Hill Repeats and Hot Yoga

For the past few weeks I have been enjoying my mini “off-season.” I’ve pretty much done what I wanted when I wanted. However, with the Fall running season approaching I have been slowly building my miles and creating a semblance of a half-marathon training plan. But, more on that later this week.

Wednesday night I got to run with my summer running buddy for the last time before he heads back to London for work. Insert sad face. Wednesday was also like 90 degrees and humid as heck. That seems to be the pattern for our running dates. Last time we ran together it was about 105 with the heat index out at OOB. Apparently Burger secretly cursed me throughout that run. Ha! Wednesday night there was even an ozone alert for the coastal region, but with the pleasant sea breeze I didn’t believe there was an issue.

We began our run on the Eastern Trail and then ran over to the Boulevard. We were moving at a decent pace for the first two miles chatting it up and whatnot. Finally around the 2.5 mile mark I had enough and had to walk. I was having a hard time breathing. I guess there really was some ozone heaviness going on. We walked for a while so I could catch my breath. Then Burger suggested we go run hill repeats. I didn’t really want to because I was in no shape to do so, but because of my competitiveness and my unwillingness to be shown up by a guy I agreed. It’s funny how my pupil turned into the coach.

We jogged over the 295 overpass and up towards Washington Ave. to the grassy East End hill. And by hill I meet a mountain… I suggested Cutter Street, but Burger prefers a grassy or gravel path. He’s got some IT-band issues too. Two broken peas in a pod…

Burger led the way and I followed. Holy heck did my heart feel like it was going to burst out of my chest! The hill itself is really split into two halves. The first half is not a bad grade, then it flattens out for about 5 feet and then turns vertical for another 100+ feet, which was the worst part. Burger ran up rather effortlessly, but I struggled not to puke. Of course, he has the advantage of long legs for the last part of the hill. I averaged about 28 seconds for the first repeat.

Yes,  I know, I'm an awesome artist!

Yes, I know, I’m an awesome artist!

We stopped at the top to rest for a minute or so. I concentrated on not heaving my lunch all over the place and catching my breath. After realizing my lungs weren’t going to bust out of my chest, we jogged back down for another repeat.


My second and third repeats were a few seconds slower than the first. My quads and glutes were starting to burn from working hard to muscle my little legs up the vertical footage. The fourth one was tough, but I managed to finish stronger and faster than the second and third repeats. After cresting the hill for the last time I promptly laid fell down into the grass. Boy did I feel like dying! Burger thought it was a great idea to do 5 repeats. I politely declined the fifth repeat and continued lying in the grass in a daze.


After Burger was done showing off we headed back towards the cars for the next adventure – hot yoga. I’ve been driving around with my yoga bag and mat for the past two weeks meaning to hit up a class, but never could muster up the ambition to actually attend a class. We headed to Greener Postures for an hour-long hot yoga class. My legs were definitely shaky during the class. My body really needed that class even though I wanted to die half way through the class. I was most impressed with the music selection for the class. At one point Dave Matthew’s Mercy Me came on during downward dog and I started to shake my tail feathers a bit. Sorry to the fellow yogis behind me that had to witness that!

I was definitely sore on Thursday morning when I woke up! I couldn’t even wear heels to my job interview because my calves were so sore. It felt good to do some speed/strength work in my running, but for now I’m going to go back to my zone 2 running to further build my endurance for some up coming half marathons this Fall.

~ 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!

Welcome to Race Week!



Welcome to Race Week!

Tomorrow I’ll be driving the 6+ hours through northern New England to Lake Placid, New York! So far taper has been treating me well. Last week was super hot and humid in Maine and made for some difficult training weather, but I hydrated like a boss and completed my workouts well. Friday night was the worst with the temperatures (plus the heat index) into the 100’s! Rare, rare occasions for Maine. My running partner and I headed out to Pine Point beach for some cooler running in the later evening. He wanted to run on the beach; however, it was high tide (thank God because I wanted pavement 🙂 ). We ran from Pine Point to OOB and back for a good, hot 6 miles then a dip in the ocean.

I took Saturday off and got a massage, which definitely helped with some lingering IT-Band soreness. Sunday was a 2 hour ride plus a 45-minute run. Azul got a new chain and a 11-28 cassette last Thursday and all I have to say is… why didn’t I put on a 11-28 before!?! My cadence is a lot better and I feel more comfortable with it! However, Azul needs a bit of a tweak on the front derailleur because she threw her chain twice. Back to my favorite bike shop today, Allspeed!

I rode one of my favorite routes on Sunday in reverse (because I forgot where I was going, opps!). Whaleback Road in Standish/Baldwin is a good climbing road, especially from the reverse direction I found out. I wanted to really test the new gearing for all the climbing that I’ll be doing on Sunday. I crested the final hill and just started my descent when all the sudden there was a damn DONKEY in the middle of the road! WTF! It took me about 15-20 seconds to process what was going on and brake. Luckily the road conditions in the area were pretty dicey so I wasn’t going very fast. The donkey just looked at me as I made a very wide arc around him. Out of all the things I have run over, hit, or gotten chased by this training cycle I would have never predicted a donkey in the middle of the road would be one of them!

Hello Donkey!

Hello Donkey!

This week has been pretty low-key. Mentally and emotionally Monday wasn’t a good day because I was dealing with some personal and professional stress. Luckily, things are on the up now. Last night was spent writing lists of everything I need to remember to bring to Lake Placid and doing laundry. Today I will spend the day running around doing last-minute errands and packing the car for tomorrow’s early departure.

The other exciting news going on in my life currently (other than Ironman) is the fact my dog is a bird murder. In the past 72 hours she has managed to catch and kill 3 innocent little birds. We recently put an addition on our house and a couple of birds nested in the eves before my father could finish the roof. The adult birds have managed to fly into the house instead of outside. Reagan has loved every minute of the ordeal. I especially enjoy finding half eaten dead birds on the floor. NOT!

When I'm lounging around... I enjoy murdering birds...

When I’m lounging around… I enjoy murdering birds…

For those of you at home, you can track me on race day via the Ironman website. I am number 552! Or better yet, if you’re in Lake Placid then let’s meet up! Tweet me at BigSkyTri and hopefully I’m smart enough to figure out how to tweet you back! 🙂

~ Happy Training!

Welcome to the Taper!


Sooo… taper for Ironman Lake Placid began on Monday! Wahoo! It’s almost here…

At the lake...

At the lake…

As in 9 days!!! (Insert OMG I’m shitty my pants face)

Surprisingly, I’m not super nervous at the moment. I know come next week when I start packing for the big day things will start to set in and the butterflies will begin their high dives in my tummy.

Many people have asked me what my time goal is. Well, I don’t have one. Okay, maybe I do have a secret time goal and no, I will not tell you. I had a good time goal back in January when I began base training, but all bets were off when my knee/IT-band/Hip issues flared up in early May. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure I was going to make it to race day in one piece.

A lot of people told me I should stop training and not race. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? (Have you met me? I’m one of the most stubborn people you’ll meet.) Yes, these people were not tri people. Most of my non-triathlon friends think that I’m crazy for swim, bike, and running 140.6 miles on July 28th in Lake Placid, NY. Yes, I might agree with them. Only slightly though.

I knew the beginning of last year when I began training with the goal to become more competitive in my age group and competing at the 70.3 distance that the Ironman was in my future. It’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs, but in the end, I know that it will be worth it. I can’t wait to hear Mike Reilly tell me I’m an Ironman. I don’t care if I finish sub-12 (haha, in my dreams!) or 16:59. This race is just to finish and finish with a smile. (and not in the medical tent)

And then party my behind off afterwards! 🙂

I LOVE training. I love triathlons. I love being active. But, I know physically and mentally I need a bit of a break. I miss my friends. And I miss my poor neglected dog.

Tough life huh?

Tough life huh?

Other than that, I’m ready to race! Azul (my tri bike) had her race tune-up yesterday. She’s a thing of beauty at the moment. New tires, new cassette (decided to put on a 11-28 for IMLP), and a new chain. Let’s see how long this lasts…

I got in a good open water swim earlier this week and will finish up with a couple long (like 2 hours now!) ride this weekend. My running is finally coming along. I’ve been running with a new friend lately and he’s motivating me to run fast, which hasn’t occurred since May. I know my marathon at IMLP is probably going to be a slow crawl. If I could finish under 5 hours it would be a miracle! My goal is to run as far and long as I can until the knee decides she is done for the day and then continue with a run/walk method. Maybe some crawling too… hmmm, I think I’ll put knee pads in my special needs bag.

Story of my life...

Story of my life…

In other news, I am number 552 for the day! So for all you at home, you can track me via the Ironman website and send me good vibes throughout!

~ 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!

Race Report: Patriot Half-Ironman Aquabike



Patriot Half!

I signed up for this race back in December hoping that I would have a good solid race before my final build to Lake Placid. However, sometimes life throws you curveballs and you just need to change your plan. I decided a month ago after my knee/hip issues started that I would drop down to the aquabike. I didn’t really want to, but I decided to be smart and not do anything stupid… like run a half-marathon with an injured leg. 

The week before the race I managed to come down with a nasty cold (again). I succeeded to do absolutely nothing last weekend in order to get rid of the cold. It helped, but my nose was still pretty runny and I pretty much lost my voice. I hadn’t been in open water yet either. Luckily, one of my co-workers offered (okay, maybe I bribed him) to kayak for me Thursday night so I could try on my wetsuit and get in the water for a bit of swimming. This week was pretty crappy weather-wise. Lots of rain so the lake was freezing. It was also windy and choppy. I lasted a whole 7 minutes in the water. Yikes! Hopefully race day will be much better!

Excited to swim in Sebago Lake

Excited to swim in Sebago Lake

I headed down to Massachusetts on Friday night and stayed at my coaches house. I got to see her herd of puppies. They are completely crazy and lovable at the same time! I had a pretty good night of sleep. Going into this race I wasn’t really nervous. At this point, mentally I was considering this more of a training day than a pure race. The ultimate goal is Lake Placid so I treated this as a day to a) complete my first real open water swim of the year, b) get nutrition timing down, and c) work on pacing throughout the bike course.


I got up at 4:15 and had a quick breakfast of a bagel with cream cheese and applesauce. No issues with breakfast going down. Guess I really wasn’t that nervous. Got in the car and turned the GPS on. Had issues with the GPS losing satellite the entire drive to Freetown. Awesome. I made it with plenty of time. Got my race packet. Racked bike. Set up transition. Felt like I was missing everything since I didn’t need my running shoes. Took Azul (my bike) for a quick spin. Used the porta-potty. Put on the wetsuit. Quick warm-up in the lake. Water temperature was about 60 degrees. Waited about 40 minutes until my swim wave went off.

The Swim:

I was in the last wave with both men and women aquabikers and the relay peeps. I seeded myself in the semi-middle third row back. The gun went off and so did we. I found open water pretty quickly. I didn’t have any major issues of anyone swimming over me or kicking me. I kind of wish that they did in a way so I could “practice” for Lake Placid! The first third of my swim was rough. I couldn’t settle in. My stroke was horrible. I’m sure I looked like a dying fish out of water. Finally, I was able to settle into my swim stroke and was making my way towards to first turn buoy. It felt like it took forever to get there! As you got further out into the lake it got a bit choppy. I made the first turn and headed for the second one. I could see that I was passing a few people in the previous waves so I was feeling okay about my swim, but I knew that I was slow. Before I started the race I set my watch to beep every 10 minutes during the swim so I had an idea of the time. The second beep went off shortly after I rounded the first buoy. I made it around the second turn buoy and started to pick up the pace towards “home.” The third beep went off and I knew I was looking at a 40+ minute swim. Definitely very slow for me, which I was slightly bummed about. However, I guess that’s what you get when you haven’t swam open water since last August. Finally I made it shore!

Swim: 42:02 (2:00/100 yards) 5/12 AG; 20/49 OA


Did my hair. Did my make-up. Just Kidding. I had a hell of a time getting my wetsuit off. It took forever. Best part of it was the fact that I managed to strain my left calf muscle while taking my suit off. Awesome. An hour later…

T1: 3:53 min

The Bike

The course is a two loop 28-mile course that is relatively flat with some rollers. It was a pretty course with views of lakes and nice houses. It reminded me a lot of Pumpkinman and a little bit of the Maine Rev3 course. It took me a bit to settle into the bike. My head was still a bit cloudy from the swim. The first couple of miles had a bunch of turns so it wasn’t very fast, but I did managed to pass a few people right off the bat. I concentrated on staying in my power zones and riding the course smart and consistently. My goal was to do the first loop a bit easier and then pick it up for the second loop. About 10 miles into the course I passed a woman and she asked if I was on my second loop. I laughed and told her I was only on my first loop. She said “oh, you have a pointy helmet so I thought you were on your second.” Thanks for thinking I’m super fast lady! I just might have to wear my aero helmet from now on. Ha! Shortly after that I came upon two tom turkeys trying to cross the road. Both were running around in the middle of the road like deer in headlights. Great! Luckily, they moved quickly to the side of the road and I was able to pass them without coming to a complete stop. At this point I started to play cat and mouse with an older woman named Shirley. This would go on throughout the entire ride. I would pass her and then she’d get a second wind and pass me only to have me pass her later on down the road. Great fun and a great motivator! Around mile 15 or so we came up to a road between two lakes. Just as a came around the bend a flock of Canadian geese and baby geese were trying to cross the road. Seriously! Turkeys and now geese! I kind of made a “no no” sound to get them to stay on the side of the road so I could pass and one of them hissed at me! I didn’t think Geese could hiss! Yikes!

I kept moving and soon Melissa passed me like a rocket! I skipped the bottle exchange at mile 18 and kept plugging along. Soon I passed by transition and headed out for my second loop. I picked up the speed and started focusing on passing anyone I could. At this point the headwind picked up again. It was there on the first loop, but definitely picked up a bit more on the second. This time I passed both mile 10 and 15 without any birds trying the cross the road. I did see a turtle at one point. Around mile 45 or so Shirley and I started playing cat and mouse with a man named Craig. Right around this point the bike traffic started to pick up a bit and becoming a bit of a cluster-f***. The roads were a bit narrow and there were cars trying to pass. Things got a bit slow. At this point I was getting frustrated and finally when I had a chance I just put my head low and hauled ass by about 10+ cyclists. Shirley and Craig were long gone at this point. I passed the bottle exchange again and knew I had roughly 10 miles left. At this point I picked it up again. I passed a bunch of people knowing that I didn’t have the run. In the final miles I saw the elite men heading to the finish of the run looking strong. Then I saw transition and was done. It was a nice feeling knowing I didn’t have the run now. But, I sort of missed not being able to run….

Bike: 3:11:56 (17.5mph) 6 AG; 29 OA

Overall, I felt good during the race. I was a bit disappointed with my time overall. I was slow, but I haven’t been training much in my half-ironman zones. That coupled with my cold, I did the best I could on that day. I was just glad that I didn’t have any major coughing spells during the swim or bike. Looking at the results afterwards there were a lot of slow bike times. I was really hoping to go sub-3 on the course and it is definitely within my capability. I think the headwind played a role in the slower times. I compared how I did in the aquabike to my age group for the Half and I would have placed well there if I didn’t have my knee injury. But you never really know. I did accomplish my goal of the day – to have a good solid ride. My VI for the ride was 1.09, which is really really good for me! I was happy about that. My legs felt good at the end, minus the calf strain. Now, onwards to my final build to Ironman Lake Placid!

Overall: 3:57:48.6 6/12 AG (Women under 44); 10/28 Females; 26/49 Overall

My awesome Garmin watch tan lines!

My awesome Garmin watch tan lines!

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 katelyn@bigskymultisportcoaching.com


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.

Shakira was Right – The Hips Don’t Lie


Yup, the Colombian bombshell was right – the hips don’t lie!

Argh! My It-Band/knee issues have migrated back to my hips again. Last week I did have some success with my running. It was far from fast, but I was able to actually get my mileage in. Last Wednesday I had my long run – 90 minutes. I wasn’t sure if my knee would hold up for the entire time and when I mentioned it to my chiropractor she suggested to split my run in half. Run 45 minutes in the morning and the remaining 45 minutes in the evening. Brilliant! I had considered running what I could outside on the pavement and then “running” the rest in the pool. The thought of splitting my run in half never even occurred to me. It makes complete sense though because you get your mileage in for the day but with a lot less fatigue and damage to the body. This is obviously very important for me at the moment due to my injury.

Yesterday at the chiropractor I asked my chiropractor what is causing all my hip issues. I had a good feeling what the root cause was but I wanted her to confirm my suspicions. The perpetrator – muscle imbalances. Just as I had predicted. Unfortunately I had the imbalances for a long time. As a Freshmen in high school I had major patellofermoral pain syndrome cause by, you guessed it – muscle imbalances. My entire swim season was ruined because of my knee problems. Months of bi-weekly physical therapy “fixed” my problems and my hips were good for a long time. However, over the past couple of years focusing on long-course triathlons, my body, more specifically my hips, have taken a massive beating by the same repetitive motions leading to the overuse injuries that I have been battling with – plantar fasciitis, IT-Band issues, and piriformis syndrome.

Over the past year I have spent a lot of time learning about the human body and movement. Working in the fitness industry as a personal trainer and coach requires me to understand the fundamental elements of human movement. Through my own research and education I have begun to understand what my own body is doing during movement and where my body is compensating because of my muscle imbalances. To be completely honest, I have known about my issues for a while now, but haven’t really focused a ton of time fixing the issue. That small crack in my foundation has now caused a major rift in my foundation causing my whole house to shift. Yikes!

So what are muscle imbalances? I plan to have a post dedicated more to this topic later this week, but I’ll give you a little tease right now. Muscle imbalance occurs when muscles lack normal muscle activity – a combination of contraction and relaxation. Triathletes tend to become overdeveloped in larger muscle groups, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and shoulders and weak in the smaller stability muscles in the lower back, core, adductors, and abductors. Imbalances may lead to injuries, biomechanical inefficiencies, and wasted efforts.

So yeah… muscle imbalance are not fun. Just about every athlete, especially triathletes, have some degree of muscle imbalance. All my clients have some sort of muscle imbalances too because of their lifestyles, ie. home or work environment. Luckily, muscle imbalance can be corrected relatively easy through corrective and strength exercises at the gym amd/or home. We’ll discuss this later.

My little word of advice – “pre-hab” is way better than rehab so don’t forget to do your core and hip strengthening work folks! 🙂

~ Happy Training!