Monday, May 25, 2015

IMTX Take 2

I haven't wrote a blog entry or an in-depth race report since my first 140.6 in September 2012. I can't believe I didn't write one after IMWI in September 2014 because it was my best 140.6 race execution to-date, and still is, but after yesterday's second stab at Ironman Texas, I wanted to jot down some things to make sure I learn from as I'm addicted to this sport and there will be many more to come, so I might as well fine tune what I'm working with. Plus, I know it will make my coach happy. It's the least I can do because I'm pretty sure he's the only coach who would continue to keep coaching and reiterating things to me when I want to do things my way.

I'm pretty sure I got one of the last 10 race entries, as I was bib #3089. Thanks to Michelle LeBlanc with OutRival/QT2 for that! Steve was concerned I wasn't actually registered because my name wasn't on the release of race numbers posted in early April, but I was relieved when my name was on the All-World Athlete roster of athletes racing, though I didn't have "AWA" on my bib or get one of those fancy swim caps, but it did come in handy cutting the packet pickup line and getting in to the athlete dinner early. I think it was dumb that some people wore the AWA black swim caps for the race. Why on earth would you wear a black swim cap in poop brown water?!? I enjoyed passing a handful of them with my "speedy" swim (I consider myself a slow swimmer...maybe because I have a lot fast swimmer friends. No, I am slow, but have made some significant improvements over the years in this sport mostly due to working with Coach Greg with COOG's Masters.) Thanks Coach! I do need to spend more time in the pool though.

Coming off a great race in Wisconsin, I couldn't wait to do another Ironman, and contemplated going to do Coeur d'Alene with my friend Genevieve who coaches CrossFit with me and is doing her first IM this June, but financially, racing local is smarter (especially now that we have a wedding to pay for!!! :) :) :)) I'm super excited for her though. She's going to rock it!

Once I had secured my spot, finding the time to get the training in that I did for WI, was impossible with my new job that I love, so I just had to figure out ways to make it work. Everyone can come up with excuses as to why they don't have time to train, it's just about prioritizing and finding balance in life. Something always suffers, but you have to make sure whatever is suffering is only temporary and that you mend it when not in heavy training. One of the training sessions I look forward to every week is my long bike ride. I really enjoy long training rides and meeting new training buddies who enjoy this crazy hobby as well. I've met some really awesome people on long rides and am pretty good about making sure I don't miss those unless I'm traveling. My social life has become less and less about the next party or trip and more about the next race, and I'm totally okay with that. When I find the right balance and discipline, watch out world because my passion for triathlon and this distance is pretty out of this world, and I've been able to execute some decent races off of "somewhat following the plan."

With this being my 4th Ironman (140.6), 14th marathon, and I don't even know what # endurance event, I feel like I've got my nutrition pre and during down pretty good because I really haven't had any nutrition, gut, or bonking issues, just my lack of preparation/not dedicating enough training time to get the results I want. What I've struggled with is getting in enough fluids and calories post event. I always end up with headache though in WI I downed two chocolate milks in the finisher tent that resulted in post race stomach issues. My coach came into town recently for Galveston 70.3 with his awesome wife, the new North American Ironman Champion, Angela Naeth Duncan and they both witnessed this post-race hangover I tend to get, so I decided to listen to him and make some nutrition adjustments not just post-race for IMTX, but leading up to and some minor during adjustments. I had actually been having some stomach issues leading up to the race, but I didn't think anything of it, just thought it was stress.

I think the tweaks I made were all for the better, except for the fact that I couldn't go #2 before the race, which if you are about to do an 11+ hour event is kind of a necessity, so I decided to light jog from transition to the swim start (I believe it was just over a mile), but I got to North Shore Park, waited in the line for the real bathroom (which was shorter than the port-o-pots) and still couldn't go. (Apologies if  this is too much information, but if you know me, I have no shame, and this is normal triathlete talk.) I even sat there and had my non-caffeinated red apple GU to see if that would help LOL (not sure my thought process there...) I struggled to find Steve, Muffy, and Rob who had my swim gear for a little bit, but knew if I could stand high enough, I would spot Steve and sure enough, I stood on a boat trailer and found him. Muffy said to me, "If you can't go, it's not going to happen..." and then there was something mentioned about not giving myself a hemorrhoid before a 112 mile bike LOL. I love my friends. I got my new Roka swim skin on that I had swam in open water in twice before race day and love, Steve's TYR goggles  that I had NEVER swam in, and my swim cap and headed to find a spot to seat myself in the rolling start. The reasoning behind the last minute goggle change was because I had been having some serious fogging issues with mine and my swim coach taught me a trick of putting baby shampoo in them at practice earlier in the week and it worked, but then I was worried about it irritating my contacts. I was very pleased with his goggles and will be claiming them or buying my own pair.

Tyr Special Ops 2.0 Polarized Small Swim Goggles product imageI ended up finding my original triathlon coach's wife and Powerhouse Racing friends on the way. They confirmed my thoughts of seating myself faster than my predicted swim time, so I placed myself at the back of the 1:10-1:20 group to avoid the masses of the 1:20-1:?? chaos. I was pleased with my decision. I actually found a good current to draft for a good majority of the first straight, but then lost it at the first turn. The second long straight back towards the canal was pretty lonely. I was a little scared I was off course (I have been known to do that), but I checked a couple times, and I was right on track. It was just a really wide space. There was a decent amount of people who stayed left, but I knew a right turn was coming up, so I wasn't going to add unneeded distance just to attempt to catch a draft. I just enjoyed the calm (and probably lost some time there, but I remember Paul telling me to not stress about a few minutes on the swim and to save my energy for the rest of the day.) It did feel like eternity getting to the canal and I blame that I my lack of executing my 4000+ swims in training that I was good about doing leading up to WI. Once I got to the canal, I started passing quite a few people actually. I had a second little cough attack too, from the mucus that built up from the "pristine" water we were swimming in *says sarcastically.* I sometimes take an allergy pill before the race, but it totally slipped my mind race morning. I should probably mention I was not super focused going in to this race as I have been in the past making wedding dress shopping appointments the day before at 3 and 4pm because my mother and good friend Muffy were in-town. I don't regret that decision at all though. I think we all had fun and it was a good little distraction from pre-race stress/nerves, though I don't think I get nervous for these anymore. Plus, I felt really fabulous and made some progress on saying YES TO THE DRESS! Okay, back to the swim...I love how people are so close going through the canal because it makes me want to swim faster and look like a swimmer, haha. It's kind of a neat part of the swim and makes you forget that you can't see your hand as soon as it hits the water. Knowing the course well is definitely nice. As I approached where my JSC/SBS team tent and cheerleaders were, I through up a deuce (peace sign) and swam on in to the stairs. I wasn't nearly as stoked about my swim as I was with my 1:18 in WI, but it's still an improvement from my last swim skin swim on the same course, still respectable and not too far off my goal pace, especially after you calculate the time in the water after crossing the mats before I was able to start swimming, dodging through people at the exit, and swimming 2.5 (probably distance from water to timing mats at the exit, but I did do at least one "V" out and back on course you can see on my swim map). I told my swim coach on Tuesday my goal was 2:00/100 pace, and that's basically what I executed probably swimming closer to 1:50 the first 1000 meters before the first turn.

IMTX Swim 2013: 1:45:45

I felt like I was playing Frogger going through where all the T1 bags were, but I knew right where mine was and I made it stand out as it was double-bagged (in case it rained, which it did the night before and quite a bit leading up to the race) and the colored strings were hanging out the top. I ran from the VERY LAST ROW of bike racks, with my bike over my shoulder, carrying my shoes to avoid mud caking up from the mud pit that was transition due to all the recent rain. A volunteer held my bike as I stepped in a kiddie pool to get the mud off. I got out of there as quick as I could and just threw my shoes on and waited to tighten them until I was on the bike. My cycling shoes tightness is something I've struggled with for years (see last blog post).

I saw Steve on the first stretch and gave him a wave and then a little farther down, I saw my mom. My fans are the best!

Headed out of T1 and off to ride 112 miles!
I started drinking the Gatorade w/Salt Stick right away. I ate what I thought was the equivalent to one PowerBar in my bag of PowerBar pieces as well within the first few miles. I decided to refrain from having extra liquids on my bike this time to keep the weight of my bike down, so I did do a somewhat concentrated EFS/CarboPro bottle to sip on and rely on the on-course hydration since Ironman now has Gatorade vs Perform at the aid stations. However, my first aid station Gatorade grab was a fail when a young girl volunteer literally threw a bottle at me and I missed it losing my balance a bit. Go figure, the first time I actually attempt to grab something from the first aid station on the bike 10 miles in, it's a big swing and a miss. I did hear someone instruct her not to do that though, just sucks I had to be the lesson.

I felt really good out there, probably almost too good. I have rode this part of the course probably more times than I can count on my fingers and toes over the last 2.5 years, so it was nice knowing what was around the next corner and how to approach certain intersections and hills. I did a lot of passing per usual given my less than stellar swim performances, but was actually quite surprised to pass two friends pretty early on who I would have put money on would have had better bike splits than me and I think another who had to have been stopped at an aid station somewhere along the way because I'm pretty good at spotting people I know and giving them some encouragement out there. Watching the Strava Flyby, I also discovered that a friend we made at Ironman Cozumel also flew by me (he's a freak on the bike...went 5:02). I had a very good rhythm going and was grabbing Gatorade at the aid stations, but didn't start grabbing water until a little later when I had realized I hadn't peed yet more than halfway through the bike. I didn't notice a tailwind, if we had one, but it's a good possibility we did given the headwind we had on the way back South. The couple mile stretch through the National Forest is my favorite part of the course, and it was funny to me that people were slowing down in there. I wouldn't say that I took it hard, I just kept my heart rate right around 150 like I had been doing thus far. I knew that part of the course was closed to vehicles and that there wouldn't be cars coming at us like there sometimes is in training rides out there, and knew what to expect on the turns. I will say that both times we crossed 105 with traffic stopped was pretty awesome too. Take that huge truck jerks of Montgomery! I only threw the bird at one truck on the course because he was honking at the non-moving traffic that was stopped because of the race. I'm pretty sure if you paid any attention to what was going on in your neighborhood, you would know what roads to avoid on race day. Some people just think they are God's gift to earth. Let us own the roads one day a year as we bring in a nice little paycheck for your town. I didn't think about it when I crossed the tracks, but I'm glad I didn't get stopped by the train. Maybe they actually coordinated that properly this year. I did glance over at the gas station we always stop at on training rides and give a little sigh of, "ugh, I usually get to rest here..." I didn't make any stops though. There was no need though it was almost as if they replaced an aid station with bike special needs because I did start to get dangerously low on fluids out there on that stretch. I was going to make an attempt at stopping to down my RedBull in my special needs bag, but the volunteers weren't by the high numbers where mine was, so I just keep on trucking and decided not to mess with it.

I started to regret that decision as we had been fighting the 25-30 mph gusts from what I'm seeing people post. It definitely was rough, but I've been in worse before. Right around the halfway point I ate more of my PowerBar bag and got a good little refuel on the tank. I think it was right about mile 65 on the bike when I started to have a revisit from my bunion pain on the outsides of my feet. I popped 400 mg of Ibuprofen and tightened my shoes a bit. I also think this is when I ate my Cherry Cola Stinger chews and I started to use my Cherry Limeade Nuun's somewhere in here and grab more water at the aid stations to actually drink and not just use to cool/clean myself off. At about mile 80 I wanted to cry my bunions hurt so bad. I'm fairly confident I was cursing up a storm too. I was trying to do everything I could to get my mind of the pain and was praying they wouldn't hurt for the marathon. I kept reminding myself that "I get to run a marathon when I get off this bike." You have to keep it positive out there. I even started to think about all the work I have to do for my real job a few times and immediately shut it out because there is no sense in getting worked up out there about something out of your control at that moment. No need to raise the heart rate for the wrong reasons, though my heart rate did drop in the headwind. I totally wasn't putting out the same power anymore once my bunions started to hurt though I did get a second wind when it looked like many were starting to really suffer out there and got my heart rate back up a little bit as coach always wants me to build my heart rate throughout the course, but I just couldn't get it back up in the 150's. It was tough though as much of this part was real narrow with the traffic on our left at a standstill. (Also where I threw out that bird.)

Once we made that last left turn towards The Woodlands, I started to down all my remaining fluids and took some more bites of PowerBar. Keep in mind I still hadn't gone #2 yet all day it was approaching 2 o'clock in the afternoon. This was rather worrisome for me as I was preparing mentally to go out and try to throw down a decent marathon given my current bowl situation and everything I had put into my stomach all day so far, though my stomach has been good to me with all the mixed sugars in the past. I had a few people I needed to hunt down that I had to make sure I beat off the bike and tried to judge their running abilities to see if I'd see them again soon or not and one of the gals in her 40's certainly ended up flying by me on the run. We were like twinsies with our matching neon pink Rudy aero helmets, pink Fizik bar tape, 40ish mm front with a disc back, and she was even wearing a SOAS tri kit too! I'm a calf hunting AGer (meaning I check out everyone's age on their calf as I pass them or the rarity am passed on the bike.) Maybe one day I'll know my competition like our friend Larry who is a total bad@$$ in the 55-59 AG who races his competition year after year fighting for the coveted Kona slots at races around the world. I ran a few miles of the run with him and his competition who they both apparently knew each other and ran like 20 miles of the marathon together not letting either take the lead as I tried to interview "the competition" to find out his story haha, but those old dudes ended up dropping me like a bad habit. So inspiring. I love athletes that still legitimately compete in their 50's and 60's. 70s and up is more of a survival, but they are definitely still out there fighting too. There was actually an 85 year old nun out there in the mix with all of us. I dare you to watch this clip and not start to tear up as she says, "God, let me do my best, and you do the rest." Unfortunately, it sounds like she got pulled from the water an hour in. I did notice that none of the athletes over 75 finished, but there were definitely a few that started the race. Very commendable.

I wish someone had my graceful dismount on video because it was pretty. I mean I think I even pointed my toes on the leg I swung over. It's the little things that keep me going...Oh, and I didn't win any QOM's (Queen of the Mountain), but I did however have a segment faster that the North American Champion and I'm going to document it because I'm pretty sure she took home over a dozen of the segments on the course. My girl Morgan kept one of her QOM's though and is signed up for IMTX 2016 to try to earn some more! All in good fun. :)

Notice who's tied for 4th and who's tied for 8th...

IMTX Bike 2013: 6:06:25

Marathon time has always been the highlight of my IM races, but I knew I hadn't gotten in the run volume that I did for previous races and have been kind of in a running low for a bit, so I knew it would be pure luck if I was able to pull off a 4 hour marathon (which I really have had some darn good race luck in the past all things considering, so you never know.) I did the calculations though and new my only shot at beating Steve's 11:31, was to run a 4 hour or faster marathon at that point. I kept my thoughts positive and just got pumped to get out there in the madness with all my crazy friends cheering along the course. 

Moxie Racing out of Austin's cheer section right out of T2.
The best idea I had a few weeks out before the race was to put a toothbrush and toothpaste in my T2 bag to feel fresh for the run because EFS always sticks to my teeth and makes them feel grimy and nasty. I'm pretty sure my volunteer in transition thought I was off my rocker, but I quick put some toothpaste on it and ran out to the sunscreen folks (totally delegating like three volunteers to different body parts to get; I wore my cycling jersey for the bike to avoid the tri top red wings on my back because it never fails that the volunteers don't get down in there enough resulting in weird tan lines). I continued to brush my teeth until right under the bridge where the nicely tanned Moxie chiseled men and women were. Judge me for judging, but I came from the world of dance where your body is judged, so I will judge. I'm also pretty hard on myself, but it's good for you. I'm not going to mention any names, but if you're going to put your $h!t on blast, get it right, get it tight. Nuf said. As I approached the first aid station some dude volunteer must have saw the toothpaste around my mouth, lol so he threw water at my face. That was the second volunteer to throw fluids at me of the day. I grabbed another cup to rinse and spit and Gatorade and then ice too, to start cooling down my core, though I did a heart rate check and I was right where I needed to be in the lower 150's. The goal was to progressively get that higher, but that didn't exactly pan out. I averaged 146 for the marathon. In looking at my data, you can see where my first pot stop was right about the halfway point. It was actually a construction pot too, not an official race one because it was the first one I saw when I needed one. I was finally relieved, just a little mad that couldn't have happened at 6AM, but I had a weird feeling my stomach wasn't quite right. It actually hadn't been quite right all week. I really think stress may have been a big part of it, but I really can't avoid stress in what I do and I usually just cope. I felt better though as I was approaching Catapult Corner soon (where my crazy teammates were acting like they were on Spring Break). Steve was the best though, he would meet me about .25 mile before our team's tents and run me through the tent making sure I didn't throw any bows. I bet my heart rate totally dipped up as I went through there though I loved seeing my training buddies as I ran through.

Notice my bodyguard to the left and my initial reaction to that disgusting red thing he was keeping from getting near me. #bestfianceever
I tried to give my mom a heads up as to how ridiculous some of my teammates were by comparing it to our family's annual 4th of July celebrations, but I guess that didn't do any justice. She's a wanderer anyways, so I saw her all over the course cheering me on. It was kind of nice to have spectators spread out across the course. Actually the fact that I knew someone like every half mile along the run loop prevented me from walking even once like I had 2 years prior aka the "hot year." I really enjoyed running parts of the marathon with many of my friends who were out there racing too. If I saw anyone I knew walking, even teammates of my coach on Team EveryManJack who I didn't know, I did my best to get them moving again.

I believe this was my 2nd lap through Catapult Corner. I love Muffy's enthusiasm behind me!
One of my highlights on the run course was when I saw a leader bike riding right alongside me. I thought, hmm..."that has to be for one of the lead female pros." I tried to make out what it said, reading it backwards and made out a "1" and "female." Right about when I figured out what it said, I saw a friend who was volunteering at an aid station and who said, "that bike's for you!" I was hoping it was for Angela, my coach's wife, and within a minute, I saw her creeping up on my right. Of course I cheered for her! It was quite a while before Leanda Cave, in 2nd came strolling by. I knew they were on their last lap as I was finishing up my 1st, which was similar two years prior, however the lead female passed me a few miles later in 2013, so that gave me a little confidence boost. I got excited for Angela because I knew she had it at that point though Leanda did gain on her, as I saw them on one of the out and backs right before the finisher chute, but looks like Angela had realized she had it too, and relaxed a little that last mile.

I survived the run with a faster marathon than two years prior, even with three potty breaks. I really can't complain though. There was excellent support out there which made it fun as always. I did chase down a girl from the CobbMobb in the last 2 miles who was in my AG that I had been tailing the whole marathon. It was rather strange, I got this burst of adrenaline in my last few miles that allowed me to pick up my pace. I had been running a little with a friend who was walking the aid stations prior to that and in my mind, I wasn't going to let someone who had been walking beat me when I hadn't walked once the whole run besides going in and out of the port-o-pots. So much of IM racing is mental, and my mind has weird thoughts, but mainly thoughts of how to push through pain and get the best result possible given the current conditions. As I was approaching the last 5 miles of the marathon I really started to think my stomach wasn't going to hold up and thankfully ran into my mom. I asked her to call Steve and to tell him to have my recovery drink (chocolate protein UCan, banana, and almond coconut milk blended together and on ice all day) ready for me before I approached Catapult Corner the last time. That could have had something to do with my last little burst before the finish. I was then able to decide that I of course needed to finish with my signature cartwheel across the finish line though I wanted to make sure there weren't others crossing at the same time, so positioned myself appropriately and enjoyed a red carpet all to myself.  

IMTX Run 2013: 4:51:55

Once again, all things considering, I pulled it off. It was by no means a podium performance, but I'll take top 20 out of 85 who started the race in my AG that day having a blast doing what I love with all my triathlon friends out there enjoying the day as well, and even having my mom out there walking all over The Woodlands (I guess she walked over 11 miles along the course). 

Redman Triathlon (1st 140.6): 12:27:46, 1st OA/42 females
IMTX 2013: 12:54:06, 16th AG/61 starters
IMWI 2014: 11:43:07, 11th AG/110 starters
IMTX 2015: 12:11:49, 18th AG/85 starters

I of course want to register for another as I am slightly addicted to this sport, but I think I may sit out doing another full until after the wedding, but we shall see! I do know, I'm not registering for another until I've put some serious run and swim work in to really see more gains in my next full performance. For the time being, I'm going to get back to my CrossFit I've missed to get some strength back, and run and swim as much as I can, but of course won't be able to go much longer without biking. I can't believe I haven't touched my bike in over a week!

I will say that I am more sore today (finally wrapping up my thoughts a week after the race) from Memorial Day Murph: 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, 1 mile run wearing a 14lb weight vest than I was after my Ironman, so there is something to be said about training for your sport and I think I do that well for triathlon and will continue to add in the CrossFit I have fun with to stay physically and mentally strong. 

Thanks to all for the support pre and post race. I look forward to the road ahead! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

1st in my 1st 140.6

I've never been good at consistently keeping a diary, journal, or apparently a blog ever in my life.  I might as well continue the trend I started decades ago of jotting my thoughts down after something exciting happens in my life, so almost two year's later, my next entry. Clearly I need to slow down and take more moments to reflect.

I'm not going to give the whole back story on how I got into the sport of triathlon and decided to sign up for my first full distance tri consisting of a 2.4 mile swim + 112 mile bike + 26.2 mile run = 140.6 miles, rather just the events of Saturday, September 22, 2012 in Oklahoma City mostly to share my experience with those that weren't there and wish they could have been and for those that want to know what I went through. My loving and supportive boyfriend Steve, who was a HUGE part of my training and race and even my boss are always on me for giving too many unnecessary details, but I'm a details person and like to know it all so I'm going to walk you through the experience of completing this "event" as I called it, that turned into a race. My coach told me I would experience every human emotion during the event, and that I did.

In my opinion, my race started Thursday at noon when my coaches and Steve picked me up from work in Downtown Houston in the Powerhouse Racing truck with all our gear and bikes racked up. It was funny to see the business people of Downtown going to lunch staring at this sight.
Photo taken at a rest stop between Houston and Dallas
The amount of Ironman knowledge Johnny and Andrea Zepeda have, truly helped me be as successful as I was, so I was a sponge and just absorbed all the pointers they had to offer on our 8 hour drive to OKC.

I've never been a "thin" girl ever in my life, and growing up with dance as my passion, having the "athletic" built and having to step on a scale to meet a weight goal when I was dancing professionally gave me a complex that I don't think will ever really go away, (but I am truly happy with the way I look) made for the transition from trying to consume less calories than I was burning during Ironman training that I've been brainwashed to do quite difficult, but I knew my body needed those calories to perform at the level I wanted it to. Let me tell you, I think I ate more food on Friday before race day than on any Thanksgiving ever, but as my coaches said, I would be glad I consumed them while racing on Saturday. True statement. I'm sure an out-of-shape person would lose weight training for an Ironman, but I wasn't training to lose weight, I was training to race for half a day and be pleased with my performance.

So Saturday morning finally arrives...4AM the alarms (Yes, if you know me, it takes more than one alarm to wake me up even on the most exciting day of my life to-date...yup, I said it.) go off and no surprise Steve was up first and probably ready before me, but the biggest worries on my mind were making sure I remembered to put my contacts in so I could see during the race (I don't wear them everyday and don't need them for close-up, just for driving, riding my bike, sporting events, etc.) and making sure I got down to Johnny and Andrea's room so Andrea could French braid my hair tight and secure so I wouldn't have to worry about it all day. I was slowly starting to get nervous about the swim though. I knew I had put in my time in the pool and done a fair amount of open water swimming, but not in my wet suit. I've had a history of getting in my wetsuit and having this silly anxiety when I first get in the water. We did the practice swim Friday morning and on our way out, in quite choppy water I thought to myself, "What in the world did I get myself into? Am I going to survive this 2.4 MILE swim tomorrow?" Thankfully, it was much more pleasant on the way back to shore, but I was still not as confident as I would have liked to of been.

My pretty Giant, Polly w/the sweet Zipp 404/808 system I rented
for the race with all my gear ready to go besides my special needs
bags that I had already dropped off.
When I arrived to my bike that we had checked-in on Friday, I guess I had my first run-in with good luck for the day. I was lucky to be in a spot with great lighting from the generator operated lights they had out there sparingly to setup my gear for the journey I was about to begin. Steve on the other hand was thankful he brought his headlamp, as his end of transition was pitch dark. I will say I was bummed there weren't jams blasting on the speakers like at other triathlons I've been to like HyVee, which I still think is the best ran triathlon I've ever been a part of largely because of the awesome swag and pro interaction we were privileged to have. I'm all for prayer and thanking God for giving us the opportunity to participate in such awesome events, but the silence was unnecessary, I think it actually made me more nervous. I thank God when I'm rocking out.
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! -Psalm 95:1
I was pleased when the race officials came by my area and gave me the stamp of approval for my transition setup though as I was playing around taking pictures and updating facebook, haha.

My race day nutrition plan started in transition after the non-toasted English muffin with almond butter I had while getting my hair braided. Marriott's really need to work on that continental breakfast concept. I was sipping water while setting up and sucking on a Peter Rabbit fruit squeeze I picked up from Starbucks on Friday. It was mango, banana, and orange, but strawberry banana is my favorite. They are paleo, delicious, and I didn't get a banana before the race like I do before every race and really everyday during training because they got too bruised in transit, so it had to do at this point, and will probably be a new race ritual for me.

Before I knew it, the National Anthem was being sung and I was ready to go, well, physically, but mentally I still wasn't sure if I was ready. I'm pretty sure Steve was in the same boat because he didn't stop by my bike to my knowledge before the race (turns out he did, but I was at the bathroom), I actually found him with our coach and one of the other guys we trained with walking down to the water, so I shimmied under the orange fence to not lose them in the mass of seal looking people walking down the red carpet to the red dirt of the extremely low Lake Hefner.
Photo courtesy of Susan Lash's photo on the Redman Triathlon
Facebook Group
At this point, I was still holding on to my camera that I was going to give to Andrea to snap some pics along the way and realized I may not be seeing her before entering the water, so I hid it under the giant Red Bull arch base, but she appeared out of nowhere and went up to grab it before we took off.
Photo courtesy of James A. Randell Photography

Too bad my camera isn't today's best technology and all of our pre-swim group shots are blurry...
Blurry seal-looking people photo taken by Andrea Zepeda via my quality Kodak. I appear to be happy at this point, but was really quite nervous. Pictured from top left: John Zepeda, Steve Schnell, Paul Hermansen, Todd Fairley Bottom: Me
The awesome announcer was lining up the waves and giving us some sound advice, so I was listening and soaking it in as he had raced this course before and other 140.6 events while I sucked on my raspberry Hammer gel

Ok, the Long Distance Age Group National Championship folks have started the swim, time to mentally do this. I gave Steve a kiss, Johnny hugged me, Andrea gave some good words of wisdom,  hugged me, I started to tear up, and headed to the water after the full distance guys wave took off. I tried to position myself somewhat close to the buoys and toward the middle of the pack. I learned from my first outdoor triathlon (yes, outdoor because up North we have indoor triathlons in the Winter which  is where I first dabbled with the sport and got hooked), the Pewaukee Triathlon not to position myself at the back of the swim because those people really don't know how to swim, even though I think I'm a horrible swimmer, I'm not that terrible, but I really don't think there was anyone at that level for this distance of a swim as there were for my 400 meter swim in that race that I totally side stroked most of. I dipped my head under the water to make sure my Aqua Sphere's wouldn't fail me now, and I totally went the goggles under the cap route to avoid a tragedy of losing my goggles. The air horn sounded, and we were off! 

Like the typical me, it took me a good 200 yards to get into any kind of groove. I had a few moments of doubt in my capability to complete this first real task of the day, to swim 2.4 miles. The orange ball buoys were quite difficult to spot, so I just tried to follow the pack ahead of me. I was not trying to win the swim. I never do, and never will. I've accepted that, but there is always room for improvement. 

When looking at my Garmin map, I can totally see where I started to drift way left at one point and a kayak had to come cut me off and send me in the right direction. I cursed and was back on track. Thank goodness for those kayaks. I really have to volunteer for a triathlon as a kayaker someday to see the race from their point-of-view. It has to be quite humorous. Although, they do have a lot riding on them if there is an instance where someone seriously needs assistance. The swim is the leg where people have been known to get heart attacks and die, which is probably why my mom was at ease back home in Michigan tracking me and getting text updates from Andrea when I got out of the water. 

When I made the first turn, I swear a boat had just gone by because it got real rocky and sh!t got real. I thought, "Am I back in MI swimming in the Great Lakes right now?" Thankfully that stretch wasn't too long before the second turn, and I could spot shore. You'd think that would be easy, but I'm certain I did not swim a straight line. I was thinking to myself how nice it would be at that point to be doing the half iron distance race and be almost done, but no, I had a whole other loop still to do. At some point I remembered how to swim again, and was breathing, kicking, and pulling like I trained and was critiqued to do so from my current coach, swim coach in WI, the Master's coach here in Houston at the Y, and probably other way more experienced and efficient swimmers than I am. 

When I got to the turnaround point, there was a group kind of all trying to figure out if this was the point where we turned to start our second lap. I just swam passed them because they looked lost. "Hey, second loop isn't so bad!," I thought. I began doing what I do when I am doing something that I just want to be over with, but know I have to get through it. I was counting sets of 10 strokes focusing on good form for each stroke. I'm not sure why this helps me, but I believe it originated from a conversation I had with my dad years back maybe even before my high school cross country days when he said he use to count when he had to run for football to get him through the workout. I'm not sure if he even knows I remember that conversation and utilize his method occasionally to help get me through workouts, but I'm sure that would make him proud. :)

If there were mats in the water, I'm sure I negative split the swim (a faster 2nd loop), however I did glance at my watch as I began that second loop and it was 44 minutes and some odd seconds before 45, which is right where I was content being. The thing about the swim time at this race was, we had to run up the red dirt that use to be where that lake's water level was before our time was captured. I took all the advice we were given and pretty much swam until my nose hit the red mud because swimming in that mud is a heck of a lot easier than running in it. I think the volunteer actually tapped my head like, "Hello Miss, you can stop swimming now," and he undid the back of my wetsuit. I've been to a race with wetsuit strippers before, but the people helping you out of the water have never helped me undo my wetsuit, an added perk I guess. I headed up the red carpet and then I plopped my butt down on the carpet at the top of the hill for the four volunteers to grab a leg and get that thing off me insanely fast. 
I usually really hate race photos of me coming out of the swim mostly because my hair is always flat from the swim cap and I'm a firm believer in big hair, but I'm posting this one anyways because it helps show how happy I was to be done with that darn swim (new open water PR) and a portion of the distance we had to run up to transition that was part of our swim time. Apparently I swam with my tri top half unzipped too...dummy!
For those of you who care, (I didn't at this point), I was: 
4th out of the water in my age group out of 9 and 20th overall for the females with a 1:34:12 2.4 mile swim
I got that red dirt off in the water bins they had out the best I could and was off into transition to get ready for the longest bike ride for me to-date. It was a day for PR's for me. I needed the CrossFit H-Town PR bell along the course to ring each time I set a new personal record. I actually missed our first 100 mile ride when I was home in Michigan and our second scheduled one got moved indoors because of a storm, so I had only previously rode 90 miles on the road. 

Left: New Pearl Izumi Tri Fly Carbon Sz.: 39
Right: Old Nike Altea Sz.: 38 (clearly too small...)
The thing I was most worried about on the bike were my bunions flaring up and causing it to be painful for me to pedal, which it had done for me in all our training rides over 60 miles, but I got new sweet cycling shoes and thought I had somewhat solved the issue, which was clearly I had too small of a shoe, that I had bought way before I even thought of buying a bike. I used them for teaching indoor spin classes, which they worked perfect for...not so much for 60+ mile bike rides. The other was keeping my cadence up and not trying to worry so much about getting caught up on my speed so I could keep my legs fresh for the run. I was also slightly freaked out by the high winds OKC had been having because I've experienced strong wind in Pearland, TX where we did most of our training rides, and it's not fun to ride through. 

Really though, I was thrilled to be on that bike. My bike Polly has really treated me well despite my care for her. Let me just say that when Steve and I got our bikes tuned up about month out from the race, I was in Heaven with how wonderful she shifted for me and really enjoyed our last few rides leading up to the race despite some of the pain I had gone through in our long rides with my bunions, getting lost, trying to keep up with the guys, and really giving up every Saturday night of my Summer so that I could be up before the sun rose for our Sunday rides. I was able to still make a few social events while training, but did have to miss out on a lot. It was hard for me to miss out on those things because I'm one that likes to be at everything. 

The bike is where my nutrition plan went full throttle. I started right away with a Roctane GU with caffeine to give me a boost and started sipping my water and Accelerade that has protein to feed my muscles something they want besides keeping them hydrated. It was right around 9AM when I started the bike, so my plan was to do a GU every hour on the hour for the bike and keep hydrating in-between. I also took a salt tablet every hour on the half hour. I rotated between grabbing a Gatorade and a water at the bike aide stations from the magnificent volunteers that manned those stations. I would like to see some statistics on attempts at grabbing bottles on the fly because my ratio was not great. I went to grab a banana half one time and totally stuck my finger in the mushy stuff, but did not succeed at the banana grab. Whoops! The second attempt at the same station was a success though. 

As far as solids, I planned to have a vanilla Stinger waffle roughly every 20 miles with my last one being chocolate. The chocolate one was my treat for being almost done with biking 112 miles. I had them positioned that way in transition to put in my back pouch of my jersey. It worked like a charm. Those things are f-ing delicious. Lance was a genius for hooking up with Honey Stinger to revolutionize cycling nutrition. I also grabbed a banana at the aid station after each 1/4 of the bike was complete. I like to break things down to make them seem more obtainable, much like I did in the swim with the counting to 10. Man, that seems like a lot of intake, doesn't it?

Not only did I consume all the above, but I started to prep for the bunion pain and began taking Tylenol with each salt tablet. That decision was made mostly in part because I had them in the same pill flip-lid container and trying to maintain a decent speed and picking out pills to take and then get water right away is not an easy task. 

It was fun to see all the JSC guys that were racing the long course 70.3 go flying by on their sweet rides as I tried to give each of them a shout while trucking along on my Giant ROAD bike that I got the upgraded components on and added aero bars to that I adore. They were already headed back to town before I had even made the turn down the long country road stretch. I thought to myself, "Man, I wish I could be going that fast right now," but I knew I had to pace myself which is something that use to hurt me in running because I would always "pace myself" and then have way too much left in the tank at the end knowing I could have exerted more during the race to get a better end result. Finding that happy area of optimal fitness to be giving it your all, but not over-exerting is what we all wish we could be better at, well those of us that like to compete and get better at least. I'm over those goals of just finishing something now. I train all those hours to be a competitor, not just to say I did something. I reminded myself that they were all on way faster bikes than mine and started the swim at least 6 minutes before me. So in all reality, I was looking for the first women to fly by, but essentially had no clue which race they were in. 

It was also fun and encouraging to see my coach, Steve, and Paul that were doing the same race, even though I totally missed Steve the first lap and thought Paul was Steve and yelled, "I love youuu!," only to realize he was wearing a white aero helmet and I knew Steve was wearing the same black Rudy Project helmet I was wearing. Whoops! I love you too Paul, but not like I love Steve. All those sick looking JSC kits looked so similar as we flew by each other.

I knew I was passing more people than were passing me though, which is very typical for me on the bike, and I'm almost positive I didn't let any women in my AG pass me.
After the first split of the bike, I had the 5th fastest time for the women overall with a 2:56:27 at 56 miles, but again, was clueless of this placement. 
It was real difficult to even checkout girls calves to see their age because a lot of them were wearing compression sleeves. I knew I had passed two girls in my age group so I knew I was in at least 7th place in my age group assuming I was last out of the water, but I figured I was somewhere in the middle, which was accurate because I was in 2nd in my AG at that point after being 4th out of the water. 

The second lap was a much different story. The pace slowed down for me at first because my crotch was sore, so I applied some Hoo Ha glide to numb that sh!t (I tried to make sure there weren't other riders or spectators by me when I stuck my hand down my shorts, but someone may have gotten a free show...) and then the bunion pain kicked in somewhere along the bumpy "no passing zone" that I didn't even know had started, but saw when it ended both times through actually. The bunion pain was in full effect. I don't exactly know the words that were coming out of my mouth, but I think there were a few people who passed me probably wondering who I was talking to or if I had fallen off my rocker. There was a point were my feet were hurting so bad and the wind was so intense that I was literally crying. Thinking about it now, it makes me sound like a whimp, but it sucked. Plain and simple.

There were much less people heading in the opposite direction on the second lap, but got a good cheer from Johnny as he went by looking strong as I believe one the top 10 men overall, Steve looking like he wasn't even working yelling "Pee time!" as he was standing on his bike, and then Paul who wasn't too far ahead of me, which I thought was strange because I know he's a strong cyclist, but made me feel good. I tried to count all the chicks ahead of me, and it seemed like there were less than 10 in front of me, but I didn't really think much of it. I was casual along the course giving a shout to a gal with the same bike as me and another with the same cycling shoes me. :)

I also noticed that I had to slow down more at intersections because officers directing traffic had begun to go in their cars until they saw a biker coming which sometimes wasn't quick enough. I still made an effort to thank every officer and volunteer I could as they didn't have to be there to make my racing experience a more pleasant one, but I feel like police officers are paid and should have all been out there on their toes ready to stop traffic in plenty of time so the racers didn't need to lose momentum before approaching a hill, but more importantly are SAFE! Come to find out, my poor Steve had a run-in with this, but it was more the driver on the open course's fault than the officers, regardless, he'll never get that race back. That one second that put a huge damper on his first 140.6 because some rude person couldn't wait the maybe 30 seconds for him to make his turn and the officer to wave him on his merry way. He was a trooper though and battled through the last 5 miles of bike and the 26.2 run/walk to finish the goal he set out to accomplish, just not how he would have liked to.

It seemed as though there were several others dealing with issues of their own out there, but pushed through as well to cross that finish line. Thankfully, the most painful part of the race for me was the bunion pain for the last 1/3 or so of the bike that didn't effect my run.

I had a vision of negative splitting the bike as I did most of my long training rides, but that sure as h*ll wasn't happening with those winds and the pain in my feet. I wish I knew how much Tylenol I actually took, but I remember thinking, "I should probably hold back on the Tylenol so I don't OD," but my logic was my body was metabolizing everything I took in so quickly that it was fine.

I did for sure want to set myself up for a solid run though and did as Johnny told me to and dropped down to a fast gear after I hit 100 miles (also a PR ;)). This allowed a few people to pass me, but I just reminded myself that I would pass them on the run, and I most likely did. One guy that passed me had a "18" on his calf. That's awesome. There is no way I had enough self-discipline to train for an Ironman at that age. He also had a sick bike setup. I wonder what his parents do? I actually think I may have passed him back up again, but there are some blurry parts of the race.

I did stop at the special needs tent in the last 5 miles of the bike to get my thin socks to have for the run because I was real worried my bunions would hurt on the run too. I yelled "1003 special needs bag 1003!" from quite a ways back so they would have it ready for me, and sure enough the bike course director was at the aid station  and got the volunteer to grab it right away for me, such service! A 40-44 year old female that I had been going back and forth with for a few miles passed me up when I stopped and then another older chick passed me on her sick TT ride too once I got rolling. It took a lot to refrain from putting Polly (my Giant) back in the big gear and catch them, but there were less than 4 miles to go, and I just wanted to prepare for the run and not have my legs cramp up like the many I saw at IMWI when volunteering at the bike dismount. It looked painful and did not want to start my run that way. Speaking of the dismount, I need to have Steve teach me how to be more graceful and bring my legs to one side like he does. He makes it look so good. I on the other hand probably look like a fool, but it works and then I run into transition with my shoes on. It really wasn't that long of run to my stuff, unlike at the Chicago Triathlon where I think I cracked my old cycling shoe running on the pavement.
I ended up finishing the bike leg with the 7th fastest female time and 2nd in my AG with a 6:24:45 averaging 17.5 mph, which I was content with (on a ROAD bike nonetheless).  
So T2 was also a PR for me, only the longest I've ever been in transition, but it was actually right in line with my plan of about 5 minutes for each. My transition area was right outside the men's changing tent and there were two guys standing there watching what seemed like my every move, but I'm sure they were just chatting. One may have been a volunteer, but the other was one of the fasted 70.3 dudes. As I tried to make sure my feet were dry, put on those fresh thin socks I grabbed at special needs, my oh so lovely Newton's that were easy to slip on with my Yankz!, my Lululemon headband, loaded the Body Glide on, and emptied my back pockets of my jersey making sure my garbage was in my bag because I didn't want to get a penalty for littering in transition (if that's even a penalty). I was very cautious of this on the bike because the USAT head referee for the event told us at the pre-race talk that they'd be marking people for dumping trash outside of aid stations, which was not fun to hang on to oozing GU packets and extra wrappers, but I followed directions for once in my life. I grabbed my race belt and looked at those guys and said, "I guess I should go run, huh?" as I saw some people come into transition and head out on the run while I was still in there. Whoops!

I started to run out of transition where I had walked it earlier, but it looked different in the sunlight and I wasn't quite sure where to run. I probably looked like such a rookie. I headed out on the run and saw Andrea and Lauren (Paul's wife who trained with us too) right away. I smiled and hit "lap" on the Garmin to see "begin running." That was such a relief for me. I was so happy to be running. I grabbed Gatorade right away and then started my run nutrition plan of a GU packet and a salt tablet at the beginning of each of the 4 run loops. I was running under a 9 minute pace at that point and tried to slow down as I was told if I was feeling good, to slow down. 

There were much more fans along the run course, which usually causes me to speed up, so I kept checking my pace to not get too excited, but definitely enjoyed the support. As I was approaching the first mile aid station, I saw what appeared to be a toga party, yup, the volunteers were dressed in togas, I loved it! I grabbed ice and Gatorade on the fly. At every aid station to follow, I alternated water and Gatorade, but was always grabbing ice. This was something I learned from coach JZ on one of our bricks where he kept making me stuff ice in my pockets and down my back. I didn't want to do it, but he made me, and it certainly helped keep my body temp down in that heat. I discovered I could put ice in my headband to almost have like an ice pack on my forehead because it was thicker and pretty tight. I began to just ask for "ice water" and "iced Gatorade." I learned that I had to start yelling my order in advance if I wanted to grab on the fly because the majority of the other athletes out there were stopping at the aid stations. I didn't want to do that. I wanted to at least do what I set out to do, which was run the first 13 miles without stopping.

When I saw Steve, I thought "Ooh I might be able to try to catch up to him," but then I didn't know what lap he was on. He wasn't looking like he was keeping the pace I knew he could, but I just thought his body was reacting to events of the day. Little did I know, he was in severe pain. I didn't see Johnny or Paul on my first lap, which I was confused by, but just kept running and hydrating.

So many racers and spectators were commenting on how good I looked, so I'm sure I was beaming of joy. I did finally see Johnny and we both gave each other a cheer. Still no Paul, but Andrea and Lauren had moved to the restaurant right on the course. There was one fan that even yelled, "Your the 4th female overall right now!" I chuckled and said, "Yeah, right." I just kept holding my pace and sucking down liquids. I saw some fast girls that were what I though ahead of me, but it turns out, they weren't. There were a few that I did catch up to though that were ahead of me, but I still didn't know what lap they were on.

I fought to keep running, but it really wasn't too difficult. I just reminded myself of that goal to not walk in the first 13 miles. When I saw Steve the second time I asked him what lap he was on as he was walking and he wouldn't tell me so I said, "I hate you....just kidding, love youuuu!" I wasn't sure if he was on his second or third loop and wanted to catch up to him so bad.

The aid stations got to know me and were calling me by name (it was on our race bibs) which is always motivating for me. That same guy told me I was in 3rd for real the next time around and the others weren't too far ahead of me. I still didn't quite believe him, but thought that would be pretty sweet if I was. I got to the half marathon point and yelled to the aid station volunteers to get the 1003 special needs bag out so I could change up my socks because they were quite drenched and I could start to feel my toes rubbing. I sat down real quick to change them and the volunteer also brought me Coke and ice to take with me on the fly. It was a brief stop, but was needed.

I made some friends along the route, one being the 2nd place overall female who asked me, "How old are you? I can't read your age." I had no problem telling her I was 28. She was relieved because she said I was looking strong. We chatted briefly about it being my first full iron distance tri and I was on my way. I remembered battling with the 3rd place female too for a bit, but I ended up being able to drop her as well. I was worried that she was in my AG because she looked younger than the other women out there, but I couldn't read her leg with her compression sleeves on. All I could make out was a 2. It turns out she was 22. How awesome to be doing a full 140.6 that well at 22 years old! Both of them were great competitors and had great races as well.

I did have one freak out on the run just passed mile 16 when all of a sudden I got a charlie horse in my left hammy. I decided to just walk it off for a bit, but thankfully it didn't last long. One guy heading the other direction said, "That's the first time I've seen you walking all day. I'm trying to stay ahead of you." That in itself was kind of motivating to hear that other racers were benchmarking off of me. No one passed me in that quarter-mile stretch I had to walk from what I remember. I grabbed a banana right away at the next aid station and then started to grab oranges at the toga aid station.

I ended up lapping Steve and dumped ice down his back to assure him that I love him. We express our love to each other in odd ways...The next time I saw him, him and Johnny were walking together. I was worried about them and couldn't figure out why they were walking, but just kept running and drinking a ridiculous amount of fluids. I kept thinking about times where I drank too much water in long distance running events in the past, but I needed every bit of it out there. I sucked down a 24 ounce water bottle within a mile on both the 3rd and 4th loop, crazy!

My "friend" giving me updates, said, "You just have to catch the girl in the green," so I set out to find this girl in green. I found her and ran behind her for a bit, but worked up enough to get by her. I was feeling great. I remember seeing Johnny and him saying, "Keep running baby girl!" The last time I saw Steve, I was on my last lap and he reminded me of another goal I set for myself of finishing before dark. I had been watching the sun get lower and lower. I pulled my sunglasses up after I rounded the last turn of the last loop to head back towards the finish line. I was now in a race with the sun as it was going down over the oh so calm lake.

I made sure to thank all the volunteers that supported me throughout the race on my last lap and had a handful of people ask me if it was my last lap. That last 6.5 miles felt awesome, especially when the guy updating me said, "You've got it. Stay strong the rest of the way." I couldn't believe it. The one thing that didn't feel awesome was the chaffage I could feel on my right inner thigh, but I'm really not sure why I didn't just grab a slab of Vaseline from one of the many aid stations. I didn't even get any fluids at the last two, I just wanted to finish. When I saw mile marker 25 I started to tear up and was actually sniffling. The dude in front of me looked back to make sure I was okay, lol. I passed him and the last two aid stations because I just wanted to get there.

The BAM (Bay Area Multisport) gang said they'd have sandbags for me to cross the finish line with that they had for another one of their teammates who does CrossFit too, but they weren't there when I rounded the corner. It's probably better that they weren't. I had been thinking about if I was going to cartwheel across the finish like I did in my first marathon in Chicago, but then I thought a heel click would be a safer bet.

When I hit that finisher's shoot and saw the tape under the finish line arch for me to break, the tears started rolling. I can't even describe the joy I felt, but my finisher photo pretty much sums it up.
Photo courtesy of James A. Randell Photography
I got my heel click in, and Andrea was right there with her phone for me to call my mom. I said, "Mom, I won!" She was like, "What do you mean you won?" I explained, "I was the first woman to cross the finish line." Such a crazy thing to say, but it happened. 
I finished as the first overall female with a marathon time of 4:18:56, the 9th fastest marathon time of the day (males and females) with a 12:27:46.04 first 140.6 final time. 
I saw some great looking women athletes out there who's races took a turn, so I'm thankful I was able to keep my energy up and that my body allowed me to tackle this race like I did. Even my coach was in the med tent getting an IV. I think I grabbed a Coke and water and headed to the massage tent with Todd, another JSC guy that trains with Johnny who had completed the 70.3 earlier in the day. I got my massage, went to my transition area and got out out of my nasty clothes.

In transition, I was able to meet the "girl in green" and the guy that was giving me updates. He came to the fence and introduced himself. I thanked him for the support to get me to the top. I put my Zoot shoes on and set out to go find Steve and bring him in. He was starting his last lap and wanted to try to run a bit. Before he took off, I broke the news to him and I think I had some tears again. He didn't believe me at first either. He pushed through that last lap and made it across the finish line and has some interesting stories of his own. 

The emotions I felt during the day ranged greatly, but I strongly believe my nutrition and hydration gave me an edge on the competition out there and confidently know that without Steve deciding to reach this goal with me, I wouldn't have had as much success as he helped me stay on track and accountable with my training. I know CrossFit enhanced my endurance quite a bit over the last year and has brought me close to other fellow triathletes and Ironman finishers who gave me their pointers and motivation. I don't even want to think about what my race would have been like without Johnny and Andrea. They truly molded me into the athlete that put forth a solid performance out there. 

Andrea and Johnny Zepeda (1st place male 40-45)
At breakfast the next morning while I was enjoying my sweet potato pancakes we discovered Johnny was fist overall for males 40-45. I was excited that I wasn't the only one going to collect hardware at the awards. 

It was bittersweet to be back at the race site the next morning. I was very proud and honored when I got called up to the stage at the awards ceremony. The announcer was funny, he said "I wanna shake your hand." when he called me up. I was happy to see the women I interacted with during the race all up there with me and "the girl in green" got the first place spot in our AG. Luck definitely played a part in getting that 1st place overall slot with no pro or elite field, but many of those women had conquered 140.6 before, so I really couldn't be happier with my performance. 

I know Steve is proud of me, but I'm really proud of him too because it took courage to fight through the unfortunate situation he was put in. His time to shine is coming, I know it. He puts in his time training and really is a phenomenal athlete with horrible luck. He is sharing part of this glory with me in my eyes because I know I wouldn't have been as prepared as I was for this race without him by my side throughout everything leading up to race day.
Thanks to all my friends and family for all the love and support to get me here. The bar is set! My one blister on my right pinkie toe and chaffage is pretty much healed now and I had my post race massage yesterday (Thanks B! ;)). Now to figure out what my next race will be. I'm quite pumped for the Houston Marathon though in January. I know breaking 4 shouldn't be an issue, but a Boston Qualifier would be absolutely wonderful. ;)
Me and Steve in our Powerhouse Racing shirts at the Finish Line of Redman Triathlon 2012 post awards ceremony. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ellipse Fitness is my new favorite!

I'm training to be an Ellipse Fitness instructor, and I freaking love it! The workouts are so well put together to accomplish great results, and best of all, it's so much fun! :)

The Brookfied, WI location opened up this week, and the Third Ward location is opening doors in December. I can't wait!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Teaching a NEW group fitness format - Stroke & Pedal

I'm excited to start teaching a new group fitness format that is great for individuals looking to stay in shape for indoor triathlons over the winter, get a jump start on the outdoor tri season, or simply get a great workout on land and sea (well, the pool at the Wauwatosa, WI WAC). The class consists of 30 minutes in the pool with the amazing coach Leah, a former Michigan State University swimmer who is guaranteed to put together an swim workout to get your heart pumping, followed by 45 minutes of intense spinning with yours truly, a beginner triathlete who's not new to spinning, but I'll help you create a nice puddle under your bike getting the heart rate up burning those extra calories you wouldn't from your normal routine on the cardio equipment, with a 15 minutes transition time built in there, and 15 minutes optional post class stretching that I'll lead, since stretching is probably my favorite thing to do anytime anyplace. 

If you're not a WAC member, no worries, you can still sign up. Give the club a call 414.443.500 Class starts Thursday, November 11 and runs for 8 weeks. It's the perfect way to stay on top of your game 
over the holidays. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Vegas Baby!

Just got back from an amazing 4 day trip to Vegas...

-stayed at the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in...The Trump
-experienced the OUTRAGEOUS Rehab pool party at the Hard Rock once again
-did a 6 mile run on the strip
-Ms. Bonkowski made the drive from L.A. to see us :) :) :) (haven't seen her since she left almost 2 years ago)
-met up with a few different friends in the area
-obtained quite a bit of FREE booze
-ate some delicious sushi
-lived the life of a ROCKSTAR once again
-lost 5 lbs.
-Saw the original Cirque Du Soleil, Mystere

All in was a magnificent trip!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 1 of Blogging

I'm all moved in and slowly, but surely getting everything in it's place in my new apartment on the Milwaukee River.
Work isn't too bad, but it's good to be back in the Midwest. Living in New York City for almost a year was truly a great experience, and I'll miss some things, mostly people, but I knew I'd be happiest back in Milwaukee. I still think it's crazy that I lived in worked in Times Square for 10 months. I actually got use to the subway system.
I'm back at the WAC (Wisconsin Athletic Club) teaching a few times a week, just auditioned for a summer dance scholarship, and got it, so I'll be dancing a lot this summer, as well as hopefully doing a few triathlon's (finally got fitted for a bike this weekend), and continuing my marathon training.

I'm headed to Vegas in 3 days, and am quite excited. I'm hoping luck is on my side this trip!