Work Hard, Race Hard, Play Hard

Work Hard, Race Hard, Play Hard

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kona Race Report - and a little therapy session!!

A month later and I am finally sitting down to write a little bit about Kona.   I’ve really been struggling with what to write, where to start and how deep to get!  As I have mentioned in the past, blogging really isn’t my thing.  I guess I feel like an open book if I tell too much.  But today…I am going to try.  I think being open here will actually help me with a lot of what I have been feeling.  So brace yourselves..haha.  Oh and I’ll try to keep it organized, but my thoughts are sooo all over the place lately.

Let me first say – Kona 2012 was amazing.  The week was really great – spending time with mom, sissy, coach and friends.  Actually pretty cool how many NYers were there racing.  Way to represent from the concrete jungle!  Despite being nervous and full of emotion, I tried to take in all the pre race week had to offer.  The week before really is so much of what the whole Kona experience is all about.  I just wanted to start with this because I’m afraid the rest of what I am going to write may sound like negatives.  But keep an eye out for silver linings :)
Simply put – my race didn’t go as I had hoped.  However, I am still proud of my effort and am thankful to have had the opportunity to race in Kona again.  A lot of lessons learned in this race, so I am going to breakdown this race report by what I learned:

1.     You really do get out of something what you put into it.
2.     If you have doubts and negative thoughts pre race, they will affect your race.
3.     When things aren’t going as you planned/hoped, how you react and handle the situation is what matters.
4.     When it’s not your day, cheering and supporting your competitors is even more gratifying than when you are having a great day.
5.     Salt water will mess up your stomach.
6.     I’m tired.

1. You really do get out of something what you put into something.

Ok, I have to admit – I slacked big time on my training going into this race.  Which I am embarrassed to admit since I was racing in KONA.  But in hindsight I feel like I didn’t work hard enough.  So all race while I was struggling, all I could think is….you deserve this.  I qualified at IMCOZ in Nov. 2011.  I felt like I had so much time to get ready.  So I decided to run a couple of early season marathons and then pick up the tri training in the spring.  Great plan except the injury during the Boston marathon in April set me back and derailed my plans.  It set back my training and my race schedule.  I really wanted to get in some early 70.3s, then have a few weeks to recover before IM training.  That plan didn’t happen.  And now looking back, I just don’t feel like I made a new plan that worked well.  I felt strongly about getting in another 70.3 before Kona and there weren’t many August options.  I decided on Rev 3 Maine, which was the weekend in between my 2 weeks vacation.  I didn’t train through the race (maybe I should have?  I don’t know!) but I just feel like I didn’t maximize those 2 weeks of NO WORK!  And earlier in the summer when I couldn’t run, but I could bike, I just didn’t feel like it.  I was so exhausted from work every weekend all I wanted to do was join my mom on the beach.  I know this sounds crazy since this is a sport I love, but I’ll revisit this again when I get to #6).  Bottom line is, I could have done more.  And I didn’t.  And I knew that.  And it was in my head A LOT as the race approached and it was too late to do anything about it.  Which brings me to #2…

2. If you have doubts and negative thoughts pre race, they will affect your race.

I had MAJOR doubts.  I guess I started to realize I didn’t put as much as I could have into the training and I started to doubt myself.   I have always been fortunate to have decent results despite not putting in a lot of hours of training.   (For those wondering – a max week for me is 15 hours and that probably happens once a year. 10 hours is pretty typical and sometimes less).  However, I suddenly felt I ramped up the IM training/focus too late and the Rev 3 race was not a good idea.  I lost a couple of weekends of long rides and runs because of that race.  My confidence comes from knowing I can run strong off the bike.   But because I hadn’t done any long runs as of labor day weekend – I really started to panic.  I managed to get a couple in, but I’m not sure it was enough to quiet the noise of doubt in my head.  That just spiraled over the next 6 weeks.   While I may not have been as trained as I should be…the negative thoughts did not help me on race day.  I took myself out of the game before it even started.

3. When things aren’t going as you planned or hoped, how you react and handle the situation is what matters/ 4. When it’s not your day, cheering and supporting your competitors is even more gratifying than when you are having a great day/ 5. Salt water will mess up your stomach
(Combining #s 3-5 here)

Its ironic, I was finally able to quiet the doubts once I was out on the course, but it may have been too late.  The swim was really tough.  Swimming is not my strength and not something I focus much on in training, but I didn’t expect to battle people for 2.4 miles.  I really did have bruises on my arms after the race from getting hit.  Unfortunately, due to the battle for 2.4 miles, I seemed to swallow A LOT of salt water (something I need to work on!).  I was so happy to be out of the water in 1:12, which was actually a decent time for me as the swim times were slower this year. But once out on the bike I realized quickly the water I took in was not going to be good.  All the way out to Hawi – everything I took in for nutrition/fluids came back up.  All I can say about the rest of the bike leg is - demoralizing.  I don’t know what happened out there, besides the head wind that felt like it would never end.  What I do know is I reallllly struggled.  I felt like I may never get back to transition.  I would look down and see my speed and want to cry (I’m sure I did cry!).  Thankfully I saw an old teammate out there and that lifted my spirits a bit.  I just kept telling myself – get to the run, get to the run.  That’s where a race usually starts for me anyway. Not the case on October 13...I was feeling soooo dehydrated which I assume was from getting sick the first half of the bike.  I ran well the first 8 miles or so.  Then I saw my mom, who is always so sweet and supportive.  I never stop in a race or really even talk to my family when I am out there, but I yelled to her, “I don’t know what to do.  I feel awful.”  She yelled and I mean YELLED (with this look on her on her face I have never seen because she never yells, EVER), “Christine, you keep going.  KEEP GOING”  Hmm ok, no sympathy from her I guess.  Haha.  But she was right and I needed that tough love.  She knows me better than anyone and knows the disappointment I would have felt if I gave into the pain and dehydration.  I slugged my way up Palani, saw Sissy and Coach.  Told them what was going on and just being able to tell them made me feel a little better.  Out on the Queen K I met my race Angel.  Jennifer Hanley-Pinto – I would pass her through the aid stations and she would pass me in between.  She said to me as she passed me, “come on girl”  I said, “today’s not my day.  You go, have a great run”  She said, “don’t be afraid to walk through the aid stations:”  DING DING DING   Not sure why I needed someone to tell me that, but it was brilliant.  I guess I needed someone to tell me because  I have never walked in a race or even slowed down through an aid station.  She saved me though, walking through the rest of the aid stations allowed me to take in more fluids and replenish more from the dehydration.  In between aid stations I was running surprisingly well.   Despite the race not going how I had hoped, what really surprised me, was how I handled it.  I learned a lot about myself out there.  I am a very competitive person and had you asked me pre race how I would feel if the race went this way, I would have said upset, angry etc.  And most of all I wouldn’t have predicted that when my day was s*cking, I’d want to support my competitors.  I know that sounds bad, but I told you earlier I’m going to keep it real here.  Maybe it was the support from Jennifer that helped me or maybe I just have more good in me than I thought (haha), but there is no doubt, the more I cheered and supported other people, the better I felt.   I highly recommend this to everyone whether your day is going well or not :).  I learned the other side of Ironman that day.  I have never struggled in a race like that before and it was very humbling.  There is a camaraderie out there despite the competitive nature that we all have that is truly remarkable.

Somewhere along the way, I found my running legs again and the competitor in me came alive.  Even though I knew that I wasn’t having the day I hoped for, to me this is still a race, and I wanted to get to the finish line ahead of as many girls as I could.  It no longer mattered if I was racing for 20th place or 30th., I wanted to finish strong.  I ended up running a 3:21 marathon, 3rd fastest in my AG and I ran my way from 50th off the bike to finish 18th in my AG.  This is definitely a reminder to me to never give up in an Ironman, it’s a long day and you never know how things will end up!

No matter what happened out there all day, the finish line of an Ironman (especially Kona) is AMAZING.  What I did find interesting, I almost always cry at the end of a race.  Yep, I’m an emotional person…can you tell?  But I didn’t cry in Kona this year.  I think I processed so much out on the course that by the time I got to the finish line I really had nothing left.  I pushed through when so much of me wanted to stop.  But I never would and for that I am proud.

6. I’m tired…

What I realized these past few months and what I realized also led to my decisions to skip training for the beach all summer was.. I am tired.  Not tired of training, but tired from trying to fit it in around my work hours.  I do love Triathlon, but my job s*cks for Ironman training and it leaves me mentally exhausted. I’m tired of sleeping 4 hours a night to fit in a 90 min training session at most.  The stress I put on myself to fit it in has officially worn on me.  Admitting this is really REALLY hard for me.  I feel like I am admitting defeat.  Maybe I am, but I know that my race in Kona was directly affected by this on many levels.  All of which are mentioned above.  The skipping training, the doubts and my race results.  What I would love is to be able to train, sleep, spend time with family/friends (and of course P&R) and work a lot less.  Until I figure out how to do that I am just not sure I can compete at the level I want to.  And to be clear, I am not trying to cut back hours on a 40 hour work week, I want to cut back on the 60-70 hour work weeks!  Does this mean I am officially burnt out?  Is this what burn out feels like?  The off season will hopefully answer this for me.

In the meantime I am off to Arizona this Thursday.  It’s Sissy’s first (and only, so she says!) Ironman!!  SO SO excited for her.  I am supposed to be racing as well.  Final decision on this to be made Friday.  Bike is on its way and I’ll be there either way, so why not race?  Well… Since Kona I have swam once, biked once (yesterday) and run a handful of times.  I did just tell you about my burn out, so I guess this isn’t much of a surprise.  Recent NY weather has not exactly helped the training, but I cannot blame it just on that.   I am sure I can still do an Ironman right now, but will I do it well?  Or am I setting myself up for more disappointment?  A good friend of mine told me – participate only if you check your ego at the flight gate and can go do it for fun.   And that is what I need to figure out these next few days.  Can I really do that?  (PS – I do not have an ego!)   If I am racing, it will be great to be out on the course to see Sissy lots (3 loop bike and run course).  If I decide not to race, I’ll be cheering for her allllll over that course.  Everyone send lots of cheers to my Sissy next weekend!!

Sorry for the really long post.  I probably lost you all at #2!   I think writing this may have helped me process all my feelings and thoughts, so thanks for listening to my therapy session ;-)

And a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that has supported me all year long, especially my family and sponsors! It means sooo much to me to have people that believe in me and support me in this Journey!  A special shout out to the following: My MOM – my rock, my biggest supporter who travelled with me to every race this season.  I really could not do this without her.  My Sissy – my biggest cheerleader and my voice of reason.  My Sponsors – Tribike Transport – thank you for your AMAZING bike service. I was honored to be a part of the 2012 Ambassador team and you made my race travel so much less stressful! And to Health Warrior – your chia bars help keep me fueled and healthy. And an extra thanks for outfitting my Mom, Sissy and I for the Underpants run!  And my Coach for all the guidance and being flexible with my crazy job and understanding of my many missed workouts :)

Ill be back with an update on AZ…


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rev 3 Maine and Back to Reality

Wow...I can't believe August is over, Kona is less than 6 weeks away!  I am sad to say goodbye to summer but the only positive is that my weekend schedule will be a little less hectic now that I am not trying to fit in a full beach day on top of trying to train for an Ironman :)  Add the extra running around on the weekend to my already ridiculous work schedule during the week and trying to fit in training when I can makes for an extremely exhausted "Me"!  I had been sooo looking forward to August -two weeks of a much needed vacation, Sissy was coming home from San Diego for almost 4 weeks (yay!!) and I was racing my first Rev 3 race in Maine.
Sissy arrived home on Aug. 15 and my last day of work was Aug. 17.  We spent the first few days catching up over some vino, getting in some light training, and of course lounging on the beach! I also had to take care of the usual pre race stuff which always causes a little bit of added stress. Sissy and I (and the pups, P&R) headed up to Maine on Thurs., Aug. 23 (Mom arrived on Friday) and the race was on Sunday, Aug. 26. The race was held in Old Orchard Beach, but since I was on vacation and have never been to Maine, I decided to make a mini trip out of it and we stayed in Kennebunkport for the week. I absolutely loved it, Kennebunkport is such a cute little town and the R&R with my mom, sis & pups pre-race was just what I needed.


I typically don't race in August. In previous years, I would race a lot early in the season and after a July race, I would take a little break, then in August re-focus for my fall Ironman. However, with my early season injury I didn't get in much racing, so I really wanted to get in one more race before Kona. I wasn't racing Vegas this year since Coach and I had decided at the beginning of the season I would skip it this year so I had turned down my slot at Racine. And it is also my sister in laws baby shower - I can't wait to be an aunt!!  I had never done a Rev 3 race, and with the addition of the race in Maine this year, I thought this would be a great August race, just a 5 hour drive from home, and it didn't disappoint.
Ok...onto the deets of the race. On Friday morning before the race I woke up feeling like I was getting sick (Ugh). It wasn't one of those things where I couldn't get myself out of bed, but I just didn't feel right, everything I did seemed to just take a little more effort than normal and I got very winded and wasn't feeling great during my pre-race shakeout workouts. But I tried to just ignore it and hope that on race day it would miraculously go away. Well, not so much. I woke up on Sunday feeling exactly the same way. Again, not so bad that I would skip the race, but I definitely wasn't feeling 100%. I tried to put it out of my head and focus on the race.  I stuck to my normal pre race routine and everything went smoothly and before I knew it I was in the water and off we went.
The swim was an ocean swim and I typically don't have great swims in the ocean. I guess not being a very strong swimmer (and one who doesn't train for the swim much) I have a tougher time than in a nice calm lake, so I knew regardless of how I felt I wasn't going to be setting any records on this swim. A few hundred meters in I was already realizing this little "sickness" was going to cause me some issues -I was having a really tough time breathing and at one point had to turn over and float on my back to catch my breath. I did contemplate if I should call it a day, but I turned back over and continued on with my swim. I came out of the water in 37:26, not a great swim for me but was to be expected. I saw Mom, Sis & the pups as I ran into T1 and there was no smile or wave for them like I usually do. I knew this was going to be a tough day for me.

The Bike...I honestly can't even tell you much about the bike course. I was just focused on getting through the 56 felt like one of the longest rides of my life. I didn't feel great and I couldn't wait for it to be over. My heart rate was very high for the effort and watts I was putting out, and I was still having trouble breathing. Going into the race, I was really excited to see what kind of bike time I could put up. I am loving my new Trek SC (Teddy), my bike training has been going well and was hoping for a solid bike time. I know my bike time was totally not reflective of my current bike fitness and I was bummed not to have the ride I am capable of. But I'm hopeful that I'll have a good ride sooner rather than later :) Kona, would be a good time for my bike fitness to make an appearance!
Entering T2, I saw my fam and again I couldn't muster a smile for them. I knew when I set out on this run, it was all going to come down to a mental battle for me. I was clearly not having the race I was hoping for with a crappy swim and bike (according to my own expectations for myself on this day) and as the day progressed, the worse I felt. My body was screaming at me to get back to bed!  I slipped on my pink Newtons, ran out of T2 and was hoping for some magic on this run. At about 1/4 mile, I saw my great support team again cheering for me, at this point I yelled to them that I wasn't feeling well and for about the first mile I can't lie I was battling the negative thoughts of just calling it a day. But then I realized that a DNF in my last race before Kona would not be the mental confidence builder I wanted going into that race. I had no idea how where I was in relation to the other girls in the race or what place I was in.  I just had to focus my energy on trying to pass as many girls as I could and within the first few miles I passed a bunch of girls which helped motivate me to continue plugging along.  As I approached the finish line I noticed one more girl ahead of me who seemed within reach.  I told myself 'you will pass her, you will pass her or you will pass out trying.'   Turns out, it was a matter of 4th place overall vs. 5th place overall.  I had no idea if it was for 10th overall or 3rd overall, but I was really happy that after such a tough day mentally (and physically of course) I still had it in me to make that last push.

                                 If you look close at finish line photos, Riley made the jumbo tron pic with me :)

Once I crossed the finish line, I completely let go of any negative thoughts about this race.  No, I didn't have the race I wanted or knew I was capable of, but not every race can be our perfect race. With Kona 6 weeks away, I chose to focus only on the positives:
1. On a day where I felt like total crap and wanted to quit during the swim and bike, I dug deep and didn't fall apart on the run, I managed to finish stronger than I started.
2. I ran my way from about 15th off the bike to 4th overall with the fastest female run split of the day.
3. Even on a bad day, I was able to eek out a sub 5 hour finish and finish in the top 5 overall and top 3 in AG.
4. I am incredibly proud of my ability to stay mentally strong and run my way through the field on a day when I was feeling less than 100%. I know this mental strength will serve me well in Ironman.
As soon as I crossed the finish, I went over to the Normatec booth to try out the recovery boots..and things ever - I totally felt a difference in my recovery after this race. I. MUST. GET. A. PAIR. 
I can't say enough great things about this race...Rev 3 puts on a fantastic race and I can't wait for next year...I'll be back.  The volunteers were amazing and Old Orchard Beach really seemed to welcome us with open arms!  I'm also excited that I won a free entry to a Rev 3 race of my choice next year for my 1st in AG finish (yes, technically was 2nd, but Rev 3 has top 3 overall awards, so a girl in my AG was top 3 which moved me to 1st in AG for awards).  
Now, I'm back to work and the next 6 weeks will be super busy, work gets chaotic (think loooong days in the office) again between now and the holidays.  I need to get focused for Kona, so its time to put my head down and do my very best to fit in good solid training (quality over quantity!) around work. Its back to getting to bed at midnight and up at 4:30 am.  There are no 20+ hour training weeks for this girl.  Literally, I am lucky if I get in 15 hours, and a typical week is more like 12 hours of training and I rarely am able to fit in everything my coach has on my schedule.  Yup, its those swims that most often get missed, and many many workouts getting rearranged to fit in whenever I can.   Feeling stressed already and I'm just back from 2 weeks vaca!!  In 2 weeks I'm heading to San Diego to visit sissy and get in some training in sunny SoCal.  Followed by a local sprint race where I'll attempt to defend my title from last year, and then its off to Kona.
Thanks everyone for your support, especially the super fast girls at Rev 3 Maine that motivated me to push my limits and keep fighting on a tough day, my Mom, Sissy and P&R for being the best cheerleaders, and my Coach and Sponsors for their continued support on this journey.


                                     The Candy lover in me couldn't wait for post race to visit "The Sugar Shack"

Friday, July 20, 2012

Racing in Racine

Sooo, it appears I haven't blogged in almost 2 months, no surprise there though. To be honest, this whole blogging thing is really tough for me for a number of reasons, but mostly its just not my thing to talk about myself, my training and racing. So, I'll try to keep this short and sweet and just give you the highlights of what's been going on the last couple months and a quick update on my recent race.

The season got a little thrown out of whack after the hip injury forced me to drop out of the Boston marathon and I didn't run for 8 weeks. I was forced to skip a bunch of races and rearrange my schedule a bit. Its never fun to be injured, but I tried to just keep it in perspective and focus on getting healthy so I would be good to go in time for Kona training. I have been injured many times before and I guess you could say I'm getting a little more used to it, and I also realize it could always be worse! I believe everything happens for a reason, as cliché as that is. And the reason why I think this injury helped me was bc I needed the break and now I'm feeling much more fresh to take on the ironman training for Kona and IMAZ!

Of course, I didn't do as much swim training as I thought I would do, since this would have been a good time for me to focus on my weakness.. Argh! Why do I find it so hard to get to the pool??!

I did have some fun things going on the last few months, despite being injured! I went on an amazing trip to Turks & Caicos with my Mom, Grandmother, Aunts/uncles & cousins for five days, I attended (drank a lot of vino) a bachelorette party at the Vineyards on Eastern Long Island for one of my oldest and best friends from middle school/high school and also had a blast at her weekend wedding festivities. There were a few missed workouts as a result :(

I finally started running again sometime in the middle of June and realized I needed to start putting some other races on my schedule since I had nothing until Kona in October. This is a difficult task since most of these races sell out so far in advance. Sissy was racing Vineman 70.3 on July 15 and it would have been great to do that, but unfortunately it was sold out. Racine 70.3 was on the same day and it was still Racine it was! I wasn't sure if I'd be ready to race by then so I asked Coach "will I be ready to race in 3 weeks?" and he told me yes.. So I signed up and had 3 weeks to get some of my run fitness back!

This race report will be brief because I'm also not one to spend too much time analyzing my race once its over, and now that I'm 5 days post race my memory of it all is fading :)

I did have a little bike stress leading into the race. When I dropped "Teddy" at the bike shop to be shipped to Racine, they discovered a crack in the frame. Teddy is my brand new Trek SC that I have only been riding a couple of months. When I arrived in Milwaukee for the race, I realized the bike tech guys for the race were from Trek - PERFECT! I brought Teddy over and had them take a look to be certain the frame wasn't cracked - the Good News- they confirmed it was just the paint. (still annoying to have the paint chipped on my brand new bike, but at least it was rideable). The bad news - they discovered that something on the aero bars broke off during shipping. Again, still rideable, so as annoying as it is having to deal with bike issues on a brand new bike, I was actually pretty surprised how calm I was about it all.

Ok back to the race!

Usually when I go to 70.3s I leave after work on Friday, which gets us to our hotel really late Friday night. I always feel so rushed and tired on Saturday, not the best way to feel the day before a race! For Racine we decided to leave during the day on Friday, we arrived at our hotel at was still daylight! It was so nice to relax, get organized, go to dinner and get a good night sleep. Since I felt so organized already, Saturday AM was very relaxing. Mom, pups and I had our tea, I did my nails (in of course the race color of the year - Tour de Finance) and then I did Moms nails in the same color! I went for a quick 2 mile run, while mom went to the gym, then I took the pups for a long walk. Of course we made our way to the Lululemon store in Milwaukee and I did some more damage on the CC! I love that store!! Good thing the morning was so pleasant, the rest of the afternoon felt a bit hectic, not really sure why though?!

Race morning went pretty smooth. I was definitely feeling nervous as I always do pre race, but it seemed worse because I hadn't raced in so long. But as always, having my mom there to keep me calm is the best. Oh and my pups P&R flew to Milwaukee with us too, so its always fun to have them there race morning :) My wave wasn’t until 7:59am (UGH - so late!), so I had plenty of time to get to transition, get everything set up and make my way to the swim start. I actually don’t like being around the swim start too early, I prefer to keep to myself until its time to line up. So mom and I found a gas station with a little store and I used that as my pre race bathroom! I put my wetsuit on there and just relaxed until about 7:30. We were allowed to get in the water before the swim, so I took advantage of that for a few minutes. Then it was time to line up!


I actually surprised myself with a Swim PR of 32 min. I did some "cramming" before the race. And of course on Friday morning before the race I swam 1.2 miles straight to remind myself that I can actually swim the distance. I do the same thing before Ironmans too (but 2.4 miles obvs ;) ) I honestly swam 10 times since April, so I was pretty happy about this swim. Lake Michigan was awesome, I really enjoyed the swim. But that T1 was tough! One of the hardest transitions I have ever experienced. It’s a pretty long run from the water to T1 and it was through sand...the type of sand that when it gets wet feels like quick sand! To make things worse, the bike mount was on an uphill, I HATE clipping in on an uphill...actually I'm really bad at it. Ha - you would think I could do it no problem by now ! And I don’t start races with my shoes already clipped in...maybe I should finally work on that?!


I debuted Teddy at his first race and I am in LOVE. We had a great day together! My bike time was a little disappointing, but I also made some stupid mistakes that cost me a few minutes. I didn’t stick to my routine the day before the race and that cost me. I race with the Garmin 910xt and Teddy is 'Bike 3' on the watch. But bc I didn’t get everything set up and tested out the day before - when I got out on to the bike I had no power, cadence etc...i debated just riding without it, but I like seeing all that info when I race, so I decided to figure out what was wrong. Watch was still set to 'Bike 1' which is Oscar (Orbea). There were a few other mistakes I made by not sticking to my own routine the day before the race, but I wont bore you with that!

Teddy is fast and super comfy! And he got sooo many compliments...gotta love pink ;)

Run: I ran a 1:32 on a hot day with just 4 weeks of running, so I was really happy with this time. I have not done any speed/tempo work since before the Boston Marathon so I really had no idea what to expect out there. Three weeks ago when I first started running again, I felt soooo out of shape and slow, and I didn't' think it was possible to get back to where I was. Now after pulling that off, I know I can get back to where I was in March with a few more weeks of training under my belt.

During the race I was just so happy to be back out there and racing again. It was probably one of only races where I didn't focus on who was in front of me, trying to run people down or what place I was in. I just wanted to focus on my own race and putting together a solid effort after a disappointing race in Texas and being sidelined with an injury for months. When I crossed the finish line I said to my Mom that I didn't think I had placed in my AG, but that it was ok, I was happy with my race and happy to have been able to run well so soon after being injured and in the Heat! Did I mention it was hot? But, at Mom's urging we went to take a look at the results, and I realized I had finished 1st in 30-34 AG, and I was sooo excited!! This was my first 70.3 AG win after many 2nd place finishes and to have it happen after a crappy few months, made me appreciate the win that much more!



I still have a lot of work to do before Kona, but this race gave me the confidence that I'm on the right track and I'm even more focused, hungry and ready to begin the Ironman training. Next up is Rev 3 Maine on Aug. 26. No Vegas for me this year, though I would like to redeem myself after last years terrible race, but Coach and I decided earlier in the season that I wouldn't take a slot if I did qualify. As tempted as I was to take my slot on Sunday, I passed..its also the same weekend that I already have Madonna tickets (cant wait, haha!) and my sister in laws baby shower,

I really liked Racine 70.3 and I would recommend this race! I guess this blog and race report ended up longer than I thought it would -- good thing I don’t blog often ;)

 And here are some more pics from the weekend :)


                                                           Peanut loves spectating!
                                              And so does Riley..or rather probably eating sand!

                                                        Peanut Loves Newtons too :)
                                                   Loving our rental car!

                                                     Cutest and BEST Mom ever :)

Thanks for reading!



Monday, June 4, 2012

Walking is Good Training..Seriously!!

Admittedly I am not very good at keeping up on triathlon news, blogs,  etc and I am always behind in Social Media updates, but luckily I have Sissy who is very on top of this and she gives me summaries on anything she thinks I'd be interested in. Thanks Sis!  Recently she forwarded me the attached written by the famous Brett Sutton. If you haven't read the article, you really should, good stuff here!  He basically discusses the merit of "walking"as a substitute for athletes that are injured and unable to run.  And I'll tell you  from personal experience why I believe he is spot on with this advice and why I found the article so interesting!

In July 2010 as I was training for my first ever IM WC's in Kona I had a bike crash and suffered a distal clavicle fracture and torn coracoid ligaments which required surgery 10 weeks out from Kona.  I was going to be in a sling for the next 8 weeks - not the ideal situation leading up to an Ironman. And I wasn't given much hope from the surgeons that I would be able to compete.  But I was determined. This wasn't going to be the race I hoped for in Kona but I would do everything possible to be on the start line in October. I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by. What if this was my only chance to race in the lava fields.   I was going to be in a sling for the next 8 weeks but I thought to myself, "Ok, I will just do whatever I can while in a sling. I still had functioning legs, so lets' put them to use!" I walked, I walked a lot, and I walked some more.  My goal was to remain as active as I possibly could and to try to maintain as much fitness as I could and not gain weight.

Just to give you an idea of the type of training I did over the next 8 weeks...I walked..and I walked...ALOT.  One day I walked 9 miles, I walked on the treadmill, I walked around Central Park, I went to the track with a friend/Kona training partner and walked while he did speed work. I did "doubles" of walking!  I was actually becoming quite a "speedy" walker.  I was also asking my doctor if I could do more. I finally convinced him I could do the elliptical, ride my trainer/spin bike while in my sling if I promised to keep my arm/shoulder totally still.  After seven weeks he gave me the ok for the Alter G treadmill.  But mind you...all of this was done with my arm in a sling. So none of this training was even close to full effort.

Clearly, there were many moments of doubt (among many other emotions) within these 10 weeks of whether or not I should race. The closer it got to race day the more nervous and doubtful I became. I had no idea whether I would be able to  swim 2.4 miles after surgery and having no use of my arm for the last 8 weeks.  I still didn't have full range of motion in the shoulder and its not like swimming was ever a strength of mine.  And then I didn't know how I would make it through a 112 mile bike and run a marathon after that.  It seemed like all I had done for 8 weeks was WALK!  What kind of Ironman prep training is that?  I also became increasingly frustrated knowing that there was no way I could compete to the best of my potential and the realization of how fit and well trained all my competitors would be started to set in.

I"m competitive by nature and  the idea of showing up to a race 'just to finish' wasn't my ideal.   My coach at the time, Jimmy Riccitello, was really great and supportive during this period and he finally convinced me to give it a go. He assured me that no matter the outcome I would be happier knowing I toed the line and gave it my best rather than not even trying at all.   He convinced me that it was ok to start and just see how I felt, take it one leg at a time and if I needed to drop out that was ok.  But, Jimmy knew me too well, he knew if he got me to start the race, get through the swim, then there was no way I wouldn't finish the race. He also emphasized the value of gaining Kona experience and the benefits it would have in case I ever made it back to the Big Island.  Boy, was he right!!  Thanks Jimmy!!

The week of the race, I had a conversation with a good friend who was also racing about goal times for the race. I admitted to him that my first goal was to make it to the finish but my second goal was to do it in under 11:30 hours. I knew he thought I was crazy and he told me to not set my expectations too high. But I had to have a goal and this is what it was.  I finished IMCOZ in 10:24 and I honestly thought if my body would hold up, I would have a shot at a sub 11:30 finish. But I didn't share this goal with anyone else.  I knew everyone would think I was out of my mind.

I won't go into the details of the race but the outcome was better than I could have ever imagined and I exceeded my own expectations and I"m sure I surprised everyone else who knew my circumstances. I ended up finishing in 10:47, far surpassing my sub 11:30 goal.  I swam a 1:17, biked  a 5:59 and ran a 3:22.  The highlight for me was really the 3:22 run split (and after all that Walk "training"  I never even had to stop and walk once!!). I ran a 3:30 at IMCOZ...and here I PR'd by almost 10 minutes without any proper run or ironman training for 10 full weeks leading up to the race. Walking was my training for the 2010 Ironman World Championships.  So there you have it, the moral of the story is I couldn't' agree more with Brett Suttons' article on the benefits of walking.  I had no idea I was onto anything when I decided to walk, I just figured it was the best way for me to stay as active as possible in lieu of running!  I honestly believe that the walking and other "training" I did for these 8 weeks enabled me to still be able to race as well as I did. The body is amazingly resilient and muscle memory is pretty powerful!  Had I become down on myself and just sat on my couch eating candy, I probably would not have had this same result. Ok, ok - I still ate a lot of candy, but at least I wasn't sitting home on my couch!!

I highly recommend the next time you are injured and are not able to run, that you take up walking (as long as ok'd by your doc).  I believe it really helped me and if you don't believe me, take Brett Sutton's word for it :)

Its also a reminder to me and hopefully to you as well, that when you get injured and your preparation and training isn't what you were hoping for, its not the end of the world, you can still have a good race....just modify your expectations and try to remain as active as possible and with determination and mental fortitude you can still get to the finish line!!


Monday, May 21, 2012

My "Bike" Family

I am sooo excited to introduce Theodore (aka "Teddy") to my "Bike Family".  Teddy is a 2012 Trek Speed Concept 9.8.   I have been anxiously awaiting his arrival for months!  I ordered my new bike at the end of February on my trip out to San Diego to visit Sissy and it has been sitting at the Trek store since March.  This was such torture for me. I was finally able to get back out to San Diego a few weeks ago to get fitted and take it for a test ride before it was packaged back up to be shipped to NY.  I can't thank the guys at Trek (Jason, Angel and the rest of the team) for all their help. These guys are seriously Awesome and were sooo incredibly helpful to me during the whole process.  Teddy FINALLY arrived in NY on Thursday, and I picked him up on Friday night at Bicycle Planet in Syosset.  Thanks BP for putting it all back together and having it all ready for me to take out  on the roads this past weekend!

I am sooo excited to spend a lot of quality time with Teddy.  My first ever road bike that I purchased before my first triathlon in 2004 was a Trek and I'm happy to be riding one again.  When I was deciding on a new bike for the 2012 season, I obviously wanted something FAST (we all know I need all the help I can get on the bike) and truth be told… when I discovered I could custom paint the Speed Concept in RADIOACTIVE PINK, I could hardly contain my excitement and I was sold...I NEEDED this bike and I knew it was the perfect bike for me.  Now if only I could start riding like Julie Dibens and Chris Lieto (haha).

Since I tend to get very attached to my bikes, I will not be selling Oscar (2009 Orbea Ordu).  Oscar holds a very special place in my heart.  Oscar was my first Tri bike. Well technically this is Oscar II,  I also own a 2007 Orange Orbea, Oscar I.  However, my relationship with Oscar  I was short-lived as I was riding Oscar I when I was hit by the car in Aug. 2007 and I haven't ridden it since ( I still do own the frame though, and may eventually turn it into a fixed gear bike...again see my attachment to bikes :)  Back to Oscar II….Oscar has been with me through my triathlon journey and we have raced many triathlons together, but most importantly he was with me when I did my first Ironman (Cozumel 2009) and qualified for Kona, he was with me when I raced Kona 2010 just 8 weeks after shoulder surgery, and he helped me to finish Ironman Cozumel 2011 as First Female Amateur.  I absolutely loved this bike and was so comfortable on it, I couldn't  possibly ever give him up!  Oscar will still be involved in my training occasionally, I just won't be racing Oscar anymore :(

                                                          Oscar II

                                                       Oscar I

I'd also like to introduce Onda, my Pinarello road bike. Onda was love at first site for me and my first Pink Bike...she is a Beauty!!  I purchased Onda in 2008 after my bike accident and she was instrumental in getting me back out on the roads and comfortable riding again. I knew I wouldn't be racing very much as I was recovering from the accident and injuries so I decided to purchase a road bike first and then replace Oscar I in 2009 once I started racing again.  You probably have noticed a theme here…yes all the bikes have Pink in some capacity. I LOVE PINK!!


Since I love all of these bikes,I  couldn't imagine giving any of them up!  The tricky part…fitting them all into my 1 bedroom Manhattan apt..haha!

Ok, enough about the bikes.  A little update on the injuries, race
schedule, etc.  I was finally able to get a diagnosis on the hip injury.  I partially tore my IT band off the anterior superior iliac spine.  Doc was quite surprised by this injury and said its not very common at all.  Leave it to me to have some weird diagnosis!  Given how difficult the decision was to drop out of the Boston marathon, this news made me feel validated.  I was relieved that it was an injury that could be diagnosed and I could just focus on getting better.  Nothing worse then being injured and not knowing what it is.  I am pretty much pain free now, have been able to get some runs in on the Alter G (thanks Finishline PT!) and hope to be back out on the road running in a week or two.  I am being conservative, I do NOT want any setbacks.  Oh, I did run outside this past Tuesday...I could not pass up the opportunity to run with Macca!

I was bummed not to be racing Fla 70.3 this weekend as planned.  I think it’s the right decision, it didn’t seem worth it to push it and potentially re-injure my hip. I had also decided to skip Eagleman for a trip to Turks & Caicos and had planned to do the now cancelled National Harbor 70.3.  But now my race schedule seems oddly light...until the fall.  So I need to figure out what's next.  Tupper Lake?  Syracuse?  Racine?  Calgary?  What to do, what to do?!  I'll likely have this planned out by the time I write stay tuned :)
 Other exciting news, this past Thursday I only worked a 9.5 hour day and WOW..truly amazing what I can accomplish when I'm not strapped to my desk for 14+ hours a day. I walked P&R (adorable pups) before work and got in a Swim/Bike & a Run. I felt like a REAL triathlete for a day!!  Now if only that could happen a little more frequently I may actually have a shot at achieving some of my goals :)
                    Hope everyone had a great weekend of training and racing!!