Cleared for Take-Off: My Return to Running (or some semblance of it)


One of my favorite movies! (source)

One of my favorite movies! (source)

Last week I finally got cleared by my chiropractor to run again after a long 10+ week hiatus. Back in September I signed up for the Thanksgiving Day 4-Miler in Portland, but I made a wise decision not to run it even though I probably “could” have.

Casey, my chiropractor, said that I could run on a flat surface and no more than 3 miles. Well, obviously the 4 mile, very hilly course on Thanksgiving was out. Fine by me! I secretly hate that race anyway; however, I’m the idiot that continues to sign up for it because all my friends run it…

Between the holiday craziness, the icky cold weather, and work I wasn’t able to run until Saturday morning. I put just about every winter layer of running clothes I had on, since the last time I ran was back in September in shorts and a t-shirt. Apparently, I have become a cold weather wuss… I normally have no problem running in rain, snowstorms, hurricanes, and on ice, but now that the temperatures have dropped below freezing my body has decided that it prefers warm weather. I blame hot yoga…

I’m a veteran of returning to running after an injury. You’d think I would be used to the pain and mental mind-f*** of sheer lack of any aerobic fitness that a person has due to running. I brought my dog, Reagan, with me on the run for motivation (okay, maybe I was hoping that she’d just drag me around the trail…). That dog loves to run (and chase birds and chipmunks).



I felt good the first mile. I was running again! Yippee! I wore my Garmin but didn’t really pay attention to pace or time. I knew I would be slow. I just ran by feel. Around the Mile One mark I looked at my watch to check my pace and heart rate. I was going just a hair-below a 10-minute mile. Not bad for a slow, long run pace! Then I looked at my heart rate… 178bpm. No wonder I was sucking wind and felt like dying. I was running damn near my zone 5 heart rate!

Time to slow down a bit before I succeed to keel over from a running-induced heart attack… the “return to running” pain started to set in a bit during mile two. Argh, this process is going to suck. I was starting to get a small twitch in my right knee again. Please no! I was hoping with my running hiatus that my knee/IT-band issues would start to resolve! It was getting better post Ironman as I was focusing on rebuilding my lack of running fitness in August and September. Grr…

The knee was really starting to bother me after my Garmin beeped at the Mile Two mark. I held out until 2.25 miles and then surrendered and finished with a walk home. Why make the problem worst now?

Over all, it felt good to run again. I miss running. It’s going to take a long while to regain my running fitness, since I never really had any all of 2013 due to the knee/IT-band issues that began fairly early in my season. I’m okay with that. My big “A” race in 2014 isn’t until August, so that gives me some time to really ensure my body is healed enough to begin picking up the intensity and volume of training.

I will continue to run a couple times of week now, but my main focus right now thorough the early winter will be rebuilding my bike power. I’m hoping that we’ll get a lot of snow this year in the Greater Portland area so I can do a lot of cross-country skiing in place of running. And stay tuned for more pathetic stories of my return to running. J

~ Happy Training!

Race Report – Ironman Lake Placid – Part II

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

The Bike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top of Papa Bear (Photo Credit: Jodi Turner)

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

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

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

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

Bike: 7:11:48 (15.56 mph)

The Run

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

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

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

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

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

The Finish

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


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

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


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

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

 ~ Happy Training!

Weekend Rap-Up

Last weekend was pretty epic, but it lacked in training. However, I did have a kick ass long ride the Friday night before I left for Lake Placid. I rode the Rev3 HIM course from work. Unfortunately I left a little later than intended due to some work stuff, but I managed to squeeze in a 3 hour ride before it got too dark. My workout was suppose to be a warm-up, followed by 3 x 20 minutes at race pace wattage with 10 mins easy spin between, and then a cool down. Being the uber brilliant person I am, forgot my workout as soon as I left the parking lot and proceeded to do 3 x 30 minute intervals. Now, of course, I could have stopped and checked TrainingPeaks on my phone, but I try not to stop during my long rides (or really any workouts). You don’t stop during a race so why stop and take a bathroom or snack break during a training ride? You eat, drink, and piss on your bike like a real triathlete! Speaking of peeing, I’ve been having a hard time doing that on my bike….

Yup, we pee on our bikes…

Anyway, I was kicking my workouts ass when I was in the middle of a race pace interval on Route 202 in Waterboro going about 23 mph when a dumbass in a jeep passes me and then puts on his blinker and decides to take a very slow right hand turn about 5 feet in front of me! I slammed hardcore on my brakes, fishtailed, prayed that myself and my $6000+ bike stayed up right and managed not to slam into the side of the jeep! I yelled at the driver and of course, the only thing he could response with was “I had my blinker on!” Seriously?! I was not a happy camper. For a split second I thought about whipping around, grabbing the driver by the scuff of his neck and hucking his 40 oz iced coffee in his face… but I was good and just kept on pedaling. My heart rate was sky rocketed at this point since I just had a near death experience, but shit happens just like bad drivers…. what are ya going to do?

The rest of the ride went exactly as planned. I nailed my zones and had a very strong and confident ride. I’ve talked with my coach and we both agree that my FTP has improved since the beginning of training and my zones are a little higher now! Based on this ride I know where to aim as far as wattage and time. I’m very excited for the bike leg!

Now, for this weekend. Saturday I did my long run. I was hoping to do it Friday night, but I needed to go home to pick up our CSA distribution from the farm because apparently my father is too busy to take 15 minutes out of his day to do so…. grr… Anyway, I decided to check out the Rev3 run course. I thought I knew what it was, but apparently I didn’t. Opps! I started on the Eastern Trail by the Scarborough Marsh and ran towards OOB. Instead of getting onto Old Portland Road I kept going to Old Cascade Road (which is what the bike course takes) and then ran down Old Cascade Road down to the pier and back up and back to the ET.

I got some pretty weird looks from people down near the pier. I guess none of them are use to seeing runners. I think one in two people down in OOB that day were either smoking, overweight, or obese. Half of them were shoving their mouths full of crap. It made me sad to see all of this. The health of our country really is on a downward spiral. I really hope some of these people will stop and watch part of the REV3 race on August 26th and perhaps be inspired to begin to eat healthier and exercise! Oh, my little public health mind would love that!

Once I hit the 7-8 mile mark I had an “Oh Shit” moment and I mean that literally! I had to go and go soon! I managed to make it into the woods and do my business. Thank God for porta-potties on race day, but I really hope I don’t have to use any during the race! Thank God also for aid stations! I ran with my fuel belt and I really hate running with it. I always get a side cramp on my left side and it’s too big and uncomfortable for me. But I ran through it. Once I hit the 10 mile mark all I could think of was in exactly one year from today I will have to run another 16 MILES for IMLP!! Holy Shit! Not to mention the 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike that precedes the run! According to my coach, the marathon at IMLP is really 1 mile x 26! 🙂

Okay, maybe this wasn’t what my “Oh Shit” moment looked like, but I really liked the picture!

Last time I checked the weather Sunday was suppose to be partly sunny and a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. I guess I should never believe the weatherman! I was hoping and planning to watch the women at the Maine Tri for a Cure in the morning, but I had a mandatory work meeting right smack in the middle of the race. For what I’ve heard it was a great day for many women and they were able to raise over $1.2 for the Maine Cancer Foundation. Congratulations to everyone who finished the race.

After my work meeting I scooted over to my full-time job site and parked my car to get ready for a rainy ride on the Rev3 course! I was suppose to do 4 x 20 minutes at race pace wattage today and I was pretty close to nailing those intervals, but I rode blind most of the time because I couldn’t read my Garmin very well in the rain. I didn’t push it really hard on the course either due to the wet roads and constant rain. I saw one other crazy lady out there training on the course with me. It actually wasn’t a bad day to ride either. I realized that this may be what I have to deal with next year during Ironman training. Workouts have to get done whether it’s in rain, snow or sleet! But I’m hoping for sun! 🙂

In the end I rode 65 miles and then followed up with a 3 mile run. I really thought today was going to be the day I peed on Azul, but I just couldn’t do it! I tried my darnest and at times thought it was really going to happen, but no bueno 🙁 I know I didn’t drink enough on my ride due to the fact it wasn’t very hot. If it was hot and I drank like I’m suppose to during a race then I think it would happen. I know, some of you are probably disgusted by this. But I’m not a real triathlete until I pee on my bike!

~ Happy Training!   

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…

It Must Be Race Week….

There are always a few ways I can tell that it’s race week:

1. The date is circled on my calendar in red marker.

2. My coach has provided me with my race plan for the day via Training Peaks and I have read it a million times.

3. My gastrointestinal tract has been off this week. I’ve been focusing on eating lots of good foods and staying hydrated to ensure my energy levels are at their maximum and my body is ready to race. However, my gastrointestinal tract has been a bit off this week, probably because of the nervous/anxious/excitement energy that I have been feeling all week. Plus, Aunt Flo decided to visit a few days early and thus explains all the bloatedness. Hopefully, I won’t have any gastro issues on race morning.

4. I have very weird dreams/nightmares. I’ve always had very weird and vivid dreams growing up. Most of the time it was due to my insomnia and/or eating specific foods before bed. Dairy always gives me bad dreams (plus I shouldn’t eat much of it because of my lactose intolerance and the fact that dairy is just not good for you anyway). I had a little bit of ice cream last Friday night for my father’s girlfriend’s birthday and I had major bad dreams. The worst part about the dream… I had it twice! I don’t remember much of the details, but there was one girl in my dream that I can’t stand and that’s why it was a nightmare… on repeat! Grr… I had another Wednesday night too. That one completely woke me up in the middle of the night. In my dream, I was in trouble at work because of my blog. My co-workers don’t know that I keep a blog and apparently I had mentioned something about work in some posts and they found out. Then the Federal Trade Commission, but in my dream it was called WTC showed up saying that the blog was mine and I was in trouble (I really have no clue why my dream involved the Federal Trade Commission). I kept denying it and denying it, then I realized that I had posted pictures on my blog and thus they would know it was mine! I decided to confess that it was mine and face the consequences even though I had no idea what I was really in trouble for. When I confessed, the WTC officials told me I was in trouble for using the word “genotype” because it was patented and I wasn’t allow to use the word. But, they would let me off the hook. WTF?! I clearly have some issues (and a total science nerd). I wonder what Freud would say?

Last year before Pumpkinman I had a nightmare a few days before the race that I broke the fork of my road bike. I brought it to my bike shop where I got into an argument with the owner about fixing it. Apparently, they couldn’t get a replacement fork and Scott wouldn’t send me a new frame. The shop had one of the new foils in stock that I wanted to ride for the race but they wouldn’t let me. I told them I would buy it and they still wouldn’t let me ride it! I remember waking up very angry with the bike shop owner about the issue. I later told the boys at the shop about my dream and I’m pretty sure they all think I’m weird, but they keep me around because I bake them pie.

Anyway, Mooseman is on Sunday! The weather is looking not so good with rain and more rain. I’m really hoping the weatherman is lying to me! So, Mother Nature, if you’re reading this… PLEASE, PLEASE no rain! A few showers during the run portion will be nice, but no downpours! Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Happy Training!