Posts Tagged ‘Ironman’

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When month six of the plan began, I started to feel a little excited, but I also knew that the biggest training sessions were still ahead of me.  It was time to focus on staying present and engaged in the work that remained.


*Twenty mile run done on Tuesday morning of week #21.  The last two long runs of the plan were split, but we decided to get the last one knocked out as a single block.  Of course logistically this is tough to complete on a work day morning, but I decided to take ½ day PTO and then work from home in the afternoon.  This allowed us to get the run in starting at 6:00am (and have enough day light to start) and have enough time to eat, shower and have a little bit of recovery before logging into work in the afternoon.  Once executed, it ended up being a great plan.  As far as the run, it was a tough one for sure!  Bill and I ran on (my favorite) greenway and for hydration purposes, we decided to run one direction for an out and back total of twelve, re-fill bottles at the car and then run the other direction for the remaining eight.  When we stopped after twelve, I was already feeling it.  Man!!  At that time, I knew that either the stop was going to help a bit or really hurt.  I actually changed shoes and socks at the car which I was happy that I had planned since I removed soaking wet socks and shoes from the first twelve miles (it was not raining).  I was fortunate enough that once I started again, after the first little bit to get going, I got the legs moving again and was ok…for a while (plus I had on dry socks and shoes which was a bonus).  I always play mind games in these runs and this one was no different.  When starting the eight, I just told myself that I had four to go before the turnaround.  At then at two miles, I told myself that I was half-way to the turnaround.  After the turnaround, I knew I was on the home stretch.  I got through the first mile and then the last three seemed to last forever.  I had to dig deep on several occasions to get it done.  But once it was done, what a feeling!

Views from my run

After making it back to the car, I was (obviously) feeling tired, but not bad.  I took off my (now) second pair of wet socks and shoes and laid a towel on the ground and put my legs up against the side of the truck.  I am a big fan of this technique and feel that I makes a big difference with recovery.  After resting for a while, Bill and I made plans to grab a bagel around the corner.

A little rest post run

All of a sudden I started feeling really bad.  A wave of lightheadedness and nausea struck.  I grabbed a couple of chews thinking my blood sugar had dropped and I think that helped after a few minutes.  I just sat for a while hoping it would pass.  Bill offered to drive me home, but I also knew that I should eat soon and the idea of a Coke sounded great (which I didn’t have at home).  At the bagel shop, I grabbed a Coke before anything else, and within a couple of minutes, I felt significantly better.  I rarely drink soft drinks, but this was the best thing ever!  I am not sure what exactly happened to me after that run as it was very different than any post run experience.  I have been using Infinit on my runs for over 18 months without issue.  Plus, I didn’t feel bad (other than tired legs) during the run and immediately after.  I guess a twenty mile run can always bring new challenges!!!

…or just the afternoon after…

*The Saturday of week #21 brought a 119 mile ride, which is the furthest I have ever ridden.  Our ride started out overcast and humid, but ended up sunny and hot!  It was a tough ride for sure as we were able to get in about 6,000 feet of climbing, but this gave me lots of confidence about my preparation for race day!  I am fortunate to have shared this ride with two awesome training partners that I will also share the race course with!

Excited to knock out 119 miles on the bike with Merrick and Bill!

*The weekend of week #22 brought the last weekend of the training plan before taper began.  Saturday we had a 75 mile bike followed by a 11.5 mile run.  Coming into the weekend, the weather was a big question mark, but we decided to roll on Saturday morning, after the chances of rain dropped a bit by Friday evening.  The ride was overcast for the majority and the sun started to peak through the clouds as we were closing in on the last couple miles of the ride.  Thankfully a good portion of the run is on the greenway with some shade which is always appreciated.  I worked to keep my mind in the game on the run and it was a great feeling to finish up, which was the longest brick session of the plan.

*That Sunday we had a big group out at the lake with three support kayaks and I knocked out 2.4 miles for the second time.  This was a great training weekend as we looked to taper to begin!

*The Saturday of week #23 was the last outside ride.  The ironic thing is that this was the only ride out of the hundreds of miles that we all have done that we met and left all together…this was a Kodak moment for sure!

The full crew 8 days out!

*That afternoon, was bike drop off for the transport to Mont Tremblant.  Leaving my bike was not easy with the expectation that I would see it again in Canada all ready to race!  I definitely felt better after I received the following email…

With training complete and my race day in two short days, I can look back and honestly say this has been a great six months.  As expected, there have been great days and some incredibly tough days, but I made it through with the support of some really awesome people in my life, as well as some grit and determination from my side.

This about sums it up!

I am ready to tackle this challenge and and let all the hard work and tons of sweat equity pay off.

I have the done what I can and now I will put it all out there on Sunday to wrap it all up.

Last but not least…my official race day bib number.



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The theme of this month ended up being this….YOU JUST NEVER KNOW!!!


*We kicked off the new training month with a new version of FTP test called the Ramp Test.  This is a new FTP format on Trainer Road and from our reading of the details, it sounded like something we definitely wanted to try.  It is advertised as “Making FTP Testing More Efficient and Less Stressful”.

These are some of the highlights from the summary: The Ramp Test is the new preferred testing protocol to estimate fitness because it does not require even pacing, is easier to repeat precisely, is less stressful on the body (allowing for follow-up workouts), hurts less, takes less time and allows for the most effective training.

I was very interested in this format.  The last FTP test I took was in week #9.  This was not a good test day for me.  I believe there were several contributing factors, but I was definitely open to something new and the description sounded ideal since being deep into training does not allow time to go into a test day with appropriate rest, as is typically recommended.   I can report that I am a big fan of this new version and I ended up being right on where I expected.  A bit of a gain and it did not leave me completely wiped out nor did I feel like I didn’t have enough in the legs to test effectively.

*For week #18, we were able to mix things up a bit and have a mid-week morning ride on  July 4th!  We did a 32 mile morning ride before I knocked out a long swim at the pool.  The afternoon involved some more pool time, but this was with friends, burgers and cocktails!

*Week #17 & week #19 we decided to incorporate another new something.  For our stand alone long runs, we broke them down into two runs in one day.  Week #17’s 17-mile run we did 9 miles in the morning and 8 miles in the evening and week #19’s 18.5-mile run we did 13 miles in the morning and 5.5 miles in the evening.  I became a fan of this format as well.  I did a lot of reading to support this approach and the pros of it reducing the risk of injury and the fact of trying to incorporate long runs in during the work week are tough with scheduling (Tuesdays are generally the day) were two main points that made a lot of sense with this structure.

Week #19’s 13 mile morning run started out with cooler temperatures.

*Three more OWS in this month….week #18 we had to move our long ride/brick to Sunday due to Saturday rain and hit the pool on the rainy day.  Still three great opportunities for long swims in the lake.  That Sunday ride was one of the toughest I had in a while.  My legs felt incredibly heavy for the entire time and we had some windy conditions that just hit me hard mentally.  Bill was super patient with me as I struggled and pulled me for 63 miles.  For 7.5 mile brick, I had absolutely no expectations, due to how I was feeling.  Somehow, I ended up have a very good run.  Shocked the heck of me, but YOU JUST NEVER KNOW!!!

T*he Saturday of week #20 brought a 67 mile ride and 9 mile brick.  This was a solid ride for me, but the run off the bike was a struggle fest!  This was just the opposite of two weeks before, when I had a tough ride and solid run.  There was so much mental gaming going on during this run, but I somehow got it done.  That’s all that matters sometimes and this is a run I can pull from on race day.

*Week #19 included a Trainer Road workout called Frissell +2.  This was a 105 minute workout that I had planned for a Wednesday evening after work.  The format of this workout 6×9-minute intervals at 95% FTP with 5-minute recoveries between intervals.  This was a few days after my tough Sunday bike ride and one day after the split 18.5 mile run, so my confidence and leg stamina were definitely not peaking!  I will not lie….I was intimidated by this workout ON PAPER and was really dreading it.  To my surprise and pure delight, I kicked ass on the workout!  I was so stoked and felt like a million bucks afterwards.  Like I said earlier…. YOU JUST NEVER KNOW!

I needed a bit if this before I tackled Frissell+2

*Getting in two “century plus” rides during the month is a huge confidence builder.  We are also getting in lots of climbing on these rides with the 105 mile ride at @5600 feet and the 114 mile ride at @5900 feet, which (in my mind) is key to preparation to Mont Tremblant.  With one more 100+ ride in the plan, I feel we will be prepared to tackle this course!

When you and your training partner start dressing alike….!!!

Month #5 Totals:

Swim: 38,664 (21.97 miles)

Bike: 542 miles

Run: 110 miles

Other: 2 yoga sessions

Total Time: 63 hours 55 minutes

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Coming into month #4, I knew this is where training would really turn the corner into less familiar territory.  Training that I have not had to do since 2014.  With the completion of the half iron distance just over a week prior, the coming months would be the type of workouts passed the half Ironman training that I am way more familiar with.  This is where the meat of Ironman training would begin.


*Week #15 = Our 15.5 mile run was the longest “before work” run I have ever done!  Bill and I started running at 5:10am (I would have never run this early on the greenway by myself).  I had to pull out a head lamp which I have not run with in ages!  I don’t prefer to run in the dark since I have this fear of being clumsy and face planting, but I knew I needed to suck it up and after the first 5 minutes or so, I sort of got used to it.  We got EXTREMELY lucky and had a very mild morning with the starting temperature around 63 degrees (still humid but noticeably cooler)!  Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep very well the night before, which made the early alarm clock even more painful.

*On our recovery week (#16) ride, we decided to ride from my house to mix things up a bit.  We do ride a lot from home, but recently we have been riding from the Trek Store which allows us to have routes with a bit more climbing.  The planned route was certainly not a new route, but it gave us many surprises on this day.  We were about 12-13 miles in (58 total) and came upon road construction.  The road was not closed, but we quickly realized that we DID NOT want to be on this road.  It was sticky and lots of little rocks that were adhering to our tires.  It was a mess!  We stopped almost immediately and pulled into a gas station parking lot which was right there.  We needed to decide on a detour.  I called Tony and he provided some helpful input to bypass a stretch of the road construction and pick it up further down.  Once we got back to the planned point of re-entry, there was another sign for construction.  We didn’t want to chance anything, so took decided on the adventurous route and hit up a road we have never been on before.  This ended up being a good choice in that had decent road conditions and not a lot of traffic.  Eventually it put us on a road we did know where we had a gas station stop at exactly the half-way point!  PERFECT!  We did take a wrong turn on the way back, but nothing too tragic.  All in all, it was a successful ride, it just had more stopping than we prefer.  The down side is that the stopping and route changes/decisions took more time than we planned for the ride.  Therefore, our 6 mile brick started later than planned and IT WAS HOT (and hilly I will add)!!!

*More Hill Repeats!  Both run and bike!  Not in the same week, but it was challenging.  This time April was able to join in for the run fun!

Early morning hill repeats

*I have not done bike hill repeats (I believe) since my training for IM Lake Placid and we knew our chosen hills would be a doozy, and it did not disappoint!  Plus having this workout the day after our 15.5 mile run, was either smart planning (to give us the extra challenge) or just the opposite!

*Long ride Saturday – 96 miles during week #15 and we had two groups to maximize group ride time, even though we are on different training plans.

I will be racing with these three guys in Mont Tremblant…Matt, Bill & Merrick!

Tony joined us for the second lap (even though he is not training for any races) to offer us fresh legs to help get us to the end!

*Swim = For the first time in this training plan, breaking 10,000 yards swimming in week 14 and knocking out a 4,000 meter plus workout.  Also, being able to consistently swim in the outdoor meter pool (versus the 25 yard pool inside).  Three OWS in the month, which is a confidence builder.  There is no substitute for these long lake swims when all you have to do is “JUST KEEP SWIMMING”!

Month #4 Totals:

Swim: 36,882 (20.95 miles)

Bike: 461 miles

Run: 93 miles

Other: 2 yoga sessions

Total Time: 57 hours 4 minutes

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As triathlon became such a big part in my life, one of the things I fell in love with was what it does for me, both physically, mentally and emotionally.  After a bad day, there is no other thing I would rather do was get in a good solid training session to help me work out my frustrations or clear my mind.  It is my therapy and my outlet.

When you are training for an Ironman, sometimes you have to dig deep to find the motivation for your next workout. My training this month kind of had a different motivation….therapy.  I had some personal tragedy recently and my training has been a huge part of my getting through some very tough days these last few weeks.

There were a few days when my training was one of the only things that seemed to make sense. While my heartache will never completely go away, I know that I have a very healthy way to try to deal with some crazy emotions.  I am grateful to have this outlet….my therapy.

After a tough swim/run I had to put my legs up and was treated to this amazing view. These few minutes allowed me to regain perspective and engage in some personal reflection.

Highlights from the month:

*Knocking out a long run one morning before work.  My training buddy Bill and I decided to adjust the schedule and complete an 11 mile run early.  I was happy with the adjustment and was able to have more time during the day to get in rehydration and some much needed stretching and recovery (NormaTec boots!!!)  that evening.

*I have loved my new bike since I rode it for the very first time.  However, since I have only been riding it on the road and utilizing my Cannondale for trainer rides, I have finally put in enough miles to really be comfortable on my Trek.  Generally the biggest differences are in my position and the electronic shifting (amazing).  The shifting has now become more second nature (so I don’t have to think so much).  I am very happy to have the “Purple Butterfly”!!

*I had my first triathlon of the season.  It was a small half iron distance race in Greenville, SC called “Mountains to Main Street”.  The timing of this race fit perfectly in the training schedule plus it had a challenging bike course that would provide some solid climbing/training.  This was the first (and likely last) time for this this race, but it was very beneficial to gauge fitness, nutrition, etc for a little over 3 months away from IMMT.  **Race report to come!!**

Lowlights from the month:

*I had an FTP “re-test” on the first Monday of this four-week block and it did not go as expected.  In hindsight, I was able to identify some things that did not help me with my recovery from the weekend workouts and things I would definitely do differently, but it is always about learning and growing.

*I started having some foot/ankle issues that kind of came out of the blue.  The week before my first race it had gotten bad and I was very concerned.  I saw my PT and babied it all before the race (no running that week) in hopes that it would be ok race day.  All the details will be in my race report, but I was able to get through the run without too much discomfort or concern that I was making anything worse.  The week after I saw my PT, massage therapist and I really focused on recovery (I think my massage therapist did wonders for it).  I only had one run (that I ended up cutting short) to gauge how it was doing post-race. I believe I am through the worse of whatever made this “issue” come up, but definitely gives me something else to have to really concentrate on to “keep happy”.

Three months down and three months to go for Ironman Mont Tremblant.  HALF WAY THERE!!!!

Month #3 Totals:

Swim: 26,187 yards (14.9 miles)

Bike: 384 miles

Run: 57 miles

Other: Only one 30 minute yoga session (need to do better!!!)

One Half Iron Distance Race

Total Time: 41 hours 18 minutes

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At the mention of me training for Ironman, someone recently asked me if I was excited.  My answer was “I will be”.  I have actually thought about that question and my answer several times since the discussion.  I don’t think I have been asked that before, so I was not sure how to answer.  Should I be excited at this point?  Well….I don’t know.  Should I be excited about something whose preparation is a big part of my daily thoughts and activities as well as a factor in everyday decisions?  I have never thought about it this way and so I did.

I have always been pretty open that I don’t necessarily love to race.  I do love to train.  Don’t get me wrong….there are lots of days that I want to skip  my session, sleep in or whatever else sounds good at the moment, but the satisfaction I get after my workout, makes it all worth it.  The PROCESS of the training, the growth that happens along the way, the obstacles you overcome, kicking ass on days where you thought it was impossible, is where I find my niche that keeps me in this sport.  Sure, I love having the goal of race day to drive me in my training and to motivate me to do my best, but the ratio of hours spent training to hours spent racing, are tremendously skewed…in my favor, thank goodness.  I certainly have a competitive nature within that comes out during the race, but ultimately, more than anything, I want my race, any race, to be a performance of all the hours and sweat equity invested in the weeks and months leading up to the big day.  If I can deliver my best and, in a way, celebrate the training cycle by putting it all out there, I am happy.

There are definitely athletes out there that get a tremendous rush on race morning and feed off that adrenalin.  Once my race morning is here, the nervous energy that is present is what makes me ready to get on with the show.  The waiting around and the preparation race morning is definitely not my favorite time.  So….back to the original question…”AM I EXCITED ABOUT IRONMAN”?

I am excited about the opportunities, growth and strength (both mental and physical) that training for Ironman will bring.  I am excited about the being ABLE to train and the idea of getting to the starting line healthy and PREPARED to tackle to day.  I am excited about the time that I will get to spend with some like-minded individuals (and all around cool people) that share the same Ironman goal and think that getting up at the crack of dawn to run track intervals or jump in a cold lake is “normal”.

I am excited about racing with these people and being able to see each other during the race to make the day even more special.  I am excited about giving this goal my ALL and making Tony and the rest of my cheerleaders proud when I go for it and ultimately cross that finish line.  In hindsight, I think my gut reaction answer was kind of right….I AM excited but I WILL be even more excited on August 19.

Highlights from the month:

*After the catastrophe from training week #4 when took the Purple Butterfly out for the inaugural ride, I finally was able to get in a successful 46 mile ride during week #5.

It took some intense planning, but we made it work.  Saturdays are when we typically ride and the forecast called for heavy rain MOST of that Saturday.  It was looking very unlikely to get in a ride outside.  While Fridays are typically the rest day, we decided to fit in the ride after work on Friday to be able to get outside.  SUCCESS!!!  (It did rain alot on Saturday!!)

*Hill Repeats – While this is not something I love, I knocked out a good hill repeat session on the treadmill.  I have not done this type of workout in a long time and it was nice to get one done as I know we will have more to come to prepare for MT!

*Getting back to regular track workouts with the team.  Thursdays are track during the season while during the winter we do stair workouts.  These stair workouts are an awesome challenge themselves but the weather delayed our start of track a couple of weeks so we were ready to get these going!


*Getting in our first open water swim of the season!  Over the winter I purchased a new wetsuit (sleeved) and with our first tri of the season in just a few weeks, we were ready to get in that first OWS to wash away those cob webs.  It was a bit cooler than I would prefer, but I allowed my “minimum” temp drop a couple of degrees because I had sleeves.  Thank goodness I did, because I was still cold….think the water was probably 65/66 degrees.  I am very sensitive to the cold water, but I needed to get in and do my best.  It was not a great swim, but I was glad to get it done and have a check mark in that box!

*When training schedules line up with some other tri club peeps resulting in a great training group for a solid ride/run session!

Lowlights from the month:

*Week #6 brought in the struggle bus for a couple of my trainer rides.  I had three Trainer Road sessions that week that really kicked my ass.  I gave it all I had and that I can’t ask anything more.  I was glad when I finally got off that bus!

*A flooded greenway totally screwed up my plans for a Friday morning outside ride.  Here’s the story….Tony had Xterra Myrtle Beach on his race calendar.  Our plan was to travel down on Friday afternoon, hang out Saturday and then the race on Sunday.  I knew I needed to shift some things on the training schedule to get in my time.  After much consideration of all the options, I decided that I would push my planned rest day to Sunday (usually Friday), do my long ride Friday morning before we left town and then do my run Saturday morning (easy to fit in out of town).  With a 60 mile ride scheduled, I knew that I needed to get an early start Friday morning and since it is the last day of the work week, I planned to ride by myself on the greenway.  (I don’t usually bike on the greenway, but spend a lot of miles running there.  Since (1). I don’t ride on the road solo, due to safety reasons and (2). My start time would be during early commute hours, the greenway seemed like the best and safest option to get in my ride outside. It would be quiet that time of day and I really didn’t want another long ride on the trainer.)  After mentioning my plan to one of my training partners, she said that she would like to join me as she had a flexible work schedule that day.   Awesome!  We planned to meet at 7:00am and that morning was COLD!  It was around 36 degrees (while the morning prior at track had been in the 60s).  We were bundled up and ready to tackle this, despite the cold.

I had planned out a great route and was looking forward to it.  We got .45 miles in before we were greeted with flooding.  BUMMER!  It was too deep to try to pass on our bikes, so we turned around and decided to head in the opposite direction which did not have the options to easily get in our needed mileage, but we would make it work. After about 2 miles in that direction, we reached more flooding and this was even worse!  WHAT A DOWNER!

We could drive to another entrance point on the greenway passed the flooding, but there was no way of knowing if and where there would be more obstacles.  After pretty quick consideration, we decided to head to my house and put in the time on the trainer.  April could use Tony’s trainer and we would persevere!  Thanks goodness April had decided to meet me for that ride and then agreed to trainer it with me.  We got in 3 hours and 31 minutes together (previous longest time was 3 hours 30 minutes 🙂 ) and having her there to pass the hours made it possible!  #noexcuses  #overcometheobstacles #traineroad

Month #2 Totals:

Swim: 27,959 (15.89 miles)

Bike: 395 miles

Run: 53 miles

Other: 2 strength and 3 yoga sessions (2.25 hours)

Total Time: 47 hours 24 minutes






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Time goes by so quickly.  As I have gotten older, this is more true every year.  There are times of course when the time can’t pass quickly enough….when you are at work on Friday afternoon of an upcoming holiday weekend or when you are pushing through a hard two minute FTP %+++ interval on the bike, but generally speaking, there is not enough of this precious commodity.  We spend day after day balancing out our time between family, work, training, etc. and some days it is way more challenging than others.  This is one reason why I thought long and hard before committing to Ironman #2.

The first time back in 2014, I knew that it would be a huge time commitment.  But, now having that experience, I know even more of what some of those tough days are REALLY like.  It is not just a huge impact on me, but on Tony as well.  He is “in” it with me for the craziness that Ironman training brings to everyday life.  Hopefully, since I have training partners that are racing as well, Tony’s “in” does not equate to as many long bike rides as it did in 2014, but regardless, he knows what this six month training plan means.

The “official” plan began on March 5.With all the upcoming spring and summer training, there will not be too much free time to get out of town for vacations or long weekends.  We will definitely work in lots of together time, but I imagine most of it will be around Raleigh.   Before the plan kicked in, we took an all-inclusive vacation in Mexico to chill, spend time with each other and soak in some sun.  That get-away was a great idea and I am glad we made it happen.  It was just what we needed.

Relaxing in Playa del Carmen

The first (of six) 4-week training blocks is in the books.  I tried to take one workout at a time and that’s my game plan for the next five months as well.  My swim, bike and run plan has been created from a few different sources and I am utilizing Trainer Road for any of the trainer rides on my plan (which have been ALL for this first four weeks).  I am using the specific IM plan in the app to choose the rides.

Since I started using Trainer Road a bit over a year ago, I have been a fan.  Honestly it is a love/hate relationship, because I have had plenty of rides that have kicked my ass, but I know it is good for me in the long haul.  I think it is an excellent tool and will prove very beneficial this year.

The Trainer Road plan was actually 4 weeks longer than the planned 24-week plan.  Therefore, we started a 4-week base plan prior to March 5. lt certainly started off with a bang!  The first workout in the first week was an FTP test on the bike.  I have not taken a FTP test since I was training for Chattanooga 70.3 last spring.  I was very happy that my results put me right where I was half way through that training plan.  I have a lot of time on the bike in front of me and I look forward to the gains I will be making.

Highlights from the month:

*Completing the longest two trainer rides I have ever done!  Due to the aforementioned unpleasant weather, week one had us on the bike for 3 hours 15 minutes.  Prior to that, the longest trainer ride I had completed was 2.5 hours.  Week three had us on the bike for 3.5 hours.  A new record just 2 weeks later!  Luckily, I have training partners and we endured this total of 6.75 hours together!

Our 3 hour 15 minute trainer ride! Thank goodness Bill and April joined in!

3.5 hours on the trainer! Once again, it was bearable with my awesome training partners!

*Hitting 4 rides in week two…the plan calls for 4 rides some weeks and I have not done this in a very long time (I am guessing since 2014)!  Three of them happened during the workweek so it took a bit more mental commitment than even physical, but it will pay off!

*Getting back outside for a long run = Week three’s 8 mile run was back outside.  A dry day allowed me to get off the treadmill and onto the greenway.

*Tony has been able to capture some good video in the pool to allow me to focus on some much needed areas of improvement.

*The time change!  It’s nice to have daylight when I get off work!

*The last Saturday of the month called for a dry day and decent temperatures to get outside for the first time this year and the take my new bike for her inaugural ride!

The Purple Butterfly was ready to hit the road!

Obstacles from the month:

*More cold weather than we should have in NC in March!  Plus it seemed like the rain always waited for the weekends!

*The outside bike ride that I was so excited about lasted about 4 miles until I was standing on the side of the road with a broken chain and front derailleur.  Needless to say, I was MAJORLY bummed!  My ride companions, Bill & Derek, worked to try to fix my chain (before the realization that the front derailleur was toast), and had an amazing effort in doing so.

Bill & Derek working on my bike roadside.

For the first time ever in my experience of riding bikes, I had to call for a ride home.  Since Tony was out of town, our neighbor David came to my rescue.  During all this drama, the help I got to try to repair the chain and the ultimate ride home were indeed highlights and the reminder that I have awesome people in my life!

Not the bike ride I had imagined, but lucky to have a ride home!

*Getting chased by a dog on my brick run.  The drama continued after my bike mishap.  After making it home, I got on the trainer (after figuring out how to change my pedals….Tony is my very relied upon bike mechanic) and got in my ride.  Then I had a 3 mile brick run which I did outside.  I was chased by a little dog on a road that I frequently run.  It was quite the day, and I really felt like the odds were not in my favor, but I got my training in and then spent the next 1.5 hours getting a crazy good massage.   #overcometheobstacles

Month #1 Totals:

Swim: 29,400 yards (16.7 miles)

Bike: 331 miles

Run: 47 miles

Other: Strength, Stair Workouts & Yoga (4.25 hours)

Total Time: 44 hours 24 minutes


Life After Ironman


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Life after Ironman has been great. August was a really fun month!! Don’t get me wrong…life before Ironman was great too…just super busy! The first several days after we got home from Lake Placid were easy. I was only back home and at work for two days before I headed off to the Outer Banks of NC for a get-away with two college sorority sisters.

Girls Beach

Girl Time!!!

The timing was really perfect. No training to think about. Just enjoying some well-deserved rest and relaxation. It rained almost the entire weekend (yes, I thought I already had my fair share of rain), but we had a good time none the less.


Enjoying a very short peak of the sun just in time for sunset!

Upon returning home, I had a surprise awaiting me. Tony had gone on a bit of a mission while I was out of town. This is what he had done with my race bib and medal. I love it!!!


So, after the beach trip, it was back to work. Only a four day work week, but I believe in easing back into things :). It is so very nice to have my morning start at 6:10-6:15am. There were no 4:45am – 5:00am alarms to think about!! I also continued to enjoy my evenings off from training. I did not have a set number of days in mind for recovery…I just wanted to take it easy for while and ease back into activity. Well, so I thought!!

That next weekend we had plans each day of the weekend! The Friday night outing was a cookout with a group of friends…it was a bit of a pre-party for the next evening’s 40th birthday celebration for a good friend of ours.

Lee and Tony

At the Birthday Celebration!!

Sunday was a dinner out with a couple friend.  She wanted to hear all about the race, so we had a nice afternoon catching up and chatting!

Rewind a bit to Friday…As we were leaving the cookout, I was talking with two girls that are currently training for their first half-iron distance and iron distance races about the training they were doing the following morning. They had a long run planned and I agreed to tag along. So, my first REAL activity after IM was a 10-mile run…IN THE RAIN!! And yes, AGAIN, I had experienced my fair share of the wet weather, but I wanted to go. I did not necessarily think my first run back would be 10 miles, but I knocked it out, with some achiness.

The following week was another short work week because I took a bit more time off work. That Tuesday afternoon we headed out after lunch for Charlotte. We attended the Linkin Park concert that evening.

Linkin Park 2

Linkin Park Concert with Great Friends!!

Well, the concert was an absolute blast!!! They are my favorite band and I had an awesome night at their concert. My favorite concert to date!

LP Concert

Such a Fun Night!!

The following day, we spent time at the White Water Training Center. (The Center’s 500+ acres offers a wide variety of outdoor activities for all ages and skill levels. Guests can enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking, flatwater kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing, zip lines, ropes courses, a canopy tour, and mountain biking on our 25+ mile trail system. (Description from their web site.)) We had heard a lot of positive things about the White Water Training Center and it was fun! Our favorite part was the whitewater rafting. Our guide really showed us a great time!!

The next weekend included more fun dinners. Friday evening included a “thank you” dinner. Tony had the idea to show our appreciation to the people that had helped me with my training by having them over for a dinner party. It was a great night with lots of triathlon talk! The following night was a dinner get together with a friend that we had not seen in over a year. It was great to re-connect and catch up on the latest happenings! The Sunday was a dinner with my family. My brother planned the dinner as a congratulations on my Ironman! It is always nice to spend time with family and to snap some fun pics with my niece and nephews!

Family Collage

The next two weekends included attending a surprise party for (another) friend’s 40th birthday, dinner out to celebrate our friends’ (Tim & Nicole…part of the crew from Lake Placid) recent marathon finish, attending the football season opener for NC State and a dinner out to a local “special occasion” steak house to celebrate our good friends’ anniversary.

State Game Field

Go Wolfpack!!

State Game LandT

NC State Football!

Angus Barn Collage

Amongst all our activities, we have enjoyed some down time, watching some new movies and  I actually started reading my first book of the year!  I finally treated myself to my first pedicure of the summer.  I waited until after the race because I was spending so much time in running shoes.  Four days after my pedicure, I lost a toe nail!!  Unbelievable!!  So much for waiting!!

As far as training, I have enjoyed flexibility and doing whatever activity I want to do! There is a group bike ride that leaves from a local Tri store on Tuesdays and Thursdays and due to my IM training, I had been unable to check it out, until recently. We have enjoyed this ride multiple times over the past several weeks in addition to some Saturday rides from our house. I have also tried to start more regular yoga and stretching. I have run a few times here and there. I also took my mountain bike out on a local path for a different kind of ride. All in all, I have been staying busy and enjoying different levels of activity from the endurance training I have focused on for the past months. [I guess it is good that I have maintained some regular level of activity…as I write this recap, I am really noticing that our August included lots of eating!!!]

I think it is only natural to think about what’s next? I do not have any races planned for the remainder of the year. I plan to keep active, like I have been the past several weeks since IM recovery, but eventually add some strength training into the regiment. I will get back into the pool soon and try to get in swims, with (SOME) frequency. I have a few races in mind for next year, but am still pondering. I will say that the longest race on the agenda will be a half IM. I plan to have a completely different focus for next year and set some new goals. In the mean time, I will continue to enjoy the flexibility and keep having fun with the activities I choose!

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After all our hugs and celebrations at the finish line, the original plan was to shower, eat and head back down to watch the finishers during the last hour. We had done this in Kona and it was a really amazing experience (well, everything is amazing in Hawaii!!).

Tim and Nicole volunteered to get my bike and bags from transition using the friends’ pass that all athletes are given. I was so thankful they were willing to do this, so Tony and I could start our (slow) walk back to the place. As we were walking back, while I was still full of excitement and chatter, I realized that my stomach was obviously not too happy with all that I had done that day. Once we got back to the apartment, I took a very nice hot bath to relax a bit and I felt a lot better…all except my stomach. While the crew was rightfully hungry, after a long day for them as well, the thought of food did not appeal to me. I knew I had to eat, but nothing sounded the least bit appetizing.

I rested, laying down on the couch with my feet up, while Tim SMARTLY encouraged me to take in fluids. He concluded I was dehydrated. The group decided to grab a dinner order from a good restaurant across the street and I opted for soup.

I sipped on some broth and just felt better when I was lying down. So, unfortunately, it was decided that we would not be headed back to the finish line for spectating.  It was more important to take care of myself.  We all had a long, emotional day, so hitting the sack was not a bad plan.

On Monday morning, Tony and I got up early in order to head down to the merchandise tent for finisher gear.  For those that may be unfamiliar, you can purchase all kinds of Ironman merchandise prior to the race (even though I am superstitious and did not).  However, the “finisher” gear becomes available on the morning after race day at 7:00am.  There is always a line, so we were there around 6:15.  There were plenty ahead of us, but we had a decent spot.  After about 10 minutes in line though……it started to rain.  UGH!!  Thank goodness there was an umbrella in the 4Runner!!

After over an hour in line, we finally gained entry in the tent (they only allow a few people in at a time).  We headed straight to the finisher jackets.  That was the one thing I knew I wanted.  Before we checked out, I also grabbed a visor and hitch cover.  I was happy with my selections.


The Finisher Jacket – LOVE IT!!


The Back of the Jacket – SWEET!!

Next up…BREAKFAST!  I was ready to eat at this point.  Nicole located a restaurant online that we decided to try after my pre-race announcement of desiring “pancakes as big as my head” on the morning after the race!!   She read about the Lake Placid Inn that serves some of America’s best pancakes (according to Travel + Leisure).  Breakfast was served outside (it was a chilly, rainy morning) on the terrace next to a cozy, stone fireplace.  They also provided us comfy blankets.

Lake Placid

View from the Terrace at Breakfast

Nicole and I both had the WORLD FAMOUS BUTTERMILK GRIDDLE CAKES.  They were fluffy and delicious!


Pancakes for the girls!

Tony and Tim had the HOUSE BAKED BRIOCHE FRENCH TOAST.  All and all, the group gave breakfast “two thumbs up”!!


French Toast for the Guys!!


Tim & Nicole outside the Lodge

We headed back to the room and decided it would be a lazy day.  The rain was set in and it was very chilly.  No one really wanted to be out in the elements.  I spent the rest of the morning and into the afternoon reading and responding to notes on Facebook/text from friends and family.  I was quite overwhelmed with the words of encouragement and celebration I received.  It was truly fantastic and heart-warming!!

Lunch time rolled around.  After breakfast, I did not think lunch would be required.   Tony mentioned pizza and that sounded tasty!  One slice of pizza really hit the spot!

While we all continued to laze around and chit-chat, the rain outside continued.  All I could continue to think about is that thank goodness the rain did not last all day on race day!!

For a long time, the one thing that I like to treat myself with after a race is a milkshake.  It has become a tradition.  So late afternoon, Tim, Nicole and I decided to continue the tradition (Tony was napping). Even though the weather was not “milkshake – drinking weather”, we all enjoyed our choices!



Early in the day, I had decided that dinner for me would consist of a BURGER!  We wanted something close by, so we would not have to walk too far in the nasty weather, and we decided to check out Smoke Signals.  There was a short wait, but it was not unexpected with all the athletes still lingering around town.  I ordered the Flatliner burger…it was crazy with all the toppings!


The “Flatliner” Burger


Excited about my burger…not sure HOW I was going to eat it though!


The first bite!!


Mouth full!   NOT an attractive picture, but I was a good sport!

I was only able to polish off half my burger.  With all the eating I had done that day, I did a fantastic job (plus SOME) of replacing the calories I had burned on race day!

Despite the icky weather, it was a fun day of hanging out and relaxing with Tony, Tim and Nicole.  The day consisted of LOTS OF EATING and re-living race day details.  It was a fine way to spend our last day in Lake Placid.

Tuesday morning, we all woke early in order to head out of town.  Tony and I were hitting the road with a very long drive to Raleigh while Tim and Nicole were continuing their travels by flying to Niagara Falls.

The town of Lake Placid will always hold fond memories for me.  It is a charming place, that I would like to visit again, but it was also the site of a truly special day for me.  I highly recommend this destination for anyone considering an Ironman or a nice place to visit/vacation.

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My plan on the run was to start smart. The first three miles or so includes downhills. I did like that about the course, but could not let my legs get too excited on the early downhills. I planned to use that time to shift my legs into run mode after being on the bike for 112 miles. Early on, I felt ok. I had trained lots of bricks, so the bike to run transition on the legs was familiar to me. I had a very simple hydration/nutrition plan for the run. I was carrying concentrated Osmo on the hydration belt and I would supplement that with water at the aid stations and take one Gu Chomp (I would pick up a pack from the aid station as needed) every 15 minutes. I also had planned to grab orange slices and grapes, as they appealed to me. I wanted to get into a steady pace (not aiming for fast, just steady) that I would try to maintain between each of the aid stations. I had planned to walk each aid station so I could totally concentrate on eating and drinking at each of these points. I also had some other food options in my special needs bag, in case I wanted something different than what my options were on the course.



My crew was in full force on the course. I did not always spot (or hear) Nicole, but she was was in paparazzi mode around the start of run course (she would spot me several times since it was a two-loop course).


I spotted Tony a little bit into my run. Whenever I am racing, he always asks how I am feeling and I always try to answer him honestly. If I were to be experiencing problems, he could provide me ideas on how to address them. Luckily, I was able to answer him with “feeling pretty good”.

Also fairly early in to the run, another athlete recognized the MJG initials on my tri top. It was obvious that we had a mutual friend, so every time he passed me on the course, he would say something supportive. That was cool and yet another reminder to stay strong and what I was racing for!

On the River Road out and back stretch that seems to extend forever, I saw Tim. This road is closed to traffic and in one write-up I read, was described as no-(Iron)man’s land, since there are very few spectators. However, Tim incorporated a training run into the day (he and Nicole have a marathon approaching), so that he could be out on this quiet area of the course. It was so incredibly awesome to see him twice through this section. I felt special having a personal cheerleader out there! He passed along some encouraging words and since he was the one that helped me so very much when I was having issues with my hydration on the run, it seemed appropriate that he was out there encouraging me to stick to my plan. I did see one more familiar face which was another athlete I knew from Raleigh. He was on his second loop of the run but we were able to spot each other twice to lend a few words of support.

As I progressed on the first loop of the run, I did a good job executing the plan. One aid station at a time. As I approached the station (they all had water as the first option), I took a big swig of my concentrated Osmo and followed it with water. I would also take water again as it was the last option as I made my way through the station. I would take a Gu Chomp approximately every 15 minutes…I grabbed a pack early on and would take it at the aid station with water if the timing was close to the 15-minute mark. I remember taking a few orange slices throughout the first loop and a handful of grapes. I thought the fruit was a nice break!

The run course includes some rollers/hills throughout. Generally, I felt that the hills were short enough to run up, but there were a few where I chose to walk…not a causal walk, but a power walk.  (There was one fellow athlete that remarked to me as I was walking one short section that I was the fastest walker he had ever seen. Ha Ha!)

The late miles on the loop contained the largest hill on the course. There were lots of people lining the street on this climb. When I approached it, I was going to try to run it, but quickly decided to shift down to the power walk. I felt this was a smart decision.



As I approached the crest of this hill. there was a lady standing pretty far out onto the street and she talked to me, encouraging me to “go chick that guy in front me” (direct quote)!


I laughed and as soon as I hit the top of the hill, I started running again, truly motivated by her enthusiasm!



Near the end of the run loop, you get so close to the finish line that you can hear the finisher’s names being announced. Nearing the end of the loop, there is another out and back section (Mirror Lake Drive) that you have to run, so you actually come close to the finish line twice (once as you start the out and back and then again as you start the second loop) even before the mid-way point of the run! The out and back also contains the area where you can access your special needs bag.  I bypassed the one on the bike, but chose to grab a couple things out for the second part of the run.  I took a snack pack of mini-Oreos (my favorite store bought cookie) and a snack size Ziploc of Goldfish. I immediately ate three or four of the Oreos and quickly decided that those were not what I wanted. I threw the rest away. The Goldfish, however, were a different story.  They tasted great! (Thanks to Nicole for suggesting these from her marathon trail race experience!)

As I started the second loop, I was thrilled to be starting the final part of this long day. However, I would be headed into absolutely new territory as soon as I hit mile 19. I had never run a marathon and 19 miles was the longest run my plan had me complete in training. I was definitely feeling some aches in my legs. Specifically, I was feeling some achiness in my left quad (not something I have felt before) and my right glute (something I feel routinely). I started feeling my right glute on the bike (having it start on the bike was unusual) and I continued to feel it on the run. It is always just a dull ache that I have been experiencing on and off for a while. It is not painful, just achy. I had taken two ibuprofen around mile 12.



I passed Nicole again as I began the nice downhill section early in loop two. Seeing her gave me a good boost.


At mile 16, I saw Tony and Tim. More smiles as I saw them, but I knew it was the last I would see my support crew. As I passed them, after they gave me their final supporting words, Tony said they would see me at the finish line.
Run 10

While those are very sweet words, I knew I had the most challenging physical part of the day still ahead. I basically continued the same approach that I had done for the first loop. I had decided to try some Coke at the aid station and/or possibly chicken broth. I had tried Coke once during my first half (to help a queasy stomach), but I had heard that Coke and broth can really help you get through the final stages of the IM marathon.

Run 11

Even though my stomach was feeling fine (which was a TREMENDOUS victory in of itself), I wanted to keep it that way! I had my trusty Goldfish that I was enjoying at every aid station and still would take water as the first thing at the station. I took Coke numerous times and broth once.

Run 12

As I hit the 19 mile mark, I thought to myself….”here we go. This is new ground, but I can do this!!”. As soon as I hit 20 miles, I started counting backward. I told myself that I had 6.2 miles left and surely I can run 6.2 miles! That continued for every remaining mile…whatever works to keep your mental game in play, right?? For these later miles, now that I think back, it is hard to describe, but I was definitely in a deep zone. Even more so than what I had experienced during training…thinking back to it, it is almost a blur. At least on that long section on River Road. Mentally, I think I really went somewhere deep to push through.

As I approached that nasty hill for the last time, I was so ready to go down the finish chute. However, I had that brutal out and back section on Mirror Lake Drive to do once again. I call it brutal, not because it is hilly or difficult, but because you are so close to the finish line and you have to keep running! I was plugging along and I remember stopping and walking. It was not a conscious decision at all. It was as if my mind and legs were not communicating. I literally had a five second conversation with myself and said “what are you doing? There is no walking at this point! You are so close to being done! Get a move on!” So, that five or six seconds was what I needed to push through the final mile.

As I was completeing the back section (of the out and back), it all became real. Then I had the final right turn (marked by the arrow for “finish”) to start down the chute. At that moment I felt all kinds of emotions running through my body.

I remember someone telling me to take my time down the finish chute and enjoy the moment. I did just that. It was almost surreal.


I raised my raised my arms in celebration and I spotted Tony just near the finish arch at the end of the chute. I don’t remember my name being announced by Mike Reilly (although it was, but mispronounced) and even though that was something I was so excited to hear (I frequently thought about it during training), seeing Tony as I was taking the last few steps to reach my goal was so much sweeter. He has ALWAYS been my biggest supporter and having him right there was the only thing I needed.



Immediately after I finished, a volunteer put the medal around my neck and there were two ladies there to help me with whatever I needed…one on each arm. I stood still for a bit as I was taking in what I had just completed. The volunteers were awesome giving me a wrap, my finisher’s t-shirt, hat and water and asking me if I was okay (since I continued to stand still). I was totally okay!!! I had done it! They asked me if I wanted food and really all I wanted was to see Tony, Tim & Nicole. One of the ladies gave me a chocolate milk and led me to the food table anyway. The first choices I saw were orange slices, grapes, pretzels…the same food from the course. NO! I definitely did not want that. Then I saw pizza and thought I might try that. Well. I looked even further down and changed my mind when I saw French fries. Yes please! Warm, salty fries! They encouraged me to sit down, but I told them I was fine and just wanted to find my crew. I wondered out (with my arms and hands full of my race bling and treats) and was looking for the gang. I decided to stay close to athlete’s exit of the finish chute with the thought that they would come to me. After just a few minutes (I had enjoyed four of five fries at that point), I saw Tim. He came up to me with big smiles and hugs. Just what I needed! He called Nicole and Tony and within a couple of minutes they found us. As soon as I saw Tony, he grabbed me and gave me a huge hug and the tray of French fries I had in my hand went flying everywhere! Then all the emotions got the best of me and I did not want to let him go. It was one of the best hugs ever!! I finally let him go and then got another great hug from Nicole. These guys were the best! I loved everything they did out on the course and it meant so very much to have them there.


I was on cloud nine and was so happy to be reunited with them all. I had so much to talk about and share.

This day was the cherry on top of the sundae that I spent six months building (really…it took me several years to build it as I worked hard to be in the physical and mental position to start a 6-month training plan to become an Ironman). I knew this day would be full of challenges like I had never experienced. I honestly did not think the challenges would start before ever exiting the water, but this really proves that you never know what will happen in an Ironman. You can train and prepare to the best of your ability, but you must be mentally prepared to overcome whatever comes your way. I am proud of myself. I proved alot to myself on this day and it will be a day that I will never forget.

To Tony, Tim and Nicole…thank you is not enough. Since I have spectated four Ironmans, I know it is a long day. They have all been fun days, but tiring, nonetheless. Having their support out of the course was tremendous. All the words said during the day kept me motivated and made me smile (especially the reminders about pancakes and milk shakes from Nicole). The photos I have are so special as they will always be reminders of a terrific day! Thanks to them for enduring the “normal” elements of Ironman spectating (getting up early and lots of standing around), but the harsher ones that this day brought (very cold rain).


Total Run Time = 4:36:11 (Division Rank: 57/172   Gender Rank: 206/702)

As a result of the crazy weather during the swim, WTC decided to not include the second loop of the swim and T1 in the official results for age groupers. Even if an athlete was not pulled early from the swim, everyone’s time was treated this way. According to Ironman, my official finish time was 12:41:42. However, in my mind, this is not my time. I feel I was completely on pace to match the same time in my second swim loop and if I estimate my T1 time to be approximately the same as T2, my finish time is 13:35. This, of course, does not include the time we swam to the docks, waited around and then had to walk a very long way to T1. The 13:35 would be my race time. It is a little frustrating to have an “official time” that really is not official, but I feel the 13:35 more accurately reflects my race. Even though I never shared it before the race, my goal time was 13 to 14 hours. Needless to say, I am happy!!

As several weeks have passed since I completed Ironman Lake Placid, I have frequently reflected back on that day. What should I have done differently? What could I have done better? During these reflections, I remember that decision making is also a huge part to an Ironman. The decisions made to push harder, ease up, drink more, eat now, stop for the bathroom, etc. are part of the day. I made the best decisions I could at the time. I don’t have any regrets with anything I did or the decisions I made. I learned so very much about myself and I like these lessons. I am more full of determination, grit, focus and strength than I thought. The time in my life from February 10, 2014 (the day I started the 24-week training plan) to when I crossed that finish line, changed me in so many great ways!

Worth It

I can say this with COMPLETE certainty now!!


Enough Said!!



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The beginning of the bike course literally starts with a short, steep decline and a very sharp left turn. There are hay bails set up on the turn to catch run-away cyclists. I started very cautiously since it was pouring rain…gently riding my brakes to stay in control. The first few miles are flat as you head out of town. I was trying to drink and eat a bit. Since my body was so cold, I did not feel like drinking, but it had been a while before my swim since I last had water. I knew I needed to stay on top of my hydration from the beginning, even if I was not thirsty. This part was slow going. I was being smart (ie. cautious due to wet roads), but I still did not have my mind in the race. I talked to myself quite a bit. The bike is my favorite leg of triathlon. I had ridden hundreds of miles to prepare for this day. Yes, conditions were crappy at that moment, but I had to suck it up.

The next section had a number of steady rollers and then one decent climb. I know I did not push my pace at all on this section. I had planned to start conservative and probably ended up being too conservative in this stretch since I was gradually working my mind back to business.  Also, I knew I had some stiff challenges ahead…the descent.

Probably one of the most documented stretches of the IMLP bike course is the descent into Keene. This stretch is approximately eight miles long. The exciting news for 2014, was that a majority of this stretch had been recently re-paved. Most cyclists love downhills. FREE SPEED! The terrain that I typically train on does not have steep descents (in comparison to these). However, I generally feel comfortable descending and since we had driven the bike course, I knew there were not technical turns associated with these descents. I was confident heading into race day. Well, rain changes everything!!! I knew this section would be so very dangerous with the heavy rain we were experiencing. I also knew that I had to remain SMART and in control of my bike. I did just that. I rode this stretch the only way I was comfortable given the conditions.

Overall I felt that the other athletes were very aware and being safe on the roads. I think everyone’s radar was extra sensitive due to the inherently dangerous conditions that the rain brought to the roads…especially on the descents. However, in one area, I passed another female cyclist that had gone down on the descent. She was getting help, but still remained flat out on the pavement. REALITY CHECK!! As the descent continued, any warmth that I had generated on the opening climbs was gone. My teeth were chattering again and my body was shivering. I was just trying to hang in. I told myself that as soon as I made it into the town of Keene and the flat section started, I HAD TO WORK! I needed to get warm and get in my groove!

I vividly remember the mental relief I felt when I made the left hand turn coming off the descent. It was almost as if I turned a page in a book. I started really eating at that point (I had nibbled some a little earlier) and concentrating on my plan. The rain began to ease up and I eventually started seeing a bit of blue sky. Just a peak through the clouds and I know I must of had a big smile on my face! Being optimistic that things were getting better and I would not be a bike popsicle on two pretty purple race wheels!

I saw my complete support crew for the first time around mile 25. At that point in time, I was on cloud nine. I had my mind totally in the race and was eating and drinking according to plan. [I was consistently taking water from the aide stations as well an Bonk Breaker bites.  I was supplementing the water with the concentrated Osmo I had brought on my bike, as well as, peanut butter filled pretzels and Honey Stinger Waffles.]  I was feeling good and relieved that I had fought past this first huge hurdle. It was GAME ON for me!!

The second time I saw the crew was just after the 10 mile out and back section (to/from Ausable Forks) making a right hand turn that immediately tuned into a short steep climb, around mile 35-ish.  When we drove this, Tony instructed me to stand up and climb as soon as I made the turn.  I had no idea they would be there, but sure enough, as soon as I stood up, I spotted them!  I know he was happy that I followed his (good) advice!  Again, big smiles when I saw and heard the crew.  It was amazing every time I saw them!!


Standing climb!!


I passed the guy in the blue jacket on the climb!

I felt like I was in a good groove. Riding like I had trained. Still being smart since that was my game plan for the first loop…not pushing too hard. I had to stop fairly early on for a bathroom break. I was obviously hydrating well! The bad part was that I had waited as long as I could possibly wait and when I saw the next aide station, I stopped. Unfortunately, there were at least five people in line before me. I saw the line as I was dismounting, but there was no way I could make it another ten miles to the next aide station. I knew I would have to stop along the bike course, but I had not really planned on having to wait in line! This stop took a long time and I lost at least 8 to 10 minutes here.

As I progressed to the back end of the first loop of the bike course, I hit the rolling/climbing section that is also very well documented.  There was one supporter/spectator that was “coaching” everyone to be in the small ring from there to the end of the loop…which was not bad advice.  No need to overwork the legs on the first loop and not have enough left in the tank for the second.  I finally came to the last stretch of climbs that are entitled the “three bears”.  I was not sure when I actually hit them (the order being mama bear, baby bear and papa bear), since they are preceded by plenty of rollers/climbs.   However, I did know when I hit papa bear…I saw it written on the side of the road.  There were also lots of spectators and some even dressed in costumes.

As I was coming back in on the first loop after the bears, I was in the small ring and holding a good cadence to work through the last section into town.  There was one man that was really excited about my cadence. He said “boom, boom, boom…look at that cadence” while cheering for me. It seemed as if there were plenty of spectators that were knowledge about cycling and/or the course! Pretty cool!

I came back into town and made my way back through to start the second loop.  I was feeling good and knew I was where I wanted to be.  Of course as I started the second loop, mentally I was in a place that was a day to night comparison to where I was when I had been in that same spot a few hours earlier.  As I hit the descent into Keene, the roads were dry, so I was really able to take advantage of the downhills.  YES!  They were pretty fun!!

I saw the crew again around mile 65-ish.  It was on the stretch into Keene and these are some great photos of the course.


A nice view of the bike course


Nice scenery on the course


Happy to see the crew!!



I found that there was a sense of camaraderie amongst most of the cyclists. There was one instance when I looked back over my left shoulder to see if the path was clear so I could take a pass and someone was approaching. I was going to slow up. Instead, he verbally allowed me to take the pass first and within legal rules (no drafting). There were a few people I played leap frog with. One other girl and I jumped positions multiple times on the first loop. I spotted her again on the second loop and she commented that it had been a while since we had seen each other. There was one guy that I traded spots with a number of times. One instance when he passed me and said…”I know I will see you again in a few minutes” (he did).  I also received lots of comments on my purple race wheels! One lady commented (whose bike and gear was totally outfitted in pink) that her daughter would love my purple wheels. I was also asked what my favorite color was…ummmm, I wonder!!

My ride remained strong. As I hit the 10-mile out and back section (just after mile 80), I decided to push the pace a bit. My legs responded well. It really felt good to open up. On this stretch, there were three guys that I passed with 2 minutes or so of one another and they were all very supportive of “being chicked”…each one said something supportive like “that is the way to go” or “looking strong”, etc. I just found it interesting that I received three comments in a row.

Unfortunately, I had to take a second pit stop. I would have rather not stopped, but nature called. Still a good sign that I was hydrating well. Once again, there was a bit of a line that took several minutes. Nothing like standing still to really make a dent into my average bike pace!

I was tacking the tail end of the course that is filled with lots of fun rollers and climbs, the bottom fell out.  Once again, it was accompanied by thunder and lightning.  Sure, I would rather it stay dry, but at that point, it really did not bother me.  Other than trying to eat my peanut butter pretzels out of my bento box (the rain was falling into the baggie making for soggy pretzels) and my glasses fogging up, I stayed (mentally) unaffected.  On this challenging stretch, my legs were feeling the effects of nearly 112 miles.  Nothing too concerning and I had taken a few ibuprofen during the second loop to try to mitigate too many aches and pains.  I think it is fair to say I was ready to wrap up the bike leg though.  Considering I had been on the bike for 7 hours, I was ready for a change.

I felt I had executed my plan fairly well.  Hydration wise, I felt in good shape.  Nutrition wise, I had not eaten all that I had planned.  I was not significantly under, but not to the level I thought I needed.

It was exciting to make it back into town. The crowd was lining the road and was super supportive. Nicole was in the crowd, but unfortunately I did not spot her before she took this photo!

Finishing the second loop and heading into T2!!

As I arrived into T2, a volunteer took my bike (cool) and I grabbed my run gear bag and I hit the changing tent.  Off with the bike gear, including the arm warmers, and on with running shorts, socks, shoes, visor and hydration belt.  Once again, the volunteer was awesome help!!  It was run time…my first marathon!!!

Total Bike Time = 7:10.10 (Division Rank: 79/172   Gender Rank: 296/702)