Ironman 70.3 Arizona

When I was planning my 2017 I set out to build for a full Ironman in 2018. That meant two 70.3’s in 2017. I had abandoned my plan of a full in 2018 over the summer but didn’t want to waste an entry to a race I wanted to do. So I continued my training as best I could with continued encouragement from my husband. After all, neither one of us had ever spent any time there. It would be an adventure. And we could drive there in one day. One VERY LONG DAY.

 

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Once we got to town we set out to find carbs. And we settled on Blaze Pizza. While there we made friends with 4 of Tempe’s finest:

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They asked what we were doing in town. I told them I was competing in the 70.3. “Where are you swimming? Not in Tempe Towne Lake?”

So lets talk about this water…

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Swimming is not allowed in Tempe Town Lake…except twice a year. Once for the 70.3 and once for the 140.6. When I went for a shake out run on Friday morning I was met with this sign. I was relieved. I had planned to swim ahead of the race to get a feel for the water but there was a smell in the air that was not…good. All I could do was finish my run and embrace the rest of the athlete village experience. That is exactly what we did. I spent the next two days enjoying Tempe, the weather and the experience.

Race morning found me ready, or so I thought. Its practice for me to put together my kit and everything I need for race day the day before. Kit gets hung up with timing chip…ALWAYS. This time was no different, except I didn’t put my timing chip on when I got dressed. It took the announcer in the athlete village on race morning saying the words “timing chip” to even get me to look down at my ankle. This is where I interject and tell you how amazing my husband was. Since I knew right where I left it he went back to the hotel and grabbed it. Come to find out he didnt need to but it was nice to be able to find him before the race and get it to me so that my timing was linked to my name. It was pretty much par for the course with where my head has been and that was ALLLLL over the place. Also big thanks to my mafia sister Mary V who was able to get me a temporary timing chip in case hubby and I couldn’t reconnect. She really kept me calm. I was a MESS that morning. Lesson learned.

It wasnt long after we connected again that it was time to get in the water. All I remember thinking was that it was cooler that I was expecting but it wasnt cold. It was the perfect temperature actually. I entered the water with the first wave of women for the race (40-44) and we all calmly chatted at the start line before the race and we were able to really pump each other up. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this sport for that. It seems like the longer the distance the more supportive everyone gets. We really were all in it together. The horn sounded and we were OFF!

Now, if you follow me at all ou know the swim is my least favorite of all the disciplines. I truly swim to survive. That’s all. I had an interesting experience this race though. I felt pretty calm during the swim, particulary early on. No panic. No watch monitoring. Just swimming. I was also surprised to figure out that I am now a fan of rolling start races. I must have been swam over a half-dozen times with faster racers from the age groups that followed mine. Why yes, I did kick a racer. More than one. You do not need to continually grab my legs to get past me. That canal is huge. GO AROUND ME. *steps off my soap box* AHEM. I finished the swim before the cut off. NOT a PR but I wasnt looking for any PRs this day. Total swim time: 57:24 with a T1 time of 4:55. Obviously I need to work on transitions. Oh well.

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Off on the bike. I was really looking forward to this part because it wasnt the swim and it wouldn’t be too hot yet. I was surprised by a great deal on the bike. This course is a course consisting of three loops of approx 18 miles each. The first loop I had thoughts of, “I might like these loops. I’ll know what to expect. Lots of people out cheering. The hills are that bad. There are a lot of fast riders out here who are likely almost done. Where are the timing mats? It’s so pretty here.

Lap 2 saw the course PACKED with most of the riders. I’m surprised I didn’t crash. Lots of u-turns and technical portions on the course. Mix that with riders that aren’t always that confident on the bike(I count myself in that group) and accidents are bound to happen. I didnt see any but read later that there were several. Im thankful I made it back in one piece. I stopped for a restroom break at the last aid station during the second lap. I made a lot of friends during this loop as well. I also ran head on into a Gatorade bottle that had been dropped in the middle of the course. I stayed upright the whole time.  It was during lap 2 that I figured out where the timing mats were (it wasnt that hard once you start paying attention). Before I knew what hit me I was starting the third lap. It was much less crowded on the course by then. It was still tough and by the third lap I was ready to be done with the bike and all the u turns. I took the time to chat with other racers who were friendly enough but kept my head down and pushing when I was alone. The heat also started to set in. I was happy to get out of the saddle. I felt slow. Really slow. Later my husband would tell me that the tracker was going off a LOT the first part of the bike. He said he was really proud and a bit worried he would miss me on the bike entirely. He’s adorable. However, it was a PR, and one I was ecstatic to have later since it helped cushion the blow for the run. Total time on the bike: 3:24:48 T2 being 5:36.

 

The run. The run was hot. On my way out of T2 there were people slapping sunscreen on everyone. I took all the advantage because there was very little shade. Off I went. The run was two loops that circled Tempe Town Lake. I stopped at each aid station for water. Water to drink, water to thrown over my head and water to thrown down my top. The key to surviving this run was keep your core body temperature down. I think I was mostly successful. At mile 11 I threw a cup of water over my head and realized I was sloshing around in water in my shoes. Time to put my head down and move through to the finish. No need for more. I made friends again with people on the course. Some had done the full here in previous years. I learned a lot. I may go back to AZ to do my full should I find myself wanting to tackle a full at some point.

When you can’t wear headphones during a triathlon you find ways to occupy your mind. I sing (sometimes out loud) and I do math. Somewhere around mile 7 I had an inkling that if I buckled down there was a chance I could PR the 70.3. It was a long shot but it was doable. It was at mile 11 that I knew it was within reach.

One of the things I LOVE about Ironman are the staff and volunteers on the course. I have YET to have a bad experience. At the last aid station on the run at mile 6 there was a woman who recognized me from Instagram. That was fun and the boost I needed. I didn’t stop to thank her the second time through but I was appreciative of the shout out and her willingness to volunteer. Its people like that who make the race the experience it is! Thank you!

Head down and off the pavement onto grass for the final last bit of the run. That kind of hurt but you just don’t care at that point. Youre so happy to be done. I turned the corner and on to the rep carpet. I love that damn carpet. I even tried for an epic finish line photo:

 

 

I nearly fell flat on my face but the pictures don’t show that. Yay! LOL Total run time 2:51:50 for a total race time of 7:24:32. Thats a PR of 2 minutes and change. Ill take that.

2017 was an epic season. Thank you to Trek and Sunnyside Bicycles for your continued belief in my dreams. Thank you to Velocity Sportswear for keeping my comfortable and for the support that the Trimafia has brought to my life. Thank you Team TriEqual for the coaching and support as well! I have made so many friends and learned so much this year about who I want to be and don’t want to be as an athlete and human being! This sport continues to surprise and amaze me at every single turn. I’m looking forward to all that 2018 will bring in growth and friendships!

Thank you for joining me on my journey!

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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.

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.

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.

2016

Argh!! Its here!! And Im so ready! Training for Vineman 70.3 is in full swing and I was fortunate enough to be backed by two awesome companies whose products have NEVER disappointed:

 

So now I look around at the rest of my life. How can I make it better? How can I make the most of my time? Besides hiring my coach last year and working diligently to keep my nutrition realistically on point Im looking at streamlining other areas of my life that weigh me down. First step? Removing myself from the really negative people in my life. Or, at the very least, limiting the time I put myself in their presence. It’s serving me well so far this year.

 

I also went and managed to get myself elected to the TC3 board for 2016 and 2017. More on that later when I know what Ill actually be contributing as that still seems to be up in the air. I am LOVING the vibe from the team right now though and that is something to really look forward to.

Change is hard but change is coming in many areas and Im hoping to embrace it better than I have in the past. Wish me luck!

 

What anxiety has taught me

The year coming to a close always has me in serious reflection. This year is no different with all the up and down. The up? Getting serious about triathlon and making HUGE strides in my training and my endurance through help from coaches and teammates. The downside? My anxiety problem has reared it’s very ugly head in the process. I am dealing with it much better than in years past because of triathlon and reconnecting with my old doctor. It has also taught me a lot about myself and how I handle what life throws at me:

Anxiety has taught me that life is short.

Anxiety has taught me who I can count on, and who I can’t.

Anxiety has taught me that those who I cant count on are not purposefully trying to be hurtful towards me but that they don’t think of me much at all and that is perfectly ok.

Anxiety has taught me to appreciate the really good days.

Anxiety has taught me how to say no to situations that will cause more anxiety and yes to those that bring me peace or joy.

Anxiety has taught me that being skinny will not solve all my problems like I thought it would pre surgery but that being healthier would allow me to handle anxiety better.

I have learned, even with anxiety that is sometimes crippling, I have value and purpose that can only be quantified by the sum of a life’s work, by the sum of love and laughter around me and by the story I choose to tell.