Tuesday, December 18, 2012

In the fall of 2010 I embarked on my first 140.6 race. At the time I had never swam more than 1.2 miles, ran two marathons, and done several long distance rides. Never completed a race longer than 70.3 miles. At the time I pretty much hated lap swimming. I did not know how to do the butterfly and could barely swim backstroke. When I swam 2000 yards in one workout I got pretty excited.

Fast forward two years.

I am an Iron(wo)man, two more 70.3's done, sub 4-hr marathon, a handful of swimming races, and o yea...I LOVE to swim.

I am over a month post bike accident. It appears I have made it through without any lasting issues. Knee pain is almost gone and only residual muscle issues in my left sub-scap (serratus?!). I am regularly swimming 2500-3300 yards at swim practice and for the first time ever swam 3800 yards of stroke. WOWZA My swimming has made leaps and bounds in the last three years. And I hope it is going to make drastic improvements in the next 7 months. Today I average 1:50 on my 200's without trying too much.

Today will be a good test as swam this am and will do a 6 mile run early afternoon.

2012 has been a rough year. Work uncertainty has left me with dents in my self esteem that not even triathlon could fix. Having triathlon and all it encompasses allowed me to ride that road and emerge stronger. I will begin a new full time job Jan 7 that is geographically closer and significantly more financially stable. My armor is whole again and my confidence is on the incline again.

I am excited about my future. I am excited for 2013 triathlon season. Excited to push past what I think are my limits. To discover new things about myself.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I'm baaaackkkk.....

The past two weeks have been weird. The first week following the crash I was in a daze. I felt better every day, the headaches were gone, but I wasn't me. It was like I was depressed, but simultaneously ecstatic about being alive. I could not express emotion. I laughed, but it wasn't a deep emotional laugh. I worked, but my heart wasn't in it. I was scared, terrified really, but I couldn't cry, couldn't process. I have no memory of the accident so it was like I was processing a story. The more people I talked to the more freaked out I got. The more scared that I had a MI or a seizure. I hypothesized about all of the things that might be wrong with me. I know too much dammit. I drank more wine than I care to admit. I ate Chinese food. And baked goods.

Then I spoke with a clear headed colleague. She gets that I'm an athlete. That I need to train to maintain my sanity. She understands my desire to know the etiology of my fall. I think maybe she gets me more that I previously knew. She listened to my fears and offered to do a stress test on me. In a kinder gentler way she told me to calm the heck down and stop being a hypochondriac.

I cried. Kind of.

I got angry. Kind of.

I processed the best that my brain would allow.

I had four nights in a row of ten hours of sleep.

I went to yoga. The mantra that class was letting go. I let go. I cried a little in yoga. I let go. I left a new womyn. Almost back to me.

I rode for a hour very slowly with friends. I was scared, but I did it. I got back in the proverbial and literal saddle.

The last five days have been wonderful. Maybe the best I've had in months. I swam 2800 yards this morning. It wasn't fast, but it wasn't slow either. I left the pool smiling. I've laughed and smiled so hard. I've ran and swam and lifted. I am not afraid. I've stopped trying to determine why. It's JUST NOT WORTH IT. Something might be wrong with me and if it is, it will resurface again. If its not I will live my life. I have big things planned for 2013. Big things planned for the rest of my life. I love my life in all its pain, smiles, laughs, tears, fears, and joys.

Monday, November 5, 2012

5th life?

So a thing happened yesterday. I woke up early-ish on a gorgeous and cool Sunday. My friend canceled our hiking plans so I thought, hey I'll hop on my bike for a nice little ride. I ate a bit of oatmeal and banana, walked the Buttons, ate a 1/4 of a hummus samich and hopped on Speedy. I felt a bit sluggish, but I was also hungry and had sat all day yesterday. But I didn't care, the goal was time not speed or intensity, the sun was shining and it was a cool fall day and I was on my bike...its base training after all! I remember going through the rotary onto W. Rox Parkway and bearing left onto Newton Street. Then there is nothing. NOTHING until I woke up in Beth Israel Deaconess ER. At first I thought I was dreaming or watching a movie. Stuff started coming back. I remembered my name. And saw that I was wearing spandex. I remembered that I was riding earlier and that it was cold. I realized that this was real and that I was in the ER for some reason and that my head really really hurt. I alerted a nurse and got some Tyelenol. Then I remembered my parents phone number. Thank GOD they haven't changed it in 20 years! Stupidly I forgot to grab my ROAD ID from car, the one day I needed it. After some phone tag we got in contact with Jamie (my sister). Eventually, Pedro picked me up and transported me home. For some reason they had my gurney in the hall near the nurses station. I was watching all the super cute nurses and interacting with some staff.I was charming and tried to recruit to TE. For a while I couldn't remember where I worked. Slowly things came back. Today, I remember everything except the actual event thru "coming to" in the ER. I gave someone my name and DOB. I rode in an ambulance, had a CT scan, and an IV placed. No memory people. Nuthin. And this scares me. The brain can do weird things to protect us. It was needed elsewhere, maybe I went into protection mode. Who knows. The important thing is that I am relatively ok. I am scared about the memory loss. I am scared that I lost control of my bike for no apparent reason. Numerous riders have reassured me that I probably hit something (a stick, a rock, a bump) and over corrected. This could have thrown me enough to cause a fall, especially if I was in aero. I am scared but I refuse to freak out. I will get a physical, have my heart and blood checked. My brain is normal (well physically, we all know I'm not normal). As soon as anyone who is anyone is my life found out about this crash they came running to help. I've had phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages. I've been given TLC by some of my favorites. This means the world to me and I feel so very lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life. I have a gash on my left elbow, an abrasion on my left knee, some road rash on my left lateral hip, and some serious face abrasions. I am sore and stiff and achy Parts of my body hurt that have never hurt. But I am walking. And I am alive. I'm meant to be here for something else. Who the heck knows what that might be...I no longer guess at my destiny I just live it. And love it. As always I will heal and come back stronger and better. And live HARDER and more DEEPLY.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Let the games begin.

Yesterday marked Day 1 of Ironman Lake Placid training. The next two months will be base training. Less intense, but more intense than the last month. Strength and core building. Yoga. Short, sometimes fast runs (and by short I mean no longer than 7 miles). Short rides with some intervals. I start with Cambridge Masters on Tue. (YIKES!!) I will become good at the butterfly. And by good I mean better than I was. I will swim a faster 50 y in a swim meet. I will swim a fast 200 IM in a swim meet. (I know I know...I'm shocked about these too.) I will swim a faster swim leg in my 70.3. I will break 12 hours in IMLP. I will be stronger. Mentally, physically, emotionally. With greater endurance. I will be faster and more agile. These are my goals. I've been in a funk this year. It has been a tough year for a variety of reasons. The clouds, fog, and storm has lifted. I am focused again. I am feeling rested and excited to embark upon my 2013 journey. Good things are ahead athletically, personally, and professionally in 2013. I can feel it. When I'm focused good things happen. And darn it all....I AM FOCUSED.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wildfish 1 miler

I've been in a funk. A funk that started when I was laid off and has undulated between terrible and lingering. The last few weeks were terrible. Part of it was clearly that my professional life was uncertain, partly that I'm lonely, and partly who knows. For some reason it all became unbearable in the last few weeks. In typical Kristi fashion I kept it to myself. A week ago Friday I made a decision to kick myself back on track. I went on a 5 day cleanse: limited wheat, no dairy except yogurt, no alcohol, lots and lots of veggies, nuts, tofu, fruit, and water. I poured my heart into every workout even when I was feeling tired from work. I surrounded myself by friends. With each day I woke up happier and happier. By Saturday I was back to myself. I still feel a little lonely. I am SO dang tired of being single. (but that's for another day). But it's not suffocating. Today Becky, Laurie, Dave, Gretchen, Monica, Robin and I participated in Wildfish open water swim in Salem, MA. I did the one miler. The day was beautiful: low 70's, cool water, partly sunny, calm waters. We could not as for anything better!! It was a small race and well organized. I approached this race as a training day but also tried to push it a bit. In an effort to push my swimming skills I started in the front. I knew I would get passed and probably swam over. IMLP is a mass start and wanted to start prepping myself for this. hee hee. I did get kicked a bit, but swam on. I felt good and strong throughout. I pushed as I could. I passed a lot of people and even drafted a bit. I still cannot quite figure out how to regulate my swim speed to draft properly....something to work on. I added a bit of kick on the last .5 miles and again with each remaining buoy. I finished strong in 37:47. 50/98 overall...age group standing not yet available. Middle range...can I move up to upper middle next year......only time will tell. Not as fast as I would have liked (I was aiming for 30-35), but I did it and I had fun. For the first time during a swim race/leg I raced the swim. I pushed myself even when it hurt, I drafted, I maintained or picked up my perceived effort, and I picked people off. I am making baby steps with my swimming abilities and confidence each year. WOOT. I am so confident that I am going to join Cambridge Masters in Nov to boost my swimming speed, skill, and confidence. Two more 5k's, one 6 miler relay, RTB, and one century left.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lake Placid Ironman 2013

Well, its official: I am doing LPIM July 28, 2013! I am spending the remainder of my season staying fit and trying to get a little bit faster. The goal will be to improve my ironman time to 12:15 (maybe sub 12...I'll take 11:59:59!). This maybe a very lofty goal, but by now you all know how I roll. This year I will also properly recover: one full week off then a gradual return to non-triathlon activity. Official training will start in November. I am going to make huge attempts to continue with yoga throughout training. I am joining Cambridge Masters to further whip my swimming butt in shape (yikes!!!). I am excited as Lake Placid is so close to home increasing the chance of my very own cheering squad. AND I know 2-3 people who are racing. woo hoo Until then I enjoy the rest of the summer and fall.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Musselman 70.3

The past three months have been anything but stable. I have been laid off, started a new job, found myself in a very uncomfortable situation, quit my job, and now started a new one. All of this combined with the craziness of training, being a good friend, sister, and daughter, trying to date, and maintaining my role in TE led to training that was a bit sub-par. I went into this race knowing that it would not be my best. The goal was to have fun and try my hardest. And that I did. Musselman 70.3 is a destination race and has and entire weekend centered around it in the adorable town of Geneva, NY. Geneva is in the Finger Lakes, Lake Seneca being its lake. They have a micro-mussel race on Friday complete with costumes and big wheels, a sprint on Saturday, then the half on Sunday. Becky and I were in a "dorm" of Hobart and William Smith College that over looked Lake Seneca. The view was nothing but breathtaking. The house was filled with awesome people and I walked away with a new friends! Our day started at 5:15 am (a bit earlier for Becky) with coffee and breakfast. We rode over to the start as it was only ~3 miles from our "house". Water temperature the day prior was 77.2 so we'd both decided to forgo wetsuits! This made packing a bit easier. As it turns out the water was over 78 degrees and not wetsuit legal. This was the first time in my 12 triathlons that this was the case! The day was in the 70's at start time and overcast, storms threatening. The water was clearly choppy. We dove in at 7:15 am. I situated myself smack dab in the middle front this time. I was feeling confident in my swim and was worried that I would have to dodge womyn who were walking rather than swimming. The water was very shallow for ~500 or more yards! Even I could have walked had I wanted to. Immediately I felt the challenge of the swim and knew this was going to be tough. I was a rectangular course that led us into a channel where we swam another 750 yards. I kept hoping that the current/chop would be with us at some point, but it continued to restrict rather than aide forward momentum. I kept chugging along and appeared to be sighting on track! I felt strong through out despite the fact that my time was nearly 3 minutes slower than any in the past. And not once did I panic wit the rough water. O how far I have come! Up and out of the boat launch aided by volunteers to prevent slipping and stepping on mussels and onto Speedy (with brand new pink bar tape). The air temperature was increasing and it was more humid, so I decided to take it slow the first 10 miles. I felt good and was confident that I would have a good ride. At some point early on I saw Becky and we chatted for a bit before we parted to continue racing. Around mile 18 it began thundering, lightening, and down pouring. The rain was coming down so hard that it hurt my skin and it was difficult to see. This was a storm that I would have voluntarily left my house for! I was thankful for all the time spent riding in the rain. I fortunately had light glasses on so my eyes were protected. I maintained my speed and may actually have accelerated. I felt in control on my bike and my body! As the course went on I felt better and better and made a conscious decision to push it. The bike course was deceitfully difficult. There were lots of false flats with few fast long descents. There were a few short hard climbs. O and then there was the 3-4 miles section of "road" that was an old army road (no wider than a bike path) that was riddled with grass...yup grass! I chicked a lot of guys and got passed a fair amount too. I laughed in the rain and handled my bike like a pro. Back into transition, popped my Newton Distance U (pink!)and I was off. Legs felt ok and I maintained some good speed throughout. We ran up a short grassy area,through someones back yard I believe, ran up a long hill on loose wet gravel, and then there was the short and step descent on gravel! I felt good over all on the run until my calves started yelling at me. No hamstring pain this time though. After that fast step descent both calves cramped up and left me with L sided lower leg pain. I managed to stay on track but did not accelerate as I had initially planned. I passed a lot of people on the run, including lots of walkers. I walked through two or three aid stations but otherwise ran the entire 13.1. The finishing shoot seemed the the longest ever, but I saw Craig and his mom as I was rounding the last corner and that gave me the boost (along with the crowd) to ramp up and sprint to the finish! The volunteers and spectators were awesome. Residents were out there with cowbells, hoses and snacks for us. There were African drummers at the top of the steep gravel climb and a few random musicians throughout (maybe an accordion in a tunnel...was I hallucinating for that one?!?!) Kids and adults alike were at the aid stations with liquid, snacks, sponges, and ice. This race was like no other I've done before and challenged me in unexpected ways. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone! 20/53 (age group) 5:58:00 S: 91 0:43:58 T1: 02:05 B: 3:07:51 T2 02:03 R: 2:01:49

Monday, May 28, 2012

KeyBank VT City Marathon

This weekend marked my third marathon (4th if you count Vineman). Burlington, VT was a close to perfect place to race. The people were amazing, the scenery picture perfect, and the day as close to perfect as you can get at the end of May. Friday night after an insane day at work Lydia and I drove up to Colchester, VT. Becky, Lydia, Sinead and I rented this super cute cottage right on Lake Champlain. I nestled into bed and was lulled to sleep to the sound of waves crashing on the beach. I was so excited for the weekends events that I did not sleep well. Saturday involved a lot of relaxing, eating, and expo shopping! After an amazing family dinner and socializing we all went our separate ways to bed to rest up for the race. I managed to get a fairly decent nights sleep. My day started at 6 am with my normal coffee and half a bagel c PB n J, this time with lots of laughs! Craig drove us to the start and we meandered up to Battery Park to find a mass of runners and spectators and only a few port-a-potties! After standing in line, getting ready to race, we dropped my bag (turns out that was not the bag drop and my bag is currently MIA along with my TE jacket) and pushed our way to the start. Some how we managed to get into the 4:45 pace group area. After the crowd finally got moving we crossed the finish line. I did a lot of dodging and eventually at mile 3 or 4 found some space to run. Two miles into the run I decided that I would give it my all and really race this marathon. I would test my body and see what these little legs were made of. I knew I could run under 4 hours, but I really wanted to finish around 3:45. So why not try!?!? This is what I've been training for and its race day! So pushed I did. I ran those hills and flats and pushed the downhills. I saw my family around mile 10 which energized me! There was a huge downhill ~mile 11 or 12 which I really pushed. Mistake. The crowd was huge there as it was in the middle of town. When I took my first few steps on the flats my hamstrings started talking. At this point I was averaging 8:37 pace. I ran through the halfway point feeling pretty good! Chatted with a man who is running his 46 out of 50 marathons in so many states, next week he is doing one in Wyoming. SO cool. Miles 14 and 15 brought us back into town and up a HUGE hill. I was feeling pretty good and saw my family and Becky's so was able to push up the hill. But when I took a right hand turn into the neighborhoods my hamstrings announced that they'd had it for the day. I managed to maintain a sub 8:40 pace until 16 or 17 miles at which point I continued to slow. I had moments that I surged between my will and the crowds, but I had lost my momentum. I wanted to run faster but my legs would not allow it. The last part of the race was through little neighborhoods that were lined with block parties, hoses, and kids giving out water, oranges, Clif shots, and Popsicles. Everyone was absolutely amazing! The last 5 miles were on the bike path, largely void of spectators. That's when I needed a push. My pace really slowed and I relied on my mental ummph to push me towards "home". I continued to have some little surges, but my average pace kept dropping. Finally, the finish shoot came into view. I gave it my all in that last mile and down the shoot. I managed to finish in 3:55 n' change, keeping my goal of under 4 hours, but far from my 3:40 goal. Initially I was totally disappointed in myself. Did I push too hard in that first half, had I not could I have pushed hard second half and came closer to 3:40? Then I remembered that I did my last marathon in 4:42, and the 26.2 of my IM in 4:30. Both a HUGE PR. This was also the first marathon that I did not walk at all, also an improvement. And I tried, I gave it my all on Sunday and I have no regrets. a 3:55 marathon is something to be proud of. Baby steps. The remainder of the weekend was spent celebrating with awesome friends in a fantastic location. The VT City Marathon was an amazing course and very well run. I absolutely recommend it to anyone!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

30 days!

In about 30 days I will toe the line at my third marathon (4th if you count my IM!). Today I ran my first 18 miler since completing Vineman last July. This week was a recovery week so my legs were ready to go! Becky and I took off early-ish this morning and ran a nice hillyish route through Brookline, Newton, and Boston. It was a cool day and I was bad at drinking water. Though my watch reminded me to drink I ignored the beeps! This became apparent when I experienced a shooting oblique cramp around mile 15. STUPID ROOKIE error. I should know better, but hey better to happen now than on race day! Sometimes I think I don't need to follow the rules because I am an experienced athlete and pretty fit. The good news is that my legs felt great. And I am feeling pretty good 9 hours later. Granted, I have been relaxing all day, but I am pleased with my current physical state. My goal is still to complete the marathon in 3:40-3:45. I've been running my long runs at sub-9 min milers with the exception of today, and hey I felt like I was going to die. HA! My legs and body seem to feel better as I increase my mileage. Weird. This confirms that I am, in fact, and endurance athlete. My body falls into this awesome rhythm around min 5 with each long run. Its like I settle in to a comfy place on the couch. I love that part of endurance training and racing! Ten years ago this April I completed my first Boston Marathon. It's amazing to me how far I have come. I had not idea what I was doing, trained poorly, ate poorly, fueled and hydrated poorly. Yet somehow I made it to the finish line and came back for more. The second marathon I did (again Boston) I trained and ate smarter, finishing a smidge faster. Then I did an IM and everything changed. A marathon became and easy conquest. Something I could approach not to just finish but to finish faster. Something I wasn't scared of. It is my humble opinion that I am hugely smarter and will be faster this year. Unless something crazy happens...its 89 degrees, I get injured, or experience some weird GI issues, I should at least finish sub-4. I don't usually write about anything other than my training, but a huge life event has occurred in the last 10 days. I was laid off. Life has been pretty damn good for the last 3 years, no major life crisis, so really I was due for one. HA! The good thing is that I have a huge support system and a method for dealing with my stresses. For now I will train my little heart out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tick Tock and my o so sensitive swimming self esteem

Approximately two months until Vermont Marathon! I am getting so excited to race with my super awesome friends and have so many folks cheering me on! And in a location that was home for four years. I started thinking about how sloth-like I was in college. I went through some periods of pretending to be athletic, but man I as pudgy and ate and drank a lot! Now 16 years later I hope to run a Boston qualifying marathon. This season I am listening to my body even more than last year! I am finding it very difficult to fit my training in to the craziness that is my life this year. Most of the time I am doing it and shinning, but everything caught up with me a few weeks ago. I started dreading my workouts and feeling fatigued during even my short trainings. SO I skipped some workouts and took some ME time involving a delicious chocolate martini and burrito. The good news is that I have felt awesome in the last two weeks! I am up to a 14+ mile run and felt pretty darn good after it. The plan is to do a 15 miler this week. Actually, it was on the plan for today but I woke up with a bad head cold. BLAH. My hope is after spending a day on the couch I will be back to my old self! I participated in my first swim meet a few weeks ago. It was a crazy experience and I know there will be more to come. I felt like a fish in a fish bowl. I swam the 200 IM and 50 back. I got DQ'd on the IM but swam it in 3:35 n' change and :57:?? on the back, and a relay where I was coerced into doing back. Neither time was fantastic for most, but I was pretty darn proud of myself! Swimming continues to be a struggle for me. The slightest negative comment about my form can spiral out of control in my head and I suddenly think I swim like a dying fish. The night before my swim meet I made the mistake of looking at the critique of my swimming that our TE coach gave us. All of the filming was done early in the season and on Thur nights after having worked 12 hours. I looked and felt terrible during all of it and most Thur night swims. I have worked SO hard on my swimming form and endurance and am proud of my gains. I am also acutely aware that it is far from perfect, particularly when I get tired. After completely freaking out I took his advice to heart. In the last two weeks I spent time doing recommended drills and being more aware of my body position in the water. Last night at Masters swim I noticed a drastic difference in how I felt in the water and my speed. Maybe some day swimming will be easy for me. Until then I'll keep swimming. and running. and biking.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

19 days in....

Its Jan 19th and I am 19 days into official 2012 training. I am feeling good on my long runs, bricks, and 1-2/3 swims per week. My eating has been great since the holidays (ok I ate cake today, but its birthday week!). Longest run has been 8.2 miles in 70 minutes....and that was in sub 10 degree weather. I am ending some of my swim workouts with enough left to kick it up a notch. 2012 Race schedule as follows: Salem Black Cat 20 mile relay c Becky H, Burlington Marathon, Musselman 70.3, ?? Max Performance sprint, Reach the Beach. This year the goal is to get faster! I am working on building base this month and next with some speed work mixed in next month. I have been diligent with my training schedule for the last 25 days. WOOT. Endurance athletes are great at training, racing, eating regimens, sleeping regimens, and toys to make us go faster, be stronger, analyze our data, and keep us cool or warm. The thing most of us are bad at is rest. I've read dozens of articles on this athlete and that athlete preaching the importance of rest days. I always take my rest days and relish them. Rest is just as important as nutrition, speed and endurance workouts, and strength. Some might argue most important. The thing I am bad at is taking an unplanned rest day or skipping a workout. I feel guilty. My professional brain knows that I should listen to my body. The athlete in me wants me to push, do the workout because it will make me stronger or faster. WRONG. All day today I have felt exhausted and mildly congested. My allergies have been out of control lately, but I fear that I am fighting something. Despite getting 8 hours of solid sleep I have felt tired all day. SO I made an executive decision to skip my swim workout. This took 3 people convincing me that it was in fact OK for me to skip the swim. I know that it will in fact be better for me to skip it than push through it and find myself sick tomorrow morning. Tonight's plan: swim and social with my TE girls. Completed: salad with jerk chicken, kombucha, vitamin, ginger team, book, dog, blanket. Tomorrow is a planned rest day as my work schedule, and therefore my training schedule has now changed. I hope to wake up feeling awesome!