Sunday, September 30, 2012

CMT Awareness - Help Spread the Word

Everyday when I wake up I am blessed to be in good physical and mental health. I can't imagine having a disease that makes my body weak and bound to a wheelchair. Yet there are many people who despite this unfortunate reality still contribute to our world in their own unique way.

Wearing the CMTA shirt to help promote awareness of CMT
The purpose of this post is to promote awareness of Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT) Disorder. CMT is the most common nerve disorder yet most people have not heard of it. I was in the same position until I learned of the disorder from a teammate Jamie Bull. Jamie was asked to help raise awareness of the disorder and to enlist the help of Team Rev3.

CMT is a basket of nerve disorders that impacts about 1 in 2500 people. The disorder makes transmitting signals to the affected person's muscles difficult. The end result is muscle atrophy. This means these individuals lose the ability to use their hands and feet and eventually their core often resulting in the use of a wheelchair. Imagine not being able to walk or use your hands to write or cook or anything else that you may like to do.

Please share this post with anyone you know who is interested in helping people. For more information on CMT please visit http://www.cmtausa.org to donate visit http://www.cmtausa.org/donna. Thank you!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3 Race Report...Love me Some Rev3!

Last Sunday's Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3 triathlon was my biggest race of the 2012 season. I'm happy to say that it went well - in fact better than I expected given the setbacks I have experienced this season! I had planned to attempt the full 140.6 earlier in the season but after suffering a series of injuries to the left foot (see earlier posts), I decided completing the half was more realistic for me this year.

Prerace:

Just arriving at Cedar 
Steve and I were super excited to arrive in Sandusky on Saturday afternoon! We had packed most of our gear Friday night after work and planned to just get moving in the morning, drop my daughter off at a friends and get on the road. The drive went smooth. We arrived at the Rev3 expo around 1:00. We bumped into some teammates including Heather Oravec and her other half Matt in line to have our bikes checked out one last time by Bike Authority's Sean Gilbert. We picked up our bibs and headed over to the timing chip area where we were greeted by teammate Jen Small's smiling face. We also spotted Laura Mount who was hard at work though I did get a quick hug!

Rev3 Teammate Lauren Bogenberger & Me
We got our goodie bags and were greeted by Rev3 owner Charlie Patten and teammate Laura Veeden Wheatley. Then we ran into some of other friends: Laurie, Alex and Collen that were all doing their first 70.3s! On the way to the bike check-in we ran into teammates Jeff Vanis, Ryan Heisler and Heidi Austin. We chatted for a few minutes and got the details of where the team house was so we could meet up for dinner that night. While setting the bike up in my area I bumped into teammate Lauren Bogenberger. Talk about a Team Rev3 presence!

Steve and me checking in our bikes
Following the expo we checked in at the host hotel, which was Hotel Breakers. We could literally see the swim start from our room! We headed over to the grocery store to pick up food and headed over the Rev3 team house and had an awesome dinner and couple beers with the Team. Got to hang out with Ryan, Jeff, Lauren and her beau, Heidi, Tim Andrus and meet Elizabeth Wittmaack Kaplanis and her beau and Anthony Beeson. We headed back to the hotel around 8 and stopped there at the Perkins for some French Silk pie! Mmm, you gotta love the guilt-free carb coma before a big race! We played a little scrabble on the iPad and called it a night around 10. Sleep was off and on as is usually the case before a big race.

Race Morning:

The alarm went off at 6. We got to sleep in a little since Rev3 let the 70.3 racers have until 7:30 to be out of transition. The triathlon gods were again kind to us as we awoke to learn that the normal swim was on and Lake Erie was again very calm for the race as it was last year. That was a relief. We arrived at transition around 7, got setup and headed back to Hotel Breakers to finish getting ready. I had a hard time eating due to nerves but was able to have one multi-grain gluten-free waffle with peanut butter and a good bit of watermelon.

The Swim (1.2 miles):

Our waves started at 8:45am for Steve and 8:50 for me. We headed out to the beach around 8:20 for a swim warm up. The water was nice at just under 75 degrees and wetsuit legal for us age groupers, which was also a good thing! I cheered for Steve as his wave started and headed in with teammate Lauren B for our wave (female 34 and under). Next year I believe I will be in the older wave, which maybe will help me in the swim ranking (one can hope). We started and I took a very relaxed approach of letting the fast swimmers go for it and running in for a bit since the water is shallow for quite a while. Finally diving in, I felt good. The sun was shining, the lake was calm and I actually had a peaceful feeling. The swim was clockwise about 800 meters out, 800 meters over to the right and 400 back to the beach. I felt good but really dragged the last 400. This is likely due to my lack of discipline with swimming late season. Aside from Rev3 Wisconsin olympic, which was 1500m I maybe did two other 1600-1800m swims. Additionally I was slow getting out of the water. This showed in my time of 49:24 versus my time last year of 45:22.

T1:

I was super hungry coming into T1 and a little discombobulated as T1 is always tougher for me than T2. I grabbed a gluten-free cinnamon doughnut, got all my gear ready, grabbed my bike and headed for the bike exit. I figured I would need to make up some time on the bike to compensate for my lackluster performance in the swim. In total T1 was 3:36. A bit lengthy but I just hate getting that wetsuit off!

The Bike (56 miles):


My bike affectionately known as Roxanne
I love the bike course at Cedar Point! For the most part it is flat and fast with a total elevation gain of just 600ft. Race temperatures were comfortable and I felt pretty strong on the bike averaging 19.97 mph for the first 22.5 miles and 18.42 for the back 33.5 (this includes a stop off road to pee as I could not try as I might pee off the bike). Total time according to my bike computer was 2:53 but that didn't factor in my break so my time per Rev3 was 2:56:43 (19.01mph) whereas my computer said I averaged 19.42mph. I enjoyed the ride and all went smooth. I felt more fatigued after mile 40 and especially for the last few miles heading back in. The bike was definitely my favorite and best performing part of the race!

T2:

By T2, I was tired of course and again starving so racked the bike, changed into running gear, grabbed another gluten-free cinnamon doughnut and ate on the way out to start the long run ahead. T2 time was sluggish at 2:59.

The Run (13.1 miles):

What is there to say about the run besides the fact that it hurts to run long after being on one's feet for around 4 hours? Quite honestly I was most afraid of the run, which is often one of my best events. With a lot of off-running time this year due to injury I was afraid I wouldn't make it to the half to begin with. I had gotten in some decent 7 milers and one 9.5 mile run a couple weeks before the race. I was a little worried but hoped if I paced myself slower than I would be okay. The first mile I was busy eating and felt strong and motivated as the spectators were cheering. I again had to pee so I grabbed a quick drink and hit the outhouse. I maybe lost a minute here but nature was calling and this was my only other bathroom break for the race. Around mile 6 I started to feel more fatigue and I ended up running for a few miles with an older triathlete from FL who talked my ear off. This passed the time for a while. I remember hearing cheers from the very awesome Cleveland Triathlon Club. This was a real pick me up as was the guy playing music from the Rocky soundtrack. I am very thankful for all the people who volunteer at the aid stations and who cheer! Another big pick me up was seeing Rev3 owner Charlie and our team mom Sharpie out on the course as well!

By mile 8 I had numerous aches and pains in my left arch and left knee and right calve but just went into the pain cave and stayed steady. I was happy to hit mile 10 and be in the double digits. Mile 11 I thought of my husband and figured he'd be finished by then and the last mile I gave it everything I had as I realized I could maybe break 6 hours! Also I was hungry!

The Finish:

I saw Steve waiting for me about 1/4 mile from the finish and I sprinted my heart out to finish in 6:00:37 - just a little over my goal. I heard the announcer call my name, I received my sweet finisher medal and walked over to Steve for a big hug and a couple tears of disappointment that I didn't break 6. I quickly realized that I had still done my best and still beat 2011's overall time despite numerous setbacks this season. I think my better performance had a lot to do with the support I receive from Steve and Team Rev3 and my friends and family and maybe a little bit of stubbornness!

Thanks to everyone who has been there for me and to all of the sponsors who made this day possible including of course Rev3 themselves, PowerBar who provided much fuel for 6 hours, Pearl Izumi for the kit and shoes, Swiftwick for happy feet, BlueSeventy for the awesome googles and of course Normatec for the recovery boots!





Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rev3 Wisconsin Dells Race Report

I am so glad that the hubby and I were able to participate in the inaugural Rev3 Wisconsin Dells race! We had an absolute blast - from the road trip to meeting some amazing Rev3 teammates and staff to the race itself to post race. We had a wonderful experience and highly recommend the race to any triathletes that care to venture to the Cheese state.

Prerace:

Driving through Chicago!
We pretty much had all of our stuff ready to go by Thursday evening since we had to work Friday and get on the road afterwards. Steve and I met up at home, loaded the car up with gear and our beloved bikes, dropped my daughter off at her friends and hit the open road. Neither of us had ever been to Wisconsin so this was a new experience. We drove from about 7PM that night to just before South Bend, Indiana and stopped there around 11:30 for the night. We got back on the road Saturday morning bright and early and made our way through Chicago, which I had only seen once before via airplane. Definitely a city I must check out soon! 

Listening to Rev3 Pros talk about the race



We arrived in Wisconsin Dells, which is a huge midwest tourist area. If you're into water parks you will love this place because apparently it is the largest area of waterparks around. We're not really into that but enjoyed some of the other Wisconsin Dells things, namely food and beer! We headed to the Rev3 Expo to pick up our packets and saw some of the Rev3 team including Laura, Holly, Tim, Ryan and some others who were working hard to get the race setup. We listened to the pros talk about their race strategy for the next day and attended the mandatory prerace athlete meeting and listened to Eric, Rev3's race director talk along with the local race director and USAT official.

in transition area setting up bikes
Once we finished up with the expo it was time to check our bikes into the transition area. Rev3 requires its athletes to do this the day before and it really helps make race morning easier since you're not tinkering with your bike, which we all know is the main thing we worry about on race morning! Steve and I changed out my wheels, took a few test spins and headed into the bike check area. 
Sharpie and me

Maybe the best part of setup was running into the one and only Carol Sharpless aka Sharpie aka Mama Bear. She is the team leader and an all-around good person not to mention that her blog is hysterical! I highly recommend you read it. She is one of the many reasons that I love being on the Rev3 age group team! Upon meeting her we walked down to Lake Delton to check out the swim setup and transition. The transition included a rather steep run (sans shoes) up the ashpalt road into the transition area. Around 1/4 mile hike maybe. Anyways Steve and I practiced running up without shoes to see how we would feel. Following this we drove the bike course to get a sense for the terrain. Boy was I glad we were doing the olympic! Hills galore!

After that we checked into our room and then headed out to meet some of the Rev3 teammates at Pizza Pub for a pre-race dinner. There we stuffed ourselves with Hawaian style pizza as we chatted with Rachelle, her friend, Jeff and Andy. They unfortunately did not have a great beer selection so the hubby and I hit up the Moose Pizza & Brewery for a prerace IPA for me, Coffee stout for him and a huge piece of peanut butter cup pie. Total carbfest and in fact I fell asleep with a full belly immediately when we got back to our room.

Race Morning:

I am always a nervous wreck on race morning and Rev3 Wisconsin was no different. My stomach was a mess and I could hardly eat. In hindsight maybe greek yogurt is not best before a longer race. We showered, got dressed, put our race tattoos on, grabbed our transition bags and headed out around 5:45am. Transition would be closing at 6:30. We got done in transition around 6:15 and had a while to wait until our waves since the half rev started first around 7.

Swim:

The olympic swim is almost as long as the half ironman swim at just under a mile. Lake Delton is a pretty calm recreational lake so I wasn't too concerned with the conditions plus I had brought my sleeveless wetsuit, which I thought would help. Steve's wave started a little before mine as usual and then it was my turn. Due to the narrow entrance off the dock into the water Rev3 had a time trial start where two athletes entered the water in a seated position every three seconds. This was a little nicer than the typical cluster at the swim start. I felt okay until I rounded the second red buoy and then I felt a little tired and a little unsure of the course since the Oly and Half courses were a little different. My time was just over 37 minutes, which seems slow. I feel like I swam longer than need be since I usually do 1.25 miles in 40 or low 40s. At any rate it was okay and I was anxious to exit the water and get onto the fun stuff!

T1:

As I mentioned earlier in the post, T1 was a challenge due to having to run up a steep ashphalt hill and path up to the transition area. Running and trying to get my wetsuit off is never easy for me either. I finally got it off in transition, dried off a bit, threw on my socks and bike shoes, helmet and sunglasses, grabbed my bike and ran out of transition. All in all it took over 3 minutes for this.

Bike:

The bike in Wisconsin was hilly. I was glad we opted for the Olympic distance as we only had abut 600 ft to climb versus the 2000 in the half! I didn't have a very good ride. I never really found my groove as I am so used to riding in my big gear set and I ended up riding in my small gear set due to some of the hills. This is something I'll need to work on for hillier courses. I did enjoy the scenery and watching the pros zip by but I was not happy with my mediocre performance. Was lucky to average 18 versus my normal 20+ this season. I blame some of this as I said on the change in gearing but also neglecting the bike some the weeks leading up to the race as I was mostly nervous about the run.

T2:

T2 was pretty straight-forward. Dismount bike, run it in, rack it and change into running gear. Think my T1 was around a minute and a half. I felt okay.

Run:

I was a little nervous about the run since I had just had my first six mile run maybe a week or 10 days before the race. I didn't really have time to focus on speed so my goal was just to finish it okay without hurting the foot. This I did accomplish. I felt pretty decent the first mile or two and even saw the hubby making his way back. That was pretty awesome as he gave me a nice kiss, which really helped me stay motivated. That was around a mile or mile and a half in. Around mile 2  I developed some pretty awful stomach cramps. I slowed my pace significantly until around 4 or so when I was cramp free. This was around the time that Rev3 pro Richie Cunningham passed me and shouted "good job Team Rev3, keep it up!" Awesome I thought...Richie was talking to me during the race. That gave me a lift and I felt pretty strong through the end.

The Finish & Closing Thoughts:

Steve and I after the race with our hard-earned medals
I was trying my best to break three hours but ended up coming up in 3:02. The best part of the finish was hearing my hubby cheer me on. I also really enjoyed seeing my teammates after too and hearing how everyone did. My teammates did great as many of them were on the podium and so was my hubby. I was a little sad to not have placed but accept that I was not in optimum condition for an olympic distance race. This was my first longer race of the season and really a step toward training for my upcoming half ironman at Rev3 Cedar Point. If anything I had a great time, met some amazing people and got in a terrific workout!










Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Making a Come Back Again at Fairport Harbor Triathlon

Sunday I raced the Fairport Harbor sprint triathlon. What a great little race! A lot of local talent came out to race and/or work or spectate at the race. I had a blast and was just so thrilled to be able to race again given the ups and downs with my foot. With the ankle sprain a couple weeks ago and only running once before the race last week, I was not sure how the running portion of the race would go. Fortunately it went pretty well.

It was a fun day and my goal was to finish in my age group and top ten females in the race if possible. Reasonable goals given my strength on the bike and assuming my run would be par. The swim I would not count on to get me to where I need to be in the race. If anything it is usually to my detriment and I spend the entire race catching up and passing people.

Pre-race:

Because Fairport Harbor is so close (about 10 minutes away) we went up to ride the course and swim the course Saturday. We also picked up our packets with everything we needed for the race. I think this made Sunday a little easier/smoother. 

As of late I have been getting myself ready to race the night before. This race was no different. Hubby switched out my bike wheels to my race wheels and I cleaned up our bikes since they were a little dirty. We had our bikes and kits and all of our gear ready to go for Sunday morning. We were able to sleep in until almost 6AM, which was a real treat on a triathlon race day! 

Chillen with the hubby pre-race
We woke up, made some multi-grain waffles with peanut butter and nutella, packed up and headed out by 6:45 arriving at the race start around 7. It was pretty packed already. We grabbed our bikes and transition bags and headed to the transition area. Because this wasn't a USAT race, we were able to rack anywhere so the hubby and I racked next to each other a row or two back from the bike out/run out area. We were set up and ready by 7:30 and were able to talk with some of our friends.

The start:

The Kayak triathlons went first. Steve's wave was to start at 8:10 and mine would start at 8:15. We got in the water around 8 and it was cold. Brrr! Neither of us had brought our wetsuits since the swim was just 500 meters but I was wishing I had brought my sleeveless. It was difficult to warm up with the Kayakers and Lake Erie being so shallow in the Harbor so we just got wet and waited. They called for Steve's wave and they started. They called for my wave and I was off.

500M Swim:

Finishing the swim
In true sprint fashion, the start was a complete feeding frenzy. I lined up near the front right but had a difficult time with my stroking and breathing the first few minutes as people settled in. The swim is shallow enough that people can touch so some were walking or running versus swimming and that made it more difficult to get around some folks. After 3-4 minutes I found my breathe and as I rounded the buoy to swim back I was on the left just next to the swim lane markers. I felt much more relaxed swimming the 250 back. Finally I saw the people ahead walking/running out as the water got very shallow. I stood and started running while I took off my swim cap, googles, etc. My Ironman watch said my swim was about 10 minutes but it took me a good minute or two to run out of the water and the transition was long so likely another minute to get to my bike.

T1:

As I said it was a long transition running from the beach up through a parking lot then through a grassy lane into the transition area. I reached my bike and dried off a bit, put on my socks and cycling shoes, sunglasses and aero helmet and grabbed my bike. I was running it out and thinking again that it was a long transition running up the grassy part to reach the bike mounting area. I would estimate at least 2+ minutes in transition here.

12.4 mile Bike:

start of bike course just before the hill!
The bike course is pretty flat and easy. One negative is that there is a hill at the start! It's not very long but sometimes those short, steep ones are tough! I had set my bike into a low gear to make the climb easy. As I mounted and started to pick up speed I was yelling at some of the newbie riders who were not clipped in on racing bikes to get to the right so I could pass. Then I was off. I enjoyed the ride. Some parts more than others. I passed people the entire race. The female who ended up in 9th overall passed me on the bike the last 1/2 mile or so. I felt pretty decent since my average speed was around 20.5 mph for a split of 36. It wasn't my fastest ever effort but not bad considering the winds on the last few miles of the ride back in. On the bike I had fueled with the Powerbar Perform and also took in a chocolate PowerBar gel around the halfway mark.

T2:

T2 was pretty basic. Run the bike in, rack. Switch shoes to my Pearl Izumi Transitions, throw on my Rev3 visor and go! I was probably around a minute here.

5K Run:

The run started with the same hill as the bike so that was a bit challenging but nothing too crazy. I felt strong from the beginning. I passed people the whole race and was just passed by a couple of guys the last mile and one 15-year old female who was 10th Overall with maybe 1/2 mile to go. I liked the course being a loop versus and out and back. I felt it was easier. I was laughing, joking and smiling for the whole run. It was a good feeling. I did not wear my Garmin but based on my IM watch splits I estimate my run at around 24 minutes so likely a 7:45-7:50 pace.

The Finish:

Excited to finish!
I love finishes! Then again who doesn't? This was a fun finish but I was a little nervous since it finished uphill in the grass. I did not want to hurt my ankle AGAIN! I finished in 1:15:36, 11th overall female and 3rd in my age group. Really 2nd after looking at their results since the woman who took 2nd overall was in my age group too. I am pretty happy with the result given where I am with my injury, training, etc. As usual it was nice to have Steve cheering me on as well as some friends throughout the race and finish!

Post race:

Wrapping up awards before the winking lizard with friends
After the race we hung out for the awards then headed over to the Winking Lizard in Mentor with friends for food and beer. That was a lot of fun! I was pretty exhausted after the race and it was a real treat to be able to use the NormaTec MVP compression boots for recovery!

Closing:

Special thanks to the race director, my husband, friends who cheered and/or raced too! And of course to my awesome sponsors: Rev3 Triathlon, PowerBar, Swiftwick, Blueseventy, SBR Sports and Normatec





Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One Step Forward Two Steps Back - My Poor Foot!

After months of trials and tribulations with my left foot I saw a glimmer of hope in the last couple of weeks. I had a successful sprint triathlon a couple weeks back followed by a five mile run on the trail that went well. I had went in to my physical therapist the Monday after and he approved my adding in a second weekly run in addition to increasing the distance of one of my runs. This was serious progress and I was seriously stoked. Two weeks ago I had run six miles on my favorite trail followed by five miles that Sunday. Woohoo 11 miles that week - back to double digits. But the best part was the lack of pain!

When you're used to feeling at least some level of pain and discomfort for 12 weeks, suddenly becoming pain free is strange...in a good way of course. Whoa, my foot feels okay I thought. Awesome!

I was excited to get in my midweek run and decided to head out Tuesday night to the trail for a shorter three-loop run. The loop at Girdled Rd is 1.3 miles so I would get in 3.9 miles and then head home to start dinner. Pretty simple. And not so simple. The first loop went FAST! I looked at my Ironman watch and thought whoa I did that loop in 9 minutes maybe I should slow down a little. So I did for a few and hit the second loop at 19. I contemplated calling it a day but I decided to finish the 3rd loop as planned.


And then as in a bad movie scene a twist of fate quickly changed my situation. About half way through that 3rd loop I was coming around a right side turn as there are many turns on the loop and I twisted my left ankle inward HARD. Ouch! The pain was severe so much so that I had one of those blackout moments for maybe 15 or 20 seconds where I thought holy crap what just happened?! And then I thought ouch this really hurts and I don't know if I can run. I hobbled/walked for maybe 2 or 3 minutes and decided to run the rest of the loop back slowly. It actually wasn't horrible running on it. I finished the third loop in around 33 minutes  with the walking. 


I made it back to the car and called my husband to tell him what happened. It was achy but okay it seemed as is usually the case with a twisted ankle. When I got home I took some ibuprofen right away and soaked the foot in a bucket of ice water. 


Waking up and walking on it the next morning was not so fun. Again icing, taking ibuprofen Wednesday and Thursday. Friday I had a previously scheduled appointment with Dr. Joy at the Cleveland Clinic Ortho department to follow up on my stress reaction and have some things checked out. Dr. Joy was great and very thorough. As I described the pain she had me get a second set of X-rays on the foot to be sure I didn't sustain any additional trauma as in a fracture from the ankle injury. Luckily I hadn't. 


I was treated for an ankle sprain. They gave me an Aircast ankle splint. It's very stylish as you can see from the picture here! I am supposed to wear it for a couple of weeks as it heals. I am in fact allowed to run but have not as of yet as I wanted to play it safe with a race approaching this weekend. I am planning to test it out on the trail tomorrow with the hubby close by in case I need any assistance. Assuming that goes well I will race Fairport Harbor Tri on Sunday. It is a sprint so should hopefully not add too much stress to the ankle and foot. Aside from that, I will see my PT next week for rehab and move ahead. Dr. Joy says I should be able to get back to my normal 30 miles a week of running. Looking forward to it since I have my Rev3 races to train for!


















Thursday, July 5, 2012

Making a Come Back at Milton Man Triathlon

I'm happy to report that the Milton Man triathlon went well! Despite my foot injury still lingering to some degree I am able to run a little now and even race! This is HUGE progress! On my race schedule I had originally planned to race the olympic distance. I felt with my longest run being 3.9 miles prior to this race that I would be pushing it so I raced the sprint. I have done this race three years consecutively now with the 2010 Milton Man being my first ever triathlon.

Leading up to race day I had some anxiety. I hadn't raced a triathlon yet this season and I hadn't run a road race since April 15. I felt that my bike performance would be decent since I did well in the Twinsburg Duathlon relay and I have been on the bike a good deal this season. I was a little nervous about the swim because I haven't been swimming much lately and certainly not with any focused effort on speed. Mostly I was nervous that my foot would fail me on the run. I didn't want to go through two of the three legs and not be able to finish.

Race Morning:

Half asleep in transition area pre race
Race morning went pretty smooth. We woke up at 4:30am (yuck). Steve was racing the sprint too and we had gotten our bikes, transition bags and kits ready the night before. We also had most of our breakfast stuff ready too and just had to brew a little coffee and load up the gear. We were on the road at 5:15 for the hour and a half trek to Lake Milton. One stop at McDonald's for a second coffee and potty break and we arrived at the race site around 6:45. The first wave was to start around 7:30 for the olympic so we had plenty of time to get set up and talk with some friends and fellow CTC athletes. You can see from the picture of me in transition that I look like and was half asleep still!


750m Swim:


I did a few minutes of easy swimming to warm up. The lake water was very warm so many people including myself went without a wetsuit. Steve's wave started about 5 minutes before mine. I did not feel nervous at the swim start. I was in the water and ready to go. I felt fine at the start and fine throughout. If anything I was too relaxed. I never really pushed the pace on the swim as I didn't want to waste energy that I felt I would need for the bike and run. My swim time here was slower than the two previous years at 19:51 versus 18:25 in 2011 and 17:42 in 2010. Yikes, I ranked 32 of 37. In 2010 I ranked 7/25. I remember coming into transition and thinking uh-oh most of the bikes are gone! This hurts my chances at placing. I will need to do a little work on the swim! I expect to be much stronger next season since my in-ground pool will  be open early and I will place a stronger effort on the swim.


T1:


I was a little slow coming out of the water and to be honest that could be reflected in my swim time. Once I hit the rack I dried off for a few seconds, pulled on my socks and shoes, threw on my sunglasses and aero helmet and took off. All in all T1 was 1:29 (18/37).

16 Mile Bike:

I feel like my bike start was a little sluggish. I was behind someone and didn't want to zip around them with the winding in the park. In hindsight I should have. I felt very strong on the first 8 mile loop. The course is pretty flat but has a couple rollers. I think the heat was getting to me a little and I felt tired approaching halfway through the second loop. I'm not sure why outside of the heat and nutrition I felt fatigued. Luckily I had a PowerBar chocolate gel with me which I took around mile 12. That helped! I was excited as I knew I hit the last mile. I had passed a lot of people on the bike but had no sense of where I was in terms of ranking.  I rolled into the transition area and thought whoa there are hardly any bikes here I must have done decent. My bike split was 46:29 for 16 miles so I averaged 20.7mph. Not quite as fast as I had hoped as I was shooting for 21-22 but not too shabby. I ranked 8/37.

T2:

Not much to say about T2. In and out in 56.4 seconds. Rack the bike, change into Pearl Izumi running shoes, which I love! Throw on hat and go!  T2 rank was 17/37.

5K Run:


Normally the run is my favorite part but being injured I was dreading this part of the race. My foot has been better but not 100%. My last run had been on a trail the Sunday before at Girdled Rd Reservation. I had run 3.9 miles, my longest in months. To race a 5K was not looking too promising. At the start of the run I felt hot, fatigued and my foot was achy and I thought maybe I should just throw in the towel. But I also knew that it takes my foot around 5 minutes or so to warm up to run and I just told myself to give it a try. I thought of Ruby and how much she loved to run and I ran. Slow at first. I felt like I was running in slow motion. A  jog really. But a few minutes later that jog turned into a run and I found my rhythm and kept going. It was so hot on the run course so I stopped for water to drink and throw on myself. The course was an out and back so at the halfway point I just wanted to stay steady and finish the race strong. I wanted to break 25 and I did with a 24:48 (flat 8 minute pace). Not bad for a non-running runner. I ranked 7/37.

The Finish:

Steve and I all smiles after the race!
The finish was sweet. Steve was standing there screaming for me. I love that he cares so much about how I do! I came in at 1:33:36, 2 minutes and 10 seconds faster than last year! I had a new PR for the course, finished 9th overall and kept 1st in my age group again this year! All in all it was a great race. Steve had a great race also finishing 8th overall, 1st in his age group and PR'd his time by more than 4 minutes!





holding on to my beloved Kestrel after the race

Once again I was really impressed with how my Kestrel handled and used my Gray 5.0 wheelset.


Closing:


As always I would like to thank my sponsors: Revolution3 Triathlon for the awesome kit, PowerBar for the fuel (used PowerBar chocolate gel and PowerBar Perform drink), Pearl Izumi for the kit, cycling and running shoes used the Tri Fly shoes and Transition running shoes, Swiftwick for the socks and Blueseventy for the googles. Using good gear and having good nutrition definitely helps with performance! I would also like to thank my husband for all of his love and support, my coach for his help and my friends and Rev3 teammates for all the encouraging words before and after the race!

This new bling is joining the McGowan family collection!


These are the trophies they gave to age group winners, pretty cool!





Thursday, June 28, 2012

2012 is a Bittersweet Symphony

I want to start this week's post out with the words to one of my favorite songs. It seems fitting since this is the title of the post. The song is Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve. It's an older song that most people probably know. Just in case you aren't familiar here's a link to the video on YouTube.

'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet
You're a slave to money then you die
I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet yeah

No change, I can't change
I can't change, I can't change
But I'm here in my mind
I am here in my mind
But I'm a million different people
from one day to the next
I can't change my mind
No, no, no, no, no, no, no,no,no,no,no,no(fading away)

Well I never pray
But tonight I'm on my knees yeah
I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me, yeah
I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now
But the airways are clean and there's nobody singing to me now


source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/

Why did I pick the title of this song for a blog post? Well if you've followed my blog recently then you probably know I have had some good and bad stuff going on this year. This last week was an especially bittersweet one. 

My family and I were packing to move into our new home finally and very excited and stressed about all that entails in itself. Wednesday afternoon I was on the receiving end of one of those phone calls that you never want to get. It was my husband telling me that our 7-month-old puppy Ruby (affectionately referred to as Ruby Roo or Rubester) was hit by a car. I was shocked to hear this and immediately left my office to race to the animal hospital. My daughter had let Ruby off of her leash for a moment to untangle it and Ruby darted for the road, which was very uncharacteristic of her. My daughter heard a thud and the scream of our poor little pup. Ruby had been hit by a random 20-year-old girl. One of our old neighbors saw what happened and was kind enough to help my daughter. They drove Ruby to three different animal hospitals. Yes, three! The first two were closed. Ruby was dying as she layed on my daughter's lap in the car bleeding and gasping for air. The poor little angel. She died shortly after arriving at the animal hospital. My daughter was an emotional mess. My husband said he'd meet me in the parking lot of the animal hospital. His eyes said it all as he walked over to me. I saw a tear and I just lost it. No! No dammit! Not my little Ruby Roo! 

After a few minutes of breaking down I collected myself to go in and see her. Lying there with her pretty brown eyes open but no breathe I realized how fragile life is. We had lost part of the family. This dog was my heart. She had become my daughter, my best friend, my favorite pet ever. It felt like I was having a bad dream. Unfortunately this really happened. It's been just over a week now and we really miss her. My last memory of her was my husband and I taking her for a walk to the school that was near our old house and running with her in the field. She had a blast that night and so did we.

She will never be forgotten. RIP my sweet little Ruby Roo. You brought us much happiness and fun for the short time we had you. Hoping I get to see you again someday my dear friend.



Then on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, we moved into our new home on Thursday! A house we waited for months to get. The day after suffering such a huge loss. Talk about bittersweet. There were ups and downs with the whole house buying process and it stressed us out the to the max but we are in now! There is so much to do but we are absolutely in love with it! It already feels like home. It's a place for us to retreat after long days or bad days and a place for us to grow our love and perhaps someday our family. Maybe we'll even find our next Ruby once we're settled.

Finally, just a quick update on the foot. I actually managed a 3.9 mile trail run on Sunday and felt decent. Still somewhat painful after but getting better every week. So I made the decision along with my coach and therapist to race this weekend. Just a sprint tri as I am not ready for much more with regards to the run. But it's a step forward. And I have to accept where I am in the season and in life. Sometimes it is a bittersweet symphony. This life.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stopping to Smell the Flowers

Before I begin this post, let me just state that I may be overly-emotional this week. In a good way though! I am stopping to smell the flowers. There is so much to appreciate.

It's been an incredible year!!!


  • I married the love of my life! A man that is my very best friend in the world,  makes me laugh everyday and makes me feel special...and lucky! 





  • I made the Rev3 Triathlon age group team! A team of inspirational, fun and fit people for an organization that does some amazing things like Running Across America to raise money for cancer! 





  • I will be moving into the house of my dreams anyday now! A beautiful colonial in an amazing neighborhood with an in-ground pool for practicing my swimming and a ready made gym! Perfect house for us! Pictures to come.


It's also been a challenging year!!!


  • The process of selling our home and now selling/buying at the same time! The stress of it all! Ugh!


  • I have the worst running injury ever in terms of time off - so far it's beaten my stress fracture last season! Not being able to run during these last 7 weeks has been a real challenge but I've survived it. I know I will get it back soon (fingers crossed).


  • Some personal stresses that my husband must face thanks to a ghost of the past who quite frankly seems bitter. I guess I'd be bitter too if I lost the most amazing man in the world thanks to my own stupidity! Her loss my gain!!!
So I am a little emotional. I have been blessed with wonderful friends and family and teammates and people that believe in me and support me. This post is to say thank you and also to let you know that I will be back stronger than ever soon! And more importantly wiser! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Twinsburg Duathlon Relay Race Report

After not racing since April I was pretty excited to have some action this weekend! When my husband asked me if I'd like to do the Twinsburg Duathlon relay I couldn't resist saying yes. He would run and I would bike. It sounded good to me.

Pre-race:

Twinsburg would be my new bike's maiden voyage along with my new wheels! Have I mentioned how much I love my Kestrel and Gray wheels? It would also be the first time I raced in my new Team Rev3 kit and my new aero helmet. This was a race with a lot of firsts! Steve and I headed up to the Twinsburg expo and had my coach and bike mechanic Sean put my race wheels on and tune up the bikes a little to get race ready.

We went home and rode 22 miles to see how the bike and wheels would handle for race day. I had only used the wheels once maybe 6 weeks back. We rode one of our usual routes. I was quite speedy on the first half. Unfortunately we had some bad winds heading back so it slowed us down a little. I was in a silly easygoing mood on Saturday night. Steve and I cooked a nice pre-race dinner of gourmet pizza and salad and craft beer and took it easy.

Race Day:

We got up Sunday morning and ate a quick breakfast, got dressed, loaded up the bike and our other stuff and headed out around 6am. We arrived at the Twinsburg Rec center where the race starts around 6:45 to get setup. We were both really excited. Here's a picture of me rocking my awesome new Rev3 kit and posing with my new bike.





The Start:

Finally around 7:40 I watched Steve and the others lineup. The race director Mickey made some announcements along with the local USAT official covering some of the race rules. And then they were off to run the first 2 mile leg.  A quick run to the ladies room for me and then I headed over to the relay area to get my bike shoes, helmet, shades and jacket on. It was starting to drizzle so I grew a little nervous about the weather. I hoped it would stop. Not so much luck!



T1, Bike

 Steve met me in the transition area 12:24 later and we switched the timing chip as per the rules. I grabbed the bike to run it out of transition and mounted pretty easily and we were off. I was a little nervous starting up with the rain since I don't have a lot of experience riding in the rain and had never raced this bike or wheelset before.  I knew I was close to the front of the pack so I just wanted to get on it. The start of the course is hilly for about the first 2 miles so I was probably just averaging 17-18mph and had to watch the turns with the rain. 


Once we hit a flatter section I opened it up more averaging between 22-26mph for much of the flat and slowing down for some turns. The rain unfortunately was coming down pretty good in parts of the race including some downhill parts with traffic as the roads are not closed. I just tried to be cautious. There's one section of the course with a longer climb and I slowed down there to 12-14mph as it was a tougher climb. Once we hit the descent I was back quickly to over 20mph hitting some downhill in the 30s. That's always a good feeling. The whole ride was good. There were a couple of other guys that I stayed with pretty much most of the race as I passed them and they passed me. I kept them as my markers. I wanted to finish in 30 minutes or less for the 10 miles. I ended up at 32:43 including our two transitions. This means I likely averaged about 20mph. Not bad for racing in the wind and rain and being a little conservative on the push. In fact I learned from my coach later that I had the fastest bike split of all the women in the race! And I think I ranked like top 15 or 20 overall with the men so that made me feel pretty good about all those miles I've been putting in!

T2 & The Finish:

I raced into the transition area and met Steve where we again switched the timing chip and he was off. I racked my bike and then got myself dried off a bit and headed over to watch the finish. It's always fun watching people finish! Steve made it back in 12:24 again for the second 2 mile run. Talk about even splits! Not as fast as he had hoped but still pretty good at a 6:12 average. For not doing a whole lot of running lately and no speedwork I think that's solid. They held the tape out for him since we were the first co-ed relay team with a time of 57:52!




Our first relay was a success! In fact we would have been third in the men's relay in terms of our time)! Not bad. Needless to say we were happy with the results. We stuck around to hang out with friends, get a bite to eat and collect our awesome award plaques. It was a great race again this year. Mickey does a fantastic job with the event. It draws a lot of strong local competition and it's just a fun atmosphere. We'll definitely be back again next year. Either for the relay or individually. TBD.

Special thanks to Rev3 Triathlon for the awesome new kit! And also to Swiftwick, who makes the world's best socks, Pearl Izumi who made our Rev3 kits and supplied the awesome Pro Aero jacket I wore, which  kept me dry through the race as well as the comfy and light tri bike shoes. Finally thanks to PowerBar for the pre and post race hat and race fuel. I used the PowerBar Perform for the race and use it for much of my training. It tastes good and keeps me going without any GI issues, which we all know is important!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Making Lemonade: Crosstraining and Working on my Bike Skills!

Loving the Bike:

My motto for this last week has been when life gives you lemons make lemonade! Although I can't run and I miss running, I am doing my best to move ahead towards my season goals. I had a fantastic week on the bike! We had excellent weather so I had to take advantage of it! Steve and I rode 130 miles: 24 Monday, quick 15 Wednesday, 20 on Friday, 50 on Saturday and 22 on Sunday. We did some of our usual routes and rode the soon-to-be new route for our new home in Concord. More hills over there for sure, which is good! I am getting much better at taking turns in the aerobars too. Also good! I LOVE my new Kestrel! It is such a smooth ride. Oh one more thing, Steve got me an aero drink setup too so that was nice to have in these higher temps.

Crosstraining: 

I also did core Tuesday morning and the eliptical trainer on Sunday for an hour. Steve, being the wonderful husband that he is, knows how much I miss running so he bought us a new eliptical. It set us back about a grand but we both figured we will use it to crosstrain when hurt and also the kids can use it. I used it again this morning and it feels kindof similar to running if you don't use the arm bars. The only difference is the lack of picking your feet up and thus the impact. Either way, it feels so good to sweat and feel like I'm running in a way! I plan to use the eliptical 2-3 days a week to help maintain my running fitness. I hear from others that this makes a difference in getting back to the run more quickly. Hoping this is true for me.

Swimming Like a Fish:

Unfortunately CSU rec center had closed down the whole facility for a week to clean. Cleaning is good but not having a pool to swim in is not. I was able to get in one swim at Lifetime Fitness since I still have a flex membership there and I did 2000m last night at CSU since they're open again. I LOVE the CSU pool right now because it is setup for long course. 50m lanes so 1 lap = 100m. This makes it easier for me and Steve as we like the longer lanes. I felt strong last couple of swims. I may do my first open water swim this weekend at Headlands or Fairport. I hear the water in Lake Erie is around 55 degree. Brrrr! Glad I have a new Blueseventy full wetsuit to try out. May need to grab a neoprene cap and booties though.

Other Fun Updates:

My Team Rev3 racing kit and training kit arrived yesterday! They look so cool! A huge thanks to Rev3 and Pearl Izumi for this awesome looking/fitting gear! I am EVEN more excited to race now. Just need the foot to heal. It's getting there.

After talking with Steve we decided to switch the Twinsburg Duathlon to the relay option. Steve will be running (which is good since he's a little faster than me) and I'll be biking! Yay! I can't wait to race my new bike. She's been good to me so far and I am excited to see what I can do with the new bike and wheels! Twinsburg is a tough bike course albeit short so I am hoping I can finish in around 30 minutes. We will see. The next race planned is Geneva Tri the week after. I may not be running or in running race shape yet at that point. My plan is to see how it goes and if the run is not there I will just race the swim and bike. It will at least give me some good race practice!


As I mentioned earlier we're in the process of buying a new home. We found our dream house and now we just have to get through the next 3-4 weeks of closing/moving and manage to kick butt at training too and fit in a couple races and do fun stuff with the kids and work full-time. No big deal, right?! Okay so I will leave you with these words of wisdom this week! When all else fails stay calm and do a triathlon!





Friday, May 18, 2012

Stress Reaction and Roadmap to Recovery

The Test: Did Not Pass!

After a very painful test run last week following the ART therapy, I decided it was time to see my Ortho doctor at Cleveland Clinic. The run was just a 2.5 mile test run to see if I'd be able to compete in the Nordonia Duathlon last weekend. I knew after the test that running was not going to be in my best interest. Within the first few steps, I felt that all too familiar initial twinge of pain that said "this is not going to go well". I moved along anyways as I had to see what my body could handle. Around 1.5 miles my foot was really hurting so I stopped to strech it and started up again telling myself that it was just one more mile. By mile 2.5 my foot was throbbing and burning. When I stopped to walk it was clear something was really off. I immediately soaked the foot in a bucket of ice and took some ibuprofen. Not a fun experience. Was I ready to run in Saturday's race twice? Not so much.

The Ortho Visit and MRI:

I was able to get in Monday to see Dr. Jones and he was concerned that I could have a stress fracture as was I. He ordered an MRI. Wednesday I went in for the procedure. If you haven't had the joy of an MRI yet let me describe what it's like. I also found a picture as well. To have your foot examined in an MRI, you lie flat on your back with your affected foot inside of a sort-of cast like area. The MRI tech provides you with headphones in an effort to try to drown out some of the disruptive noises of the machine's imaging process. They take a number of pictures of the affected area via image scan. Each scan takes anywhere from 1-4 minutes and makes some sort of alarming sound. It's really quite shocking. Since this was my second MRI, I was not quite as shocked as I was the first time.

It took approximately 40 minutes for them to take about 10 pictures. I received a disk with the images of my left foot. They look like the image here.

The Results:


Being the inquisitive person that I am I opened all of the MRI images on the CD that CCF had given me. Then of course I googled images of various stress fractures trying to figure out what was going on with my foot. I was hoping to hear from Dr. Jones yesterday since the results were in but I was unable to reach him until this morning. The results show that I have "stress reaction" in my left heel. So not a stress fracture but on the cusp of being a stress fracture.

The Treatment (Roadmap to Recovery): 

Dr. Jones said I do not need to be in a boot or take any specific amount of time off as with a stress fracture. Although I am to avoid running for at least 2-4 weeks until my foot is pain-free. I am allowed to bike, swim, pool run and use the eliptical as long as these are done pain free.

I will be seeing a running specialist to assess my running gait, shoes, etc to figure out what's going on. With this being the second season of injuring this heel in the same foot there must be an issue with something. One thing I can say is that I went minimal with my shoes both seasons. Aside from that I am not sure what else could be a factor. I am looking forward to learning and correcting whatever issues I have and getting back to being a strong runner again. Because running is my favorite and best sport of the three (although the bike is nipping at its heels - no pun intended) I am anxious to get back to good. Like that old saying when life gives you lemons make lemonade. I intend to do that with this injury.

The Schedule:

Last week I sat out of Nordonia Duathlon, I will be sitting out of Cleveland Marathon this weekend (which saddens me greatly) but I will be cheering for my husband and countless friends running! The Twinsburg Duathlon will now be a relay for Steve and myself. He will run and I will bike. So I am excited about that in a few weeks. I also had signed up for the Geneva Tri a week after. Right now the plan is to participate in the swim and bike and abort the run. This will at least allow me to get some tri race experience in June. I will likely not be able to run the Mentor Flag Day race either, which is also a bummer. I am shooting to be back on track by Milton Man and hope to compete in either the sprint or oly there. I will also plan to do fairport. I think I will be on schedule for Rev3 Dells 70.3.




Friday, May 11, 2012

Ups, Downs, Injuries and Introspections


It's been a tumultuous season for me. I'm starting to think that spring is just a bad season for me. I tend to be injured every year around this time. Maybe that's my body's way of trying to say something like "woman you are getting old". Just kidding. I don't feel old. I feel good and just need to deal with these injuries as they arise, accept the downtime and stay positive.

Yesterday I went to Solon Wellness Center to see Dr. Keyes' associate as recommended by Coach Sean. Talk about pain! The doctor did some serious work on my left foot, which has been aggravated for almost three weeks now. Think foam roller x 10. Deeply pushing with fingers and thumbs along my foot tendons and ligaments and along the shin and calves. Ouch! There were quite a few people around so I didn't want to scream or cry but I was close a few times and settled for biting on my shirt. I guess this is called Active Release Therapy (ART) and the doctor says within 3-4 sessions I should be better.

What does this mean with all my races approaching - including tomorrow's duathlon? It means I will be testing the foot out this evening on a run. First attempted run in almost a week. Doc says to take some ibuprofen in advance. I plan to do this easily. No fast running to relieve this bottled up stress but slow and steady just to see if the foot will hold up tomorrow. The race is not too long. It's a 2.5 mile run, 10 mile bike and 2.5 mile run. I am most concerned about run #2. So I will decide this evening if I am participating in the race or spectating and cheering for my husband and friends that will be racing.

As for Cleveland, which was originally to be a full marathon and changed to the half marathon, I have to wait and see. I have a second Dr. appointment with ART scheduled for next Thursday with a test run that night or following day to see how the foot is coming along. Running 13 miles with an injury can be rough and just sounds like a sufferfest to me. I certainly don't feel ready to set a new PR to say the least. My husband is very supportive and says if I am able to run he will run it with me for fun as a training run. That actually sounds like it could be a fun little adventure if my foot behaves. Otherwise I have some options: 1) switch to 10K, which would be easier on the foot 2) run some and or walk the half and 3) spectate AGAIN this year as I did last year with the fracture.

I have done a lot of thinking this season about who I am as an athlete, what I want, where I am right now and where I want to be in the years to come. So maybe this setback was needed for me to dig deeply into myself and consider these things. Being type A, I have this natural tendency to be competitive with myself as well as others. Many athletes have this attribute. In some ways it is good because it is a driver for continuous improvement and accomplishment. In other ways it is destructive because we hold ourselves to such high standards, sometimes lose the joy of the sport or push ourselves too hard. And let's face it, there is almost always someone that is faster than we are or else better suited to some particular race.

Let me get to the point here. I am at my best when I am sprinting. Some people hate 5Ks. I love them. I also love distance but I am not as fast at long races and my body tends to decline after a certain point - generally anything over the half distance. So I am considering all of this for next season already. I set a goal this year to complete my first full ironman distance race. And I am not backing out of that goal. It may be difficult, painful and a pain in the ass to meet that goal but I will do it. And I will enjoy doing a couple of 70.3 races, olympic and sprint triathlons and other races too. Even if I am not as fast at the long course triathlons I will enjoy the experiences and it will make me tougher mentally and physically. The picture I shared here is an Asian symbol for strength and I absolutely love the quote. It very much describes the mindset that an endurance athlete or aspiring endurance athlete must have to be successful.






Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Not a Very Good Training Week

This week is not turning out to be one of my better training weeks. I am having some issues with my left outside ankle (seems like a mild to moderate case of tendonitis). So I am resting it. With races the next two weekends back to back that is not good. Hoping to attempt a test run Saturday or Sunday. If that does not go well I will shut it down until the race May 12 and again maybe until May 20. Hopefully I just get back to it quickly.

In addition, I just feel bloated and crappy this week in general (tired, achy and have headaches). I've been battling this all season so far. It's weird. I felt terrific before my wedding while on the paleo diet but I cannot be on a paleo diet during Ironman training. I need energy to fuel those workouts. Cardio without carbs is like powering a car without gas. It just doesn't happen. After a little research this week my husband and I think I could have a gluten allergy. We are going to experiment with a gluten-free diet for the next 2-4 weeks and see how we feel. I am hoping this does the trick for me. Stay tuned in future weeks for an update on the gluten-free experiment.


Friday, April 27, 2012

New Gear & New Attitude...Keep Moving Forward With Where I Am

So far this has been an interesting season and the journey has really just started. There have been ups (a PR at St Malachi and 3rd place OA at Kirtland Hills 5K) and downs (early season tendonitis in my right foot, which is slightly bothering me again and an unexpectedly hot half marathon that I almost quit). Note "almost". I haven't quit a race yet and don't intend to start now! That being said, I want to take a moment to update everyone on some exciting stuff as the 2012 multi-sport season takes off for me:

The new ride AND wheels! My Kestrel Talon, New ISM Adamo Breakaway seat and new Grey 50mm Carbon Tubular Race Wheels and red Look pedals. Isn't she pretty?! 


The new FULL wetsuit! This is a Blueseventy Reaction. I also picked up some Blueseventy hydra-vision googles and swim cap and love them! (please excuse the bad quality of the photo and my post swim hair!)



Lots of new socks and arm sleeves from Swiftwick to make my feet/arms happy! Their stuff is outstanding!


Lots of new Pearl Izumi bike and run gear, which is super high-quality gear! I tried out my new Pro Aero Softshell jacket on Wednesday night's ride and LOVE it!


Also, I have a new in the box GIRO Aero helmet, which was a X-mas gift from the hubby. I have yet to try. Will break it out in a couple weeks for first multi-sport race this year!


Also, have lots and lots of awesome fuel from PowerBar. Gels, powder, energy bars, protein bars to keep me going on the very long workouts to come this season.



I am VERY much looking forward to starting off the multi-sport season and am just like a kid in a candy store right now with all this new, awesome gear. But while the gear is really great to have I know it will be a lot of hard work this season - especially getting through my first 140.6 at Rev3 Cedar Point! There will be ups and downs, wins and losses and I need to understand and accept that. In other words I will work on having more fun out there this season! At the end of the day I am truly blessed to just be part of an amazing sport (triathlon), a top notch team  (Team Rev3) and have so much support from sponsors, loved ones and friends! So on to the next one I go...with a smile on my face!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Run for Home Half aka Sufferfest Half

What can I say about the Dover Run for Home Half Marathon yesterday? It was a sufferfest. Definitely the most difficult half I've run in a long time due largely to unexpectedly high temperatures. The race start is at 1PM - a late start, which was not an issue when I ran it back in 2010 at a 1:45. This year it was 80 degrees at the start and 82 when we finished. I knew I was in trouble after I was sweating from my 9:00 paced warm up mile.

Although I feel that I did everything right to prepare for this race it just didn't matter. There was too much working against me. Aside from the weather conditions, I had pinned a Powerbar gel onto my shorts. I discovered at mile 2 that the gel had leaked all over my shorts, tank and iPod! I stopped to try to wipe off my hands as they were caked in gel but I had no way to really clean myself up until mile 3's water station. At mile 3 I stopped and threw water down my shirt/shorts, on my hands and moved along. At that point I was doing okay, averaging around 7:30 per mile despite the setbacks.

At mile 5 I felt overheated and whooped. I stopped for a drink and stood for a minute or two debating whether I should just quit the race and wait for my husband to finish. I even threw out my bib. I figured I had no shot at winning and would just do the race as a training run for the Cleveland Half Marathon coming up next month. So that is what I did. The back half of the race is also hilly. There are a few big ones in there for extra fun in the heat. Needless to say I stopped and walked some on some of the hills and water stops as many people were doing. There were never any gels being handed out on the course and the gatorade was watered down so I had no fuel to really help me either.

I wasn't even going to run through the finish since it wouldn't be timed but after working that hard just to finish yesterday I decided I earned my medal with my crappy time of just over 1:58. Or at least I felt it was crappy for me. I wanted to run 1:38. 20 minutes off was a fail for me. My husband was standing there waiting for me. He also did not do as well as he hoped as he was shooting for a 1:30 and did 1:41 - still a good time considering the heat.

I just looked up the results and although I am not listed my time would make me 6th in the 30-34 age group and 16th overall of 200 women. At least that makes me feel a little better today. But yesterday was rough. I felt like a failure and I cried. I called my coach and explained what happened. I went home and cried and ran another few miles fast just to make myself feel better (or to punish myself). And that was it. The end of a very difficult race. That one's in the books and at the end of the day at least I finished. I would have been much more disappointed in myself for quitting. I also feel I learned a few things yesterday about running and myself.

I would like to thank my Rev3 team members for your encouragement and support as well as my other friends and especially my husband who did his best to cheer me up yesterday!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Running & Racing For a Cause - You Can Make a Difference!

There are so many reason to run! It would literally take me hours to list them all! Some of the more obvious reasons are that it's good for your health (physical and mental), helps you look and feel better about yourself, gives your life meaning and direction in being involved in something bigger, etc. But the reason I would like to focus on in today's post is running for charity. Running makes a difference in the lives of so many people - not just the athletes themselves.

A large number of races exist for the sole purpose of raising funds for a worthy cause. For example, a couple weekends back when I raced the Kirtland Strides of March 5K, that race exists to help raise funds for Deepwood, an organization that helps individuals with mental and developmental disabilities. The half marathon that I am running next week in Dover raises funds for Habitat for Humanity.

Some race organizations themselves get involved with charity organizations. For example, Rev3 Triathlon is a supporter of The Ulman Cancer Fund. Last year when I completed the Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3 triathlon I signed up to raise fund's for Ulman's Team Fight. It was rewarding to raise funds to help young people affected by cancer. At this very moment, Rev3 is undertaking a huge effort to help Ulman...they are literally running across America! Some of my Team Rev3 teammates are on that journey right now. Others including myself are participating virtually by running as much as we can each day. Rev3 hopes to raise $100K in its 21-day running adventure. We still have a ways to go. Please consider donating. Every dollar helps!

The next time you think about why it's valuable to run local community races, be sure to think about all of the organizations that are supported through your efforts! You can and do make a difference just by participating. If you are unable to participate due to injury or lack of time, just donating helps make a difference too!