rise to it

“The land of endurance is calling – rise to it.”

~Ironman 70.3 World Championship marketing

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race Ironman 70.3 World Championships on Saturday, September 18! 💙💛

  • I had the will to try and the belief it was possible so I got to achieve my dreams by racing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships
  • this is a two transition race
  • ALL gear (bike, bike bag/gear, run bag/gear) was dropped off on Friday
  • shuttle buses shuttled all athletes and spectators out to Sand Hollow Reservoir on race morning
  • the water temp was 78.3F (non-wetsuit race…I wore my Roka swimskin)
  • the pro men, pro women, and para athletes started first, followed by all of the age group men by age group waves, and then the age group women by age group waves
  • I was in the first women’s wave and started that started at 8:58 am MT
  • the swim start was a self seeded within our age group 10 athletes sent off every 15 seconds
  • the swim was the beautiful and the calm before the storm…quite literally
  • there were no volunteers to help change in T1
  • you had to put all of your stuff in your T1 bag and give it to a volunteer so your gear would be transported to T2
  • the bike was interesting…lightening, dust storm, hail, rain, wind (gusting up to 40 mph), cloudy, torrential downpour
  • there were four water/aid stations on the bike
  • there were no volunteers to help change in T2
  • the sun came out on the run and got HOT AF…we were in the desert after all
  • there were aid stations on the run nearly every mile with water, gatorade, gels, ice, bananas, oranges, Coke, Red Bull, etc.
  • there was a buffet line with pizza or a chicken salad, chips, bananas, and a few beverage options

Longer Version: I GOT to race Ironman 70.3 World Championships on Saturday, September 18 in St. George, Utah! 💙💛

Reminders for the day!

We got on a shuttle at about 6:45 am from near the finish area to Sand Hollow Reservoir. Once we arrived at the Reservoir, I had plenty of time to go potty, get my tires aired up, and my bike bottles on Mojo. I helped a fellow Coeur Sports sister air up her tires and then consumed some extra calories while waiting for my swim wave. At about 8:10 am, I noticed our swim sign was moving toward the front of the swim line, so I put my Roka swimskin on and made my way into the starting coral with the other F40-44 athletes. I was a bit worried as I didn’t see Steena, but knew that our wave was moving, so I needed to move also. Eventually Steena made her way to me and we chatted while we waited for our swim wave to actually start the swim. We commented that it was a bit warm standing in the sun waiting…hind sight is 20/20 for what was to come! 😜

Swim: (42:36 for 1.2 miles at 2:12/100 m average pace…146/225 F40-44, 789/1254 F, 2434/3441 overall)

I entered the water on the far left, instead of along the buoy line. As I dived into the water, I immediately thought, “WOW! This water is clear and cool!” It wasn’t actually as cool as I prefer, but it felt cool after standing in the sun waiting to start the swim. I found my rhythm and made my way toward the line of buoys by the 5th buoy. There wasn’t much contact (if any) as I swam past slower swimmers in front of me. When I turned to breathe, I soaked in the absolutely gorgeous views. When I rounded the first turn buoy, I started passing slower athletes in different colored swim caps from the waves before me. I made my way through the swim arch (timing device), rounded turn buoy #2, and headed for the shore. With about 500 meters to go, I started getting passed by faster athletes in swim waves behind me. I tried to jump on the feet of a few of them to get as much free speed as possible, but they were much faster and I was unable to stick with them. I felt strong + solid during the swim giving my best on this day! “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

📸 Finisher Pix

T1: (5:38)

As I exited the water, I noticed the black sky off in the distance and said, “Oh shit!” I got my swimskin off just below my hips, removed my goggles + swim cap, and ran to my gear bag. I quickly stripped off my swimskin, put on my socks + bike shoes, stuffed all my swim gear in my bag, grabbed my helmet and sunnies and started running to meet Mojo at her spot. I dropped my gear bag off to some wonderful volunteers and donned my helmet and sunnies as I ran to get Mojo. I quickly grabbed Mojo, and ran a REALLY long way to the bike exit. Once at the mount line, we were off!

I may have drank too much water during the swim. 🤪
📸 John Cirves

Bike: (3:39:25 for 56 miles at 15.3 mph average speed…200/225 F40-44, 1142/1254 F, 3290/3441 overall)

I was excited to get on the bike and rise to the challenge that the Ironman 70.3 St. George terrain would provide. It is notoriously hilly including a 4 mile climb up Snow Canyon National Park at mile 40ish of the 56 mile bike course, but I was excited for the challenge! “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

At about mile 6, I noticed lightening off in the distance + those black skies getting closer and closer to me. I thought, “Oh no! That’s not good! What is going to happen to those poor ladies in the water swimming right now?!” I put my head down and pushed on reminding myself that I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships! At about mile 8, the winds picked up out of no where blowing tumble weeds across the road and creating a big dust storm. The next thing I knew, ladies in front of me were getting blown right off the road on their bikes into the ditch. I held on to Mojo for dear life and continued to move forward. “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

📸 Finisher Pix

At about mile 10, the rain + hail started and the winds weren’t letting up. I laughed a bit, as I remembered the slogan for this race was “rise to it” and Mother Nature was giving us a bit more to rise to. I was a bit nervous about the speed with which other athletes were flying past me in aero on these slick roads with the wind blowing us sideways, but I kept focusing on myself and what I could control as I pushed on. My biceps, triceps, and forearms were SO tired and sore from the death grip I was giving Mojo. “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

Eventually Mother Nature adjusted her attitude a bit to give us a temporary break before I started climbing Snow Canyon. While climbing the 4 miles up Snow Canyon, I just kept soaking up the views! It was so gorgeous! I anticipated the climb up Snow Canyon to be more challenging than it actually was. The whole climb, I just kept repeating… “Rise to it! I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!” When I crested the top of Snow Canyon, I knew I could have pushed a little harder up that climb, so I decided to really hammer on the 8% descent back into town and to transition. “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

📸 Finisher Pix

With about 2 miles to go, Mother Nature threw another challenge our way. She turned the faucet on full speed creating a torrential downpour. I couldn’t see much of anything, so all I could do was laugh out loud and ask, “What is next?!” as I wheeled into transition. “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

📸 The Iron Hippie

T2: (3:22)

I was SOOOOO glad to be on two feet! Just getting through that bike in one piece was a HUGE WIN! I handed Mojo off to an amazing volunteer who put her in her new spot in T2. I grabbed my gear bag + took off my helmet on my way to the changing area. During this time, the torrential downpour quit and a nice steady rain persisted. I quickly took off my shoes and socks…I was SO grateful I put a dry pair of socks in my run bag. I pulled my visor, race belt, and handheld water bottle out of my gear bag, then shoved my helmet bike shoes, and soaked socks in the bag. I handed my gear bag off to a wonderful volunteer who took it to be with Mojo and put my race belt + visor on while running out of T2.

📸 The Iron Hippie

Run: (2:19:54 for 13.1 miles at 10:50/mile average pace…179/225 F40-44, 955/1254 F, 3010/3441 overall)

📸 Finisher Pix

As I exited T2, the Iron Hippie told me I was 6 minutes down from Laura (a friend of mine from back home that I often see at the races). After looking at the run profile, I knew the first 4 miles of the run would be a continuous climb, so I settled in…hello glutes and hammies! By about mile 2 the skies opened up and the sun came out in full force and got HOT AF…welcome to the desert! This is what I had trained for…full sun + heat! “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

📸 Finisher Pix

I focused on monitoring my HR for the duration of the run. When it jumped above 160 bpm, I would take a short walk break until it fell back below 140 bpm. When I got to mile 4, I was feeling strong and ready for the descent back into town. I had no idea just how steep of a descent it would be…hello quad burner! “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

📸 The Iron Hippie

As I made my way to the roundabout for lap two, the Iron Hippie updated me that I was now 3 minutes behind Laura and that I could totally catch her. I felt so strong heading into that second lap, so I knew I could catch her. I continued monitoring my HR following my run/walk strategy, which worked beautifully because at about mile 9, I finally caught up with Laura. I walked with her for a minute so we could chat. I told her to finish strong and continued on. At about mile 10.5 I quit monitoring my HR and left it all out there pushing myself to the limit all the way to the finish line.

📸 Finisher Pix

Overall: (6:50:54…192/225 F40-44, 1051/1254 F, 3148/3441 overall)

📸 Finisher Pix

This race was a celebration! I was so grateful to be racing on the Ironman 70.3 World stage with some of the best athletes in the world. This race challenged me in SO many ways forcing me to “rise to it!” I am beginning to learn that I am strongest when given the most challenging circumstances…hello IMLou 2018 AND I preform my best when I remove internal pressure + expectations while focusing on the present moment. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! I am beyond grateful that my body + mind showed up to play at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships! Oh…and when can we do this again (with the EXACT same conditions)?! 😜

📸 Finisher Pix

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports sports bra, Coeur Sports aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Viper x2 Short Sleeve Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies, Orange Mud hand held water bottle

“if you are an Olympian go around me”

“If you are an Olympian, go around me.”

~volunteer on the run course

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race the Bluff Creek Olympic-distance Triathlon on Sunday, August 15, 2021! 💙💛

  • this is a small local race
  • parking is about 1/2 mile from transition
  • the air temp was in the low 60s by race start, sunny, very low humidity, and very little wind
  • the water temp was ~77F so I wore my Roka swimskin
  • the swim course this year was changed so shuttles would not be needed to transport athletes around the lake for the swim start
  • the swim start was self seeded with 1 athlete entering the water approximately every 3-4 seconds
  • the swim was out and back twice with buoys on the left
  • the bike has two big climbs of Twister hill (where the movie Twister was filmed)
  • there were no water/aid stations on the bike, which is typical for a 24.8 mile bike course
  • the run course is two out and backs with a decent hill climb done twice
  • there were aid stations on the run with water and Gatorade
  • there was food and beverage options available at the finish, but I didn’t go scope it out, so I don’t know what was offered

Longer Version: I GOT to push myself to the 2nd overall female place on Sunday (with first place going to professional triathlete, Jess Smith)!

We had a 40 minute drive from home on Saturday morning to the race site. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning with temps in the upper 50s/low 60s…drastically different from Wednesday where the heat index topped out at 106F. When we arrived at Don Williams Recreation Area, we got all of our gear ready at the car before hauling it to the transition area. We had completed packet pick up on Saturday at a local bike shop, so when wee arrived at transition, we got body marked and put everything in transition at our spots. I used the kybo before setting up my transition area. Once my area was set, I chatted with friends and former students before getting my Roka swimskin on and heading to the boat ramp for the athlete meeting.

Getting to squeeze and race with my Coeur Sports sistas!

Swim: (34:19 for 1500 meters at 2:17/100 m average pace)

We self seeded on the boat ramp for how confident and fast we thought we’d swim, so I stayed toward the front of the line of Olympic distance triathletes. When it was my turn, I dove into the water. I felt so strong and confident as I made my way to the first turn buoy. The water felt really warm, so I was grateful to have the swim skin on and not a wetsuit. As I made my way around the first turn buoy, I was swimming directly into the sunlight. This made it a bit challenging to site, but I did a great job of swimming straight. There were some athletes in front of me swimming on the wrong side of the buoys after making their way around the 2nd turn buoy, so I collided head on with them. They apologized as I forged on. After turning around the 2nd swim buoy, the sun was no longer in my eye and I was able to quickly and easily make my way back to the 1st turn buoy (which would be turn buoy #3). As I approached this turn buoy, the traffic became much more congested as the sprint triathletes were making their way into the water and around the turn buoy. We had the sprint triathletes in the mix with us until about the 1/2 way point back into the sun toward the 2nd turn buoy (which would be turn buoy #4), but then the traffic thinned out for a bit. I easily and quickly made my way around the 4th swim buoy and headed back to the boat ramp. At about that 1/2 way point we encountered more traffic again as the slower sprint triathletes made their way around their turn buoy and toward the boat ramp. It was nice to have the big swim exit arch to site off of at the boat ramp.

***Side note…the timing mat for the swim exit was actually up at transition, so my slower time/pace is reflective my swim + a decent run to get to the timing mat.

T1: (1:29)

As I exited the water, I got my swimskin off just below my hips, removed my goggles + swim cap, and ran all the way through transition since my bike was right next to bike exit. When I arrived at my transition spot, I stripped off my swimskin, put on my socks + bike shoes, donned my helmet and sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Bike: (1:21:34 for 24.8 miles at 18.2 mph average speed)

After crossing the mount line and getting on Mojo, we cruised our way out of Don Williams Recreation Area. This course was nothing like Saturday’s super flat course! We had some rolling hills before reaching the first big climb at about mile 7. Those rollers primed the legs for what was to come. As we were climbing Twister Hill for the first time, a few of us were chatting a bit (people I was passing and those passing me) about how beautiful the weather was…and some complained about how big and steep this hill was, but I didn’t let their negative chatter impact me. I LOVE A CHALLENGE! At the top of the climb, it was time to put the hammer down and work to make gains on the people I saw in front of me. After all, playing chase on the bike lights my fire! I got to cheer on my Coeur Sports sister (and professional triathlete), Jess Smith, as she was making her way back to Twister Hill for the last time. There were some more rolling hills before making it to the turn around at mile 12.4 and again after the turn around as we made our way back to Twister Hill. Before making it back to Twister Hill for the second time, I got to cheer on my Coeur Sports sister, Sarah, as she had just crested the top of Twister Hill. I asked her if she liked that climb and she relayed that she wasn’t a fan. Who ever said Iowa was flat clearly hasn’t experienced Twister Hill. 🤪 As I was going down Twister Hill the second time, I saw an athlete walking up the hill with his bike…that’s how big/steep of a climb it is. I powered my way back up the climb and was making my way back toward transition when our friend Steve passed me with about 2 miles to go on the bike. I was determined to keep him in my sites as we approached Don Williams Recreation Area. I absolutely LOVE a good challenge! I had SO MUCH FUN on this course! I was smiling and giddy the whole time!

LFG! ⚡️
Photo credit: Dave Mable

T2: (0:40)

As I came into T2, saw the Iron Hippie walking on the road near bike dismount, so I knew he was done with his sprint race. I yelled “hi” at him as I rolled into the bike dismount and ran into the transition area. I quickly racked my bike, dropped my helmet, changed into my Newton running shoes, grabbed my visor + race belt, and ran out of T2. I had only seen a couple of women in front of me on the bike course, so I wanted to hunt them down! I knew I would never catch Jess Smith…hello professional triathlete…but the rest of them were my rabbits to chase down!

Run: (52:04 for 6.2 miles at 8:24/mile average pace)

As we exited T2, we ran on trails through the wooded area that eventually spit us out on to the paved campground roads. This route had a mix of sun, shade, flats, hills, and spectators in the campground + lots of fun! I could see our friends Mindy and Steve in front of me. It was time to chase them down! Mindy and I chatted briefly as I passed her. Just after mile 1, I took water from the aid station…thank you ISU Physics club! The ISU Physics club had brought volunteers out in full force and it was fun to see a bunch of them on the course. After the aid station, I put the hammer down on the slight climb to catch Steve who was just ahead of me. I caught up to him just before the turn around out in the campground. We chatted as we ran together briefly and then I forged ahead. I took in water at the aid station again before climbing my way up the steep hill. I tapped into my intentional thinking to not allow myself to walk…”I set goals on purpose and with purpose. I like a good challenge. This is good prep for worlds. Just keep running.”

As I came to the turn around, the volunteer at the cone said, “if you are an Olympian go around me. If you are finishing, turn right.” I smiled big as I rounded the cone to head back out for lap two. I again grabbed water at the aid station on the dam, made my way to the turn around out at the campground, back to the aid station for water before climbing the steep hill for the last time. I kept the intentional thinking strong and focused…”I set goal on purpose and with purpose. I like a good challenge. This is good prep for worlds. Just keep running.”

This time when I got to the volunteer at the cone saying, “if you are an Olympian go around me. If you are finishing, turn right,” I got to turn right back through the wooded area toward the finish line. This is where I saw Dave Mable who briefly ran with me for some video footage before I got to that finish line.

So much heart and courage running into that 2nd place finish!
Photo credit: Dave Mable

Overall: (2:50:07…2/16 Female, 35/81 overall)

I am SOOOO incredibly grateful for a strong body and mind! I never would have dreamed that I would ever get 2nd overall female at an Olympic distance triathlon the day after taking 1st overall female at a sprint triathlon, but here I am…and it feels AMAZING!

That 2nd place medal at Bluff Creek
Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports sports bra, Coeur Sports aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Viper x2 Short Sleeve Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies

sprinting to the overall female win

“An overall title is one of the biggest things you can win in our sport.”

~Lindsey Vonn

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race the Twin Lakes Sprint Triathlon on Saturday, August 14, 2021! 💙💛

  • this is a small local race
  • the air temp was in the mid 50s by race start, sunny, very low humidity, and very little wind
  • the water temp was ~77F so I wore my Roka swimskin
  • the swim was a 750 m swim distance
  • the swim start was numerical entry based on bib number with 1 athlete entering the water approximately every 3-4 seconds
  • the swim was a triangle-ish shape with buoys on the left
  • the bike was FLAT
  • there were no water/aid stations on the bike, which is typical for a 12.4 mile bike course
  • there were aid stations on the run with water only
  • there was a buffet line with sandwiches, fruit, and a few beverage options at the finish
  • the finish line is on the opposite side of the lake from transition, so you take the shuttle back to the transition area (a truck pulls a big open air cart for people to ride on)

Longer Version: I GOT to push myself to the overall female win on Saturday!

We had a 90 minute drive from home on Saturday morning to the race site. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning with temps in the low 50s…drastically different from Wednesday where the heat index topped out at 106F. When we arrived at the Twin Lakes State Park, we used the restrooms, picked up our packet, got everything set in transition, and hung around transition waiting until the athlete meeting (which happened at transition…not the beach).

Look at this gorgeous sunrise that greeted us on Saturday morning.

I put on my Roka swimskin before the athlete meeting, listened to the National Anthem and prayer, then made my way down to the beach for the swim start. Once at the beach, we were given some brief instructions for the swim course before lining up.

Swim: (17:35 for 750 meters at 2:20/100 m average pace)

We lined up on the beach in numerical order based on our bib number. When it was my turn, I dove into the water. I felt so strong and confident as I swam past many of the people in front of me. The water felt really warm, so I was grateful to have the swim skin on and not a wetsuit. As I made my way around the last turn buoy to head into the shore, it was difficult to site as there was no swim arch to look for. Thankfully the volunteers were all donning bright neon yellow shirts, which stood out well against the natural backdrop.

***Side note…the timing mat for the swim exit was actually up at transition, so my slower time/pace is reflective of my swim + a decent run to get to the timing mat.

SOOOO ready! LFG ⚡️

T1: (1:17)

As I exited the water, I got my swimskin off just below my hips, removed my goggles + swim cap, and ran all the way through transition since my bike was right next to bike exit. When I arrived at my transition spot, I stripped off my swimskin, put on my socks + bike shoes, donned my helmet and sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Bike: (34:58 for 12.4 miles at 21.3 mph average speed)

After crossing the mount line and getting on Mojo, we cruised our way out of Twin Lakes State Park. This course is SUPER flat! We rode completely around the lake twice before returning to the transition area at Twin Lakes State Park. This was a small race field, so I didn’t get to play chase like I normally would, but I did pick off the only female athlete to beat me out of the water. This course was SO MUCH FUN! I was smiling and giddy the whole time!

T2: (0:41)

As I came into T2, I quickly racked my bike, dropped my helmet, changed into my Newton running shoes, grabbed my visor + race belt, and ran out of T2. I suspected I was in first place and wanted to make my lead even bigger!

Run: (25:55 for 3.16 miles at 8:13/mile average pace)

As we exited T2, I put on my visor + race belt. We were directed to run on the paved trail that goes around the lake. This was such a nice running route. It had areas of sun and areas of shade, but the surface was top notch! I had a little bit of stomach cramps on the run, so I felt like I was holding back effort wise just a little bit, but I kept my pace solid and strong. I passed a couple of men back on the run (who had passed me toward the end of the bike) as I made my way to the finish line.

GETTING to break the tape as I take 1st overall female! ⚡️⚡️⚡️

Overall: (1:20:29…1/13 Female, 6/47 overall)

I am SOOOO incredibly grateful for a strong body and mind! I never would have dreamed that I would ever stand on the top step of the podium by taking the overall female win, but here I am…and it feels AMAZING!

This was my first time stepping up on the top step of a podium to take the overall female win! Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports tank top with built in shelf bra, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Viper x2 Sleeveless Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies

grieving the race I trained for

“Grief is real because loss is real. Grief is the healing process that ultimately brings us comfort in our pain.”

~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race Ironman 70.3 Ohio on Sunday, July 25! 💙💛

  • this is a two transition race, so both our bike and run bag/gear were dropped off on Saturday
  • there was a short delay (~30 minutes) because of backed up traffic…shuttle buses couldn’t get to the park
  • the water temp was 77.4F (wetsuit optional…Roka swimskin was worn for me)
  • the swim start was a self seeded with 3 athletes sent off every 4 seconds
  • the swim was cloudy, but not rainy
  • if you put all of your stuff in your T1 bag, they transported everything to T2 for you so you didn’t have to go back out to the park to get your swim stuff
  • the bike was also cloudy, but not rainy
  • the air was VERY thick (high humidity)
  • there were three water/aid stations on the bike
  • it was a VERY soupy day with the dew point at 72, very little wind, and the temp at 95F when I finished the run
  • I had to rally on the run to finish as I was in physical distress
  • there were aid stations on the run nearly every mile with water, gatorade, gels, ice, bananas, etc.
  • the sun came out on the run cranking the furnace up to high
  • there was a buffet line with burgers, chicken burritos, chips, bananas, and a few beverage options…but the best were shots of pickle juice!
Whew! That was rough!
Photo credit: FinisherPix

Longer Version: I GOT to race my first 70.3 distance race since July 2018.

We had some storms roll through in the overnight hours on Saturday, but thankfully it was all out of the area in time for the race start on Sunday morning.

We arrived at Delaware State Park where the swim and T1 are located by about 4:45 am. Plenty of time for me to potty, get my transition area set up, and put everything back in the car that I didn’t need before the race start at 6:30 am. At about 6:10 am, I put my Roka swimskin on only to find out about 20 minutes later that we would be delayed a bit as there was a traffic jam causing the shuttle buses bringing athletes to the park to be stuck in traffic.

Swim: (41:02 for 1.2 miles at 2:07/100 m average pace…35/114 F40-44, 173/593 F, 600/1871 overall)

After the National Anthem, I lined up at the back of the 33-35 minute swim start field. I knew if I was having a solid day 35 minutes would be achievable. I was near my friends, Steena and John, as we entered the starting corrals. When the beep sounded for me to start, I was off. This swim is basically a big triangle with two right hand turns.

The goal was to swim straight and gamify this swim by chasing down athletes in front of me. I did a really good job of swimming straight and staying close to the buoys. I was surprised at how little swim traffic was next to the buoys. This was the best place to be for this swim. I had very little contact with others and didn’t swim extra yardage. WIN #1! I can also say I did a really good job of gamifying the swim. I played chase! I passed people in the water. I felt strong and confident as I checked in on my effort multiple times throughout this swim. WIN #2!

Swim felt good!
Photo credit: FinisherPix

T1: (4:21)

As I exited the water, I got my swimskin off just below my hips, removed my goggles + swim cap, and ran all the way through transition since my bike was right next to bike exit. The positive of having my bike right next to bike exit…I didn’t have to run with my bike all the way through the transition area and around other athletes. The negative…I had to run barefoot throughout transition and that surface was not friendly on the bare feet. When I arrived at my transition spot, I stripped off my swimskin, stuffed all of my swim gear in my T1 bag (so it would be transported to the finish area for pick up later in the day), put on my socks + bike shoes, donned my helmet and sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Stripping off the swim skin…see that rough pavement?! Ouchie on the bare feet!
Photo credit: The Ironhippie

Bike: (2:57:52 for 56 miles at 18.80 mph average speed…47/114 F40-44, 202/593 F, 872/1871 overall)

After crossing the mount line Mojo and I cruised our way out of Delaware State Park. This course is SUPER flat! It was a big loop that took us north out of the park for about 18 miles before we turned east and the road surfaces turned to chip seal. The goal for this ride was to stay in aero, play chase, have fun, be grateful, and hammer. I did a great job of this for the first ~30 miles. WIN #3! And then…

Riding strong…for now.
Photo credit: FinisherPix

At about mile 30, my body began to enter distress mode…I was seeing double. No idea what actually caused it, but I have a theory (which was out of my control). I did my best, kept my head in the game, and kept moving forward. I took in my calories every 5 miles and continued to sip water (since it was SO HUMID). I rode in aero when I felt it was safe for me to do so. My mental game was strong, so it was disappointing to have my body in physical distress. I made the decision to get to T2 and evaluate what I needed to do at that point.

Getting water…although there was so much in the air I was probably taking it in with every breath. You can see how thick the air is in this pic.

T2: (4:45)

As I came into T2, I staggered a bit as I ran with my bike through transition to my spot. I quickly racked my bike and nearly fell over when I bent down to change into my Newton running shoes. Thankfully another athlete offered to help hold me up while I changed my socks and shoes. I thanked the other athlete for his help, grabbed my visor + race belt + hand-held water bottle, and walked out of T2 trying to evaluate if I would actually be able to run.

Run: (2:54:58 for 13.1 miles at 13:22/mile average pace…71/114 F40-44, 343/593 F, 1199/1871 overall)

As I exited T2, I waited until I was out of the tunnel under the stadium to try to run. I was able to run for a short while before the bouncing became too much causing me to resort to walking. At the first aid station, one of the kind volunteers filled my water bottle so that I would have plenty of fluids with me at all times. I continued walking until just past the 1 mile mark where I tried to run again in a downhill section. I quickly realized this wasn’t a good idea and returned to walking.

I saw the Ironhippie at about the 1.5 mile mark. He asked what was going on and I told him. All I wanted to do was lay down in the ditch and throw up (I didn’t feel full or nauseous, but the double vision was making me motion sick). He told me I had to decide how I wanted my day to end and that there was an aid station just ahead at the 2 mile mark. He suggested I walk to the next aid station, take in Coke (to help with the feeling of wanting to throw up) and re-evaluate. I debated the Coke thing…as caffeine and my body are not friends, but in the end, I took a couple of sips of Coke at the 2nd aid station. The Ironhippie was on his bike, so he would check in with me, and then ride ahead a bit before checking in with me again. I continued to walk and eventually started sobbing. I was sobbing because I didn’t know if I should continue or pull the plug. I was sobbing because my mental game was strong, but physically my body was in distress. I was sobbing because I was not able to physically execute the race I had trained for. I was sobbing because the race I know exists inside me was not going to happen on this day. I was sobbing because I had to decide how I wanted my day to end. I was sobbing because…loss is real.

How can one grieve something they never had?! I grieved the race I trained for. Grieved the anticipation of the joy I wanted to feel crossing that finish line knowing I put it all out there. Grieved the anticipation of what could have been a different outcome.

It’s ok to take time to feel the emotions. How you feel is yours and no one has the right to tell you how to feel, what to feel, or how long to feel it. “Grief is real because loss is real. Grief is the healing process that ultimately brings us comfort in our pain.” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

What better way to heal from the pain of this loss than to hop back on the saddle and prepare for Ironman 70.3 World Championships! ⚡️ #LFG

It was while I was sobbing that I got passed by two of my Coeur Sports teammies. Thank you Heidi for the slap on the ass + encouragement and to Melissa for the support. I continued walking past mile 3 where I eventually started to notice my double vision getting better. Let’s be clear it wasn’t gone, but the two images I would concentrate on became closer together. I decided to try and run at this point. It worked for a bit, but then I needed to walk as my HR skyrocketed (remember how I said caffeine and my body are not friends…yep this is what happens when I consume caffeine). My goal for this run was to monitor my HR and not let it get out of Z3 while running for the first 10 miles. With the addition of caffeine in my system, it was a run/walk combo from this point on to get me to the finish line. HR monitoring = WIN #4!

The silver lining was that I got to meet new friends on the run course, take some steps with Coeur Sports teammates that I wouldn’t otherwise have gotten to be with, and cross another finish line. WIN #5!

I finally got to meet Mike Ergo in person!
Photo credit: The Ironhippie
I got to run some steps with my Coeur Sports teammate, Yoli. (That smile = fake it ’til you make it)
Photo Credit: The Ironhippie
I got to walk some steps with my Coeur Sports sister, Akira. So much love for this girl! (That smile = only 1.5 miles to the finish line…I can do this!)
Photo credit: Dylan

I’m grateful for a strong mind to get me to that finish line. Grit, determination, mental fortitude, and relentless perseverance were my secret weapon on Sunday.

So grateful for my #1!!
Photo credit: Kimra Sutton
Coming back into the stadium for the finish.
Photo credit: FinisherPix
Fake it ’til ya make it!
Photo credit: FinisherPix

Overall: (6:42:58…71/114 F40-44, 343/593 F, 1199/1871 overall)

I have mixed emotions after having crossed this finish line. I am so incredibly grateful to have had the privilege to race, that I crossed another finish line, and that my mind was so strong. But the grief is real. I am sad for what could have been. I am sad I was not able to execute the race I had trained for and the race I know exists inside me. This race does not define me and will not hold me back. Onward to Ironman 70.3 World Championships! ⚡️ #LFG

Whew! Glad that’s over!
Photo credit: FinisherPix

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports sports bra, Coeur Sports aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Viper x2 Short Sleeve Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies, Orange Mud hand held water bottle

privilege

“Racing is a privilege and nothing is guaranteed. Putting myself in discomfort is a privilege.”

~ME

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race Ironman “70.3” Des Moines IN REAL LIFE on Sunday, June 20! 💙💛

  • logistically, things were spread WAY OUT and there was a LOT of walking before and after the race
  • athletes had to park about 1.5 miles from transition area and walk in
  • there was nearly a 3 hour delay from the original start time due to storms (with thunder and lightening)
  • the swim was 1.2 miles, the bike was 27.1 miles, and the run was 13.1 miles (the bike was shortened due to road closure permits not being able to be extended)
  • transition opened at 8:45 am and was spaced out normally (pre-Covid)
  • by 9:00 am they were already walking athletes down to Gray’s Lake
  • the walk from transition to the swim start was about 1 mile
  • the water temp was 78.3 (wetsuit optional…I wore my Roka swimskin)
  • the swim start was self seeded with 3 athletes sent off every 3 seconds
  • the swim was cloudy, but not rainy
  • it was 0.58 miles from the swim exit to T1
  • the roads for the 27.1 mile bike were smooth with rolling bumps (hills)
  • there was one water/aid station on the bike somewhere between mile 15 and 20
  • the run was HOT AF with full sun and SO HUMID after the morning rains…felt like we were running on the surface of the sun
  • there were aid stations on the run nearly every mile with water, gatorade, gels, ice, bananas, cookies, etc.
  • there was a buffet line with burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, chips, bananas, and lots of beverage options at the finish
  • there was a 2 mile walk (or shuttles would take masked athletes only…no spectators/volunteers) back to transition to get gear and then another 1.5 mile walk back to the parking lot
Stepping onto the red carpet was a privilege! ⚡️
Photo credit: FinisherPix

Longer Version: I GOT to race my first “70.3” distance race since July 2018.

Saturday night we got notification that the race start would be delayed one hour due to the strong possibility of thunderstorms, so we got to sleep in an extra hour on race morning. Since we live about 40 miles from the race, we stayed at home. Sleeping in your own bed before a big race (and crazy day) is priceless! We were up by 4 am and on the road by 5 am. At about 5:15 am as we were driving south and watching the MAGNIFICENT lightening show, we received notification that we were further delayed, to stay in a sheltered location, and to wait for further updates to come by 7:30 am.

Once we arrived at the parking lot, we listened to music, danced a little (as much as you can in a car), and chilled listening to the rain + thunder as we continued to watch an amazing lightening show. We joked that we haven’t had rain in over month and Mother Nature chose race day to finally bless us with a little rain (not nearly enough to even turn the grass from brown to green, but hey…we’ll take what we can get). As we were waiting in the Volunteer parking lot (the Iron Hippie was kayak support again for this race), a volunteer came by in the pouring rain and gave him a breakfast sandwich. Such a great way to take care of the volunteers.

Here we wait! So grateful for the amazing communication from the race committee as they prioritized safety while trying to get as much of the race in as possible.

We eventually left the parking lot and headed to a gas station to use the restrooms and then decided to park in the athlete parking lot (as it was paved…not gravel…and was a closer walk to transition).

At 7:23 am we received notification that transition would open at 8:45 am and the race would start at 9:30 am for the professional athletes with the age group athletes starting at 9:40 am. The Iron Hippie had to be to the water by 8:00 am, so he headed out shortly after this announcement. I did some last minute fueling and race prep before making my way to transition. I was incredibly conscious of not getting sucked into the mind drama of the surrounding athletes…so much complaining about things out of our control. Hey folks…we GET to race today! Privilege! ⚡️ I put everything inside of the garbage bag so that it would stay mostly dry until I was ready for it at my transition location.

Garbage bags to keep things as dry as possible.

I hit the Kybo one more time, donned my Roka swimskin, and made my way to the swim line up in transition. There was about a one mile walk from transition to the swim start during which time it quit raining. Once we were at the swim start, I used the Kybo one last time and then got in line for the swim start.

Swim: (42:25 for 1.2 miles at 2:12/100 m average pace…58/168 F40-44, 225/828 F, 875/2352 overall)

After the National Anthem, the professional men were off, followed by the professional women 5 minutes later. When the age group athletes started at 9:40 am, athletes were sent off every 3 seconds. I felt strong and confident in the water, passing lots of green swim caps along the way. I didn’t have much congestion in the water, which made me feel good about where I had self seeded. As we made our way around the last swim buoy, the chop on the water was very noticeable! I think the winds had picked up quite a bit. It was great to plant my feet on the ground and make the long trek to Mojo.

I felt strong in the water as I passed lots of green swim caps. Privilege! ⚡️
Photo credit: FinisherPix

T1: (7:06)

T1 was 0.58 miles long…hence the LONG transition time! As I exited the swim, and ran up onto the trail toward transition, I got my swimskin off just below my hips as I was running, stopped quick to strip it all the way off so I didn’t have to run in it, and removed my goggles + swim cap while I continued running to my transition spot. I put on my socks + bike shoes, donned my helmet and clear glasses, threw my run nutrition in my (wrong) pockets, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Let’s do this! ⚡️
Photo Credit: Elaina Wild

Bike: (1:21:36 for 27.1 miles at 20.19 mph average speed…46/168 F40-44, 204/828 F, 1065/2352 overall)

The sky was a bit ominous at the start of the bike, but the clouds parted and really heated things up.
Photo credit: Ruth Rickey

After crossing the mount line and getting on Mojo, we cruised our way out of Water Works. The majority of the road surfaces were SO smooth! Shortly after starting the ride, the clouds separated and the sun came out. I wished I would have put my Roka SL-1X sunnies out in transition instead of my clears, but I couldn’t change it, so I went with it. I saw about 5 people riding who had forgotten to take their swimskin all the way off in T1. I also passed a lady on a B cycle bike cruising along. She was killing it!

Enjoying the privilege of racing! ⚡️
Photo Credit: FinisherPix

It was an out and back course that was shortened to 27.1 due to the delayed start and not being able to extend road closure permits. Being an out and back course was a great way to cheer on friends who were also racing. I didn’t look at my power output/speed/cadence at all during this ride. I was so grateful to be racing that I only focused on playing and having fun. As I played chase trying to catch different people in front of me, I kept asking myself if I could go just a little bit harder in that moment. I felt SO strong on this bike ride, which put me in a great mental state heading back into T2.

This was a super fast and fun ride where I really pushed myself! Privilege! ⚡️
Photo credit: FinisherPix

T2: (2:49)

I quickly racked my bike, changed into my Newton running shoes, grabbed my visor + race belt + hand-held water bottle, and exited T2.

Run: (2:11:10 for 13.1 miles at 10:01/mile average pace…45/168 F40-44, 212/828 F, 857/2352 overall)

As I exited T2, I knew I would have to be smart about my pacing and monitor my HR as it was HOT + HUMID…Like running on the surface of the sun HOT!

This run was a 2 loop course. Shortly after leaving Water Works and entering the trails around Gray’s Lake, I saw the Iron Hippie. He had just finished up with swim support and was going to load the kayak onto the car. It was nice to see him as I started the run. After seeing him, I was adjusting my tri top + race belt when I noticed that I didn’t have any of my run nutrition with me. I had put 3 gels in my tri top pocket in T1 before heading out on the bike. (I always take my run nutrition with me on the bike so that I can’t accidentally forget it in T2 when my brain becomes more foggy.) I know not to put my gels in my tri top pockets because they are not snug enough to hold them safely, but for whatever reason I didn’t put them in my tri shorts while in T1 and I lost all of them somewhere out on the bike course without my knowing. So here I am out on the run course with no run nutrition while running on the surface of the sun. Oh…and those Roka sunnies I wished I’d had on the bike, now I was really wishing I’d had them on the run! I knew there was nothing I could do to change the fact that I had no run nutrition nor Roka sunnies, so I let those negative thoughts go and reminded myself that I GET to race today. When I approached the first aid station, I looked to see what was offered so I could problem solve before needing nutrition at mile 3.5/4…bananas…that became my fuel for the rest of the day. Thank you Ironman for providing fuel out on the run course!

Here we go! ⚡️
Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

It was fun to see other athletes and cheer them on. After I turned around the first cone, I saw a Coeur Sports teammate, Michelle, making her way out to the first turn around. “Love you Michelle!” Shortly after mile 2, I saw another one of my Coeur Sports teammates, Jess (also a pro triathlete). She was on her second loop and running for a top 10 finish amongst the pro women. It was great to cheer for her! I continued to race from a place of fun + gratitude and reminded myself that it was a privilege to GET to race today. I took in water at every aid station and sipped from my water bottle throughout the run to stay hydrated. At mile 4 I took in about 3/4 of a banana (that was all I could get down the hatch before having entering the last trash zone). This is where Jess passed me as she was at mile 11. GO JESS GO!

There wasn’t much shade on this run course. As I was climbing up over the bridge by MLK Parkway heading toward downtown, I could feel my HR really climbing. When I looked down at my HR, it was nearing 170 bpm. My goal was to keep my HR between 155-165 for the duration of the run, so I knew I needed to take a quick walking break to let my HR come back down just a bit.

Downtown felt like a sauna, but there were so many cheers downtown from people I knew and strangers I didn’t. What a great distraction from that heat! After turning around the cone downtown to head back out for loop #2, I saw a sign that made me giggle… “Dig deeper than a kid going for boogers.” Thank you random stranger for that boost!

Run felt like we were running on the surface of the sun, so I raced smart and got it done. Privilege! ⚡️
Photo credit: FinisherPix

At about mile 7, I hammered down another 3/4 of a banana to get in the calories. It was shortly after this that I needed to let my HR come down a bit, so I walked and helped a fellow athlete by carrying her water bottle while she adjusted her onesie. I trudged on and eventually saw the Iron Hippie again before briefly walking with another friend on the bridge of Gray’s Lake to encourage and support her for just a minute before continuing on. The second half of the run had more walk breaks, but I kept them short as I reminded myself often that I am here to do my best. I have goals, which I set on purpose and with purpose.

At mile 10, I took in another 3/4 of a banana and continued to mostly run with short walking stints toward the finish. Making the last turn toward the finish chute was the best feeling in the world! I tried to pick up my pace just a bit as I hit the red carpet, but my legs immediately cramped and said, “Nope! We’ll get you across the finish at this pace, but don’t you dare try to go any faster!”

I GOT the privilege of racing and stepping onto that red carpet for the first time in 23 months! ⚡️

Overall: (4:25:05…34/168 F40-44, 156/828 F, 773/2352 overall)

I am incredibly grateful that I had the privilege to race on Sunday! I am super happy with how the day unfolded, the adjustments I made throughout the day to get to that red carpet, and the challenges I overcame to get to this finish line. I have some things to improve on before the next one, but this experience at Ironman “70.3” Des Moines lit a fire under my ass. The fires are burning HOT inside of me for what is to come!

I’m so grateful for races, finish lines, friends, and the privilege we were given on Sunday! ⚡️
Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports triathlon tank with shelf bra, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Women’s Viper Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Orange Mud hand held water bottle

#LFG

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.”

~PattiSue Plumer

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race the Pigman Olympic distance triathlon IN REAL LIFE Sunday, June 6! 💙💛

  • it was hot…the air temp by the end of the race was in the upper 80s with mostly sunny skies and pretty gusty winds
  • the swim start was a self seeded rolling start
  • transition was spaced out normally (pre-Covid)
  • there was no water/aid station on the bike (as is pretty typical for shorter distance triathlons)
  • there were two self-serve aid stations on the run (volunteers were filling cups, but not handing them out)
  • we were given disposable timing chips
  • there was a buffet line with pasta, bread, chips, bananas, and lots of beverage options
  • there was an award ceremony with people getting to stand on “podiums” again
  • there were lots of door prizes that were given away

Longer Version: I GOT to race two weekends in a row! Since racing from a place of fun + gratitude served me so well last week, I opted to race with this same focus for this Oly.

We were able to park right next to the transition area, which was super convenient. I went to packet pick-up (by transition), saw my Coeur sister Sarah, got checked-in, then walked back to the car to get all of the stickers on the bikes, helmets, etc. The Iron Hippie wasn’t racing this event, but instead volunteering as kayak support in the water, so I was on my own to get everything all ready to race.

I got to set up a transition area again! Oh…and how lucky am I that I was right on the end of our transition row?!

As we were setting up our transition area, they made the announcement that the water temp was 70*F so it would be a wetsuit legal swim. After hugging friends I haven’t seen in person since before the pandemic, setting up my transition area, doing the neoprene shimmy in my Roka wetsuit, and taking in a gel, I was ready for a practice swim. The water in this lake was much warmer than last week. It was nice to get a little warm up swim done. While we were at the practice swim, Sarah and I met a new friend…Natasha.

Meeting new friends is THE BEST!! Photo credit: Dave Mable

Swim: (33:34 for 1500 m at 2:14/100 m average pace…3/10 F40-44, 18/53 F, 62/157 overall)

After the National Anthem, I lined up toward the front of the rolling start as I knew that’s where I belonged and wanted to get going to beat as much heat as possible. I entered the water confident and immediately started bilateral breathing (so I didn’t have a panic attack like last week). Making our way to the first turn buoy was DIRECTLY into the sun, so sighting was a real challenge. When I got to the first turn buoy, I saw the Iron Hippie in his kayak, so without altering my swim stroke, I waved as I swam around the buoy. The swim was pretty uneventful for me until I got back toward the swim exit where the sprint triathlon swimmers were REALLY congested, but I just fought my way through all the way to the swim exit.

Swim exit focus! Photo credit: Dave Mable

T1: (2:47…5/10 F40-44, 30/53 F, 83/157 overall)

As I exited the swim, and ran up the beach, I saw our friend Nancy who came out to cheer me on. It was SO nice to see her! I got my wetsuit off just below my hips and removed my goggles + swim cap as I was running to my transition spot so that when I arrived to my bike, I could quickly get my legs out of my wetsuit. I put on my socks + bike shoes, donned my helmet and Roka sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Bike: (1:16:47 for 24.8 miles at 19.4 mph average speed…2/10 F40-44, 8/53 F, 63/157 overall)

After crossing the mount line and getting on Mojo, we cruised our way out of Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area. This course was the opposite of last week with lots of rolling hills, which I LOVE! It was an out and back course that was done twice, so we got to see a lot of other athletes. It was great to cheer on friends who were also racing. I didn’t look at my power output/speed/cadence at all during this ride. I was so grateful to be racing that I only focused on playing and having fun. As I played chase trying to catch different people in front of me, I kept asking myself if I could go just a little bit harder in that moment.

There was a bit of headwind as we headed back toward Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area, but thankfully the bluff blocked a fair amount of it and it was early enough in the morning that the winds weren’t too strong…yet.

T2: (1:19…2/10 F40-44, 6/53 F, 26/157 overall)

I quickly racked my bike, changed into my Newton running shoes, grabbed my visor + race belt + hand-held water bottle, and exited T2.

Run: (54:40 for 6.2 miles at 8:49/mile average pace…3/10 F40-44, 15/53 F, 73/157 overall)

As I exited T2, I knew this run would be a bit different from last week’s race as it was HOT. Thankfully those winds that the bluff blocked on the bike were out in full force on the run, so we had a built in air conditioning of sorts.

Running is a gift. A gift that has gotten me through many lows and brought me many highs. A gift I will continue to give myself for as long as I physically can. A gift that gives way more than it takes. 💙💛 Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

This run was a 3 loop course. It was fun to see other athletes and cheer them on. During the run, I continued to race from a place of fun + gratitude even as the temps climbed. I kept reminding myself to take it easy for the first loop, build in the second loop, and finish strong in the third loop. I took in water at the aid station and sipped from my water bottle throughout the run to stay hydrated. I also consumed one gel at about mile 2 to give me the energy to stay strong to the end.

Home stretch…right after my spill. Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

As I was running into the finish, I tripped over a cone about 100 m from the finish line. Why?! Well…I was looking backward and talking to a friend who was spectating…basically not looking where I was going. I went down hard, but popped right back up and ran into the finish shoot. Thankfully I only ended up with some minor scrapes and bruising, but that little blunder cost me. While I set another new bike split PR for the Oly distance, I missed an overall Oly distance PR by 4 seconds. That spill…yep…more than a 4 second blunder. Oh…and I missed 1st place by 24 seconds. I have been trying to catch Laura (who got 1st place) for years. I am getting much closer and it won’t be long before I’m on that top step. Laura, I’m coming for ya!

SO MUCH JOY for racing again, finish lines, and pushing my limits! Photo credit: Dave Mable

Overall: (2:49:07…2/10 F40-44, 12/53 F, 60/157 overall)

I raced with a focus on fun + gratitude at the Pigman Olympic Distance Triathlon on Sunday and as a result I got to kiss a pig (my 2nd place AG award was a piggy bank). Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

After the awards ceremony, Sarah and I went out to find Natasha who was struggling to support her to the finish line, which was by far one major highlight to my day!

The best parts of race day were hugging Sarah + meeting Natasha and helping her cross the finish line when the day gave her many challenges. She was the true winner of this race! I love this sport! ⚡️💙💛 Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports triathlon tank with shelf bra, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Women’s Maverick X Wetsuit, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies, Orange Mud hand held water bottle

pumped!

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.”

~PattiSue Plumer

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race Tri Clear Lake Olympic distance triathlon IN REAL LIFE Saturday, May 29! 💙💛

  • the start of the race was delayed an hour due to the cold air temps (we were notified of this change on Friday, so we could sleep in an extra hour)
  • the air temp at the race start was about ~40*F with full sun and light winds
  • the swim was cut from 1500 m to 500 m for the Olympic distance race due to the 62F water temps
  • the swim start was a wave start
  • transition was spaced out normally (pre-Covid)
  • there was no water/aid station on the bike (as is pretty typical for shorter distance triathlons)
  • there were two self-serve aid stations on the run (volunteers were filling cups, but not handing them out)
  • volunteers took our timing chips off of us after we crossed the finish line and put medals around our necks
  • there were little insulated bags with deli sandwiches, chips, grapes, and a granola bar for each athlete
  • there were individually wrapped cookies to select from for each athlete
  • there was plenty of beverage options (water, different flavors of soda, and beer)
  • there was an award ceremony with people getting to stand on podiums again
  • there were lots of door prizes that were given away

Longer Version: I was SO freaking pumped because I GOT to cross a start line and a finish line of an IRL triathlon race on Saturday, May 29! We parked about 2 blocks from the transition area, which was super convenient. We walked to packet pick-up (by transition), got checked-in, picked up our timing chips, then walked back to the car to get all of the stickers on the bikes, helmets, etc. As we were walking to the transition area, there were plenty of people talking about the cold temps, but I didn’t let myself get sucked into that mind drama. I always responded with, “At least it isn’t raining, the sun is shining, and the winds are light.” I was just so pumped to get to race!

I’m glad I remember how to set up a transition area after 21 months away from Tri racing!

As we were setting up our transition area, they made the announcement that the water temp was 62*F and that all athletes would be swimming the 500 meter distance. I will admit I was a bit bummed by this as the longer we were in the water, the more time there was for the air temps to rise, but I immediately decided I was here to have fun and race with gratitude, so I let go of the things that were out of my control. After hugging friends I haven’t seen in person since before the pandemic, setting up my transition area, doing the neoprene shimmy in my Roka wetsuit, and taking in a gel, I was ready for a practice swim. Easing my way down the boat ramp (swim exit) and into the water was a bit shocking, but not nearly as shocking as putting my face in the water. Hello brain freeze! I did a few short out and backs before heading over to the start area for the National Anthem and the start of the race.

Getting to see friends, hug, high-five, and race was such a joy!

Swim: (11:36 for 500 m at 2:19/100 m average pace…6/11 F40-44, 27/66 F, 102/193 overall)

I lined up at the front of our swim wave as I knew that’s where I belonged. As we were sent out into the water, I almost forgot to start my Garmin, but remembered at the last second. I was SO PUMPED to be racing, that the first ~100 meters I was swimming while breathing right side only every stroke (which I NEVER do…I’m a bilateral swimmer/breather). This was a HUGE mistake that caused a panic attack in the water. As I was swimming, I figured out what was causing the panic attack (hello…I wasn’t exhaling enough CO2 while breathing every stroke) and immediately corrected my stroke. This made the panic attack go away and made the last ~400 meters MUCH better! I guess taking almost 2 years off from racing made me a bit rusty, but I didn’t even care because I was SO pumped to be racing a triathlon again! As I was swimming those last 400 meters to the swim exit, I did have thoughts that I wished we were doing the full 1500 meters as I was ready and confident. This is a good sign for the coming races.

Getting to race again and squeeze into the Roka wetsuit…oh how I’ve missed doing the neoprene shimmy!

T1: (2:59…4/11 F40-44, 28/66 F, 96/193 overall)

As I exited the swim, the boat ramp was VERY slick with algae growing on it, so I cautiously walked up out of the water. I got my wetsuit off just below my hips and removed my goggles + swim cap as I was running to my transition spot so that when I arrived to my bike, I could quickly get my legs out of my wetsuit. As I was putting on my socks + bike shoes, I debated putting on my long sleeved jersey, but quickly opted to forgo that and only wear my gloves. It was chilly, but NOTHING like Ironman Louisville 2018, so I was confident with this decision. I donned my helmet and Roka sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Bike: (1:17:30 for 24.8 miles at 19.2 mph average speed…2/11 F40-44, 11/66 F, 87/193 overall)

After crossing the mount line and getting on Mojo, we cruised our way out of town (with some turns here and turns there). This course was a relatively flat course, so I just put the hammer down and went. I didn’t look at my power output/speed/cadence at all during this ride. I was so grateful to be racing that I only focused on playing and having fun. As I played chase trying to catch different people in front of me, I kept asking myself if I could go just a little bit harder in that moment.

I did some yo-yoing with another athlete as he was faster on the descents, but I was stronger on the climbs (not that there were many of either these). We did talk a little bit as we yo-yoed with each other. It was fun to encourage other athletes and cheer them on in a race setting again! Racing from a place of gratitude and fun removed all of the pressure, which set me up for success as I cruised into T2.

T2: (1:25…1/11 F40-44, 7/66 F, 44/193 overall)

I quickly racked my bike, changed into my running shoes, grabbed my visor + race belt, and exited T2.

Run: (50:14 for 6.2 miles at 8:06/mile average pace…2/11 F40-44, 12/66 F, 74/193 overall)

As I exited T2, I knew my feet were hitting the pavement because I wasn’t falling over while running, but my feet were SO cold and numb that I couldn’t feel them. I decided not to focus on them, but instead be grateful that I couldn’t feel them…if I was getting blisters (which doesn’t often happen), I couldn’t feel them, so numb feet was a good thing right?! 🤣

This run was 1.5ish miles out and back twice. It was fun to see other athletes and cheer them on. During the run, I continued to race from a place of fun + gratitude. I kept asking myself if I could go just a little bit harder. Since it was still cool, it was perfect for running. At one point, I passed another athlete who asked me what pace I’m trying to keep. I quickly responded with, “I am trying to keep a pace that is fun and full of gratitude.” I honestly didn’t look at my pace or metrics once during my run. This method served me well!

Overall: (2:23:46…1/11 F40-44, 11/66 F, 77/193 overall)

I was SO PUMPED to get to cross a finish line at a triathlon that I was grinning from ear to ear! Oh…and the icing on the cake…I set a new bike split PR and run split PR for the Oly distance! #LFG

1st place AG with a bike split PR + run split PR for the Oly distance! #LFG ⚡️

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports triathlon tank with shelf bra, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Women’s Maverick X Wetsuit, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies

the best of 2020

I love looking back and thinking about all of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished and all of the challenges I’ve overcome! I think we can all agree that 2020 was a VERY UNIQUE year!! I’ve reflected for the last 7 years and now it’s time to reflect on 2020! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: the Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, the Best of 2016, the Best of 2017, the Best of 2018, and the Best of 2019. Now its time to reminisce my favs from 2020! 🙂

Best race experience?

The Hillbilly Hike 1/2 marathon was my first race in 40 weeks due to the Covid shutdown of so many things this year. I was SO GRATEFUL that I GOT TO race and race safely! You can see my full race report here, which includes all of the Covid precautions that were taken.

Happy heart! Photo credit: the Iron Hippie

Best run?

The Hillbilly Hike 1/2 marathon, while not my best 1/2 marathon finish time, was definitely my best run! After such a long hiatus from racing, I was SO full of gratitude that I was able to race again! This was my best run…possibly ever. It was the first time EVER that I ran the entire 1/2 marathon race without one walk step! So not only am I grateful for the opportunity to race, but I’m incredibly grateful that my body allowed me to push it by running every single step!

This mile is for you! Photo credit: the Iron Hippie

Best bike?

This is SUCH a tough one! I covered over 7000 miles on my bike in 2020 giving me the most bike miles in one year that I have EVER had by over 3500 miles. This provided lots of opportunities for the “best bike” ride. We completed 8 century rides this year. We got to ride in 2 states. We even explored some new roads. All in all, I can’t pick just one ride that was the best this year! Anytime I GOT to ride my bike outside on the open roads with my fav was the best bike ride in that moment…and I’m grateful there were A LOT of them this year!

What a perfect day for 100 miles on 2 wheels! Bluebird skies, gorgeous green foliage, golden glow, and no wind on the open roads/trails…doesn’t get much better than this!

Best swim?

Since we had a 10 week hiatus from the pool due to the Covid shutdown, the first swim back in the pool in May after being away from the water for 10 weeks was pretty amazing!

After 10 weeks away from the water, it is safe to say I missed it tremendously! The calm, quiet, meditative state the water provides is exactly what my soul needed! I was SO grateful to have the whole pool to just the two of us this morning.

Best finish line?

Getting to cross the finish line at the Hillbilly Hike 1/2 Marathon was a dream come true this year with cancellation after cancellation of all things in 2020! It filled my heart with joy in those moments! It gave me hope for the future!

Happy heart! Photo credit: the Iron Hippie

Best training weekend?

Getting away to train in Madison with my fav and Coeur Sports teammates in August was a MUCH needed break from reality! We swam a bit in Lake Monona, ran some, and rode all of the miles! Getting to do what we love somewhere else and with others (safely and outdoors) filled my heart with joy and helped me keep plugging forward in this year of complete uncertainty.

That family portrait…fun with friends on two wheels!

A weekend with friends on two wheels enjoying life outdoors in Madison was exactly what my heart and soul needed!

Best moment out of my comfort zone?

I have been out of my comfort zone more than I have been in it this year, so I am not sure I can pick just one moment. When you step out of your comfort zone, this is where learning occurs, where you grow, where the magic happens. I have been learning and growing SO MUCH in 2020!

Best 100 mile bike ride support crew?

We were SO lucky to have two of my amazing Coeur Sports teammates ride a big part of one of our 100 mile rides with us in early July! Wow was it was a HOT + HUMID day, but they didn’t complain (at least not to us)! They were so supportive and encouraged us to keep going for the last stretch when they were done. It was great to have others to ride with!

#smilesformiles with some AMAZING peeps today! Love life on two wheels even more when others join the fun!
#secondcenturyof2020

So fun to get to spend time on two wheels with these two AMAZING peeps! Can’t wait to do this again!

Best new gear?

Coeur Sports fitted run shorts and performance tights. The pockets in both of these are AMAZING! I can hold SO much in each of them. They are even flexible enough for me to carry a water bottle in the pocket if I want. They don’t move or chafe no matter how wet you get. These are a MUST HAVE!!

Best way to stay healthy?

Wear a face covering!

The masked bandit is ready to race.

Best piece of racing advice you received?

“Just be ready to feel rusty.” ~Steena

Best addition?

JERSEY! We are SO blessed to have been chosen to adopt Jersey right before the pandemic initiated shutdown mode. She is so sweet, loves to play, enjoys every moment, is a strong runner, wants to go everywhere we go, and has a key to each of our hearts.

After work, we adopted our new baby girl…meet Jersey! She will be 2 years old in March and holds keys to all of our hearts.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Challenging, courageous, uncomfortable…and of course dumpster fire!!

Tell me about your 2020 year!! What are your “bests” from 2020?!

Judgement

I have received comments in the past that felt like I was being judged. I’m sure the comments were meant from a place of good intentions, but my brain interpreted them negatively. I’ve asked myself, “Why am I allowing myself to feel judged? Why do you even care what someone else thinks? Why are you trying to justify how you train to someone else? Why are you trying to justify to others why you do the things you do?” I KNOW that I SHOULD ignore the naysayers. Why is it so hard to do? How is worrying about what others think about me benefiting me? Hello Captain Obvious…IT ISN’T!! Let that sh*t GO!!

There are many successful people out there who self coach and don’t follow the norm. I know what a recommended training plan looks like for the average triathlete, but not everyone is average, so not all triathletes need to (nor should they) train the same. If you do what everyone else does how will you know what you’re truly capable of? If you don’t experiment, how will you know what really lights your soul on fire? How will you know where your limits truly are? How will you know who you truly are? How will you become the best version of yourself?

I am currently wrapping up a 4-week FTP booster on the bike while racing shorter distances (a super sprint triathlon just over a week ago and a 1/2 marathon this coming Saturday). I am not overtraining. I am not skipping recovery. I am not injured. I am healthy. Yes, I am pushing myself to the edge. Yes, I am adding fatigue to my body. Yes, I am testing my limits. BUT I am listening to my body. When it needs rest, I give it rest (hence the 9+ hours of average sleep for the last 7 days). I fuel properly before, during, and after training. I get massages regularly. I do myofascial release (MFR) + yoga. I take care of my body. I can tell I am getting stronger. Not only am I seeing improvements in my stats, but I FEEL stronger. I don’t take my body for granted. I celebrate it!

My journey isn’t going to look like everyone else’s and I wouldn’t want it to. I’m me. I’m not someone else. This is my journey! I’m going to blaze my own trail. I’m going to do it MY way! You may judge me. You may disagree with me. You may choose not to believe in me. That’s totally fine. You haven’t walked in my shoes and experienced life through my lens. This is my life and I GET to do it my way!

Running away from the judgement and toward living my best life!

A look at 2020

2020 is filling up fast and I’m super excited to toe the line at some new + repeat race events, experience some big training weekends with others, and have so much fun as I swim/bike/run + #celebrate EVERYTHING in 2020!

Here is what my 2020 schedule looks like so far:

  1. InCydeman Triathlon – January 19
  2. PBR 1/2 Marathon – February 1
  3. Coeur Camp in California – March 12-16
  4. Drake 1/2 Marathon – April 19
  5. Des Moines Women’s 1/2 Marathon – May 3
  6. Tri Clear Lake – May 30
  7. IRONMAN Des Moines 70.3 – June 21
  8. Madison Training Weekend – July 3-5
  9. Okoboji Triathlon – July 18
  10. IRONMAN Ohio 70.3 – July 26
  11. Okoboji Point to Point Swim – August 1
  12. IRONMAN Mont Tremblant – August 23
  13. Hillbilly Hike 1/2 Marathon – November 7

I have some BIG goals for some of these races, which I’ll share with you in another post (or multiple posts). Ultimately, I plan to #CELEBRATE the highs and lows, the peaks and valleys, the successes and challenges of my journey to each finish line + life! Throughout 2020, I will be focusing on having more fun, more joy, more action, more play, more dancing, more laughter and #CELEBRATE every part of each chapter that I write this year!

The chapters at the end of 2020 have some gaps in it that I know will fill in, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what I’ll fill them in with. We’ll see what I can find to add to the months of September, October, November, and December as the year progresses.

Cheers to a fun 2020!! What does 2020 have in store for you?!