swim bike mom

Feeling Tri-Umphant

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Image

 

You know how I’m always saying that “I will succeed because I am crazy enough to think I can”… Well this past weekend, I was crazy enough!   

That’s right! It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for: My REV3 Olympic Recap

It would be wrong for me to tell you that it started Friday night with the race expo because the truth is, it started loooooonnnnng before that.  It started as a little, tiny, glint-of-hope, pipe dream.  It was one of those crazy goals that I wanted to do someday.  It was so far out of my comfort zone, I never actually believed I would do it.  Yes I hoped and I dreamed, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around ever getting there.

Through countless hours of training (and regular public humiliation) I learned to swim and bike… from scratch.  Ten months later, I found myself at a safety briefing for my first real triathlon.  It would have been far too sensible to start with a sprint distance.  Instead, I had set my sights on a half and downgraded to the Olympic.  I was clearly smoking crack out of my mind.

ImageI am reasonably sure that the actual job of the race director who gave our briefing was to scare the bejesus out of all the newbie triathletes.  I found this both cruel and sadistic. I had visions of him knocking over the ice cream cones of small children for fun while he spoke.  After stressing how hilly and difficult the course was, he actually made it a point to say that the race officials would be focusing their attention on all the newbies who didn’t know what they were doing.  Well thank you so much Mr. Sunshine, because I wasn’t terrified enough already.

After his glorious pep talk, I went home and couldn’t sleep.  In fact, I called the hubs almost in tears on my way home.  He assured me I would be fine.  I made him promise that he would have told me if he thought I couldn’t do it.  I tried my best to calm my nerves, but it was no use.  I applied my race number tattoos (while second guessing where I was supposed to put them, convinced that it would invariably be wrong) and headed to bed.

By 3 am I was wide awake and still utterly terrified.  There was no peaceful calm, no get it done attitude- just sheer terror.  I forced down some water and sweet potato and headed back to the park and bike transition.  I hadn’t racked my bike ahead of time because it was raining when I left.  I did heed the advice of the director and arrived well ahead of check in only to find it completely empty.  This dramatically dropped his credibility in my book.  I tried to catch some sleep in between trying to cram last minute calories and frequent trips to the bathroom for that wonderful pre-race nervous pee ritual we all know and love (hate).  Thankfully, I was forward thinking enough the evening before to have asked one of the transition volunteers about the set up, so I was at least fairly confident arranging my transition area.

Before I knew it, it was time to head to the shore.  On my way, I saw my personal kayak escort from my open water swim!  It was like the heavens themselves opened up and smiled down on me I was so relieved to see her!  She told me I would be fine, and I actually believed her… for like 30 seconds before I hit the water.  I did take the advice of the director and do a warm up swim.  It definitely helped with calming my nerves.  Once I was confident that I could swim without having an all out panic attack, I headed over to watch the other waves start.

I distracted myself by making friendly conversation with some other first time triathletes which, thankfully, gave me a sense of ease.  In fact, I entered the water feeling relatively calm.  I knew my task for the swim would be to remain calm and conquer my nerves.  It is something I have had to do countless times being terrified of swimming from the beginning (who knew that’d turn out to be such a plus?).  I just kept repeating “I love to swim” over and over in my head and focused on my stroke.  The course went by fairly quickly, and I learned my first newbie lesson- wear tinted goggles when open water swimming.  For approximately one third (the backstretch) of the course, I could not see anything above water due to the sun.  Instead, I tried to follow the trail of bubbles in front of me and hoped that the people ahead of me knew where they were going.  Once we were back on the final stretch, it was smooth sailing.   I was complimented on my way out of the water for being the first to exit smiling- which is amusing when you consider I started in the 4th wave and got passed by a good part of the 5th (the last)… who literally swam over me.  Did I mention that was the Athena wave (ie. Amazonian sized women)?  Yea, that was not intimidating at all…

I took my time in transition because I knew I could.  I didn’t want to rush and forget something.  My goal for this race was simply to finish, and I knew I had enough people behind me in the water that I wouldn’t get pulled.  I had no idea what my swim time was when I headed out for the bike. (It turned out to be 38:59) I was so relieved that the hubs and I had done the course earlier in the week as a test ride.  I felt so much more confident knowing every turn and hill on the course.  More than that, I had enjoyed the ride, and looked forwarded to repeating it.  It was beautiful with rolling hills and picturesque scenery.  There were two steep sections and a couple sucky hills, but there were also some AWESOME downhills with nice wide roads.  The best part was that the bad uphills were in the middle of the course while the fun downhills were all in the second half.  In my mind, they were my reward for all the hard work I had put in up to that point.  I slid back on my seat, tucked in, and FLEW down those stretches (On the preview I clocked just shy of 40 mph!).  I barreled past other riders- despite the fact that I managed to drop my chain on the way down.  I had to stop twice to fix it at the bottom and toppled once unclipping, but none of that even remotely dampened my spirits.  Even with dropping my chain and the stops, my bike took 1:54:39.

Image

My free finisher photo. Thanks REV3!

My transition time between my bike and run was shorter than my first primarily because I ate while running out.  The run course was hilly but completely manageable; and the miles went by quickly.  Because I knew I was in no danger of getting pulled, I ran smart instead of fast.  I picked a comfortable pace.  When the hills got steep and I thought I could walk faster than run, I did.  If ultra running has taught me anything it’s that there’s no point or glory in running when all you are going to accomplish is burning out your legs.  It’s better to spare the energy and kill it on the downs and flats.

So that is what I did, and it worked for me.  I finished the run strong- blasting through the finish (It’s amazing how much faster I can move when the end is in sight!) with a total time of 3:43.  The hubs was there waiting with one of our friends.  They had actually ridden out to meet me on the bike course and cheer, though, in truth, they met me going up while I was headed down and were completely out of breath.  I was still happy to see their faces, nonetheless! I also was fortunate to have AMAZING support from the the Waterbury Tri Club peeps volunteering throughout the course.  It was definitely a HUGE boost every time I saw any of them- and especially when I hit the aid station at mile 5 of the run and they all erupted into cheers.  I would have stopped to hug each of them had I not been so ready to be finished!!!

I can’t even begin to explain what it feels like to work SO HARD for something and then FINALLY achieve it.  Even though I still have not reached my dream of a half or full ironman, I did accomplish my goal of becoming a triathlete- and that is HUGE!  I am now officially a woman who is too badass for just one sport.  I swim, bike, and run.  I will continue to swim, bike, and run until the day when I no longer can.  There may even be an Ironman Full REV at Cedar Point 2015 on the agenda.  Who knows what the future holds.

You can bet no matter where life takes me that I will keep pushing and challenging myself.  To me, that’s what really living is.  It’s taking risks, getting out of my comfort zone, and redefining myself everyday. #thriveon

Are you a triathlete?  Thinking of becoming one?  You may be interested in checking out the ladies below for some laughs and inspiration:

Brook’s Tri Sprint Recap: The raw, [uncensored] TRUTH about my race day mistakes. – Make sure you aren’t drinking anything when you read Brook’s blog or it may come out your nose.  You’ve been warned!  Also consider joining her Sole Sisterhood while you’re there! It’s completely free.

Swim Bike Mom’s  Journey to 140.6: Week 3 of 24– Really you should just read her WHOLE BLOG and her book.  In case you hadn’t noticed yet, I’m kind of a big fan.  She speaks my language, and by that I mean snarky… oh and she refers to her lady parts as “the queen”… This may make us soulmates, but I don’t think she’s realized that yet so we’ll keep it on the DL (That’s “down low” btw)

Norma Bastidas’ Record Triathlon Brings Awareness– I first heard of Norma in reference to her ultra running, which is pretty darn amazing in its own right.  I am not going to give you all the deets of what makes her such an awe inspiring individual because I really want you to read it yourself, but I will say that this women has truly persevered beyond just learning to swim for her Mega Triathlon (woman after my own heart…).

That is all for now my loves!!!! I hope you are having a wonderful week!

Go chase your dreams!!!!

Advertisements

How to Be Epic

“I want to have an epic life.

I want to tell my life with big adjectives.

I want to forget all the grays in between, and remember the highlights and the dark moments.”
-Isabel Allende

Image

You may have noticed from all the links in my posts recently that I have been doing a lot of reading via various social media outlets (including some of my favorite bloggers <3).  Recently I came across this gem titled How to Be Epic.  My first thought when I saw the title was “Um, I already am“, but then I realized that the article was about a woman who took on an Ironman during a midlife crisis.  Given that have a keen interest in one day completing an Ironman, and am not that many years off from a mid life crisis myself, I took notice.

Once you get past the typos (this was difficult for my inner grammar nazi me, but I’m not perfect either (gasp)… and I love Runner’s World) it is a pretty good read… maybe not Triathlon For Every Woman good, but still worth the glance.  For those of you too lazy busy to read it for yourselves, let me give you the gist of it:

“More busy runners are pushing themselves in endurance races. Maybe you should too!”

Basically, the article recaps how one busy, former rowing champ, endurance junkie, Kona dreaming, middle-aged mom becomes an Ironman (through endless hours of training that made her question her sanity).  Sounds totally relatable to me… aside from maybe the rowing champ part.  Excuse me, but where are all the articles about unathletic, uncoordinated folks taking on an Ironman?  None?  Okay well thank you Swim Bike Mom for filling that void.  Hopefully, someday I can help you out with that.

Anyway, the point of the article is how training for an EPIC RACE (ie. one that is WAY out of your comfort zone and seems impossible) changes you as a person.  Back when I ran my first (and only: “first and last!”) marathon I posted on how the training had changed me long before I ever ran (hobbled through) that race.  Truly, training must change you or completing the race would never become possible.  Once the race is over, you cann’t go back to the person you were before training, and isn’t that the point? To get out of your comfort zone?  To build a better, stronger, and more confident you?

When people hear that I am signed up for yet another “crazy” obstacle course race or 30+ mile run, they invariably wonder (out loud) why I would want to.  Isn’t it obvious? Because I can!  Wouldn’t you if there was a chance you thought you could?  Wouldn’t it be worth knowing just how far you can push yourself?  Wouldn’t it be worth the sense of accomplishment?

There are so many people in this world who go through life without ever testing or knowing the true depth of their strength or ability to persevere.  In doing so they grossly underestimate themselves.  That seems far more crazy to me than continually pushing my limits.  What’s the worst thing that could happen? I fail?  Well that just makes the eventual victory that much sweeter!  I would rather be a failure than someone who never tried.  Living life on the sidelines isn’t living, it’s watching.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid of failing?

Are you ready to give up the sidelines and BE EPIC?

It just so happens that I now have that code for a FREE SPARTAN RACE ENTRY.  How’s that for a chance to get out of your comfort zone?  Here’s an idea: You can enter the giveaway, and if you win take as a sign from fate.  With the money you save on the race entry you can even pick up the new Reebok All-terrain shoes.  Since a race entry can run up to almost $200 and the shoes run about $120 (when ordered directly from Reebok), it’s almost like getting a discounted race entry and the shoes for free… at least that’s how I’d justify to the hubs if it were me… 😉

The giveaway is slated to start just as soon as we hit 200 likes on the Running Thriver Facebook Page.  Why you ask?  Well, because WordPress does not allow Rafflecopter giveaways on the blog, which means I will be hosting the giveaway through Facebook.  So my lovelies, I am really doing this for all of you.  I want to make sure you all find the page, so you don’t miss out!

ImageOnce the giveaway starts, look for the tab (pictured above for your convenience) to enter.

We are only 10 likes away, so it should be soon!

 

In the meantime, I hope you all have an EPIC WEEKEND!  I’d love to hear about your adventures!

 

 

“Triathlon For Every Woman” Giveaway

“Sharing is Caring. Caring is Loving. Loving is Amazing.

payitforward

Alright Everyone,

As you know, I have recently been raving about Meredith Atwoood’s (aka Swim Bike Mom) book Triathlon for Every Woman.  You you also know, Meredith was kind enough to send me a paperback copy because she is super awesome and generous.  In the spirit of paying it forward, I am going to do the same for one of you lucky readers.

All you have to do is enter the raffle on the Running Thriver Facebook Page.  The winner will be contacted via email, so make sure your email is correct.  You can also tweet about the giveaway daily to get more entries 🙂

Good luck!!!!

My body may feel crappy, but my heart is soaring…

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

-Margaret Thatcher
Image
For a change today, I think I am going to start my update in the present and work back.  For starters, I feel like absolute poo today!  (I’m pretty sure it’s partly my own fault) Rather than wait until I’m feeling better to post (because who knows when I’ll have time again!) I figured I’d take advantage of my gift for multitasking and update you all today. You’re welcome!
I was already a little under the weather when I woke up on Saturday for my night shift (14+ hours of call with no rest for the weary!).  I had hoped that since I got my ass kicked slammed the rest of the week that the call gods would take pity on me, but no such luck.  Sunday I stayed awake just long enough to weigh in (139.2!) with the hubs (197.6!) and finish our Bingo Card Challenge… and then grab a really high calorie meal (Plan B Burger… YUM! I have no regrets btw).  I crashed for most of the day and then had to work another 13 hr shift again yesterday.
Needless to say, I was not in the spryest condition when I dragged myself out of bed at 4 AM this morning (On my day off!) to go to the pool.  Just because I didn’t suffer enough public embarrassment at my last round of Masters Swimming, I actually signed up AGAIN!  Yes, same pool troll.  What can I say?  She’s kind of grown on me.  Plus, I need all the help I can get with the swim and bike, so off to session one of Masters Swimming I went (at 4 o’clock in the freakin morning).
Because the morning coach (somehow, despite being nicer) usually has harder workouts, I was expecting to feel like I was about to drown for most of the class… like 59 out of 60 minutes.  I have not been as diligent with my independent swimming as I could have been, and I was afraid I was going to pay for it.  However, I was pleasantly surprised that I not only didn’t drown, but also kept up with one of the swimmers I have been admiring from afar (she’s always Imageswimming on my way to and from spin and makes it look so effortless… and no I don’t stalk her, it happens to be the view on the way!)
We only swam a little over a mile in that hour, which is less than what I have been doing on my own.  In general, I try to get up to 2000 m before I get out (in an effort to make that distance seem routine on race day… whenever that turns out to be). I was pleasantly surprised when we got out of the pool and I wasn’t even tired.  Whats more, while swimming I had no screaming lungs, no bright white light or tunnel vision, AND I was able to do whole 75’s and 100’s without stopping.  Okay, so it was only one 100 m, but it was still a big deal to me!
After my awesome swim, I decided to get some miles on the treadmill before our session with the trainer.  I logged another 6 miles at an average of 8:20 pace, which brought me to 56 miles for this month and over 100 miles for the year.  My run also felt pretty good… aside from the part where I accidentally hit the emergency stop lever and had to start over.
I did make an effort to have a protein shake between my swim and run.  Then I also added an amino acid mix to my water during the run and finished the whole bottle during the run.  In between my run and the workout with the trainer, I scarfed a quick granola/nut/protein bar.  Since I only had a banana before my swim (it was literally all I could choke down at that hour), I am pretty sure I was still low on fuel.  The workout with the trainer was with a kettlebell and consisted of 5 rounds of 15 reps of each of the following: swings, squat with row, figure-eight (I was horribly uncoordinated as these and have the bruises to prove it!), then regular squats and Russian twists holding the kettlebell.  The hubs sailed through his reps, but my kettlebell literally felt like it weighed 100 lbs.  I made it through all 5 rounds with short breaks between exercises to give my bad shoulder a break.  Once we finished, we predictably had to do the whole thing AGAIN.  This time I opted for a lighter 20 lb dumbbell which made things slightly more awkward but irritated my shoulder significantly less.  Following the second time through all 5 god-forsaken-rounds, we had to do 10 minutes on the stepper at a “fast” pace. We all know how much I love the stepper, so we will just leave it at that.
By the first time through I was running on fumes.  I struggle with my shoulder on the kettlebell stuff on a good day.  Trying to do a whole kettlebell workout after swimming and running was laughable at best.  By the time we finished the second go and did the stepper, I was only managing by sheer determination.  It took me a few minutes of rest to feel like myself enough to head to the car.  After showering I was mostly feeling hungry, but after breakfast I started to have GI issues.  I figured it was from pushing too hard without hydrating enough, however now that I am having shaking chills I’m just praying it’s not the flu.  (BTW shaking chills suck majorly… and makes it difficult to type).  1621819_590464874377485_9095596_nNow I know what  you are thinking “Silly girl! Why don’t you get some rest?” The thing is it’s a little difficult when you are a) uncomfortable, b) shaking uncontrollably (this is some skilled one handed typing going on btw), and c) can’t stay out of the bathroom for more than 10 minutes… come to think of it, I may have zofran hidden in there somewhere.  Besides, it ‘s going to take a a little more than some silly chills and gi upset to keep this girl out of commission.  A girl’s got a things to do and LOTS to be excited about. 😉
Speaking of which, the good news is that in the midst of all the chaos this week, I got a very exciting delivery from Swim Bike Mom!   I had mentioned to her that I was sorry I had purchased the kindle addition of her book instead of the hardcopy (you know, so I could cuddle it and curl up with it at night).  Well, in addition to being an inspiring athlete and writer, she is also super generous and sent me a paperback copy of her book!  How AWESOME is that!?!  Now I have my very own copy of the Triathlon Bible to carry with me everywhere I go. 😉
In the spirit of giving and paying it forward, I am planning a Triathlon for Every Woman giveaway (my personal gift to you), so that one of you lucky readers too can be awed and inspired by Swim Bike Mom as well!  Stay tuned for more details!

Where to Start?

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”

-Oprah Winfrey
Image

Hello Friends!

I really do need to sit down and blog more frequently because now that I waited, I have so much to share that I don’t know where to start!  I may just have to knock out a couple posts to keep my thoughts from sounding garbled. 😉

For starters, our trip to San Diego was PHENOMENAL!  It was warm and sunny basically everyday there.  That meant I got to test out my fancy new GPS watch while running along the beach.  Pretty awesome!  I logged almost 20 miles of running with the sun on my face and wind in my hair. That brings my running mileage up to almost 100 miles for the year!

I was pretty tempted the try some open water swimming out there, because let’s be honest, Imagewhen else was I going to have an opportunity to try swimming with friendly sea lions (in shark infested water)?  As it turned out, that didn’t quite work out for me.  The days when we had time were pretty chilly with the breeze factor, so I had to resort to just jealously watching the other swimmers with better fortitude.  That’s not to say I didn’t test out the water.  I spent a couple of my runs in the surf, which is exactly how I knew the water was freezing!

Regardless of my lack of open water swim experience, I did at least get a lot of running mileage in with some great scenery as a back drop.  I also sort of got the hang out the GPS watch, although I still haven’t figured out how to sync the data with Runkeeper (where I am tracking my mileage goals for the year) other than to enter it manually.  One nice thing about it is that is buzzes at each mile interval with the time.  While I could live without knowing each mile interval time, it’s nice to know how many miles in I am without looking down.  I also could see where it could be useful to use the heart rate display to track what zone you are training in… not that I’m ready to give up my zen running style. 😉

While I didn’t get to swim on our trip, I did at least get to read about swimming.  I made it through most of Triathlon For Every Woman just on the flight out and finished the rest before we made it home.  If you are naturally un-athletic, out of shape, over weight, ever considered triathlon, or never considered triathlon this book is a MUST READ!  I found Meredith from Swim Bike Mom totally relatable and hilarious to boot.  While I may not have ever had to contend with a Fat Stranger, I have had to overcome a Hollow, Emotionally Unstable Stranger following an Imageabusive relationship.  As she points out, her book is not exclusive.  Everyone hits a point in his or her life when they don’t like or can’t relate with the person looking back in the mirror.  Her story is one of reconciling who she was and who she wanted to be.  That is something anyone can relate to.  While I’m sure Meredith would love for everyone to try triathlon as a means to changing their lives, what she is really doing is encouraging the masses to go out and chase there dreams.  She does this by breaking the process down into short term and long term goals.  Start with what seems doable and build to the impossible.  I couldn’t agree with her more.  She is truly a woman after my own heart.  Add to that that she has a team of experts (including her husband The Expert) to break everything down and make it accessible.  Meredith is open about the fact that she had barely finished a couple  5Ks before making the decision (or should I say Decision) to become a triathlete.  The journey changed her life forever.

Now she has built a Swim Bike Mom Empire (I mean the girl even has her own triathlete apparel! Who is up for some Running Thriver swag? jk Maybe someday) , and as I wrote to tell her, I only hope that someday I can expand The Running Thriver to be able to inspire and help the masses to the degree that she has.  There was I time when I used to think that I needed to accomplish all my craziest goals in life before my story would be worth sharing.  I believed that I should wait until after completing an Ironman to write a book. However, Swim Bike Mom has changed my perspective on that.  When she wrote her book, she had set a goal for herself to complete an Ironman, but hadn’t actually done it yet.  Instead, she choose to write her story after her second half Ironman.

When I started sharing my story on this blog, my goal was to use my adventures in fitness to inspire others to go chase their dreams (not so different from Swim Bike Mom).  At this point, I Imagewould say that I have accomplished quite a few fitness goals. Since starting this blog, I have finished several half marathons (more than I can keep track of actually), a marathon, ran the Ultra Beast (until they shut down the course and pulled me off it), finished my first Ultra, and learned to bike and swim at the age of thirty.  At no point did I ever stop and say this is too scary or too hard.  Nor did I give up when I was kicked out of my first swim class (by the pool troll). Instead, I have forged forward in the direction of my dreams even when I was the only person who believed I could accomplish them.

The thing I love about Meredith is that she didn’t need the support of the masses to go chase her dreams.  She didn’t care that people thought she was crazy or didn’t think she fit the perfect athlete prototype.  In fact, the fact that she was not a super fit, athletic, Glamazon at the start of her journey is exactly why I relate to her and find her so inspiring.  She decided to become a triathlete at a point when she was working full time, had two kids under the age of three, and was unhappy with her body.  She then turned her dream into a successful brand.  This woman gets kudos ALL DAY LONG in my book.  I am all for anyone who is willing to chase down their dreams, however I am in AWE of ladies like Meredith who are able to build an empire while being a mom, wife, and successful career woman.  GO SWIM BIKE MOM! You are officially my hero. 🙂

Someday I believe I will do an Ironman. It may not be within the next year or even soon, but someday I know I’ll get it done.  I know because it’s one of those ideas that’s always nagging in the back of my mind.  It’s what got me to the pool this morning, in spite of the snow, to knock out another mile and a quarter swim.  It’s what kept me going when I was exhausted after the first mile.  Someday I will get it done.  In the meantime, I am going to chase my other dreams- like writing a book and expanding The Running Thriver… and maybe starting a family. 😉