2018

 

IMG_0885It’s Sunday and I had breakfast with my husband today. That seems like such a simple thing but for triathletes it seems to be a rare thing. Or am I just the only one? For the past couple of years my Sundays have been filled with long runs. However Im broken at the moment. This hamstring will not cooperate. It may be just what I needed to re-focus on what is important though.

I found out yesterday that registration opens up in a couple weeks for Oceanside. That was to have been the start of an EPIC 2018 season for me. I was going to complete my first full next year. Ive decided to put that off at least a year. I need a break from the constant training, pain and exhaustion. This morning put that into perspective for me.

Before you get SUPER excited, (Yes Im looking at YOU), Im not giving up triathlon. Im not giving up the training or the competition. I just refuse to let it eat away at my physical and mental well being. I plan to do shorter distances next year. I love spending time with my like minded friends too much to give that up. Maybe if I feel up to it Ill do Santa Cruz late next season. The point is, I dont have to make that decision this month….or even this year.

I also want to continue to be a voice for women in this sport. Maybe Ill write more about it. My goal is to continue to surround myself with awesome people. That should be everyones life goal. Ive seen a lot of ugly in this sport and in life this year. I want to bring something beautiful to those around me. I want to bring joy back to the sport.

I also want to see what the next phase of my life holds. I want to purge my house of junk. I want to find a new source of income. I want to go on vacation with my husband and NOT race.

But when Im ready…..I want to come back full throttle to the sport and be stronger than I am now. Ill be unstoppable then.

 

California Sprint Triathlon 2017

Came back to Shadow Cliffs in Pleasenton to see how much I had grown as an athlete since the sprint tri in 2015. All I could really remember about this course was the bike was flat and fast. I remembered wrong. I also must have completely blocked out my previous experience on the run because I hadnt remembered any of it until I was in the middle of it again. But wait…..Im getting way ahead of myself…

We arrived race morning to relatively chilly tempatures. You see, at home in Fresno, we were coming off a heat wave with multiple days above 110. That ‘chill’ in the air felt amazing. After setting up transition and stretching out a hamstring that has not been happy with me for a couple weeks now we headed down to the water for the race start.

After taking a couple passes in the water I chatted up some friends and things started to move quickly after that.

Once my swim wave went off I struggled to find my “lane” in the water. I spent the first half of the swim getting swam over me, bumped etc. I even got kicked in the head to the point where I saw stars….TWICE. Coming out of the water I was pretty angry about the second kick in the head. However, thats another story for another time. I ran full speed past him into transition. Swim time in 2015? 27:48. Swim time in 2017: 23:40

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I was stoked to be on the bike. Fully expecting the climb up out of the parking lot I manuvered through people pretty easily. This bike course is only 9 miles long. It went crazy quick. I thought I had nailed the PR by at least 5 minutes. I was disappointed to later figure out that it wasnt even the best PR of the day. However, Ive learned never look a gift horse (PR horse?) in the mouth. 2015 time: 30.03 2017 time: 28.38

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Lets talk about the run on this course for a minute. I had BLOCKED IT OUT. I dont remember any of it from before. 3 miles running now is a weekday after work run for me. In 2015, it wasnt. In 2015 I was coming off a marathon the November before and pretty much loathed running. I am also NOT a trail runner. Ive tried it. I didnt like it. I dont like feeling unstable on my feet. This run is a lot of trail and rock and HILLS. Mix that with a hamstring pulled in May and I cursed every minute of this run. That being said, I had goals to meet. I handled all the hills as best I could but never quite caught my breath or found a ryhtmn. That was very frustrating. Mix that with very little shade in some areas and I couldnt help but think to myself, ” The harder you push. The quicker you’ll be done.” So I pushed. I pushed as hard as my injured legs would let me. I was so happy to crest that hill and see the parking lot again though. This was a race I NEEDED to finish strong. Run time in 2015: 32:40 Run time in 2017: 32:10.

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Total time in 2015? 1 hour 34 minutes 15 seconds. In 2017? 1 hour, 28 miutes and 10 seconds. My goal was sub 1:30. Given how my body reacted to the “red lining” and some of the issues out of my control I felt like this was an amazing race for me. BTTJ0879

Thank you Trek Bicycles, Sunnyside Bicycles, Velocity Sportswear, Honey Stinger, Nuun, Tri_Equal, Spark Beauty Bar and Hellakit for your continued faith and belief in my dreams!

My Bariatric Life

A lot of people know that I used to be fat. I can say that word since Im speaking of myself, right? What most people do not realize is that Im still a fat girl. Fat girls will always be fat girls in their own minds, even if they are in shape or skinny or healthy.

Growing up I came from a middle class family. I had two parents who loved me. I never went without as far as I remember. In elementary and junior high I took dance lessons. Tap, jazz, ballet. I dont know how many days a week I was there but it seemed like every day. I had the metabolism of a hummingbird. Don’t we all in our early years? Not long before high school puberty hit and I quit dancing. I never quit eating like a dancer though. Every sugary drink, candy, chocolate fattening food I could eat I did eat.

Looking back I dont think I was depressed. I was awkward to be sure but I had no real reason to eat that way. I had friends in high school but was definately that fat girl. Never had a boyfriend to speak of. I did not go to my prom. I couldnt wait to leave town and startover elsewhere.

I went to college where I had a string of boyfriends that could either be considered nice guys (many Im still friends with today) or they were not so nice and used my fat against me to keep me “in line.” At some point I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Eventually I met the man who would become my husband. He never had a problem with my weight. It was just one more thing in the luggage of my life. He’s the outdoorsy type but I certainly wasnt. Long drives made me whiny. The more I ate the less I did. I knew I was miserable to be around but didnt know how to fix it or didnt care. Walking hurt.

Not long after we got married in 2008 (where I had some of the most beautiful pictures taken on my wedding day) my brother in law got married. The pictures from that day were STUNNING even though it felt like he got married on the surface of the sun that day. Then I came across this picture and knew I had to make a change:

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A coworker had just had the lap band surgery and was having success with it. It seemed like an “easy-fix” and I had to do something so I started the process.

I learned a lot very quickly about bariatric surgery. It is NOT a quick fix. Yes, you lose weight quickly but other complications arise.

Losing weight does not mean depression disappears. In my case it got a touch worse at first. Being “skinny” did not solve my self esteem issue. Even today I still see the girl at the wedding above and not the athelete with the deal from Trek below:

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Photo Credit: Darryl Ploen

Im still the woman who is one nasty anxiety attack away from hospitialization.

Today though, I stand and I deal. One day at a time. One work out at a time. One minute at a time in some cases.

Triathlon has brought a renewed sense of hope to me that I did not have once the weight started falling off post surgery. I know that I will not live forever but I have a better chance at growing old now and Im excited about that. If I can help one person see the good in not giving up on themselves then my purpose for being on this earth will have been fulfilled.

Thanks for reading.

Bass Lake Sprint Triathlon 2017

I jumped at the chance to do this race again. Not because it is in my hometown (which is always fun) but because I had taken two previous passes at this race and gotten significantly worse the second pass. It was my first triathlon and still my very favorite because it is always a challenge. Little did I know the challenge would come early on…

Having completed IM Santa Rosa 70.3 in May I thought it would be fun to do a sprint distance again also. It’s not my favorite distance because I don’t like that ‘red line’ feeling. What I was looking forward to was the short swim! After swims of 1400-2300 yards in racing and practice this shorty swim was going to be quick and fun.

Got in the water to perfect water temps. I love that. We have had a very mild spring so the water temps really could have been much colder. Once our wave went off I settled in to focus. I normally check my watch every so often in longer swims to see “how much farther” and “Are we there yet?”. I made a concerted effort not to check this time. 400 meters would be quick right? So I didn’t check my watch and kept my head in the game. It did go by quick even though I was dodging back strokers and breast strokers nearly the entire leg. If you had told me when I exited the water that the swim was actually 781 meters I would have laughed. Seriously. It didnt feel that way. But I exited the water and switched to transition time. 855 yards. Did I swim that out of whack or was the course longer? No time to think about it now. On to the bike! Swim time: 23.18. T1: 1:57

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Photo Credit Brad Lunetta

I was pretty terrified of the bike. Two years ago during my second attempt I had put on my helmet in transition but didn’t really check the placement of the chin strap and darted out and up the steep hill too fast. I ended up walking a chunk of that hill. I was embarrassed then (even though the hill is long and steep) I knew a couple extra seconds to double-check gear would make a huge bit of difference and it really did! I chased Kelly and Kelly and Felecia up the hill. It was motivating to have such amazing strong women near by to motivate me and push me just a bit harder. Once I reached the top in one piece I felt relief. It was time to settle in for what used to be a very tough ride for me. This time I couldn’t believe how easy it really was. When I reached the turn around it seemed short (it wasnt) but that made me excited! I talked to some riders on the way out and on the way back. Some were new to triathlon. Some were veteran athletes. It was a true reminder about how much I love this sport. Before I knew it i was heading down the steep hill back to transition while Oly distance athletes were headed out for their ride. I couldnt help but waffle between relief that I was almost done and jealousy. I havent done this olympic yet. Timing has not worked out for it. Its on my to-do list. It will get done. Bike time: 53:59 T2: 1:53

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Photo Credit: Brad Lunetta

Probably the best part of my day happened in T2. My dad was just outside the fence. I wasnt expecting him to come but it was just what I needed to push me on the run. I hastily introduced him to my training partner and teammate Courtney and headed out for the run.

My public goal for this race was sub two hours. That would be tough given the run. Ive been known to walk this run. Its hilly. Stupid hilly. But lets see how it goes. I felt really good headed out. Mile one was sub 10. Huh. I still feel great. Saw lots of my friends on their way back in to the finish line. Man. I have really fast friends. I dont remember much after this except that after the hill in the neighborhood we do that was a bear I looked at my watch and thought, with one ish mile left that sub 2 hours was possible. After all, this is JUST A 5K. I buckled down and crossed the finish line at 1:53:25.

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Photo Credit: Dad

What I neglected to mention was that my private goal for this race was 1:45. Had the swim been the right length I would have likely made that goal. It was frustrating but just anther reason to come back and try it again. Had a hit that goal time I might have placed 3rd. As it stood I placed 4th in the 40-44 age group. I was pretty stoked about that considering the company I was in. The lesson? Race the race you are dealt. No excuses. I PR’d all the legs of the race despite the longer swim. Thats a victory and proof that Im getting stronger, not just older.

The other lesson I learned was that I have met the most AMAZING people through this sport. My team was nothing but supportive and uplifting the whole day.

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Photo credit: Random dude

I also met a new friend in person for the first time. A couple of weeks ago she messaged me on Instagram to tell me that Bass Lake would be her first triathlon and Friday night we actually met in person. I remember my nerves here three years ago doing my first triathlon. It was unreal. My dad said it best “I didn’t know it was such a production” he said. And this is considered a local race. Can you imagine what the production value of an Ironman race would be? When its your first race, it might as well be an Ironman. I think she is hooked to the feeling now though. She had a great race too and learned a lot about the sport. I’m thankful to now call her my friend. Great job Jessica!

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Photo Credit Karin Walker

When I tell you that I learn something new every time I race I will tell you that this time I re-learned to appreciate those close to me for their friendship and guidance. While I didn’t hit the big goal I wanted I still hit a milestone and managed to cultivate friendships in the process. In the end, the majority of us do this for fun. We will never get paid to compete in this sport we love. We need to find all the enjoyment we can in the journey, not just the finish line. I’m not done yet. Stay tuned.

Santa Rosa 70.3 2017 and TriEqual

I’m still a bit at a loss for words on this race. None of us, even under the best of circumstances, can plan for the perfect race day. I was full of apprehension about this particular race starting months ago when it was announced it would be moving from Windsor to Santa Rosa along with the swim moving from very shallow Russian River to Lake Sonoma. As triathletes however, we adapt and overcome don’t we? I would make the best of it. However, I might be getting a bit ahead of myself…

Late in 2016 it was announced that I have been accepted as part of the Team TriEqual. It’s an organization that promotes women in the sport of triathlon. As part of the deal I got three months of FREE coaching! How cool is THAT? My coach Sharon and I were connected about three months before Santa Rosa so I thought that would be a good time to start the process. We discussed my weaknesses (Swimming being the biggie) and my strengths. I don’t feel I have many strengths but my ability to GET IT DONE seemed to be enough in my mind. We set off to work on my training. I spent a LOT of time in the pool and felt GREAT about my swim until I started back in open water and was confronted with swim after swim of freezing temps and ocean-like conditions. I even had a couple “close calls” in the open water where I thought it had reached the point of dangerous with temperature or waves. In the back of my mind I kept thinking that early in the morning on race day it wont be choppy and I should be able to handle this. I never really got a chance to swim the lake for the race distance. Luckily I swam it Half Moon Bay last month so I knew it was still possible.

Fast forward to the day before the race and I went to Lake Sonoma for a practice swim and to drop my bike at T1. So. Much. Chop. I swam just over 23 minutes and felt utterly defeated. The whole swim was a fight and the race officials had already switched the direction of the swim to account for the winds. I truly believed I was screwed. After some messaging with my coach back and forth I felt a little better and took the message of “FOCUS on YOUR swim” to heart. I have a bit of ADD on race day. I pay attention to everything else but what I’m doing.

When race day finally arrived, my husband and I drove the 40 minutes from Rohnert Park to Lake Sonoma. I got out of the car and was immediately frozen. The winds were cold. The sun had not yet risen and I had a big day ahead of me…if I could get out of the water on time. I got to transition, set myself up, put on my wetsuit, grabbed my cap and goggles and headed back to where I saw my husband outside of transition. He was near a family that had FOUR rather young and lively puppies that I was immediately drawn to. After about 10 minutes of petting and baby talk with them and some nervous chit-chat with the owners I handed my morning bag to my husband who quipped that it was “nice of them to bring me therapy dogs on race day.” I don’t think he realizes how correct he was. It really calmed my nerves. I deal with an anxiety disorder that seems to manifest itself in funny ways on race day. Those dogs were better than any medication I could take. While he made the trek back to the car to grab his camera I made my way down to the boat dock.

I was immediately greeted by several other triathletes who assumed there would be more carpeting on the ramp or that it would be warmer. I don’t stress about that kind of stuff but I understand those that do. We all have our “thing” that makes us crazy or nervous. I walked down closer to the water as the sun was coming up and talked to some others and watched the sun start to rise and then made one last trip to the bathroom before the race started. Once I met up with my husband again I also was slowly running into familiar faces. My friend Pat even lent me her windbreaker because she saw me shivering. We took pictures and watched the pros take off from way up the ramp and then it was time to get moving.

Santa Rosa 70.3 was a rolling start swim. I had never experienced that before and I wasnt sure what I would think of it, especially since that meant I would be near the back of the pack…again. I did enjoy the camaraderie of it. Lots of nervous energy on the ramp and me watching a constant flow of people into the water. When it finally was time I settled my mind and started the swim.

Let me just get this out-of-the-way now: I was pushed, kicked and swam over more times than I care to remember. I always try not to take it personally. We are all friends on shore right? Well some need to really work on their sighting and settling into a path and staying there…but I digress. I stayed focused. I only looked at my watch a couple of times and before I knew what hit me I was out of the water. 57:44 total swim.

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Can we stop and discuss this transition for a minute? The walk up the road, up the boat ramp and around the perimeter was enough to wear this girl out. I had an almost 13 minute T1 time. All I could think about was I need to run more hills. Lots more hills. Once I finally reached my bike, I couldn’t feel anything. I had to sit down and get ready that way to steady myself. It took me a good minute just to put gloves on because my fingers were having trouble bending. Once I got the gloves on I threw on my helmet and windbreaker and was on my way.

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This picture may have been the last time I smiled on the bike. I couldn’t get comfortable. I couldnt find any sort of rhythm and worst of all, I started experiencing the worst possible chafing around mile 10 that I could not find relief from the entire bike course. This course was hillier than I anticipated and about mile 20 I was ready to be out of wine country. Frustrated with myself I did my best to keep my mind off the pain and on the race. I chatted with people as I went by. I kept super mindful of my nutrition plan and every bump in the road I silently cursed every life decision I have made the past 3 years. Once I rolled to transition I walked my bike almost a block to my T2 where a woman was racking her bike in my spot. Not in the mood to argue I threw it in what I assumed was her spot (though I made sure to ask her), laced up my Mizuno’s and hit the run. Total time on the bike: 3:49:20 with a T2 of 6:45.

Running is my happy place. It really is. This run was no exception. Still feeling the effects of the bike I walked when I had to and run/shuffled the rest of it. I like grazing at the aid stations. I couldn’t help but think at about mile 7 though that this was not going to be a PR sort of day. Once I was almost to the end of the first loop I started seeing friends going out for the second loop and made sure to high-five or provide any encouragement needed. Then I remembered there was a “first loop” cutoff. WHAT WAS IT?? I couldn’t remember and still don’t know. I was given the option to go back out on my second loop though so I certainly did. Turns out I’m not a big fan of looped courses. the only real benefit is being able to see friends out on the course. Once I hit the final turn around I made a concerted effort to stay focused and finish. Getting off the trail and onto the street I knew I was close to the finish now and was enough under cutoff that even if I walked the rest I would still not DNF. I was really happy about that at that moment. I summoned whatever energy I had left at the turn, tossed my water bottle at the aid station and turned on the engine down the home stretch. The turn around was gone for the first loop so I hadn’t had a lot of time left and was grateful to have made that cut off. Once I turned the last corner I saw the finish line and went guns blazing down the chute. If you have never run the red carpet at an Ironman event, you really should. There is little else to compare it to. I heard my team mates yelling my name as I ran passed them and I heard the announcer call me name and city. Total time on the run was 2:48:48. Total event time? 7:55:07. That stung, but I know what I need to work on to improve.

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What has hit me the deepest about this sport three days out from what was not a stellar day by any standard, was how much I truly love this sport because of the people who participate. You get to see EVERY shape, age, size and color out on the course testing the limits of what their bodies can do. People of every level of fitness were out there encouraging others to push a little harder. Give it just a little bit more. There was a time this was not even on my radar as a possibility for me. On Friday I met a woman in her 70’s who was an amputee who didnt complain once. It puts my struggles into perspective. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for THAT Karen. Triathlon has taught me that anything is possible if you want it bad enough and are willing to do the work to get it. My Trimafia sister Maureen said it best. These races are like having a ‘triathlon baby’. You remember the pain but the reward once the pain fades makes up for it. Im ready to go again.

Huge shout out to Women for Tri for giving me the opprotunity to race this event! To TriEqual and coach Sharon Styles Hamm for your guidance and expertise this spring. You truly came into my life when I needed your help the most. To my Trimafia teammates Shelly, Jackie, Courtney W, Loc, Maureen and Alex for the time spent this weekend. I love the memories this team makes when we come together! To my TC3 teammates who are a bit more aware of my ‘crazy’ but still continue to love me and push me to be better anyhow. To my Los Osos Locos Multisport family for letting me be just how crazy I need to be and still supporting me anyways. Yall might be my biggest cheerleaders. To my Sunnyside Bicycles family, “Thank you” doesnt quite cut it but thank you all the same for your continued love, support and encourgement. Thanks also to Honey Stinger, Nuun, Trieverything, and HellaKit for your continued support on my journey.

And last but not least, thank you to my husband Jeremy for putting up with my endless crazy and my endless exhaustion. Thank you for loving me enough to ‘racecation’ with me and for not divorcing me when I told you that not only was I not quitting triathlon after Vineman 70.3 last year but that I was giving thought to maybe doing a full IM in the future. I would have divorced me at that point but you didnt. I love you for that and so many other reasons.

Until next time…..

Random thoughts during HMB Olympic Triathlon

 

 

 

IMG_9986(the following are a list of random thoughts I had pre race and during the race at Half Moon Bay Olympic triathlon on Sunday, April 23, 2017. I thought it would be more entertaining than the usual race report because, lets face it, every triathlete is a comedian when left alone with nothing but their thoughts during a race and Im more entertaining than most since Im usually out on the course longer than most)

6am: That coffee was amazing. What a great idea to have a coffee company sponsor your events. The donuts sitting there look tempting but I know better.

6:01am: Why is it so damn cold here? This would be a great race venue in July.

6:05am: I better go down to the water with Courtney

6:06am: Its still dark and I cant see spit. Maybe I should have made this trek yesterday.

6:40am: Oh heck. I better get moving. The crowd is headed to the beach. I hate feeling rushed.

6:45am: Race delayed? Um. Because Im not nervous enough already? Ill use this. Time to acclimate to the water.

6:46am: Thats enough acclimating. Oh look a dog! He doesnt seem to be too friendly. Make small talk with owner and move along.

6:47am: Oh look! Its Joe! Hes early to the water for the sprint. Good for him. His wife is too nice.

6:50am: Oh look! Its Scott and Gabbie. They are getting in the water. Lets be honest. I should try again. Its not as bad as I thought it would be but I need to get out of this as fast I can.

7:03am: There goes the first wave! Oh hell. I have to get back in the water. I hate deep water starts.

7:06am: I hate being a slow swimmer. I dont want to get kicked in the face. Let me move over here.

7:09am: Time to roll! Oh my holy hell its cold. Why am I doing this again? Im not a swimmer. I should have done the sprint.

(Note: times from here are excluded because time, for me, stands still when im racing, especially when Im racing)

Is that man playing a ukelele? Is he trying to entertain us or himself? It might be the latter since he cant go anywhere at the moment.

Stop kicking me.

Why cant I get out of this group of people? Oh no. The next horn. That age group is going to be crawling all over me in no time.

Stop. Kicking. Me.

Gah. Its so cold.

Where is the freaking turn buoy? Way up there? Oh lord.

What are the signs of hyperthermia? Its not that cold. I learned all this in my diving classes. Why cant I remember? Isnt a loss of cognition an early sign? Dont look at your watch. You are arent even at the half way point. Nope. Not even close to half way.

Its making me a bit nervous that I dont see or hear any seals out here. Im not looking to die by shark today. Maybe the fast kids scared them all off.

Stop. Freaking. Kicking. Me.

Wait. Maybe this is a good thing that Im hanging with this crew. Drafting in the swim is a legit benefit…..and they are gone.

Finally. The turn buoy. At least the second turn buoy isnt far.

Finally facing the right direction. Lord. That sun. I cant see anything. Ill just follow the splashes in front of me.

I cant even see the arch on the beach. What if Im way off course?

Im. So. Cold.

Where is the nearest kayak? I could DNF right now and be warm in 20 minutes.

Nope. Dont be a punk.

Why does Roka have a prize for “first out of the water”? The fast kids dont need another wetsuit. If I had a wetsuit company Id reach out to the “last out of the water” and give them wetsuits. They need the help. Yeah. Thats a great idea.

Finally, I can see the beach arch. Why is everyone swimming way over that direction? Oh I have to go on the outside of that boat? Damn.

This might be the longest swim ever. Dont be so overdramatic. You have swam this distance dozens of times this winter in the pool and at the lake last season. This is nothing. Youre just cold. Shut up and keep going.

I think that Roka thing is a great idea. I need to remember that.

Oh no. Thats a group of sprinters Im swimming into. Im going to get kicked in the face again.

Stop. Kicking. Me.

Just a little bit more. Oh wait. The guy in front of me stood up. I can put my feet down. Nope. Im short and the ocean is slightly lower now. Ack.

Now I can stand. Thank the lord. Get out of the water. Take off the cap. Left button on the watch. 2109 yards. The f*#@!?!??!?! Thats a half iron distance. Youre training for that dumbass. Stop whining and get to transition.

My feet hurt. Warm water ahead. OUCH. That STUNG. That probably is hyperthermia. Yikes.

Get to transition. My bike is RIGHT THERE but I have to go all the way around. Note to self. Get better at picking transition spot.

HEY SCOTT! HEY GABBIE! Yeah that was me that smacked your ass LOL

Keep moving. Get the suit off. Helmet, shoes, glasses. Bike. Go.

So many sprinters leaving. I need to get faster at the swim.

This road is crazy narrow. Im going to get hit by another racer. Today is the day I die.

Geez. Im sorry that I have to share this road with you. Save it for the open road maybe?

Ok. On the 1. Finally. Still lots of riders. Get past these. Now this one. I guess the road isnt closed. These poor folks. Seems like traffic here is always a nightmare. I wonder what Jeremy is doing.

Oh look! Theres Gabbie! Hey sister!

Time to settle in.

Wait. People are turning. Sprinters. Even better. I get a bit more room. Its crazy beautiful here.

I need to not be so comfortable. This is a race, not a Sunday stroll.

Eat something. I love honey stinger. I dont taste the salt water anymore.

A hill. This must be the hill they were talking about. That wasnt so bad.

A left hand turn. Nope. This is the hill. Settle in. Pass that one.

Top of the hill. Who is that guy? He’s dancing. Eminem on the radio. Hes got to be in his sixties. Thats rad.

Headed back to town. How many miles is this course? Who cant I do math in my head? Exercise makes me stupid.

Eat something.

WHERE ARE THE REST OF MY CHEWS!!?!? I must have dropped them. Oh well. Im near the turn now.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO GO STRAIGHT? Thats demoralizing.

Holy headwinds Batman.

Left turn. Thats a good sign.

The road just got so smooth. 25mph!??! Im barely working. SO FUN!

Finally off the bike. Time to play horseshoe transition again. I need to get better at this for real.

Bike, helmet off. Shoes, visor, bib on. Can I just sit here for a minute? Nope.

6.2 miles. This should be interesting.

I need to work on my negativity. You paid perfectly good money to do this. Youre running by the ocean. You should be happy.

Is that….HEY COURTNEY!!!

I cant believe she is already done. I should have done the sprint.

I feel good though. This is great training.

First aid station. Water. Keep going.

I should have taken my gel there.

Its hot now. I cant seem to regulate my body temp.

SCOTTY BOY! Yeah I know today sucked but youre nearly done. Hold onto that.

Why am I running away from the ocean?

Finally! The turn around. USAP always gets the nicest volunteers. Probably why I keep coming back. 3 miles. Easy peasy now.

Holy moses. I see the harbor again. Nearly done.

Theres Courtney again!

Almost done.

They are doing awards. Lord. Im just too slow.

But Im out here doing it.

Shut up voice.

2017

So here we are. Another year. Another chance to do good…to be a blessing to someone. Im all over the map these days with my emotions and my schedule…and my diet. Im tired. Constantly tired. Looking out over the calendar of my long term goals the past few weeks I just get more tired because I think about all that I want to accomplish and that I just dont have the energy for right now. Thursday night I drove over to the coast for a girl weekend with my mom and some friends and was listening to a new podcast call The Healthnut and the Hot mess. The first episode dealt with addiction…mainly to alcohol.

I dont drink much but when I do I always feel horrid afterward. I go months in between drinks and its sort of like I forget how alcohol makes me feel? Being a bariatric patient means I shouldnt be drinking anyway. Last night I had a glass of wine before dinner and I just got….moody.

Being a bariatric patient also means that Im not supposed to drink sodas. I know what it does to me interally but if I dont normally care. Lately though I can feel it every time I work out. Ive tried to quit them out right but havent ever been successful. I didnt realize how addicted I was until I realized how many times I had run out and had that sheer feeling of anxiety and panic until I could get to the store and restock. Thats addiction. Plain and simple. So Im going to finish what I have and then Ill be done. Sort of like my lenten sacrifice. I hope it sticks. Ill feel so much better if I can give it up. I know it.

2016 was all about ridding myself of relationships that didnt serve my well being. 2017 will be about ridding myself of bad habits. Today is day one of my sobriety. Soon Ill be at day one of no sodas. Im sort of terrified but that just means the struggle will be worth it right?

Vineman 70.3 Weekend/Race Report

This year as been full of a lot of unnecessary drama. Thats right, I said it. Too much hate. Too much back stabbing. Too much negative. Dealing with all that on top of training for my “A” race of the season AND turning 40 (and all the feelers that happen with that) and Im really surprised that I didnt end of in a looney bin somewhere. Truly.

The two weeks leading up to the race I was calm. Really calm. Dont get me wrong, I had my moments. Generally though, I had a peace in me that I havent felt in a really long time. I started letting things go. Things I had no control over. Things I did have control over but just didnt need to control anymore. I let it all go. I made mental lists. Lots of them. Things to pack. Things I could leave at home. Things to make sure Jeremy packed. Things to pack that might not be at the house. Things I needed to do for work before I left for two days. Things I needed to do at work the second I got back. Like any good Type A personality in a Type B body I packed on my birthday, July 7. The next morning we got out of bed, packed the car and spent the morning getting to Windsor.

I didnt know what to expect. I had enough to time get my race packet, do a little expo shopping and find my co-ambassador for Women for Tri, Nanette. 13631521_10154321279261613_409963247600334874_n

 

Can I just stop and say how much I love this woman? A veteran to this course, she answered all of my questions and took control of the booth set up quick. She is a gem. Thank you for all your support and for being so thoughtful! It was so much fun meeting everyone who stopped by the Women for Tri booth. It reminded me of why I love this sport.

After the expo on Friday I bounced back to the Airbnb I was sharing with my team from Fresno. I cant remember the last time our team meshed like it did that night. A full kitchen of people I love laughing, talking and planning. After dinner I remember hanging out in the back yard looking at everyone and thinking about how it should ALWAYS be like that. My heart was so incredibly full. They even surprised me with birthday cake! It was such a fantastic night.

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The next day Jeremy and I set out to get my transitions handled as quickly as possible and avoid the rush. There was no rush at T2 but T1 was a different story. Wall to wall people in a town the size of Mariposa made it interesting. The area is GORGEOUS though. Part of me wanted to stay. Part of me felt sick with nerves for the first time and I couldnt wait to get out of there. That was the first time it got very real. We headed back into Santa Rosa and went to the Charles Shulz Museum. Such a fun look at a fun memory from my childhood. Who doesnt love the Peanuts gang? I highly encourage anyone to go visit once. We spent the rest of the day getting food and then getting ready for race day.

Race morning I got an early start with everyone else. It was probably totally unnecessary since I was in the LAST female wave of the race. It was great to get settled and hang out on Johnsons Beach watching the waves before me go off. Once I saw my wave marker things went quickly! Ironman does not mess around. It’s a well oiled machine. My wave started at 8:22am.

The swim was a swim in the Russian River. Ive never practiced river swimming but I treated it like an open water with the capability of putting my feet down and walking. yes, you can walk nearly all of that swim if you wanted to. My eyes played tricks on me most of the first half. I kept seeing the turnaround that wasnt there. In the process I got a bit banged up by the waves of a really competitive age group behind me. My goal for the swim was 1 hour.I managed a split of 53:07 and a T1 time of 4:41.

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Off on the bike and I was immediately fighting traffic. Roads are not closed for this race. It was frustrating for racers AND locals apparently. It seemed like there was an encounter with a local every 10 miles or so even though I obeyed all the traffic laws. I also picked up a thumb tack in my rear wheel. I didnt notice it until Monday. Lots of racers did. I must have passed a dozen flats on the road. The course itself was BEAUTIFUL with rolling hills. I never really felt like I found a rythm but I didnt really care. I pushed when I could and pulled back when I needed to. When I hit Chalk Hill I just put my head down and kept moving. From there it was, literally, all down hill. I was pretty happy to see the school and get off the bike. Things I need to remember? Gatorade Endurance and my stomach are not on speaking terms. My goal for the bike spilt was 4 hours. Finished in 3:36:18 with a T2 time of 4:51.

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On my way out on the run I stopped at the medic tent to apply sunscreen and missed my shoulder blades. Im still paying for that mistake. I learned at Mile 2 why people later called it a death march. It really was. Luckily I met a very nice woman named Shannon who managed to keep me motivated. We talked about our goals for the race and if they were doable. She was in my wave so I knew how much time she had. It was totally doable to finish in 8:30. It was her redemption from a DNF at her first race. I told her my goal was 7:30. At mile 1 it seemed very doable. At mile 7 I was questioning it and my other life choices. We ran most of the straight aways and walked the uphills. I grazed on preztels and ice at each of the aid stations and kept trying to do math in my head. “Its doable. Maybe. I could use a nice breeze right about now. Shade would even work.” There was very little of both. At the Mile 10 marker I said, out loud, “That’s a bitch of a warm up for this 5k” because I always say that when I run a half marathon. Its funnier at a half ironman apparently because people around me actually thanked me for the laugh. Fast forward to the Mile 12 marker. Just short of the first set of crowds near the high school I started to throw up. No notice. Nothing came out so it was just dry heaves but it HURT. A lot. I still dont know what caused it but I managed to get it under control long enough to finish. Waiting at the finish line was my husband, my best friend Courtney and her husband, several of my TC3 and Trimafia teammates and Nanette. It was amazing. Almost a week later Im still riding that high. My goal for the run was 2.5 hours. Did the run in 2:47:42. It was, officialy, my slowest half marathon ever. I didnt care. With a goal of 7 hours and 30 minutes I finished in 7:26:39.

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So what did I learn from this experience?

  1. Silencing my critics is a strong motivator.
  2. Ill never truly silence my critics. They have big mouths.
  3. I have the BEST support system any girl could possibly ask for.
  4. Your team is the people around you that lift you higher and you, in turn, you try your hardest to do the same.
  5. You can tell me about a course until Im blue in the face and apparently I wont believe you until I actually race it.
  6. Being a gastric bypass patient presents very different challenges at this length of a race. I need to work on my own supplement blend so I dont attempt to cough up what is left of my stomach.
  7. My husband is a VERY patient man. It was amazing to see the pride on his face when I crossed the finish.
  8. I can do anything I really want to do if Im willing to work hard enough to do it.

Folsom International Triathlon 2016

When your best girlfriend and training buddy plans an epic race weekend a month before the “BIG” race because conditions will be similar to your first 70.3, you go and you dont think twice, especially in a spot like Folsom. I LOVED the sprint last year and had a great time! It was time to give the Olympic a shot.

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Sunrise over Lake Natoma
I went into this race not really knowing what my times should be or even what they had been in the past. After dinner on Saturday night we started looking at race times and I came up with a plan. 3 hours and 30 minutes. The would make it NOT the slowest ever Oly ever finished on this course. (I should aim higher but it seemed like a very reasonable goal that would still make me push myself) I then decided I had better break it down further to make it a bit easier to manage on a tired brain. Allowed an hour for the swim, 1 1/2 for the bike and 1 hour for the run. It would be tight but if I get lazy if I leave myself too much room anywhere.

Olympic waves went off starting at 7:00am. The second age groupers, 40-plus, because thats who I am now, went off at 7:04am. My feet touched the water at 658am. It was in that moment I remembered how close Lake Natoma was to the snow pack. Once the first wave went off and I submerged in the water I started to panic. It was REALLY cold. Ive been swimming at Millerton for two months now and it hasnt been THAT cold. I almost turned around to get out and catch my breath but decided against it since I was determined to show everyone in my life how tough I really am. The swim was .9 miles. Thats longer than it sounds. Straight into the sun and not being able to see any of the buoys until i was right on top of them I was thankful to be a back-of-the-packer. Took about a half mile of breast stroking and kind-of putting my face in the water before I calmed down and settled in. The only thing I fought in the water besides the cold was nature debris and lots of it. Total swim time: 43:05

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Out of the water! 43:05

After I fumbled my way through T1 I was off on the bike. My feet were numb and there were more “rolling hills” getting to the backside of the course than I remembered. I settled in fairly quickly though and kept hearing coach and Courtney in my head. Stay uncomfortable. When I started to get comfortable I would look at my time and thinkI might not make it in the 1:30 I gave myself so I would push for awhile. “Pass the rider in front of you. Good……Now pass the next one.” It felt like a much quicker ride than last year. Once I hit Mile 18 I started to get really nervous that I wouldnt make it…and then saw someone I knew before the turn around not far ahead of me. That flipped a switch in me. Lots of sprinting between there and the park. My heart dropped a little that I didnt make the 1:30 cut off I had for myself but didnt have much time to dwell on it. Bike total time: 1:31:42.

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The bike start! 1:31:42
Last year my run was the fastest 2 miles I had ever completed. No time to even over heat. 6.2 miles on that trail is a different story all together. Decided I had better just push when I could and walk when I couldnt muster my legs. Lots of non racers out on the back part of the course at that point. Passed more people than I was passed by and stopped for water and ice (if available) at the stations. Lots of encouragement from my team out on the course which I really needed because I was pretty sure I wasnt going to make my goal time. After the turn around I was starting to wonder how far from my goal I was and just before the Mile 4 marker I figured out how to see the total time on my watch. 3 hours, 3 minutes. HOLY MOTHER…..I could actually beat my time. I did. I still walked some and begged for ice at the last station but I finished with time to spare. Total Run time: 1:07:04.

 

 

 

So what did I learn? That I need to tell the little voices in my head to shut up. That I need to focus on MY race and not where I want to be in a race in my ‘perfect world’. That I need to give myself VERY specific goals to keep me focused during the race. (I think that will help silence the voices)  and that I need to spend much more time with the people who lift me higher and not the people who make me bat shit crazy and make me feel less-than. It was a great weekend with nothing but great friends and I needed that in the worst way.

Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon-Race Report

Overcast skies made for GREAT racing conditions! I went into this race blind. I really do prefer not knowing what I’m getting myself into. That might now be the best choice normally but I have a STRONG tendency to psyche myself out of doing something.

The swim was a 3/4 mile swim around an island. Point to point. Even the most experienced swimmers told me it seemed longer than that looking at the island. This being my first open water triathlon of the year and having aged up into the 40 somethings I managed to buy some time before the start. Our club president, Dave Harless, went out in the water about the same time and waited for the swim start. Somehow I managed to be in the front of the 40’s pack when the buzzer sounded. That is my least favorite place to be for a swim start but when I realized what was happening I told myself it was mass start Ironman training. About 300 yards in some guy grabbed my ankle and tried to either pull me put of his way or go over me? I’m not a strong swimmer and I panicked. Im fairly certain I yelled obscenities at him and kept moving. Not seeing the exit was starting to play with my head at the first turn but I kept moving. Not having to swim in a circle made it feel like a “do or die” situation. “Tami you dont get to ride or run if you dont finish the swim.” My energy on the swim picked up about the time the beach at the finish became visible. Coming out of the water I checked my time on my Garmin and felt a lot better about making the cut off at Vineman for the 1.2 mile swim. I might actually finish! Yes! Total swim time: 35 minutes 14 seconds.

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Peace Out UVAS Reservoir! (Photo Credit: Courtney Snell)

 

The bike was an interesting experience. Everyone told me it would be “technical”, Now Im new to triathlon. I FULLY admit I dont know all the jargon/lingo but I took technical to mean tricky turns. What it meant for this race was some tricky turns on the down hills and a lot of uphillls with one real good “WHERE DID THAT HILL COME FROM?” I passed some riders on the bike. Some riders passed me. I was starting to feel a bit down on this sport generally after the incident in the water when a very speedy older (55?)  gentleman came racing by me (on a super beautiful TT bike I might add)  and yelled “Looking strong four-oh” (my triathlon age this year written in sharpie on my calf) and I remembered, again, why I love this sport. For EVERY bad apple I encounter racing, training or in the general da to day of being a triathlete there are 100 awesome athletes who do nothing but encourage others to keep at it. I made it a point to encourage at least 10 others on the ride after that as a way to pay it forward because, in all honesty, I really needed his intervention when it came. Total Bike: 16 miles at 1 hour, 03 min and 28 seconds.

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Woooohoooo! #ridesunnyside (Photo Credit: Courtney Snell)

The run is always my favorite part of any triathlon and this race was no excpetion! This area of Morgan hill is absolutely beautiful and it is always fun to encourage others on their way in as I am on my way out. The run course had rolling hills and was a bit faster on the way home. There was some shade but the sun had definately arrived by the time I got to the run and the sunny spots were hot. One trick I have learned to get through the hotter temps is to push myself to the shady spots so that I can experience the cooler tempatures sooner! Whatever gets you to the finish right? I tried to encourage others I passed on the run and even tried to make it fun for a couple runners who were struggling with focus. I also ran the whole darn thing. Never stop ever is a motto from my Velocity Sportswear family and it’s a motto I have recently adopted for myself. That mantra helped tremendously when it ran through my head. 5 miles isnt forever. I CAN do this. Coming down the finisher’s chute I even pushed myself super hard to try and catch the runner in front of me. It did not happen but the push felt amazing especially with my dear friends and TC3 teammates cheering me on at the finish. Total Run time: 49 min and 18 seconds. Total event time: 2 hours, 32 min and 37 seconds.

There was some bad news. Out of 20 in my age group, I placed 20th. It did not seem to matter how strong I felt. There were 19 others stronger than me. However, the silver lining? There was only a 42 minute gap between me at the age group winner. That doesnt seem like much. It probably should but it doesnt. Apparently this age group is super competitive. Ill keep working though.

 

Things I learned on this little weekend away. It’s fairly easy to tell who your friends are if you are just willing to look. I have a LOT of work to do to be where I want to be. I love being a part of the Velocity family and meeting new people! Courtney and her boyfriend were awesome! Most importantly, even after the drama, life goes on. What I chose to let bother me will continue to bother me. What I let go of will no longer affect me if I dont let it.