeymoon is over. I certainly made the most of it. From ice cream to beer to spending the day at the beach. It was weird to do completely nothing for a while. I must admit that I did enjoy it, but I’m ready to get back to work with a few goals in mind.

Enjoying a day at the beach

Enjoying a day at the beach

After IMLP, people either asked me if 1) I was happy with my time and/or 2) will I do another Ironman. The short answer to both is yes.

I am happy with my time. I’m not jumping for joy over the time, but I’m content. When I started to train for Ironman back in January I was hoping to go much closer to 13 hours or even sub-13, but then I was hit with a lot of stress from work, which led to me being sick a lot. Plus, the whole hip/knee/IT-band issue that plagued me for much of my training didn’t help my case. Back in April when the IT-band/knee pain first appeared I wasn’t even sure that I would toe the line in July. Luckily I have an amazing chiropractor who helped me get my pelvis back into alignment and work her magic hands on my IT-band and overactive quads. Going into the race I didn’t have a real time goal. I just wanted to finish. Secretly, I did hope to go sub-14, but I knew going into the race that my limiter was my knee. When my knee gave out then I knew it would be time to walk, crawl, or roll myself across that finish line. I lucked out that my knee finally gave out at mile 18 of the run. I was impressed that it lasted that long. I also knew my bike fitness was lacking from the previous year, which was a total bummer, but it is what it is.

IMLP 2013

IMLP 2013

I will absolutely do another Ironman. The soonest, however, that I will do an Ironman will be 2015. I need to take a year off from Ironman to heal and fix my hip that has been causing all my IT-band, knee, and plantar fasciitis issues for the past couple of years. Someday I would love to qualify for Kona. I know that my chance of actually doing that is about the same chance I have of winning Powerball (in other words, a snowball’s chance in hell since it would require me to actually buy a lottery ticket!). However, I really enjoy the Ironman distance. I had a feeling that I would, but I want to be smart. I intend to be in this sport for the long haul so I need to step back and focus on healing my body to reduce chances of future injuries and also prevent mental burn-out.

I also need to step back and focus on my career. My professional life has been nothing shy of stressful this year and I really need to put myself in a positive and challenging new career path. Now that I have some more free time I have been taking opportunities that will help me reach my ultimate goal. I’m also looking forward to taking on new clients and athletes for personal training and coaching. (HINT HINT!) 🙂

This past week I have begun to add more structured workouts into my week. However, for the month of August I just plan on doing what I feel like each day, whether it’s running, cycling, swimming, yoga, or even just walking my dog. I rode my bike yesterday for the first time. Only 25 miles, but holy cow were my quads on fire throughout the ride! Last Wednesday my chiropractor put my pelvis back into alignment, which took away a considerable amount of pain away from my hips and right knee. She has “prescribed” me several hip opening yoga poses each day for the next two weeks to help loosen up my hips. My hamstrings are super tight and are one of the root causes of my hip issues so hopefully with some yoga they will loosen up and help relieve some pain.

Reunited and quads still burn from IMLP!

Reunited and quads still burn from IMLP!

So what’s next? I haven’t completely decided. Much of my Fall plan is contingent upon my knee and hip. I’m hoping to run a couple of half-marathons and then begin marathon training for the Maine Coast Marathon in May. I also want to focus on building up my power again on the bike, since it dropped rather drastically from last year to this year. Note to self: don’t take a 4+ month break from your bicycle before beginning Ironman training. Opps! Lesson learned.

~ Happy Training!

Race Report – Ironman Lake Placid – Part II

If you missed part I of my race report then click HERE so you can read about my pre-race and swim!

The Bike

During the final lap of the swim it had started to rain a bit. Not crazy downpour rain, but enough to wet the roads. As I ran through transition a volunteer had my bike ready to go for me. I grabbed Azul from the volunteer and ran to the bike out. The mount line was a bit scary. It’s very narrow and there were a lot of people. I was nervous that I was going to run into someone or someone was going to run into me, but luckily everything was fine. The first half mile of the course is narrow with multiple sharp turns and steep hills to navigate before embarking on the actual 112 mile journey. Soon enough I found myself riding by the horse show grounds about a mile from town. It is around here that you begin climbing out of Lake Placid.

My goal for the first loop was to take it stupid-easy. The climb out of the town of Lake Placid is no joke. Once you think you get to the top and begin the descend down to Keene, you hit rollers and climb some more. The bike route was quite congested because everyone and their mother was on the bike by now! Everyone was in everyone else’s drafting zone, but how could you not be! I was getting passed on the right by impatient men. I took my time spinning up the hills. I absolutely did not want to be stupid and go out too hard and blow up later on the second lap like a lot of people tend to do.

Finally I made it to the top of the hills and began the crazy 10k descend into Keene. The roads were wet from the shower and the road conditions themself were not that great on this section of the road. I stayed to the right, sat up, and rode my damn brakes down the hills! Large men barreled by me going about mach 10 in aero. Go for it dude! But, I prefer my skin on my body if you ask me. I coasted down the hills hitting in the 30 mph and when I could I would pedal to push myself over the little rollers in the middle of the descend.

Next thing I know, I’m in Keene and making the sharp left turn towards Jay. This is the flat-ish section with nice wide shoulders. I made sure to push it here to make up for time because I knew the slow part was yet to come on the backside of the course. I stayed aero and did a lot of eating and drinking during this section. I hit the out-and-back to Ausable Forks. The road was super crowded. I passed a lot of people and was passed by a lot of people. I swear for every women in the race there had to be at least 15 men! I saw a couple of TriMoxie athletes zoom by in the other direction looking strong!

After the out-and-back section to Ausable Forks you take a sharp right up Route 86 to begin the climb into Wilmington. This is the real meat and bones of the course. As soon as you make the turn you begin a long climb. I believe it’s a cat 4 climb, but I could be wrong. This is actually my favorite climb of the whole course. I know, I’m weird. A lot of the local people who live on the route were out and cheering us on. One guy was sitting on his ATV with a cooler and sign that said “free beer.” It made me giggle.

After we climb into Wilmington and could see Whiteface Mountain in the distance we make a right-hand turn onto Hazelton Road for a 2 mile out-and-back. I made a pit-stop at this aid station to pee. As soon as I dismounted my bike and handed it to a volunteer they asked me what I needed. Just the bathroom I said. In and out and back on my bike. I looked down at one point to take a sip from my aero bottle and a volunteer had stuck a purple smiley face sticker on my bottle. It made me smile! 🙂

I reached the 4-way intersection and made the left-hand turn to begin the long climb back into town. This is the slow section of the course. Everyone’s split for the second half of the course is much, much slower than the first since you have to climb a couple thousand feet (okay, maybe not that much…) back into Lake Placid. I took my time. The wind had picked up, but I made sure to keep spinning and stay patient. That’s all you really can do. I passed our hotel on the way. Looked at it and kept going. As hard as this section of the course is, it is absolutely stunning in scenery. Lots of river and waterfall views with Whiteface mountain looming in the background.

After a long while of climbing I passed Riverside Road and knew the famous Bears were coming shortly! Almost done with the first loop! I climbed Mama Papa and Baby Papa and approached Papa Bear. People were lined up cheering you on! It was seriously like it was right out of the Tour de France. There was a guy in a bright pink speedo jumping around and with another guy holding a sign saying “smile if you wet yourself.” As I crested the hill I heard people yelling my name! I saw Pattie and Pam, friends from camp last year and TriMoxie coach Ange! I was pumped! As I made the turn by the golf course a guy rode by me saying I had quite the fan-base. Why yes sir, I do enjoy travelling with my entourage! Ha! 🙂

Top of Papa Bear (Photo Credit: Jodi Turner)

Top of Papa Bear (crooked helmet and all) (Photo Credit: Jodi Turner)

I made my way through town and stopped quickly at special needs to grab new bottles and nutrition. I forgot to put on chamois butter, which I paid for at about mile 100. The energy in town was unreal. People were screaming and cheering like we were all rock stars. I couldn’t help but smile! Just like that I was out-of-town and climbing out of Placid again. I could begin to feel the fatigue build in my legs knowing I had another 56 miles to go. Half way at least. The wind had picked up a bit. To stay focused and keep both my power and heart rate from spiking I began counting to 10 over and over again on the climbs. It helped. My power and heart rate stayed low and I felt good and strong. I began the crazy descend into Keene again this time more confident. The roads were dry and less crowded. I definitely let Azul fly more this time topping out in the low 40s before riding my brakes. The flat sections of Jay were uneventful. The second time around on the out-and-back to Ausable Forks was boring. At least it has pretty views again. I ate and drank a lot. Pissed again at an aid station.

I was playing cat and mouse with quite a few men at this point and occasionally we would chat. At one point a guy told me to go and he wasn’t afraid to be “chicked.” I noticed a lot of people on the side of the roads with flats. One guy had a broken derauiller. That sucks! Finally I hit mile 100. My crotch was killing me at this point. I couldn’t wait to get off my bike! I ran into another TriMoxie athlete Leigh around this time and we chatted a bit. She actually lives next door to my cousin. I passed and was soon climbing the bears again. Fewer people this time cheering and Papa Bear seemed to have gotten a bit bigger this time around.

Finally I rode through town again and made my way to the transition area. YES! I could get off my bike. I gave Azul to a volunteer and began running to the changing tent. A volunteer asked me if I wanted to take me shoes off. No. I’ll run with them on. A woman yelled at me to take my helmet off. Okay, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to run a marathon with my space helmet on!

Bike: 7:11:48 (15.56 mph)

The Run

I surprisingly felt awesome coming off the bike. I was really worried prior to the race how I would feel off the bike. I knew my major limiter for the race was going to be my knee. It wasn’t going to be a question of “if“, but “when” my knee was going to give out. My knee was a bit sore during the bike portion of the race and would sometimes shoot a sharp pain up to my hip, but I generally ignored it on the bike. I changed in the women’s changing tent and made sure to grab my salt sticks this time. I forgot them on the bike and felt a bit foggy at the end. Perhaps it was from being in the same or similar position for 7+ hours!

I put my shoes on and headed out for a short 26.2 miles! My legs felt great! I kept the pace easy because I knew it was going to be a long day. I chewed on a salt stick for a bit. I don’t advise that to anyone, but I felt I needed one that badly. I ran through the mile one aid station and saw my coach and her daughter! She said I looked good. I felt good! I ran through the second water station at the horse show grounds and soon began my descend and turn onto Riverside Road. I hit the 3 mile mark quite fast. My pace was good. I kept focusing on moving forward. Mentally I was in great shape. I just kept counting the miles. 4 miles down. 5 miles down. Holy cow, this thing is going by quicker than I thought! I would run to each aid station and then walked through each one getting hydration and nutrition in at each one. I would stop and piss at a couple of the aid stations.

Around mile 5 or 6 my glutes were on fire! I guess I used them to during the bike leg to climb! My pace was slowing a bit, but I still was moving way faster than I had predicted. I walked the giant hill back up towards the horse show grounds and headed back into town. The crowds were picking up and the energy was insane. I could hit Mark Reilly announcing people as they crossed the finish line. I walked the big steep hill into town. There was a guy holding a sign saying “how does your taint feel?” I looked at him and said not good. We both laughed. I jogged through town to the out-and-back by Mirror Lake. I crossed the half-way mark and began my second loop. I still felt good.

Around mile 14 my knee started hurting. It also marked the furthest that I have EVER run in my life. This was all new territory for me. I began a run/walk method. I was hoping to run the flats and downhills and then walk the uphills. Unfortunately, I couldn’t run the big downhill over the bridge to Riverside Road. My quad was on fire and my knee did not like it. So I walked and then began jogging at the bottom. The walk/jog method worked until mile 18. At mile 18 my knee was done. I have a high pain tolerance and generally can and have run through the pain. However, at mile 18 it was a different pain. It was sharp and almost a weakness feeling, like my knee was going to give-out feeling and I was going to crumble to the floor. I began walking. I was content with this. I knew it was going to happen, but I didn’t know when. I was impressed that my knee lasted until mile 18. I was hoping for mile 20, but I’ll take 18! I could have probably have pushed through it if I really, really wanted to, but I wanted to be smart. I wasn’t going for a specific time for this race. I know that I want to be in this sport for the long-haul and I didn’t want to do permanent damage to my body.

The walk wasn’t bad. A lot of people at this point were walking. What did suck for me, was that every fiber of my body, except my knee of course, wanted to run. I probably averaged between a 14-15 minute mile moving pace. I eventually made it into town where the crowds were even larger. It was starting to get dark and I vowed that I would not finish with a glow stick in hand. I tried running a bit through town but every time I tried I would wince in pain from my knee. Finally I made it to the last turn-around and headed for my last mile through town. People were screaming my name and encouraging me to run. With about three-quarters of a mile left, I decided to suck it up and run. The pain in my knee made me wince and cry at times, but I sucked it up and ran.

The Finish

Honestly, it’s challenging to come up with words to describe my emotions as I approached the finish line. Let me start by setting up the scene for you. Lake Placid has one of the best finish lines out of all the Ironman races. You finish on the Olympic oval where they did the speed skating races during the winter olympics. The crowds of spectators and volunteers are amazing. They are lined up several people deep, all screaming your name and cheering you on. The music is blaring and you can hear Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman, yelling “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN” as people cross the finish line. Mary and another TriMoxie athlete and soon-to-be husband of another TriMoxie athlete both told me to step back and remember the finish of your first Ironman. It’s tough to do.


 As soon as I made the turn onto the Olympic oval I knew I was almost there. A volunteer told me I was there. I was an Ironman. It hit me like a ton of bricks. People were yelling my name and cheering me on. They told me I was an Ironman. I started to choke up. I smiled. I told myself not to cry. I was in excruciating pain from my knee but I kept moving forward. I rounded the last bend and could see people crossing the line. One man in front of me did the Blazeman roll and the crowd went wild. I looked behind me to see if anyone was coming. I wanted to cross that line alone. I wanted that moment to myself. Ten feet from the line I threw my arms in the arm. I was crying. I was smiling. I honestly didn’t know what was happening. I was in a daze. I couldn’t believe that I just swam, biked, and ran 140.6 miles through the breathtaking Adirondack Mountains. Mike Reilly said those magic little words that I have been waiting to hear for the past 7 months… YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

Two volunteers quickly grabbed me. They offered to take my timing chip, asked me how I was and what I wanted. They gave me my medal. I wanted food. I was hungry. They sat me down and got me pizza and fruit. They asked me if I wanted chocolate milk. I said “no” and secretly giggled thinking about what Vinnie Tortorich would have said about that. I sat around for a bit and then got my finisher picture taken and the wandered around a bit to find Mary and Jordan. Everyone around me kept saying “congratulations.” It.was.awesome.


Run: 5:31:54 (12:40/mile)

Total: 14:13:33 (43/68 AG; 1674/2536 OA)

 ~ Happy Training!

I Lost my Mojo…


With less than 30 days until Ironman Lake Placid, I managed to lose my mojo…

No bueno. As of today, Ironman Lake Placid is 16 days away. Holy shit! (commence anxiety attack)

Build was going good. Week one was solid. Week two was good. Then week three was the holiday week. It was a good week, but it was rather lackluster compared to what it should have been.

I spent most of the week at my best friend’s camp on Little Ossipee Lake, which is really one of the highlights of my year. Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. Okay, maybe it’s tied for Thanksgiving. I love me some turkey! 🙂

Last Monday night I did 4400 yards in the pool and it went really freaking well. I swam partly with a couple local swim team girls that definitely kept me working and then partly on my own. I haven’t swam that many yards in one sitting since high school and I was pleased how well it went.

Tuesday night was spent at camp. I got in a short 3 mile jaunt before it was booze cruise time. We took a quick cruise around the lake then J’s mom decided she was going to drive the boat until to boys and J’s sister arrived. And, by driving I mean it was more or less gunning the boat and circling around. I was definitely hanging onto my beer with white knuckles!  Once everyone arrived it was back to the normal booze cruise speed and the rest of the night was history… and I ended up staying up way past my bedtime!

A borrowed picture of one of my favorite places!

A borrowed picture of one of my favorite places!

Wednesday I got up early to swim before all the boat came out of their boathouses. Somehow my wetsuit has gone missing so I had to swim sans wetsuit. I didn’t swim very long, but enough to get comfortable in open water again. Later that morning I got a call from a woman I had interviewed in early June for a position that I really really wanted. I didn’t get the job. I was second choice, which is bittersweet. She gave me some great feedback and said that she believes that I will go far in the public health field, but I just need more experience. No shit. That’s my problem, trying to find a job to get said experience. That news definitely set the tone for the day for me and really the week.

I got a good pep talk from the girls and tried putting the bad news aside and focused on having some fun. I managed to get out on my bike for an easy 20+ mile ride and then ran home to grab my dog to bring her to the lake. Reagan LOVES to swim. Plus, she makes me feel better. Except when she decides that she needs to sleep with me on the tiny little cot I had! At least this year I didn’t have to carry her down the stairs like the previous years. My dog has some sort of irrational fear of wooden stairs and refuses to go down them unless I carry her. A 50 pound hairball gets quite heavy at times. I can’t judge her too much though, I have an irrational fear of bologna…. don’t ask…

Some of my favorite girls!

Some of my favorite girls!

Thursday. Happy 4th of July! It was a perfect day. Sunny and hot (unlike most of the Maine summer weather thus far). I got up early and headed out for my long run. I attempted to run around the lake, which I estimated would be about 10 miles. However, I’m a bit directionally challenged and got lost. The first 90 minutes went well. Knee was holding up well and I was content with my slow ass pace. I got honked at by some creeping old man. Awesome. The rest of the morning was spent drinking mimosas by the lake until everyone rolled in. Lots of adult beverages were consumed along with lots of food that I probably shouldn’t have eaten. Oh well. So worth it.

I ended up missing a couple of key workouts. However, at the end of the day I don’t think it’s going to matter too much. The real work as been done. Ironman athletes are truly made in the winter. All those long boring miles on the trainer and treadmill build the endurance you need for race day. My training has not gone as planned. Many people have asked me about my estimated finishing time. When I first started training back in January I had an idea of what time I wanted to finish by. However, with all the roadblocks I have hit over the course of the past 7 months, I just want to finish (preferably in one piece).

Oh yea, I rode my bike 109 miles on Sunday...

Oh yea, I rode my bike 109 miles on Sunday… The turn around point of my ride

This week is going much better training wise. I’m back on the ball. Mentally I’m in a much better place too. Now that I’ve had a week to digest the fact that I didn’t get the job I really wanted, I’m beginning to think about what’s next. I started to put a plan in place and I definitely feeling good about it. The mojo is coming back! Time to get this Ironman thing done with! 🙂

~ Happy Training!

Muscle Imbalances – What You Need to Know!


In order to fully understand muscle imbalances, let’s first look at normal muscle function. There are three types of muscles in the body: smooth, cardiac, and skeletal. We, of course, are investigating skeletal muscles – or the muscles that move our bodies through the swim, bike, run movement patterns. Normal muscle activation is a combination of contraction and relaxation of muscle fibers. The technical terms are called facilitation (contraction) and inhibition (relaxation). When muscles contract, they get tighter and do more work. When muscles relax, they do less work and allow their opposite muscles to contract better. Muscles in the body generally work in pairs.

Let’s use the examples of your biceps and triceps. Let’s imagine that you are sitting on a bench with a dumbbell in your right hand about to do a set of biceps curls. What happens when you move your right hand towards your shoulder? Place your left hand over your right bicep. In the rest position your biceps is pretty relaxed. The same with your triceps. Neither should feel tight or loose. Just relaxed. Now move that dumbbell up towards your shoulder and do a biceps curl. Now feel that biceps in the top hand position. Feels pretty tight now doesn’t it? The biceps muscle is contracting to pull the dumbbell towards your shoulder. Now feel the triceps. The triceps muscle should feel loose because it must relax in order for the biceps to contract. Now lower the dumbbell to the start position. The biceps muscle should be relaxed (loose) and the triceps contracted (tight). The same thing happens as you are running. As you lift your leg to propel yourself forward, your quadriceps (front of tight muscles) must contract to lift your knee forward and the hamstrings (back of thigh muscles) must relax. When the muscles are balanced in the body, they have the right combination of inhibition and facilitation during movement.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

If muscles lack the right combination of inhibition and facilitation during movement muscle imbalances can occur. Muscle imbalances may lead to injuries, biomechanical inefficiencies, and wasted efforts. Muscle imbalances can also occur due to poor static posture, joint dysfunction, and myofascial adhesions (think “knot” in muscle). These altered length-tension relationships between muscles may lead to altered muscle recruitment patterns (altered force-couple relationships). This is caused by altered reciprocal inhibition. Altered reciprocal inhibition, defined by NASM, is the process by which a tight muscle (short, overactive, myofascial adhesions) causes decreased neural drive, and therefore optimal recruitment of its functional antagonist.

Let’s look at an example of this. A majority of people work 9-5 desk jobs in front of a computer. Thus they tend to have tight hip flexors, or iliopsoas muscles. Tight psoas muscles decrease the neural drive and therefore the optimal recruitment of gluteus maximus (your butt muscles). The gluteus maximus muscles are the prime movers for hip extension and an important muscle in running. According to a 2006 study in The Journal of Experimental Biology, the gluteus maximus works primarily to keep the torso upright during movement and it is involved in decelerating the swing leg as it hits the pavement. Since the glute is a hip extender muscle, it also functions to extend your hip-joint as your foot pushes off the ground to propel your body forward. Weaknesses in the gluteus maximus can lead to compensation and substitution by the synergists (hamstrings) and stabilizers (erector spinae). This can ultimately lead to potential hamstring strains and lower back pain.

According to one study, over the course of any given year approximately two-thirds of runners will have at least had one injury that has caused an interruption to their training. For those training for marathons, the rate as been recorded up to 90% of runners. The most common running injury involves the knee. The most common running related knee problems are patellofemoral pain syndrome, Iliotibial band (IT-Band) sydrome, tibal stress syndrome (spin splits), and plantar fasciitis. Guess what? These common running injuries are overuse injuries generally caused by muscle imbalances!

Some researchers and sports medicine professionals have argued that triathlon, as a multisport event, causes less overuse injuries than single sports, because of the more even distribution of loads over the body’s muscluar system. However, triathletes still suffer from a high degree of overuse injuries. One of the most common is actually lower back pain. Triathletes tend to be over-developed in larger muscle groups, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and shoulders. Triathletes tend to be weak in the smaller stability muscles, such as the lower back, core, adductors, and abductors. Again, these muscle imbalances are caused by movements that we do in each sport. For example, many triathletes, especially if they come from a cycling background, will be overdeveloped in the quadriceps region, but have these tiny, underactive hamstrings. This is a muscle imbalance caused by cycling. Runners are very weak in the hip stability muscles, such as the gluteus medius, tensor fascia latae (TFL), and adductor complex, which leads to weak lumbo-pelvic stability and the potential development of common running injuries. The sport of triathlon is conducted in one plane of motion – the sagittal plane. We rarely move in the frontal and transverse planes. Many of the hip stability muscles are targeted by movements conducted in the frontal and/or transverse planes.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Muscles can be divided into two types: postural and phasic. Postural muscles are used for standing and walking; whereas, phasic muscles are used for running. During the gait cycling of running, there is a double-float phase during which both legs are suspended in the air – one at the beginning and one at the end of the swing phase. Running biomechanics requires efficient firing patterns from the postural muscles while the phasic muscles do the actual work of propelling the body forward. Since the postural muscles are constantly be activated in the body to fight the forces of gravity, these muscles have a tendency to shorten and become tight. The postural muscles that tend to become chronically tight in runners are: gastroc-soleus, rectus femoris, ilipsoas, tensor fascia lata, hamstrings, adductors, quadratus lumborum, piriformis, and satorius. Phasic muscles typically may remain in an elongated or weak state. Common phasic muscle that have a tendency to be weak or become inhibited in runners are: the tibialis anterior, vastus medialis, long thigh adductors, and the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus.

So, key points from this post:

  • Muscle imbalances are caused by the lack of the right combination of contraction and relaxation of paired muscles
  • Common triathlon and running injuries are generally caused by muscle imbalances, mainly in the lumbo-pelvic region
  • Postural muscles tend to become short and tight; whereas phasic muscles tend to become weak and inhibited
  • Stretch your psoas muscles! 🙂

Now, how do you identify muscle imbalances? Well, I did a post a while ago on why functional movement screens are important. Go read that! Or go see a sports medicine professional, such as a chiropractor or physical therapist. This is especially important if you are dealing with a common running-related injury. Then find yourself a good personal trainer to help set you up on a good strengthening routine to correct those imbalances. Remember, I am certified to help you correct muscle imbalances. Of course, you should always seek permission from your doctor before starting any new exercise routines. Stay tuned next week on some good hip stretching and strengthening exercises to help you prevent those pesky running injuries.

~ Happy Training!

PS – Feel free to contact me with any questions at


1. Maffetone P. The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing. 2010.

2. Clark MA, Lucett SC. NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training. New York, NY: Wolters Kluwer Health. 2011.

3. Liebermna DE et al. The human gluteus maximus and its role in running. J Exp Biol. 2006; 209: 2143-55.

4. Manninen JSO, Kallinen M. Low back pain and other overuse injuries in a group of Japanese triathletes. BR J Sports Med. 1996;30: 134-139.

5. Fredericson M, Moore T. Muscular balance, core stability, and injury prevention for middle – and long-distance runners. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2005;16: 669-689.

IT-Band Updates


I left off last time stating that I was going to do my first run in over 8 days. It went okay. I made it a mile relatively pain-free and then the pain started in during the second mile. That Saturday I had a client early in the morning and then headed out for my 2 hour ride. I attempted my 15 minute t-run, but made it about a minute before the pain set in and this time it set in with a vengeance. My biotech job and my gym are right across the street from each other so I had purposely brought my keys with me to stop into the lab to grab ice. On my return to the gym both my bosses were in their office looking at each other and then at me. As I approached them, one of them asked the other who was going to spank me. I then succeeded to get a lecture on how I shouldn’t run on an injured knee. Opps! I guess at 26 years old “mom and dad” will still spank me for misbehaving. Yikes!


Later that day I also got a Restore massage at Athlete’s Touch. The massage was focused primarily on my IT-band, Quads, and hip region. The therapist told me that my knee region and hip region were quite inflamed. I could definitely tell that my knee was. It was a bit swollen and sore. I had removed all my KT tape a few days prior because it was irritating my skin and I think it was irritating my knee too.


Anyway, fast forward to this week. I saw my chiropractor on Wednesday and reported back to her my failed attempt at running. She  did some massage and stretching work on my knee region. She’s beginning to think that my IT-band is probably okay. We both agree that it is part of the issue, but the real issue is my quad muscles are overactive and causing all the problems. Of course, the root cause of all my issues is my right hip. Every time I go in to see her my pelvis is always twisted.

The past couple of weeks I have hit the gym hard with some rehab exercises to strengthen my hips. Lots of clam shells, lateral legs raises, mini-band work, and donkey kicks. I’ve started to slowly add in some hamstring curls and wide-stance squats to strengthen my hamstrings and adductors.

I’ve spent a lot of time icing, heating, and also self-grastoning my quads and IT-band. It’s been great fun. My boss asked me the other day why I was “scraping” my quad muscle with Biofreeze and the handle of a butter knife. I love Graston! At least I have the proof to show my chiropractor that I listened to her advice – a few lovely bruises.

Lot's of icing!

Lot’s of icing!

Saturday afternoon the nor’easter rain decided to take an afternoon siesta so I decided to test my knee out. I laced up my new Mizunos and hit the flat, paved trail behind my house. I walked down the giant hill to the trail and then succeeded to run. The first mile wasn’t bad. There was a little soreness, but no sharp pain like previously. I kept going. Soon enough the pain started to ease back into my knee. When it got bad I just walked. When I felt okay again then I jogged. I did this for 3.2 miles. My running was super slow. I’m pretty sure the turtle I saw crossing the trail was moving faster than I was, but I was running. And running relatively with no pain. Now that’s improvement and I will take it.

Yesterday after my 4 hour ride I decided to try out my legs by attempting my 25 minute T-run. I took my time transitioning from bike to run clothes. I started out slow and took short strides. I wore my IT-band strap this time too. Guess what? I actually ran pain-free!! Initially I was just going to try for 10-15 minutes, but I felt good and I continued the full 25 minutes. Granted it was extremely slow, but running pain-free was a blessing. I’m hoping that I am on the tail-end of this injury mishap and I’ll be back into the full swing of training ASAP. I will still continue with my icing, heating, and self-grastoning in hopes that I won’t relapse!

In other news, Ironman Lake Placid is exactly 2 months from today and they got 3 feet of snow this weekend! Seriously, what the heck Mother Nature?!

~ Happy Training!

IT-Band Woes

The IT-Band -

The IT-Band –

I spent the last 8 days swimming, biking, and doing core work. No running. Why? Stupid and annoying knee pain. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I had developed knee pain in my right knee making running a very unpleasant chore. I managed to compete in my first tri of the season and actually place well, but not without facing the consequences afterwards. Perhaps I should have DNF? Nah….

After the PolarBear I had a 60 minute endurance run in my training plan for that Wednesday. I was feeling pretty good and really wanted a good run. I haven’t had a good run in a while. The weather was beautiful out and I was pumped. I laced up my shoes, turned on the Garmin and did my dynamic warm-up while my watch was searching for the satellites. I swear my watch takes forever to find the satellites. Then it was off. My house is situated on a hill. Either way I have to ride or run down before I hit any flat-ish pavement. I took the hill easy because I knew it would irritate my quad. The hill went okay. About two minutes into the run the sharp nagging pain returned on the bottom outside of my knee rendering me to my little hobble/jump run gait. It’s quite the sight to see I’m sure.

I stopped, stretched (maybe prayed a little) and then began again. I managed to jog very slowly for 10 minutes but still had that nagging pain. After about a mile I knew I needed to stop. The pain intensified leaving me in tears. I turned around and hobbled/walked myself back home crying. Yes, I fully admit that I cried. After my 18 minute mile home I sat myself down in the chair with an ice pack and my laptop. I succeeded to email my coach (while crying of course) letting her know that I could not run and I had no clue how the heck I was suppose to do an Ironman in 10 weeks! Perhaps I was being a bit dramatic, but I was very frustrated.

Not being able to run while training for an Ironman is not good. Normally I would be the idiot and try to run through all the pain. However, the past couple of years I really have learned the value of rest and listening to my body. My body was telling me to stop running and figure out what the root cause of my knee pain was. Mary quickly replied to me to tell me that I would take a full week off from running and let my knee heal. We would see how it feels the following week and slowly build my miles back up. I still have plenty of time till Lake Placid.

I saw my chiropractor again on Monday and we both agree that my knee pain is being primarily caused by my IT-band. My quad muscles are also suspect in the situation too. Along with that pesky little piriformis muscle that I strongly dislike. We’ve been taping my knee and IT-band with kinesiology tape for the past three weeks. It seems to be helping. I’ve been very religious about icing and rolling out with my foam roller, stick, and lacrosse ball. That has seemed to help a great deal too.

Sweet Taping Job

Sweet Taping Job

I think the most important aspect of healing my IT-band is rest. I’ve done some research online and most sports medicine professionals recommend anywhere from 3-10 days of rest from the problematic activity (i.e. running in my case). I’m lucky that swimming and cycling doesn’t bother my knee and/or quad and IT-Band. Tonight is going to be my first night running again. Just an easy 30 minute run. If the knee bothers me then I will stop and continue to rest again. When dealing with injuries you have to be smart. I’m going to be smart this time. Let it heal and then strengthen it. I’ve been discussing with my boss at the gym the ideal strength/rehabbing plan for my IT-band to ensure going forward I don’t have chronic issues with it. Hopefully I’m on the road to recovery!

Here’s to hoping my run goes well!

Anyone have any advice on treating IT-band issues? What’s your worst sports-related injury?

~ Happy Training!