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 today...so 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'all...talk 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!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My Last First Date....

I finally updated my blog description removing the premise of me being a single triathlete. Who knew that my second of 2 first dates on the first weekend in April would lead to this? Not I!
I'm a triathlete. I started blogging when I began my trek to hear the words, "Shawna you are an IRONMAN!" in 2014. The journey continues. I invite you to follow along as I discuss everything and anything that happens along the way which most recently involves going from glaringly single to soon-to-be stepmom.

So it would go that my last first date was on April 2, 2017. Joke was on me as I have finally met a man who:
  • is smart and sharp.
  • gets my humor. 
  • isn't intimidated by the schedule I keep (although I'm working on that.)
  • is impressed by my Ironman status, not intimidated by it.
  • treats me like a princess, but won't let me act like one.
  • enjoys various food and loves my cooking (but really, what's not to like?)
  • will dance with me on the sidewalk in any city we visit.
  • wants to be in a relationship.
  • wants to be in a relationship with me!
  • has the most beautiful eyes.
  • let's me cry on his shoulder when I'm overwhelmed 
  • calms me.
  • compliments me.
  • complements me.
  • brings me flowers.
  • does the dishes if I cook.
  • can grill.
  • calls when he says he will.
  • plots out a 14 mile run for me and rides his bike to keep me company.
  • supports my goals (he has been helping me fundraise for the KPeasey Foundation through his network among other overt actions.)
  • sets up my bike on the trainer so I can get my workout in (even when I'm looking for an out.)
  • makes me ice my bruises when I do a random gravity check off my bike.
  • woke up at 4am to sit at swim start with me while I stirred in my own head and didn't talk to him.
  • walks up to people he has never met before, introduces himself, and then spends the day cheering with them until I finish my race.
  • runs with me.
  • gets along with all my family and friends.
  • goes out of his way to connect me with his friends and family.
  • brags about me.
  • enjoys cheering and supporting races as much as I do.
  • loves me.
  • has his own hobbies.
  • and so so so much more.............
All I had to do was get out of my own way and let him in. He was persistent too! In the beginning when I was too busy to go out with him, he found a way to make it work. No time for dinner, he met me for lunch. I wanted to go watch a lacrosse game on a Sunday in the rain 2.5 hours from his house, he came with me. He invited himself to Chat 70.3. He invited himself to my last home lacrosse game. He offered to put it in writing that he would not get upset my my Ironman training. (He hasn't to date!)

He chipped away at any wall I tried to put between us. 

He isn't perfect but he's perfect for me. So to my brother et al who liked to post all those great memes about me being single.... 

I'm going to keep blogging with race reports and other topics that amuse me. He enjoys my writing and after things started getting serious, read the whole dang thing. Who knew I had been writing my own instruction manual and I found a guy who actually reads instructions!?!

New topics that may creep in besides race reports: wedding planning, stepmom-ing, house hunting, and all those other fun topics of going from me to we.

I think we might have broken Facebook with the news....

If you have any connections or suggestions for a wedding venue in the Roswell/Marietta ish area, we'd love to hear them!




Thursday, July 27, 2017

Racecation....

Blah blah blah... I had a great vacation down the shore and then finished it off with 2 races.

Just kidding, I started my 10 day tour of the East Coast on a Thursday when I drove up to the Richmond, VA area to recruit at the IWLCA lacrosse tournament. I then headed back south to Wilson, NC to spend the weekend with my boyfriend and his family. (Yes, you read that right. No, you don't get more details yet.) From there, after wrapping up an incredible training build with 18 miles on Sunday (10 and 8 mile runs) I headed back north to NJ to spend the rest of the week Down the Shore in Margate with Terri who I've known for more years than I care to acknowledge.

It was a beautiful week to be down the shore....we spent time in the ocean, collecting shells, eating Jersey fresh produce, visiting with friends, and I even got to eat some blue claw crabs on the outside deck of a bar over looking the bay.
Thursday was a great day to take a walk and collect shells.
It was the most relaxing vacation I have taken in a very long time. To add to the relaxation it was a recovery week, so my workouts were less and Terri went running with me and arranged for me to be able to swim at the local JCC.
Because down the shore everything's all right.
It's never enough time at the shore, but all good things must come to an end and I packed up and headed to Michele's.

Being a good triathlete, I traveled with all my gear (and then some). I also found 2 races I could do while up north. The New Jersey State Triathlon was last weekend and they have a Double Down option: Sprint on Saturday, Olympic on Sunday. Not being able to pick just one, I signed up for both. Not nearly the Dopey ideas I've had in the past. It's a local race for Michele and she sherpa'd in the most excellent way!
Photo cred - Michele. Thanks to Central Jersey Tri Club for the hospitality!
Saturday was the sprint and thanks to a training teammate, I was able to race in Green for the first time ever. Coach's directions for the race: Swim controlled just short of really pushing it. On the bike and run... GO! Push and then push more and hold on. I'm a trained/training long course athlete. It's different. But man, this one was fun! Maybe because it's the largest sprint tri in NJ. Maybe because the course was pretty much flat compared to anything I get to run or ride at home. Whatever, it was a GREAT DAY! My swim was non-eventful except for my first kick to the face. 500 meters: 12:22.

The bike was 11 miles and FLAT! I rode big ring the whole loop. Clock time: 33:28. (20ish MPH!!!), at about 90% of my FTP.

A triathlete cannot claim they had a fantastic ride unless they can back it up on the run. So it was time to run. I went out as quick as I could while still feeling in control. My first mile was a 9:14. The bar had been set. Now I needed to hold on. The second mile was 9:18. Wrong direction. I made the decision to leave it all out there and finished mile 3 with a 9:03 and a finishing kick at 8:19 to cross the finish line. Official time was 28:29.
My official sprint (500m swim, 11 mile ride, 5k run) time was 1:19:49 earning me top 20% in my age group.

I've been working my butt off and boy did it pay off Saturday. The next question: Could I repeat a similar effort with the Olympic on Sunday.

After an incredible dinner with Michele's family consisting of amazing Jersey produce, we got to sleep early-ish for a Sunday 0500 alarm. Back to Mercer County Park for the Olympic distance.

The swim was also non-noteworthy. I got through it. Same directions from coach as Saturday. 1500 meters: 41:12. I think this might be my fastest olympic swim to date, but I'm not positive.
Photo Cred Michele. 
The bike was a double loop of Saturday's ride. A little crowded at moments with it being a double loop, but completely manageable. Directions from coach: try to hold on to similar watts as yesterday, if need drop down 10%. 25ish miles 1:17:57 (18+ mph: absolutely my fastest Olympic split evah!) and about 85% of my FTP. Coach and I chatted and he thinks I can get that effort up just a bit more.
Aero and a smile!
Again: I don't get to claim I had a great bike if I can't back it up with a great run. Off on the run. Directions: Find your legs in the first mile, then go! I settled in on the first mile but was a little quick on the clock. I think it was mostly shaded. The sun came out and I settled in a bit, but I was watching my pace slow down: 9:40, 9:47, 9:48, 9:50. NOT the plan. I knew I was going to need to dig in for the last 1.2 miles as I had decided that I WAS going to run a sub-60 10k. Last mile was 9:29 with my final kick at 8:31. Earning me an official time of 59:17 for 6.2 miles!

Overall my Olympic time was 3:04:17 which I think is a distance PR by 10 minutes and a top 1/3 spot in my age group. Thrilled I backed up Saturday's effort with this result. Thrilled to see that all the effort I've been putting in is paying off. Just plain old thrilled with the entire weekend!

Lastly!!! It's time for me to start sending weekly emails and putting up Facebook posts again. I'm returning to the Marine Corp Marathon in October in DC to run with The Kyle Pease Foundation. This year's running partner is Naomi. If you've been thinking about making a donation, now would be the perfect time. Just click HERE! Please help us reach our fundraising goal to #RunwiththeMarines!!
Naomi loves representing Walking with K. Peasey!
(so do I!)


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The DYNAmic Race...

Last week in a fit of fingers, I punched out probably my shortest blog ever: It's Called a Race... and yesterday, I completed that race: Ironman Chattanooga, 70.3. For those of you short on time, I'll tell you right now I totally CRUSHED the Shawna Block division! For those of you with time on your hands, read on. (It's long, but there are pictures.)

Ironman Augusta 70.3 in 2016 didn't quite go as planned. In a post race fog and after a visit to the doctor's office, I registered for Chat 70.3. Some of you may remember that I have put off early season races in the past as lacrosse season keeps me busy and exhausted. This spring, even with less reffing, was no different. This time around, Coach and I had to figure out how the travel and stress of coaching a team would wear on me as it did very much, at different points.

I didn't feel prepared for this 70.3. I felt like I had barely been on my bike outside (maybe 3 rides over 50 miles). As a matter of . fact, in my race plan, Coach put: You are ready. Direct quote. It's like he knows me or something.

It was an easy trip up to Chat on Friday and I was able to check in, get the usual swag shopping and be done with Athlete Village. I always grab a water bottle, pint glass, mug, and a race t-shirt. Speaking of which, if anyone has an extra Chat 70.3 water bottle, one of my friends lost her's on the bike and would love to buy it from you.

Friday night I did what I always do, I made sure I really had everything I needed to race. If I am missing something, this gives me a chance to have someone bring it to me from home or go buy it. I had everything I meant to pack.

With athlete check-in completed all I needed to do was get a quick ride and run in to make sure my bike was in order for Sunday. My original plan was to pop the bike on my trainer and spin it out for 25 minutes, but after chatting with some Dynamo teammates Friday night; Karen and I decided to drive out on to the course for a quick spin. We got to the parking lot as Joseph, Kyra, and Thomas were wrapping up and Katie was getting there to start. Quick chats and then Karen and I rolled out. I start going through my gears and drop from big ring to little ring and my chain drops. I try to spin it back up and my pedals are LOCKED. We are maybe .25 miles from the car. We walk back in and Joseph asks if I have a flat. I said no, it's my chain. He took a look at it and we all agreed I was heading straight back to the Athletes' Village to the Quintana Roo tent. 
See the chain almost makes a 90 degree turn between links and it isn't even close to where it belongs on the cassette? QR swiftly and calmly took care of my bike, but I used the word f@ck many, many times.

I called Coach on my drive back to town and he reminded me this is why we wake up early and check everything out, just in case. After I took my bike in, he called back to check in and he told me while I waited to check out The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F@ck. I assured him, many f@cks were shared.

Karen came back from her ride confirming her bike was race ready and I popped out with her for a short run. Then back to QR. A new chain and Sam, the QR mechanic/tech had me ready roll. A quick 5 minute ride in and out of all the gears, and I agreed.

Saturday night I coordinated dinner for a few friends and then by chance a few more joined in.
photo cred: Nadya D.
Over dinner we were able to discuss the possible scenarios for tomorrow's race. The weather forecast had been crap and we had no idea what we would really wake up to. Possible options if the storms that were to roll in Saturday night lingered through the morning:

  • cancel the race
  • cancel the swim
  • delay the start
  • shorten the swim
  • race as scheduled
Having been through IMFL 2014, the weather was the least of my concern. There was nothing I could do about it. However, as we had already discussed when Coach called, we did need extra nutrition/calories with us at the swim start in case we were delayed so as to stay on top of our fueling needs for the day. Fun dinner with friends and then time to get ready and try to get some sleep.

Race morning went about uneventful (no rain!), except that I kept feeling like I was missing something, transition went too smoothly. Or maybe, I'm getting good at this. Still unsure of the weather, I set out my bike needs, but left all my run needs in a ziplock bag.
Swim start as the sun began to rise
We hopped on the bus to take us up to swim start and we got in line with other Dynamo teammates. A little close to the front for me. OK, a lot close to the front for me. However it was great to spend the morning with familiar faces and chatting the time away. The pros launched first and after they did, there was a longer than usual delay. They were changing the course. Instead of swimming up river to 2 right turns and down river, we were going to swim across and then down. It made the course about .9 miles instead of 1.2. I think without the change, I'd be typing this blog from the river.

The river was WILD!!! I average 1:30ish/100 yds. My training average is 2:25/2:30. Holy crap was the river moving. I didn't enjoy the swim. As a matter of fact there were many times I was in a deep scary place in my head wondering if I was going to get through it. I was getting the crap beat out of me (which I knew was going to happen) and I couldn't catch my breath. I tried breathing on every right stroke. I tried breathing on every left stroke. I tried bilaterally breathing. I could hear Maria's voice to keep my head down and still on the breath and I couldn't as I think I was drinking most of the Tennessee River. Still not sure how there is water left to flow.
Dazed, confused, and thankful to be done!
With my wetsuit off, it was time to start the climb to T1. On the way, I felt like a freaking rockstar! So many cheers from Dynamo teammates and coaches and from friends on both sides of the fences. Having a not so common name, I knew they were yelling for me.
So very happy to be on dry land! Photo cred: Andrew N.
As always, Coach had given me a race plan. This time, I was making a solid effort to follow it. On the swim, I modified the plan to "Don't get pulled out of the water!". It was time for the bike. I was going to be riding primarily by heart rate, but I also had some power numbers to reference. My power meter on  my bike is still wonky. Determined to make this work, I put a crib sheet on my bike. Winner winner! The stickers stuck for the entire ride.
I also added some additional reminders to the stem for my ride: SMILE, LET'S DO THIS!, and WE CHAT THIS.
As I left on my bike, it really hit me hard that I needed to pee. Seriously, I needed to go. Beside being hydrated, I told you I drank half the river! I have never peed on my bike. Never. Ever. OMG, I had to go! I kept thinking if I stuck to my hydration plan, eventually, I would basically wet my pants and it would be all over. At mile 15, I couldn't take it anymore. I regret to inform everyone, I stopped on the bike and peed in a port-a-potty. I'm still hanging my head in shame, and was sufficiently tongue-lashed by 2 of Dynamo's finest after the race. Moving on....
I was trying to cross my legs on the bike, but it just didn't help.
The bike was great. I rode with Jesse for a few and then he pulled away. A few miles later Fred caught me. We chatted for a brief moment and then he took off. I was really happy to see Fred and get to say hello since he saved me from a DNF in Augusta last year. I was rapidly, seriously I couldn't believe the splits I was putting up, approaching the toughest climb of the day: Andrews. I knew it was coming after I saw mile marker 25 on the ground. I looked down at my bike and thought: Let's do this! I got my gearing right and up I went! At the top was an EMS vehicle, I asked them if they had oxygen for us. They just laughed.

I was/am so very happy with this ride. I averaged 18.2 mph and my average cadence was 83rpms. This means I actually RODE the ride. I pedaled. I kept my head in the ride and kept my legs turning over. Y'all! I train at about 15-15.5 mph. It was the absolute PERFECT weather to ride! I followed the plan, I came back in a little faster than I went out. More fun: I hit 39 mph on one of the descents: WHEEEEEEEEEE! Nutrition I alternated between Cliff Shot Blocks and Salty Balls.

Interesting bit of information I found out today when having the wheels switched back: My back wheel was rubbing my frame the entire ride. Surprise! Ugg. Still so very happy with my ride!

T2. Dry socks, running shoes, hat, and decide to skip the sunglasses. As I turn the corner to run out I see Nick from when I got my USAT certification. I give him a big hug and Jason runs past me and yells some trash talk. I left Nick and took about 5 steps towards Jason and wised up, fast! Bye-bye Jason.

Now the fun starts! The run is when the spectators really get to be involved. Special thanks to Atlanta Track Club, ITL, Peak Racing, Endurance House, BTA, TriCoachGeorgia, the women from Ironwilled who said hi, and so many friends who were out there cheering and taking pictures. (I hope I didn't miss anyone!)

This is my third season training with Brent and Dynamo Multisport and really my first team race. I've done the same race as other teammates, but not in this volume. We had 35+ athletes on the course and I think just as many cheering from the sidelines. It was amazing to see everyone in action and be supported throughout the course by coaches and teammates from beginning to end.
Photo Cred: David X of ITL
I came out of T2 and Coach told me to get moving and keep going. LOL... his race plan said don't go out too fast. Keep it contained. I followed the plan and got my feet under me. I also needed to stop at the first aid station to fill my water bottles.

another great pic from Andrew
The run had a bunch of out and backs and which allowed me to see lots of people. The first loop went well. I was feeling good about my pacing and my running. Usually I get through the run by going aid station to aide station and walking each one. That was not the plan this year. Heck, the last two 70.3s I did I got through the run barely! This year I ran through almost all the aide stations or only paused long enough to refill bottles. 1 to drink, 1 to pour on my head and body.

My fueling strategy was a gel at miles 3, 6, 9, and 11. Mile 3 chirped and I was fine. I felt fine. I wan't hungry. I was good. And then I kicked myself in the butt and took the gel. I reminded myself I had to stay ahead of the game or I would fall apart. I stuck with this plan through mile 9. At mile 11, I took in Gatorade as I wanted nothing to do with a gel.
Race plan said to smile. So I did, as much as I could. Photo Cred: Tanya U.
I have voluncheered this race for the past 2 years and it was incredible to be on the course. The first loop went well. I ran my first 3 miles contained as I was told. Then I tried to go a little bit more, but didn't succeed to well, but I do think I held on fairly well.

I crossed the bridge to start my second lap and Coach is there. He asks if I'm doing okay. I really didn't have a decent answer for him. I was fine. But I wasn't. Both knees and both ankles had really started to hurt. HURT.

So I didn't answer him, and kept running. I had thought back to the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F@ck, and had two choices: I could give a f@ck about the pain, or I could not. See it was going to hurt if I walked 17 minute miles or it was going to hurt if I ran 11ish minute miles. With 7 miles left to go, the math was easy. There were no f@cks to give about how much I hurt. The hurt was inevitable, focusing on it was not.

There is so much support on the run. Familiar faces at every turn. Friends on the course. Friends cheering. It was truly an incredible day. The volunteers were amazing as always.

Last cheer from Coach to finish strong.
I'm a headcase in case you are new around here. I think what I am most proud about from this race is that I took a really tough start (struggling with the swim) and turned it around. I stayed mentally tough the entire route. I cheered on me. I cheered on others. I smiled. A lot.


I turned the final corner and surprised everyone with the timing of my arrival. And it was time to go! I pushed the best I could down the final down hill and am not sorry at all to the people I passed in the finish shoot.

It's really hard to compare races to each other as the terrain and weather greatly impact everything every year. The last time I completed a 70.3 successfully (no melt downs on the run) was Augusta 70.3 in 2014. In 2014 I was about 5 weeks out from a full Ironman. I had already completed a few 7-8 hour workouts. This year I'm just about to start those training days. Anyway: On a much tougher course: my bike was faster this year and my run was not only slightly faster, but much more consistent.


This weekend would not have been nearly as amazing without the endless support and encouragement of my coach and project manager (2 different people as I've been told, no one can handle both roles), my sherpa, Kris my overly patient cycling companion, and Karen who knows how I feel about her.
#wechatthis #NFQS
If you have read to the end, thank you for being part of a my amazing support network who continue to help me accomplish just a wee bit more everyday. I love the triathlon community and race day just brings out the best in everyone.


Next up are a couple tris in New Jersey while I'm on vacation and then Ironman Chattanooga and another go at the Marine Corp Marathon in October.