Celebrating 5 years of Ironman participation


Santa Barbara Race Report

I should have been more suspect of this so-called Long Course triathlon – longer than an Olympic and shorter than a half.  I thought the Santa Barbara Triathlon would be an easy-breazy beach race.  With a 1 mile swim, 34 mile bike ride and 10 mile run, it wouldn’t matter that I barely trained.

Race Day:

I bumped into my friend Liza.  We knew each other in DC and she lives in Santa Monica now.  She mentioned that this is a hard course – coming from Liza (an amazing athlete), I realized I might be in for a little more than I planned.  The swim start was my least favorite kind – running in to the ocean Baywatch style.  Fog hung low over the choppy water and the race announcers described it as slightly better than pea soup.  My wave went off at 7:35 am.

It was my worst swim ever.  Ever.  Not only was my time horrible, but my mental state was also poor.  I just wanted out.  My arm was getting chafed by my wetsuit/tri top (I swim in a sleeveless suit).  The waves were relentless and I could barely see the buoys.  And, I was thirsty from guzzling salt water each time I attempted to breathe.

There was some slight relief when I took off on the bike ride.  Then the hills hit – false flats, a few long climbs, and more false flats.  My stomach was aching from the salt water and I could still hear the ocean swooshing in my ears.  Only the avocado trees distracted me from time to time.  I saw Don from GGTC at one point and Julia passed me at another.

When I got off the bike, I was not sure I would be able to run.  My stomach ache was terrible – I felt like a pumpkin having my insides cleaned out.  I debated walking vs. running vs. quitting.  I walked out of transition and started to jog lightly.  The fog was lifting and with a little sunshine, I started to perk up.  My stomach cramps faded and my pace picked up.  Suddenly, I liked running.  I even ran up the hill!  And, by the last 2 miles, I remembered I was racing, and started picking off each person in front of me.  I ended the race feeling strong and satisfied.

Post Race:

It was not the best race of my life by any means.  But, I’m happy I found joy in running and the willingness to keep going.  Best yet, I got to spend the weekend with friends from all my triathlon communities: DC Tri, Wheelworks, and GGTC!  And, we had a great time partying with the LA Tri Club on Saturday night.

Santa Barbara Triathlon



Race Report: Cranberry Trifest

Sunday, August 30th – Cranberry Trifest Olympic Race

4:30 am – My alarm went off and I looked out the window – dark and dry.  The race would be on.  As predicted, Tropical Storm Danny had passed by, the rain and wind were gone (the shorter Sprint distance was cancelled the day before due to the storm).  I needed to get up.  I packed my bag the night before, put out my race outfit, told my parents and my colleague where to meet me, made my friend go to the early bird special dinner, and went to bed around 9:30.  No excuses.  Time to get up and race, right?  According to my growling stomach, yes!

5:15 am – My oh-so-styling silver PT Cruiser rental was packed.  Bike, bike shoes, running shoes, goggles, wetsuit, body glide, nutrition…I was pretty sure I had it all.  I hit the road for Lakeville, MA and the Ted Williams Camp.

6:00 am – This is probably the earliest I have ever arrived to a race, but I figured I knew nothing about the area and had to pick up my race packet, so might as well have time.  Indeed, I did.  I was all settled in transition and hanging out with my Wheelworks teammates well before 7.  The race is the Northeast USAT Regional Club Championship race.  All the participating teams had their bikes racked together in the transition area.  It was a good way to start the morning!  Oh, and with all the extra time on my hands, I realized I forgot BOTH my race belts.  Some other guy offered me his extra, but then he couldn’t find it.  So, I bought one from the Quad Multisport booth.  Bright green – figured my race outfit could use a little flare.

8:30 am – After lots of socializing, a few bathroom breaks, it was finally time for my swim wave (35 and under female) to start.  The first wave started at 7 am, so I had been waiting a while.  At least my teammates Jen, Lindsey, and Alyson were all in the same wave!  The swim start was crowded!  It was the first time I could not break out of a pack of women and I spent the first few hundred yards swimming over people.  Good Ironman race prep!

The rest of the race

The bike ride was flat and fast!  I tried to remember to pace myself and take it easy – this race was supposed to be training for IM Moo.  But, I got stuck in this pack of women during the last 5 miles and just had to break away.  I ate one gu packet (thanks Mona for the refill on vanilla gu!) and a few shot blocks.  It was just right!

I felt great on the run!  Woo-hoo!  My pacing felt perfect for Madison.  I definitely was just getting into the groove around mile 5.  I walked through the water stations to practice for IM Moo.  But, I had to go all out to the finish line as I was neck and neck with this other woman.

Best parts of the run: Seeing my parents drive by around mile 1.  I recognized them a little too late, and started yelling, “Mom! Hey Mom!” as they drove by.  But, I guess they saw me waving – or noticed all the other racers looking at me, because they stopped and honked the horn.  The other great part was turning off the road into the park and seeing my teammate Joe Bator.  He had a cowbell.  I yelled, “I need more cowbell!”  ha ha…I got a few other spectators to laugh too!

Overall, I finished in 2:40:01.  A PR for me!  And, I placed 12/40 in my age group.  After the race, my team provided massages and snacks.  Even better, I went out to eat with my parents and their friend Donna – fresh clams, lobster bisque and fish & chips!  Oh, then I treated myself to a mani-pedi with the special nail polish colors Mona sent me for the big race: Mad About Madison and Sole Mate.

I thought it would be silly to race two weeks before IM Moo, but the race actually psyched me up and helped me remember a few little details (like, it’s a good idea to have your running shoes untied Before the race).  IM Moo, here I come!

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No Sleep Till P’town

On Saturday, June 27th, I joined my crew from Wheelworks for the annual “No Sleep’till P’town” bike ride.  This was the ninth annual ride from Boston, MA to Provincetown, MA.  My teammate Jon led a great ride, and in his honor, I must re-post his great summary.

Bikes at the start: 11.5 (including our first recumbent)ptown group ride
Bikes that joined us halfway: 3

Miles on the trip odometer: 134
Flats: 0
Lost riders: 0
Suicide divebombing caterpillars on Plymouth’s Long Pond Road: 0
Drops of rain that touched us before we boarded the ferry: 0
First-timers: 10
Arrival time, in minutes, at the Sagamore Friendly’s before the infamous breakfast cutoff: 1.5

Round of beers at the Beachcomber: 1*
Ocean Break at the Beachcomber

Delay in ferry boarding time, in minutes, because of a bogus boat fire investigation: 27

Organized rides to P’town taking place the same day as ours: 2
People who cheered for us as we rode by: 12
People who cheered for us who didn’t think we were the lead pack of the MS ride: 2
Matching Cape Cod sweatshirt/sweatpants combos purchased in P’town: 3

Matching Post-Ride Sweats

Awesome sunsets over Cape Cod Bay: 1

People on the Cape who were told by Woody from BTT that we were just kidding about riding on our bikes all the way from Boston: At least 6


Cape Cod Sunset

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Mooseman Race Report

I spent so much time naming my new Scott Plasma (CK), I never stopped to consider that I might have some new nicknames post-accident.  Apparently, I do.  And, I learned them quickly on Saturday morning before the International distance Mooseman triathlon race.

In no particular order, the new nicknames include: “You’re that girl!” “hey – you look great,” “wow, your face,” and simply “hey-wow!”  It’s three weeks post-accident and many of my Wheelworks teammates and DC friends had not seen me since the crash when my face was an awful bloody mess.  So, it was good to hear the positive responses.  My favorite response was from the body marking volunteers at transition.  One volunteer complimented me on CK, so I told her it was treat after landing in their local hospital three weeks ago (oh yeah, the race site was about 10 miles from Plymouth and Speare Memorial Hospital).  She replies, “OH!  You’re the girl that crashed in Franconia!” Either it’s a really small town up there, or there have not been many exciting accidents.

Pre-race transition area

Pre-race transition area

The Race:

Amy and I headed down to the swim start around 7 am.  It was fun to see Beck, Emily, Jen, Sunny, Matt, Alyson and some other WWMS folks on the beach.  Amy and I were in the 5th wave – bright pink caps.  The water at Newfound Lake was supposedly a crisp 60 degrees.  I felt strong through the swim.  It was only my second time swimming post-crash.  But, by the time I exited the water, I was dizzy and my hands and feet were completely numb. What a treat to have wet suit strippers!  If only they could have put my shoes and cycling gloves on for me too.  I sat in transition for a while trying to get my hands to work.  Gave up.  Threw my gloves down, put my sunglasses in my mouth and rolled out.  Swim total: 26:41

It took a few miles on the bike before I could feel my toes again.  I was sporting my new WWMS tri top, which I quickly learned ejects anything put in the pockets.  Who puts pockets on the side of a tri top anyway?  They’re supposed to be on the back!  So I was left with just one gu and one bottle of gatorade after only a mile into the 27.25 hilly ride.  The ride was hilly, but no Black Bear.  I stayed in my aero bars a fair amount and only got a little frightened on one down hill.  CK was definitely a good choice to help me regain my confidence.  Bike total: 1:35

The run started off a little odd  – I couldn’t feel my right foot at all.  Something has been up with my right leg since the crash.  I decided to just keep hitting the foot against the pavement until it woke up – which it did by mile 2.  There were two steep little hills in the run.  I walked them, and felt really fresh to run, so I think it was a good choice.  I saw Amy on the run and she was looking strong and full of energy.  She’s such a rockstar for her first triathlon!   Run: 55:36

Total for my first olympic race: 3:04

Overall, I felt good.  I didn’t push it at all and just used this race to regain my confidence.  I might have had a little too much left at the end of the race because I really wanted to go paddle on the lake.   I’m really excited to train more now and see what I can do!

The rest of the weekend was fantastic!  Here are a couple highlights:

  • Kimberly and I had ice cream while we waited in line for a table at the Big Catch on Saturday night.
  • Sunday morning, I sat on the porch of our cabin overlooking the lake and sipped a cup of coffee before heading down to cheer for the girls.
  • I met some great folks from the North Shore Triathlon Club and watched the race with them
  • I lost my cellphone while trying to capture Kimberly, AJ, Julie and Angela on film crossing the finish line.  The race crew found it – and the announcer called my Mom and Dad!  I got the phone back, and reassured Mom and Dad that I was OK, not off to a hospital again!
  • All my DC girls had PR’s on the Half Ironman course!  Woohoo!  Can’t wait to cheer them on in Placid!

Oh, and if any of you are ever thinking about doing Mooseman, Timberman or any other race by Keith Jordan, you should definitely sign up.  The race was extremely well run: great volunteers, great food (ice cream and maragaritas!), good signage and great t-shirts, hats, etc.  I’ll be at Mooseman next year for sure.


Mooseman Here I Come

I’m heading up to New Hampshire for the Mooseman Triathlon this weekend.  This race is full of a lot of “firsts” for me.  So here goes the list.

Mooseman is my FIRST:

  • Full Olympic distance race: 1.5K swim, 44K bike, and 10K run!  I kinda skipped over Olys in the past few years, only swimming in a relay last year.
  • Race on my new tri bike!
  • Race with my good college friend Amy – and her very FIRST triathlon!
  • Joint club/team race – I’ll be cheering for and racing with friends from DC Tri and Wheelworks Multisport.  I wonder which team’s tri top I should wear?
  • Journey back into the mountains of New Hampshire since my crash…(gulp)

I’m excited and nervous, but mostly just looking forward to an awesome weekend of playing outside with great friends.


I Fought Franconia Notch and the Notch Won

This weekend I went up to Franconia Inn with my teammates from Wheelworks Multi Sport.  Franconia, NH is nestled in the White Mountains and is known as a place to train and conquer hills.  Unfortunately, I think they beat me this year.

Saturday morning, we rolled out for a nice and hilly 68 mile ride.  We were only 3 miles away from Franconia Inn, when the winds picked up.   Then, as we biked down through a final pass near Franconia Notch State Park, a gust of wind about 50 mph strong hit us like mack truck.   Natalie fought the wind and fell down on her side.  With the wind so strong, I knew the inevitable was about to happen.  “NATALIE!” I screamed, then hit her and flipped over my handlebars.  With absolutely no control or grace, I took a face dive into the pavement of Rt. 141.

Startled, but alert, my teammates came to my aid.  Beth, with her awesome EMT background, made sure I was alert and stabilized my head and neck.  Unfortunately, I could see the reflection of my very bloody face in her sunglasses, which made me insist, “Take them off!  Take them off!”   Some other folks put blankets and shirts on me until the ambulance came.  A police man arrived first.  Then the ambulance.  Only in NH do the ambulance medics/EMT’s arrive in cycling shorts and hiking boots – on their way back from their respective outdoor adventures.

While I’ve had a few cycling accidents before, this one was by far my most significant one.  Seeing that it resulted in my first backboard, IV, oxygen, ambulance ride and CT scan.  I thought it was worth capturing on film.  Many thanks to Natalie – for putting up with me running her over, accompanying me to the hospital, and being gracious enough to indulge me in the filming.

Aimee came to meet us at the hosptial in Plymouth.  Once I was finally released, we hit up a little ice cream place in town and made it back to the inn in time for the last dinner.   The drive was a little rough – the wind was still so strong that the car shook on the highway and we learned that I had a hard time keeping any food down.  When we got to the dining room at the Inn, everyone cheered for me.  My whole team was so supportive and took such great care of me.  What a great group!  I’m really lucky.

I felt much better this morning.  I even walked around a little trail with Ann before heading home.  Now, I just to make it through this week of explaining what happened and buy a new helmet and sunglasses. I hope I’ll be ready to hit the road in Lake Placid next weekend with my good friends from DC.