Celebrating 5 years of Ironman participation

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Ironman #2 – Race Anxiety

Yes, I raced Ironman Lake Placid last year.

Yes, I finished.

Yes, I am an Ironman.

So, why on earth would I have any anxiety over Ironman Wisconsin?  What’s the big deal, right?  To be honest, I feel like a newbie all over again.  This year’s Ironman race is a whole new adventure for me.  Besides being in a new location (Madison, WI as opposed to Lake Placid, NY) and a different time of year (September vs. July), my preparation for the race was completely different.  I spent the first half of the season just trying to figure out where to ride my bike in Boston.  I swam by myself mostly at the Charlestown Y.  I had to reward myself with coffee at Sorelle or Zumes, but it wasn’t the same as gabbing with the girls after mornings at Eastern Market.  And, most importantly, I had to overcome a bike accident and regain confidence on the bike.

So, I’m packing my race bags right now, fretting over what to bring and feeling a little anxious.  Then, I start to recall a few key things for this Ironman

  • Remember to respect the distance
  • Be prepared for any type of weather
  • Know that every workout over the past 26 weeks counted
  • Be grateful for the family and friends who helped along the way
  • And smile every time I see Mom, Dad, Beth and Serendipity on the course!

Here’s to a great race on Sunday!



To Race or Not to Race in 2010

Just a few short weeks ago, I promised not to sign up for the Ironman Lake Placid 2010.  I resisted signing up for the race despite the fact Colin, Tom and Eric all did.  I resisted, even though I volunteered for the race this year and would have had a preference for a spot for next year.

But over the last two weeks, I started to wonder what I would do with myself if I was not training for an Ironman…

Then, I read these very inspiring and influential articles from Chrissie Wellington, the two-time Ironman World Champion and world record holder and CNN about heart transplant recipient triathlete Kyle Garlett.

Then, I asked my dad if he wanted to train and race with me – to celebrate his 15 year anniversary of his heart transplant…


We’re still working out the details (Ironman or another race in upstate NY, training, fundraising for organ transplants, checking with his docs, etc), but it’s much more of a possibility that I will indeed be doing another Ironman.  Stay tuned!

Mom and Dad at IMLP 2008

Mom and Dad at IMLP 2008

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Ironman: A Devoted Spectator’s View

From Mona – Number 1 Fan:

A year ago today (July 20th), I stood with Sara’s family, friends, and thousands of other spectators anxiously awaiting a glimpse of their own personal Ironmen and women at the 2008 Ironman Lake Placid.

I followed Sara’s training schedule since she first flirted with the idea of signing up for the Ironman. I admit, like many people she first told, my first reaction was “Wow. That’s crazy.” However, my very next words were “but I know you can do it. You can, and you will.”

I decided I’d make the trip up to Placid from NYC, but I really didn’t know what to expect from such an event. My past experience as a spectator at any event like this was limited. In fact, the closest thing was the few years I was fortunate enough to cheer the marathoners in Boston. That was exciting, but this was different. There would be a marathon, but not until the end. There was still a swim and bike course to contend with… AND Sara was competing in this. This was, in fact, my first triathlon I’d be watching. I knew I’d be excited, I knew I’d be proud, but I really had no idea how intoxicating the whole experience would be.

Months later, as I stood near the swim start while thousands of athletes filed into the water, it happened. Suddenly, a swimstartwave of emotion engulfed me. The best explanation for how I felt was my heart swelled with pride each time I spotted Sara along the course. Truly, there was this big, happy thing bursting with joy in my chest. Everyone’s hard work over the past 6-12 months all came down to this, and I felt the enormity of the moment for each and every one of them. As the first group took off, hundreds of arms splashing, I teared up. U2’s “Beautiful Day” was blaring in the background as the swimmers set off, definitely adding to the emotions of the day. The weather that day was anything but beautiful – it was cloudy, cool, and started pouring rain shortly into the swim. It didn’t matter though, my spirit couldn’t be dampened.

The excitement was contagious. Thanks to Sara, we had the most exclusive spot to watch the triathletes. The house where we stayed was in an area that was restricted to everyone but those living on the street. We had no problems tracking her online, and calculating when she’d loop back through town. Every time she passed us, it was our job to re-fuel her reserves with our cheering. So I cheered loudly. I jumped, I pumped my fists in the air, I screamed myself hoarse. So did the rest of the her family and friends, all the while with Sara smiling as she biked or ran by us.

My first experience as a triathlon spectator, at an Ironman no less, was amazing. It was so inspiring to watch everyone powering their way through hours and hours of swimming, biking, and running. All you triathletes should know that you bring as much to us, as your supporters, as we hope to bring to you. The triathletes in our lives remind us that we are capable of doing anything!

Team Stropedogg at the Finish Line

Team Stropedogg at the Finish Line


i (heart) ny

Ok, I’m going to put on my NY Ambassador hat for a little here to tell you all a bit about the greatness of upstate NY. For those of you going to Lake Placid in a couple days, this list will hopefully provide you with some ideas of things to do while I’m our on the bike course for 7 hours. For those of you just following the journey, hopefully you’ll be inspired to visit the Adirondacks!

A Little History and Education

  • The village of Lake Placid actually sits on Mirror Lake
  • Lake Placid is located within the Adirondack State Park – which is the largest park in the country with 6 million acres! That’s one fifth of all the land in NYS too!
  • Lake Placid was not only home to the Miracle of the 1980 Winter Olympics, but was also home to the 1932 games. It’s one of three communities in the entire world ever to host the Olympics twice!
  • There are 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks – and that many sandwiches at the little Deli on Main St in Lake Placid Village.
  • Oddly enough, the Albany Times Union ran a story on Lake Placid the weekend I was up there training in June!

Things to Do Around Lake Placid

  • Visit the Olympic Center and Museum – check out an ice skating show or go to the top of the ski jump!
  • Take a Gondola ride at Whiteface Mountain – or rent mountain bikes and ride down the mountain!
  • Sit back and sip a UBU Ale at Lake Placid Pub & Brewery
  • Play golf, browse independent bookstores, go rafting (I highly recommend Whitewater Challengers)
  • Learn how maple syrup is made!
  • Go for a hike! Giant Mountain is right on the route from where you turn off I-87 to get to LP. Here’s me on Giant Mountain a couple years ago!
Giant Mountain - 4,267'

Giant Mountain - 4,267'


Get Psyched Songs

Between all the pacing I’ll be doing as I pack this weekend and all the lonely hours on the road as I drive up to Lake Placid (about 10 hours) on Wednesday, I’ll need some good tunes to keep me going! So, let’s get this song list started! Based on some great mixes from friends for when I trained for the AIDSRide and Kilimanjaro, here’s the starting list for the IMix.


  • Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)
  • Start Me Up (Rolling Stones)
  • St. Elmo’s Fire
  • Hella Good (Madona)
  • Rudy Can’t Fail
  • Knock U Out (LL Cool J)
  • Sweet Child o’Mine
  • Get Right (Jlo)
  • Livin’ on a Prayer (Bon Jovi)
  • Gotta Understand (Jurassic 5)
  • Ladyfingers (Luscious Jackson)

What would you add? C’mon, think back to all those bus rides to games, late nights after kickball, or road trips to the beach? My friend just recommended some great mash-ups!

What are your all time favorite psych-up songs?


A Few of My Favorite Things

When I first started this blog, I had this idea to highlight a product of the week as I discovered more and more items that helped me get through all the training. But alas, training got in the way! So, here are a few of my favorite things (to be hummed to a tune you should know!).

Gu Gels on bike rides and Shot Bloks on long runs
Tight Orca tri tops and neutral light sneakers
Post run recovery with Vanilla Endurox
These are a few of my favorite things

Community bike shops and the DC Tri’s Forum
Run shorts and tri shorts with pockets for Gu!
Vaseline that covers blisters on feet
These are a few of my favorite things

When my stomach growls
When my body aches
When I’m feeling drained
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad!

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Get Inspired

What gets you going from day to day? Feeling ready to conquer new things? Is it the sunshine after an eternity of rainy days? Maybe it’s a good tempo run early in the morning. While these things definitely get me past the urge to hit snooze as my alarm clock buzzes at 5:30 each morning, my friend Jim’s pursuit of the Ironman may just be all the inspiration I need to keep training.

Jim’s Journey to Lake Placid

To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of “Day Zero” – Jim’s bone marrow transplant – he accepted a nomination to participate in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2008 “Man and Woman of the Year” fundraising campaign. From April 10 to June 14, he will be trying to raise the most money among the candidates and help his local chapter of the Society raise $1 million. Jim set an extremely ambitious fundraising goal for his campaign — $140,600!

Wondering where that number came from? Well, 140.6 is the number of miles in the Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run =140.6 miles).

Pretty inspiring, huh?