Saturday, December 3, 2011

Grumblings of an injury.....

During RTB this year I tweaked my R hip. This was the first time I had an injury since early January this year. (Apart from throwing out my SI joint after Vineman). I was incredibly lucky that I made it thru my season without a serious injury. I was smart and listened to my body. I did adequate strength training. The hip was intermittently sore this fall. I continued to run and focused more on strengthening, thinking I'd maybe developed a muscle imbalance. A few weeks ago it go so bad that I worried I had a labral tear. I had gone on a long bike ride and then ran a lot. I woke up Friday with proximal aching in my hip. A few weeks have passed. I have had some DTM and focused on strengthening, decreased my running mileage and intensity. My good friend Erica evaluated my hip, she is a PT. Her diagnosis: glut max weakness causing my femoral head to sit too far forward. WOOO HOOO!! This can be easily corrected! More importantly it does not involve surgery. There were a few weeks that I was convinced that I would not be training and racing next year. Though this would not be the end of triathlon for me or even a serious bump in the road, I was fairly freaked out. Triathlon has become a lifestyle to me, not just a hobby. I socialize through my swims, rides, and runs. A circle of my friends are triathletes. I am happier because I am a triathlete. In the big scheme of things an injury is miniscule. People are living without jobs, homes, or healthcare. People are dying and living in terrible conditions. But in my little world this would be big. There is still a small chance that I will not be up to par next year. But things are looking good. I ran three times this week. And a fixable diagnosis is likely. Glut therex here I come!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Applefest 13.1 2011

Today marked the end of my 2011 season. Doyle's 5 miler, Patriot Half Triathlon, Vineman 140.6, Reach the Beach, HUB on Wheels, and Applefest Half Marathon. phew.

Today was the third year I ran Applesfest. It is a hilly run in southern NH that ends with the sweet reward of applecrisp. WILL RUN FOR PIE! My day started at 6 am with a dog walk n' big cup o joe. Road races are so much easier to get ready for than triathlons and start SO much later!!! After putting air in my cars tire and momentarily loosing my wallet I was off at 7 am with a mug full of coffee n' a PB/honey/banana samich. I arrived in Hollis with plenty of time to stretch and relax. At the start of the race it was around 60 with cloudy skies and humidity. It rained on and off for most of the race. Though it was humid this is my ideal road racing condition.

In years past I have gone out too hard and fast. The last half of the race is the hardest. You ascend for 5-6 miles with some rolling hills and a few descent ascents. This year I stayed focused and tried to hover around an 8:30-8:20 min mile for the first 6 miles. At mile 6.5 I was averaging 8:13 min/mile. I thought, ok this is pretty fast for me, but I felt good! Around mile 8 I slowed down a bit, but kept up good momentum and cruised up those hills. At mile 10ish you take a R hand turn down an open section of road. In years past I have had nothing left at this section of the course. NOT TODAY: I picked up my pace until the last little blurb of a hill at mile 12.34. Though I slowed a bit up the hill I turned up my pace after making that final R hand turn down to Hollis High. I called upon my ironman will, determination, speed, and strength; and with the school in sight I sprinted the last half mile. I finished feeling strong! I did not experience any nausea or lack of energy. I have been battling a minor pain in my R adductor/vastus medialis since my long run at RTB. That talked to me a bit during the race, but did not prevent me from maintaining pace. It was so great to see friends at the finish line! Jill and Freya were there waiting for me. We found Grant later and all enjoy a delicious breakfast!!

My results: overall: 217 age group: 9/74 F3539 1:49:54 8:23 min/mile. Today's half was a PR for the race by 7 minutes and a PR half marathon by about 3 minutes. My goal was to place in top three in my age group. HOWEVER, I am pleased with my results. Applefest is a very hilly and challenging race and my prior PR was a flat fast course in Boston (Run to Remember). I think if I had trained a little harder in the last month I could have placed, but my body and brain would not let me! IM training took more out of me than I really new until it was all over and that buzz had worn off!

I have gotten fast and stronger in the last year. Clearly, it is imperative to gain strength when training for an IM. What I was not expecting was a speed gain. My avg speed has increased by over :30 per min/mile since last year and over a min/mile as compared to 2009. I have approached triathlon and training differently in the last two years and it has clearly paid off!!

As I drove home today I began reflecting on the last year of my life and all of my racing and personal accomplishments. I need sometime to put my thoughts in order for a proper reflection. Until then I raise a glass to myself, my family, and all my friends that have supported me in the last year.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Success, recovery

I feel like Vineman was eons ago! I can finally do an intense workout and not feel the affects for two days! phew. I don't know what I was expecting, but it certainly not four weeks of recovery. For some crazy reason I thought I'd be good to go after maybe two weeks. No No crazy Kristi. I am in fact human. HA! Fortunately I listened to my body (coach and friends) and took it easy for three weeks. Last week I did a few intense workouts and felt great! It's time to ramp things up for Applefest! Then I will take a few weeks off of running! Something I have not done since I injured my foot in January. I am enjoying my workouts and my fitness level. This week I am back up to my normal intensity. No ironman intense, but two workouts a day a few days a week with intervals intense. I have taken time and relished in my accomplishment. I am proud of myself and still kinda get shivers when I think about that finish line.

In the last month I have done a lot of thinking about the importance of fitness and activity in my life. Clearly, my degree of training was elevated to a whole new level in the last year. I remember receiving 4 months of training via e-mail and completely freaking out. I could not fathom how I could possibly do that much in a week AND work AND see my friends and family, o and sleep. After said freakout I started taking it day by day and week by week. Before I knew it, doing three workouts in one day was do-able. It made me appreciate my down time. Then suddenly it was all over. I was not suppose to do anything and when I tried it was hard as hell and I felt it for days after.

I'm not saying that I need to be training 12 months a year for the rest of my life. But what I have realized is that I need and want to be active 12 months a year at some level. When I am not active I am not the person I want to be. I get all grumpy, irritable, and unhappy. I don't eat as well and therefore have less energy. Maybe its because I am using it to deal with some stuff I don't want to deal with. Maybe. I missed the camaraderie of training with friends, the accomplishment of doing 6 miles of running or 60 miles of riding or an hour of hard swimming. I love challenging my body and seeing how it responds. It's what I do and it is what makes me tick. Maybe its a combination of all of these things.

What I do know is that I love triathlon. I love all the people I have met in my training and all of the friends I have made. I love that I can now call myself an Iron(wo)man and that I want to do many more. Is using triathlon as my drug really such a bad thing? I think it has unleashed self confidence and energy to allow me to do anything that I want to, attempting what was once unfathomable; both athletically and non.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

One week ago and what's next?

It was almost a week ago that I crossed the finish line of Vineman. My week has been filled with awesomeness! I have enjoyed the expressions of strangers when I tell them I just finished my first ironman. I've gotten hugs from strangers. Eaten a plenty. And had myself some well deserved pints and vino in celebration with friends!

People are asking me if I feel different now. And yea, I think I do. I accomplished this huge thing that took so much dedication, motivation, and perseverance that was physical, emotion, and mental. I've challenged myself before, but never when there was this much uncertainty. I am feeling more self confident than ever. Never more motivated to do the next big thing. Never more satisfied with my life. I feel so very very lucky to be able to challenge my body the way I do.
I am SO very happy that I enjoyed the race as much as I did. It truly was fun!

Never has there been the need for so much support in my life challenges. In the the last two weeks my support system has become abundantly clear. I knew I had a lot of people there for me and who cared about me. But I had no idea how much. At the end of race day I had nearly 30 text messages, many e-mails, and about 30 Facebook posts. All about me! I felt pretty damn popular for a few days. I've said it before, but without all of my friends, family, and Team EnVision teammates I could not have accomplished Vineman 140.6. I cannot thank you all enough! I hope that I can repay your awesomeness.

There is not a doubt in my mind that I will do another ironman...Lake Placid 2013--mayhaps. I even contemplated completing another next year. I have decided against this only because I need to have a year, a summer, where my life does not TOTALLY revolve around triathlon. I'd like to do some hiking, kayaking, and traveling, maybe a marathon!

That post race depression has started to creep up. Not the kind of depression that requires a psychologist or drug. The kind that requires a task or a race. I feel almost lost without a crazy training schedule. I am trying to relish the moment for a bit longer. Enjoy riding, running, and swimming just because I love it. Drink a few too many pints or glasses of wine with my dearest friends that I have neglected for the last 9 months.

I accomplished a lot this season. I am proud of myself.

2011 season (so far!)

Doyles 5 miler 38.41 minutes

Patriot Half Ironman AG: 2/30 S: 41:38 2:09 T104:11 B: 2:55:48 19.11 T22:22R:1:55:49 08:50 Total Time: 5:39:49

Vineman 140.6 W35-39 9/34 45/210 S:1:20:53 2:06 576 T1 7:59 B:6:32:08 17.1 439 T25:46 R:4:30:01 10:19 212 Total Time: 12:36:47

Next up: Applefest Half Marathon, Reach The Beach, and Hub on Wheels.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vineman 140.6

My day stared at 4:30 am with a cup o joe and a pb n banana on a cinnamon raisin bagel. I set three alarms to be sure I woke up. How much would it suck if I overslept!! I slept surprising well and was feeling ready as I shoved a bagel in a groggy me. The air temp was cool, in the low 50's. I arrived at the race site 30 min before T1 opened and it was already hopping with athletes. Having flown here I did not have a bike pump, so thank you to the nice dude who not only let me borrow his pump, but discussed the road conditions with me and actually pumped my tires at my decided pressure.

As I stood inline with my ipod listening to all my pump-me-up music I was shaking in my shoes. I was worried that I would bonk, forget how to swim, have a panic attack, a mechanical on the bike, not be able to run, or have some crazy GI issue. After organizing in T1 and doing a quick run warm up I felt calmer. I went through my race plan in my head and thought of all of you. There was nervous chatter as we donned our wetsuits. I had time for a quick warm-up in the water before it was my time to go! One more time I grabbed my necklace and touched my earring for good luck.

The swim start an in water, two 1.2 mile loops. I decided to start mid-pack this time; my one and only mistake of the day. After doing some good strokes; I got pulled, kicked and swam over. I had a brief panic moment, but worked my way to the right and resumed my swim. The water was cool, but comfortable, murky and shallow. There were times when taller swimmers were walking. WALKING! The turn around point came faster than expected! I kept up my slow and steady pace all the way to the finish. I did not once feel tired! I excited the water more confident that I would finish. To my surprise there were wetsuit strippers! SWEET The day is off to a good start. We were instructed to place all of our T1 belonging in a bag. Knowing that I would be cold at the finish I also packed warm clothes. My T1 was the longest I have ever had, largely because I had to organize and pack a bag! And I had to put arm warmers.

Finally I leave T1, choosing to jog up the short steep hill because it is crowed with cyclist. No need to end the day 'cause of a crash. I hop on speedy, chug some water and a bit of power bar. I chopped bars into thirds for easy consumption. Down into my aero's I go. Riders were passing me and I had to remind myself that I had 112 miles to ride and that it would be smart not to kill my legs just yet! I found a good rhythm and cruised thru the first half. The course had some good climbs and one killer hill! I also had some fantastic descents and flats. The hardest part of the day between mile 60 and 70. It was a flat section, with few cyclist and no spectators. I started checking off miles in my head and thinking about the food I would eat the next day. At this point I knew that I would almost-definitely-maybe-probably finish. I was making good time, having zero cramping, weirdly energized, and mentally strong. If need be I could walk and still finish! Finally I get back to the rollers. Change of terrain keeps me distracted and mentally alert. At my second pee stop of the ride I ate a 1/4 of a PBnJ; quite possibly the best PBnJ I have ever eaten. Refreshed I was off and finished the ride strong. My legs were screaming a bit at the end and I definitely had a slower second loop, but I finished with a decent bike time! I cruised into T2, put on more sunscreen, changed my socks; into my Newtons and I was off!

The run was an out and back loop that was done 3 times. This meant that there were runners around you at all times! There were also huge clumps of spectators and so many great volunteers. It also meant that there were aid stations at every mile! I expected my legs to scream at me for the first few miles based on how my quads were feeling the last hill of the ride, but they felt great. I helped myself back, staying around a 9 min mile. I immediately got into my normal running rhythm and I felt fantastic for the first 18 miles of the run. I had a Clif Shot/water at every other mile and gatorade/water at the alternate mile up until mile 10. Then I switched to coke/water/pretzels. I walked thru every other aid station, following my game plan. I found many people to chat with along the way making the time go by so fast. One mile into the third loop my lower legs started aching more and more with each step. I started getting intermittent twinges in my R medial calf, then my ankles. I got a cramp in my L oblique, then my R. Each time a pain came up I stood taller, breathed deeper, and thought about the finish line and all of my friends and family. At one point I listed the names of all of my friends and family. I focused on getting to the next mile marker. The weather was amazing and I was less than a 10k from becoming an iron(wo)man. There were frequent adrenaline surges.

The last 3 miles were the longest 3 miles of my life! I did not stop once to walk. My pace had slowed, but I keep pushing. I dug deep. When I made that right, less than a 1/2 mile to the end, I got shivers up and down my body and a bit teary. Everyone was walking in front of me. A spectator shouted "858 your passing everyone!". I pumped my first and sped up. The last turn before entering the finish shoot was in view. I made that turn and the street was still lined with spectators. We were given bracelets so race folks could keep track of us, so everyone knew it was the end for me. People started cheering congratulations, you are an ironman, you look so strong, high fiving me; and I kept standing taller, smiling harder, and running faster. That final 300 yards was amazing. I was the only one in the shoot. The announcer said my name. I lifted my hands above my head and let the energy of the crowd flow into me and took mental snap shots of that moment. That medal was placed around my neck, my picture, was taken, and my finisher tee given to me. I stumbled around looking for some grass to collapse on. In a state of disbelief I chatted with finishers, ate and drank.

To all of the volunteers, spectators, and race officials: you produced a fantastic race. I could not have asked for a better venue, course, or folks on and off the course. To everyone who had great signs out there for your friends and family. To that cute girl who said she loved my hair and that I really rock it. To all the spectators who said I looked strong. To the my friend from Toronto who chatted and raced with me on the bike and the run, to my buddy from San Jose who carried me through the second lap, to the man wearing a speedo (what?!!?). I want to thank you for a frickin' amazing day and boosting me at just the right time.

I entered this journey unsure if I would get to the start line, let alone the finish line. I stuck to my training plan like it was a bible and to my race plan. I stayed hydrated and fueled. I felt surprisingly good through 90% of the race. I experienced cramping twice. I was mentally alert. I experienced highs and lows on the ride and run, but without a doubt highs>low. Vineman 140.6 was the best athletic experience of my life, and in the top 5 for sure of general experiences. The course was tough, but fun. The day went by so very fast. I tried to take in the scenery while still riding fast. I My emotions are still swirling and its difficult to describe how I felt crossing the finish line and completing a 140.6 mile race. The best word I can come up with is: unreal. And with that I will leave you.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


As I sat in Logan airport on Wednesday evening my heart started racing both in excitement and anxiety. I have dreamed of this trip for months...even years really. Finally I am in a place financially, emotionally, and physically where it can be realized. The plane ride was long, but transitions (HA!) seamless. SFO is amazingly easy to navigate. With my GPS and Toyota Corolla and all my gear I headed north to Guerneville at 1:15 am; having only slept a few hours since 8 am Boston time. I was riding on nothin' but adrenaline. The ride went fast and I crashed as soon as my head hit the pillow. I love everything about this part of CA thus far. People are nice, friendly, helpful. It's gorgeous. I can see myself living here in the not too distant future.

For the first time in my life people are identifying me as an athlete and a triathlete. It is certainly a big ego boost to know that all my hard work is actually showing on my little body. There may always be a tiny voice that remembers being called "fat" for so many years. Take that boys! There are times that I walk by a mirror and do not recognize myself.

As the day wore on yesterday I got a bit more nervous. After seeing the swim venue I became slightly less anxious about that aspect. The river is calm
and super shallow. I did see a giant snake yesterday, however. I suppose all the athletes will scare all wildlife away that day! The question remains how I will feel towards the end. Will I have a PR marathon? Will my body fall apart after 6 hours. People keep telling me to believe in my training. I do. I believe in the workouts that Megan gave me (damn lunges). I believe that I have prepared myself to go 140.6 miles tomorrow. I believe that I have trained my mind to keep going when my legs tell it to stop. But doubt remains and I suppose it will until I finish or at least I until I start the race!

Today was registration and expo day! So many athletes, so many fit people. So many expensive bikes and shoes!! I did 20 min of each sport with some pickup. It felt great to workout today. I met some cool folks at the expo and made a few new friends. Turns out most of us are pretty nervous. There are a lot of newbie iron-people at the race.

During the info video my stomach flipped and I cried a little. I felt anxious for the next few hours. But after some texting with friends and a good ride (and a samich) I felt good. Excited and nervous, but more calm. I am here because I LOVE triathlon and I LOVE challenging myself. I LOVE adventure. Part of the thrill of doing it is that it IS hard and there is question of success. Tomorrow will be a workout, be it a long one, with 1000 of my friends in beautiful Sonoma. One stroke at a time, one breath at time, one pedal stroke at a time, one step at a time. One mile at a time. Here goes nuthin'...............

GEAR: TYR carbon 6" tri shorts, vomax TE tri top, garmin forerunner 305
2XU sleeveless wetsuit, TYR googles
TREK Speed Concept 7.0, Bontrager wheels, SRAM, SIDI T2
Newton Distance with green yanx
Powerbar, Clif Shots, Hammer Endurolytes, Gatorade Pro

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Three days and counting!

Today vacation officially started after a not so grueling day at the clinic. I am feeling rested and ready to go! I am more than excited to get to CA and surround myself with triathlon energy and like minded folks.

I am feeling a bit sad that I will not be surround by my friends and family during the race. But it has become abundantly clear in the last week that I will have SO many people cheering me from New England. Case in point: A patient who was a triathlete in the late 70's and 80's and who has been following my training for a long time gave me a hug today and said "Kristi, you are already an ironwoman. Go get em out there kid (he calls everyone kid). Good luck.". I got a little teary eyed, I will not lie

Because I won't have the physical presence of folks in CA I will, instead, carry with me a: diamond earring of my sister's, a Pandora charm of my mother's and an Aquarius symbol from my Grammy Davis around my neck, and a bit of Puerto Rico sand in my shirt pocket. As well as a Red Sox hat in my bag from poppa Paradis. I have collected numerous signatures from friends and family on a piece of fabric that will be worn on my race belt during the ride/run. Should I need inspiration I will grasp any or all of these objects. You are all in my head in and in my heart. It is because of all of you that I am able to train and compete. You have trained, sweated, and shivered with me. And for that friends and family I thank you. I will take all of those moments with me. Lastly, I know that I will also draw from my fellow competitors and spectators!!

9 months ago I signed up for Vineman 2011. I have logged hours and hours on a trainer, run through a crazy winter, swam countless laps, learned the butterfly (WHAT!?), learned to swim more efficiently and a tad faster, awoke at 4 am for workouts, worked out through lunch, and after 10 hour work days. My friends have seen me, at times only when there was food involved. I have eaten who knows how many bars, banana's, oatmeal, PB n J samiches, and burritos. Miles logged. Brain trained. Ready or not here I come Vineman. I will return from CA a different person no matter what happens there. Next update: Guerneville, CA!

Friday, July 22, 2011

7 days!

In just 7 days I will be (with any hope) sound asleep dreaming of SWIM BIKE RUN IRON(wo)MAN!

Feeling awesome after week of good workouts. Its been hotter than a biscuit, as my mother is so fond of sayinng, in good ole Boston. I've managed to get some good rides in on my road bike. Today I sucked it up and did an indoor workout: 105 on spin bike and 30 on treadmill. It was 106 degrees and humid, so I think I made the right decision.

I picked up my pair of Newton distance shoes today. They are basically the same shoe I've been running in but lighter and with slightly less support. No worries on the support as I have orthotics! I ran in them today and they felt great! And they're yellow, orange, and green. Awesome!

It amazes me how calm I am feeling. I feel confident that I can do that swim in the Russian River. I will be so excited to be done with the swim. Its the thing I am most worried about, but also confident that I can do it. Then its just a fun 112 mile ride on my little speedy in Sonoma Valley with 900 friends! O and then there's a marathon. pshaw I can do that. hee hee Maybe the heat is getting to me.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

T minus two weeks.

The past week has been a flurry of emotions. I started the week off on a high from my fantastic half iron + race simulation (thanx Becky H and Mona M. for the company) and my great time in Sandwich with friends (thanx Cindy, Rachel, Kevin, and Caitlin!). Tuesday Boston was hit with the dreaded triple threat to athletes: Hazy, Hot, and Humid. Being the iron(wo)man to be that I am I did my brick workout as prescribed but dialed back on intensity. I managed a good bike ride and time, but experienced what I think was heat exhaustion on the run. After stopping at an intersection I felt dizzy and was forced to hold on to a wall! After a brief rest I ran home, mostly downhill at this point. I actually felt pretty good for those last few miles, especially after dosing my head in a water fountain!

It took me nearly two days to recover! I felt that I had to do the workout to get the feeling of w/o in that combination come race day. I know that I will hydrate and fuel better and not have worked an 8 hour day. I also will NOT have had so many cups of coffee. I struggled through my workouts mentally or physically on Thur and Friday. We had a tough week at work and my head was just not in the tri game towards the end of week. It helped that the weather was PHENOMENAL those days. I was at the very least happy to be outside. I just could not get that umph and push from my riding and running. However, after a good nights sleep on Sat I had a great morning pool swim and a great afternoon warm brick. My legs felt springy and alive, my mind alert, and my emotions tapped into Vineman. I've never felt better on a 75 min (woo!) run post 37 mile ride. Today I swam 75 min in Walden Pond. I stopped briefly (15-90 sec)4 times. My stroke and pull were on. I was streamlined and sighting nearly perfectly. My kick was even good! I felt like a real swimmer! I think I swam between 1.8 and 2 miles. WOOT. I ended feeling like I could do the remainder of an ironman. Good thing: CAUSE THE RACE IS IN 13 DAYS!!

The taper has begun, but my workouts are pretty short for the remainder of the time. I do some intensity stuff that final week but for short intervals. The miles, intensity, yards, and hours have been logged. The mental work done, well almost...that will continue until the end. The hardwork is done. Its time to have fun and enjoy the last few weeks and then finally race day.

I dropped off Speedy at Landry's Bike for shipping after that stellar workout. I am a bit nervous about THAT whole process. I will be happy when Speedy is in my presence again. I will have to do the remainder of my w/o on my road bike or a spin bike.

It's official people, I am going to Cali! I am feeling more ready that I have for Vineman. I am sure that I will have more doubts as the day approaches. But I will remember this moment when those doubts arise. I can't wait to step off the plan in San Fran, to see my coach and friend Megan Lynch, to check into my little home away from home in Guerneville, to attend all the pre-race activities, for race day, and for all the post-race fun in CA. Bring it!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The month has arrived

July has arrived. 27 days until race day.

I have sufficiently recovered from Patriot half. It took me a good 7 days to truly recover. I felt 100% on the Monday and close to 90% on Sunday. This past week I felt great on most of my workout. Yesterday I did a 180/15 brick which turned into 195 minutes/15. I felt great-excellent the whole time!! My legs where alive and my brain engaged. Today's swim workout was not the best, but felt good on my run. This may have been that I had two beers last night.

I am reading Chris McCormicks "I'm here to win". In it he discusses creating folders in your brain to draw upon during your race, specifically IM. I have done this a bit throughout the last 9 months of training. In the last week I have intentionally placed good and bad moments in swim/bike/run folders. When I feel really good during a training session I file it. When I feel crappy, but manage finish my w/o I file the way I did that. I file songs. Songs to motivate me. Songs that coincide with a good running stride and with a good climbing pace. I file motivation: faces of my family and friends, Tootsie, pie, a cold beer, and the ability to swim/bike/run due to my health and life options.

I am visualizing more and more: the swim, exiting the swim, T1, the ride, mile 100 of the ride; T2; various segments of the run. AND the finish line. I am physically ready. I am 80-90% mentally ready. Some days I am 100% ready.

Tomorrow I enter my last four weeks of training. WOOT WOOT Bring it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Phew what a week!

The day following Patriot I felt pretty darn good. I was given the "day off" after already completing my 20 min recovery run. sweet. Monday I did a nice 60 min on the bike. I entered my week feeling pretty good. It's amazing what I have been able to train my body to do. Tuesdays and Wednesdays workouts went well. I felt more tired than normal, but maintained my normal pace. I felt good going into my off day on Thursday. Ready to take on my final 6 weeks (gulp) of training before Vineman.

Friday I woke up at 4 am to do the following: 1 mile run, 400 meters lunges, 2 mile run, 400 m lunges, 3 mile run, 400 meters lunges, 4 mile run. 100 squats. yikes! All went surprisingly well until the last 1.5 miles of running. My R Achilles started hurting and my R oblique cramped. The debilitating type of cramp. What is with all these cramps!?! I have not lost fitness in one week. Fuel? Hydration? Tight muscles? Tired body? I should have taken a Clif Shot to consume mid-workout. Sometime, I underestimate what I need in regards to nutrition. Stupid mistake. I made it home, though at a slow pace. My legs were a mess for most of the morning. After LOTS of stretching and PT love my ankle and legs felt better. My afternoon swim at Walden left me feeling refreshed and ravenous! I ate like a fiend for the rest of the day.

Yesterday I struggled through my brick w/o though it was only 135 min total. I felt sluggish all day despite 10 hours of good sleep the night before. I ate well that day and again got a good nights sleep. Today, Sunday, I woke up feeling more refreshed. My friend Becky and I swam the perimeter of Walden, plus some totaling ~1.65 miles in 60 minutes. I swam freestyle the whole time. We stopped 5 times for less than 1 minute at each stop. I felt tired at times, but muscular vs fatigued and drained. After we did a 60 min mostly trail run. I cramped again, but my legs felt better. I drank a lot today including some powerade zero. I fueled well post workouts and the remainder of the day. I am finishing my day and weekend feeling way better than on Friday. I am hoping my body just needed some more time to recover. Maybe I need to hydrate on my >45 min runs now that it is warm. I will try this. Starting tomorrow on my 90 minute run.

The race is 5 weeks away. One day I feel more ready than I could describe, the next terrified and doubtful of my success. Sometimes I fluctuate during my day. I know this is normal. The fear I mean. Or at least I think it is. I expect that when I stand in that water or sand waiting for the horn or the "go" my heart rate will be through the roof and I'll be shaking. A lot. But, I hope, when I dive into the water and start my first full ironman the fear will dissipate with each stroke and I will have the time of my life.

"Facing truth and admitting weakness is what will ultimately free you to find your strength, your power, and your dreams. Of course, that magnetic force called ego tries to keep each of us from opening our eyes to embracing our frailties, but like the weak link in the chain, unless we find it and fortify it, we will fail when tugged on by life's biggest missions." Forward by Mark Allen for I'm Here to Win by Chris McCormack

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Patriot 70.3

My day started at 4 am. Dog walked, first cup o' joe consumed all by 4:25 am. PB n' J consumed en route to Freetown. I arrived with plenty of time to check in and organize. And do a nice warm-up. The race started 30 minutes late so I also had plenty of time to relax, hang-out, and worry. I did not feel nearly as anxious as I usually do before a triathlon. Maybe it was that Patriot is not my big race of the season. Maybe that I've nearly done these distances in a workout or at least in a 12 hour period. Maybe it because it was my fourth 70.3 and my confidence has been elevated.

Some banter with folks in transition and with the announcement we were all booted out and corralled to the swim start. The sun was starting to come out amongst the dark storm clouds when we lined up in the water. The swim course was an out and back in Long Pond. The water was warm (70's) and calm. I took my normal place in the back right. This year I got into my rhythm fairly quickly. No panic attack. No heart palpitations. This meant that I passed a lot of swimmers, not only from my wave but from a few slower folks in the waves before mine. I did do the breast stroke on occasion, but it was more to give myself a break from freestyle vs needing it. I managed surges and felt good when I left the water.

I ran into T1, suited up and hopped on Speedy. My quads felt a little tight for the first few miles..perhaps from yesterdays workout. Yes, yes I trained yesterday, but don't forget I'm doing a 140.6 in just 6 weeks! The bike course was a two loop 28 mile course. I held back on the first lap and quickly got into a rhythm. I raced back and fourth with a few guys during the whole bike leg. It always motivates me to go back n' forth with folks on the run and bike. It is also entertaining, especially if the other person recognizes the game. Often their is some banter involved. Just before the start of the second loop the bike course overlapped with a funeral. I came thru just as the event personnel realized what was happening so I was not told to get left. I had to completely stop and squeeze between cars of funeral go-ers. This got me out of my good pedaling for a bit. Eventually I found it and moved through the second lap. I pushed a little harder on the second lap and I believe I had negative split times. The course brought us past gorgeous views of the ocean, alpaca/llama farm (there were baby alpaca!!!) and a various chickens! It was a fast n' flat course. It did lack any good descents so I pedaling the entire time! I was able to "chick" a number of men...8-15! woo hooo I felt mentally strong on the bike leg. I finished certain that I could have kept going, though probably not at that pace.

At this point the sun was shinning and the air temperature was quickly rising. T2 was fast and I was off in my Newtons. I ran the first 4 miles at a quick pace, averaging 8:06-8:12. Mistake. After this I started slowing down. My average paced dropped during the whole 13.1 miles, but I finished with an average of 8:50 min/mile. Not too shabby. The course was a nice rolling up n' down with some good flats. I tried to pick up the pace in the last 3 miles, as was my plan, but I had nagging abdominal cramp that did not allow me to sustain a faster pace. I was to run faster for a bit, then slow down. There were aid stations at every mile which was a fantastic mental aid. I started drinking cola at mile 6 mostly for the change of fuel and the caffeine!! When I turned came thru the last intersection and saw the grounds ahead I picked up the pace up until the final turn. At this point I got a HUGE cramp in my left obligues and could not do my final sprint down the shoot. I kept running, though and finished standing and smiling. This was the first half that I ran the entire 13.1 without stopping. I felt mentally strong during the whole leg.

After chatting with a friend and chugging a Muscle Milk I called family and friends, ate some food and cheered on finishers. I was tired so decided to head back to Boston without checking the times or staying for the awards. This morning I woke up to various messages congratulating me on a second place age group finish. Holy crap!
I knew I had a good race, but truly did not think I was a contender for placing. I finished feeling that I did my best, raced strong, and hard.

Today I feel pretty darn good. I have some aches and stiffness, and am a bit tired. Overall great. Most importantly am feeling more confident about Vineman. And WOW I placed second in my age group. On a post race high training begins again tomorrow.

Over all time: 5:39:49 overall finish 138/505 Age group finish: 2/30 F3539 Swim: 300 41:38 T1 4:14 Bike: 215 2:55:48 T1 2:22 Run: 100 1:55:49

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pre-race jitter

My alarm will chime at 4:00 am tomorrow for Patriot 70.3. My swim wave goes off at 7:23 am. I have logged the miles in cold, snow, sleet, rain, ice, heat, dark and light, done the intervals, swam countless laps, swallowed my pride and embraced Masters swim. I have spent oogles of money on a new bike, gear, coaching, and food!. Vineman is my big race, of course. Its the one that will push my endurance limits. But Patriot is a chance for me to get a PR and see what speed I have in this little body!

I have race jitters tonight. But tomorrow once I dive in the water the jitters will evaporate and the fun will begin. Its another day of training. The difference is that I will have a timing chip around my ankle, a bib on my back, and a few thousand friends to keep me motivated.

Scars heal… glory fades
And all were left with are the memories made, oh yeah
Pain hurts, but only for a minute
Yeah life is short so go on and live it
Cause the chicks dig it”
-Chris Cagle,

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What a difference a year makes

One year ago I had just finished my second 70.3, Mooseman 2010. I was terrified the week before the race. Terrified that the mountain of a bike course would be my demise. The day came and it was monsoon like weather. Turns out I race pretty damn well in that weather. I improved my time despite a significantly more difficult bike course. The distance was still daunting. It was not until I finished Timberman 70.3 feeling that with a little more training I could do a full. The ironman bug had been planted. And it had bloomed.

Next week I will complete my fourth 70.3 distance race. I am looking at it as a time trial or sorts and just another training day! I am excited to test myself. Don't get me wrong-70.3 is still a long distance to race. I am not taking it lightly. But I am not scared. I know I can complete it and perhaps do well. We shall see! Goals: under 40 min swim(35 min??), under 3 hour ride, under 2 hour run (1:45??).

On Friday I did a mini race simulation: 1 mile swim, 20.15 (60 min) ride; 7.22 mile run (30 min). I was very pleased with how I felt on all legs, especially the swim. I started off really fast on the bike (over 20 mph), but slowed to 19. My legs felt great on the run. Both bike and run were hilly and I was able to surge up those hills. I have been pleased in training with how my legs feel after hilly rides. In my short bricks I've been running sub-8 min miles. I don't expect to run that pace in either race, but hope for sub 8:30's in my half.

The key will be to start off slow on all three. I have to remember that! Surge at the end Kristi. My game plan is a bit different for the half vs full (duh).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Taper, open water swims, o my!

“You just have to believe you belong. The rest will take care of itself. Of this, I have no doubt.” Selene Yeager.

My first triathlon of the season, Patriot Half Ironman is just under two week away. I feel more ready for it then I ever have for a 70.3. I am excited to race and test myself! It is a flat course with PR potential. Though I love me some hills, it will be nice not to have to climb a mountain this year! I am tapered and feeling rested. It is killing me a little *not* to go out and ride for 4-5 hours. I am being a smart triathlete and following my plan. I want to be well rested for Patriot and, well hopefully crush it! My 140.6 plan goes back into full swing two day following. The last thing I need is to over train in the last two months.

I have two open water swim under my belt for the 2011 season. Every year that I do my first open water swim I am terrified for the first two or three times out. Part of it is confidence, anxiety about drowning, anxiety that the Loc Ness Monster will get me! Don't laugh...he could be hiding out in Walden would be unsuspecting. This year, albeit slow (I had just done a brick and was tired from my week) I jumped in the pond and swam over. No freaking out, no panic attack, no breathing problems. I just sighted and swam across. The next time I improved my time by 5 minutes each way. Things are looking up!

There is a small part of me that does not think I "belong" in endurance racing. In my mind that overweight scared girl still exists. I don't belong in full body lycra on a $3,000 bike with who knows how much in gear. I don't belong at 70.3 and 140.6 races. I certainly should not expect to finish or contend for an age group finish. Not Kristi Paradis who can barely run to the tennis courts. BUT WAIT. I do belong. I worked my way up from a 10 min run to completing 2 Boston Marathons, 3 half Iron(wo)mans, multiple road races, and nearly 10 smaller course triathlons. All done on a heavy improperly fit road bike. So yes. I do belong. I have bigger and faster toys, am stronger, faster, and more confident. No, I won't win Vineman or Patriot. If I am lucky I may place well in Patriot. But I will finish both barring an unfortunate circumstances. And I will add one more thing to my long list of accomplishments. Because this is how I play. And because I can.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kristi the swimmer.???wHAT?

Something mighty happened tonight. I hopped in the pool at 7:00 pm after being up since 5:23, working 8 INSANE hours, a heavy lifting w/o and 30 min run, refueling no nap. My body immediately responded. I was streamlined and powerful. I am not sure that I was super fast, but not slow and efficient! We swam 2700 yards and much of it was IM. I even swam butterfly fairly well! huh. I felt like I could have swam more...maybe the full 2.4 miles. Our last two sets consisted of 12-50's with first 25 sprint second 25 recover. I was able to push myself to the point of muscle fatigue for most of the 12. Last set included hard-strong kick. I had enough humph to really push.

Dare I say it I am becoming a swimmer. I even smiled while in the pool.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Less than 3 months

Vineman is less than 3 months away. 11 weeks to be exact. WEEKS! Spring has finally sprung here in the Boston and we've even had warm days. Its been fantastic for riding and running.

I have feeling more and more comfortable on my bike as the days and weeks progress. I am so unbelievably in control on this bike. I spend about 75-80% of my time in my aero's and that time increases in good riding conditions! Today I averaged 18 mph in my 90 min interval ride and this was after 300 squats. My longest ride of the season is 220 minutes. The last time I did this we averaged 16.5 and I felt good on my run. I am feeling more and more confident that I will be able to average 17-19 mph on Vineman. Running continues to improve too! Dare I say it swimming as well.

The past week my rest day changed from Monday to Thursday. This meant that I had 9 days of tough training in a row. By my Tue evening swim my body was shot! The last thing I wanted to do was swim hard for 45 minutes. But I dragged my ass to the pool with my Masters swim team. The coach, who usually gives us lots of stroke surprised me with a Kristi Ironman workout (her title)! Of course I had to stay for the full 60 minutes and attempt to swim hard. I swam slower than I have been, but I finished the workout, all 2400 yards of it. My mantra for the night was "I am tough, I am hardcore, I WILL be an IRONMAN". The next morning I had a 75-15 brick planned. I slept like a baby the night before and woke up feeling ok. I rode like a machine and ran like the wind. The past two weeks I have gained valuable mental and physical strength. My mind and body are responding the way they are suppose to!

My fear continues to be how I will respond on race day. When it counts. Will I really be able to run 26.2 miles after a 2.4 swim and 112 ride? My mental game plan is to split the race into 6 parts: swim, T1, 56 ride loop 1, 56 ride loop 2, T2, 8 mile run loop 1, 8 mile run loop 2, and the final 8 mile run. I can do this. The visualization has started, especially on those longer rides on tired legs. I am getting more and more excited!

I will be an iron(wo)man.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Last week I became the proud owner of a Trek Speed Concept 7.0. I spent a little under $3,000 total including pedals and a fitting. The scrimping and saving over the last year is already worth every penny.

I have put about 100 miles on Speedy Gonzales (yup I named my bike) and I love her. I already love this bike more than I should love an object! I accelerate quickly and stop on a dime. She is light and fast, shifts like butter on a knife, and corners beautifully. Most importantly I now own and ride a bike that fits me perfectly. I will be spending 80-90% (maybe more) of my time riding and racing down in the aero bars. The shifters are on the aeros, as is standard for a time trial/triathlon bike. It presents a challenge to ride and shift in a new position. One that I greet with glee.

Friday New England had a taste of 60-70 degree weather and I was lucky enough to have the day off. I jumped on the opportunity to do my brick that day! I was scheduled for a 2 hour ride, but could have ridden for 6 hours! The day was windy, sunny, and warm. I headed out to one of my favorite routes in Needham and Dover. Thirty minutes into the ride my legs came alive, happy to be riding in warm weather. I went down in the aero's despite passing cars. I found a fun new road to ride on with little traffic and false flats. I started taking risks and being more ballsy. I spent much of the ride in the aero's and rode fast for an early season ride and a new bike. By the end of the ride I felt 80% comfortable on Speedy. I estimate that in two weeks Speedy and I will be one. And I will be fast. Faster that I have ever been. I spent 10 years riding on a bike that was too large for and fared well. I am excited to see how I will improve on a great bike.

Today's long run was awesome. I ran nearly 9 miles in 72 minutes. My lofty goal of complete the marathon portion in 4 hours may actually happen. Over the last few weeks I've been reminded why I train for and complete triathlons. I've entered a new level of training and racing. And I enter it with zeal. Bring it!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How triathlon saved my life...really

Lately I've been thinking a lot about how lucky I am. Lucky in a lot of ways, but lucky to be alive. And lucky that I have found an outlet and have turned my life around.

In the early 2000's I was still a closeted lesbian and incredibly depressed. Occasionally I used running to ward off evil thoughts, but followed a hard run with a glass or bottle of wine and a lot of crying. In the summer of 2001 my life hit rock bottom. Around the same time a close friend told me to see a therapist and I found the 2001 Tanqueray AIDS Ride from NY to Boston. I bought a rode bike and started therapy. I rode my heart out that summer and cried my heart out in therapy. By the end of the ride I was a new person. Ok so therapy helped a lot, BUT I found a way to deal with my emotions and frustrations. I had yet to unveil the true strong unstoppable Kristi.

I've had periods of fitness and destructive behavior, sometimes simultaneously, in these last ten years. The times when I regularly ran coincided with happier times. I knew this, but could not quite get meld training into my life.

In 2007 I made the decision to get back in shape and run the 2008 Boston Marathon. That following summer I did two sprint tri's and my first Olympic. It was this summer where I feel back in love with triathlon. It was also that summer that my heart was broken. This time, however, I swam, rode, and ran harder every time I felt the least bit sad. I started choosing tea over beer and a banana over a pie. Towards the end of that year there were hints of uber Kristi.

In 2009 I trained for a completed my first half Ironman, 70.3 miles, I unveiled my true self. I swam, rode, and ran out every last negative thought and emotion. I replaced negative with positive, despair with joy. When I needed to solve a problem or deal with an unruly patient, coworker, family member, friend, or roommate I would hop in the pool, my bike, or grab my shoes and just go. 9 times out of 10 I return a happy Kristi. I found self confidence that carries over into my work, friendships, romantic relationships, and family.

Sure I still drink every now and then and don't always eat impeccably. But I am healthy, happy, and prosperous. I am more patient and calm. I look to my days and future with glee. Even though my life is not perfect. I find perfection and imperfection with my training and racing. When I look back at the last decade I see crucial crossroads that could have sent me down a very dark scary road.

Above all triathlon and running unraveled a strong condfident person that had gotten lost. I was reminded that I can do anything I set my mind to. This year that will be a full ironman. Even if that means giving up beer, sleep, and cookies every now and then.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Challenges of training in Boston

I have reached the 6 months out of the big day! I can easily ride inside for two hours and can run for 80 minutes no problem.

The big news of the month is that I swam 2925 yards in 60 minutes, stopping only twice, and doing a 100 yard cool down. 3125 yards (thats 1.8 miles for those of you who don't know). My swimming has reached new levels. I feel stronger and am faster. More importantly I am more confident. I am certain that I can swim 2. 4 miles in 6 months. My lofty goal of completing it in 70 minutes may actually be a reality! I actually like (maybe even love) swimming.

Boston is covered-buried in snow. We have 5-6 feet snow banks and treacherous sidewalks at times. In one week I ran outside only once. I am biking on a trainer. Swimming in a pool. And largely running on a treadmill. When I run outside it is inconsistent and involves a lot of stopping. There are days when I don't want train because of the weather. I am grumpy because I am not spending enough time outside, breathing fresh air.

I love triathlon and love training. I love that way I feel after a hard workout. I love the accomplishments in training, that feeling I get when I reach a new milestone. I love what my training has done to my body. My muscles are toned and strong. I am fit and healthy. My resting heart rate is crazy low. I can sprint up stairs without thinking. I can sprint to get a bus with ease. I want these things back.

Winter is adding a challenge to my training, one I did not anticipate or plan for. I'd hope to ride and definitely run outside all winter. It never occurred to me that I would have to do treadmill runs, not in Boston. Extreme temperatures-bring it on. Dark early morning or late evening runs, rides, or swim-bring it sucker. Hill repeats and speed work-love it. Risking my life to run 45 minutes---undue stress. I know that the weather will soon change, the snow will melt, and the sun will shine once more. And soon I will obtain euphoria on my workouts.

For now I relish the good moments of training and those precious moments I can spend outside, training; the way I love.