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

IM CHOO run

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

IM CHOO KQ

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!

Pressure

What is pressure and why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? Lately, there have been some tragic stories in the news about the pressure put on others and the pressure we put on ourselves that ends in tragedy, specifically in athletics and school. This pressure is something I have felt personally and understand what these people have gone through and can relate to the feelings of wanting it all to stop.

The recent death of the young collegiate athlete at UPenn and watching this video about Purple Hearts and DIFD made me want to share my story.

I grew up the star athlete in everything I did. I was the one on the team that people looked to if we were down by a goal or we were playing a tough team who was going to stop the best player. I played on the boy’s team from the time I was 5 till I was in 10th grade. I needed to be better than the boys to prove I deserved to be there or be playing over someone else’s son. In 8th grade, I played on the Varsity field hockey team at my high school. I had to perform to show that a 14-year-old girl is good enough to play against 17 and 18 year olds and prove I deserved to not only be there but be playing the entire game. That’s not all, I had to get good grades because none of the things I wanted would happen if I did poorly in school. I had to get Principles List every quarter to show I was just as smart as my older brother and not let anyone down. From about the age of 13 or so, the goal became to get on the Olympic team and go to a Division I college with a full scholarship for ice hockey or maybe even field hockey. As you can see…the statement, “I had to prove” and “not let anyone down” comes up a lot.

I think the hard part about pressure is that most of us embrace it. We take every challenge and overcome it to be the best. Failure wasn’t something that I ever was a part of very often growing up. Looking back, I did everything I could to be the best, I have State records for high school field hockey, Player of the year X 4, too many awards and wins to count but not a lot of hardship. I am not saying that everything came easy, I studied in the car every night as I drove an hour to and from practice and was on the ice rink in my backyard almost every night working on my shot, working with a strength and conditioning coach while everyone else was hanging out going to the movies but failing wasn’t an option.

I didn’t see my first glimpse of true failure until I was a Senior in high school and deciding on which college to go to. I had three choices: my top choice was to go to St. Lawrence with my best friend Tara and be the “package deal” we always dreamed of, Harvard or my “back up” RPI. After a lot of visits and talks with coaches some being just that a lot of talk, I didn’t get my dream. I didn’t go to college to play hockey with my best friend. They wanted her – not me. I wasn’t good enough for their team. Then came Harvard…was I good enough – maybe – but would I play, probably not. Why? I didn’t come from a family with a lot of money and I didn’t come from a prep school with a big name. You know how everyone talks about politics in sports – it is in every sport at every level. What was left? RPI. It wasn’t my top pick by any means. RPI was brand new to Division I, it was only 45 minutes away in a town I played all of my hockey in but I knew I would play and it was a scholarship, a free education and the burden or pressure of not having my parents have to pay for my college was lifted off my shoulders instantly. My decision was easy at that point.

I really couldn’t have asked for a better college hockey career. I made friends that will last a lifetime. I played on a team that may have not been the best but played hard and worked hard. We had our success as a team and I had my successes as an individual player, but not without pressure. Being a captain, being a 4.0 student, being the one everyone looked to, it was a lot. I always had to be “on” – there were no days off or else everyone would notice. I would be lying if I said it was never too much. Some days I would just go home from practice or come home from a game a cry in my room. How could I fix the team chemistry, how could I get Coach to change is ways about this one play, I have an exam tomorrow, I let the game winning goal scorer go by me, I missed the net too many times….the list goes on and on. Sometimes, I wanted it all to stop. I was tired…of being perfect.

At the end of my Senior year, I won the Sarah Devens award. This award is given as a joint award between the ECAC Hockey and Hockey East conferences to a women’s ice hockey player. The criteria for the Devens Award is for a player who demonstrates leadership and commitment both on and off the ice. Sarah’s story…

Her story from – Source:

At Dartmouth, Devens participated on three varsity teams: field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse. She was named a captain of all three teams. She was considered by many teammates to be the best female athlete Dartmouth ever had.[2] She was nicknamed “The Devil”, for her ability to outlast other athletes in exercise routines.[2] In her sophomore year, she was the co-winner of the Class of ’76 Award at Dartmouth. As of the 2009-10 Dartmouth Big Green women’s ice hockey season, Devens ranked 23rd in all time scoring among Big Green women’s ice hockey players. [3]

In January 1995, Devens tried out for the United States National Women’s Hockey team in Lake Placid, New York but she did not make the team. In early July 1995, she returned from a field hockey camp in Maryland. Her goal was to qualify for the 1996 US Olympic Field Hockey team. Devens had made the U.S. “B” team and the result was that she was disappointed and depressed.

Devens expressed to teammates that she was exhausted and she wanted to take a break.[2] In an interview with The Dartmouth school paper in the summer of 1994, Devens stated that she sometimes felt she was missing out on things by participating in three Division I sports.[4] Lacrosse was her least favorite sport, but she felt obligated to continue.[2] During the 1994-95 season, she was an All-America in Lacrosse.

On July 10, 1995, Devens invited her friend Maura Schneider to go mountain biking. [5] When Devens did not show, a different friend went to the Devens family home in Essex, Massachusetts and found her body. Devens took a .22-caliber rifle and killed herself with a shot to the chest. Devens was 21 years of age and scheduled to start her senior year in college.[2]

I got to meet Sarah’s Dad the night I won the award. It was a difficult award to win knowing her story because that could have been me. The pressure I felt was much like hers – the feeling of being tired and just wanting it all to stop. It’s very scary to think back about some of my thoughts that I had during my time at RPI – as great as it looked on paper it was equally as challenging mentally and physically.

We are seeing more and more stories like this in the news – why? When kids or people are told to do everything perfect or else you will fail – it becomes an obsession that is not always good. So why did I just ramble on for this long…if you are someone who feels this way, don’t be afraid to reach out and get help. Tell someone. The biggest point I wanted to make though, is in this quote below. Everything may seem perfect about a person and that they have everything that they could want, but sometimes that’s the worst part of it all. Be careful what you say to others – for they are fighting a battle themselves.

be kind

I’ll end this post by saying after many years of “feeling the pressure” I have learned a lot and can say that I do still put pressure on myself but it is wanted to pressure. I love every minute of what I do and I don’t feel the need to prove anything to others but only to myself 🙂

Ironman Cozumel Race Report – My first DNF

The night before the race

I have been trying to write a full race report about Ironman Cozumel and about our trip as a whole but as time goes on the motivation to add in all the trip details seems to be failing me so here is just my race report.

I went to Cozumel with the goal to qualify for Kona. It was a main focus for me leading up to the race. But, I also knew that Cozumel would present some challenges that would be out of my control. The big one being the weather. I was not sure how my body would do being that it was in the 30s – 40s here in NC. We headed to Mexico early to try to acclimate with the heat before the race. Luck was not on our side as ‘El Norte’ was in town keeping temperatures cool and the wind howling. El Norte also being the cause of the shorten swim for this Ironman. All in all, when I went to bed on Saturday night, I truly believed this was going to be my race. I was fit, prepared and motivated.

Pre-race:

Our house all woke up early to start prepping for the race. It was nice to just sit around and relax a bit with friends before the long day ahead. Once we are all ready to go – we got a cab to the swim finish, which use to be the start as well until the changed the swim to a point to point. I made sure my bike was set up, put on sunscreen, put on my swim skin and turned in my morning clothes bag. We caught a shuttle to head 2 miles to the swim start.

photo 3

Swim: 50:54

photo 2

This would be my first mass start I have ever done since IM Lake Placid used the new rolling swim start but, I felt pretty calm about it as there isn’t much you can do but battle it out and keep swimming. I didn’t have a time goal for the swim since it was shortened and I wasn’t sure how much the current would affect my time.

Once the pros went off, we had about 20 minutes before the gun would fire for us. All of the people who wanted to be in front headed right in the water but I knew I didn’t want to tread water for that long before we went off. Once it got down to about 8 minutes left – I made my way out and positioned myself towards the front half of the group and just tried to find some clean water.

photo 1

photo 1

The gun fired and of course it was a ton of bodies on top of each other trying to get going. It felt like you were in a big washing machine every time you looked up because all you saw was water splashing. I put my head in the water and just swam. There was definitely some elbows thrown and some slightly over kicking to get people off of me but after the first 5 minutes things started to settle down. I tried to stay an equal distance from shore for most of the swim but the race buoys had us zigzagging quite a bit. I felt fairly confident on how I was swimming and when I looked up, I finally saw the docks where we would be exiting. At this point though, I think the current switched a bit on us because it felt like eternity to actually get to the swim exit. We also had to swim around the entire dock and take a quick left to the exit…nothing major but would have been nice to have those details before. I exited the water and checked my watch and thought – that can’t be too bad and made my way through the changing tent and to my bike. Next up 112 miles of rain, wind, heat, and bike racing…or so it felt.

Bike: 5:29

Cozumel is a three loop flat course. I knew that this bike course can have a lot of drafting because of how flat it is, but with a shortened swim the amount of people out on the course in packs on the first loop was insane. It was also somewhat dangerous. For the first loop, I knew my adrenaline would be high but I also wanted to stay conservative since it is a long way on a flat course where your legs never get a break. The first loop was packed and I felt like I was stuck in traffic the whole time with slow drivers in the left lane. Multiple times I had to go in the other lane to pass people because bikers were 4 across having a conversation. As I made it out to the South part of the Island where strong head winds are known to be, we were hit with some winds but also you could tell rain clouds were coming in. At this point, pelotons were flying by. I couldn’t stop shaking my head and just kind of laughing as a group would come up behind me with someone hanging on the back that I had passed 15 minutes prior like they were standing still and now they were being brought around the island like a passenger on a train. People can say all they want that they didn’t draft but when the packs come up it is nearly impossible to not get caught up in it for a little bit. As bad as the packs were on the first lap, I biked mostly alone on the second and third laps. As I came back into town finishing my first lap, I was pumped to see Jenny and Lori cheering near our condo and my legs felt great to start the 2nd lap.

photo 2

2nd lap was pretty uneventful besides the significant winds that had picked up on the south end of the island. I had to be careful not to push my power on this section and constantly reminded myself it was about the run. I was taking a water bottle to pour on myself and Gatorade at every aid station along with a GU every 45 minutes. Seeing Jenny and Lori again was a great boost as I went into my third and final lap. I was feeling really good and felt like I was putting a good race together so far. The third lap was definitely the toughest, not necessarily because we were getting into the later miles but the head wind was the worst it had been and the aid stations started to run out of Gatorade. It was also getting tough riding alone, it would have been nice to have someone to at least legally draft and work with for the final section. Once I got to the end of the head wind and start back to T2 there was a long stretch where I didn’t have any water left to splash on myself and I had gone through all of my GU’s. I also started to think about how I hadn’t had to pee at all on the bike even with all of the liquids I had put in my body. I didn’t worry about it too much since most of my long rides I rarely have to pee. It was starting to get really hot out and my body was feeling it. Getting to the last aid station, I made sure to grab water and a fresh Gatorade to get to the finish.

photo 4

Coming into T2, I was smiling from ear to ear. I felt like I had executed a really good bike. My power was where I wanted it to be, I felt I passed a lot of people in my age group (after the race I found out I came off the bike in 2nd place in my age group) and I was setting myself up to have a great run. I guess I am not a very good psychic…

Run: DNF

I headed out on the run and immediately grabbed a water bag to splash on myself because I could feel the heat right away. The run course was three out and backs. It’s great for spectators but definitely a mental battle when most of the course wasn’t shaded. I can’t say I was feeling fantastic while running down the first out and back but I kept telling myself things change quickly and I would fall into a good rhythm once I got going. I made it to the turn around to come back and my legs felt ok but I was still really hot and once again could not force any nutrition down. I was putting as much water on me as I could to cool down but as I did that my shoes started to feel super water-logged. I saw our sherpas and they gave me some great motivation to just keep going and all I could say to them was I felt I could fry an egg on my arm. When I finally made it to the turn around to start my 2nd lap – the wind started to come out of my sails and I did not feel good. I took a few walking breaks and tried to get some fluids down and regain my momentum. I saw Duran as he was coming back on his 2nd loop and we both gave each other a quick hug and just said we’ve got to keep moving. No one had passed me from my age group yet but after another mile or so I started to get severe chills and goose bumps which was very odd when its 90 degrees out and the sun is beating down on you. I also started to yawn and sway a lot. I knew my race was over at that point. In an Ironman, walking during the run will happen but if you can keep moving forward you really don’t lose too much time. Once I could barely walk forward any longer…I was done.

This is the hardest part to write about for my race report. I want Duran to succeed in triathlon more than myself most of the time. He has more heart for this sport than anyone I know. When he saw me wrapped in a garbage bag wandering in the middle of the road as he was coming back on his third lap – without a thought he said we were done and walked off the course with me. I pleaded with him to keep going and I would find my way back and he proceeded to get a cab, bring me back to the condo and get me in a warm shower to warm up. He would have finished no problem if he had not seen me but I gave him his first DNF. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t seen him since there weren’t any medics or even adults at any of the aid stations. I will always be grateful for what he did for me that day and I will do everything in my power for him to get that Kona Qualification next June because he deserves it more than anyone I know for his hard work, dedication and most importantly he was fit enough to get there in Cozumel .

As hard as Sunday was, I am very thankful we got to share Cozumel with some new friends and still all laugh and talk about upcoming races together the next day and maybe share a few drinks together too. Looking back – I know my body was ready to go 140. miles but the conditions were not in my favor and my nutrition still needs to be dialed in. All it becomes is more motivation to get back to work.

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What I can control and what I can’t

Cozumel is in 17 days. One big weekend left of training and then the work has been done. My first Ironman was one that I don’t think I will forget for a long time. It is also the only other Ironman that I can compare to Cozumel. Just so happens that Cozumel might be the complete opposite style race as Lake Placid.

Here are things that I can NOT control while racing in Cozumel:

Temperature Difference 

photo 1 photo 2

Non wetsuit swim and feeling like this in the water:

sinking-ship

Current pushing me like I was in one of these:

SwimSpas_SwimEx_HTprof'08_02

Sharks and barracuda…self-explanatory 

barracuda

shark

Wind and feeling like the plane but on my bike: 

Headwind

Heat and feeling like this on the pavement:

images

Things I can control:

How many hours I was in the pool:

How many hours I was on my bike:

How many times I laced up my running shoes.

Time goals are tough for a race like Cozumel with so many variables. Duran likes to think we are going on the show Survivor – we don’t know what Cozumel will throw at us that day but we do know all the work we have put in will pay off.  I will race the conditions that are thrown at me. I have done what I can control and will not worry too much about what I can’t control.

Have you ever raced a race that had a lot of unknowns? 

Carolina Half – Race Report

Even though Duran and I raced two weeks ago we were really excited to compete in the Carolina Half put on by Setup Events. It was the first year for the race in Charlotte and was getting a great following on their Facebook page. We headed to Charlotte Friday night to stay with one of Duran’s close friends. The race was on a Sunday which was really nice since we were able to have Saturday to get in a short pre-race warm up and then relax for the day aka watch College Football.

Saturday, we got up and did a 30 minute swim, an hour bike and a short 20 minute run to stay loose before the race. After the warm up all we had to do was check – in and rack our bikes at T1. Once all checked in – we thought it may be a good idea to take a look at the profiles for the bike and run. Much to our surprise, this race looked like it may be more difficult than we thought. It looked like it would be a lot of rolling hills for the bike and the run not too bad (we underestimated both!).

Swim: 36:52 – 24th female

Race morning – we woke up bright and early and headed to T2. A few people asked me to talk about what I eat before and during the race so before the race: I had two rice cakes with PB and Jelly on them. The Carolina Half is a point to point race so we went to T2 first to drop off our running shoes then took a bus to T1 to get ready for the swim. It was a chilly morning and the walk from T1 down to the swim start was a little over a ¼ mile, which meant a very long run into T1 after the swim. The race directors allowed people to put shoes down by the swim exit to put on to run up to T1 because of the length and some parts with gravel.

The swim was a beach start and the female wave was 2nd to last to go. After doing a setup event before, I knew the distance was going to fairly accurate and to not use the sight buoys but just to head straight to the triangle turn buoys. The water was perfect for a wetsuit swim. Once the gun went off – I ran as far as I could and just started swimming. I felt strong but more importantly smooth and efficient. The best part was I could see other pink caps around me, which rarely happens! I stayed with one chick side by side pretty much the entire swim until the last turn buoy where I felt I started to draw ahead. Once exiting the swim, pumped about my time (I swam a 46 half in Raleigh) – I started the long run up to transition. I thought about taking my wetsuit off before the run but decided to make the jog up with it on and I didn’t leave shoes down at the exit because I thought I was tough enough to handle the gravel areas. Looking back – I took a bit longer to deal with the rocks but I’m still glad I went barefoot.  In to T1 as quick as I could then I was out on the bike.

Bike 2:44 – 3rd female

Carolina Half

As I exited T1 – I noticed my heart rate was pretty high and felt a little out of control. I took the next 20 minutes to try and settle in and feel comfortable. Once I felt good, it was time to start my way through the field. This bike course is tough. You not only have to deal with the rolling hills but also the wind, terrible pavement and a million turns on the course. I knew going in I wanted to push on the bike because I really wanted to place 1st for female age grouper. The key for me on the hills was staying steady on the way up and powering down them. The guys that I would pass thought it would be a fun game that when I would pass them they would work hard to pass me but as we made out way up the hill I would power down and never see them again. That was until one guy came pass me with a fancy USA kit on with his last name on his butt and an age in the 20s. I was really confused on why he was back there when that wave went off way before mine and I hadn’t seen anyone on the side with a flat. But, as he went by I knew it was my opportunity to stay with him and legally draft off of him. This helped a ton except the fact he would slow down at random times…which meant I had to pass him and play that fun game over and over. Eventually, I had enough and as I made my way past him he muttered, “I flippin hate this course”. Probably not the best attitude to have, but after that I pressed on and just made my way into T2. The only annoying part about the last couple of miles is they had written 55 on the road and I was pumped to only have a mile left and my time was really good, but I noticed my Garmin only said 53 miles. I thought, they might have cut the bike a bit short to make up for the long run after the swim. Well, I was wrong again by the time I got to T2 my Garmin read 56 miles on the dot. Heading into T2 the guy in front of me did the fancy dismount and I could only laugh as I simply clipped out of my shoes and threw my leg around the bike like a true amateur!

Run 1:40 – 4th female

photo 1

To be honest, I don’t remember much about this run and to be even more honest what I do remember isn’t that all exciting. It was a hilly run with a good stretch of it on cross country trails on Davidson College campus. I ran out of T2 feeling pretty good and once you hit mile 2 and 3 the hills start a bit. In the beginning it wasn’t necessarily going up that was tough it was knowing as you went down you would have those hills on the way back. I saw the men’s leader James Haycraft who looked like he had barely run a mile towards the end and then passed Duran who also looked super strong. He had mentioned I was in 1st, which I knew he meant age grouper since I had seen the leader Jenny pass me already. I was pumped and knew to keep a strong pace but save some for the end. Little did I know, as I headed out on the out and back on the trails, I saw a girl with a 300 number on her arm. She was first, I was second. She was pretty far ahead and looked very strong. All I could do was keep running and do the best I could for that day. Nutrition wise: I tried to get water or HEED at every station and took 2 Gu’s during the run. As we got towards mile 11, my legs were feeling it. I made the final few climbs, saw Duran close to the finish and ran in as strong as I could.

Overall: 5:06 4th female (2nd Age Group female)

Always the bridesmaid

At the end of the race I felt like one of these girls…always the bridesmaid. Another 2nd place. My goal was to break 5 hours for this race but fell short at 5:06 with a 1:40 half marathon, which for me isn’t that great. Looking back now, I’m fairly happy with the race I had and the improvement of my swim. It’s too bad the swim once again is what caused me to lose out on first place. Duran did awesome and finished 1st in his age group and 8th overall! I am super pumped and can’t wait to see what is in store for both of us the rest of the season. B2B and IM Cozumel is all we have left!

Day 6 – The DL Experience

Since yesterday was more of an off day for us during this “training camp” we knew that we wanted to get in all three sports today.

We got up around 7 AM and headed back to Marion to swim and run. I did 2500 yards with drills finishing with 4 X 300.

After we swam, we geared up to run. The weather was great this morning and we ran around Marion for 35 minutes. As much as I wanted to enjoy this run, my legs were tight and heavy. I expected this after all of the riding we had been doing but it still always frustrates me. D ran ahead of me most of the time and after the run he said I could feel how much you hated every step. I’d say he knows me pretty well 😉

After our run – we headed back to Lake Lure and grabbed lunch at Medina’s again! That is 5 times already!

great-food-and-scenery

Once ready to go it was off on another ride. We decided to climb out to Asheville and I decided to take Willy out on his first day of climbing. Here is what our trip looked like:

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After we came back in to town we met up with a nice gentleman (who came screaming down the hill to pass me) who lives in the area. He showed up some more of Lake Lure that we hadn’t explored. It was a tough day because of tired legs but anytime I am on the bike I am happy!

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Once back – we relaxed and made dinner at home – turkey sandwiches for the win!

Tomorrow is our last day and it is suppose to rain 😦

Day 5 – The DL Experience

Not much to report on for today.

We had a lazy morning today.  Once we ate and enjoyed some coffee – we were off to Asheville to explore.

We wanted to get in a long run today (longer than an hour) and we wanted to enjoy some trails. We asked around and were told about The Mountain to Sea trail that runs along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It consists of 900 plus miles of trail to explore and goes from the Smoky Mountains all the way to the Outer Banks.

Mountains to Sea Trail sign

What a find!! This trail was amazing and was exactly what we were looking for. No pictures today 😦 but we ran about an 1:20 and couldn’t get enough. D and I both said that we could run on the trail for days. 

We spent the rest of the day just walking around Asheville not worrying about what training we needed to get in, which was refreshing to both of us.

Tomorrow it is back to the grind!