race reports

aloha kona: the calm before the storm

IMG_3233

On Monday October 5, 2015 after a 16 hour travel day from BOS to LAX to KOA, I arrived in Kona.. and boy was it hot and humid!

I have never seen my ankles so swollen from a plane ride, but I was happy to be in Hawaii for the first time ever and smelling the salty air.  I used this awesome bike back from BIKND and it was fantastic… highly recommend it.  My bike counted as  luggage for American Airlines, not bad at all.  I just paid the additional bag fee and sent my bike on it’s merry way.  Best of all, it arrived in Hawaii all in one piece, safe and sound.

12108086_10102626922368389_7403130294784787050_n

Arriving in Kona there was so much so much buzz; triathletes all about, nervous excitement all around. Even the airport that night was flooded with triathletes from all over the world. Soon I realized that I was there with the BEST of the BEST.  This was not just your average triathlon setting… this was the Superbowl of triathlon and I was part of it.

I spent the days leading up to the race doing practice swims in Kailua Kona Bay, short recovery runs on Ali’i Drive and bike rides on the Queen K.  I also spent time (and money) at the expo (probably too much) and some QT with my Coeur ladies. Oh and how can I forget the infamous underpants run! I’m pretty sure I walked around with a perma grin on my face the entire time leading up to the big day.  Since I was there to mostly have fun, and not race for a PR, the pressure was off.  I wanted to do well, but more than anything, I was there for the experience.

Here’s what I was up to before the Big Dance:

Tuesday before the race was all about registering, checking out the expo and then just relaxing.  IRONMAN gave us these totally awesome Kona backpacks/dry bags.  Also buying everything “KONA” at the expo #sorrynotsorry

IMG_3259

IMG_3284

I  enjoyed my first practice swim that afternoon from Dig Me Beach.  It was everything it looks like on TV and more. There were so many people swimming along the course that it looked like a freeway for swimmers.  I made time to have some fun in the water with the go-pro, after all, it was an easy swim.  This also included a visit to the infamous coffee boat (I don’t drink coffee but it was fun to look at). My first reaction to the water in Kona was the water is “SO SALTY.”  Seriously, the saltiest of ocean water I’ve ever tasted. While swimming in the bay I couldn’t help but notice all of the tropical fish, coral and beautiful water that surrounded me.  I was nervous of colliding with someone because I was in awe of where I was actually swimming.

Continue Reading

race reports, races

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!

IMG_1839

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.

kona

Swim: 1:07:25 

1124_002318

Bike: 5:47:49

1124_043038

Run: 3:50:02

1124_053652

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

IMG_0528

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.

IMG_1717

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).

IMG_1392

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….

 

IMG_1388

life

why i’ve been so quiet

11226194_10102642772719159_2954322482716461502_n

 

When I started this blog, I started it with the word courage in mind.  At the time, I was thinking about the courage it takes to do BIG things as an athlete.  The courage to do things that are out of your comfort zone, like an Ironman.

Little did I know that I would need this courage in my life outside of triathlon.  Life is Hard. Now I get it.

I’ve been wanting to write for a while, but I just wasn’t ready.  I wanted the time to be right where I could write again, where I could write about why I’ve been so quiet. There were days where I started this post and then stopped after a few minutes… I have been thinking about if I would write a post about this… when I would write a post about this… but today I feel ready.

I could talk about Kona and recap the race and the experience, but that will come later.  Life comes first.

So here goes nothing….

In a matter of two months, in the following order:

  • I raced one Ironman – IMMT

  • I achieved the ultimate dream when I qualified for Kona

  • I Filed for divorce 

  • I put our house on the market

  • I trained for my second IM in 8 weeks

  • I raced and finished Kona

  • I started a new job.

Yes, you read right. I am getting a divorce.

and this is why I have been quiet.

It was August 18th, my D date, just two weeks after our third wedding anniversary. This was the day I had the hardest conversation of my entire life.

I had just raced Ironman Mont-Tremblant. Muscle soreness in my quads was still present.  I was still on a giant high after achieving the ultimate dream of qualifying for Kona, yet I couldn’t be happy and celebrate.  This was happening. Divorce was happening. Everything else seemed irrelevant. And then there I was… alone in my quiet living room, wedding photos on the walls… Feeling more alone than I had ever felt before.

And since now I’m over feeling ashamed and embarrassed about it, I’m going to talk about it.  Mostly because I know I am not the only one going through this and there are most likely other women (and men) who can connect to my story.  Also, I want to talk about it since it helps with the healing process.

I’ll be the first to tell you- no matter what the circumstance, no matter who initiated it, divorce plain sucks. It really fucking sucks.

Throughout the past few years, I have done a lot of growing and changing.  I have evolved into a strong confident woman.. I have found a sport that I love, a lifestyle that has become part of who I am.  Through this process of “growing up” I realized that I was not happy in my marriage, and I was never going to be fully happy. And when you aren’t happy, you try and convince yourself that everything will be OK, just “give it time…” I kept feelings to myself, lead everyone in my life to believe things were just “perfect.”  I had a great man who treated me very well, who supported me and my triathlon lifestyle. We bought our cute little house in the suburbs. I had the beautiful wedding of my dreams in my parents backyard. We got a dog that we both loved very much. I did everything that I was “supposed” to do by the age of 31.  But there was one thing missing, one very important thing, I was not happy and I knew in order to be happy, I had to leave.

The hardest part about my divorce is, it’s hard to explain. Over the years we just grew apart from  one another.. . I changed..  lots of stuff changed….  I made the choice that I was going to walk away and have the courage to do just that. It would have been so easy to stay….maybe have a child, maybe not… continue to have an OK marriage.  But I realized I am stronger than that, I deserve to live the life that I want to live. EVERYONE does. Life is not about settling, it’s about making the best of the time you have on this planet.

And while all of this has been happening, something VERY good has come from it.  I have met a man who lights up my life.  I have never, ever been this happy. The kind of love where you feel electricity when the other person is nearby.  This man and I connect on levels I never thought were possible with another human being. I have never laughed this much, smiled this much. So this is what it feels like?! When you know, you know. 

I have been private for a while about all of this, in respect of my ex and also to give myself time.  I was afraid of what people would think of me, scared of the criticism I would get. But I am at the point where I just don’t care.  If you support me, fantastic, if you don’t, well I don’t need you in my life.  I compare divorce to dealing with death… there is a mourning period, a time to grieve, a time to move on.. people say the same things to you as when a loved one passes, because they don’t know what else to say besides: “I’m sorry.”  Some people avoid you all together because they don’t know what to say. It is in times like this, you find out who matters and who does not.  If you really want to grow up fast, I suggest divorce, it works wonders.

Thank you to the people who love and support me. Thank you all for understanding the much needed break from blogging I needed to take. Now you understand.  I hope I can help others realize that no one is making you stay in something you don’t want, but YOU.

XO,

Kristin

Uncategorized

KONA

 

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted… heck, I still need to finish my Mont-Tremblant recap…

But…

tomorrow is a VERY big day and I thought I would share what I am about to take on.  At IMMT I qualified for KONA (as a lot of you probably already know) and tomorrow I will be racing in the Ironman World Championship in Kona.  It is an absolute DREAM come true!!! I believed I could qualify for Kona at IMMT and I made it happen.  Hard work really does pay off and I am here racing in Kona because I belong here.  I earned this and I can’t wait to race out there tomorrow with everyone else who has worked so hard to be here.

The theme of this year’s race is “Onipa’a” A Hawaiian word that means: be steadfast, move forward… and never give up. I plan to keep moving forward tomorrow, no matter what. 

Special thanks to Team Coeur for being so awesome here in Kona ALL season long!! Also a big thank you to Coach Jorge from E3Training Solutions who helped get me to the Big Island.

Looking forward to the big dance tomorrow and having the best day of my life.  You only get one “first kona” and I plan to take it ALL in, while racing very smart. It’s going to be an AMAZING day!!!

You can track me tomorrow on ironman.com.  There will be a live tracking site all day long, including a GPS tracking, where you can see my every move on the course (how cool is that?!).

“It is in herself she will find the strength she needs.”

IMG_3524

races, tri

“This Year Is Yours”

IMG_1188

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

FullSizeRender