Category Archives: Rev3

Time for some house arrest

As usual, I am reporting in with a crazy-outta-control-post about my life at the moment. The last few months were quite certainly a blast, but am I ever glad they’re over! I made a map of my travel as of late, with the red heart being where home is (although I think my heart is elsewhere most of the time). After looking at this map, I am not quite sure how I survived these last several weeks. People who travel a lot for work: you have my sympathy.

August brought me some travelage to Colorado, where I paced my friend Andrea in the Leadville 100 (and also got altitude sickness) and then hung out with Baberaham in his soon-to-be-new-city of Fort Collins. That was a nice and relaxing trip, minus the puking at 11oooft. Once I got back, my parents drove to St Louis to visit and brought their dog, and we enjoyed a nice quiet weekend in St Louis.

September started with a quick trip to Michigan for my cousin’s wedding. While I was in the mitten, I recruited my dad to tag along to help volunteer at the Rev3 Cedar Point race on Sunday. The wedding was a blast, and Sunday was a huge Rev3 party. I was the volunteer coordinator for the wetsuit strippers and the run special needs bags. Although helping out at races is way more difficult than actually doing the race itself, I always have such a blast and come back feeling like I’ve accomplished something amazing.

Special thanks to the wetsuit stripping extraordinaires from Lifestyle Fitness in metro-Detroit!

After Cedar Point, I had a few days before leaving on an extended work trip, with a quick detour to hang out with some of my Mega Tough teammies in northern California. Unfortunately, the cat I adopted in May got seriously ill the night before I was supposed to leave, and I had to take him to the ER. I missed my flight because I was carting him around STL for second opinions and echocardiograms and EKGs, to find out my poor lil’ guy has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart). Had this happened 24hrs later, I would have been gone and my cat lady would have found him dead on my living room floor. I was relieved to find out that heart disease in cats is treatable, but I was stressed to the max and my bank accounts were depleted. So, if anyone is interested in adopting a special-needs cat, let me know. Jazzy is super cool, and his meds are getting ironed out… he needs pills twice a day but hopefully won’t need anymore ER visits again.

How can you say no to this cute face?

Eventually, thanks to some really truly amazing people who helped me out with Jasper, I did get to leave for California and met up with my girls as our race was starting in San Francisco. The plan was to race the Ragnar Relay Napa Valley as an ultra team. The execution of such plan failed, as we were pummeled one after the other with trials and tribulations, eventually ending in us pulling the plug after each of us completed our first of three legs. We chalked it up to our fun levels (which were negative from the beginning) and our safety (which was terrorist threat level RED), and we cruised back to Berkeley for some real sleep, real running, and real girl-time fun. I was disappointed with this Ragnar, for a lot of different reasons, because we’ve always had so much fun and success at these events. Oh, well- guess its time for our Mega Tough ladies to take our running shoes elsewhere (trail relay, anyone?).

On Saturday, we slept in and then headed to Mount Tam for some seriously awesome trail time. Aside from rolling my ankle really bad after about 2hrs, I had an absolute blast and we got the much needed girl bonding time that we were not getting in the Ragnar van. And, we got to wear our super-rad shirts that Margot made for us. Score!

Bringing MHz to Napa Valley

After my quick 24ish hours in NoCal, I headed to San Diego for a conference, and then hung out at UCSD in LaJolla for a few days learning some techniques for my research. It was fun and educational, and I am supergeeked about this collaboration!
But my trip didn’t end there. After San Diego, I flew to Marquette and Baberaham picked me up. Some of our grad school friends were getting married in Wausau, so I stayed in Houghton for a day or two and then we drove with friends to the Land of Beer and Cheese for one of the best weddings of the decade.

I was glad to finally head home after so much traveling and stress, mostly because I wanted to see my kitty and just have some downtime. Fortunately, while I was gone, I have some super-excellent-friends that took care of my special-needs guy and gave him so much attention. I don’t know what I’d do without them.
Downtime didn’t really happen, although I got a nice long ride in on my Scott Plasma before I put it up for sale. About a week later, I headed to Anderson, South Carolina for Rev3‘s last race of the season. I was helping with the run course, and my job on race day was making sure that the Rev3 HalfRev run course was solid and safe. There’s lots I’ve learned from triathlon racing about pacing, nutrition, and tapering, but I still have lots to learn about triathlon staffing. My nutrition for race day included potato chips and candy bars around 4pm, which is terrible because I had gone two weeks without any processed food. Oh, well. A calorie is a calorie.
 
After I got back from South Carolina, Baberaham put me on house arrest, and I am super geeked to not be traveling again until at least Thanksgiving (maybe Christmas?). I’m also in the process of trying to find a new place to live that has cheaper rent so I can save up some money for our wedding next fall.
I am so geeked to be in STL for a while. Last night, I enjoyed some cyclocross at Queeny Park, and both Baberaham and my TMT girl, Jess, are coming to spend some time here (Jess is doing the Rock and Roll Half Marathon next weekend).
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Revolutionize the West Coast

Wanna do an awesome race on the west coast? Rev3, my favorite race series in the universe, is hosting a HalfRev triathlon in and around the beautiful and superfun city of Portland.

I love the Northwest, especially Portland. When I was in grad school in Montana, my flatmate and I drove from Bozeman to Portland for a weekend away and to attend the Portland Brewer’s Fest. It was on the waterfront, it was before I was following a gluten free diet, and it was a good ol’ time. Portland it a very unique city. The parks are great, and the botanical and Japanese gardens are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Plus the culture is just so eclectic and the town is pretty darn hip.

If you live in the Northwest, this is a serious must-do race. If you don’t, you should look into traveling out there for it! July in the Northwest is gorgeous. Check out tickets through Southwest Airlines (cheap bike charge!) and Alaska Air (supah cheap baggage fees here too!).


See you there!

Recap: 2010 "Sophomore" Season

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that my 2010 season is wrapped up.  I’ve even had two weeks of my post-season do-whatever-I-want awesomeness, [which really hasn’t been that awesome].

Racing this year has been a blast! In my second season as a triathlete, I raced more and improved from last year. And, I felt strong in the run of practically every race, which made me happy. I set some lofty goals at the beginning of the season, and although I didn’t make them all, I’m happy with the level I’ve risen.

Anyway, it’s time to reflect on what racing in 2010 brought me:

  • Two more marathons are checked off my 50×50 list (Utah and Michigan)- I BQ’d in both of these, too. Although I didn’t reach one of my goals (another marathon PR), I am still incredibly satisfied with where my run has made it. In fact, although I didn’t PR in the open marathon, I broke my marathon PR in the 140.6 distance by over 30 minutes. And, I also shaved off a minute from my previous best time in the 10-mile.
  • I ran the farthest I’ve ever run before, in a training run no-less. Although I was registered for my first ultra, I bailed because of sub-optimal health/stress levels. The ultra world is still there, and I’m striving to make it a to-do for 2011.
  • I broke 11hrs in the long course tri at Rev3 Cedar Point! This was one of my more major, loftier goals, one I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to accomplish. But, dare I say? I crushed it! I even got lost on the bike, which added a good 2 miles to my bike leg, and still cruised to a sub 3:40 marathon. And had fun!
  • I raced more in 2010 than I did in ’09, and I traveled a lot more for races, too. I even flew to a triathlon, which was something I had never done before. Special thanks to The Bike Shop and Bicycle Works for helping me out at Quassy!
  • I directed a half-iron distance triathlon, the Kuparisaari Tri, and got to meet some incredible people along the way. It was a lot of work (that’s an understatement), and the race could not have happened without the help of the KCRA, Bear Belly Bar and Grill (and the Lac La Belle Lodge), the volunteers, and the LLB community! I hope the race will continue, especially so that some day, I can race it!

So, what does that mean for 2011?

There are lots of things I want to do. There are lots of things that I don’t know if I can do. But I won’t know unless I push the boundaries of what I am capable of doing.

For me, 2011 is going to include more focused sessions, aiming to improve my swim, bike, and run. My specific goals are:

  • Faster swim!    I’d like to hit 32-34min in the 1.2mi distance, and 1:10 in the 2.4mi distance… or faster!
  • Stronger bike! In 2011, I want to get on the bike and enjoy the ride the whole time. I know that’s impractical, because some days just suck. But, this season, I struggled a little in races and training. I just didn’t have the fun that I thought I should be having. I did, however, get a little out of my comfort zone in the second half of the season, and hope to bring that back in 2011. One thing I plan to do in 2011 is use benchmarks to track my cycling progress.
  • Blazin’ run! I am a runner. I have it in me. And I love it, all the time. So I am going to work on my running strengths in 2011 to get me there. I think that the longer runs in the early season really boosted my endurance for the rest of the year, so I plan to build a solid base of long runs. And, I want to race a half marathon! I’ve never finished an open road half marathon!
  • Keep peeling off time and running down places in the HIM distance races. It was blatently obvious to me this year that you really can’t compare race to race. To put it in writing that I want to go 4:45 at Quassy is insane. Plus, courses can change year to year and its hard to have  standard. So, I’d like to just keep pushing to get better in this length, because its so fun!
  • Race a (legit) Oly. Last year, I did my one and only Olympic race at Rev3 Knoxville. This race was seriously legit; the only problem was, I wasn’t. And I didn’t race another Oly all season. I’d like to race at least two this year, and race them to the best of my ability. I’m really interested in what I will be able to do in this distance, especially when my run will be faster than that it is in the HIM.

Although I haven’t completely figured out my 2011 schedule, I am planning on doing the following races:

  • Ragnar Relay Florida Keys – all-women ultra team (Jan)
  • Rev3 Knoxville Olympic – May
  • Rev3 Quassy Half – June

Rev it up in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Rev3 just announced the newest edition to their series: Rev3 South Carolina!

I love the Blue Ridge Mountains. This race is the perfect location for triathletes east of the Mississippi- it’s only a 2hr drive from Atlanta. The first thing I did when I found out was google-map the distance from my soon-to-be home to the race locale: For me, it’ll be about a quick 11hr drive. Luckily, flying will be much cheaper when I move, too, so maybe I will fly!?

Any guesses as to where I’m movin’?

Wanna be a part of Team Trakkers in 2011? #fb

Want to be a part of something incredible?

In 2010, I was lucky enough to be a member of Team Trakkers. At first, I was hesitant to apply. To be honest, I felt like a faker. I had only raced three triathlons in my life! I was a newbie, an amateur. I mean, what does a rookie triathlete like me think she’s doing? Why would they want someone like me?! I thought it was just a bunch of crazy awesome triathletes in-it-to-win-it. I mean, I talked with some of the members of the Trakkers team; they were legit! But I noticed something; they were all real people. They had families, jobs, lives outside of the sport. And they weren’t always on the podium; but that wasn’t the point. They were moms, dads, daughters, and sons; they wanted to be good role models for their kids and make their parents proud. They were always sportsmanlike, always encouraging others to make healthy decisions, both for the mind and the body. They were a part of a sport that added something more to their life, but it didn’t make their life.  It added character and discipline, but they would have had that anyway. In truth, they were all-around badasses.

I applied last year with an itch to be a part of something bigger. Words cannot describe how Team Trakkers has helped me grow. Being a part of Team Trakkers has been one of the highlights of my triathlon career. I’ve made incredible friends, explored new places, and have learned so much about myself as an athlete. I pushed past the limits of what I thought I could do, and have taken my athleticism to a new height. No matter how far I traveled for a race this season, I always had a family on the other side.  I’ve been able to share these experiences with my family and my friends.  I’m growing up, and Trakkers has been lent a huge hand in helping me develop and mature.

So now, I offer this same experience to you. You, too, can be a part of this amazing crew!

The application window for Team Trakkers 2011 is now open. Click here to apply. If you have any questions about the team, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Click on the icon to apply

Photo credit: Eric Willis

Cedar Point FullRev Race Report

I was thinking about this post when I was finishing up the bike leg of the FullRev. I was thinking, around mile 95, of excuses I could make to tell you about why I got off the bike in T2 and never left with my running shoes on. I was construing various stories that left you with the feeling of “Oh, I get it” and “If that were me, I’d do the same damned thing.”

But before I tell you these stories, I should tell you the first one.

I considered not traveling to Cedar Point at all.

I got it in my head that leaving work for five days (weekend included), in the thicket of dissertation writing, and with two campus visits coming up (one in New York City, and the other in St Louis), I just couldn’t go. I needed to work on my slides for a lecture at Hospital for Special Surgery. I needed to go through Chapter One with a fine toothed comb so I could send it to my advisor for editing. I needed to write a manuscript on stuff I did this spring, finish a manuscript for stuff I’ve been working on for nearly two years, and work on the transitions between chapters 3-8 of my dissertation. It just didn’t make sense to leave right now. Not like this.

But Baberaham wondered why I would do that. My friend AJ was going down with me, and if I didn’t go, what would he do? It would be a long drive by himself, not to mention that we were planning on staying at my parents for two nights. And my Trakkers teammates would be there, my parents could watch me race not-so-far-away, and I’d get a break for my brain.

So I went. AJ and I drove down on Thursday afternoon, headed to Cedar Point on Friday, and dinked around Sandusky for less than 48 hours before our race. We did the practice swim, we road our bikes on a crappy road with a strong headwind, and we took naps. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the race, but I was as ready as I was going to be. Nothing I could do now, just race and see.

Race morning was pretty low key. I set the alarm for 4:15, got out of bed at 4:30, had a cup of coffee and a cup of Panda Puffs and packed up the car. Our bikes were already checked in, thanks to Rev3’s awesome pre-race bike check-in (so convenient!) and I just needed to fill bottles and my nutrition pouch. My stay-with-me bottle had four scoops of Orange EFS and 4oz of Liquid Shot mixed with water, and I affixed a Nathan Sports Propeller carry between my aero bars for a Liquid Shot flask (fits perfect, by the way). I was a little slower than anticipated, mostly because I hadn’t planned on needing to be weighed pre-race (not sure why I didn’t think about that…), but I got it all set up to go and headed to the swim start. I sipped on PreRace and Nuun on the walk over.

Lake Erie looks eerily calm

Swim: I sprayed my ankles and wrists with TriSlide and slipped into my wetsuit. The water was cold, which was amazing. I expected the water temperatures to be high and wetsuits to be illegal because the summer temps had been so high. Before the race, I was getting nervous and excited. The pros were delayed 10 minutes, which only extended the nervousness a little more. I was looking forward to the swim, though, because I’ve been working on it lately. And to be honest, I’ve never felt better, more in control, than I felt on today’s swim. I was smooth and fluid, I found feet, and I felt fast. Granted, my time wasn’t fast, but I think that had a little to do with the chop (especially on the second loop). I am not sure if the in-and-out-and-back-in swim course made times slower, either, but I definitely felt faster than I did last year at IMWI, even though my time was the same. However, Madison was a clusterf* of people, and there were times where I didn’t have to actually swim and I was moving as fast as everyone else. The thinner crowd at the Rev3 race might have made things a little slower in that reason alone. Not that I’m complaining though, I’d rather not get punched in the head or stomach…

2.4 mile swim: 1:14
T1: 1:31

T1 was fast for me, since I didn’t grab my gear bag and just headed straight for my bike. I actually thought it would be faster, but I think the chip mat to T1 exit was a little of a long run.  I ripped off my suit, and it came off like butter thanks to TriSlide. I threw it in the box next to my bike, slipped on my shoes and helmet and Trakker device, and off I went. No armwarmers for me today, because even though the water was cold, the air really was not.

Bike: The bike is what I like to call the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The first ten miles or so were rough, which I expected and didn’t really care about because we had a slight tailwind and, well, I rode it the day before. And, it was the beginning of the ride. Once I got out onto the open roads, I could go a bit faster, and averaged anywhere from 15-26mph.

The good: We cruised through the town of Edison, which was cool and somewhat Tour-de-France-esque, and popped out onto one road that was absolutely amazing. Smooth as glass and a tailwind to boot, and cruising at 26mph was easy with a 54 chainring. But, turn the corner fifteen miles later and the road turns to chipseal. Aid stations were plentiful, miles were marked every 10, which was awesome, and draft marshals were out in full effect. Traffic on the course was minimal as well! My nutrition was spot on, and not having an aero drink bottle was worthwhile. I missed a few bottles of water at the aid stations but they weren’t essential. I always had a bottle of water in one cage and a bottle to sip from that had EFS and Liquid Shot in it. The Nathan Propeller carrier was perfect, too, and the flask and EFS bottle stayed with me the whole way.

I yo-yo’d with a woman on the bike for both laps. She caught me on the rough stuff and barreled ahead of me until she was out of sight. Then, I would I blow by her thanks to my extra toothed chainring on the flat, tail-wind-assisted roads, and not see her in my wake. I have no idea how she could catch me, and she probably had no idea how I could find her again. The last time she passed me, on the chipseal of the second lap, I stopped to turn my wheel around (I got paranoid that running it the other way would propagate the small gash in my tire I got a few weeks before), and I never saw her again in the saddle.

The bad: The chipseal wasn’t so bad, in reality, but the wind was. It was demoralizing. You wanted to go 22mph, you knew you could (the road looked flat, right?), but you couldn’t. Or at least I couldn’t. I sat at 15-17mph and just grumbled my way through it. And to be honest, I don’t know what is worse: hills or headwinds. Obviously, both are awful, and having them together is a death wish, but hills are at least gaugeable. They end when you get to the top and you get a break on the way down. A headwind is just a battle the whole way, until you turn off the road or throw your bike into a cornfield. Which I considered doing.

My left leg started getting sore about twenty miles into the bike, and it stayed sore until about mile fifty. I had a hard time shaking it, and the only thing that would relieve it was adjusting my position in the saddle to stretch out my IT band. However, by doing so hurt my crotch even more.

My stomach hurt, too, and at first it was because I was so hungry when I started riding. I ate a Snickers bar about twenty minutes in and that held off the hunger pangs, but my intestines did not want to move anything through for another hour or so. I should have sat up to let things settle, but I didn’t want to sit up going into the headwinds. Eventually, it settled.

Oh, and from the time I got onto the bike to the time I got off, I had to pee.

The ugly: One sweet part of the race was the choice of doing the FullRev or the HalfRev. I liked having the halfers out there on the course, because it split things up, took my mind off what I was doing, and put more people on the course. Not that I like more people, but there were plenty of times where I was completely by myself. One example of this was not intentional though. I was passing a halfer up a hill around mile 95, so I took to the left of the lane and passed. Only, I passed him at an intersection where people were standing. I was looking for cops, but I didn’t see any, so I continued through. I heard someone yell something about bikers, but just continued on. There was a guy ahead of me before the intersection that I’d keep my sights on, but with the rolling hills I couldn’t see farther than 200yards ahead. Eventually, I could see farther out, but I couldn’t see him. Could he have got so far ahead of me in that short of time? Hmm. Kept going, until I got to an intersection with lots of cars, no police, and no signs. What? The? Heck! I took a wrong turn somewhere. No later did I say this to myself than do I see a minivan pull up behind me to yell “You gotta come back! You’re off course!” I shook my head, tears welled in my eyes, and I wanted to be done. I missed the paint markings on the road, since the halfer I was passing at the time was riding over them. And I didn’t see the turn sign because it was probably in line with the halfer as well. Or it got knocked down from of the wind. Whatever the excuse is that I come up with, I ended up adding 2.5 miles (and 8 minutes) unnecessarily to my bike. And I was soooo over being on the bike.

I wanted to ask the minivan guy if I could put my bike in his car and get a ride back to transition. I wanted to be done. I was done with chip seal, I was done with wind. And when I eventually got to Huron and had to ride through the town, I was done with that, too. A little, fuzzy, football-sized brown and black lump of fur scurried out from a bush and nearly ran between my spokes, and I was thinking that would really make me done for the day. What the eff was that? I said to myself. Out loud. I might have even yelled it. It looked like a porcupine cat. Or a porcupine Pomeranian. For whatever reason, the fuzzy unknown being stopped before running into me, and scurried back into the bush. Eff.

The bumps, the wind, the bumps, ugggh. I told myself on the way back to the park, on the eight miles of road that was bumpy, jarring, and painful in the crotchal region, that if I wasn’t having fun, I shouldn’t be doing it. And I was NOT having fun. I started making excuses to give you, my dear readers, about why I didn’t leave T2 with my chip and running shoes on. I wanted to just rack my bike and stand next to my mom and cheer for the other, more tough, more deserving athletes. The last six miles were knocking me around, the crosswinds made me want to cry some more. Eventually, I saw the turn into the park and knew there was not much left. I could not wait to be done.

I dismounted and ran into T2, handing my bike over to an amazing volunteer.

112 mile bike: 5:49
T2: 2:11

“Want me to rack it?” I asked.
“Uh, no! Go run!” He said.
And I wanted to run.

I didn’t even notice it. It was almost as if the last twenty miles hadn’t happened. I ran along the black runway without even thinking. Grabbed my transition bag without even thinking. Ran into the changing tent and dumped my bag upside down.

Two women in transition asked me if I needed any help. I told them that I did.

“What shoes should I wear?” I asked. They looked at me puzzled. “Seriously. This is an important decision.”

My Saucony Guide 3s sat next to my Fastwitch 4s. The green of the Fastwitches looked so good with my kit. The Guides felt heavy in my hands. The women wouldn’t answer me.

“It’s up to you!” They’d say.

I put the green shoes on without thinking any more about it, and one of the women asked why I wasn’t wearing socks. “You crazy athletes, not wearing socks. I can’t believe you can run a marathon without socks.” I shrugged. I should have worn socks.

I ran out of transition quickly. My feet were turning over faster than I thought they could. I felt how I feel after riding 56 miles, not 114. I tried to slow them, but they just didn’t want to. They were having a mind of their own, those legs. I swear it had everything to do with my fast shoes. They had been racing fast all season, why would they ever stop now?

I hit mile 1 a little sooner than I expected. 8:02. No way. That seems too fast. I shouldn’t feel so good after biking so long, right? I hit mile 2 soon after. 7:25. Seriously? Slow down. The Go Fast shoes wanted to go, though.

I sipped on EFS and liquid shot from my Nathan handheld flask and moved through aid stations with ease. No stopping, no walking, just moving. I didn’t take any aid, I just moved through. I felt strong, holding steady at sub 8min/mile pace. I saw AJ’s bright kit and his wicked hair as I passed mile 5, taking a mental note of where he was on the course. I held strong, focused on my form, and ticked off the miles. I passed the point where I remembered seeing AJ and realized he was two miles ahead. The math in my brain was still working, maybe I wasn’t running hard enough. If I could run 1min/mile faster than him, I could catch him. That would be hard to do, he looked strong. But there was nothing I could do about his race, I could only focus on mine. So I did.

I came through the first loop on pace for a 3:30 marathon. That just seemed too fast, but I wasn’t worried about it. My legs would take me where they wanted to take me. I shouldn’t even be running, I should be standing by the side, cheering for others, done with my day. But my legs had other plans. They were showing me they weren’t ready to quit just yet. I held steady. Strong.

I couldn’t see any other amateur women ahead of me. I saw the pros, both Kathleen and Jacqui rocking the vibrant green Trakkers kits like me. I saw some of my Trakkers teammates and gave them high fives. I should have been in the pain cave, but I felt like giving high fives.

Around mile 14 I started drinking cola at the aid stations, mixing it half and half with water in my flask so it would go flat. My quads wanted to seize up around mile 15, and I drank a cup of Cerasport. Amazingly, that kept the cramps at bay. I kept drinking it at every aid station. Ice went down my top on purpose. Cola and water filled my flask and was emptied before the next aid station.

The liners on my shoes started to fold under my toes, and I couldn’t tell if it was just that or if my feet were cramping. My toes weren’t cramping. I started a mantra in my head. No cramping, no cramping. Stretch it out. As if I could will myself away from cramping.

The run course had a lot of turns, and it was hard to see who was in front of you more than a half mile ahead. But the amazing thing about a race this long is that you can pass (or get passed) by people you were separated with by miles off the bike. And that’s exactly what happened. I passed people I remembered on the bike. People who blew by me and must have started the run a half hour before me. An hour before me.  At mile 20, I told myself that a 60min 10K would get me under 11 hours. And then I was counting down the miles.

It started to hurt, whatever “it” was. I got tired, my legs got tired. My legs lost their pep. My feet hurt, my hips sank, my shoulders scrunched up around my ears. I felt sloppy and slow. But I kept moving. Two miles to go. One mile to go. My smile turned to a grimace and I ached to be done. And then I thought about the finish. My mom. My dad. Amy. Owie. They’re all there. They’re all watching. Owie was getting ready to run with me. I turned the corner and there he stood.

I grabbed his hand and we ran down the chute together. Sure, some dude passed me in the chute, but I didn’t care. I was running holding hands with a 3-yr-old across the finish line of my second ultra-distance triathlon. The volunteers at the finish lowered the tape, I felt everything from the day just float off my shoulders. I looked down at Owen’s smiling face and couldn’t help but feel like we just spent a day playing in the park. As I crossed the line, I didn’t have the emotional crash that I had at my first ultra distance triathlon (last year at IMoo). I didn’t feel like I just did what I actually just did. If that makes any sense. I did have tunnel vision, and I saw the volunteer inching toward me with the medal and I asked them to put it around Owen’s neck instead. They draped him with a foil blanket and he danced around. It was euphoric, watching him. It was almost an out of body experience. 26.2 mile Run: 3:39:20

Soon after, AJ crossed the line, and I convinced one of the volunteers to help me take off my shoes. My shoes were bloody, and I didn’t think I would be capable of taking them off myself. It was like a band-aid, and I encouraged the volunteer to treat it as such. Sure enough, my foot was anhiliated from a popped blister. I realized about three miles into the run that I had forgotten to spray the inside of my shoes with TriSlide. I have no idea how I forgot to do that, but I think my entire pre-race prep that included not thinking about the race influenced that incredibly poor foresight. I’ve raced all season with amazing results, and atmy “A” race I forget one of the most important things related to damage control. That was dumb!

Regardless, I cannot put into words how grateful I am to have continued through T2 with my running shoes on. To see my mom and dad, Owen and Amy, standing there, cheering, taking photos… it made all of the anxiety of the bike disappear. To feel the way I felt on the run is indescribable. My legs just wanted to go. To be honest, I don’t know what happened. I was convinced that, on the bike, I was done with the day. But my legs had other plans, and they ran me to a 2nd place overall finish for amateur women, with a time of 10:46.

I learned a lot about long course racing at Cedar Point that I didn’t learn before. My independent training really paid off, because I rode a lot of the bike without anyone else in sight. My carefree attitude going into (and throughout) the race paid off, too.  Perhaps there is something about the long course race that makes it easier for someone a little more easy-going. One bad thing can ruin your day, and in a shorter race, like an Olympic or a half, it does. But in the long, ultradistance races, you can shrug it off and continue, perhaps even pretend like it didn’t happen. There’s not always time to fix things when bad things happen, but the day is usually long enough to work through a problem, or at least stick it out.

And I am so glad that I did stick it out. Seeing the smiling faces of my favorite support crew was the best feeling this girl could have.

I love you, Mom and Dad! I love you Owie and Amy, too. Thank you for sharing this special day with me, and for helping me after the race. Your support means so much to me!

And thank you to my sponsors, especially Team Trakkers and Rev3. Being a part of this team has really opened my horizons in the sport of triathlon and has encouraged me to try new things, push new limits, and reach new heights. Being a part of Team Trakkers has brought so much to my life in the last year! Rev3 puts on the best races, awesome for athletes as well as their families. I have never had a better race experience than what I’ve had with all three Rev3 races I’ve done this season.

And as usual, my nutrition was spot on with First Endurance, Nuun, and Honey Stinger, and awesomely accessible with cool gear from Nathan Performance Sports. My feet were fast in their FastShoes, the Saucony Fastwitch 4s. My bike was a rocketship thanks to the awesome guys at The Bike Shop.

Trak me online for the FullRev at Cedar Point! #fb

Tomorrow, I’m racing the FullRev at Cedar Point. At 7:05am EST, I start swimming 2.4 miles! Then, I’m off on the beautiful roads of Erie County, Ohio, for 112 miles of biking, and then slip on my Saucony shoes for a quick 26.2 miles of running. Wanna join me?

Because (virtually), you can!

Trak me in real-time with the Trakkers device! You can trak me here: Trakkers Live. I’ll be wearing the device as soon as I’m done with the swim.

You can also follow me on the Rev3Tri site, which will have periodic updates (as I cross mats at various places along the course), and my number is 411. Word!

Distracting myself before Rev3 Cedar Point

It’s 10:31pm and I’m assessing the situation. I have my duffle bag, filled with clothes that I literally threw from across the room. I have a cloth grocery bag, filled with my race day nutrition, water bottles and race belt. I have a messenger bag, sitting in the back seat of my car from my last trip (interview in Wisconsin), just sitting there. And an iPod shuffle, battery dead, sitting in my cupholder.

My gas tank is on empty and my running shoes are somewhere in my car. I don’t know what shoes I am going to wear on race day, what chamois cream I am going to use, or what hotel I’m staying at (off the top of my head).

Life has been busy, simply put. I am not sure if its a good thing or a bad thing, because its kept my mind off the race and I haven’t even thought about writing out a race-day play-by-play. I am going into it blind, but not as blind as last year. I know what I am getting myself into, but I am excited about the prospect that I don’t have a plan.

I usually race poorly with a plan. Does that make sense? No. But if I have a plan, I usually push the limits of said plan, instead of diligently sticking to it. Want to run a 70min 10mile? Gotta run 7min miles. But last year, when I did the Canal Run (a local 10mile race), and my goal was to break 1:10, I went out at a 6:40 mile. Oops. That oops didn’t get me across the line in 70minutes.

Sure, I have goals in the back of my head that I’d love to hit. I’m sure most athletes out there on Sunday will. But truth be told, I can’t compare what I did at Ironman Wisconsin last year to what I can do this year at Rev3 Cedar Point. This season, my training has been different, the Rev3 race course is different than IMWI, and the weather in Sandusky is most likely going to be different than it was last year in Madison. I am just going to do my best to push it (just a little) in the swim, stay comfortably steady on the bike, and get it done on the run. The run is my favorite part.

But in the mean time, I am focusing on other things. I’m writing my dissertation, doing experiments in the lab, and consulting with local physicians. I’m trying to write manuscripts, I’m interviewing for post-doc positions, and I’m traveling like a maniac. Maybe these distractions will keep my mind busy and away from focusing on must-dotime restraints on Sunday. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

The last few tweaks

Aside from the notion that I haven’t had time to sit down and plan out my race-day strategy for the FullRev at Rev3 Cedar Point, I’d say things are going well. I’ve been all over the midwest, and August flew by faster than me on my Plasma. Interviewing, racing, writing, dissertation-ing, powerpoint-ing, yearning-to-throw-computer-down-the-stairs-ing, and all sorts of other ing-ing going on in the Land O’ Endurance Meg. Luckily, I have kept my sanity. And I am not convinced that distractions from races like a FullRev are a bad thing when the taper lurks.

One quite glorious distraction is that my Plasma got a few upgrades. One of these included a new wheelset that I ordered individually from The Bike Shop in Houghton. I saved up, bought the front Sram S60, saved up for another month or two and then bought the rear S60. Luckily I know the owners so they didn’t think I was some neurotic, crazy, insane-o triathlete that was indecisive about what wheels to get (in reality, I could only afford one at a time).

Psychologically, the new wheelset has been a huge boost. The hubs are smooth as butter, and they wheels aren’t heavy or cumbersome. I am pretty sure that my new tires help, too. A friend, follower, and former Tech alum – who tests bike tire rolling resistance – pulled a few strings out of the kindness of his heart and a set of Bontrager Race X Lite Pro clincher tires wound up on my doorstep. These are awesome handmade (290 threads per inch) tires with a treadless, supple rubber. Since there was a dramatic change from my Shimano R500s to the SramS60s wheels, it might have been hard to notice, but the smooth, freeing, and speedy feel of the tires could hardly be ignored. I never had to look down to see if I had a flat, like I did constantly when I was riding Gatorskins. And the Race X Lite Pro tires connect to the road in a way I’ve never experienced before with any other tire. They feel responsive, but also a little like ice-on-ice.

So the Bonty RaceXLite clinchers are the third fastest clinchers out there, which makes me feel a little gear-whorish, only because “it’s not about the bike.” But, when the difference between RaceXLite Pros (MSRP $64.99) and the Bontrager Sports (basic tire, $12.99) are the price and nearly 10 watts per wheel, well… I’ll take it.

Go figure, with the recent rain/traffic/weather, there is an influx of gravel on the roads up here, and I’ve already successfully got a small gash on one of my brand new tires. Luckily, it doesn’t appear to be spreading… But I am keeping an eye on it. Plus, the tires at least appear to be non-directional, and since my front wheel was on backwards (my roommate is a roadie/bike mechanic), I just flipped the wheel and now the gash will likely stay put for sure.

Tweaking is pretty much done, and I only have two more key workouts before the big dance. I am excited to race the FullRev at Rev3, and the more I think about it, the more excited I am. There’s less pressure, since I’ve already experienced the distance a year ago. But then again, there’s more expectation, because since I now know what to expect, I can at least ponder ways of how to improve. I’ve worked on my swimming more. I have focused more on intensity on the bike. My run is stronger than last year. I am excited to see what will happen, how the day will unfold.

And I am risking things more this year than last (eg. by running faster but less puncture-resistance tires, by having a more aggressive position on the bike, and by not racing with an aero drink bottle- I’ll be using regular caged bottles instead). I’ve raced more this season, I’ve traveled more to both race and spectate, I’ve been reminded of the joys of the word Team, and I’ve been more involved in the sport than I ever thought I would be. Each day, I have come to love the swim-bike-run more and more. Am I a triathlete? You betcha.

Rev3 in photos

I did a little digging, and found photos of me from Dan Hicok Photography online. Word.

Can I just say that I LOVE my bike fit? Thanks to Chad Johnston from Skier’s Peak in Sylvan Lake. Dude knows his stuff. You can just see the laminar flow!

Also, I am now tan.

I felt good on the run, and it shows. Although I look a little slouched, my arms are low and my shoulders are relaxed. AND, I can tell from this photo that I am a happy girl.