Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lake Placid Ironman 2013 Race Report

Things were different this time around. With Vineman I traveled to CA alone and raced alone. I had no one to calm my fears or to celebrate with until a few days later. At IMLP I traveled with a gaggle of friends. They were my secret weapon. In various ways the helped to calm my nerves and motivate me at exactly the right time. As you will soon find out I needed it.

Amy, Cort, Carole and I traveled up the Thur before the race. The drive was gorgeous and windy thru the back roads of VT and NY. Immediately upon entering Upper Jay I was awe struck by the beauty. Already I was excited to race here. The Navajo Lodge where we stayed was incredible. It was huge with all sorts of unique corners and knick knacks. And the kitchen was huge. Carole and I started the weekend off right with a short 45 min ride while Amy did her organizational thing. That night we drove into Lake Placid so that Carole could swim and I could run. I got butterflies driving through Athlete Village and a little teary eyed running through it. Never have I said hi to so many people on a 20 min run!!!

The next day Becky and Mona arrived. Friday was a rest day but filled with pre-race obligations. The anxiety set in when I registered. Thanx to Amy and the girls I felt better by the time I went to bed that night. I was scared of the swim start. Scared that I would get knocked in the head. Scared I would have a panic attack. Scared of the Keene descent. Scared I would bonk. Scared I would let down the 12 people who came to cheer me on. Travel 4-6 hours just for me. By the end of the night I was feeling better about the swim and confident in my training. No matter what happened I would enjoy the day. I put in the hours and was so fortunate to able to be there. Enjoy every minute.

Saturday was filled with the final pre-race obligations: gear and bike drop off, quick ride with my girls, and a swim in Mirror Lake. Hair cut, Henna application, nutrition prep for the race day all with the help of Amy. Everyone arrived and cooked an amazing dinner of grilled chicken, seitan, veggies, pasta, and salad. We had a big family dinner followed by a nice fire. It was the perfect way to end the night before Ironman. I slept reasonably well until 3:30 am.

And so the day began. Parking was easy and we took the shuttle for ~ 1 mile. Man did I feel like a goober doing that! I ran into my friend Vic at body marking. Always great to see a familiar face that morning. There were SOO SOOO many athletes and spectators. I added a few things to my bags, checked on Speedy and headed down to the water with Amy; eating my samich and coffee as we went. I was super nervous but also filled with confidence. Having Amy there helped calm my nerves tremendously. Around 6:10 I jumped in the water to acclimate and warm up; then found my place at the back of the 1:10-1:20 group over the far left. My plan was to stay left most of the way and perhaps work my way to the center. The Pros cannon went off then ours 10 minutes later. We all filed into the water. It was a smooth start. I was a bit anxious but was able to find my rhythm fairly quickly and did not get swam over. I felt pretty good in the water on the first loop. I proudly swam until my hand hit the bottom, hopped up and ran into the second loop and dove perfectly back into Mirror Lake. I took two perfect strokes and then BAM I get knocked in the head by some dude not paying attention. There was no excuse really. It was just he and I in that little section of water. I stopped and yelled and him as it rattled me a bit. But regained my composure. The second lap went well but I was getting cold by the end. Over all pleased, though slower than last 140.6. I blame the dude who clobbered me. I jumped out of the water got my little wetsuit stripped and headed into T1.

Let's talk about transitions in Ironman. As you enter transition there are a zillion volunteers telling you where to go. You grab your transition bag and head into the tent. One volunteer helps you change into appropriate gear and organize. I did not expect this and tried really hard not the laugh as my lady tried to help me with my socks and stuff my nutrition in my shirt. It was a pretty speedy transition considering the long distance between the water and transition. By the time we exited the water it had rained and was cool. Thank goodness for the rainbow arm warmers! I heard and saw all of my peeps as I exited out on the bike! Another boost!!

I took it easy on the first part of the bike. Partially to warm up and partially to pace myself. The course was crowded by not chaotic. I came to my first serious descent and then the infamous Keene descents. The road was a bit wet so I rode with caution. Within a mile I relaxed a bit and found my confidence, looked around at this AMAZING scenery, and killed it. I am still not sure how fast I was going 'cause I am having trouble uploading my data. Buuuut I am pretty sure I was close to 40 if not faster. I felt in complete control but was going fast! I was grinning from ear to ear at the bottom. The next 20 or so miles were false flats or flats. Up until the long hills I was averaging 19 mph. I have not done that all season. I was feeling fast and fantastic. At some point I dropped a Perform and ran out of water. This may have been the cause of future issues. Again, I paced myself on the hills until I hit the last one. Before rounding the corner you could hear the crowd. The hill was lined with spectators and riders. I downshifted and sped up the hill. I was in complete control and let the crowd and energy carry me up the hill and around the corner to the final climb before going into loop 2. I felt a little tight in the next ten miles but good by the time I hit the descends. Again, I rocked them. I got a boost when I saw my Amy in her aid station! I wanted to stop and kiss her, but there were hills to climb and a marathon to run! I slowed down a bit on this round of climbs, but rode solidly. Then, then I came to the final climb. Again, the crowd pushed me up the hill. I shifted and...and ...and I dropped by chain. I managed to unclip my right foot but keeled over to the left. I got a little bruised but was other wise ok. I got out of the way and got some encouragement from a spectating couple. The dude really wanted to help me, but didn't want me to be DQ'd. I took some deep breaths and got it back on the chainring! phew. I would have walked the final miles if I had to!!! He DID give me a little push up the hill. I think I lost about 5 minutes. I saw Carole and heard everyone else coming in on the bike. The crowd was amazing thru Athlete Village!

I hit the ground running and feeling fantastic! My legs felt weirdly good. I saw Mark coming down the hill heading out of town. He gave me a giant hug and exclaimed how cool it was to see me. I felt great running through town, then I took my first Clif Shot and immediately felt nauseous. I slowed a bit and switched over to water only, walking thru rest stops. Then it was time for Clif Shot #2. I could only get 1/2 down. CRAP. At this point I switched to water and pretzels, still walking only thru aid stations. Around mile 8 I started feeling really shitty. I was running out of energy and had 18 to miles to go. I thought of all my friends and family who were in Lake Placid just for me. I thought of Amy. Of Tootsie. Of every friend at home and around the US. Of every Marathon victim. Of all my patients who could not run. I pushed on. I walked. I jogged. I ran. I was strong up and over the hills back into Athlete Village. I saw Amy, Mona, and Carole right away. Everyone else was across the way. Immediately my spirits rose. I actually stopped and hugged them and pushed on. At this point I was feeling nauseous and low on energy. I could keep pretzles, Coke, and water down. Heading out of town I was feeling ok good as I could at this point. I wanted to throw up badly. But I would finish. I knew this. Even if I walked I would finish. It was starting to get dark. I did the good ole Ironman shuffle and somehow I made it back into town. I have never been happier to make that right hand turn over the bridge and up into Lake Placid Village. It started to rain and I am pretty sure I was crying at this point. The finishers circle was loud! I turned down to run by Mirror Lake one more time. Shady, Laurie, and Amy stayed behind to cheer me on. Thank GOD cause I needed every little bit of umph. There was music everywhere. People were crazy cheering, especially when they recognized that they'd seen me before and that I was finishing. I saw the couple that cheered me on when I dropped my chain. I found a little extra umph somewhere deep in my soul and was able to increase my speed in that last few miles. When I entered the finisher shoot I really did start crying. It was SO CRAZY LOUD. I was the only person in there at that very moment and I slowed my pace and took it all in. My arms were out by my side the whole time. "Kristi Paradis You are an Ironman". The sweetest six words.

I cannot thank Amy,Cort, Becky, Marcus, Laurie, Shady, John, Mona, Carole, Amy Wong and my parents for traveling to watch me race and be my support system for the weekend. My experience was so different than in Vineman for that very reason. It was amazing to know that they were somewhere on the course. They were crucial to me finishing IMLP. And words can't describe how wonderful it was to be taken care of after I finished. They legitimately dressed me at one point, bought me food and tea. Walking back and seeing everyone gathered welled up an indescribable emotion in me. If I had any hydration left I would have cried. Later that night most of us at more food and drank Jack Dor and sparkling wine (forgive me I can't remember the type) on the floor of the kitchen. I landed there and it was decided that this is where we should stay. That was one of the best tasting glasses of beer and wine I've had. Post Ironman with a group people that I love.

My official time was 13:27:47. This was not a PR for me, but I suppose it was for the course. In a way I am disappointed as I very much wanted to finish near 12 hours. BUT with all that happened on course and that day and in the last year I am truely proud of myself. My year of racing was funky. I did not place, I did not average faster in any discipline, with the exception of my Oly. But both big races were harder than any races I'd ever done. Rev3 for weather reasons and IMLP was a tough course and I was nauseous. It's a hard thing to rationalize to most people, the reasons why I am disappointed. Deep down I am proud, but this will be the fuel that starts the first in 2015. I'll be back to IMLP and I'll be back to long distance racing. But for now I am going to stick to Oly for 2014. I need a summer to play. To do things like trail races, hike, and maybe lay on the beach. I need to reboot my love for long course.

It has taken me a long time to write this for some reason. I wanted to process everything I was feeling and then...well I just got busy.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What a wild and strange trip its been...

Last July 29th I signed up for IMLP with gusto. I could barely afford the entry fee 'cause (as you may have recalled) I was only working part time as I'd just quit my job. I was confident that I could find something permanent and be in a good position to train. Things work out. They always do.

But before they did I experience tremendous periods of ups and downs. Nov 4th I went out for an easy ride and crashed, experiencing minor soft tissue injuries and a concussion. This was to be day 4 of my training. Not off to a good start. With some TLC from friends, family, and co-workers I managed to get through that OK with no lasting affects. It took me a long time before I could ride on my own. The hardest part was the fear of riding. I am not scared on a bike. I am strong, confident, and balanced. In fact it was not until the following April that I rode alone. And not until just this last week that I rode past the scene of the accident. Determination. Perseverance.

Then I quit a job, started a new 40 hr job that was to be awesome. I was laid off 5 weeks later, I was unemployed. Worked a bit at a SNF, then a day hab, then got hired full time at an out patient clinic. I started working full time just as my training was peaking. The 3 hardest weeks of my training. All while training for Ironman Lake Placid. It wasn't so bad working 24 hours during much of my training. Once I got a steady contract job things were OK. The hardest part about a rocky employment is the unsteady pay check. Triathlon training is expensive. Food is expensive. Gear is expensive. And you need to eat a lot when training for an Ironman. But somehow I managed. Friends fed me. I borrowed money. Unemployment finally came through. In the last 5 weeks I have had a steady paycheck. But with that came a sudden increase in hours worked and stress of a new job. Perserverance.

I met Amy in January. This is a huge up. It's, well it's amazing and wonderful...but I'll save that for another day. The point is that it was a huge change. For the first time, maybe ever, I had to work training around something other than me. It mattered if I was on a 3 hour run or needed to spend 4 non-consecutive hours training. But, she could not be more supportive about my triathlon training and addiction. (Lets all face is a bit of an addiction!) I have cold bottles of water, chocolate milk, and smoothies waiting for me after long workouts. Sometimes I even get dinner made for me. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy knowing there is someone who cares about me when I arrive home.

In March my Grandmother passed away. She was older and had dementia, so really it was for the best. But it was and still is very sad that she is no longer with us. She taught me to make pie and to always bring something when you visit a friend, amoung other things. She was kind, a good listener, a fantastic baker, and an even better eater. She always asked about my racing and told me how good and healthy I looked. I think she knew how happy triathlon makes me. She will be in my thoughts tomorrow.

The Marathon Bombings happened. No need to go on about this. But I will be racing for each every person who was affected and lost their lives. No matter how hard it gets out there on Sunday, I will remember that I am there. I am able to race. I will love every second. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to train and race. It is a gift. Every single day is a gift.

Without doubt I am a happier fuller person today July 24, 2013 than I was this time last year. A lot has happened, but it has changed me for the better. I am stronger. I know that I can get through periods of unemployment. I know that I can make any PT setting work, at least temporarily. I have swam, biked, and run longer and harder than I did two years ago. I am more confident. I have my confidence back. My self esteem was hiding last year. It is returning with vigor. I have a huge gaggle of friends that care about me. I am in love with an amazing womyn who cares about me. My life is frickin fantastic. I am ready for Ironman Lake Placid.

I bounce well. I know this. But the last year has proven that to me multiple times. Too many times, universe. I am heading to IMLP with a secret weapon this year. One that will make me unstoppable. More about that in the next few days. I am SOOOOOO excited to start this journey with Amy and Cort.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ashland Triathlon Olympic

At the suggestion of my coach I added a Oly to my pre-IM race schedule. I have not done an Oly Tri since 2009. The distance seem super short now with all my longer distance tri and running races under my belt. I was given permission to really race it and see what I was made of! And I had Speedy back so I was super excited to race on Sunday.

The Thur prior I ran an 18 miler at a faster pace on the same route I used last month. It was hilly and I felt really good the whole time. For the first time on my long runs I felt that I could have kept running at that pace. By Saturday I felt pretty recovered from the run.

The day started at 5 am with my usual large coffee and PB and banana. I slept well the night before and was feeling ready to race that day. There was not a cloud in the sky and it was in the high 50s. Perfect. There had been very little communication from the race director prior to the race so I was unsure when I was starting. The race started at 8 am so I wanted to give myself a good 90 minutes just in case. Turns out there were only two waves for the Oly and two for the sprint. I got in a very short swim warm up. The water felt nice, 72 degrees with a clear sky. The threw the Clydesdales in with all the womyn. This concerned me a bit 'cause I am little, but I managed to position myself well to avoid too much chaos. Big dudes really like to swim over me. I am strong enough now that I can keep going and it does not freak me out, but its annoying.

I started off nice and strong and rapidly progressed through my wave. I felt floaty and powerful in the water. I choose to go with the wetsuit for extra bouyancy. I managed to catch up to some of the men. The course was a counterclockwise oval shape (??). It was well marked until the last 500 yards or so. It was very difficulty to site the swim exit as it was just beyond a dock. Word on the street is that folks were swimming to the dock instead of making the hard right. I was fortunate enough to be able to follow a group of swimmers. Like good little doobey I swam until it was very shallow.

From the waters edge to Transition involved running up a .5 mile trail that was laden with rocks, roots, and mud. I had Crocs at the waters edge which allowed me to very cautiously run up the transition. All of this spelled disaster waiting to happen!! I was SUPER careful 'cause my luck I would twist my ankle. And that would have SUCKED this close to Ironman. Despite all of that my T1 was pretty fast! I slipped out of my wetsuit and hopped on Speedy. oooo how sweet it was to have her back.

The bike course was 26 miles. A walk in the park for me. 26 miles is my warm up these days. So I would ride HARD. It was hilly but nothing I couldn't do. The tricky part was pacing and nutrition on such a short course. I drank all of a PowerBar drink mix and had one caffeinated Clif Shot. I felt fantastic on the first loop of the course and averaged 20 mph. I slowed down a bit on the second, but still averaged around 18. There were some longish climbs, but nothing steep. And some killer descents. I've forgotten how good it feels to be down in aero. A few more rides on Speedy and I'll be 100% back on my TT riding form.

Quick T2 and off I went. Amy was voluntering near the finish line. I saw her heading out on the run. yeah! My legs were screaming a bit after that ride, but I felt good on the first mile of the run. The first 1.5 or so of the run shared the course with the bike. It was very crowded and many athletes were seemingly not conscious of other runners or riders. I pushed the pace a bit up and over the first two hills. I felt really good, but had to pee! whoops. It was only 6 miles but I wanted to be able to hydrate. Soooo I found a place in the woods around mile 4. phew. That was around the time that my legs decided they had had enough. My pace dropped up the last few hills, but was able to push the pace on the flats and the downhills. Part of that was pacing on the bike and early on the run. And that 18 miler three days prior. I finished strong in just over 1:57. I came in 6th in my AG. Over all I am pleased. I forgot how much fun this distance is. Long enough to feel a bit challenging, but short enough to be able to push it and not feel like toast at the end.

FIRMs Ashland tri was a super fun course. Challenging and beautiful. But it was poorly run. Race staff did not warn us about the trail run at any point during the days and hours before start time. It was unclear until moments before the start what the swim waves were. There were not clear signs to the swim start (it was hidden by trees). Transition was not clearly labeled. And there were apparently a few bike accidents involving cars. Also, the food at the end was terrible. Our options were hot dogs and salad. That's it. Amy and I ate at Whole Foods! So much better!! I am not sure that I would do another FIRM race.

There are 42 days left until Ironman Lake Placid. This week is a short 4 day recovery week, ending with a 100/7 brick. My next training block will have LP on in. yikes. I am feeling more and more ready every week. I am ready to have some free time on the weekends and S:B:R because I want to (fast or slow) and not 'cause I have to. I love Ironman training. I love the how my body changes. I love how my mind changes. How 18 miles on the run and 90 on the bike seems like nothing towards the end. I love the muscle burn. I love discovering how much I can push myself, my perseverance, determination, and tenacity. But I also love sitting in the sun on a Saturday afternoon with a fruity drink after doing an easy 20 miles with my girlfriend. Or hiking all day. I am ready to have variety back in my life. But I am also ready to have a great long weekend in Lake Placid, NY with my friends, family, and girl friend. I am ready to spend 12+ hours swimming, biking, and running with a whole lotta awesome people. I am ready to be surrounded by like minded folks. I am ready to kick some serious ass. Final KICK!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rev3 Quassy

A week before the race I started tracking the weather, as usual. A week before the race I got confirmation that I would have Speedy back for the race. A week before the race I had a rest week and was feeling awesome. All things were falling in place and I was getting excited to race Quassy 70.3. Well, not "race" it per instructions from my coach Will, at TriHard. I was to complete as a training day staying in my zones and not pushing to hard. The Thursday before the race the forecast was calling for high of 82 but I would not have my bike back. SIGH. I have done plenty of racing and training on Gladys Svetlana Ole Reliable before, but I was spoiled with Speedy for 2 years. AND this was going to be a tough course. I finally convinced myself to stop whining and just enjoy myself. I am damn lucky to be able to race. So I gave her a good cleaning and got her ready to race.

Amy and I drove down to Middlebury, CT after her first 5k in Concord, MA (which she rocked btw). That day was hot and I tried to avoid the sun both at the race and at the expo. The energy was good at the expo and I checked in without any issue. A good meal was had a Olive Garden and then a nice relaxing night in the hotel watching the Bruins and doing my nails. wait. Doing my nails? New race tradition of orange nails. It added a little fun to my routine and got some comments. I also had to put on my race number tattoos. A much easier ordeal than standing in line on race morning!!

The day started at 5 am with my usual coffee and pb n J. Bike check in was Sat so I had only my pack to lug to the race site. AND we were lucky enough to get parking right near transition. So far the race day was going well. My race wave went off at 7:35 but race started at 6 something so I only had a few minutes in transition. Enough time to pump my tires and organize. The water in Lake Quassapaug was 72 degrees and the air temp close to 70 at the start of the race. There was not a cloud in the sky for most of the morning. It was an on beach start and I positioned myself at the back. I'd only been in open water twice this season so was feeling a bit anxious about it. It took me a long time to warm up, but once I did I felt great in the water. It was a triangular clockwise course. Coming across the lake we swam into the sun with zero visibility! That was fun. I basically sighted the swimmers in front of me. I finished strong and ran up to my bike. Quick transition and off I went.

I was careful to pace myself as I knew there was 4,000 feet of climbing and it was getting hot. I felt great on the hills and even pushed myself a little, careful not to over due it. Most of the ride the sun was beating down on my back. I handled the bottle exchanges like a pro, but still cannot pee on the bike. DARN. There were some very tough climbs, great flats, and killer downhills. It was a gorgeous course riding by farm after farm with amazing views of the mountains (maybe NY??). I was psyched at how well I descended and the energy I felt during the bike. Some of the descends where so fast I was grinning ear to ear and may have let of our "yippee". I passed many a race on fancy TT bikes with fancy aero wheels and aero helmets. It reminded me that it is very much the person behind the bike that counts the most. Sure all that fancy equipment helps but you also have to be strong! I got off the bike feeling great. Legs were ready to go!!

At this point it was about noon and the hottest part of the day. I felt fantastic in the first three miles and then dizziness and nausea hit me like a brick. I tried to run it off but was eventually forced to walk. It was so bad at one point I actually considered dropping out. I thought about all the people who lost limbs in the Marathon Bombings and who might never get to run. I thought about the lives lost that day. I thought about my Grammy Davis who we lost this year. I kept walking, running when I could. Taking small sips of gatorade, Coke, or water and eating pretzels. I started feeling a little better and was able to run most of the second half of the run. In the last mile of the course the was a half mile ascent. I started running but lost gas. My fueling had been nill on the run because of the nausea. I started bargining with myself: run to that tree and walk 10 steps. I got myself over the hill and the finishing shoot was close by. As I turned the corner I saw the park and heard the announcer. I ramped up my pace. As I made the left turn into the park I sprinted in.

I haven't walked a portion of a race in over two years. This was my worst 70.3 time ever. Looking at the data alone I am disappointed. But I still averaged 16 mph on the bike and 11 min miles on the run, with walking. My swim time was OK but not faster than seasons past. I am not sure I have ever felt this terrible during a triathlon. I have never been naseous or dizzy during a race. But I am most proud of this race in so many ways. I kept going and persevered through the heat. O and did I mention that my allergies were out of control and I started my period three days prior? I learned a lot about myself yesterday. I can finish a race in extreme heat. I need to work on how to deal with extreme heat. I love hilly courses (I may have known that already). I can do anything was confirmed. I will take that with me to IMLP. Speedy is in Boston and I'll finish my season with her.

Rev3 puts on a great race. Quassy was an amazing and challenging course. I will absolutely do the race again. It was wonderful having Amy there to cheer me on and be at the finish line. I cannot articulate how wonderful it is to not be at these races alone. Today I am mostly recovered from the heat exhaustion but battling allergies. I am feeling better as the day progresses. I look forward to the remainder of my training and next race: Ashland Olympic. ROAR.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Be Possible

It was July 2001 when I completed my first endurance event: Tanqueray AIDS ride NY-->Boston. We rode over 250 miles in three days. It was the first time I'd ridden a 100 miles. First time I'd done that many miles in so few days. I was hooked immediately. I loved how I was challenged and how my body responded. The theme for these rides was IMpossible. I've carried that with me all these years. The next year I ran my first marathon and vowed to never do it again. I did my first sprint triathlon two years and later and swore I'd never do an Ironman.

Next week I will do my 6th 70.3, Rev3 Quassy. I signed up for this event 'cause it would be a good prep for Lake Placid. People say if you can do this you can do LP. It will make LP seem easy, they say. This week I've been reviewing the course profiles. I knew it was going to be tough, but forgot just HOW tough. I've been in the time. Done the hills. Done the work in the gym. Done the time on the trainer. The laps. I'm ready. Just how ready....not sure.

I am fearful that I won't be as successful as I'd hoped. Not as fast. Not climb as efficient. The voice inside my head tells me its a training day. BUT the other voice tells me that I must be awesome. I must PR. It's unlikely for that to occur. It is the hilliest course that I have completed. (I think...Mooseman could be up there). The logical Kristi will win and I'll approach it as a training day. I'll be happy no matter how I do.

GOALS: Swim 38 minutes, Bike 3:30, Run: 1:45. The plan is to push the swim, go out a little harder than I normally do. Pace myself on the bike, work the hills like a training session: hard but controlled, push the flats and the descents. Work on my descending. Pace myself on the run and get a negative split. Be smart with nutrition. O and have fun! I should have Speedy back which will likely ramp my mph on the bike significantly. I've been averaging 16 on my long rides on Ole Reliable. I suspect that would have translated to over 17 on Speedy. Practice Race.

I have been feeling really great on my workouts. I ended the training block on a good note. Longest run so far: 20 miles, longest brick 85/7, longest swim 70 minutes (3350 yards), longest open water swim (and only...its been cold!) 1.28 miles. I felt strong in the water and strong on the my brick to end the week. I have been feeling faster and stronger towards the middle to end of my workouts. I feel my endurance and fitness improving weekly.

I have been fatigued all week. But I finally woke up today feeling rested. I had a good recovery swim last night. By Monday I'll be ready to start challenging myself again. I am excited to have a weekend free of huge plans. Free of an alarm clock. But I am looking forward to that regimen next week. To pushing myself beyond what I thought was possible. Seeing what I can do on this course.

Monday, May 6, 2013


Time check: One month til Rev3 Quassy and 3 months til IMLP. This is when time goes by so so quickly. This is the fun part. The part when it gets really hard, but the weather is good and I have buddies to train with. This is when all the months of riding on my trainer in the pain cave, countless laps in the pool, cold snowy runs, hours in the gym, and cold rides pay off. This is when I have to force myself to do that ride the day following a long brick, but when I feel surprisingly good on it. This is the fun part.

I've been out on the bike for a month or so now. April ended well. I made some excellent progress with endurance and speed. But I never felt great on my bricks. It was cold. It was windy. It was hard. It was hard to jump on the bike alone, when it was cold and all my friends were riding later. When Amy was snuggled in bed with Tootsie. It was hard riding thru the wind. But I did it. I ended the month with a 70/4 brick. I ended with a 16 mile run. Both killed me a little, but made me stronger. I started feeling a bit of progress each week. I recovered faster; both after workouts and within a workout. I could feel myself getting stronger.

I've completed my first week of the May block and am feeling awesome. My 16 mile run was less hard and a smidge faster even though I did a hillier course. This past Saturday I did a 70/5 brick on a very hilly course. Parts of it were really tough, but I ended feeling really strong! I paced myself and it payed off. I averaged 16 mph on the bike and 8:53 in the second half of the run, averaging a little over 9's on the run. I'd like to be faster on both, but this is progress and it is only May. O and did I mention that Speedy is in the hospital. We found a defect in her chainstay. So I am riding Ole Reliable the Giant rode bike. She is over 10 years old and a heck of a lot heavier than Speedy. Yesterdays workouts were tough. I felt tired, but my body performed. Today still a bit fatigued, but I killed my 7 mile run. I ran mostly trail tonight. Parts of it felt hard, but that hard that means your working hard. My legs were springy. I pushed hard on the hills and felt my lungs burn. I felt like I was flying at times. I felt like could have run forever in the late day sunshine. No fatigue on run and feeling good tonight!

I am being very careful with my diet. Clean. One (only one) beer per week and one (only one) cheat meal per week. It's game time. I want to be a clean mean racing machine. I perform better when I am a smidge leaner. I feel better when I am eating super healthy.

I feel the progress. Training is paying off. I am excited to see what happens in the next two weeks. I will end the month with a 90/7 brick and a 20 mile run. And then eat a pizza and a beer!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

step by step, stroke by stroke I am getting stronger and faster

Today is April 14, 2013. Less than two months til Quassy 70.3 and 3.5 months til IMLP. My work outs are getting longer, bricks have started, long endurance swims have started, and I am up to 16 miles on the run. I am feeling incremental changes in my speed and strength each week.

SWIM: This week I swam 50 minutes without stopping after a 300 yd warm up. I swam 2600 yds and averaged 1:54 min/100 yd. This is not crazy fast but is 8 sec faster pace than last week. My goal is to swim the 2.4 in 1:15 hours or faster. This means decreasing my avg pace/100 yd to 1:46 or below. I think I can do this, but it will take some work. I felt stronger and smoother this week than last.

BIKE: Spring is finally springing and I've been out on the bike four times. For the first time last week I rode on my own post-concussion inducing accident. It was windy and cold and I was terrified. I kept my focus and kept breathing until I relaxed. I managed to find my confidence and get into aero a few times IN THE WIND! By the end of the 46 mile ride my mojo was 75% back. The rest returned on my two rides this weekend. If I can ride in that wind I can ride in anything!! It is amazing how much that accident rattled my nerves and confidence on the bike. I am averaging 16 mph. This is crazy slow for me, but its April and it has been crazy windy and cold!

RUN: This week I will do a 16 mile run. Last week I avg a little over a 9 min/mile for the 14. I am hoping to do the marathon in sub 9's. This week I felt stronger on my run and worked hard to have a negative split. I achieved this. It's amazing what a little water and Clif Shot will do.

Nutrition: I am not drinking enough on the bike. I did better today, but only had two bottles and did not have my wallet with me. stupid. I am also not eating enough. I did not feel hungry. I felt dehydrated towards the end and low on energy. Will has given me a very clear nutrition plan, but I did not follow it close enough. I must be better at this next week. I have also switched to Bonk Breakers and I am wondering if they are not giving me enough accessible energy. I will try again next week making sure to consume enough calories, then make changes as needed; consulting with Will of course.

Recovery I am foam olling and using The Stick like its going out of style. I stretch. For the first time I did fire cupping after my brick last weekend. I actually think it helped with recovery!! It was really intense, however, we did it a few hours after I finished. I think we need to try in a bit later this time. I am not working full time which is glorious for recovery! So many naps.

All in all things are going well. I am dating an amazing womyn. She gets my triathlon addiction and supports in every way possible. I am one lucky lady. I am working again, about 30 hours per week. I had an interview last week that looks quite promising! I am pleased with my progressions. Super duper crazy happy.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Month one done!

The month of January has come and gone. I have four solid weeks of training and one amazing recovery week in the bank. I feel like I made great strides in my fitness level in January despite starting a new job, re-starting two classes and adjusting to a new schedule. O yea, and I have been more social than ever. OYE. I have changed a few things this year on my journey to Ironman. Second time around, bigger goals, more tools, and that much more experience.

New things in 2013 that I *LOVE*:

1. I am in love with my new coach at TriHard, Will Kourosis. I love the training plan and all that encompasses it. The nutrition advice is more acute than in years past. I've been instructed to do a mental exercise every night. AND I get a rest week. REST WEEK people! I was allowed to do 3-4 workouts the whole week. (I know crazy, right?) I also got to pick what days to do them on. I felt a little off kilter on swim today, but I also had not been in the water in a week and worked 50 hours this week. I think I have a pretty strong mental game, but can't wait to see how this changes with the addition of a focus specific exercise. It has already helped with the meditation part of yoga. I am not longer making my grocery list at the end of class. HA! And volume is clearly going to be larger, it already is.

2. Another change this years rode to Ironman is my commitment to having a massage at least every two months, every month if I need it. I am thinking it will be at the end of my rest week. Today was the third time I saw the same therapist at JP Massage. He is getting to know all my tight and problem areas. He found spots today I did not know where tight: pec major/minor, some weird spot on my TL spine, and released some radial nerve tension. O and I had my psoas muscle worked on the first time. THAT was weird and kinda awesome! I really think this will be a great supplement to my training down the line when I'm really training hard.

3. Cambridge Masters. I have more swim endurance in January than I did same time last year and same time two years ago for sure.

4. I know whats coming. I got my Feb training plan today. Volume (therefore time) increases significantly over the next 30 days. I remember the first month I received with high volume in 2011 sent me into panic mode. How the heck am I going to do all of that AND work AND maintain a social life..o and I need to sleep and eat too?! This year I look mostly at one week at a time. I'll get it done. Somehow. And that somehow will make be stronger and will help me when I am tired around mile 80 of the bike and mile 18 or the run. If I can do a 12 mile run at 4 am or after working 8 hours then I can do it on race day with a good nights sleep and rested legs. If I can swim for an hour after running 12 miles and working 8 hours, then on race--->look out. One day at a time, one arm in front of the other, one pedal stroke at a time, then one foot in front of the other. All with a giant smile on my face. 'cause I am one lucky womyn.

5. YOGA. I am making a public statement that I intend to do home yoga once a week. I am ordering a DVD in the next weeks and will complete it. My hips will thank me in the coming months.

I am feeling good and super excited to start pushing myself harder. I am crazy excited to start riding outside and hope I am able to do so SOON. We've had some warm days, but they have not fallen on days that I've been riding. I know all these hours in my dark basement on my trainer will make me stronger. I tell myself that nearing the end of those longer workouts in the Pain Cave. Big thanx to Mary Workman Eggers who I stole this term from. It is totally just that---darkness, me and my trainer, pop or techno blasting my ears! I am focused in a way that I was not two years ago. Two years ago I was worried about finishing the distance. I know I can do 140.6 miles on my own power. It is a matter of how fast. What will I discover about Kristi Lynne Paradis in these next 6 months. Only time will tell.

I am ridiculously happy right now with my life. It's amazing what can happen when I focus. Is it a coincidence that its happening in the same year as training for IMLP. My last amazing year came in 2011 when I did Vineman 140.6. The drive and focus correlate not only to triathlon but also to my "other life". My confidence is amazing right now. Work is going well. Friends, family, etc are out of this world good. If January is any indication of the year to come its going to be a good one!

Friday, January 18, 2013

a little help from my crazy friends

I do triathlon for a lot of reasons. Many are very selfish. I've talked about those before. I want to be stronger, faster, fitter, leaner. (all incredibly selfish). Though selfish, I think they make me a better person (not the stronger, faster, fitter reasons.. the calmer Zen reasons). Better adept at able to withstand the stresses of my little life in Boston, MA. Be a better physical therapist assistant, teaching assistant, friend, sister, daughter, and lover (god willing!). I make better decisions. I hope that I contribute to society in a more thoughtful way. All this because of triathlon you ask? Yea I believe it is. Triathlon calms me and allows me to gain perspective more than any other thing I know.

The other ginormous reason I do triathlon is the for all of the amazing personal connections, friends, and acquaintances. This was not part of the plan when I set out on my triathlon journey. I figured I'd make a few friends, maybe meet a cute lesbian and live happily ever after. Instead, on Jan 1, 2009 when I joined Team EnVision it changed my life forever. I have made wonderful friends and met the most amazing people. They have taught me patience, shown courage when tackling open water for the first time or riding on a new bike with clipless pedals for the very first time. They encouraged me to do my first Ironman and celebrated when I did. They train in the snow, rain, cold, and heat with me. They make me laugh. They provide that little extra push when I need it the most. This will be my fifth year on TE and I cannot imagine my life without these ladies.

This past Wednesday I did a 6 mile run after working 4 hours, then teaching for another 3.5 hours. It was the last day of my workout week before a rest week. I was exhausted. The driving had been terrible. My patient load has been not so good. It was my job to run the swim practice this week as our coach would not be there. Though I love this TE and these women I have to be "on" as I am a leader. After a long day at work the last thing I want to do is be "on". I got to the pool and parked and just made in to the pool and was inundated by my team. Folks were inpatient to hop in the pool and it was up to me to provide the workout. It took every part of me not be inpatient and snippy. I answered questions like a good doobie and leader should. My workout was terrible. I had nothing left to give. Though I got some encouragement from Laurie and Edith I left the pool feeling rather deflated. But then I watched the team swimming the last bit of practice. I watched the laughter and banter between two new swimmers. I watched two experienced and fast swimmers complete sprints. I could not help but smile at the diverse group of womyn that were assembled in the pool that Wednesday night. I arrived home happy and re-energized.

I have met a few pro triathletes, virtually chatted with amazing men and womyn across the world with which we have one thing in common: the love of this sport. We all find a reason to get up in the early hours of the morning, workout on our lunch, or workout after work...sometimes all three, because we have that drive. We all have different fuels for that drive. Some days I forget why I do it. But Team EnVision and all my "FB triathlon friends" remind me why on a daily basis. And for that I thank you. Some of you many never know how much you influence my life. How a quote you post can get me through a workout. You are all badass and I am proud of each every one of you.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hey there 2013

The year ended with an athletic BANG! I participated in Miles for Marly. A fundraising event organized by CMSC (100x100). My goal was to swim 50-60 including a 500 yard warm-up. I did it, 6000 yards total! I kept pace and actually got faster towards the middle/end. WOOT. Over all I felt fantastic during the workout. It was an amazing environment. At this time pre-Vineman I had not swam more than 3,000 yards so I am way ahead of schedule and really do think I will improve my swim time this year!

My training with Tri Hard started yesterday. This week is test week, to establish my zones and baseline. This meant I would also have to do a bike test after swimming 6,000 yards. I came home after the event, fueled rested and did the test. I felt weirdly good. Today I went for an amazing 5.5 mile run. It's been a long time since I've run in the day light and forgotten how motivating the sunshine can be. I sang out loud, waved to my fellow runners and riders, glided through the snow, and bounded over snow piles. Something is clicking in my body again and I love every second of it. My workouts are not easy, by any means, but they are hard in a good-challenging way. I have regained some fitness and lost some of that early fall weight. I feel 100% ready to start my Ironman training. And I truly believe my sub-12 goal is attainable.

As I reflect back on this year most of my memories are of disappointment and challenge. I lost my job, quit another, got blown off by a girl, did not achieve athletic success as I'd hoped, I crashed my bike suffering a concussion with memory loss, and struggled financially for much of the year. Not to mention all of the disaster and tragedies that happened, far too many. It has been a long time since I'd had such a trying year. The big difference this time around is that I now have an amazing network of people who helped me get through this year. Team EnVision and all of its beautiful members are a huge part of that. In one way or another all of them, whether they knew it or not, assisted in getting me through this year. Some played a deeper role than others, some simply served as training partners that allowed me to not think for a period. I made new TE friends, as I do every year. Friendships got deeper. My non-tri friends continued to support me when I needed it most. My family was there for me. I asked for help instead of struggling on my own. My best friends got married. I found a new promising job that is local. I dated more. Some of those dates were crappy. Some ended before I wanted them too. Right now I have a budding something with someone. Someone with whom I feel my walls coming down around (those 10 ft tall steel walls 10 miles thick). Someone with whom I have already had a relationship discussion, who actually likes to talk about things! Who knows where this will lead. She may simply become a good friend, but maybe something more. The good news is that I am feeling again, more than I have in 4 years.

I have found my mojo and am back to the Kristi that was prior to getting laid off. The confident happy Kristi. I am, of course, stronger and wiser because of all of this. I would not undo any of it. I am smiling and laughing more and deeper. 2013 is going to be a good year. I can feel in all of my cells.