A Year in Review: 2013 – Part I

Since today is the last day of 2013 I should probably start my Year in Review posts. Hmm… I’ll keep this one to more of the highlights and photos. But, 2013 was a good year. It started off a bit rough, but ended with many good things happening. I can’t complain.



January was a month of ups and downs. I just finished my MPH degree in December and began my job search. Some decisions made by my boss at work made me extremely stressed since I wasn’t sure I was going to have a job. This caused me become sick often, which hindered a lot of my tri training, which began on the 1st of the year. Things at the gym were also unusually slow so professionally and financially I was stressed. However, I got my degree in the mail so it made things more real!


Picking the pace up!

Picking the pace up!

I ran the annual Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler again. It went way better than my disaster of 2012 race where I ran sick and came really close to DNFing. However, I still treated the day more of a training run than anything because I was learning I lost all my running aerobic fitness over my Fall running hiatus due to plantar fasciitis. I also learned important lessons in time management. Working three jobs and training for an Ironman is not fun or easy to do.


My mother, my sister and I (1989)

My mother, my sister and I (1989)

Azul and I celebrated our One Year anniversary. I love that bike! I also celebrated the 4 year anniversary of my mother passing, which is never easy to do. I miss her everyday.




I started April off with a bang! I ran the Race the Runways Half-Marathon again, this time as a training run. It was insanely cold and windy, but I had great company throughout the race. The next day I developed a 102 fever and was out for a couple of days. Go figure! Towards the end of the month I began to develop a bit of a twinge in my right knee. I also went to the USAT Level One Coaching clinic and became a certified coach!


Tammy, Myself, Marisa, and Beth - all taking home hardware after a great race!

Tammy, Myself, Marisa, and Beth – all taking home hardware after a great race!

That twinge in my right knee developed into full-fledge IT-Band issues that plagued me for the rest of the summer. I managed to race the PolarBear Tri… barely. Miraculously, I placed 3rd in my age group.


Okay, not from my rides this week... but from the Patriot Hald Aquabike

Patriot Half Aquabike

My run training was extremely limited. I saw my chiropractor at least once a week to help heal my IT-Band issues. I dropped down from the Half-Ironman to the Half Aqua Bike at the Patriot Half. I had a good day, pacing myself like I would at Lake Placid. However, I almost ran over both turkeys and geese on the bike.



I became an Ironman! I celebrated yet another epic 4th of July with my favorite family and began my final build to the big day. My Ironman day went as planned. My knee held out to mile 18ish of the run before I was forced to walk the rest of the way, but I finished my goal, and that was to become an Ironman.


Enjoying a day at the beach

Enjoying a day at the beach

August was a recovery month. I spent a lot of time with friends and family. Towards the end of the month I began running again slowly just to rebuild my horrible running fitness. I had several promising job interviews. I also left my job at the gym I was working at to go off on my own to start my own business.


An example of pubis symphysis seperation - clearly an extreme case (Source)

An example of pubis symphysis separation – clearly an extreme case (Source)

I finally got offered a job! A great deal of stress was lifted off of me. I continued running easily until my pelvis decided to twist itself again. Awesome. I then began another running hiatus and began my yoga addiction.



Hot Yoga Time!

I became addicted to hot yoga and it was fabulous. I saw my chiropractor at least once a week to convince my pelvis not to split into two. I was happy as a clam at my new job and I joined the Junior League of Portland, Maine.


One of my favorite quotes of the year!

One of my favorite quotes of the year!

I continued with my yoga binge, loving every minute of it. I was slowly cleared to return to “normal” training. I mostly rode my bike, but ran a few times. It hurt.


Skiing at Shawnee Peak

Skiing at Shawnee Peak

I skied for the first time since my mother died almost five years ago with a friend. More to come of this in the next week or so. I’ve slowly been building my aerobic base again, mostly through cycling.

~ Happy Training and Happy 2014!!

My 2014 Race Schedule


I'm a member of Team Water.org (plus I thought this was funny) :-)

I’m a member of Team Water.org (plus I thought this was funny) 🙂

As much as I have been enjoying my extended off-season, I’m getting physically and mentally restless. Luckily I have been able to stay active through yoga and my bike on the trainer. And thankfully I just got cleared to run and also to return to strength training so my activity levels can soon “normal” swim, bike, run.

For the past couple of weeks I have been putting together my “Yearly Training Plan” or YTP (also known as an annual training plan or ATP). For the past couple of years I have been guided by an excellent coach who transformed me into the athlete I am today (well, not quite the broken down athlete at the moment, but the one that set PR after PR over the past couple of seasons). This year I have decided to coach myself, which could end up being the best decision or the worst decision on the planet. Only time will tell…

Speadsheets galore!

Speadsheets galore!

In order to construct my YTP I needed to decide what races I planned on racing in 2014. It was a tough decision to make. A lot of races have been opening up for registration and I see on Facebook and Twitter what races people are signing up for in 2014. I’m an impulse race register. If I see a friend doing a race then I automatically want to do the race too. It’s kind of a problem, especially since I pledged to myself to only race the small, local races this season in order to focus on healing my body, getting faster and stronger, and growing my own coaching business.


I was debating on signing up for a Half-Ironman this coming summer. It’s my favorite distance and when Ironman was advertising the price of $199 for Timberman 70.3 in New Hampshire I got suckered in. I opened up my wallet and took out my darn credit card. So much for self-control…

So without further ado, here is my tentative 2014 race season:

4/5/14 – Race the Runways Half-Marathon

5/3/14 – PolarBear Sprint Tri

6/8/14 – Pirate Sprint Tri

7/??/14 – Norway Sprint Tri

8/17/14 – Timberman 70.3

10/19/14 – BayState Marathon (maybe)

Those are the major races that I plan on racing in 2014 with Timberman being my big “A” race. I would absolutely love to qualify for Worlds (most likely a roll-down slot), but my chances are extremely slim. I checked last year’s results and there was over 100 women in the 25-29AG with the winner going close to 5:00. Speedy, speedy women!

I will probably register for Beach to Beacon again this year and sprinkle in some 5ks here and there. I may or may not run BayState in October. It will depend how my run fitness is going (and if it comes back)! I want to focus on quality versus quantity in 2014. Of course, everything is always subject to change.

What races are you signing up or have signed up for in 2014?

~ Happy Training!

“Race” Report: Race the Runways Half Marathon

First off, please forgive any major typos in the post. I’m currently sitting here with a fever of 102. Seriously, the plague that doesn’t end

Anyway, when I registered for the Race the Runways a couple of months ago I was hoping to race it again. Last year I had a great race and finally broke the 2 hour mark with a huge PR. However, my coach decided it was just going to be a zone 2 training run. I was definitely disappointed when I read my TrainingPeaks, but when I woke on Saturday morning I was definitely excited not to be racing because the weather was not ideal.

Saturday’s weather was rather horrendous. I considered staying home. I barely slept Thursday and Friday night plus my tummy was all upset (probably the beginning stages of my fever?) but I had my pre-race oatmeal and got into my car for the hour drive to Brunswick. I picked up my race packet and then bee-lined to my car for some warmth until the race started an hour later.

I met up with Jen, who I’ll be travelling with down to Jersey in a couple of weeks for the Level 1 Triathlon coaching clinic and who was also running the race as a training run too. We decided that if our paces and heart rate zones matched then we’d run the race together. It was definitely nice to run the race with someone since the conditions were so crappy at least we could laugh about it!

Hiding out in the car!

Hiding out in the car!

We chatted in the car for a while then pissed behind some big water tank and headed to the start line. No warm-up. Just hovered in the cold wind for 10 minutes or so until the cannon went off. Then we were off! First couple of miles were relatively easy and a lot faster than I thought I was going to be able to run. With all my sickness in the past month my running hasn’t been fast at all, but I felt good. Of course it helps that it’s a flat course. This year the race directors changed the course to try to reduce the wind, but I don’t think they predicted steady wind of 20+ mph with gusts up to 50 mph! You’d be running along at a good clip and all the sudden a huge wind gust would come and pretty much stop you in place.

The out and back by the golf course was uneventful. We hit the first and only hill on the course. My heart rate spiked a bit on the hill but that would be expected. I skipped over the aid station because I wasn’t thirsty and then we made the left-hand turn onto the runway for the longest, coldest, and windiest mile of my life. Holy cow was it windy. Last year mile 12 was on the runway and it was windy, but this year’s wind didn’t even compare to last year’s! The wind pretty much ate my heart rate up and spit it out. Our pace dropped from a low-9 minute mile to an almost 10-minute mile pace. I felt like I was barely moving. Eventually we made a right-hand turn off the runway and finally (and I think the only time) got a tailwind! Jen and I joked that we needed a parachute and some roller blades! The middle miles were a two loop out and back route. The wind would come and go. I swear no matter what direction we were going the wind was always a headwind! Mile signs were getting blown over and I’m pretty sure at times people were too!

I finally grabbed some water and attempted to eat a gel around mile 6. I only managed about a quarter of my gel. I’m pretty sure it was frozen! I was surprised how many people were wearing shorts too! Crazy I tell you! Our pace at slowed a bit at this point. Heart rate was pretty good. A little higher than it probably should have been, however, now that I have a fever I have a feeling my heart rate was already elevated by the fact my body was trying to fight something.

Finish line smile! Thanks to Maine Running Photos!

Finish line smile! Thanks to Maine Running Photos!

Finally we hit mile 10. Only a 5k left! At this point I was mentally getting bored with the run. The conditions sucked and I just wanted a hot shower. This was my longest run to date this year so my body was starting to feel fatigued. Luckily I had Jen by my side and she kept me in good spirits and moving. We started to head back towards the finish line. The last few miles are through the neighborhoods. The area is fairly well protected with trees and houses so the wind wasn’t too bad. I commented to Jen that it appeared that the wind had died a bit. Yup, I totally jinxed us! Soon after I said that, the wind picked up again. Crap! I got multiple compliments on my sushi hat! Finally, the home stretch. The last two-tenths of a mile were cold and windy! I could see the finish line, but I felt like I was crawling across the finish line! Finally, I crossed the damn line! unfortunately the second shipment of medals didn’t arrive in time for race day so I volunteered to have them mail my medal to me once the shipment arrive. But I did grab a whoopie-pie!



After the race I semi-quickly made it back to my car where it was warm and headed home! Overall, it was a good training day. I finished in 2:07. It’s about 10 minutes slower than my PR last year, but that would be expected as my run fitness is lacking lately, it was a training day and not a race day, and the conditions were rough. I guess porta-potties were blowing across the parking lot! I think the day was good for mental prep. It was definitely a tough one and thank goodness for Jen to keep me moving! There were a few moments when I considered bailing, but I prevailed! And now I have the aftermath of a fever to deal with.

~ Happy Training!

Race the Runways Race Report

In a nutshell I had an AWESOME race!

But, first, let’s discuss some pre-race stuff. My first half marathon was the Harvard Pilgrim Maine Coast Half Marathon, aka All Women and One Lucky Guy on November 7, 2010. Leading up to that race I was nursing a small tear in my right rotator cuff and also succeed in getting a rather nasty sinus infection/head cough two weeks before the race that left me in bed all day for several days (and it takes A LOT for me to stay home from work/school). I started feeling slightly better a few days before the race and since I had done all the training and paid for the race, I planned on doing it. Running a half-marathon was one of my goals for 2010 and I was damn determined to do it. I’m the type of person when I say I’m going to something, I’m going to do it even if it kills me. I “ran” the race. It was miserable. I just wanted to die half way through the race. I averaged 11:53/mile for a finish time of 2:35:44. I should have stayed home in retrospect, but I did the damn race more or less for my ego.

Fast track to the Mid Winter Classic 10 Miler in Cape Elizabeth in February. Once again I got a sinus infection the week before the race, but decided to run again (can you see a pattern yet?). I felt really good till the half point when I thought I was going to pass out. I highly considered a DNF at this point, but I kept going because I was determined to finish. I averaged a 10:30/mile for a finish time of 1:45:08. I pouted about the race for a little while because I was super disappointed in my performance. I had been running really well in my training runs leading up to the race and I was expecting to have a great race. It didn’t happen. I whined and then a friend reminded me that shit happens and my big races are in the summer and I shouldn’t worry about a bad race in February. He was right and I was over it.

On March 4th, I ran the Irish Rover 5k in Portland. It was my first 5k in close to 2 years. It was an awesome race for me! I pushed myself to a pace that I never thought that I could ever race at and finished with a HUGE PR! I realized that I CAN actually run fast! That PR definitely put running into a more positive light for me. My long runs were becoming, dare I say, fun. I looked forward to them on the weekends. About a month ago my coach had me run some race pace intervals during my long runs. She wanted me to target a 9:05-9:10 pace. I tried and it hurt. I told her I thought she was crazy and I couldn’t do it. A pace of 9:25-9:30 felt more realistic. So we targeted that pace for the last couple of long runs leading up to Race the Runways.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress over the past month from work, school, and my personal life. It has taken some what of a toll on my body, but mostly my mental and emotional state. The only thing that has kept me sane (and probably out of the looney bin) has been my training. A few weeks ago I had the most amazing 40 minute easy run during my last recovery week. The night before I emailed my coach to tell her I needed a “mental health” day and I was skipping my trainer ride. I was exhausted, I had major headache, and I was just plain cranky. The next day I went out for my run and all those negative feelings just disappeared. My first two miles of the run were at about a 8:30/mile pace and it just felt like a super easy 10:00/mile pace. I felt in love with running during that run. For the first time in my life, I was actually able to forget all my problems and pain with running and just be “one with the pavement.” It was truly an amazing experience and one that I really needed. It was like I mentally hit a reset button and all the shit going on in my life didn’t matter.

Going into the race yesterday I was very calm and collected. I was not nervous and, honestly, I just wanted to get the race over with so I can get on with my training and long bike rides coming up! 🙂 The race started late. The temperatures weren’t bad, around the mid-40’s. It was cloudy, but the sun would come out occasionally and it would be “hot.” The wind was brutal though. It wasn’t bad during most of the course and I actually welcomed it during the middle miles when I was getting hot. But on that runway, it was brutal. The race takes place on the old Brunswick Naval Air Base. The first mile actually starts on the runway then you head out onto the base towards the air control tower, do two loops here, then head through some residential areas, head towards the golf course and then finally finish on the runway. The course is flat, except for one tiny hill at about mile 11.5.

My race goal leading up to the race was to run about a 9:20 pace throughout. But on Friday, I pretty much said “F@ck that. I’m going for 9:05 pace!” I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I told myself I could and I was ready to go for it. Sometimes, it’s all mental. I went out for about a 9:00/mile and I told myself just to hold on for dear life. The first couple of miles were a little crowded but I was able to find space quickly. I ran at my own pace till about mile 3 where I saw a training partner, Sarah. She was running about a 9:00/mile and I just hopped in with her and kept her company for a majority of the race. We didn’t really talk, but it was nice to have her to keep me motivated. The middle miles were a little fast, but I felt good so I just went with it. I was feeling really good about mile 4ish and I just wanted to run. But, I told myself to rein it in because I still had 9 miles to go.

The beginning of the race. I’m the one in the red behind the very happy girls.

Mentally I was really relaxed and just enjoying watching people run by (and can I say some people have a very interesting run gait. One girl who was running in front of me for awhile was running on her tip toes. It was kind of weird and I totally passed her around mile 11). At about mile 7, I was mentally getting bored and just wanted to be done. I took my gels at the right time and water at almost all the stops. Around mile 8 we started to run in the residential area and I couldn’t help to think about all the empty houses and building on the base now that it is closed. I really hope that they will do something useful with the housing. Perhaps, low income housing? Around mile 9 a woman came up behind Sarah and I saying she was targeting my red jacket for 3 miles and it was her goal to reach us. It was kind of nice to hear someone say that they had a target on my back and to use me as motivation to reach their race goal. I reached the 10 mile mark under 1:30 so I knew I could do sub-2 hour, which really was my goal for the day. I lost Sarah around this time. My tummy was starting to get a little crampy at this point so I didn’t take my last gel at 1:40. I also knew that I would be done with my race in about 15 minutes so I didn’t think it was really needed.

When I reached mile 11 I could see the finish line in front of me, but you have to do a quick out and back lap to the golf course. The little hill at 11.5 was enough to say this sucks, but I pushed through it and passed a few people. I tend to run better (aka faster) during the last part of the race because I know that the finish line is in sight. At mile 12 you head back onto the runway to the finish line. As soon as you turn onto the runway, the headwind just hits you like a brick. It must have been a 20-30 mph wind gust and it was cold! It was a total mind fuck. I just wanted to get to the finish line quick, but I wasn’t moving quick because I was working against the wind. Two guys passed me with about a half mile to go and I tried tucking in behind them to stay out of the wind, but the wind just cut right through them and me. Finally, the finish line was in sight. I tried picking it up and I did have enough kick left in me pass the two guys who passed me earlier. But, I definitely left everything on the race course, which was good!

My “wind blockers” coming into the finishing chute.
Someday I’ll have a good race picture. Almost there!

Official race time was 1:57:40 with an average pace of 8:59! A HUGE PR from my previous half marathon, but I don’t really count that race because I was sick for it. I finished 22 out of 47 in my age group (W20-29) and 188 out of 352 overall. I was very happy! I guess I can finally call myself a runner now! 🙂

Here’s my Garmin mile splits, but my Garmin and the race course were definitely off. My coach wrote a blog post on Thursday about how Garmin’s usually read a slightly faster pace and a longer mile than the real course. I was aware of this and tried taking that into account during my run. However, I do think that actual race course was slightly off. My Garmin read most miles long, but still apparently came up short in the end. Interesting…

Avg Pace
Summary 1:57:24.9 12.94 9:05
1 9:03.3 1.00 9:03
2 9:00.8 1.00 9:01
3 9:01.4 1.00 9:01
4 8:56.6 1.00 8:57
5 8:47.1 1.00 8:47
6 8:43.7 1.00 8:44
7 8:54.7 1.00 8:55
8 9:11.3 1.00 9:11
9 9:10.2 1.00 9:10
10 9:08.4 1.00 9:08
11 8:57.1 1.00 8:57
12 9:40.2 1.00 9:40
13 8:50.1 0.94 9:25

Overall, I’m a very happy girl at the moment! And now it’s time to focus on my build for Mooseman 70.3 on June 3rd. Yikes! Less than two months to go!

Happy Training!