Thursday, March 29, 2018

I Lost That Lovin' Feeling....

I've been battling through training and race prep for a while now. Coach saw it. Others saw it. I was in denial. The world of triathlon was and is my social outlet. These people are my friends, my confidantes, my support. 

I have come to dread training. I like to run. I like to swim. I like to ride. I am tired of monitoring heart rate, pace, cadence, watts, etc. I have a ride coming up this weekend and I'm not dreading the distance, but I don't want to do the 'work' intervals. I just want to ride. A friend last year told me I was making this stuff too much like work and that was sucking the joy right out if it, he was right.

I felt pressure to carry on because because I can. I am physically able. I am healthy. I have the time. I have found the funds. There are others out there for so many reasons that can not. They would trade places with me in a blink of the eye. I can do all this stuff, so I should. But I don't want to.

I think part of it is I have a coach who I hired to push me to my greatest potential. His job is not to accept mediocrity from me. I didn't hire him to just get me to the finish line. I hired him to help me get to a stronger version of myself. Right now, though, I'm feeling okay being just whatever version of me wakes up in the morning. 
Maybe I'll buy a t-shirt. It would match my Adultish tee.

These thoughts and emotions aren't new. I've been here before. I almost didn't start IMChat. This year, I think I'm going to act on them. I'm going to pull out of HIM Chat. 

I do not have a good answer anymore when I'm asked, "Why do you do this?"
When you don't know your WHY, it's hard to endure any thing.
Since 2013 I have let my hobby rule my life and it's time to shake things up. After telling Coach what I wanted to do, he supported my decision and asked, "What do you need from me as your coach?" B and I had already talked about this and I had my answer ready. "I want to be trained as a runner who cross trains. I still want to do Triathlon Wednesday because I love being in the Bank with everyone and I still want to swim a couple times a week as I'm making progress and I don't want to lose it all. I don't want to lose an entire day to cycling unless that's what I decide I want to do."

I'm hopeful to grab a couple local tris this summer if they fit in our schedule. We will most definitely be on the sidelines of HIM Chat volunteering/cheering. (and hopefully Augusta, and IM Chat, and IMWC, and IM Florida, etc.)

In the mean time I am going to:
  • Keep doing the 3 sports because I like them. 
  • Get ready for a winter marathon with B and friends. 
  • Plan a wedding. 
  • Maybe pick up heavy things and put them back down.
  • Maybe restring my tennis racket.
Most importantly I'm going to rediscover the joy of being fit and active. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

I Have a Favorite Grocery Store....

Yesterday was my birthday and for the first time since maybe 2012 or 2013, I didn't plan out my day around a workout. I had no interest in swimming 4400 yards, or cycling 44 miles, or running for 44 minutes or 4.4 miles. I was just going to turn 44 as quietly and gracefully as possible.

B took the day off and we spent the day being foodies in Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC.

43 was a good year for me. I started it in (what I thought was) my dream job as a collegiate lacrosse coach. I became the winningest coach in the program's history and was honored by my peers as the conference coach of the year. I spent the summer traveling for work, getting to know B, and training for my 3rd Ironman. In late summer/fall B and I were engaged:
Less than 2 months later I retired from Ironman with a hell of a PR in Chattanooga.

B and I found our wedding location and we traveled to DC with the Kyle Pease Foundation for the Marine Corp Marathon. That event was a real struggle for me physically, but was most likely my strongest mental day yet. I shaved off about 10-15 minutes from the year before. Go #TeamNaomi!

B and I merged our families together for Thanksgiving and for Christmas we saw (almost) EVERYONE. Wedding planning was in full swing and I prepared for another lacrosse season as a coach instead of a ref.

Then things changed. I was released/resigned from my coaching responsibilities. Huh.
  • It was for the best.
  • It was a blessing in disguise.
  • When one door closes, another door opens.
  • [[insert your favorite here]]
I landed on my feet because that's what I do. I took a day and threw myself a lovely pity party and then I called all the lacrosse assignors I knew (for officiating) and got back on the schedules. B and I evaluated options and sped up the process of shacking-up officially. I needed to yield my house as paying 2 rents just didn't make sense. I moved to the counttree. Adulting is hard.

Some days are great, some are difficult. Just like when I did have a steady full time job. So the question has been, "What are you looking for now?" The answer: I'm not. I'm completely LOVING being back in the middle of the lacrosse field with the Zebras. I'm trying my hand at some contract work. I get to cut back on my schedule when B and I have the kids and spend time with them before and after school. I'm taking the break I wanted back in November 2016 but instead went straight from one job to the next. Oh, and B calls me a semi-pro triathlete because I have a little bit more time to train. 

So cheers to: (in no particular order)
  • being 44
  • being a step mom
  • being a lot less stressed
  • being in love
  • being happy
  • being content
  • accepting my lot in life right now and being very, VERY happy with it.
I LOVE Aldi... seriously, I do.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Letting Go...Moving Forward...

My Facebook memories reminded me this week that this week in 2009, I told a very important person in my life I no longer wanted to be with him. I didn't want to see him anymore. I needed to move on as we were never. ever. going to be what the other person needed or wanted. It took me a good bit of time to get over him, to move on. I mean years. I think that's reasonable when you break up with someone who has been more than your best friend for 7+ years. 

While I moved on, I still held on. A small piece. I've moved multiple times since that date. Some moves by choice, some not. I always moved this item with me.
This little trinket box held a guardian angel, a four-leaf clover, a heart, and some seas shells. Oh I love seashells! It was a gift he gave me in 2004 when I drove away from NJ and headed to GA. It has moved from NJ to Roswell. Roswell to Marietta. Marietta to Orlando. Orlando to Roswell. Roswell to Marietta. It survived the fire of 2013. It then traveled from Marietta back to Roswell (a different house this time, not my sister's!).

This box has sat on my night stand. It's been on my dresser. It's been in a drawer. It's been on a living room bookshelf. Most recently I just found it in a room I rarely go in, on the top shelf of a bookcase I rarely look at. 

See, I'm moving. Again. But this time, even though the timing is off, the change is welcome. I'm moving in with B.

I moved on YEARS ago but I always held on, just a bit. Today as I begin to pack so we can start bringing things north I'm throwing this away. It is time to completely let go and move forward. 

Life has been quite a roller coaster so far this year and I'm thankful for it. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Tale of Seven Christmases....

2017 was the first time EVER in the history of my world that I had a significant other in my life that I was spending 12/25 (Christmas Day) with. There have been some fleeting guys of the past over the holidays but no one I actually spent thee day with. Even being Jewish, I have cultivated my own traditions for the day over the past many years. The most important to me is spending Christmas morning with my sister's kids. This is the tale of how we, yes We, made it through Christmas 2017.

Our first Christmas so originally named "Early Christmas" was held on Saturday 12/16. Lil B and This is Five were headed out of town with their mother for Christmas so we hosted an early celebration. The night before we had Forced Family Fun and decorated gingerbread ornaments and watched old school Christmas cartoons.
On Saturday after Lil B's basketball game and I got back from campus from touring a recruit, we settled in with my sister's family for lunch, present unwrapping and then playing with presents.
I can't tell you how great it is that my entire family has so warmly and openly accepted and embraced not just B but the littles too! We love watching my niece and nephews be so kind and patient with their newly acquired 5 and 8 year old cousins.

We then had a week to prep for the rest of our celebrations that would all happen in the span of about 28 hours in 2 different states.

It was disappointing but probably for the best, that our engagement photo shoot was delayed on Saturday 12/23. We started our day off a little calmer and we got an hour earlier start on our trip up to NC. We even had time to stop for Lexington BBQ and tour through B's alma mater.
After a 7 hour trip up north, #2 and #3 were in our sights. Christmas Eve was being spent in B's home town with his folks.

We woke up the next morning and went out for a run. Waving, wishing drivers passing by a merry Christmas and decked out in fun head bands. Had we been home, we had been invited to a couple fun runs. Since we couldn't go, we had to make our own!

#2 was at B's dad's house on Christmas Eve. It was a house full of people I had never met and they went out of their way to welcome me and even laugh at some Dad Jokes. I mean, I had a new audience and a few glasses of wine... A short visit there and we were headed to #3.

#3 was with B's mom. We headed out to a Chinese restaurant in Rocky Mount, NC. His mom had heard good things and wanted to check it out. It was packed, but I swear I was the only MOT there! Amazingly, Santa made an early stop that day and our stockings that had been hung by the chimney with care were now full!
We enjoyed unwrapping presents and chatting with his mom before turning in knowing we had a 4:45am wake up call.

Christmas Day arrived and I don't know how Santa does it as we were pretty wiped out after on a few hours of sleep. However, right on schedule in our Christmas p.j.s we were out the door at 5am and headed straight to my sister's house. Thankfully as the kids have gotten older, the morning has started later. I used to spend the night there as the kids would be up and ready to go at 6:30. This year we got a call around 10, checking in on our status....After a 7 plus hour drive....

#4 was with my sister and her family as it has been since at least 2001 if not before. (I missed 2009 but they came to Orlando the next day.) Kids still being kids, they unwrapped the presents under the tree before we got there, I can't blame them, but they did wait to do their stockings with us. We got to the house around 1pm in time for an amazing brunch in which we ate and ate as we had been up for 7-some hours without real food. Then presents and stockings with the neighbors and then...I napped! We put on A Christmas Story and I proceeded to pass out. I won Christmas this year as I commissioned my niece to paint a picture of where we got engaged. B loved it!

My niece who has really enjoyed cheering with us this year upped our cheer game...

After some visiting and short nap, we were headed to #5.

#5 was a visit with friends who have pretty regularly held an open house on Christmas Day, but I can't remember the last time I had stopped by. I'm sure it's been a few years. But when I got the invite this year, I knew I wanted to make time to stop by. This was a group of friend who hadn't yet gotten to meet B and the hostess was responsible for me signing up for my first half marathon. We couldn't stay too long, but it was really nice to visit with them! Old friends are good friends to keep around. It's nice when you can just pick up from where you left off. Except....their children who I used to babysit for are all much taller than me and driving!

#6 was with our sister-wife and her family. We couldn't miss spending some time with my roomie and her family. They so generously open their home on Christmas to any of their friends to come by for dinner. Besides, we really like spending time with them so of course we'd be there! Friends are the family you get to choose! After racing BB-8s around the house in which I kicked B's butt... we headed home for our last Christmas celebration.

#7 was just the 2 of us. Sitting on the couch we unwrapped our presents. We discussed that neither one of us could have fathomed 8 months ago, that we'd be sitting on the couch together Christmas day thinking of how we get to start our own family holiday traditions.

Keeping B busy all day I think kept his mind off not spending Christmas with the kids until we stopped moving. Then I think it hit him. This life is new to all of us and we are doing the best we can with each situation as it presents. We are both very much looking forward to having the four of us together for Christmas  in 2018!

Oh, and one of B's other gifts was his first Marathon at Kiawah Island, December 2018. I'm either the best fiancee ever, or a jerk. Let's see how training goes!

Wishing you and yours a very healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year!

Monday, October 23, 2017

KPF MCM 2017...

Last year I made a concious decision to find a way to give back through my passion for running and triathlon. I got involved with the Kyle Pease Foundation and completed a handful of events with them including pushing Aidan through the Marine Corp Marathon. I enjoyed it so much, that after a couple of days of recovery, I was all in to repeat this year.

This year would bring about new challenges in preparation. I had only 4 weeks to recover and keep fitness at the same time after Ironman Chattanooga. I didn't have to just keep fitness, I had to keep focus. This proved challenging every day with every workout. But this race wasn't for me. It was for this year's partner, Naomi. I have a hard time brushing off a workout when it isn't just about my personal results.

Life seems to be happening a lot these days, and I couldn't get them all done. But I tried. Boy did I try. I missed things. I missed a 2 hour bike ride because I had work commitments that ate up my day and by the time I got home, I walked right past my bike (that was nicely set up in the living room) and climbed in to bed. I had to drop 10 minutes off a run because I over slept and was time crunched with a family responsibility. I ended up splitting my one and only longer run into 2, because after 11 miles in 80+ degree weather while trying to stay whole30 compliant, my legs gave out on me.

But quitting isn't an option when you push. After rehydrating, fueling, watching a 7 year old baseball game, taking the kids to dinner, and then putting them to bed; B went out to finish the last 5 miles with me even though we started them after we usually go to bed. (His mom was in town, we didn't leave the kids alone!) Had those miles been for me, Training Peaks would still be yellow.

I ask people all the time who are struggling with getting their workouts complete, or following a plan or the plan, "What's your why?". It's my why that keeps me going and it's my lack of why that is my reason for hiatus from 140.6 for a bit. I digress... but Naomi was my why for this.

So THE weekend is upon us! I've done everything I can do to be ready to push Naomi around DC and Virginia. I fundraised the best I could. It was time to celebrate the hard work and tour DC with Naomi pulling me through. With work responsibilities different this year, we were able to take much kinder flights. Last year I was on 6am flights to and from!

B and I got into DC Friday in time to hang with some of the crew for the weekend before heading out to grab some dinner. Then on Saturday morning, B and I and three others headed over to the expo to grab all the bibs and race shirts we could for the KPeasey crew. With the 5 of us, I thought it went incredibly smooth. Then to a relaxing lunch and time to get my feet up until our team dinner.

Race morning....I was nervous. And anxious. I've been achy since Chat. I have never pushed a race chair. It's 26 point 2 freaking miles!!! I don't think the distance ever gets easier for me to process.
However, I was hanging out with someone who was more anxious than me, so I tried to put forth a calm exterior and stay positive in my own head. Every one should dance to the start line, right? (You'll want volume for this.)

Marine Corps Marathon is one heck of an event. Pushing or running, I highly recommend it. The pageantry before the start, and the on course support is just simply amazing. However, it is a crowded course and it seemed even more crowded this year than I remembered it to be in the past.

Naomi and I took off when it was our turn and I ran by distance only. No data display except on the mile chirps. No heart rate. No pace. I ran completely by feel. B asked me what the race plan was...I told him it was to have fun and get Naomi to the finish line. There were zero expectations on us for a time, except to finish. We also had the honor of running in memory of Spc Tyler R. Seidman who died in a helicopter crash in August 2007 through the Medals of Honor organization.

The first few miles just kept going by. Towards the beginning, we were going up a slight hill and the elite runners were going past us. So we cheered them on and occasionally I would turn to them and tell them we would race them to the top. That got them to crack a smile. And the miles kept going by. I'm still in awe at how seamlessly the miles seemed to go by. I think about mile 3, Jeff caught us and visited for a moment before going on to finish his race.

At mile 4 we saw Brent and he checked on us both and we were great. I think we saw him again before mile 10, but I'm not positive. Somewhere on the out and back both Amy and Smitha hollered hellos from the other side of the road. At about 10 Naomi's mom and B were on the right. We pulled up to them and stopped for a quick visit. Tina (Naomi's mom) checked on her, B checked on me. We reloaded my Gu's and I told B my knee hurt and I needed water. He didn't have any on him, so off we went. Less than a quarter mile later, up came B sprinting after me...Tina had water!

We were then on our own till about mile 16. Naomi and I are yelling at the Marines supporting the course, "Oorah!". We are walking the aid stations and grabbing water. I'm trying to stay on top of my gels. Did I mention the miles kept rolling by? I gel by mileage and I kept missing the aid station I should have stopped at. So I averaged a gel about every 4-5 miles instead of being spot on the 4 like I had been doing.

At mile 16 I see Mike on the right and tell him I need Ibruprofen. He doesn't have any but tells me the crew is up on the right. We stop there and the crew is right in front of a medical tent and Helen gets me Tylenol. Tina checks on Naomi. B and Helen check on me. I tell B my knee hurts to bend and I can't put any pressure on my left arm or I get a shooting pain in my shoulder. It means I can't lean and steer the race chair with both arms, I can only use my right. B offers me peanuts, I say no thanks. Helen calls Brent and less than half a mile later, I'm stopped talking with him. Brent gives Naomi a pack of cookies. He tells me to eat the peanuts. I have a few. He gives me more. I say I'm good, he gets me to finish the bag. B still doesn't get why I ate peanuts when Brent told me to but not him. Duh....Coach. Brent asks about the pain so I tell him. Neither of us are all that surprised as I did finish an Ironman just four weeks ago. He shows me where to hold the chair and I assure him I already figured it out. He asked if I wanted him to find someone on the course to finish the day with me? I said NO! Naomi wasn't done racing and neither was I. I signed up for this, I'm going to finish it. I don't quit and I surely don't quit on someone else's race. Brent said he was going to be sending everyone on to the finish line, and I said that's fine. See you all there.

The last 10 miles took us a bit longer to get through than the first 10 but we were still moving. Naomi offered to share her cookies, but I was good. Right before mile 20, there were spectators handing out beer and fireball shots. Since the Tylenol wasn't dulling the pain, I figured fireball might...

Then we beat the bridge. Knowing we would finish, I now had a decision to make. Walk it in, and my knee was going to hurt, or jog it in the best I could and my knee was going to hurt. Naomi cheered me on and we walked/ran our way in. At about mile 22 there was a non-official aide station set up and they offered chips that Naomi wanted. She was great about sharing them with me also. If it's good enough for Ironman, it's good enough for a marathon!

What I haven't mentioned is I had a whistle for the whole run. Naomi had been blowing one at dinner the night before, and lost it. So I brought another. I gave it to her to use but she didn't want to. So I took it. I would blow it, and she would tell me to stop. I think it kept us both engaged in the event.

At some point, we hit mile 23. A 5K to go and our hotel is RIGHT there! I mean, RIGHT there!!! I jokingly ask Naomi if she wants to just call it quits and go back to the room for a shower and naps. She says NO! She's the boss we finished it off.

At about mile 24-25 we caught up to Cynthia who was having a tough day. She walked/jogged with us a for a little bit and then we finished it off on our own.
A nice slow walk up the last little hill and then we turned the corner and jogged it in. It was time for Naomi to be a marathoner again!

We both enjoyed getting our medals and high-fiving the Marines in the finishing chute. And I don't know about Naomi, but that was the best tasting Coke, ever!

With Naomi wearing this year's medal and happy to be back in the tent hanging out with friends, B and I made our way to the Metro and back to the hotel.

Personally, I am happy to report that I barely chafed at all and that I had about a 16 minute PR over last year. It was a great way to wrap up my long course career (for now). I PR'd my 140.6 and I PR'd my push marathon.

After a shower, Motrin, and a short nap (and some tears getting out of bed), B and I went out and ate amazing Ethiopian food and milkshakes with NFG.

Monday morning when the alarm went off, B asked me if getting out of bed was going to make me cry. With that statement I had an ah-ha moment. Truthfully, there were some tears getting vertical. I'm having a really hard time getting up from an extended seated position. Stairs are not my friend. BUT...this is temporary. It's temporary! There are people for whom this is an everyday part of their life. Everyday they wake up and wonder if the pain will be so bad that getting out of bed is going to make them cry. I'm actually thankful for this pain. I'm thankful that I am healthy enough to do what I do to cause this pain and that it will go away. The extreme pain from the race has diminished and was replaced by muscle soreness. Soreness because I was able to, chose to, and had the privilege of running a marathon with Naomi. (You'll want volume for this one also.)

I want to thank Brent and Kyle Pease and Helen for allowing me to participate for a second year in the Marine Corps Marathon with the Kyle Pease Foundation. It is an honor and privilege to race in blue for you all.
16 teams. 16 TEAMS!!!
If you were meaning to donate and didn't get a chance too, Naomi and my fundraising page is still active. While we met our goal, know that we are allowed to exceed that goal! All moneys raised go to supporting inclusion and furthering the Kyle Pease Foundation mission. 

I will be taking next year off from the marathon distance, but plan to stay involved with KPF! 2017 has been a heck of year for me in all facets of life. Thanks for being part of it and let's see what the last two months bring!!
Cheers to a wonderful 2017!
P.S. If you are in the Atlanta area and want to experience the wonderfulness that is a KPeasey Event, join us at their annual Bowling Party on Sunday November 12th. It is a true family event. For more information and to purchase tickets in advance, click here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

My IM Swan Song...

In case you missed my last installment, I almost didn't start IM Chattanooga. You can read why here. But I did...

You know I'm pretty lousy at keeping my own good news a secret so I'll tell you that once again I crushed the Shawna Block division. I was a favorite going in and I did not disappoint.

There were quite a few things different about this Ironman event. First and foremost, when I signed up for it I was painfully single. When race day came, I was engaged. I don't mean engaged in the event, I mean engaged to be married. We can all take a moment and let that sink in....If you are totally good with this concept, you should go read some of my earlier posts. Otherwise, we are all now on the same page....This race weekend I traveled with a different support crew. Stacy, my long standing sherpa, project manager, and BFF was there with me but my parents were not. My 15 year old niece, M, came with me for the weekend for her first long course event. B drove in from Indianapolis on Saturday as he refused to take my very genuine pass on this event.

How does being engaged make this event different than the other two? When I was single:
  • no one else lost sleep when my alarm went off at 0430 or 0445
  • no one else had their vacation plans altered by my training schedule
  • no one else lost out on socializing because I was in Ironman training
  • no one else had dinner plans with their family delayed because I had a long run
  • no one else was physically invested in my training
I felt like I went into the event with more pressure to succeed for the above reasons. Also, I made it very public that no matter what happened, Ironman Chattanooga was going to be my last full for awhile if not forever. I really wanted to go out on a high note. 

Brent of Dynamo Multisport has been my coach since March 2015. When we first started to get ready for another full (I took 2016 off from fulls) we had goals of really pushing IMChoo. As a matter of fact, after Half Ironman Chattanooga we even discussed some targetted running paces. As life happened and I challenged Brent to get me ready while I traveled every.damn.weekend of the summer, we both knew the goals for me needed to be adjusted. That didn't mean he pushed me less. He just had to push differently. Once worked kicked up, he had to push a little gentler. (Overwhelmed and Stressed, Party of 1 your table is ready!). Everyone but me knew going in I was set up for a most amazing day. 
Me and Coach Brent
Race Day:
I woke up early to eat and then go hang out at swim start. Stacy and Maria were already there when M, B, and I walked up. The attitude in the air is a mixture of joy, excitement, and terror. I'm fairly certain I went through all 3.
Stewing in my own thoughts.
A few rounds of tears were shed on B's shoulder and then we were up and moving towards the water. There was no turning back. Besides, I had two friends racing with very heavy hearts, I had no excuse.

It was announced early that the swim would not be wetsuit legal and I have yet to invest in a swimskin. Since I knew I was doing a full change in T1, Coach said to swim in a swimsuit to cut back on drag. So I did with my sports bra already on as I was concerned about the acrobatic moves it would take to put on a sports bra on a wet body. The swim is straight down river and the river was moving. Swim PR by about 30+ minutes!
Those are ear plugs. I started swimming with them after my dance with Bronchitis/Ear issues last year.
Out of the water and up the ramp. EVERYONE is there cheering! I got to see Stacy, M, and the rest of the Dynamo cheering crew. I was also able to stop and give B a kiss. Dynamo has a family first philosophy and I have been told to always stop (even if briefly) to thank those who are there supporting you and who helped you get there. 

In T1 I grabbed a volunteer and got into my KPeasey Cycling Kit. It was time to ride.
Photo Cred: Nadya
I never did get a chance this summer to come up to preview the course but I have ridden the loop many times at Dynamo Camps in 2015 and 2016. One my way out, I was to only drink water for the first 15 minutes. I had a water bottle and was about to take a sip when I saw railroad tracks. Holding the bottle against my handle bars as I went over the tracks, the bottle bounced right out. The volunteer  hollered at me to let it go. Buh-bye water! Otherwise the first loop went well. My watch chirps every 5 miles on the bike. When it chirps I look at how long those 5 miles took. I don't ride by pace. I ride by heart rate, cadence, and most importantly power (but I manage that metric the worst). However, I know if the watch chirps less than 20 minutes, than I am riding faster than 15 mph. I was crushing the first loop. On the first loop, I grabbed a bottle of water from the first aide station and used it to sip as well as pour on myself. A quick stop at special needs to switch out my nutrition bottles and I was back rolling. (I also used the bathroom, but I didn't make a special stop just to pee!)

The second loop was tougher. Same course but more sun and more winds. I expected this. I knew this would happen. When I slowed down, I just rolled with it. By mile 70, the pain I had been experiencing in my feet on the bike was rearing its ugly head. In full force. Tear inducing pain. Knowing the course well and remembering the advise Coach has been giving me for 3 seasons: I needed to focus on small chunks. First target was up to Hog Jowl to turn left on to some rollers. There would be recovery time there on the down hills. Then I told myself to get to the pavilion. From the pavilion it was get to Chickamauga. From Chickamauga it was get up the last long climb because the reward is WEEEEE all the way down. After the WEEEEE we turned right and had about 11 miles back to transition. That's when I bumped my watch and screwed up all my data collecting! ❅ and I have an on-going joke about #brackets, but it was how I got through the 116 mile ride. Small chunks. (See Coach, I have been listening to you!).

In to T2 and my awesome support crew from swim start has been joined by Coach and Ty. I'm back sooner than I anticipated and everyone, including me is thrilled with my bike and Coach yells at me to take a bow. I bow. I courtesy. I head towards the tent to change yet again, I see Stacy. I tell her about my feet and assure her I have taken advil already and I'll take more. She yells at me to get my shoes off and give my feet a chance to spread a little. She's been through this with me before.

It's time to run. I get to see B, M, and Ty on my way out as well as Coach. He reminds me to walk the hills. I get my feet under me and I start my run. I've never started my run this early in the day! My feet still hurt. It's not going away. I walk up the first hill and I start running. I loved all the support on the course. The aide stations were great and every mile as promised.

I was holding on until about mile 9 when the hills really started. The pain in my foot just wouldn't release. I'm not running the plan. I'm run-walking and walking more than just the aide stations. I get out of the hills and I'm having a lovely pity party in my head when I am about to cross the pedestrian bridge to start the second loop. I have my speech prepared for the next time I see Coach. And I see Coach at about mile 12. And before I can say a word, he starts talking: 
Second loop is when it hurts. Second loop is when you dig deep. Everyone is out here cheering for you and pulling for you. Get it done. 
He never gave me a chance to reply. As I crossed on to the pedestrian bridge, I walked. I shed a few tears, and I muttered a few choice words for Coach. Then a guy comes running up to me and says, "Hey Dynamo, I didn't catch your name, but I hope you saw your cheering squad back there on the corner!" I assured him they were hard to miss and I started running again.

In special needs I pulled my gels and decided I didn't want my long sleeve shirt. It was still daylight and I've never hit special needs in broad daylight. Thankfully Laura was standing right there and I was able to give her my bag so I wouldn't have to leave my shirt behind and lose it forever. Michael and Lorilyn ended up helping me and it's always great to see them volunteering and cheering on the course.

It's very easy to get caught up walking at this point of the day. I was trying to keep my head about me and luckily landed in a group that was doing what I was doing: run - walk - run. It's much easier to keep running when everyone around you is doing it. I had no concept of time or how long I'd been on the course. I knew I would finish, I just didn't know when. Everything from my waist down hurt.

Around mile 20, M and B were at the bottom of a steep hill and they walked up it with me. B is trying to talk me up. I snap at him. Telling him how much I hurt, tearing a bit, telling him I hate him right now. He took it well. I took a gel. They left me and told me everyone else was up on the bridge waiting for me.

At the top of the hill I start running again and I see Stacy. She stays with me for a brief moment and gives me a pep talk and tells me Coach is at the end of the bridge. I cross the end of the bridge, no Coach. A few minutes later I hear him calling my name and he rides up next to me. He asked how I was doing. I gave him an honest answer: Everything hurts and I'm dying.

He asked me if I thought it would be easy. I snapped that I knew it wasn't going to be easy but that my feet have hurt since mile 70 on the bike and he asked how I was feeling. He asked when I ate last and I told him mile 20. I was at mile 21.5. He asked me what was I going to do. I told him I was going to finish it. He said of course you are, but are you going to walk it in or run? I told him I was still in it. He told me to start running again at the top of the hill and then at the next aide station to get chicken broth (nectar of the gods, I swear!), coke, and pretzels. Well, the next aide station didn't have chicken broth or pretzels so I had a handful of chips and a coke.

I finished the last five miles or so walking the hills, running the downs, and run-walking what flats were left. I crossed over the pedestrian bridge and as I came around the corner, EVERYONE was there.

I stopped and hugged Stacy, my sister-wife.
I stopped and hugged Ty, my tri-wife.
Missing 1 to share with you my amazing bridal party!
I stopped and hugged Coach and thanked him for everything. He asked for a hat tip at the finish. I did my best, but I think my hat tipping needs work.

I high-fived other friends on the fence.

I stopped and gave B a kiss before I crossed the finish line.
Screen shot thanks to Karen!
Then I ran to the finish line with my shoulders back and a huge grin on my face.

 Mike Reilly announced I was an Ironman!
Grabbed a selfie when we returned for final finisher.
I had no concept of my time. I had no idea what time of day it was or how long it had taken me to complete the 144.6 miles of Ironman Chattanooga. I just knew I did it. When M and B caught up with me, B showed me the tracker.

Holy Hell....I went out on a 13 minute Personal Best from IM Louisville in 2015.

It was a good day. It was a tough day. That's Ironman for you. It is an emotional roller coaster from the time I wake up until I put my head down on a pillow for the night. Success for the day is managing the emotional ride. I am retiring/taking a leave of absence from full distance for now. I'm an excellent sherpa and am available for hire! I am already signed up Chat 70.3 in 2018 and we have every intention of voluncheering Kona 2018. I'm not giving up triathlon, just reallocating some of the time I spent training for the longer distance.

While triathlon is an individual sport, I would never get through it with out the support of my family, my team, and my friends. You all mean so much to me and I am ever so thankful to the sport for bringing (most of) you into my life.

Bracelet is off, tri tats removed. Time to look to the last event of the year.
2017 has been a heck of a year and it isn't over yet. I have one more big event that I could still use your help with! Naomi and I are so very close to our fundraising goal for the Marine Corp Marathon, and if you would be so kind as to donate just $10, you would put us that much closer to hitting our goal. You can make your tax deductible donation here. Remember: Where there is a wheel, there is a way!!!

Naomi, my running partner for MCM 2017!

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Start Line That Almost Wasn't...

For the past month, I had legitimately considered not staring IM Chattanooga. I'm not injured. No one in my family is gravely ill. My training is right on schedule with the usual ups and downs and seemingly more ups this cycle than downs. I had a fantastic race at Ironman Chattanooga 70.3. For all intents and purposes, I had no real reason to pull out.

Except I didn't want to do it.

I just didn't want to race. I didn't want to do more long bike rides. I just didn't want to. 3 weekends ago when I did a random gravity check off my bike (I tipped over, no big deal) the thought ran through my head: If my wrist is broken, I don't have to do Chat. Y' about an unhealthy place to be!
I'll spare you the bloody knee and elbow.
A few people knew about my angst, but really not the right people. I didn't tell my coach, I just got whinier in my debrief post workouts. I didn't talk it over with my fiance. (That still seems so weird to say!). Until I finally did.

Many things are different this training cycle.

I switched jobs in December 2016 to coaching at the collegiate level which is anything but 9-5 like the last job. The summer was easy to train as while every weekend was taken with traveling, I had a teammate who works weekends and we did our long stuff together mid week. (Hi Snowflake!!!). But then school kicked back up and I'm experiencing "off season" for the first time and all the meetings and responsibilities that go with it. And the stress.

And I started dating someone who is crazy enough to want to marry me. I'm still wrapping my head around that. I digress. I have someone else who wants my time and more importantly, I want to give my time to. I want to give my time to him and my future stepkids.

I was pushing through because I thought everyone would be disappointed in me if I didn't finish what I started.

Seems I was wrong. Coach and I had a long conversation and he gave me his blessings if I wanted to DNS (Did not start) Ironman Chattanooga. I told Coach I'd discuss it with B.

So I did. B and I spoke for a while about it. I just couldn't wrap my head around quitting. If you've been around long enough, you know that I DON'T QUIT. I might be the last one in off the ride. I might be the last one running. I DON'T QUIT. I wasn't going to start now. There were so many reasons I couldn't throw in the towel. I push my athletes to find a way and get through the suck. I spew positivity in Ironwilled: Women Who Tri. I have kids (some younger some older) who are amazed at what I do. I couldn't come up with being okay with telling any of these people, or my own ego, that I was going to tap out.

I went to Dynamo Camp last weekend and ran 16 on Friday, rode 115 on Saturday, did a tri (750m swim, 18 mile bike, 4 mile run) on Sunday. I needed to find a way for one more long workout. It should have been next weekend, but the only weekend I could rerate for my lacrosse officiating is then in Nashville. B and I talked it over and instead of a leisurely vacation in Jacksonville Labor Day weekend, I was bringing my bike. Yup, B said Sunday's a perfect day for you to go do your race sim.

We (with the kids) headed to Jacksonville Friday night and Saturday enjoyed the beach, a trip to watch the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp play baseball and before any of that, we drove the route I was going to train so I could see where stores were if needed.
It's challenging to get a picture with everyone looking in the same direction.
On Sunday, with the full support of B, I headed out to go ride 100 miles and then run for 90 minutes in the middle of our weekend vacation. He brought the kids to my 70 mile sag stop, and then cheered me on a few more times on the loop. Then after the day at the beach with them, he and the friends we were visiting went to the ball park. All the time I'm out riding and then running. When I finished he even gave me a pass to skip the ball game and just veg for the night. I met them at the ball park. A little tired. A little sore. Very happy I got that workout in.
When you aren't a swift cyclist, 100 miles takes a while!
With support like that, a coach who says scheduling my workouts is like doing a puzzle without a border but gets me ready anyway, and a training crew as awesome as mine; there just isn't anyway I couldn't go jump in the river at Chat.

So let's go! A handful more workouts. A long run or so. And it is race day!!! It's time to complete my last IM for a while. Chat 70.3 will be my big race of 2018 and then I'm pulling back on distance. I have a wedding to plan and a family I want to spend time with. Ironman isn't going anywhere and there are plenty of options within triathlon that will give me more time to spend with them.
I'll say thanks again after I'm done, but a very special thank you to Brent Pease and Dynamo Multisport, Stacy Sims (my roomie, project manager, and Dyna Coach), Snowflake for sharing ride time and poptarts, and B who swears I do actually have a heart. Let's go make my last IM one hell of a good time!