2012: A Year in Review Part II

In case you missed yesterday’s part I then click HERE to read.

As I said yesterday, 2012 was a big growing year for me physically, mentally, emotionally, and professionally. As you all know by now that I love school and I love to learn. However, I think that many important lessons in life are not taught in textbooks and lectures, but through real world experiences. I have a tendency to learn the hard way. We all make mistakes in life. No one is perfect. Or perhaps, our imperfections are what make us perfect?

However, you want to look at it… it doesn’t really matter. I certainly learned some tough life lessons this year, but also a great deal about myself that I will bring into the new year and beyond. I like to think of my life as a fine wine… it gets better with age. Each year, each experience, each moment I grow as a person. Never stop growing and learning.

Here are some of the important life lessons that I learned throughout the year…

In Triathlon, sports, and fitness:

  1. Recovery is key! I’ve always been under the impression that we make physiological gains during our workouts, which is false. Our bodies make physiological gains from exercise during the recovery period after workouts. Recovery is the time that our bodies, more specifically muscles, repair damaged tissues and build new tissues. Recovery can come in many forms, ice baths, compression tights, fancy pneumatic compression devices (NormaTec), rest, etc. However, the most important aspect of recovery is nutrition. Consuming a protein-emphasized drink/food within 30 minutes or so after a workout is important to repair and build tissues damaged from exercise.
  2. Powermeters can be your greatest enemy friend! I will fully admit that I have a love/hate relationship with my powermeter. However, out of everything that I have purchased for my triathlon lifestyle (besides working with a coach and personal trainer) I would say that my powermeter was my best investment. It is the best way to monitor and pace myself during training and especially during races. Speed and heart rate can greatly vary due to physiological stress, temperature, terrain, etc.; however, the powermeter doesn’t lie! I’m still working on my perfect VI, which is why I have the hate relationship with it, but it shows me that I have a lot of work to do on the bike to make myself a stronger cyclist.
  3. Fancy gidgets, gadgets and race wheels may make you look badass and slightly faster, but the only way to truly become a faster and stronger athlete is working hard and creating a stronger and more efficient engine (aka, your body)! This past year I made the expensive investment in hiring a triathlon coach and personal trainer to help me strengthen my weaknesses and create an individualized plan that would help me reach my growing list of goals. I know every triathlete really wants the fancy Zipps wheels, but seriously, if you’re carrying around an extra 10-20lbs then those $3000+ wheels are really worthless. Invest the money in hiring a personal trainer, coach or nutritionist to reduce extra body fat, put on more lean muscle mass, and create a more efficient metabolism. Not only will it make you a better athlete, but you will overall be healthier. Last year I was able to lose close to 20 extra pounds that I was carrying around and it certainly made a HUGE difference in my performance this year. It’s worth the investment… trust me!
  4. Learning to pee on your bike is tough. I have still yet to master it and it will be one of my main goals in 2013. However, I have mastered the whole piss and run thing. Yes, I know this is gross…
  5. Strength training is a necessary thing! This goes hand-in-hand with number 3 on this list. Most triathletes tend to skip the strength/resistance training part of training. Certainly the swim/bike/run components are the most important, but having a strong body is very important too. A strong core is extremely important. You didn’t have to lift super heavy. If you focus 2-3x a week for 15-20 minutes on simple bodyweight exercises then you will develop a strong core, which helps in preventing injuries and also building lean muscle mass! Don’t skip! I did a lot of strength training this past year up till late spring and then didn’t do much during the competition season. Big mistake! I think if I had kept up with my strength training at least 2x a week then I probably would not have been injured as long or even at all this past fall. As a fitness professional now, I see the value of strength training in any good training plan. Take it from me… DO IT!

In Life:

  1. Don’t settle! I was actually talking about this with my boss at the gym on Saturday. He told me not to settle in life, whether it’s in a relationship or life in general. I’m not the person to just settle for mediocrity. I’ve always been an extremely ambitious and goal-driven person. I can also be very confident and sometimes it comes across like I’m a bit cocky. I’m fully aware of it, but as my boss told me that it’s one of my good traits. To get anywhere in life, especially in the fitness industry, you need to be confident. He also said that a lot of men (and women) are intimated by a strong and confident woman, but for those who are, don’t worry about it because they aren’t worth it. He said don’t settle for someone who isn’t your equal or someone who will only hinder your true potential in life. Don’t settle for a job that leaves you dissatisfied at the end of the day. If you have dreams then go for it. Don’t settle for mediocre. Reach for greatest.
  2. Ignore criticism. This one is still a major work in progress. I understood that when I started my blog that I was putting my thoughts and feelings out to the world for judgement. I’ve always been a bit sensitive to what people think of me (but I hide that fact) so I knew this would be a huge risk. However, I really enjoy writing and I actually do have a few people who follow my blog (Thank you!) so I think it’s a worthwhile investment for me in the end. However, I have learned in life that people will either love you, hate you, or just plain don’t care. Often times it isn’t you. Usually it’s that person who has the issue. I have gotten some criticism and judgements from some people, mostly from my father, that have bothered me. In the past I would just let it get me down, but the past couple of years at me realize that I’m better than that and I need to be confident in myself. We live in a society today where just about everyone is judged. It seems to be human nature to judge people and be constantly comparing ourselves to someone else. You know the phrase… keeping up with the Joneses. I have certainly judged people in the past, but I’ve been consciously trying not to judge people and accept them for who they are. Most of the time people have more going on than other people realize.
  3. Body image issues suck! Very few people (I mean like I could count the number of people on a single hand) know that I have body image issues. It’s not something that I talk about often because it brings up old wounds and also I don’t want people to judge me… but I used to have an eating disorder. From about age 16-21 I struggled with an eating disorder. Very few people know about it because I hid it well. It’s not something I like to talk about. However, my 2nd year of college I realized that enough was enough and I finally got help at school. And then, after my mom died I gained a bunch of weight because I used food to deal with the pain and my metabolism was so messed up from years of starving myself that I put on a bunch of weight. Earlier this year I changed up my nutrition and started eating more food at the correct times and also focused on a lot of strength training. The extra weight that I put on fell off rather easily and quickly. However, people (who I know were just be nice and awesome) would say things like you look great or you’re so skinny now. Those little comments would actually affect me negatively because of my past issues. Coupled with the fact that body composition does matter in the endurance world, I started to fall back in my old patterns with food. I recognized this relapse pretty quickly and have been working on not falling in those patterns. I will continue to work on improving my body composition this coming year, but I will do it the healthy way. It’s very tough. Eating disorders are very prevalent in endurance sports and just like in outside world, it’s a rather taboo subject. Be aware of them and if you see someone struggling with food/body image issues then reach out. They will probably deny it, but it’s worth the effort to care.
  4. Be a life long learner! Never stop learning! Whether its reading a new book, taking a college course, or simply sitting down and talking to someone… never stop learning new things and broadening your horizons.

With that being said… I will leave you with a great analog my boss gave me on Saturday. Life is like a bucket of crabs. There will always be a couple of crabs that will try to claw their way to the top of the bucket to get out. However, just as that crab is about to make it out, all the other crabs will grab his leg and pull him back down. Now, who do you want to be? I want to be the person carrying the bucket of crabs.


Choose to be the person who carries the bucket of crabs in 2013. Happy New Year!

~ Like always… Happy Training!

2012: A Year in Review Part I

Well folks, that time has come once again… 2012 is almost over! I’m so over 2012 and ready to ring in the new year!

I’ve reflected on 2012 about a million times by now and I’m sure that you’re all annoyed with me, but one last time! 2012 was a huge growing year for me. Perhaps because I hit that magic number of 25 and suddenly realized that I’m in my mid-20s and a “real” adult. For a long time I was rather unsure of what path I wanted to take in life. Throughout my undergrad years I really thought that medical school and becoming a physician was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. However, the summer I was supposed to apply to med schools I panicked and realized that I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life. I decided I would take a year off from school and try to figure that out. I finished undergrad a semester early in December and during the beginning of one of the worst economic recessions in the more recent years. That coupled with the fact that my mother was just diagnosed with a very rare and terminal disease left me a bit unsure of my future. My mother passed in late March right around the time I got my first “big girl” job. I worked at the large biotech company for 9 months as a temp and finally landed my current full-time job at the small biotech company I work for and have been there for the past 3 years. During those 3 years I started my course work for my Master’s in Public Health with the idea that I would go on to Physician Assistant school to become a PA. Throughout my coursework I became more interested in the obesity crisis plus I started to get more involved with the sport of triathlon. I have some issues with the modern medical system in the United States. I won’t get into details about it because I could easily go on for days on the topic, but in a nutshell, I don’t like how the system treats the disease by handing out pills when we really should focus more of preventing the problem from the start. Enter… the public health field which is more focused on preventative care.

To be completely honest, I get slightly annoyed when people ask me what public health is. It is a very valid question though. The field of public health is extremely broad and really one could do so much with a degree in public health. My interests lie in physical activity, nutrition, and chronic disease prevention. I only came to this realization this past year. That’s the reason that I pursued my certification in personal training. Personal training allows me to help people reach their health goals through exercise and nutrition. I realized as a personal trainer that I can help someone with nutrition needs, but not to the full extend that I wish to do. So, that’s why I want to eventually pursue more education (okay, maybe I just really like school) to become a registered dietitian. 2012 has been a great year in figuring out where my future career path will go. Now, that I rambled on about some things let’s look at 2012 by the months!


January 1st began my first day of training with a coach and an individualized plan to help me meet my goals. Previously I had trained with a wonderful group of women (and if you live in the Southern Maine region I highly suggest you check them out!), but with my goal of my first Ironman in 2013 and my big dream of someday qualifying for Kona, then I knew that I needed to work with a coach to develop an individualized plan based on my strength and weakness, my busy life with work and school, and also my race schedule and goals in mind. It was one of the best decisions I made all year. Certainly, it wasn’t a cheap investment, but it was extremely worthwhile and I made huge improvements in my training and performances throughout the year. January was also the time that I started to get really interested in nutrition and finding the best diet for me. One of the highlights in January was my heart rate test on the bike. You can read about it here!

I also did a lot of winter running and had to break these bad boys out a couple of times!

I also did a lot of winter running and had to break these bad boys out a couple of times!


I began the month with a nasty cold, which completely and utterly affected my 10-miler race early in the month. I have this stupid tendency to race while sick so I ran the Mid-Winter Classic sick. The first 4-5 miles I felt pretty good and was on target to meet my goal. Then half-way through it just went downhill – and downhill fast! I came really close to DNFing the race. It was not a fun experience and it only got worst later in the day when my clutch in my car went and I had to put over $2000 into fixing my car! February was not really a great month to say the lest.

I spent a lot of time creating puddles of sweat on the floor...

I spent a lot of time creating puddles of sweat on the floor…


March was a very tough month for my personally. The end of the month marked the 3 year anniversary of my mother’s passing and it affected more than I thought. I was also having some personal problems with a close friend so March was a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. However, I did have a huge 5k PR in March! I also got Azul, my new triathlon bike! That was by far the best part of the month! Who doesn’t want a fancy new bicycle! Happy birthday to me! 🙂

Ready for REV3

Ready for REV3


April was a month of a lot of running breakthroughs for me. I’ve always hated running. I was always under the impression that I just wasn’t meant to be a runner. Either you are a runner or you’re not. However, with some A LOT of encouragement from my coach I finally had that breakthrough run I needed. My inner running goddess broke through that barrier and my running potential was unleashed! Yay! I had a HUGE half-marathon PR, mostly because my first half-marathon I ran sick.

Race the Runways Race Report


I finally got my powermeter for Azul in May! One of the best decisions I made all year. Of course, the first one I received from SRAM was dysfunctional, but because SRAM has one of the best customer service experiences ever, I got my new and functional powermeter within a few days! Later in the month I did my first tri of the season. It didn’t go as well as I hoped. I made a lot of stupid rookie mistakes that I later kicked myself in the butt for. Oh well, the race was really for shaking out the cobwebs for the big half-Ironman in NH a few short weeks later.

Powermeter = LOVE!

Powermeter = LOVE!


June started out with a bang! I had my first Half-Ironman of the year – Ironman 70.3 Mooseman in New Hampshire. I wasn’t going to do this race originally, but the other Half I was going to do sold-out before I could register. I got sent into a panic over it and my coach suggested Mooseman. I was extremely nervous about the race because it’s one of the toughest courses in North America. The weather was sucky and that’s a understandment! Luckily it didn’t rain on race day! I had a decent race. I finished mid-pack in my very competitive age group (several of the podium finishers in my AG finished in the top 10 overall females for the day!) and I was pretty pleased with that result. I finished within a minute of my previous Half time from a MUCH easier course so even though I didn’t officially PR, I felt like it was a PR. At the end of the month I headed out to Ironman Lake Placid training camp with my fellow TriMoxie teammates and also athletes from Personal Best Multisport Coaching. It was one of my favorite experiences of the year. Not only did I get to meet some amazing people/athletes, but also got to interact with some great coaches and really decided if Lake Placid was going to happen or not in 2013. Camp was fun and a great learning experience. I learned some important lessons about Ironman training!

One important lesson = Be ready for thunderstorms with Hail in LP!

One important lesson = Be ready for thunderstorms with Hail in LP!


I started July off with a lovely summer cold, aka snotfest! However, I recovered and was able to race a local sprint tri in Norway. I ended up winning my AG and coming in 12th OA female for the day, even with a horrible run! I also rode the REV3 Half bike course for the first time as a recovery ride. However, I guess a 65-mile bike ride even at a slow aerobic pace is not considered a recovery ride. Sorry Mary! 🙂 The best part of July was volunteering at IMLP and cheering on all my friends and other local Maine/NH/MA athletes as they competed at IMLP and then signing up myself for the 2013 IMLP the next day! Although, I didn’t quite enjoy paying the almost $700 race fee!

1st AG W25-29

1st AG W25-29

Officially registered for 2013!

Officially registered for 2013!


August was a great race month for me. I ran my first 10k and first Beach to Beacon race. The race was executed exactly how my coach planned (which I totally didn’t believe her when she first gave me my pace goals) and I felt great overall despite the hot and humid weather conditions that left a lot of fellow runners on the sideline with heat exhaustion. At the end of the month, I raced my “A” race of the season – the REV3 Maine Half. I had a good race and finished 8th in my age group and finished top third-ish overall females. I’m slowly climbing myself towards the top of my age group, but I know that I have A LOT of work and improvements that I need to make over the years if I ever want to have a go at Kona and/or Vegas in the future. REV3 was my first real race – meaning that the goal of this race was to race for time and place and not just to finish. I think I did a pretty good job of that at this race; however, the race did show me where my weaknesses are in racing that I will focus on improving in 2013.

Beach to Beacon Finishline Sprint!

Beach to Beacon Finishline Sprint!

REV3 Maine Run

REV3 Maine Run


I entered the off-season in September. My plantar fasciitis and right hip problems came back after REV3. Honestly, I knew it was starting to come back before the race, but I continued to truck on my training and hoping that my body could hold out long enough to have a strong race. My original plan for September and the Fall months was to focus on running. Obviously, that didn’t happen with rehabbing my injuries. I spent a great deal of time focusing on strength training and yoga. September was a bit of a weird month for me. If you have been reading my blog for a while and/or know me in real life then you know that Bike Shop Boy was a big part of my life. However, somethings happened between us and we have gone our separate ways. I was really upset at the beginning because he was really a huge support system for me in my training and life; however, in retrospect, our parting was really a blessing in disguise. Of course, I truly wish him the very best in life.

Getting custom orthotics...

Getting custom orthotics…


Most of October was spent focusing on school finishing up my last class for my MPH and also writing my thesis paper. My advisor at school had warned me that working a full-time job and a part-time job and then taking 9 credits would probably be a bad idea. Of course, I have this little tendency to try to do everything at once and also do it well so I went about doing all 3 things. In the end, she was totally right that it was extremely tough, but I got an A in my last class and also on my thesis! Training wise I was still focusing on strength and yoga. I did get out for a couple of short bike rides and oh yeah, the Dempsey Challenge. That was a rather wet and cold 50-mile ride. I was suppose to ride the 100-miler, but due to the fact that my feet were completely frozen (despite the fact that I had worn heavy socks, plastic bags, and a set of toe covers and full booties!) my feet still got wet and cold. I also got a tattoo! 🙂

From the first class. I'm the second one in in the white shirt. Nothing fancy here...

From the first class. I’m the second one in in the white shirt. Nothing fancy here…

Hmm... looks like I need a pedicure...

Hmm… looks like I need a pedicure…


I began my new job as a personal trainer (and my third job!) on the 1st. I quickly worked up to having 7 clients at a time. When I began I wasn’t certified; however, I had been studying all year knowing that I did want to pursue becoming a personal trainer. When a trainer position opened at my gym I jumped on it and was quickly hired. I signed up to take my test and passed on the first time (which is rare for most people)! I also was focusing on finishing my thesis paper and working on my epidemiology project for my internship. November was a very busy and stressful month and unfortunately I know my own training suffered some.




Biggest accomplishment – I finished grad school summa cum laude and now have a MPH! One of the highlights of December was meeting Craig Alexander, aka “Crowie,” in Boston at his book signing. I’ve also been gearing up for some major changes in the new year, which you’ll all hear about in a couple of weeks!


So, that’s enough for today. Part Two will come tomorrow with some of the biggest highlights of my race season and also some of the biggest life lessons I learned throughout the year.

~ Happy Training!

Taking A Risk

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” 
―   Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

I am not naturally a risk-taker in life. I’ve never gambled before unless you count the time I played poker with my Shawnee Peak boys back in my hey-day. I’m horrible at poker in case you’re wondering. However, I am fantastic at the game of Bullshit. As 2012 comes to a close in less than a month (Yikes!) I have been setting goals in triathlon, career, and my personal life for 2013 and beyond. I’m naturally a Type-A person. I need to plan. I need to have goals. I need to be on time. Or else I can’t function.

In 2013 I’m going to take a lot of risks in my triathlon, personal, and professional life. I guess you could say I’m nervous and sacred. That is probably an understatement because I’m really shaking in my boots about to poop my pants thinking about it. Okay, now maybe that’s an overstatement. But, I think you get the picture.

If you don't know what a Fainting Goat is then I highly suggest that you YouTube it!

If you don’t know what a Fainting Goat is then I highly suggest that you YouTube it!

Last week the PowerBall lottery was at an all-time record high and people were scrambling to buy their $2 lottery tickets for a chance to win a ridiculous amount of millions. I’ve never bought a lottery ticket before. I considered buying a PowerBall ticket last week, but logical told me that it was a fat chance in hell that I would ever win and I was wasting $2. I’m not a risk taker.

For a while I’ve been “putting my ducks in a line” for future ambitions. I have finally decided to take a risk and change some things that I have been unhappy about for a while, but have been too nervous and scared to change in my life. I’m taking a risk. I can’t say what it is yet, due to some loose ends I need to tie up before the New Year, but I’m excited. I’m finally going to bite the bullet and start to follow my dreams and passions in life.

Recently two people have told me that I will definitely succeed in my future goals because I am confident in myself and ambitious. One of them went as far as telling me that I’m one of the most ambitious and hard working persons he has met in a very long time and is impressed because I’m so young. Those comments from those two key people definitely gave me reassurance that I am making the best decision for myself and my happiness. What makes me even more happy is the fact my father is supporting my decision and is willing to help me if I need it. My father isn’t very supportive of my triathlon lifestyle so I was excepting him to lecture me on how I was making a bad decision, but I was surprised that he did not. I think he is realizing that I need a change of pace from my current path in life.

This past year I have begun to realize that sometimes you have to go with the unexpected. Sometimes life throws a curveball at you. Sometimes you strike out. Other times you might get a base hit and on a rare occurrence you might hit a home run. However, you’ll never get the opportunity to find out what you’re made of unless you get up to bat.


So, take a chance. Get up to bat and just swing. You never realize on how far your dreams can go unless you take that risk of striking out.

~ Happy Training! 

Running Injuries & November Goals

Yesterday was the first of November. Gasp! Where did the time go?! Before I know it, it will be January 1st and the beginning of Ironman Lake Placid Training! Honestly, I’m glad October is over. I’m going into November being done with my official classes for my MPH (I just have to finish my internship and thesis paper), a new job (actually a third job) that I’m super excited about and will help lead me to where I want to be in life, and without the baggage of jerk. I love a fresh slate!

November Goals:

1. Study and pass a very important test coming up! I’ve been taking a bunch of practice tests so I know my weak areas and now I just need to focus on those topics so I can pass this darn test! Let’s just say that it is related to my new job 🙂

2. Along the same line, FINISH my damn Masters Thesis so I can officially add the MPH behind my name! I’ve been lacking the motivation to work on my thesis and I’m behind. A lot. Opps! :-/ But, now that I’m done my health policy class I can focus on writing and crunching a bunch of epidemiology data so I can be done by the end of December.

3. My nutrition has been really bad lately. Some old issues with food have become a problem lately so I need to focus on that and fix the problem before it becomes an even larger one. I made the decision to work with a nutritionist to ensure that I am eating and fueling properly for my workouts, especially when I resume structured training in January with my coach.

4. I need to work on my time management skills and organization. I’ve always been very good with time management and I’m a fairly organized person. Although, my supervisor at work would disagree because my desk is a mess. It’s an organized mess, I swear! 🙂 I do well with balancing work, school, and training. Last spring I did all three and still retained a 4.0 GPA. However, as I go into January I need to be extremely organized because I know my schedule will be crazy and busy. I need to start preparing meals in advance, make sure I have clean clothes to wear for my various jobs and workouts and make time to get my workouts in! And, also have time for fun things!

5. Expand my network. I’m working on broadening my horizons and meeting new people. I’ve decided to try classes and attend events that I would not have done in the past. Thus far I have been having fun and I think I have met a few good new training partners and also I hope to make connections for when I do eventually launch my future business I can be successful at it.

And now, for something completely different…

For the past couple of Fall seasons I have dealt with Plantar Fasciitis and it sucks. Being injured sucks.

I came across this video on Facebook  the other day and it is by far one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time. I hope no one takes offense to it… but so worth the watch. I was in tears by the end.

~ Happy Training!

Weekend Wrap-up: The Fall Edition

Finally, we had a half way decent Fall weekend in Maine. Once again I have been focusing on procrastinating writing my health policy paper that is due at the end of the month. But, seriously I did start it last night… be proud. Be very, very proud.

Friday night I spent at home relaxing from some very stressful few weeks. A friend called asking me if I wanted to go out and grab a drink, but I just wanted to stay home and not do anything. The past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind for me and I’m hoping that my luck will turn around soon. Thinking positive thoughts! 🙂

I got quite a few pumpkins from my CSA farm and didn’t know what exactly to do with them. My father wasn’t going to allow me to do what I really wanted to do – to use them for target shooting with his rifle. I guess my father doesn’t trust me with a gun. But, what he fails to realize that I actually have a halfway decent shot!

Target shooting in Montana – August 2010

Look at that aim! Okay, so I’m not that good…

So, I did what every respectful pumpkin owner would do – attack it with a giant knife! I’ve never craved a pumpkin before, but because I’m the ambitious type I decided that I was going to crave my bike shop’s logo into the pumpkin and give it to them. Aren’t I just the best person ever? (Don’t answer that…)

The before…

Tracing the pattern onto the pumpkin

The After!

I did have a couple oopsies, but luckily toothpicks do a good job of holding up the fallen pieces. I think it came out pretty good for my first time. I give it about a C+. The boys enjoyed it and that’s all that really matters. (Although, I’m sure they were secretly hoping for something yummy to eat).

I wanted to get a lot done on Saturday so I decided to get my butt out of bed super early and hit the gym. I pulled into the parking lot at 6:01 only to find out that the gym opens at 7:00 on the weekends. Duh! Panera opens at 6am so I got breakfast and read a couple of articles out of Inside Triathlon then headed back over to the gym. I had a good workout despite the fact that my abs and glutes were still super sore from my first crossfit experience on Thursday evening. More on that later this week.

On Saturday mornings Lululemon offers free yoga classes at their showroom in Portland so I decided to hit up a class. One of my off-season goals is to do as much yoga as possible to help with my flexibility, or more like lack there of. I’ve also found that I really enjoy yoga. When I first tried yoga in college I really wasn’t keen on it. I found it boring and painful. My attention span isn’t very long so I had trouble staying still in poses. I stopped yoga for a while and picked it up again last fall when I was injured. I fell in love with it. I didn’t do much over the summer because I found it hard to fit it into my training schedule. But, I think I’m going to try to make it a priority to at least hit up one class a week throughout the winter/early spring months. I’ve finally found that mind/body connection in yoga and for the most part I can forget about things in class. It’s a good feeling. Living in the Now.

After class I walked back to my car only to find a parking ticket. Awesome! See, bad luck. Dropped the pumpkin off and headed home. I had to work in the evening. It was busy for the first couple of hours, but after 6:30 usually it’s dead. I spent a good hour or hour and half just pacing back and forth trying to figure some stuff out. Next year I’m hoping to launch phase one of my dream business so mentally I’ve been working up a business plan in my head. Of course, I really ought to put in on paper. So, stay tuned for hopefully a launch during the spring! 🙂

Sunday was a gorgeous Fall day. My initial plan was to ride my bike up to Pineland to watch some of the cyclecross races, but I honestly haven’t been very motivated to ride my bike lately. Part of it is because I don’t have a workout to do and the other part is the lack of a riding partner.

Instead, I decided to run! 🙂 I ran a mile on the treadmill Saturday at the gym to test out my foot. It hasn’t bothered me in a little while so I figured I’d give her a little test. I didn’t feel like running on the road. I decided that a little trail running would be fun! Plus, I could bring my dog! Normally, I would go down to the Eastern Trail, but I’m tired of that and Bradbury is a little to “rooty” for my foot at the moment. I decided to hit up Twin Brooks. It was a bit muddy, but both Reagan and I had a blast. I wore my Garmin just to see what my pace was although I wasn’t running for pace. It was painfully slow, but such as life. I ended up running about 3.5 miles overall. And, the foot held up pretty good! 🙂 So, hopefully that means I can start to resume some run training. I’d like to run the Turkey Trot and also the Thanksgiving 4-miler in November.

I’m ready! Let’s Go!

Yes, I think I’m a bird dog and want to chase every single bird I see…

My favorite trail!

Someone was a little pooped from her run…

~ Happy Training!

Operation 6-Pack Week One



Today marks the end of the first week of Operation 6-Pack (aka O6P)!

On Monday I joined the gym. I chose a gym that I have been to 3 winters in the past 5 years. It’s relatively clean for a gym and smaller so much less people than other gyms in the area. It has most of the equipment that I need. Some of it could use an update and I would absolutely LOVE if they had TRX’s, but for the price I shouldn’t complain too much. The classes offered are also great and the personal trainer on staff is excellent.

I did a quick full body workout Monday night. I’ve been under a great deal of stress this week from work, school, and personal stuff so getting a good sweat it was very much needed. Tuesday was a rest day since I had a ton of homework that needed to get done. Since I’ve been under so much stress I probably only slept 20 hours this week. Wednesday was another unwanted 2am wake up call, but it allowed me to get to the gym early in the morning. I had a great workout! My plan was to hit the gym Friday morning also, but I actually ended up having a good night’s sleep and decided to sleep in.

So I hit the gym early this morning before running errands and homework. Saturday mornings appear to not be too busy. There are a couple of classes going on so most people do those leaving me the corner to hide out in for my workout. Although I did my running drills throughout the gym floor. An older gentlemen gave me a funny look for skipping around. What? I like skipping… 🙂

Here’s my workout for the day:

  1. Foam rolling
  2. Light stretching (including hip raises)
  3. Dynamic Warm-up
    1. Thoracic Rotational Mobility – 5 x 10sec
    2. Leg cradles – 6/side alternating between
    3. Lunge/Arms Straight up – Did walking lunges for around 20 yards
    4. Lunge/Elbow in/Hamstring stretch – 2/side
    5. Side lunge – 8/side
    6. Forward leg swings – 10/side
    7. Side leg swings – 10/side
  4. Running drills
    1. Running high knees – ~20 yards
    2. Running butt kicks – ~20 yards
    3. Skipping – ~20 yards
    4. Mini band walks
      1. Forward – ~20 yards
      2. Reverse – ~20 yards
      3. Side – ~20 yards/side
    5. Carioca – ~20 yards/side
  5. Power/Core/Shoulder Work (2 rounds)
    1. Box jumps – x8 jumps
    2. Medicine ball overhead slams – x8
    3. Medicine ball chest slams – x8
    4. Front plank (feet on “box” with elbows on stability ball) – 40 seconds
  6. Circuit #2 (2 rounds)
    1. Step ups w/ weight – x8/side
    2. Burpees w/push-ups – x5
    3. Rubber band around wrists, put forearms against wall & move up and down (not sure what these are called, but works the lats & shoulder) – x5
    4. Mountain climbers w/ twist & hands on “box” – x15/side
  7. Strength work (2 rounds)
    1. Split squats w/weights – x8/side
    2. Inverted rows – x10
    3. Stability ball hip lifts – x8
    4. Push-ups w/ one hand on balance pillow (switch hands per set) – x10


I was hoping to have some help from a trainer friend in developing a good strength training plan for the off-season, but that fell through a few weeks ago. I’ve been studying to take my personal training test so I know the principles of designing a proper program, but sometimes I get lost in the details and question myself. Much of the textbook discusses the more traditional approach to training. I believe there is a time and place for olympic lifts, etc., but my style is functional training. My goal isn’t to become a body builder. My goal is to create lean body mass and gain functional strength that will make me a more powerful athlete.

Last week I came across a great resource of functional strength exercise for triathletes. The workout above was adapted from that book and I plan on using this guide as a basis for my training. On Friday I am taking a drive down to MA to become certified in TRX training. I’m super excited! It’s something I’ve been wanting to do forever and now I finally have the time and money to do so. The TRX will be incorporated in my training regimen also.

Monday marks the beginning of Lululemon’s October Yoga Challenge! I’m excited and I plan on taking advantage as much of the free classes at the various studios as possible. This also means my Monday/Wednesday/Friday plans might get a little shifted around. This week will probably be more like Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday. But we’ll see what happens. It really depends if I finish my Health Policy paper tomorrow or not. Speaking of that… perhaps I should get back to that!

~Happy Training!




Operation Six-Pack

Yesterday I was able to run relatively pain-free for 4 miles. Those 4 miles were painstakingly slow, but I was able to run and I am happy. I needed those 4 miles. More than anyone realizes…

I hope that I can start building some miles up in the next few weeks. I’m still on the fence about the Maine Half next weekend. I might run a few miles, but it depends how I feel. I don’t want to jinx my poor little feeties now! If I can, I might register for another half marathon in November. But we’ll see…

In the mean time, I am going to begin Operation 6-pack. What is that you may ask? Well, I need to make some body composition changes before Ironman Lake Placid next year. I’m still carrying too much extra weight.

This week I plan to join the gym again. Mostly, I need to join the gym to have access to equipment I don’t have at home. My goal is three days a week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I think I can do that. I was hoping to recruit someone to help set up a good strength training plan, but those plans fell through. I’m on my own, but it will be good practice for me to do it, since I’m studying to be a personal trainer too (okay, maybe I have done all the studying. I just need to man up and actually take the test). Got to practice what I preach I suppose! 🙂

The only disappointing part is I won’t be able to bring my TRX in with me and there is not one available to use at the gym. Something about liability, blah blah blah… Oh well. I still plan on doing classes at my new favorite fitness studio, Zuja Wellness. The KB/TRX and Tabata classes are top-notch and I love the challenge. I’m embarrassed how weak I have gotten over the past few months. My first class two weeks ago at Zuja left me sore for days! But that’s the feeling I so miss and love… it makes me feel alive…

I’ve decided to call this project “Operation 6-pack.” The goal is not necessarily to develop a 6-pack, although it would be pretty awesome if it happened. Who doesn’t want an amazing set of strong and defined ab muscles? Isn’t it what our society strives for? The goal really is to lose excess body fat and build strength that will make it perform faster and more efficiently next year in triathlon.

As of today, I weigh 125 lbs and have between 19-20% body fat, depending on method of measurement (scale and body fat calipers). My goal is to be about 16-17% body fat by Lake Placid next year. As far as the number on the scale, I have an ideal number, but honestly that isn’t as important.

I’ve decided that if I reach my goal by the end of December then I will buy myself the Garmin 910xt. I’m very much motivated by a goal so I know that having a treat for myself at the end will encourage me to keep moving forward to the ultimate goal. I know it will take some blood, sweat, tears, and early mornings, but I need something to focus on right now (other than school and work).

Here are some of my smaller goals to will help me get to the larger one:

+ To hold a plank for 3 minutes

+ To do 30 “real” push-ups in a row without any rest

+ To do at least 5 clap push-ups

+ To do at least 5 handstand push-ups

+ To do 10 pull-ups in a row without any rest

+ To do 10 chin-ups in a row without any rest

+ To do at least one yoga class a week

+ To keep a positive attitude and believe in myself

I plan to post some of my workouts and my progression here and also under the section entitled “Operation 6-pack.” And if I fail, I’m going to strive for this 6-pack below….

Reflections on the 2012 Season and 2013 Goals

Now that my triathlon season is done for 2012 I have been reflecting on my goals that I set back in November 2011 for the 2012 season. This season was truly a breakthrough season for me and I am very proud of my accomplishments. The previous two years were spent learning the sport and having fun. Last year after Pumpkinman I decided that I wanted to become more competitive and thus I needed to crack down and become more serious about training. I won my AG at Pumpkinman, but honestly I don’t consider it to be a true win. There was only myself and two other girls in my AG. We were not a very competitive AG. If you look at the overall female results, I finished in the bottom of the pack. I want to be towards the top. I knew my strengths and I knew my weaknesses. My biggest weakness was running. I hated running and I was slow. I don’t think anyone truly understands how frustrated I was with my lack of running prowess and thus I made it my number one goal to improve on in 2012.

When I began working with Mary, she had me write out five goals for the 2012 season. Here are my goals and my reflections on them.

2012 Goals:

1. Improve on my running – Running has always been my worst nemesis. I hated it. I was slow and I was making some improvements, but not as much as I thought I should be. My father openly joked in front of friends and family that he walked faster than I could run. I knew if I ever wanted to reach my goals and dreams then I needed to make some serious improvements in my running. My coach helped me turn into a runner this year and it is by far my proudest accomplishment this year! I had some pretty frustrating runs earlier in the year. The Cape 10-miler went horribly, mostly because I was running while sick (again). I’d complain and she told me that I WILL find my inner running goddess and I just had to put in the hard work, be patient, and believe in myself. Much of my problem with running was all mental. Running hurt so mentally I would just give up. After taking Mary’s advice I did have that breakthrough run the end of March where I found my inner running goddess and really fell in love with running. Since then I have really enjoyed running. Sure, I still have days when I don’t want to lace up my shoes and get out the door, but after I start I am happy. I’ve learned how to push myself into that uncomfortable pace and stay there. Beach to Beacon was a huge race for me this year. I had never done a 10k before and when Mary gave me my plan for the day I thought she was crazy. I thought for sure I could never hold the pace that she gave me. However, I totally nailed it! There are a lot of motivational sayings going around the Facebook world that state things like “It doesn’t matter how fast you run a mile, but that you still ran that mile” or “You’re lapping everyone that is still on the couch.” I guess I have always been a runner, but I never let myself believe I was until now. I believed that I wasn’t a true runner unless I could run x amount of speed. This year I overcame my own mental hurdles of hating runner to really becoming a runner and it is a huge accomplishment for me.

2. Work on my endurance so I finish every race strong – Going into this season I knew I wanted to do an Ironman in 2013. I knew in order to successfully complete an Ironman in a time that I view respectable for myself I needed to build a really good endurance base. I had big races this past season that I really wanted to perform well in, but I was very much looking forward into 2013. I feel that I do have a very strong base and I will continue to build an even stronger base going into 2013.

3. Finish the bike (56 miles) under 3 hours – I missed this goal by about 2 minutes at Rev3 and I’m definitely disappointed in it. However, I did have a good bike leg. I kept a pretty steady pace and stayed consistently within my HIM power zones so I really can’t complain. My VI wasn’t perfect, but it’s slowly improving. I definitely feel that my bike fitness is lacking. I have always felt that it was my strongest leg, but this year has proved that it is not. However, this year was a big year for me in terms of developing cycling technique. My coach has really taught me how to ride a bike. It sounds kind of funny to say because how hard is it really to ride a bike? You just hop on and pedal! Not true. There is actually a lot of technique and skills required to successfully ride a good bike leg. The best investment I have made (other than hiring a coach) has been my powermeter. Not only does it help me pace myself smartly throughout a race, but also tells my coach how I am riding. She can see my cadence (which has historically been low, but is now improving) and when I push too much power and ultimately “light a match.” Too many lit matches in a long course tri and you’ll be a goner on the run. I definitely have made some huge improvements on the bike, but I have much more hard work to do over the winter months. It’s going to be one long winter on the trainer….

4. Build core strength and flexibility to remain injury free – I spent A LOT of time last fall/winter working with a trainer once a week and attending a boot camp at least once a week. Early spring I did a core class twice a week. I also tried to get to a yoga class at least once a week over the late fall/early winter months. I made HUGE improvments in my body composition and strength in general. I have lost close to 25 pounds and 6% body fat. My range of motion has improved and I really think focusing on strength training helped with fixing the “pause” in my swim stroke and also improved my running biomechanics. I have also been working with a really awesome chiropractor that helps keep my body functioning in top notch condition. I stayed injury free until late July when my right hip locked up. It is still bothering me a bit and now I have a lingering right foot pain. Hopefully, both will be fixed soon!

5. Improve my nutrition – I spent a lot of time reading and researching about nutrition. Last fall I weighed about 145 pounds and at my height of 5’4″ I was borderline overweight even though I was very active. I decided that I needed to make a change. I always thought I ate a pretty healthy diet and I pretty much did. The biggest thing I did in my nutrition was to change the way I think about food. Food was no longer a treat after a workout. Food was fuel for my next workout. I also learned a lot about nutrient timing and what to eat and when. I also made the focus to eat more plant-strong with small quanities of dairy (i.e. Greek yogurt) and meat. As I mentioned above, I lost a lot of weight. I believe much of it was due to my training load, the extra lean body tissue that I had built through strength training, and also diet.

Some goals for 2013:

  1. Learn to pee on my bike! – This one is mostly for you all because I’m sure you are all tired of hearing me talk about it!
  2. Finish my first Ironman – Obviously, Lake Placid is my “A” race of the season. I kind of have an estimated time that I would like to finish under, but I know that I shouldn’t put very high expectations on myself for such a big race. Anything can happen at an Ironman and the goal is certainly to finish!
  3. Build bike fitness and strength – As I mentioned above I feel that my bike fitness is lacking. Lake Placid is a tough and hilly course so I want to be strong and ready to conquer that course in a decent time. Plus, I still want that sub-3 hour bike split in a HIM!
  4. Improve body composition – I made HUGE improvements in my body this past year and much of the fall will be spend improving my body composition more. I have a goal race weight for Lake Placid. I know I can carry some extra weight over the winter months and I should be able to drop it quite quickly once IM training kicks in, but I really want to focus on losing some body fat and building lean tissue. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to work with a trainer again this fall/winter because it’s just not in my budget, but I’ll work my tushy off again at the gym and take some bootcamp and yoga classes again.
  5. Continue to improve my running – I made enormous gains in my running fitness this past year and I want to continue gaining in 2013 and the future. Much of this fall will be spent running, as long as my right foot stops hurting. I had considered running a fall marathon back in July, but decided against it because I wasn’t sure I could manage the training with working two jobs and my last semester of graduate school. Instead, I’ll run at least one half-marathon this fall and some more in 2013.
  6. Continue to improve on my nutrition – I still have much to learn about nutrition, especially for my upcoming Ironman training and also race day plan. I plan to work with a sports dietitian during the winter month to develop a good nutrition plan for training and racing.

Future/Lifetime Goals:

  1. I would like to qualify and compete at the 70.3 World Championships in the next five years. I definitely have a ton of work to do to qualify, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility.
  2. Okay, please don’t laugh at me for this one because this is the first time ever really telling anyone this but… I want to qualify and compete at Kona. I know it is totally a long stretch for me, but I hope to make it happen. But I guess I should probably do my first Ironman first…
  3. Compete at Nationals. I actually qualified last year at Pumpkinman for Nationals, but didn’t race due to the fact it was the weekend before Rev3. Plus, I really don’t think I deserved the qualification and probably would have finished at the bottom of my age group.
  4. Become a triathlon coach. I’m hoping to get my certification next year but it depends on affordibility too since I would have to fly somewhere to get it.

~ Happy Training!


My cousin shared this photo on Facebook yesterday and it describes perfectly how I’ve been feeling lately. They say that nothing in life is guaranteed except death and taxes. I believe that change is also one of those items that is guaranteed in life. Everyone will undergo change in life, whether it’s physical, emotional, mental, intelligence, etc. We all change. It’s part of growing up.

Today marks the beginning of the 8th month of 2012. 2012 has been a big year for me thus far and I look forward to the rest of the year and whatever it has entailed for me. It’s been a big year for me in terms of professional, academic, and athletic goals. But it has been without some major ups and down. I had a bit of a rough patch in March/April where I began to question the people around me, my professional/personal goals, and myself. What did I really want to do in life? Was I making the right choices? Are my friends the right people I want to associated myself with? Am I happy on the current path I’m taking?

Interestingly enough, my life has taken a complete 180 since that time. The one person that I was quite upset with has turned into my main support system and it’s nice. It’s nice to have someone that for the most part understands your frustrations and crazy busy lifestyle. And also do things like ride with you and clean our bike 🙂 And it’s interesting that the people that I leaned on during those times are not there anymore. The one thing that I have learned over the past few years is that people change – for the better or the worst. I’ve also learned that some people just can’t accept when another person changes their goals or achieves success. I especially learned this one in college.

My triathlon race season is not over yet. I have less than 4 weeks to my big A race and paring any mechanical or nutritional issues on race day, I’m set up for a huge PR. However, I’ve been finding myself thinking about 2013 already. I’ve begun to start planning my fall “off-season.” I’m excited to just have fun this fall with a less rigorous training schedule. I’ve been longing for the days of boot camp classes and yoga. I also want to run. I’ve always hated running, but this year I really fell in love with it and there are many days I’ve just rather run than bike or swim. Talk about a complete 180 here too! 2013 is going to be a big year for me so I want to ensure that I continue to build a strong base before going into IM focused training and also to meet other like-minded people who will help me along that journey.

My body has changed so much over the past year. I can see how strong I have really become and I finally feel comfortable in saying that I am an athlete. I still have body composition goals that I still would like to achieve this year that I plan on working on this fall. I no longer view food as a treat for working out. Food is fuel for my next workout and I need to focus on eating to keep my body strong and ready for the next tough workout or race. Although, I still enjoy cookies. I have also prioritized recovery. Recovery is where my body makes it changes and gets stronger. I’ve never slept better than this past year.

I am now nearing the beginning on my last semester of graduate school. I’m excited to finish with my first Master’s degree and have already begun the process of applying for my second degree. I’m excited for my next chapter in life. I have found my perfect program in one of my favorite places on the planet so I’m quite excited for what may happen in the near future. I’ve worked very hard for the past 2.5 years on my MPH. Working full-time and also doing graduate school full-time is not easy. It requires a great deal of time management and balance. I’m very proud that this past spring semester I took 3 classes, worked full-time, and also trained on average 12+ hours a week and maintained a 4.0 GPA. There were many times I doubted that I would be able to do it, but I worked my ass off and did it. People like to say that good things come to those who wait, but really good things come to those who work hard.

The past seven months have been good for me and presented many important life lessons and challenges. I look forward to the last 5 months of 2012 and what they may bring to me personally. I know one thing that is for sure is change. I have been implementing small changes throughout the year and have reaped great benefits from those changes. Fall is a time of change. Change of season, change in light, change of colors. I’m looking forward to the changes I’m going to make this fall. I am making steps to make myself a better, stronger, and happier person. I respect myself to undergo change. To be the best person I can as a friend, student, employee, and athlete. So embrace change and respect yourself to make the changes in your life that you need.


Race Report: Ironman Mooseman 70.3

This race was the most physically and mentally challenging race I have ever done. The course, especially the bike course, is a very hilly and technical 56 miles with one famous 3-mile climb of various grades ranging from 4-16% (with the last 200 yards or so at 16%). I thought the 70 mile Dempsey Challenge Ride I did last October was bad. That was a total cake walk compared to Mooseman!

Originally my plan was to the Patriot Half in MA in the middle of June, but the day I went to register for the race the Women’s AG had sold out so I panicked and emailed my coach to ask her what I should do. She suggested I do Mooseman because she would be there. I knew Mooseman was a very hard course (and usually bad weather) so I was a bit reluctant to sign up, but I coughed up the $300 to register for the race. After Ironman had charged my credit card I learned that there was a computer glitch with the Patriot Half and the women’s AG category was not really sold out. Too late! I was dreading Mooseman for a long time because I was discouraged by my lack of bike fitness. However, as the race was approaching I was getting more excited for it and actually looking forward to conquering the course. And then… the dreaded weather forecast earlier last week. Now, if you live in the Northeast region of the country then you know exactly what I’m talking about. RAIN. Like 6 inches of rain within a 24 hour period. I don’t mind a little 4 mile race in the rain, but 70.3 miles of swimming, cycling, and running did not sounds very inviting. BUT, I had paid the $300 entry week, $150 for a hotel, and did all the training so I was committed.


I had emailed my coach on Friday to get her opinion on what I should wear during the race because I was very worried about getting hypothermia and frostbite. Frostbite in June? Yes. Last winter I got pretty severe frostbite on my right big toe from an overnight winter camping adventure in the White Mountains and came pretty close to losing that toe. Since I had frostbite previously, my toe is now more prone to getting frostbite and thus I have to be careful with it. I decided that arm warmers and toe warmers should be fine for the bike portion. I wasn’t worried about the run since I tend to get hot while running. While packing on Friday night I could only find ONE arm warmer! I just about torn my room a part to find the second one but no luck. I left early Saturday morning to head to Newfound Lake, NH. I took a minor detour to hit a bike shop in Concord that opened at 9am compared to every other bike shop that opens at 10am to pick up some arm warmers. I got to the race site around 12:30 and checked-in and purchased a Mooseman hat to wear during the run. Normally, I prefer visors, but if it was going to pour buckets then I’d rather have a hat. I then walked around transition to find my spot where there was huge puddle right smack where my stuff was suppose to be. Awesome.

Saturday night I had dinner with my coach, her family, and several other of her athletes at Unos in Tilton. It was nice to finally meet her in person! I was in bed at the Super 8 Motel in Tilton by 9pm. I had a good pep talk with Bike Shop Boy via text. I was really nervous about the rain and wet roads during the bike portion of the race. He told me to suck it up and go for it. I slept quite well despite the crappy pillows. I had a dream that they cancelled the swim and bike portion of the race and that we had to run a marathon instead. I woke up around 2am to go to the bathroom and then I managed to fall asleep again and finally woke up for good at 3:30am. I ate my breakfast at 4am and got ready to head to the race.


THE RAIN HAD STOPPED! Thank goodness! The huge puddle in front of my transition spot was also gone! I was so happy! I got my bike racked and my transition set up with plenty of time. There were still puddles on either end of the bike racks, but I could live with it. My rack was across from all the pros, which was pretty cool. I didn’t really recognize any of their names. I would have loved to have seen Cait Snow there. She’s amazing! I had a banana in transition and then got ready for a quick warm up swim. The water temp was about 65 degrees; whereas, the air temp was in the 50s. The race started promptly at 7am with the Pro waves.

The Swim

My wave was number 4 starting at 7:08am. My wave was small… like about 50 women so that was super nice! As we were lining up at the Ironman arches before we were allowed to enter the water, I had an “Oh Shit” moment. I mean that literally too. I think all the sudden I got super nervous and thought I was going to crap my wetsuit. I’m sure you now have a wonderful picture in your head now… Once we were allowed to line up at the official start in the water I felt fine. I lined up in the front on the right side. Since my wave was so small, I seriously had about 8 feet of water around me at all times. Then the count down…10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO…. We were off. I tried to find some feet to draft off of, but there were some seriously fast swimmers in my wave and they just took off and left me in the dust! I consider myself to be a fast swimmer and have always finished in the top few places of my AG in the local races in Maine I have done, but these girls had to be former collegiate swimmers cause they were FAST. I had plenty of room to swim and I swam about 10 feet away from the buoys so I constantly had good clean water. Sometimes someone would grab my feet and I’d give them a kick or I would start to swim into someone so I would have to move around them. Once we reached the far buoys the water got a bit choppy, but wasn’t bad. This was the point when I started to swim into the other men’s wave before us. The remaining men that I was swimming around were pretty ungraceful. They looked like dead fish flapping around and couldn’t swim a straight line for the life of them. It was a pain in the ass to swim around them, but I did on more than one occasion. Then, the blue caps came! These are the speedy men in the wave behind me. At this point I was getting worried. I didn’t see any red caps around me and the blue caps were coming like a bat out of hell and surrounding me. I thought “Crap, I am having a horrible swim!” Then I saw the finish line and picked up the pace. I exited the swim and headed to the wetsuit strippers. Some big guy ripped my suit off in a matter of nanoseconds (I guess it helps that my suit is now far to big for me!) and I was off to transition!

1.2 mile Swim: 36:55 (1:54/100m) 12/20 AG (W25-29) 63/232 Females (w/Pros)


Before the race began I told myself not to care about how long my transition time was from the swim to the bike because I knew I wasn’t going to win the race and thus I’d rather be warm than save a minute or two in transition. I found my bike and surprisingly there were quite a few bikes from my AG still in the racks. I put on my arm warmers, socks, bike shoes (with toe warmers on the shoes already), sunglasses on (I had to wipe them with my towel first because apparently it rained some during the swim), and helmet on. There was a giant ankle-deep puddle at the end of my rack. Since the girl next to me was gone already, I lifted the seat of my bike off the rack and pushed my bike out to the other side. I ducked under the rack and left to the bike out from the other (DRY) side! I thought I was pretty brilliant for this move.

T1: 4:27
The Bike

Oh, the bike! I was dreading it before the race and now that the weather forecast called for rains and lots of it I was definitely not looking forward to it. I didn’t really have any time goals for the bike. Mostly, try not to look like a complete idiot and horrible rider on my fancy, expensive tri bike. My worst fear is having a fancy bike and not being worthy of it. I got on my bike and was tempted to start hammering it. My coach told me NOT to do this so I didn’t. I knew it would be a very bad decision if I did, but it was soooo tempting. Now I drove the bike course (or what I thought was the bike course) the day before so I kind of knew what to expect. I passed quite a few people on the way. The nasty hill mountain was early in the course. As I approach the Shaker Village to make the turn to the hill, I was very surprised when the volunteer said turn left! WHAT?! I went right yesterday! Oh shit. Now, I had no clue what to expect. Soon enough I approached the beginning of the 3+ mile climb. The beginning sections aren’t bad. You go up a bit (probably about a 4% grade) then it flattens out a bit and then starts climbing again. Further into the climb it gets steeper and then at the end it shoots up to a 16% grade. I was huffing and puffing and my heart rate was in the danger zone. I got off my bike and walked up the last 200 feet of the hill. It was the LAST thing I ever wanted to do in a race, but I had too and I don’t regret the decision. I wasn’t wearing my HR monitor but I knew my HR was through the roof. My legs (mainly my left knee) were cold. The only sensation I could feel from them was pain from the grinding and the cold. I quickly hopped back on my bike and began the crazy, steep descend of the numerous hills. This part of the course is very technical. I’ve never ridden anything like this before so I was very timid, especially since the roads were wet. One part of the course had a 30 mph speed limit because it was so dangerous. I rode my brakes pretty much the entire time through this section like a total pansy, but I’m okay with that. You could even smell the burning rubber! Pathetic, I know. After one crazy steep downhill there is a 90 degree turn where you come to a guardrail next to the river. A man was sitting on the side of road with a very messed up looking arm and mangled bike. I could hear the sirens from the ambulance coming for him. I learned afterwards from my coach that two people went over the guardrail at the section and at least three total were hospitalized! Crazy! Once you get out on Route 3 it flattens out some and the roads are in better condition. I used this section to make up some time, but there were large sections of false flats and some hills. I have been whining, complaining, and just plain bitching to everyone (well, mostly my coach and Bike Shop Boy) about my sub par bike fitness and climbing abilities this season so far. Well, apparently they are not as bad as I thought they were. I passed A LOT of people on the hills. I guess I’m not such a bad climber. I just suck at descending hills! Towards the end of the first loop I was beginning to worry about the second one. Two times up that damn mountain! I was determined to stay on the bike this time! My body was still pretty cold, but my muscles started to warm up a bit by this point and I was able to find my cycling legs again. I was also beginning to have doubt about doing IMLP next year. If this course is tough, am I tough enough for that?  

As I was beginning the second loop of the bike course I heard someone yell “Go Katelyn!” It turns out that it was Denise and Doug from The Sustainable Athlete. It was so nice to see them out on the course! There was also a couple people with a TriMoxie sign cheering all of us on too! I don’t know who they were, but THANK YOU! The second time up the hill was better. It still sucked, but I concentrated on spinning my legs and breathing. I passed quite a few men this time up the hill. It felt good! And then they all flew by me on the downhills. Oh well, I didn’t feel like becoming road kill today. By mile 37 my crotch was starting to hurt so I would stand in my pedals every once in a while for relief. At one point a man passed me while eating some nutrition and we chit chatted a bit as he pulled ahead. I wasn’t paying attention and was riding a little too close, but then I snapped back to my senses and backed off just in time. A race official on a motorcycle rode up right next to us and I immediately thought “Crap! I just got a penalty for drafting! Dumbass…” But he quickly waved his driver forward and we were fine. The headwind picked up a bit in the last 15 miles and the roads were starting to dry. I was beginning to wonder of my legs were going to be able to run after that crazy bike course!

Throughout the ride I made sure to stay within my power zones that my coach gave me, but it was hard, especially on those climbs. I did my best not to burn all my matches, but I know I burnt some! In retrospect, I’m actually glad I got off my bike on the first climb. I have a feeling that I would have lit all my matches and then some and had myself a pretty little firework show because I pushed too hard on that tiny little section when I had 56 miles to go! Overall, I’m happy with my bike performance. I was slow, but everyone was slow this year. I definitely know that I could have had a better time if the weather conditions were better and I was familiar with the course. Nutrition wise I was very good too. I could have drank more, but it wasn’t hot so I felt fine. I took all my gels, expect the one I dropped. It just slipped through my hands and aero bars and right on to the ground. It seemed to happen in slow motion too. My only thought was “There goes $1.50…”

Bike: 3:33:35 (15.7mph)      10/20 AG       75/232 Females (w/Pros)     


Getting off the bike was a little rough, but I managed. I ran through a giant puddle with my bike and found my spot. I had to pee, but I just couldn’t get myself to go on the bike. So, I sat down, put on my shoes and peed. It was glorious! I also took off my arm warmers and put on my hat and Garmin and ran through a couple puddles and out to the 13.1 run!

T1: 2:26

The Run

In the days prior to the race and on Sunday I was most looking forward to the run. Partly because I knew the worst would be over and also because I really enjoy running now. My Garmin finally found a satellite about 0.3-0.4 miles into the run, but the timer started as soon as I ran out the “run out.” My Garmin miles were off compared to the mile markers, but my Garmin at least gave me a sense on how fast I was running. I hit the first mile marker at a little over 9 minutes. I ran a half-marathon back in April at this pace and secretly I was hoping I could run off the bike at this pace, but I knew that it was a rather ambitious goal. I decided to back off a bit and find my stride. I felt really strong throughout the run even though with each step my glutes (and later my calves) were screaming at me to stop. I watched the pro women come flying by me as they were finishing their races. Crazy fast! I took water at just about every water station and walked through them each time since I am not capable of getting water into my mouth if I attempt to run through them. There are two big hills on the run course, one at about mile 2.5 and then other around 3.5. I walked each of these at their steepest points since my power walking pace was about that of my jogging up hill pace. I crossed the 3.3 mile timer at a 9:34/mile pace. I felt good heading back to transition to begin my second loop. I was passing people and a lot of people were passing me, but I kept reminding myself to run my own race. At one point I looked down at my watch and saw that I was cruising at my 5k pace. I felt good, but I still had another 9 miles or so to go so I backed off. Around the turn-a-round point and start the whole loop again. I felt good, even though I was hurting. Mentally I was doing super! I never once thought about giving up and I managed just to zone out and keep running! I hit the turn-a-round mat going at a 9:55/mile pace. Slowing down some, but I still felt good. My feet had thawed at this point and my body temperature was starting to rise. I hit mile 9 and a girl in my AG flew by me. I thought about trying to check her but she was flying! I hit mile 10 and was happy to think I had only a 5k left. At this point I actually thought that I could run a marathon at this point. Bring on IMLP 2013! I hit mile 12 and I picked up speed. As I was approaching the finishing line I started to pick it up more and started passed more and more people. I wanted to be done. One woman spectating made a comment to me that made my day! She said I had the true look of grit on my face and I sure as hell wanted to be done. I wanted a strong finish and I had one. I was so happy to cross that finish line and hear them say my name! I got my medal, space blanket, hat and succeeded to find the food tent. I was hungry! And that was an understatement. I actually ate chicken for the first time in probably 6 months. I needed food and whatever was on that table I was going to eat. I found my coach afterwards and discussed my race a bit before I changed and got my stuff to go home.

Run: 2:09:10 (9:51/mile)    11/20 AG    82/232 Females (w/Pros)

Overall Time: 6:26:33    11/20 AG     480/950 OA

Overall, I am happy with my performance. I went into the race dreading it, but ended up having a strong race. I believe if the weather conditions and if I had ridden the bike course previously then I would have had a much stronger and faster bike time and overall a PR for the day. I PR’d in the swim by 2:40, which is huge! I was hoping to be close to 35 minutes, but such as life. I also PR’d in the run by 20 minutes! That is a HUGE accomplishment for me! The bike courses are NOT comparable and thus I’m not even going to compare my times to Pumpkinman. However, I missed an overall PR by 48 seconds! I’m not complaining because I feel I PR’d on Sunday due to the difficultly of the course and conditions! The girl who won my AG ended up being the 3rd amateur women to finish. There were some crazy fast women in my new AG! If I was still in the 20-24 AG, I would have won my AG by about 10 minutes. It just goes to show you that as you age up, people get faster… Also, the caliper of competition was much higher at this event. I’m happy that I was able to finish in the middle of the pack in my AG! Someday I hope to be back at the top!

PS – In case your wondering, I found my missing arm warmer in my laundry basket last night even though I looked through it Friday night. Go figure…