Bike MS Chesapeake Challenge – 102 miles

No other ride has such a special place in my heart! Full disclosure: I am the Society’s grassroots advocacy manager so I both ride for and work for the National MS Society. I get to manager the Society’s District Activist Leader program and our larger MS Activist Network and through this role I have come to love SO many people living with and affected by MS. This ride is always emotional for me because I carry them with me – names on my bib, faces in my mind, each individual in my heart.

Usually this is a 152 mile weekend for me but just 6 days after my first half ironman I knew just doing the 102 would be a challenge. I only had the legs for one day plus a busy-busy weekend of family and friends! After working set-up I picked up my packet and headed back over the Bay Bridge for the night. My packet included: body glide (great add!), helmet and bike stickers, jersey number, top crab fundraising jersey, and club 50 top fundraiser beer glass. Nice work!!

This year I raised just over $3,000 for this ride making my total just over $9,000 in 3 years. Thank you all!!

Saturday is an incredibly early morning. As MS Society staff I get up early to help with set up so I was on site by 5:00 am meaning a 3:30 am wake up since I had a 40 minute drive to the start. I helped fill the water stations, mix Gatorade, and get tables set up for registration before eating a quick breakfast and heading to the start line. This year they had chefs running an omelet bar plus a huge selection of pastries. YUM!

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I took off with the lead group and once a few Kona qualifiers flew by I settled into a group riding a 19-20mph average, including my friend David, so I knew I was in good company. This same crew crossed the finish line together several hours later. I have to say that’s a first for me! I usually bounce around but it was nice to stick with a strong a steady group. We had a great pace line going and with such a large group of riders  you didn’t need to pull for very long. My legs were thankful!

Bike MS is such a great ride (all over the country) because of how well supported they are. You don’t have to stop at every rest stop but for the first 50 miles they are about every 12-15 miles apart. They space out a bit more on the century route. Rest stop-to-rest stop! Every rest stop had water, Gatorade, ice, pickle juice (YES!!), oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and cookies. As you can see it is EASY to gain weight riding a century. To avoid that I stick to water only in my bottles (I start with a bottle of Tailwind) and only orange slices and pickle juice shots at the rest stops…besides lunch! The lunch stop this year was catered by Panera so cookies, a coke, and a turkey sandwich hit the spot.

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After lunch you take an adorable fairy to continue the ride. The ferry does not count as part of the 102! Our group decided to stay together and continue on. The next rest stop would be 15 miles ahead at mile 75. I felt strong until we hit a long painful patch of gravel. We joined up with a group of 4 more riders led by a triathlete on a TT bike (ouch/gravel) and our pace line grew. Coming out of the gravel I cramped! Partially due to the fact that I was too scared to drink water on the soft gravel and partially because I was holding on so tight. Lesson learned. Leaving the rest stop I felt better but was dropped just before the mile 85 rest stop. A spay of sunscreen, a few M&M’s later, and we were off again with our century patches in town. ONE. MORE. STOP. We had an option stop at around mile 96 and decided to take it. Miles 85-96 were 100% dark pace/sufferfest/pain! I laid in the grass at mile 96 just ready to pass out, haha. We slow rolled it from mile 96-100 until the finish line was in sight and all finished together.

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Missions BBQ catered the dinner at the end and a cold shower and cold coke was just what I needed! Thanks Bike MS for another great ride!

These rides are so amazing! Our team raised over $100,000 for this ride alone. That’s right…$100,000!Have questions about Bike MS? Let me know!

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2018 Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Race Recap

My first 70.3 is in the books!! I made my own training plan based off of the “Ironfit” book and will share that in another post. I got a Garmin 935 halfway through training so I don’t have all the data I want – but I will next time!

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Pre-Race: Eagleman takes place on a Sunday so we headed down to Cambridge early Saturday morning to check-in, rack my bike, and visit the expo. I could not have done this without my husband – having a crew/sherpa is huge. I got him the VIP pass so he had access to bathrooms, food throughout the day, special spots at the finish line and the swim exit. At the expo we picked up his VIP bag which came with an IM branded coffee tumbler and his passes. The registration was so smooth and I was in and out within 10 minutes. Registration included: my swim cap, my bib, stickers for my bike and gear bag, the event shirt, my timing chip, and awesome event backpack, and goodies from Red Bull and Cliff. We walked around the IM store and bought the shirt, coffee mug, women for tri gear, and Eagleman bumped sticker. I eyed the finishers jacket…but as a very superstitious person I was convinced that if I bought it before the race that I wouldn’t finish or would get hurt. So I didn’t! We racked my bike and listened to the pro-panel before heading down to old town Cambridge for lunch. The downtown area has a lot of cute stores and restaurants with signs and specials for the athletes. We went to Rar Brewery for lunch and it was delicious! There are not many hotels in Cambridge but the town of Easton is about 20 minutes away and has a lot of chain hotels (Marriott, Holiday Inn, Hilton, etc.) so we opted to stay there. I spent the rest of the afternoon taking a nap, getting my gear bag in order, and staying off of my feet. With a 3am wake up looming we opted for a 4:30pm dinner so we could be in bed by 7pm. A dinner of grilled chicken, a baked potato, and green beans HIT the spot! I was surprised at how quickly I feel asleep and for once I actually felt like I slept well before a race – thank God.

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Transition: I was lucky enough to race with several people I knew from college friends to childhood ones. Catherine and I met in middle school in Madrid, Spain where we were next door neighbors. Our dads were (are lol) big cyclists and triathletes and while we played on weekends they cranked out miles on the bike together. It was only fitting that we competed in our first HIM together all these years later! We were set up a few bikes apart. I laid out my wet suit and a towel on my bike. I would grab the wetsuit (plus by goggles and swim cap) before I left transition. I like to set up everything buttom up meaning the bottom of my transition mat has my bike gear and the top has my run gear. I place my helmet in my aero bars with my glasses, 2 uncrustables and 2 packages of Tailwind in my helmet. On my mat I place my bike shoes with socks and above those my run shoes with extra socks and my hat and belt with my bib number.

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Swim: The swim was wetsuit legal this year thanks to pre-race rain and cool weather the week before. I wanted it to be…but it was more of a mental thing! I had one good wetsuit swim and had it in my head that that must be the reason why (it was not lol). The swim was a rolling start which was MUCH better than the chaotic runs I have been apart of in the past. I still had my first 200 meter panic but was able to settle into a good groove about 300 meters into the swim. The water is murky and the current was pretty strong I never felt like it was “with us” more like it was always pushing us sideways. I swallowed WAY more water than I wanted to which results in me throwing up a bit on the swim but other than that I was fine. There were the usual kicks and punches but I seeded myself in the 35-39 minute swim wave and came out of the water in 39 minutes, just as I expected. I knew I was capable of a faster swim than a 2:04 pace but with sighting problems and drifting off the course and the current I knew realistically to put myself into the 35-39 group. I am glad I did!

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T1: I used a real towel to dry off on the swim because I hate all the water dripping down off my tri kit into my shoes on any tri longer than a sprint. The swim in to bike out was not too bad distance wise. I ran down the wrong aisle at first and needed to swing back round so I lost some time there. Placed my food in my pockets, grabbed a pickle juice shot, and off I went.

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Bike: Coming out of the swim everyone around me looked REALLY strong and I was VERY intimidated. Aero helmets…quads of steel…you know the deal. I held 18-19mph on the bike and felt good despite some wind. This course is FLAT so the bright side if you don’t have to climb but the flip side of that is you never get a break and you are constantly peddling (often into head or side wind). Nutrition wise I started with 1 bottle of Tailwind and 1 bottle of water on my bike There were aid stations every 15 miles so my goal was to finish an entire water bottle and half a Tailwind bottle between every 15 miles so I would only need to stop and mix Tailwind at the mile 30 aid station and could do a grab and go on the move for the others. I ate my honey and peanut butter uncrustable at mile 10 and my second at mile 30. I carried gluten free pretzels in my bento box in case I need them but didn’t really need to dip into it. As a general rule I don’t let myself eat anything for the first 10-15 minutes on the bike to let my stomach settle and get used to being on the bike and not in the water sloshing around. The  headwind picked up on the back half of the loop, as expected, but my pace didn’t suffer too much…until I hear the car behind me. We were on partially closed roads so when I heard the car behind me as I was in the middle of passing a line of 4 women I yelled “car back” and moved in between them to allow the car to pass. Well the car was a moto ref and said I was too close to the bike in front of me and got a drafting penalty. I thought it was unfair but rules are rules. At the mile 53 mark I was forced to stop at the penalty tent and stand there for 5 minutes as every muscle in my leg cramped. Good times! Lesson learned….don’t move in for a moto…keep passing -_-. I should have finished the bike in 3:17 but had to dd 5 minutes so 3:22 it was. I saw Max right after the penalty box and he was trying to figure out what happened to my time on the tracker because it had me stop, haha! The end of the bike course really bottle necked with so many people coming into the bike and heading out on the run at the same time but before I knew it the bike was over. Where was the day going?! It had zoomed by!

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T2: This one I did not like…we had a really long run with your bike from the bike in to the run out. Basically around the entire permitter of the transition are which is quite wobbly after 56 miles on the bike running in cleats. I changed my socks in T2 and grabbed my run gear but made one crucial mistake…I did not body glide my feet before putting my shoes on. I would pay for that later.

Run: By now the sun was feeling hot-hot-hot. Still less hot than previous Eagleman races but…hot and humid is still hot and humid. My plan as to run 2:1 run walk and finish in 2:50 like I did in training. I set off and was on pace to do that for the first mile until I hit the first aid station and tried to take on real food…nope…nope…not staying in me. Ok I thought….so water it is for the entire 13.1 miles. I was cramping, it was hot, and I was not keeping down fuel but I knew that I needed to just keep moving forward one step in front of the other. Aid station to aid station. Mile to mile. I carried one emergency bottle of pickle juice electrolyte shots and took that right away. I also carried a plastic ziplock bag which was recommended by a fellow triathlete…why? To pour ice into it at every aid station and keep in my tri kit or hat to keep my body temp down and core cool. It worked! This course is SO well run and the RD Gerry has aid stations about every mile so there is not a need to carry anything with you (and I hate holding things). I grabbed water and ice at every station and kept moving forward. I ran into Catherine’s family at mile 2 and Max just before mile 3 which was great. He walked a bit with me because I was ready to cry. Mile 2-4 were what I call my dark place…mentally I just was not my normal positive self and was doubting myself and breaking down. I tried to shake it but nothing was working and I was just really freaking hot. At mile 4 I ran into a friend from college who is a beast of a triathlete as she was coming back in (so bout mile 9 for her) and she gave me the confidence boost I needed. She reminded me that even tho I am hurting that I will finish this and that would feel amazing. I decided to try real food at the mile 4 aid station so I grabbed a few chips, pretzels, and a cookie. Chips = pretty yummy, pretzels = pretty mealy not a fan, cookie = that did not stay down. Back to water and ice it was! Mile 7 had ice cones which was awesome – I got a cherry one and ate about half of it. I kept a good power walk pace when I needed to walk and made friends with everyone I could. A little hello, seeing how people were doing, really I needed the company! I needed the distracting convo! I knew I wasn’t dehydrated because I had to stop 2 times on the run course to pee but I think I was just simply overheated my temp was just high, high, high. Miles 7-10 went by quickly but I could feel blisters forming on my heels and balls of my feet from all the water/ice dripping down and the lack of body glide in T2 (big mistake). Once we made the turn into mile 10 I started to get my groove back as we were off the highway and into the residential/waterfront area and I knew there would be crowds and sprinklers to cool off. Max and his mom were waiting around mile 10/11 for me and that was huge for me. I was so close to the end and so emotional and needed the distraction. My awesome mama in law power walked with me and kept me distracted which was such a gift. Before I knew it we were at mile 13 and into the finish line chute! Right as I started to run when I could see the finish festival I felt a pop on the bottom of my foot and my shoe fill….yuck. I knew a blister had popped. Every step stungggggg. But I was so damn close! So into the chute I went, tears flowing, disbelief that I actually finished. WHAT?! I had a bit of a garmin malfunction so my times were all separated and I did not actually know what my time was until I got a hold of Max’s phone and the IM tracker. My A goal for this race was 7:30 which I knew I was capable of on a good day, my B goal was 8:00, and my C goal was 8:30 and not getting a DNF, haha. I finished in 7:43 just between my A and B goal!

Swim: 39 min

Bike: 3 hour 22 min

Run: 3 hour 26 min

Post-Race: Catherine found me at the finish line and we hugged it out – she finished about 30 mins ahead of me and kicked ass. When you finish you get your medal, a finishers hat, and water. I skipped the food and a volunteer helped me into the medical tent because I was having trouble walking on my right food. They got my shoes off and cleaned the blisters that literally covered my entire bottom of my feet (yuck). His mom had beautiful flowers waiting for me and I wiped off and changed clothes before getting in the car. Max packed up my bike and transition gear and we hit the road home. 2- hours in the car after that was a bit painful because everything cramped up. By then I was starving and my victory meal of a burger and a side of mac’n’cheese was SO worth it!

So its 48 hours later and I am absolutely still hurting. The blisters are the worst part but the muscle pain gets better each day. I am still confident in my ability to ride a century this weekend and biking feels better than walking right now anyways, haha. Don’t worry…Max ordered the finishers jacket! I’ve got a few more sprints on my mind for this year but I promised Max I would keep it to one HIM a year (that are expensive, y’all, and take time for me to recover from). I will 100% do another 70.3…I don’t know if I have it me to do a full 140.6 (yet) but man do I love this community, this sport, and long distance racing!

If you are thinking about signing up for IM 70.3 Eagleman…

  • Just do it, the race director is the best and prepares you for everything from Facebook live sessions to briefings to shaking your hand when you enter the water
  • Train in the heat
  • Use the ziplock bag trip, it will keep you cooler
  • It’s a 50/50 wet suit legal shot so prepare for both
  • Get a hotel as soon as you sign up
  • Eat/shop local the community is great and so supportive
  • Train in aero… I got a lot of training in aero in but still was surprised to spend ALL 56 miles in it

Thank you Gerry, thank you Ironman, thank you to my family and friends who got me here! So much to improve on but now I have my baseline and can finally say I did a half freaking Ironman! Click here for more photos of my Eagleman 70.3 journey on Max’s Flickr page.

Mantras and Mental Games

Do you have a mantra? Something you repeat in your head while you train or endure the hard stuff that just keeps you going? Sure…sometimes I am crying as I say it or maybe swearing as I say it… but some words just have the power to push you. What’s yours??

I thought I would share a few of mine and the “why” behind them.

FIND YOUR STRONG – It’s a Saucony marketing campaign/slogan I fell in love with when I was training for my first half marathon in 2013. How often do we actually view ourselves as strong?  know I don’t! Not sure I will until I get really defined bike legs! But I love the idea that within each of us is a “strong” and we need to find it – dig deep – and use it.

EMBRACE THE SUCK – It’s not all sunshine, rainbows, and six pack abs. Getting to any finish line can suck and the training it takes to get there can be ugly. Sometimes I finish a run at 9 pm, sometimes I run at 5 am with no coffee and an angry face, sometimes my schedule calls for hill repeats in 90 degree weather, sometimes I fall, sometimes I’m in a lot of pain — but embrace the suck BECAUSE it makes us stronger.

NEVER GIVE UP – My dad really instilled this one in me. Getting off an walking my bike when the hill gets to steep is not allowed in the P.Schaef school of cycling. He might climb the hill and the circle back to encourage (or annoy) me and I may swear at him but he always tells me – never give up. Might be a sufferfest but never give up.

TRUST YOUR TRAINING – You’ve got a plan, maybe you’ve got a coach, you stuck to it, you did your workouts, everything builds on each other…now trust it. You put in the work and treated your body right — trust that your body can get you there (it’s up to you to get your mind to keep up).

Now time to remember these as I am 4 days out from Ironman Eagleman 70.3!

You’re Not Alone

When (I really wanted to say “if” but I am staying positive and fighting that) I cross that finish line in June one things will be really clear – I am NOT alone. Hundreds and hundreds of hours on the bike, in the pool, on the sidewalk or trail, and in my basement lifting weights can be such a mental battle. A lot of tri training is done solo but so much of my training and improvements have been a group effort whether they know it or not.

  1. My family – From my husband who makes me dinners for when I finish late at night and rearranges his schedule so I can get group rides in or parents and in-laws who cheer me on (and siblings and friends who are basically family). My dad who pushes me (sometimes literally) on the bike and keeps pumping tri and bike knowledge into my head even if I sometimes ignore or forget it.
  2. Social media – I love the Women for Tri group and the Athena group they give such great advice and provide me with so much inspiration. But I also love posting my journey so family and friend can follow along. I see every like, heart, share, re-tweet, and comment and they fuel me on! I see you! For those of you who follow my accounts it is mostly my adorable nephew Luke, my adorable dog Rainier/Lil Ray/Ray Ray, or…triathlon related photos #SorryNotSorry. Catch me on Instagram at @LBfindingmystrong
  3.  Swim Buddies – Leslie, your torn ankle ligaments were a curse on your running dreams for this spring but they have helped make me a stronger swimmer and that added accountability is getting me faster. For getting my butt into the pool for a mile+ swim every week. I 100% swim harder and better when I swim with friends. And Katie who taught me how to properly swim early on in this journey – I am feeling the burn! And Christy who promises to save me if I die during an open water swim and sends me great product advice on swim gear that she tests out.
  4. Running Buddies – Whether it is my mama-in-law and sis signing up and running their first 10k with me, Kyle listening to my snapchat cries and sending hers back, co-workers who are nutty and sign up for back-to-back 10 miler and half marathon races with me, or my pups who is at my side for *most* of my training runs.
  5. ProBike FC – From group rides to bike maintenance to strength training lessons y’all have made me a stronger rider and triathlete in the few months I have known you. Not taking the winter off because you kept your groups rides going or gave me the opportunity to Computrain has meant no slow slump into Spring. Your encouraging atmosphere, coaches, and team have made me a stronger rider mentally and physically and when I cross my next finish line it will be in HUGE part thanks to you. Thanks to y’all I will never give up (even going up a hill) even if I am the last person up it. I can’t wait to grow as a rider with y’all. If you aren’t already riding/shopping at/getting your bike fixed at ProBike FC you need to be.

I love you all! Let’s do this!

Just Keep Swimming

Are you on of those triathletes just just jumps into the water and wings it for a sprint or Olympic distance tri? I am! One of the biggest pieces of feedback I got from the 3 coaches I met with before signing up for Ironman 70.3 Eagleman was…don’t do that!

I’ll be in the base building phase of training until early 2018 when things kick into high(er) gear and part of that means becoming a more well rounded athlete at all 3 sports. My goal for this cycle is simple:

  1. Meet with a swim coach to analyze my stoke, breathing techniques, and maximizing my swim effort
  2. Get in the pool and swim laps one night a week
  3. Figure out what this open water swim (OWS) panic was all about

So where am I now about 2 weeks into training?

  1. I met with a swim coach, Katie Scott, and she was fantastic. I highly recommend her if you are looking for a swim coach in the DC area. She was a NCAA collegiate swimming and recently swam the 34 mile English Channel in 13 hours and some change — insane. Even in just our first lesson I learned so much that a casual summer pool swimmer would never have been able to figure out. For example, how to properly finish my stroke, when to change arms (I am a fan of the catch up drill now), proper breathing, better use of my legs and efficient kicking. We’ve got a ways to go but I look forward to more lessons throughout the year.
  2. Aside from my coaching session I did get in the pool one night this week and more importantly — figured out my pool options. Thankfully, I can swim at my near-by alma mater as an alumnae (but their hours are a little late in the evening…coffee maybe??). As a second option, passes to the county rec centers are reasonable and I purchased a 10 swim pass for about $40 so that should help fill in the gaps for days I want to swim early in the morning or swim earlier than 8pm-10pm!
  3. I am still working on the panic bit and it is hard because it does not happen in the pool. I think it is a mix of a few things like being kicked and punched in the water during the insane fight to get going and not being able to see anything in the murky water. One of my tri coaches also pointed something interesting out that I have a bad OWS habit of doing that has to do with my breathing. When I go into survival mode when a panic attack sets in I start holding my breath when my head is in the water which means I am both exhaling and inhaling while my head is out of the water/to the side. Holy high heart rate bat man! Talk about inefficient! So breathing techniques will be a big focus for me along with getting in some OWS session closer to Eagleman.

Tri

So what does training look like?

AM – run/walk to the pups (so that is not on Strava cuz it has a lottttt of stop and go…no shame!)

PM – 1 day pool, 1 day hill repeats on bike, 4 day run, 1 day long ride on bike

That’s all for now!

 

Signing Up for My First Ironman 70.3!

When I first raced my first triathlon in 2011 I thought to myself…could I ever do an Ironman event? Iroman has 2 distances — a half Ironman (70.3 miles) and a full ironman (140.6 miles). The more I raced, the more I biked, the more I signed up for I could not shake the feeling…should I sign up for a 70.3?

The last couple of weeks have been filled with countless conversations and the affirmation I needed to FINALLY his REGISTER! On June 10, 2018 (God willing) I will be competing in my first Ironman event at Ironman 70.3 Eagleman in Maryland!!

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A half Ironman or 70.3 consists of:

  • 1.2 mile open water swim
  • 54 mile bike
  • 13.1 mile run (half marathon)

…and you have time cut offs to hit and 8.5 hours to finish it from start to finish when all is said and done (if you make those swim and bike cut offs – ahh). Doubt, lack of self confidence, fear all kept holding me back until I finally set up a couple of coaching sessions with professional triathlon coaches (3 total). All of them had similar feedback after analyzing my data, my sprint times, and my Olympic times:

  • I would make the cut offs (giant sigh of relief)
  • I will be an hour or more from that final cut off (even larger sign of relief)
  • My bike is my strongest suit and will probably save me some time when making ti jump up to 70.3 (it’s where you spend the most amount of time)
  • My goal for the next couple of months should be to continue building up my base mileage and come the new year I should hire a coach to get me into peak racing shape
  • I need to find a way to get into the pool more because my “don’t train for the swim and just go wing it”‘ mentality that I take with sprint and Olympic distance tri’s won’t cut it for an Ironman event
  • Don’t underestimate weight training
  • I am already signed up for 10k’s and a half marathon for this training cycle so I’ve got some great built in mile stones to hit

So I took all of this and prayed and prayed and prayed and talked to my husband (who will kick my butt this training cycle) and prayed some more….and then hit that big red register button!! AHHHHH!! I am so excited and scared and happy all at the same time. This blog will be my refuge and voice for the next year or so as I train and compete. So come along on this 70.3 mile journey with me!!

Swim, Bike, Run…(sort of…like a turtle…)

After a great weekend celebrating friends, family, and birthdays I had the chance to compete in the City Island Triathlon. It was an odd distance for me with the swim and bike a bit longer than a usual sprint. .8 mile swim in a river, followed by the a 14.5 mile bike, and a 3.2 mile run — my goal was to just finish under 2 hours (transitions and all). I knew I could do the swim in under 20, I knew I could do the bike in under 45, and I knew I would fall apart in the run. But last night as I broke down my results I really broke down mentally along side them.

…I was 3rd in my age group heading out of the swim and spent barely a minute in transition and that included downing a Gu…

…I climbed up to 2nd in my AG by the time I got off the bike and again about a minute in transitions…

…then came the run and I dropped down to 9th…

I am a slow runner and have gained weight that I know doesn’t help any of the 3 disciplines but seeing me drop so hard in the run hurt. I am an OK swimming, a stronger rider, and a horrible runner – and that needs to change. I know I am capable of a podium finish and one day I want to look back at this post and remember how far I have come.

Up until that point I was running on a high!! Despite a long delay for the swim start I had a great swim. I always have a slight panic attack in open water swims where even with goggles on you see nothing but brown (yuck). After some deep breaths, mantras, and back strokes, I got myself in gear and just followed the red bouys down the river.Not seeing any of the next waves swim caps around you is always a good sign!  I felt strong coming out of the water even though I used my legs too much and not enough of my arms (always a swim goal of mine to save my legs). Not swimming for a year will do that to you! Heading on the bike I was passing people left and right and mentally really strong. Coming into T2 and seeing my bestie and little bestie on the side of the transition area helped! Then I headed on the run and made it maybe .5 miles before my shins and calves cramped HARD. From there it was a slow march to the end. I finished 1:49 – 11 minutes ahead of my goal – but I wouldn’t have done it without the help of a teen tri-team member named Emily. She helped me run-walk-run to the end! At the finish her dad was standing there running along the chute cheering her on (because he had finished well ahead of us) and I couldn’t help but think of me and my dad — he was just like him. I told her to be proud of the fact that her old man kicks her butt and that even at 28…I still have not been able to beat mine!

The best part of coming into the finish chute was seeing even more first and little besties there! Kyle, Addi, Doug, Caro, Leslie, and Baby J were the icing on top of my first tri in almost 2 years – and so were the cinnamon roll pancakes we had afterwards.

High: Getting back into tri racing and having my friends there with me

Low: the run

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You’ve got to re-start somewhere…

This year has been a rough one for little ‘ol triathlete me. I’ve fallen out of shape, gained back weight that I worked hard to work off, and slowedddddddddd down to a painful speed. My passion is back and a combo of running/biking outside again and morning gym workouts will get me back there but I really wish I could rub a magic genie in a bottle and get back to my lowest “race weight” if you will. It doesn’t mean I have not competed or workouts out this last year – I just have not had my heart in it and my body took notice.
Yesterday I ran the Parks 10k – the furthest I’ve run this year. Boy oh boy was it the wake up call that I needed! My only goal was to not finish dead last and I did that…but barely. I was using run-walk-run before I even hit the first mile marker and my shins were screaming by mile 2. This is a race that I could have done in my sleep a year ago. So what’s changed?
1) I stopped seriously running. I am talking planned out routes with intervals some days and maintenance miles on others. 
2) I have done little to no weight training. I have not gotten my butt into the gym and I need to.
3) I stopped learning. I used to be glued to info on form, nutrition, pace, techniques…but I could not tell you the last time I bought a Runners World magazine. Actually it was at the airport a few weeks ago…but that was the first one I have bought all year!
It’s gonna take time to get back down to by goal weight and form…but if I don’t stick to my plan I’ll never get there. If anything, the 10k I ran this weekend reminded me that we all have to start somewhere (or re-start…).
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Getting back into the swing of things…

Back when I started blogging in 2013 the #SweatPink community and this little slice of the internet helped me reach goals I never thought possible. This little blog helped me lose over 30 pounds, helped me run PRs, and helped me find my strong. Since my last blog I’ve ridden multi-day Bike MS rides for the MS Society, competed in my first Olympic distance triathlon, conquered my first open water swim…and have fallen a bit off the wagon!

So I’m starting back up again and sharing my journey along the way. Keep an eye out for swim/bike/run training tips, cross training workouts, inspiration, delicious and probably not very health recipes, and more! I’m no pro – just sharing my love for swimming, biking, and running while holding myself accountable through this little slice of the inter-webs.
SO what’s up next for me? The 2016 Reston Century!
 This is probably the most difficult century I’ve ever ridden. It’s late August HOT, incredibly hilly, and for most of the ride we rode in packs…FAST packs…think crit racing tight and fast. Hopefully my dad will be back to run with me (and possibly push me up a giant hill or 10) but I’m stoked for my next century…and the post-century nap.
Stay tuned!

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