Two Weeks Notice: Ironman Chattanooga Race Report

It’s only fitting for me to start this race report where it all started. One afternoon on September 7th, I was tracking many of my friends at Ironman Wisconsin and Ironman 70.3 Worlds. Some of which ended up qualifying for Kona 2015! Well, that is when my mind started to turn and think about how awesome it would be if I could qualify for Kona a year in advance! I was training to race Beach to Battleship Full at the end of October with the thought process of getting another “ironman” experience under my belt and maybe win some money. My first thought was, “I think Ironman Maryland is still open. I could maybe do that.” Then I thought, “Damn, I wish IM Chattanooga was open since that would give me one more week to “train”, have a race that friends would be at, Duran could Sherpa and the course favors my strengths much better.” I finally got the courage to ask Duran what he thought about me racing on very little training. Of course, he said, “DO IT!”

Fast forward to a week later, after asking around about Maryland and Chattanooga to figure out logistics, the stars aligned and I was able to race Ironman Chattanooga! Once it finally settled in, I realized I had one training weekend left where I could put in some serious miles to at least gain confidence going into the race. Saturday, I rode 120 rainy miles. Sunday was the FS Finish Strong Half Ironman which I did the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and half the run. My plan was to do the entire race but after some heavy legs on the bike and even though they felt good on the run, I just did not have the mental strength to push through it. I wanted to save all of my “digging deep” for the Ironman. Training DONE! The following weekend we were off to a wedding and then it was race weekend!

IM CHOO swim

Now that I have set the scene for you I am going to jump right into the race report. This race report is going to be brief and if you are looking for a detailed recap of the course you can find many more in-depth race reports for that on google. Just a FYI!

im choo number

Swim: 56:23

IM CHOO swim start

I knew it had the chance of being a fast swim because of the current but the talks on the crazy Facebook page said don’t expect much push on race morning. Well, as most of you know…it was fast! Duran found me right before we headed down to the dock and said to swim toward the middle of the river because the kayaks in the middle were having to do some serious paddling to stay in place where as the one closer to the buoys  were not having to work as hard. When I “jumped” in, (I was probably the only athlete to sit on my butt and slide in…I know Duran is shaking his head in shame right now!) I found the middle and just swam making sure I still could see the buoys far to my left and a buoy straight ahead of me that I was making a bee line for instead of following the curve of the river. Before I knew it, I was done and I was running up the ramp to T1!

Bike (116 miles): 5:30

IM CHOO bike

I thought I managed to have a fast T1 and was surprised how good my legs felt as I was getting on the bike. The IM CHOO bike course was awesome! It was very similar to riding around Cary and we had favorable winds for most of the day. I was staying on top of my nutrition and popping my salt tabs like candy knowing that would be the key to having a successful run. My power was definitely on the high side, like higher than 70.3 high, but I just went for it and knew I was here to take chances. I did hit a low point as I headed out for the second loop but once I was passed by a girl, who I had been leap frogging with all day, I found my groove again. It was pedal to the metal for the rest of the bike! I was so happy to be back racing on my old Felt B12 with my baby training wheels versus my fancy Trek Speed Concept that was literally a pain in my ass. I felt comfortably and pain-free the entire ride. Just goes to show you that it comes down to the engine running the machine!

Run: 3:51


As I was coming into T2, I remember thinking that I wished there was one more aid station out there in the last few miles. I felt a little deflated and like I needed something before I started to run. As soon as I sat down in T2, I took a Gel and drink of water to make sure I was ready for the run. T2 was uneventful and my legs felt good running out to the course. I decided not to preview any of the run course before the race. I felt that if I knew of hills coming up that I might “save” a little in other areas of the course. I came to Chattanooga for one reason and that was not to save anything out there that day. I am so glad I was naïve going into the run because you were hit with a hill right away! Duran was there to cheer me on and tell me I was first or second in my age group and it was time to do what I know I can do! I had to pull the same stunt that I did at IMCDA and go pee at mile one with my tri kit still on but after that I was one my way. I was clipping off the miles pretty good as I headed across the bridge to the “hilly” section of the run. I got a one of the best boosts from a volunteer saying I was the first age group female to run by. Even though I knew that it was just because of how early I started the swim, it was still fun to hear! Oh the hills…they were tough and relentless but I am proud to say I ran up and down every single one of them without walking! I hit a low point around miles 13-15, which I knew would probably happen given my lack or really any long runs before the race. I was able to take a GU and get a nice “you don’t need to walk that much” yelled at me during one of the aid stations to push me along for the rest of the run. There would be no more walking even if I was moving at a snail’s pace up those hills. Finally, I headed back across the foot bridge and to a new Ironman PR and a 2nd place age group finish! I only hoped it would be enough for Kona and sure enough it was!

Overall: 10:24 – 2nd Age-Group 25-29


This race report could have been summarized very quickly by saying: fast swim, fast bike, survived the run…I am going to Kona! Oh and I had a fun stint in the ER on Tuesday after still being dehydrated from the race!

IM CHOO hospital

The most important part of this race report though is to thank the people who helped me accomplish something I have been working towards all year.

IM CHOO Duran and I

First to Duran, the best Sherpa, training partner and boyfriend! You were all over that race course and giving me splits, encouragement and a kick in the ass when I needed you. You’ve always believed in me since the day we first talked 2 years ago when I said I wanted to qualify for Kona. You rode the entire run course, leap frogging me every 2 miles, telling me where I was against the competitors. You encouraged me and told me I looked strong, even though I never gave you any feedback on how I was feeling. Except the one time, when you said the golf course was really nice and I managed to let you know how pretty the houses were too. That’s all you got from me for 26.2 miles! Now it’s my turn to return the favor!

Second to Hillary Biscay, I know for a fact without you being my coach and having 7 months of training for CDA behind me I would have never signed up for this race. You gave me the confidence that I am capable of anything and you got me to that finish line!

Third to Lori and Ashley Ackerman for allowing us to crash the party! Lori, you reminded how special Ironman is and the joy and dedication that comes along with it. Ashley, thank you for cheering for me all day long. I can’t wait to share Lake Placid with both of you next year!

Lastly, to my family and all of my friends at home tracking me and making spreadsheet to give Duran updates on where I was placed in my age group. I wouldn’t be where I am or the person I am without you all!

I never like to talk or write about myself which is why writing a blog is pretty tough for me. In saying that though, I am really proud of myself for taking on this challenge even if everything may have been working against me the week of the race. I can’t wait to see what is in store for 2015!

IMCDA Race Report

It has been a few weeks since the race but better late than never…so here it goes.

Swim: 1:16

swim start IMCDA

In the days leading up to the race, there was constant talk about how the water conditions would be and if the wind would be a factor on the bike for race day. After one quick look at the water on race morning, we all knew we were in for a tough day, but I’m not sure any of us knew just how tough it would be.

The swim start at CDA is a rolling start where you self-seed yourself according to your finishing time. This was my second time starting a race this way since IMLP last year was also a rolling start. I decided to seed myself one group higher this year than last and started in the front of the 1:00 – 1:15 group. I figured I would rather have people swim over me than have to go around other swimmers. Here is a picture from race day to show how rough the water was but I don’t think it does the conditions justice.


Once the gun went off for the age-group start, it only took 2 minutes or so before I jumped into the 60 degree water in my sleeveless wetsuit to begin my Ironman journey. It’s funny to think back how much you mentally prepare to get knocked and hit while by other swimmers but not as much for getting barreled by the waves. I tried to find feet when I could and just keep swimming. I came in after the first loop at 36 minutes which I was actually pretty happy about thinking I was on track for a 1:12. That would have been slower than what I wanted but for the conditions I would have taken it. The second loop was definitely harder than the first with some added tugging and pulling by other swimmers, having to wait/swim around a jet ski pulling a swimmer out of the water and getting a calf cramp.

IMCDA swim

As I exited the water and saw my time – I quickly thought how slow that was but at the same time it was the same as IMLP one year ago which was calm water with much more of a pull so I’ll take it. My next thought was wow my feet are cold. Third thought, thank goodness for wetsuit strippers and volunteers!

Bike: 5:58

bike 1 imcda

It was time to play catch up! I headed out on the first out and back section while keeping a look out for HB and the other girls to see how much time I needed to make up. Much to my surprise I was only about 10 minutes back from one of my teammates who was in my age group and got the word from HB it was a slow swim! Good news for me!

If you read anything about IMCDA from this year, I can guarantee that the word “headwind” was mentioned! It was relentless the entire way out to the turn around on Hwy 95.

Thoughts from first loops:

1. Stay aero. Stay out of the wind.

2. You can push more watts on the way out since you will have help coming back

3. Drink. Eat. Salt.

4. Well, I am definitely losing time to Maggs and Courtney but it’s a long race.

Coming into town after the first loop is when the pain in my ass started. As most of you know, I have been riding my new Trek Speed Concept for about 8 weeks and working to dial it in to the right position…well it’s not there yet and this race was a big confirmation and also a slap in the face that Eagleman’s butt pain wasn’t just a fluke! I knew I needed to keep my head down and keep pushing but also knew the second loop was going to be harder and I had that marathon thing after.

imcda bike2

Going out for the second loop I saw HB and proceeded to give her a thumbs up and a smile and say I was feeling good even though I was feeling pretty terrible in terms of my legs. Fake it till ya make it right?!

The 2nd loop out on 95 was brutal and my only thought was to get to that turn around with some legs left and get back ASAP. I have never wanted to get to that turn around so much in my life!

imcda bike 3

The one good thing that was happening was my nutrition was on point and I didn’t have any stomach discomfort. One issue was I could not pee! Not that I didn’t have to go but I just could not let it go on the down hills. I tried everything! More on this later…

Finally back in town into T2. I told myself going into this race that I would allow myself a few seconds to take a breath in T2 to prepare myself for the run. I sat on the ground instead of a chair thinking I may be able to pee…nope…nothing and I decided to chat and just take my time getting my shoes on to gather myself after a much longer bike than expected and a harder bike on the body aka my ass than I wanted.

Run: 3:48

I knew I had a lot of ground to make up and that was confirmed when I was told that I was in 4th with 10 minutes down from 2nd. Added to that news, my legs were not feeling great either. My butt hurt and I just felt very defeated after that bike. This is the fun mental part of racing Ironman where you come up with every excuse of why you should stop and at the same time why you should keep going all in about a mile!

At mile 3, I knew I needed to pee and someone had just come out of the Porto potty so I decided to finally go knowing that would help me run. Funny part of all of this, I wore a one piece triathlon kit and still sat down and went pee without taking my suit off and still wiped as if I didn’t have it on as well. Like I said, the weird things we do in an Ironman but I knew I had to sit down and pee or else I wasn’t going to be able to go.

imcda run1

Another mile or so went by of me deciding if I could fake a foot injury and stop running but I just kept at it and finally around mile 5 I was able to get into a groove! I didn’t have any stomach issues and was high on coke! Now, I wasn’t running fast thanks to my terrible fit on my Trek that left my legs a bit wrecked but I was keeping a pace that would get me to the finish in a reasonable time.

I passed Maggs and knew she was going to win overall and the thought that maybe I could catch 2nd was possible on the second half of the marathon. With about 4 miles left to go HB told me to run sub 8 minute miles which I tried my best to do! When asked if I was…my answer was “I’m getting there!” as I proceeded to push a bit harder.  Up the final couple of hills and a “sprint” down Sherman to the finish.

imcda run 2

Overall: 11:09 3rd Female (25-29)

Looking back on the race I am proud of the effort I put forth on that day. It was not my best performance or a good show of how much work I put in for this race but it was a good show of effort and overcoming obstacles the best I could.

imcda 4

It was fun to go on stage the next day to accept my award for 3rd and wait and see if a roll down would happen. Unfortunately, there weren’t any roll downs which part of me was bummed about but the other part wants to get that spot when I deserve it and am able to race to my ability.


Eagleman 70.3 Race Report

When I crossed the finish line – I had a familiar feeling wash over me. We lost. I lost. I looked up at my Mom and said, “I feel like I just lost a big hockey game.” The feelings were merely identical. Disappointment, failure, anger and sadness washed over me knowing I did not accomplish what I set out to that day at Eagleman 70.3. My Mom’s response surprised me, “that just means you’re competitive, just like you were in hockey.” After hearing that, I thought maybe this was the race that now made me believe I was finally a triathlete, not a hockey player who is trying to swim, bike and run. Even so, Eagleman was a disappointment but lessons can always be learned and positives can always be taken out of a tough day.

Swim: 40:26

We parked at the Middle School parking lot to get on the shuttle when the news broke that it would not be wetsuit legal. Now to all of your swimmers out there who laugh and make fun when you see people freak out over this – get off your high horse. If there was some way to have a “wetsuit” for running that made you faster and then one day you aren’t allowed to wear it, you would be bummed as well. I am not scared of the distance of a half or full without a wetsuit, but I do know I will lose more time to the top swimmers without one and sure enough I did. We were the last wave to start and I thought the swim was fairly choppy once we got going – but I just swam the best I could. One positive is I did swim six minutes faster than my previous non wetsuit half swim – 1 year ago. Still slow as molasses but faster.

Bike: 2:32:49


Going in to the race – if I was going to grab that top spot I would need to make up time somewhere and take a chance on the bike. After my swim – there was no way I was going to hold back now. Plus, I wanted to see how well the new bike performed. Not much to say about the bike course, it was flat and I think fairly fast but since I was in the last wave there was a lot of weaving and bobbing going on to get passed the other bikers. I will note that in some sections there is a rumble strip on the side of the road in the bike lane which makes it incredible annoying to pass people. I was passing a lot of people and keeping a fairly strong effort that may give me a fighting chance on the run. I did notice my face was caked with salt already even with constant hydration and my left butt was literally being a pain in my ass for the last 20 miles or so. I wasn’t sure how the run would go but – I was going give it my all. I did have my fastest bike split ever for the half distance and only biked 2 minutes slower than my half in Charleston this year with a similar course that was 3 miles short. I’ll take it.


Run: 1:43:39

I believe in my run but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I didn’t have the legs I needed to push a sub 1:30 half and the worst part is knowing it in those first few steps. Yes, it was hot and I can’t say for sure if it would have been different if the heat wasn’t a factor but the legs were not turning over quite how they should. I knew the run would be mostly a mental game which thankfully HB has well prepared me for (think running around a track for 2 plus hours) so the main goal was to keep pushing and maybe things would turn around. I kept moving at a respectable pace until the turn around grabbing water and ice at every aid station. Side note: I thought the aid stations were very well stocked with great volunteers but there was one area on the course that went way too long without an aid station. Around mile 9 is when I felt the side stitch come about…it was so painful to run. I did my best to slow down and let the pain go away then pick up the pace until it came back and repeated this until the finish. I know I am a salty sweater and this race confirmed salt tabs are a must on anything that resembles a hot day.


As you can see from the finisher picture – there was pure disappointment crossing the finish line. I felt like I let myself down, my coach, my parents who drove 6+ hours to see my race on my birthday and my friends who have been cheering and believing in me. I want to compete against the top girls in my age-group and I failed to do that at Eagleman.


Overall: 05:00:05 8th in AG

Bad races will happen – but it always fuels the fire to get back to training for the final push to IMCDA. It was great to finish off this week with a long brick on Saturday of a 100 mile ride with a 40 minute run followed by one of the most mentally challenging long runs I have ever done before on Sunday. Looking back on Eagleman now, I know the race wasn’t great but the fact one week after I can bike the fastest 100 miles I’ve done and run that many laps on a track gives me confidence in my fitness and ability going into Ironman.

TryCharleston Half Race Report

It had been about 4 weeks since I last raced and HB had shifted me from bike centered training to more run focused. I had never put in the number of miles I did for the last 3 weeks or the intensity they were done at but I was really enjoying it. I think my body was a bit shocked to be running so much but after getting back into the routine of stretching and foam rolling things were looking good for this weekend.

photo 3

I had been looking forward to this race for a few reasons. For one, I was excited to race a flat race that could simulate Eagleman (minus the heat) and to test out what my run could be. The second was that my parents were coming down from New York for vacation and stopped to watch the race. I also had a new kit to try out with my new Saucony A5’s plus our ‘Team DL’ hats to rock!

photo 1

Friday brought a lot of rain all day and into the night. When we went to bed that night, Duran and I weren’t sure what Sunday would bring in terms of weather. It was calling for 70% chance of rain and flash flood warnings kept going off on our phones all night.

Luckily when we woke up race morning it wasn’t raining and the wind didn’t seem too bad. The race had two different transitions for the bike and run which made it a bit of a logistical nightmare but it ended up working out fine besides them not having any water at T1 for people to fill water bottles.

Side note: this was my first race ever signing up for the “Open” division since I’ve never felt quite worthy yet of being in the elite group. Especially knowing I will probably get dropped on the swim fairly quickly had made me hesitant to sign up but I knew it would help me with the bike and run part of the race.

Swim: 34:07

I entered the water not expecting it to be so cold but it seemed the rain had drastically chilled the water as my feet immediately started to go numb. I was definitely intimidated lining up with the open competitors. I knew that I needed to swim a strong race and not worry about being dropped right off the bat. Once the gun went, we were off. This race has a two loop swim course and I made it a goal to not be caught by the group going off 3 minutes after us as long as possible. I didn’t feel great but didn’t get passed for quite a while and took that as a good sign and made my way around the loop twice and headed out of the swim. I looked at my watch and was pretty happy with my time since this course is usually a legit distance so I know my swim is improving and I didn’t get eaten by a gator…double win! As soon as I started to run to T1, my feet were frozen which for me isn’t out of the norm but really annoying when trying to run and then put on your bike shoes.

Bike: 2:29:59*

This course is known to be fast but with the weather I figured we would be in for some sort of headwind at the beginning of the race. Luckily, the wind wasn’t blowing like it was the day before and we only had a slight headwind to deal with. I headed out and immediately was hitting the watts I wanted and even a little over which was fine with the headwind and hoping to have a tailwind at some point to bring the watts back to where I wanted them overall. It was nice starting in the first group because I didn’t have to constantly say on your left and even had some people to work with on the bike! At about mile 25 or so a girl came and passed me. Honestly, my first thought was…damn that doesn’t happen often but hey I’ll go with her. I stayed with her for about 5 miles but she ended up hooking on to another group and pulling ahead. I knew in my head I would need to catch her on the run. Looking back, it was probably best I let her go since to keep up, my watts would have been way too high for me to be able to run well off the bike. I had three GU’s throughout the bike in case people are wondering. At the beginning of the race they announced that the bike course had been underwater and we would be re-routed to the old bike course from a few years ago which include a bumpy road. Holy shit, they were not kidding. I had way too many curse words come out of my mouth that even my old hockey coached would not be proud of while riding on that road along with thinking my shoulders were going to break. The only good part of being on that road was how pumped I was to get off it and hammer it a bit to T2. *The bike course was short by about 3 miles by what some of the other competitors had on their Garmin’s.

When coming into T2, you can see the start of the run and who is already out on the course. I saw Duran first and managed to yell a good job to him and then was able to count the 2 girls that were ahead of me.

Run: 1:28:25

photo 5

As I entered T2, I saw my parents waiting for me and they were able to tell me I was 5 minutes down from 1st place. Once I heard that, I decided I was going all in on this run and see where it left me. I headed out and clocked 6:30’s for the first two miles and figured I had to be making ground on the girls already. That was confirmed by Duran as I passed him saying they were probably one or two minutes ahead of me. Since the run was a 2 loop out-and-back course, I broke it down into 2-10K’s and raced them as that too. I managed to pass the girl who was previously in 1st at about mile 3 and saw the other girl at the turnaround…I was close. It’s worth noting this course is done on a side-walk and with all of the rain, the puddles were long and deep on the course. Many racers were going around the puddles on the grass but I took a more direct route and pretended I was competing in the steeple chase and doing high knees right through them. Your feet were going to get wet no matter what so it didn’t matter to me if they got soaked! I finally made the pass on the first place girl before mile 4 and tried to put some space between us but she was hanging tough. At the next turnaround to head out I had only 30 seconds up on her so there was no letting up. I was not only pushed by her but also to break the 1:30 half mark that has been my goal for quite some time. I always go into the run trying to take 3 GU’s and grab water but only usually manage to get down 2 which was the case for this race.The run course got more crowded on the second lap but again most people were going around the puddles which left plenty of room for me to run right through them. I made it to final turn around to only see her still there! I knew if I let up at all she would surge and pass me. I told myself treat it like a 5K and finish it off. With about 2 miles left I ran up to one guy who said, “I hear you”! He had a kit on that said “Put the hammer down” so I proceeded to respond, “you better do what your shirt says” and off we went to hammer those last miles. With one mile left I had a good feeling I would have the win and it turned into a race against the clock! I was so excited to finally break that 1:30 mark for the half and feel so strong doing it.


Overall: 4:35 – 1st Overall Female

I’m happy to see how my body performed and even more how I felt after the race. After the Florida race my body was beat up. My hips felt like knives were going in them and I felt really run down. But, after Charleston, I felt like I could easily train the next day and wasn’t waddling when I walked. This race was the last time I will race with Finn – my Felt B12 but I can’t wait to get on my new bike!!

6 weeks to put the head down and as Duran says, “finish the mission!”

photo 4

Liebster award // spread the blog love

I wasn’t sure where this blog would go when I first started it but so far it has been a lot of fun. I’ve got to “meet” a lot of other bloggers and in some strange way you feel a part of something by sharing your triumphs and struggles with others. Erin was one of the first bloggers that I reached out to some time ago and her blog is one I always look forward to reading! Erin nominated me for the Liebster Award which is an internet blogging award that is circulating among other bloggers.


Here’s how it works. The nominator asks you 11 questions, you answer, and then you nominate 11 other bloggers to answer 11 questions, and the fun continues 🙂

What was the inspiration for your blog and its name?

The inspiration for the blog wasn’t anything life changing by any means, I wanted to keep a record of past training and racing to look back on it and hopefully see how far I have come. Plus, I moved away from all of my friends and family when I moved to NC so it is a nice place for them to go and read what I am up to and try to understand the whole swim, bike and run thing. The name LGRacing came from simply my initials and I started the blog at a time when I was racing what felt like every weekend. To be completely honest, when coming up with the title I thought it was also perfect because if the day came that I may have to change my last name – it would be a G too so I wouldn’t have to worry about the name of the blog!

Why did you start blogging?

I think I already answered that above but for a bit more detail. Blogging has been a great way to meet new people in the triathlon bubble. I am really grateful for the people I have met online through the blog and other social media outlets. It’s great to know others can relate to what you are doing and being able to say hi to people at other races is also fun!

What’s your favorite topic to write about?

Gosh, this is a tough one since I am a terrible writer. I went to an engineering/technical school…we never had to write papers so I am always gun-shy to hit publish because of my poor grammar. My favorite topic would probably be race recaps but I would like to start including other topics on here soon! Any suggestions?!

What keeps you motivated?

I have a goal and a dream. That is all I really need.

If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Gosh, I have no idea. I wish I had the power to put the toothpaste cap back on and the power to push a button and my bike is clean. (Lame I know)

What’s your biggest fitness goal, or A race, this year?

I have two races that I am gearing up for this year. Eagleman 70.3 and IMCDA!

Describe your perfect day.

wake up early – drink coffee – open water swim – dunkin donuts coffee (yes coffee again) – breakfast at Briggs – clean house a bit – long bike ride with Duran (could swap a long run in Umstead here) –  grill out for dinner – movie and hot tea – bed…boring but perfect

* all in 70 degree weather 🙂

Do you have a mantra, and if so, what is it?

I don’t have any specifically but music helps during the long training hours. For example, yesterday I had a 1:15 run which included sprinting up a hill 12 times and “Be Somebody” by Kings of Leon (don’t judge) came on. The lyrics: “Given a chance, I’m gonna be somebody, If for one dance, I’m gonna be somebody”  helped me get back up the hill a few times. I also used to listen to that song doing hill repeats for ice hockey which is the sport I did everything I could to be the best at and it’s always a good reminder that I need to do the same for triathlon.

What’s your go-to dinner?

Eggs of any kind. I’ll take an omelet or egg sandwich any day.

If you could give your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

Things will get better. Don’t ever lose your drive and don’t be ashamed of being a home-body. Life gets good and you will meet some extraordinary people. Even though it may not be what you think it should be right now…don’t change who you are because it turns out you are a really great person. You don’t need to have all the friends in the world or the rocking body with all the best clothes. Be you and it will get you places.

Are you going to pass the torch and nominate 11 other bloggers?

I don’t think 11 bloggers even read this blog! So I will pose a question to the few readers I have:

What is one thing you are proud of accomplishing so far this year?

Race Report: Florida Challenge Half – The Intimidator

This would be the first race of 2014 to see where I am fitness wise and to wipe away the rust from not racing in a little bit. I knew doing a race in Florida may not be ideal because of the long drive down and the possibility of feeling the sun on my pasty white skin for the first time in many months. All things considered, I would say the race went alright and showed me areas I need to work on and gave me more motivation to train harder. It was also nice to meet some people from the online world…hi Maria and Sam!

Swim: 31:20

I have been working on my swim for the past 3 months and knew I wanted to push rather than just survive. I was told to go out hard and find feet. It was a rectangle swim with a beach start (need to work on that dolphin thing rather than a belly flop thing). I am starting to feel a sense of confidence going in to this part of the race, which is always nice. Not much to talk about here…I didn’t get bumped too much in the beginning but failed to get on feet for the first quarter of the race. Right before we made the turn to head back I was able to get find some bubbles. I felt the girl was zigzagging a bit but by the time we turned for home we caught up to another small group of girls and stayed together till the end. It was fun to finally feel like I was in a “pack” for the swim and I was able to push hard at times if I ever fell off for a few seconds to catch back up. As we exited, I wasn’t quite prepared for the uphill sand run but the wetsuit came off and bike stuff went on.

Bike: 2:45

I knew racing in Clermont would be hilly especially after driving around the day before and it certainly was. I used the first 20 minutes or so to settle my HR a bit since there were a few pitchy hills at the beginning that spiked it pretty good. Once settled in, I just focused on my power numbers and tried to do some catching up and see how long I could go before a guy caught up (women went first – no idea why!). There was one out and back section early in the course where you got to see where people were, much to my surprise I wasn’t too far behind the top girls. One being Nina Kraft – yes that Nina Kraft. At about mile 20 a girl came up from behind me and passed me but I was able to stay with her for the rest of the race. We traded positions a few times always staying legal but neither of us could out push the other to pull ahead.

During the bike portion for a half – I take 2 bottles with me of Infinit along with GU Energy Gels (peanut butter and strawberry banana are my favorite) and always take water at the first or second aid station. This race said there would be three aid stations on the course with water, Gatorade and bananas. Not so much. There was ONE aid station at mile 40 at the top of Sugarloaf with water and Gatorade but here is the kicker…they handed you the bottle without a top on it! I was kind of shocked to get the water and just chugged as much as I could and threw the rest on the way down the steep decline. After that, I just tried to ration the rest of the bottle I had to make it to the end.

The course was tough – it had a lot of pitchy inclines with the one steeper and longer uphill on Sugarloaf. There was nothing huge but they did make you get out of your saddle and work. The only other thing I would note about the course is the section where the roads are pretty terrible around Sugarloaf that make it difficult to get much speed and to stay aero as you are bouncing around so much.


As I came into T2 – I was ready to run and try to catch the leaders as much as I could.

Run: 1:42

As I headed out on to the run course my legs felt pretty good and I clocked the first mile at around 7:00 minute pace and was pretty happy with my effort level for that. Mile 3 – hit the time I was looking for and as I got to the turn around still feeling good and in 3rd pace. The sun started to come out and I felt my pace drop a bit but was still running OK. The run was basically an out and back that you did twice…after the second turn around to head back I could tell I was slowing down because 2nd place was farther ahead than before. I didn’t have the jump I needed to push the pace…could have been the heat or lack of water on the bike but I stayed strong mentally and just kept running. I got passed around mile 11 by the same girl who had been with me all day and just could not pick it up enough to get passed her again.

Result: 5:03 – 4th Overall Female

Looking back – I am happy with my swim and bike for this race after looking at the times of other competitors but still question the run a little. It’s been awhile since I ran a 1:42 half marathon and whether the course was long or not I think I need to get in the hurt box a bit more out there. I don’t usually wear a Garmin for the run but I am starting to think seeing my pace may give me a bit of motivation to keep running strong or that I need to push it more especially when the mile markers are off like they were in this race. I also know I need to drop weight if I expect to hang with the top girls on the run especially in the heat. I have told myself this from the beginning of the year but to be honest have probably been half assing it a bit since I eat pretty healthy anyway but not anymore. I read a blog post recently and she put it perfectly, “nothing changes unless you change”. I need to make the changes and I need to make them now! That’s why we race to see where we can improve and give us the focus and motivation to work harder and this race absolutely did that for me.

After the race, we drove the 9+ hours back to NC which was absolutely miserable and painful but now it is Tuesday and my legs and body feel recovered and ready to get back to work!

The Past 2+ Months

I have always been an early riser. It was engrained in me by my parents – when your alarm went off you got up or you would miss your time slot to shower or be left at home. I am much more energized and productive in the morning hours basically from 5 AM – 11 AM. If you asked me to do anything at 9pm that takes a lot of mental capacity – you are SOL….I’m done by that point, which is probably why I never pulled an all-nighter in college.

I have said it many times already but since being a part of Team HPB, I have been doing a lot of training. I wouldn’t say anything has been crazy…yet but we are putting in the some good weekly hours. Along the way I have learned a few things about myself and my body…

1. My body and mind handle volume well. Of course the aches and soreness are there but nothing to hinder my training. I’ve been averaging about 23 hours a week so far, split up to about 270 miles on the bike, 30-35 miles running, 20,000 yards in the pool.  As some people may say…more is more…


2. Sleep is good! If I have a morning swim on a Saturday, I do not need to get up at 5 AM if the pool doesn’t open until 7. The funny part is once I gave myself the ability to “sleep in” I think my body was happy to be able to sleep past that 7 AM mark.

3. Easy sessions are in your plan for a reason. When I trained for my first marathon (picture from that race below) I always ran at race pace. Why would I train slower if I wanted to go faster? I have started to learn those days are in your plan for a reason. Go easy on your easy sessions so you can go harder on your hard sessions.


4. I still need to learn to say no. This was one of my goals for 2014. I knew if I wanted to accomplish the goals I set for myself I would need to sacrifice things and focus on myself and training. These past months have been a build for me and I know the more intense the training gets the more important I will need to prioritize.

5. I need to do a better job figuring out my nutritional needs during training and outside of training for how to best fuel myself. It is always a work in progress for me but one day at a time. The smoothies are starting to reappear a lot more these days and I am loving it, especially green ones!


6.  Duran still and will always be my biggest supporter, but will also put me in my place  when I may be being a bit irrational.  He’s not the type to hold my hand through anything – he will always let me figure it out first and as much as sometimes I want to be a girl and say why won’t you just ride with me – he is doing it for a reason. For one, he has goals with his own training which means he is going to be ahead of me sometimes on a ride and I need to learn things on my own! Just an example, my first time ever riding a cross bike was in Umstead last year on someone else’s bike in the pitch black with just lights on our helmets with no instructions. He could have said…oh by the way it could get a bit technical and there are some pretty steep inclines that you may just fall over on your bike because your back wheel will keep spinning. Result – he rode way ahead of me to where I couldn’t see him anymore and I ate shit on one of the hills but looking back I wouldn’t want it any other way.


5. I need to start investing in more cycling and running clothes…2 pairs of cycling shorts and basically two pairs of running shorts is causing a lot of laundry.

6. There is still a lot of work to be done!

That’s all I’ve got for today! Oh except…I will be racing a half in Florida next weekend! Team DL ready for 2014!

PS Check out a great write-up on Team HPB Camp that went on in Tucson a few weeks ago…I couldn’t make it this year but will be participating next year!