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some reflecting: IMMT and punching my ticket to Kona

Finally… I’m feeling the desire to write again. 

I wanted to write about all of this sooner.. but I had a lot of ‘life stuff’ going on right after Ironman Mont-Tremblant. I also wanted to write lot more about the race day and everything that followed… but other things had to take priority, and that’s ok 🙂

To make a long story short… THIS moment was the proudest moment of my life:

Achieving the DREAM of Kona Qualification at my 2nd ever Ironman at IMMT!

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There were only two slots this year in the 30-34 AG.  I finished 2nd place, missing 1st place by under two minutes.  Of course that had me thinking: “I wish I didn’t have to use that porta potty at mile 40 on the bike”… I could have taken 1st! I went into the race thinking I could do it, believing I could do it. I DID IT!

Overall time: 10:53:39

2nd 30-34 AG

11th Amateur Female

26th Overall female (including Pros)

35 minute PR from IMMT the prior year (25 minutes taken off my bike alone!)

All of this was achieved on a very hot day (rare for late August in Quebec).  It was in the mid-80’s and almost Kona-like conditions during the second half of the race. And while I would love to recap this race from start to finish, I am going to go with an abbreviated version instead.

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Swim: 1:07:25 

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Bike: 5:47:49

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Run: 3:50:02

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Punching my slot to the Big Island had me feeling like I was on top of the world!!!

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When I qualified at IMMT with a 2nd place age group finish, I had no idea what would be in store at Kona.  I had just raced my heart out and had the race of my life (including a battle during the 2nd half of the marathon for 1st/2nd place).  I executed my plan (mostly to perfection). I had confidence going into that race, knowing I could get my Kona spot and I wanted it badly.  When I earned my Kona slot, I was given a lei that I was so proud of… I practically wanted to sleep with it on.

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Then, a week after a race reality hit that I would have to continue with training and my season was far from over.  Two Ironmans in a seven week time span.. could it be done? How would my body respond? There were emotional highs and lows during this time, there were doubts… doubting myself and asking if I could really do back to back Ironmans like I was about to do.  At one point it all became too much and I even said: “I wish I never qualified for Kona.” I know that sounds insane, but it was very, very overwhelming.  My body was confused.  After Tremblant my legs were craving a break that I couldn’t really give them (sorry legs).

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On top of the fatigue from IMMT, I was dealing with some tough “life stuff” i.e. divorce that was affecting me from an emotional standpoint, this made training even more difficult and at times it was hard to get my head in the game. There were lots of tears during the Kona training block, not because I didn’t think I could do it, but it was just very emotional for a lot of reasons. After my last long brick workout, I stood on the treadmill and the tears were flowing (it also didn’t help that Bon Iver was playing on Pandora). I had exceeded my own expectations and I got through the toughest mental and physical training block of my life.

Racing two IM’s in two months would be a challenge for sure, but I was up for it.  Once IMMT was over, I took a few weeks to rest and then I picked things up for about five weeks prior to taper week before Kona. Before I knew it, it was taper week. Those weeks between my two IM’s were some of the fastest moving weeks of my life. I feel like I blinked and I was putting my bike in it’s bike box for the airport and making my packing list for Kona.

In the few weeks leading up to Kona, I started to feel like I was actually ready to race again. My speed and power were coming back and my doubts were disappearing. The fears were not really the race itself i.e. the distance.  I knew I was capable of 140.6 miles.. but it was the heat, wind and crazy conditions that Kona is known for that scared the heck out of me. And let me tell you, Kona is everything it’s cracked up to be… but you have NO idea what to expect, NO matter what anyone tells you, until you actually experience it for yourself.  I watched all of the Ironman videos of the world championship from years prior… I read articles… listened to input from pros. but nothing, I’m telling you nothing prepares you for this race other than the race itself….

stay tuned….

 

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races, tri

“This Year Is Yours”

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Recently, a thought came across my mind… ALL of this training for ONE day, one race. I quickly realized that what I was thinking was not the way to think about an Ironman.  Sure, the race is ‘just one day’ out of the year, but it’s more than that.  Not only has this sport become something I love deep in my heart & soul, but it’s now become my lifestyle.  This will not be my final Ironman, I see many more Ironmans down the road for me. I have grown so much this year, physically and mentally with my training.  These strength gains will carry me into the 2016 season, particularly on the bike.  When the day is all said and done on Sunday, my journey is not over.  Sure, Ironman Mont-Tremblant 2015 will be over, but I will take what I have learned sailing my ship this year, and carry it with me.  If this sport was easy, everyone would do it.  When it comes to race day, we must trust the work we have put in through out the year.

This Sunday, when I am racing my heart out, I will have a few words/mantras written on my forearms with a sharpie.  One of them will say ‘You are a rockstar’ , because I believe that I am capable of doing great things on this course. You have to BELIEVE it.

A friend of mine recently sent me this poem, and it could not be more fitting for IMMT 2015. I am not going to lie, I’m feeling nervous…  not because I don’t think I can do it, but because I know I’m ready. In my point of view, being nervous MEANS you are ready.

This is my year. Time for me to own it.

 

“This Year Is Yours”
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

God built and launched this year for you;
Upon the bridge you stand;
It’s your ship, aye, your own ship,
And you are in command.

Just what the twelve months’ trip will do
Rests wholly, solely, friend, with you.

Your logbook kept from day to day
My friend, what will it show?
Have you on your appointed way
Made progress, yes or no?

The log will tell, like guiding star,
The sort of captain that you are.

For weal or woe this year is yours;
Your ship is on life’s sea
Your acts, as captain, must decide
Whichever it shall be;

So now in starting on your trip,
Ask God to help you sail your ship.

This past year has been mine… I’ve worked SO hard, filling logbooks along the way.  And now that I am nearing the ‘end of my trip’ as far as this one race goes, I need to remember to trust my training.  I need to remember that I’ve got this.  I am mentally ready to handle whatever variables come my way.

My { number one } goal is to race smart by FOLLOWING and EXECUTING my plan.

Dreaming big on Sunday. Dreaming Real Big.

If you want to TRACK me on Sunday, my number is 2266.  You can track me on IRONMAN.com or the IronTrac App!

 #heartandcourage

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races, tri

It’s almost here!

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A week from right now I’ll be waking up in Mont-Tremblant Canada. I’ll look out my hotel window and see the village below, the village where the finish line is… where the magic happens! The beautiful European- like village will be bustling with athletes in their IRONMAN backpacks, pre race chatter will be all around me… and so much nervous excitement!! Since I did this race just last year, my memories of the venue and the course are fresh in my mind.

When I close my eyes, I can just feel race day.

As I begin to taper, I cannot help but feel proud of what I have accomplished this season with my training.  Over the past six weeks or so I have been a VERY busy bee with training my butt off and making BIG gains along the way. I got through peak weeks with flying colors and when the workouts seemed daunting to look at on paper, I realized that I can DO THIS. There were days when I didn’t think I could possibly swim/bike/run any longer, or any harder.  I joked that coach Jorge was ‘trying to kill me.’ There were tears… quite a few tears over these last few weeks.  Training for an Ironman is an emotional experience, I don’t care what anyone tells you.  A few times I got off my bike and the tears started flowing. I finished track practice and my eyes welled up…. after all, I’m human, and this is a BIG deal. Over the peak training weeks I tested my limits more than ever before. I got comfortable with the uncomfortable.  I reached watts I NEVER thought I would be capable of reaching. I found my rhythm with running, more than ever before. I got faster in the water and more efficient. I realized that I enjoy training with others way more than training alone (how the heck did I do this all alone last year?). My one badass moment though, was riding 104 miles solo.  My coach told me that racing IMMT will be my easiest training day out of the year. At first I didn’t believe him, but now I do… I have put in the work, so much, that my race should essentially feel ‘easy’ 🙂

I guess what I’m saying is, I could go on and on about every workout I did over these last several weeks, but in reality, it’s not about the workouts. It’s about feeling ready, it’s about gaining the confidence to know you can race 140.6 miles.  It’s about GROWTH.  For me, it’s been the growth of becoming a stronger cyclist.  Now is the time to finish what I started, nine days from today! BRING IT ON.

And now I’m going ‘sit back’ and enjoy my taper…

After finishing my 20 miler last weekend!

After finishing my 20 miler last weekend!

races, tri

Eagleman: Race Ready

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As hard as it is for me to believe, I have my first triathlon of 2015 THIS weekend! Where the heck did the time go?!

I can honestly say that I am RACE READY for Eagleman 70.3. I bounced back quickly after the Boston Marathon, and it now is a distant memory. My worries of how running Boston in April could negatively affect my tri season, aren’t even a thought anymore. I’m running strong off the bike during my training sessions (even short runs in the 6:00’s) and I’m confident that I’m capable of a strong performance this weekend. How strong exactly? We shall see!

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Eagleman is located in Cambridge Maryland, about a 7 hours drive from where I live in Mass (on a good day). I chose this race because I wanted an M Dot Half Ironman race before IMMT . The past few years, I have done local Half Ironmans, which are GREAT, but I wanted something on a bigger scale. Also, I have friends in the area that I plan to visit while I’m down there! The last IRONMAN 70.3 I raced was in 2013 at 70.3 Timberman, which is still my 70.3 PR. I raced Timberman (a hilly course) in 5:08. Last year, at a local half ironman, Patriot Triathlon all signs pointed to a PR until I had an asthma attack on the run course. I finished in 5:10, ugh, sooo close.

Eagleman is a FAST + FLAT course… like pancake flat. You may wonder why I didn’t pick a hilly race in prep for IMMT? Well, I have always thought Eagleman looked like a cool race, and IMMT is 2 months from Eagleman….plus I train on hills like it’s my job, so I’m constantly prepping for that course. This being said, I’m kind of freaked out for a flat race. Should be a fun challenge for me. Eagleman also tends to be HOT, there’s potential for high winds and most of the time, it’s not wetsuit legal, womp womp. I love my wetsuit and how it makes me faster and feel safer, dammit. I did purchase a Roka Viper Pro Swimskin, just in case I can’t wear my wetsuit! Thanks to Hailey from Coeur for recommending!

Goals for Eagleman

I tend to go back and forth about announcing goals.  Part of me thinks it’s great to announce your goals because it holds you accountable for them:) Part of me also thinks I might be jinxing myself, ha. I announced my IMMT time goal last year before the race, and I didn’t reach it, so I kind of felt like I let myself down.  But I also have to realize that you won’t always PR and each race is it’s own race.  So on that note, I am sharing my goals for Eagleman, because why not be brave?

I have one main, big goal, and that’s to break 5:00 hours. To give you an idea of how freakin’ fast this race is, the top 3 in my AG (30-34) last year all finished under 4:40! I’m trying not to get caught up in the forecast, but so far it’s leaning toward mid to high 80’s for race day, chance of storms.

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The Swim

The swim is a river swim in the Choptank River. Honestly, this is what I’m most freaked out about. I am used to swimming in a pristine little pond where the water is basically crystal clear. The Choptank is known to be exactly what it sounds like ‘choppy’ and visibility is VERY poor. There is also a chance of jelly fish stinging you… say whhhhat?! I have been talking to people who have done this race and they all have said the swim isn’t THAT bad. My goal is to finish the swim in under 32 minutes if I can hack it.

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 The Bike

No idea of what to expect out of this bike course, except for it’s flatness. I have rented race wheels (need all the help I can get). I have been training VERY hard on the bike and I hope all of my work pays off. It’s a one loop 56 mile course, which can have strong headwinds (please lord, no headwinds on race day, ha). I hope to maintain a 20-21 mph average pace for the 56 miles. Because I am no QUADZILLA and I have hopes of crushing the run.

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The Run

The run is an out and back, very flat course. Not a huge fan of out and backs, but hopefully this means a lot of people will be cheering! My goal is to finish the 13.1 miles under 1:35 (7:15 min/mile pace). High potential for strong winds on the run course, at least going one direction it will be a tailwind!

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If I race like I’ve been training, I should have a great race! Although there are things I can’t control like heat and wind, which could play a role in my finish time. All I know is, the hay is definitely in the barn for this race and I’m feeling very confident and STRONG. Stronger than I’ve ever felt going into any tri season! Looking forward to using lots of heart and courage on the course.

After Eagleman, it’s full steam ahead to Ironman Mont-Tremblant!! (T-67 days, not that I’m counting or anything;) )

If you want to race me, my # is 2418 and IRONMAN.com will have live athlete tracking on race day! 

“We all know FEAR but PASSION makes us FEARLESS.” -Paulo Coelho