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“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!

life, train, tri

Vermont Training Camp 2015 RECAP (and lots of pretty pictures)

First of all, I have been slacking on the blog posting train.  Sometimes life gets in the way, and that’s okay…. finally I’m back!

Today I’m finally talking about my training camp in VERMONT a few weeks ago, that totally changed me as a cyclist!

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Location:

Camp was located a three hours drive  north of my home in Mass to Sugarbush Resort in Warren, Vermont.  The thing that’s really cool about living in New England (and something I take for granted) is that you can be in a different state, with completely different landscapes within a few hours drive. I am very lucky to have both the ocean and the mountains right at my disposal. I have never really spent a lot of time in VT, so I was happy to get the chance to spend a weekend up there. I was reminded of why it’s called the ‘Green Mountain State’…. all I could see for hundreds of miles was green:)

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Each of our bike rides passed through the Green Mountain National Forest (just gorgeous). We rode by several farms, cattle pastures, maple syrup stands, country homes… it was quintessential Vermont. It’s hard to put into words, or even into photos what I experienced during my hundreds of miles of riding in VT. You really have to go there to experience it for yourself! Oh and I should mention there are HILLS, LOTS of HILLS. Hills so steep I couldn’t believe it! If you want hill training for an Ironman, go to Vermont, your power meter will thank you. 

Weekend Totals:

288 miles biked with 25,000 Feet total elevation gain.

Some hilly running miles

& 5,000 yards of swimming

 

Day 1: Thursday

103 Mile Ride

App Gap, Middlebury Gap

10 Minute Recovery Run

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Day 2: Friday

Swim 3,000 yards

Bike 85 Miles

Brandon Gap

Run 30 minutes

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Day 3: Saturday

Swim 2,000 yards

Bike 100 miles

App Gap,  Brandon Gap, Rochester Gap

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Day 4: Sunday

Rainy Day gym workout with plyos!

The crew:

I was joined at training camp by Coach Jorge and some of my Age Group Elite Teammates i.e. fast cyclists, swimmers and runners. This group included the speedy Czech Chick AKA my friend Jana, who I tried to keep up with all weekend! There were about 6-8 of us on any given day, a great mix of people!

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Agenda:

Each day started with a swim in the beautiful outdoor pool at Sugarbush.

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Next up after swimming, a big breakfast (all the pancakes!) and then time to digest while getting our bikes ready to go. Digested or not (ha) it was time to ride for 5-6 (hilly) hours followed by a run.

After our long bike ride, we were all exhausted and it was time to eat ALL THE FOOD before hanging out and relaxing before bed. There were lots of laughs plenty of team bonding. I LOVED training camp!!

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Training camp in Vermont made me not only fall love with biking but understand biking more than ever before.

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What I learned at camp:

Spinning my wheels like a hummingbird (cadence 95-100 RPM), is NOT the most efficient way to cycle.  Still working on this, but getting closer. Most of my rides were dialed in at 85-90 RPMs.

Cornering while going down hill is still scary, but I learned better technique. Clenching my breaks and upper body only makes it less safe.  During camp I got to practice being more relaxed going downhill and cornering.  One of the tips I learned was not to break on the corner, but just before, and most importantly, to relax the body as much as possible.

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I realized that I wasn’t working hard enough (before) attending camp.  I wasn’t feeling that burn in my quads, I was just ‘comfortably’ riding.  “So this is supposed to be uncomfortable?’ Similar to running, riding your bike isn’t supposed to be pleasant all the time.  It might burn and it might hurt, but this is what will make you stronger. It may have taken 5 years to realize this, but now I GET IT.  In order to get better at cycling, I need to make it hurt a little. Oh and did camp make it hurt!

In order to keep up with the strong cyclists at training camp, I was going to need to put out more power and work harder.  The thing is, before camp I was scared to push on the bike. Perhaps it’s because I had a knee surgery four years ago and my brain is still being ‘cautious’ with pushing on the pedals.  I think in my mind I was always scared of getting injured, so I didn’t want to push too hard. Also, coming from a running background, I wasn’t sure how to bike and I was never coached for it, until now. Riding with your coach and teammates is something you can’t put a value on.

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I’m actually a fast cyclist. I got to camp last Thursday thinking that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with my teammates. These were people I had rode with on the weekends and often got separated by about five minutes.  I would start with the group and they would lose me.  I thought the weekend of training would be the group riding together and me all by myself.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was not only able to keep up, but I was very strong going up the BIG Vermont hills… HUGE confidence booster!

I gained confidence. This was definitely the most important takeaway from camp.  Practice makes perfect and I think to think I’m well on my way to a successful Ironman one month from this Thursday!

Have you ever participated in a training camp? Would love to hear about it!

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race reports, tri

I gave it my all.

Not really sure where to start here.

Eagleman chewed me up and spit me out.

But that’s Okay.

The truth is, I needed a race like this before the big show, my ‘A’ race.

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Looking back over my past six years of racing, I’ve never had a tough weather race. I’ve had tough courses but in perfect conditions. I’ve had easy courses in perfect conditions… Never really had TOUGH conditions. I’m talking 95 degrees with 100% humidity (Heat Index was 106 degrees that day!)

My husband, Todd asked me after Eagleman: ‘if you knew this race is always this hot, why did you even sign up?’

The truth is, I wanted a challenge, something different. I don’t really have a big reason WHY I chose Eagleman. Part of the reason was I thought I could break 5:00 hours given how flat the course is. But silly me didn’t read much about HOW hot it can get and HOW unshaded the course is. However, I was so angry at my finish time that all I could think was ‘I should have signed up for an easier race.’

You have to have a short term memory in this sport.

For days I wondered about what went wrong.  I have been analyzing my nutrition {too much salt?!}, the swim {non-wetsuit  + current}, the heat {the surface of the sun}, etc. I cared SO much about how I did and how I let myself down. This is all I could think about. My coach told me it was ok to be pissed off the day of the race, but after that, I needed to move onward, easier said than done:) Let’s just say I dwelled on this for about a week…

Here’s how it all went down:

Race Morning:

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Woke up at 4:30, ate my usual pre-race breakfast (1 banana, 1 egg white, 1 bottle Osmo, apple sauce)… need to find a new pre-race bfast because this one isn’t working out so hot anymore. Suggestions?

We left our B&B at 5:40 AM, to get to the race site or 6:00 AM. Transition closed at 6:45. Since transition closed way before my swim start, I hung around with Todd and drank my pre-load while waiting. Later to realize I took in too much Osmo Pre-load, but I’ll get to that later…

8:08 Swim start (we started 4 mins earlier than scheduled)

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The Swim

I was soooo anxious about this river swim! Way more anxious than normal when it comes to a swim. I new the water was murky, choppy and I didn’t have my beloved wetsuit.

It was a non-wetsuit swim, given how warm it was (78 degrees F). It actually felt really warm without the wetsuit, almost like a luke warm bath. I had practiced in the river a few days prior , so I knew what to expect for temps and visibility. The Choptank River is brackish water, so it’s a mix of salt and fresh water. You can really taste the salt when you are swimming, which I am so not used to!

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 What I wore: ROKA Viper Pro Swimskin and  X1 Goggles in Dark Vermillion/Blue Mirror (love love love). And Special thanks to Erin for recommending baby shampoo for de-fogging, worked like a charm! 

The swim started out quite civilized and I made my way to the front of the pack. I’m trying to be more aggressive with swim starts and try not to stick in the back. I am a strong swimmer and pretty fast for someone that didn’t grow up swimming. Gotta work on that confidence!

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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