Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 Racing Season is on !

I am three weeks into my official training season. This years racing schedule: Patriot 70.3, Cranberry Oly, and Cranberry sprint.I may also do a fun century with Charles River Wheelman. I am feeling good and am excited about this season.

I have joined Endurance Nation for the second year. I was pleased with my progress and there coaching last year for Cedar Point. This year I joined as a member instead of a flat plan. It is nice having feedback from the coaches and encouragement from other members. Locally I plan to rejoin Northeast Multisport and join Wheelworks tri club. I am also a member of Squannacook River Runners and a masters team in Groton. I am also a sponsored athlete thru Team Trisports. I have a lot of club affiliation this year! It is an honor to race and train with so many great athletes!

I am working on the outseason plan with EN right now. It focuses on run and bike endurance and a bit of speed. I am really liking the plan so far. It does not have any planned swim, though it is optional, until about week 10. Instead it has two swim focused strength and core strengthening sessions. I am having lots of fun and am already seeing results. After taking about three weeks off of running longer than 4 miles I ramped up to 17 run mile weeks without any issue. WOOT!


Finish Patriot faster than in 2011. Hoping to podium!
Podium Cranberry-I'll be happy with either one but ELATED if I podium with both.
Finish the season healthy and faster than I did in 2016.

Here's to a great season!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3

It's a wrap!!! I've completed my eighth 70.3 ! It has been a long year of triathlon and health ups and downs. I had enormous hopes for my 2016 racing season. On paper things looked perfect. But stuff happened. Life happened. On the way to Ohio I sorta started writing this blog post in my head. I planned to outline the various ways that 2016 set me up to not have a good race. Excuses why I was unable to do the full and bumped down to the half. But then something clicked in me when we pulled up to the race site on Saturday morning. Something amazing, something that hasn't happened for several years. But...I'm jumping ahead.

Amy, Cort, and I piled in to my jam packed Toyota Yaris hatchback and left Ayer, MA around 11:30 on Friday morning. By the grace of all the gods and goddesses of road tripping we made it to the Comfort Inn in Sandusky, Ohio at 12:30 am on Saturday morning. And we were all still speaking to each other, laughing (mostly), and loved each other still. It was actually a beautiful road trip and fun.

There was a sprint and a kids race on Saturday morning so we arrived at Cedar Point Park around noon on that Saturday to register and drop off all my gear. Turns out that due to impending storms bikes and gear were not to be dropped off that day, but in the morning. I was a little grumpy and nervous when we drove over to the park, but as soon as we pulled up and I saw the roller coasters and Rev3 signs I got excited. Really excited! I had trained so hard all year long. Dealt with some silly illnesses and injuries, that were just big enough to put dents in my training. But I was there! I was there walking on two legs, with two arms, a good head on my strong shoulders, money in my pocket, a girl on my arms, and a good kid in tow. I am a lucky womyn and have been given the privelage of racing and training. Year after year.

My beautiful partner, Amy, and Cort always volunteer for my races. Even though I did't have to be at the race site until about 7 am, they needed to be there at 6. So a 5:20 wake up time it was for all of us. Thank you Starbucks for being open! I had more than enough time to set up my bike and transition area before the race. I was nervous, but more excited than anything else. The last three races I have been filled with more dread than excitement on race morning. I had forgotten what it felt like to love to race long distance triathlon.

The swim was switched from Lake Erie proper to the bay due to high winds. HOLY crap Lake Erie is HUGE! I've seen Lake Michigan once or twice, but not since I was a kid. I felt like I was looking at the ocean when I looked at this lake! WOWZA! This meant that there was an 800 m run from the swim to transition. The course looked pretty simple on paper and from shore. What I did not realize was that there was a right hand turn for an out and back. For the first time in my tri career I got wicked off course during a swim. And it was a bit foggy on the water due to warm water and cool air. My swim time was pretty slow, BUT I felt strong throughout and swam an extra yards. With the exception of swimming off course I sighted like a pro! I popped out of the water, got my sneakers on and jogged over.

It was a quick T1 onto the bike and off I went. It was a bit windy, but not terrible! When I first got on the bike I could feel water sloshing around in my stomach. The water was a bit choppy and I think I swallowed a ton of water. The first four or so miles was on this gorgeous road along the lake. One one side gorgeous homes and on the other side an span of beautiful water with only the sky on the horizon. Around mile fifteen I was averaging close to 19 mph!! This was not what I had been training at, at all. BUT I was feeling fantastic. I said fuck it and decided to see what I could do. The course was a mix of gorgeous farm land, cute communities, and lake coastline. It was nice flat terrain mixed with fast ups and downs. There were so many people along the course cheering us on. Due to the wind, I was unable to get down into my aeros as much as I would have liked so my back was a little achy by the end. BUT I averaged just over 18 mph! WOOT! And I was smiling most of the time. AND I chicked about 18 guys on the ride. Never under estimate a short girl with a lotta gusto! I hoped off my bike in T2, sneakers on, port o john visited and off I went.

As soon as I started to run I knew that I had pushed it a little to hard on the bike. But I was still having fun. And that is the most important thing. The run was a mostly flat course with two little blurbs at mile 2 and again at mile 11. We ran down the Cedar Point causeway, through cute neighborhoods and the center of Sandusky. One of my favorite moments was running past a cute bar on the corner right in the center. On the first loop I screamed out that I wanted a pint and the whole patio erupted with cheers. One the second loop there was a hilarious interaction between drinkers of beer and a guy wearing a Spiderman kit. It provided a distraction and smile that I needed!

It should have been a super fast course. I stayed in line with my plan: run with the exception of 20-30 steps at mile markers and drink every 10 minutes. I felt pretty good for the first 6-8 miles and then. Then the nausea took over. There were no pretzels on route and I did not have any. My muscles felt really good and I think had it not been for the swooshing in my belly I could have had a killer run. But Lake Erie was still slooshing around in my gut. Lesson: always keep something solid to eat on the bike and run, just in case I take in too much water on the swim.

I had the privilege of being on the Champions team this year, as well as last year. I was given the opportunity to race Cedar Point at no charge because of this. The team is comprised of folks from all over the country with varying degrees of speed and experience. Throughout the year I've seen the team virtually support each other. And seen the achievements of all. It's been a pleasure to be part of this team and I hope to be for years to come. I was also a member of Northeast Multisport this year. There was not a lot of group training sessions, but I did some great open water swims in and met some cool folks.

The REV3 staff and volunteers were amazing! Each volunteer station and road crossing were full of energy and kindness! The folks of Sandusky, Milan, and other surrounding towns sat on their porches and lawns to cheer on us crazy athletes. I could not ask for a better race experience. I'll be back at this venue and other REV3 races for sure.

Overall I am very pleased with my race. There have been points in the last year when I've "raced for others" to push myself past crappy races. I still find myself thinking that, but I am also racing for me. Not selfishly, but to make myself a better person. To be happy more. To be able to take the ups and downs of life better. To be a better partner, step mother, PTA, friend, daughter, and sister. To find myself again. I pushed myself beyond my limits and kept going. Even when I was bent over trying to vomit I was loving the day. I thought of everyone that I loved, everyone that has touched my life, all of my kids at work. I remembered why I do this sport. Why I get up at 4 o stupid in the morning to train. Why I kept going when it was fun. To eventually get to this point again. PLAY ON!

Monday, July 18, 2016

bumps in the road. just tiny bumps

I've sat down to write a post about my 2016 rode to Rev 3 Cedar Point full a hundred times, but couldn't find the mojo to write. There are a lot of new pieces to my training this season. I live a mere three miles from home. Things are good, really good. I love my job. I have a loving and supportive partner. I am happy. I am using Generation UCAN for my fuel and absolutely loving it! I chose Endurance Nation as my coaching company this year. And I left Team EnVision. TE was my rock in the world of triathlon for many years. They were integral in informing my first triathlon family. TE is one of the best, cohesive, supportive, and kick ass teams that exists. When I moved northwest of the city I was too far away for most of the events and sadly had to say goodbye. I've joint Northeast Multisport, though a good team, is not quite what TE is to me, but I'll give it some time. Overall I am happy with my choices and all of the change that has encompassed my training this year.

On the first week of training I threw out my SI joint (something that happens from time to time in my body). It took me about a week to recover. From week one until about a month ago things were going pretty good. My swimming and riding were coming along. A bit slower than is years past, but getting there. My running has been clicking this year. My gait and cadence are on target and I've been getting faster! I wasn't sure if I'd ever get fast again, but.....fingers crossed seems to be happening. Last week I ran a 9 min/mile off the bike and felt amazing. My longer rides have feeling easier and I am in fact getting stronger.

A month ago I was badly scratched (maybe bitten) by a friends cat. It happened so damn fast I don't know what happened. Except that it hurt. A LOT. That week following I missed some workouts (and work) or adjusted them because of the pain and inflammation in my right forearm. I recovered and actually had an amazing "BIG DAY" that following Saturday. In the last month things seem to have been clicking more. Faster. More endurance. Thinner. More muscle mass and definition. I have been gliding more during speed intervals. Been able to push harder. My heart rate zones are getting better.

And then....last Thursday my arm blew up again. It was never 100%, but I'd been able to do everything I had to do at work, home, and in training. Friday it got worse. Saturday I woke up sore and it was huge. I rode for two hours and decided that I needed to go to an urgent care center. You guessed it; the infection is back. It's worse this time. More edema and more tender to palpation in a localized spot. Activities are not as painful, however. I was warned by the MD not to be too active. No work, no swimming, no biking, no tree top adventure for three days. Or risk damage to tendons and muscle. SIGH. I've been smart over the past three days. I have mostly sat with my arm elevated, taking ibuprofen and antibiotics, and doing a warm compress. It's better, a lot better, but not nearly 100%. Tomorrow it's a run day again. I hope to bike and swim on Wednesday.

I need to be smart. I need the full function of my right arm for work AND play. As much as I want to toe the line and cross the finish line of Cedar Point full, I cannot be an idiot and risk my profession for a race. I am giving myself three weeks to get back on track. Worst case scenario I can likely bump down to the 70.3. I've never backed out of a big race, but I also need to be realistic and smart. I hope that I've built up enough and will bounce back quick enough enabling me to have a great race.

Here's to a kick ass next few weeks, rapid healing, and lots of grit.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

once upon a time there was a spaniel

14 years ago I ran my first marathon. My friend Shawn and I decided that we would run the Boston Marathon as bandits. I had just moved to Maine and just come out. I was 26. I met a girl while training. Shawn and I finished the marathon somehow. Seriously it may have been a small miracle, cause I am pretty sure we did not train properly! After finishing I call this girl and she told me that she had a surprise. My post race brain was thinking food! And a cold beer. Shawn and I drove home in post race daze fueled by diet coke and gas station food. To my surprise there was a floppy black and tan cocker spaniel puppy (and also a beer....). The girl didn't last but, I feel in love with Tootsie at once and the rest is history.

She and I went through a lot together. Girls, jobs, 9 apartments, one house, two Ironmans, various other races, hikes, walks, cries and laughs. Yes she was a dog, but she was my best dog friend. Through all of my ups and downs and turn arounds she was my one constant. The one thing that I could count on after a shitty day to make me smile. We had to make the painful decision to let her go last week. The feeling of total sadness and emptiness is gone. I have actually laughed a few times in the last few days. But I miss her so very much. It is amazing how much of my life (of my families life) was in twined in hers. Everything I do is different now. Everything. I keep thinking that she is going to come back. That somehow she has just been away for a bit and will return. Her little spaniel stub and butt wiggling out of control because she is so happy. The adorable look of guilt when she had done something wrong and had been caught. The way she knew exactly when someone needed extra love. My life will never be the same without Tootise. Someday we will get another dog, but s/he will never replace Tootsie. She was my litmus test for everyone that was a potential partner/lover/friend/roommate. She and I grew older and wiser together. I feel so fortunate to have had her in my life. In the end she and I found where we belong.

This is one of the reasons that I am thankful that I have triathlon. It is helping me to process the many emotions I have with her loss. Speaking of triathlon.......

I spent much of January being sick. Working in a pediatric facility for the first time has introduced me to A LOT of illness! I am finally feeling better and like myself. I worked out through the month, but much of it was modified due to not feeling well. I had built up a solid base from the fall and don't feel that I have lost too much going in training for Cedar Point. This week was a solid week of training! I will spend the next few weeks continuing with intervals for all three sports (in small durations) and lots of strength training. By March 1, I will likely be in good shape to start the first phase of official training. I am looking forward to the journey to the start and finish line that is before me.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

2015 Triathlon season and other stuff that happened in my life

I raced a lot this year! Some were awful, some were OK, and some were awesome. The important thing is that I was racing and training again. And having fun doing it! I sat down to write race reports a number of times, but just was not feeling the writing bug this year. But I am gearing up for another full distance triathlon so there will be lots going on in my head. I found the last few times that I was on the Ironman roller coaster writing about it helped me to get excited to race and also deal with the plethora of emotions that comes from training for and racing a long distance race!

2015 Races:

Groton Road Race 10k
White Mountains 70.3
Westboro Off Road Sprint Triathlon
Cranberry Oly
Title IX Sprint
Pilgrimman Oly relay with Carole and Edith
Groton Trail Race 9.5

Season Recap:
I was humbled by the White Mountains 70.3. The conditions were cold and windy which did not help matters. I finished but it took every bit of will, determination, and bull headedness not to drop out ! I underestimated how much endurance builds up season to season. I am accustomed to finishing in the middle to top of the pack, but I was close to last that day. Finishing it proved to myself that I could do a long distance race again. I had a bit of foot pain, if I recall, but I was out there for a very long time and did a lot of walking. It did not last and I was able to start training again soon after!

Summer came and I started playing on the trails more and swimming a lot in Walden. I enjoyed my summer doing short training sessions. I even did non triathlon outside stuff; like a ropes course and played on SUP board! I found my love for triathlon again this summer. The later part of racing was fun! Really really fun! At times they were hard, but hard in way that I love. I found a tiny bit of speed and built up my endurance! I even did a few short triathlons. It was lovely to be done a race and home by noon! They helped me build some speed over a shorter distance without worrying about bonking later in an event. But I do love long distance racing the most! I love how spent I get after I've given my all. I love how I can't walk the next day. And how I say things like "o it's only a 40 mile ride or 13 mile run".

Last year I did the Groton Trail race 3 miler. I recall having some foot pain during and after (as well as it kicking my ass!). This year I did the 9.5. It was a tough race and I was very challenged by steep trail ups n downs. The front and back part of the course were heavy with the hills, but the middle piece was nice and flat. I moved pretty slow over the first 3 miles but then found some speed and actually felt really good for most of the race. I was very pleased with the race.

It is now mid November. I have been focusing on swimming, running, and strength with some short outdoor and indoor rides thrown in there. I am having fun training and feeling really really good! If I feel like this in March next year going into 140.6 training I will be very pleased. Speaking of 2016: tentative race plan: Quassy 70.3, Westboro Off Road, and Cedar Point 140. I am turning 40 next year and I plan to take it by storm! Fitter at 40 than 20! I am changing things for 2016 but I will get into that later! A big change is going to be my nutrition!

I have found a rythm and awesomeness with living with Amy and the kids. I am still not super awesome at dealing with kid drama, but I am getting there. I'm better able to juggle family stuff with training/racing, friends, and work. I have never been more happy with that part of my life than I am now.

Work is a different story. And I thank Amy, my friends, and triathlon for my ability to get through all of the drama the last three months. I left PT&SR in August for an outpatient job in Lowell. It was more money and much closer to home. It looked good on paper but proved to be a nightmare. I won't go into details here, but I am leaving this job on December 7 for a new adventure. I will be working at Seven Hills Pediatric Center in Groton. My hours will be something like 7-3 four days a week. One day a week I hope to be at an out patient facility (this in the works). One of the best things about the new job is that it is 3 miles away! I went from an hour commute to less that 10 minutes! I will be able to run or ride there a lot. I hope to ride most of the winter; pending winter conditions. I gave my notice yesterday and felt a ginormous weight lift from my shoulders. I have been a grumpy stress ball for several months. Everything is coming together for a great upcoming year of living, training, and racing.

I feel so fortunate to have a gaggle of people in my life. You are all amazing and I could not be who and where I am without all of you. Thank you!

#Newtons #TYR #TeamEnVision #trek #herballife

Sunday, April 5, 2015

spring has SPRUNG

For a long time I didn't want to look at my Garmin during a run, or swim for that matter. I recorded data, logged it, but rarely looked at HR or pace after. I didn't care and I knew that I was not fast. I didn't want my workouts to remind me of how out of shape I was or how I was not making gains. It would just make working out less fun that it seemed to be.

But I kept at it. Logged the laps. Logged the trainer minutes. Logged those short runs outside in the grueling single digit temps. Logged the treadmill miles. Diligently did my strength workouts twice a week and stretched at least four times a week with nightly foam rolling. I ate healthy, started to cut out alcohol and sweets. And then something happened. I started getting faster. Started to have fun on my workouts and look forward to them again! I started feeling good on them even when I felt a little icky going in. I even have started feeling good at the end of a long workout. Could I....maybe....perhaps...could it be that ....endurance...ATHLETE again?!!? More on that in a minute.

SPRING HAS SPRUNG people! New Englanders have endured a winter of enormous proportion. We complained about it adn got a little crazy. But we got thru. That is what we do in NE. I was visiting family in Littleton, NH this weekend and was below freezing and snowing when I left. But I returned to 45 degree sunshine in MA! Things had melted when I was gone and we actually have a lawn again. Flowers are beginning to pop up! The sun is feeling warmer and days are getting longer.

Today I had to talk myself into going for a run. I was away all weekend and did not sleep well. But I knew that I needed to go for my run and that this maybe the best weather in the next couple of days. I got out there and had a really good 8.2 miles. Though it was not fast in my prior running standards it is the fastest 8 miler to date this season and one on a fatigued body. The point is that I am finally feeling good. I am definetly not were I was in two years ago, but think that if I continue to be smart this year I will make some solid gains.

More important than being fast is that I am having fun again. I am running with a group of folks in Harvard weekly. We mostly do 5 miles today. I have also started swimming with a Masters team at the Groton school 1-2 times per week. It is a much smaller group than Cambridge Masters or Boston City Swimmers, but is a group to swim with and be motivated by. Right now I am in my own lane, but think that soon I can jump up to the faster lane and get pushed a bit. TE group rides will start this weekend. I did my best and improved the most when I was training with others who are slightly faster than me. I also very much enjoy and thrive by the camaraderie of training and racing together. I need that crazy community of athletes.

I have signed up for the Whitemountains Triathlon at Echo Lake in Franconia, NH June 6. It is in my old stopping ground and super hilly!! I look forward to the challenge.

I have turned a few corners over the winter and seem to be making good gains right now. We shall see how that translates to outdoor riding and bricks.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Snowmagddon 2015 and other ramblings

It is March 8rd and New England is still largely buried in snow. Boston has gotten over 100 inches and we got closer to 112. The last few weeks there has been some melting and snow bank clearing. Finally we have a small shoulder on the roads. It is safer to drive, walk and run. In the last week we've actually had temps over 32 degrees. I recall hearing that we did not go above freezing for three weeks. It is the craziest winter in recent memory in MA. Commutes have been hell and people have a little bit lost their minds.

Many of my runs have been inside and most outdoor runs have been in frigid conditions and quite frankly have risked my life running on the roads. I have been extra careful running; avoiding dark runs, wearing super bright clothes, always running on the opposite side of the street, and trying to avoid main roads. I live in the boonies now and folks are just not as nice to runners and bikers. Bostonians thou not always nice are tolerant and mostly considerate. If you include honking as considerate. A few weeks ago someone posted on Nextdoor about her irritation with runners, bikers and walkers on the streets. The posts that followed mad me sad and a little angry. It was a lot of the "roads are made for cars. and how dare anyone be out on the roads other than cars". How dare anyone risk their lives or the lives of drivers for the sake of cardio. Someone actually said that. I understood the anti -runner/biker/walker sentiment to an extent. The roads have been terrible for a greater part of 6 weeks. They have barely been passable to cars let alone pedestrians and cyclist. BUT if done safely roads can be shared.

I resisted the urge to respond to the post as many others had responded the way in which I would. Instead I have been extra cautious and courteous to drivers while running and walking. I have waved to all drivers even if they're jerky to me. I am hoping if I wave I make myself human and perhaps less likely to be hit? I keep wondering how we can change the attitude that cars own the road. Clearly this is not just an issue in the winter, but can be more dangerous this time of the year. I wonder if a mass mailing to all drivers re the rules of the road might help. Or a segment and push in the media about the rights of pedestrians and cyclist. I believe that many drivers truly do not know that cyclist have the right to be on the road. Would education help to improve behavior? For now I am focusing on positive re-enforcement and good behavior on my part.

The good thing about treadmill runs is that it forced me to work on technique and speed. Slowly I gained speed in the last two months. I have been diligent with my strength training, stretching, swimming, biking, and running. I am now able to run a 5k avg 9-9:15/ mile, up from about 9:45. On my longer runs I avg closer to a 9:30 but sometimes faster. The best part is that I finally feel that I have a little extra to give during all my workouts. My persistence, determination, and diligence has finally paid off. I am feeling good at this point in the season. I can pretty comfortably run 7.5 miles without any foot pain!! o! I have discovered and fallen in love with Rock My Run. It is an online streaming and download site with playlists for running or working out. They have a paid and free service. Currently I use the free service which gives me one download per month. Check them out:

I joined a Masters swim program in Groton last Monday. For now I can only swim once per week with them. But I think this will be a good way to ramp up my training and meet some swimmer people. I have been riding inside on my trainer mostly using Paincave. I think it is helping me with my cadence and equal leg power. I am itching to get out on the road. We have a warm week coming up so I am hopeful that this may happen in the next two weeks. My body is responding to my training in a way that it has not in over a year. Perhaps I really did need a full year of low key low intensity training to heal and recover from previous intense training and racing.

The trial of accused Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev started a week ago Monday. I have been trying to avoid watching any footage. Simply hearing the words (paraphrased) "that bombs disrupted a normal joyful and celebratory day two years ago" sent me into tears. I don't want to hear play by play accounts of the day. I certainly don't want to hear what Tsarnaev has to say. I understand that for some this maybe cathartic but it is too painful and still to raw for me. The Boston Marathon was the first Marathon that I did and was done Bandit style. I did not know what I was doing but still managed to cross that line in one piece. The Marathon will always hold a special place in my heart and life. When I moved to the city and went to the marathon for the first time as a spectator I really discovered what the day meant to all of the city and state. Whether you're a runner or not for that one day you become a fan. For many it is an excuse to party . But that comes with cheering on runners! Where else do we get thousands of spectators along the whole route cheering on runners?!!? As a runner you feel like a rock star for most of the course. As a spectator you're proud of the runners and of the city. It is a day that is difficult to articulate and needs to be experienced at least once. Runners, college students, business professionals, families, non-runners, Red Sox fans, and people from all over the world come together.

Someone tried to destroy that day, but they messed with the wrong city and the wrong crowd. Boston and runners are two of the most resilient groups I know. I won't let them destroy what it means to me and I will be there every year. I think this is why I can't watch the trials. I don't want the terror and sadness to move to the forefront of my brain. I want to remember those who died and lost limbs, but not the terror. I want to remember how the city and world came together after. How we took back the Marathon in 2014. How so many folks who lost limbs came back and plan to run. How so many people came together and helped strangers in a time of crisis. We cannot be broken. This week I have been taking a moment to be thankful for all that I have each time I do a workout and feel the warm sun on my face or feel the cold air in my lungs. I am lucky to have everything I do. Lucky to able to swim, bike, and run.