Wednesday, November 30, 2016

finding mojo... and a day in my life on a random day off.

my family was here this past week for thanksgiving - it was awesome being able to be together (its rare) and even though we didn't get along 100% of the time (who does when holed up together for 1 week in a tiny apartment), it was amazing nonetheless.

that being said - i slept on a tiny couch for the entirety of the visit.  no complaints - i can usually sleep standing up.  at a concert.  next to a speaker.  in the front row.  no that didn't happen.  wait.  yes, yes it actually happened.  i was 17.  i was tired.  eve 6 is still awesome.

wow.  anyway.  so i guess i didn't have great sleep this week.  last night, i had the apartment to myself.  i drank half a bottle of wine and ate leftover pizza and sushi.  oh, and a tube of crescent rolls that we didn't eat for thanksgiving.  with more butter than i have the self confidence to admit.  at 9:30 pm, i convinced myself to go to bed.  monster the cat was passed out at the foot of the bed.  i laid down on the duvet cover with my head by his, had a heart-to-heart, and fell asleep while petting the cat.  by 5 am, jasmine had joined us and I woke up and took her outside.  upon our return, i got into bed like a normal human and fell back asleep until after 9 am.


i think i also need a babysitter.

i made the conscious decision to improve my eating habits after waking up this morning so ate some eggs with a shit ton of spinach and a sprinkle of cheese for good measure.  the rain was supposed to stop around 1 so i let myself be lazy until then.  coaching call with jess at lunchtime - all good things, nothing exciting on my end, which is good i think - and then i accidently fell asleep rewatching the new gilmore girls.

woke up and it was 1:45 pm.  time to quit procrastinating and get outside to run.  lacking motivation so i put on new shorts (thank you COEUR, love them) and drove to hains point so i could run the mall.

workout was 20 min easy, 30 min MAF, 10 min easy.  i decided for the first 20 minutes i would take pictures of all the pretty things i passed in an effort to keep the HR down.  its amazing how much there is to see on this run in the first 20 minutes.

first stop - jefferson memorial 

 view of air force memorial on way from east to west potomac park

 jefferson memorial across the tidal basin

roosevelt memorial - eleanor roosevelt
"the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." 

FDR + dog 

martin luther king jr. memorial 

vietnam memorial 

lincoln memorial 

obligatory lincoln memorial reflecting pool photo 

 reflecting pool path

ww2 memorial - illinois

tried valiantly to keep heart rate at 145 for the 30 min - way too easy to make it jump up, especially on my random street crossing sprints to catch the lights.  i thought about keeping up with the picture taking as i ran - washington monument, african american museum, american history museum, natural history museum,  sculpture garden, capitol building, botanical gardens, smithsonian castle, the merry-go-round... its mind boggling how many awesome things are here in the span of a few miles... but decided to just run.  and smile while taking mental pictures of cool things and cool people.  accidently missed my intended turn and ran an extra 10 minutes past the floral garden that i like but has since gone into hibernation.  

finished the run in a good, happy place.  when i don't feel like running, i wear my favorite clothes, down to the socks that i like.  i go to a place that i enjoy and i find something - anything - to make it fun.  hence, today's photo shoot.

what do you do to find your mojo?  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Race Recap: Annapolis Running Classic 10K

Annual Funapalooza weekend is over and done, which is always a fun weekend with friends... but first - we run!

Recap - did this race the first time I visited the DC/Annapolis area in 2014. I had just met Mark at IMWI and was visiting the east coast - met tons of people that, unbeknownst to me, would later become some of my close and dear friends. Thank you Mark, for quite honestly, changing the trajectory of my life with one little note. I think that is one huge reason I hold this weekend so close to my heart.

Anyway, dry your eyes and lets move on.

I intended on going to Annapolis after work on Friday; friend Caroline was in town visiting and I wanted to hang out with her, Mark, and Holli - but it ended up being a busy afternoon at work and traffic was horrendous on the way home. I felt my eyelids getting heavy while sitting in traffic and decided to stay in and go to sleep early. Made my last Hello Fresh meal (salmon with fresh pesto, green beans, and potatoes) and headed to bed shortly after.

Up at 4:15 am with nothing to eat for breakfast. I had forgotten my usual Thomas blueberry bagel - for some reason it didn't even cross my mind to pick some up - so I made a toasted peanut butter and honey sandwich on wheat bread. I lacked coffee as well. Clearly, I was prepared. Headed to Annapolis with Jazz, got to Marks around 5:45 am, attempted coffee and failed again. NO COFFEE?! Since when does Mark not have coffee? The four of us got our stuff together and Caroline and I drove over to the stadium while Mark and Holli ran over. A little warm-up would've been nice, but I wanted a car for after the race - not to mention that I was completely illegally parked on Mark's street.

The worst shirt in the world.

Stadium was near full, runners were everywhere and dressed in anything from tanks and shorts to sweatpants, hats, and gloves. I smiled because based on what the runners were wearing, it was anywhere from 25 to 70 degrees outside. I settled on neon orange Nike spandex shorts, grey NB tech shirt, BASE arm warmers, and the BASE Kona hat that I love. A little chilly to begin with, but ended up being perfect for the upper 40's/low 50's weather once the sun came out. Portapotty stop. Then Caroline and I met up with Holli and Ellen and nudged our way to the front of the pack. Saw Pat and Michaela at the start and exchanged hugs and hellos while the announcer counted our way down to the 7:00 am start time.

(In my head, I figured I was capable of pulling a 7:30 pace - at least thats the target I've been training for. Based on how this year (and last) went running, I thought 7:30 might even be a little ambitious. In workouts, I've been running pretty well, but only for the past handful of weeks. Its been more working on getting to that happy running place in my brain than anything else. Anyway - that was my mindset.)


Ellen and Holli took off. I waved goodbye to Michaela and started my watch. Within a couple tenths of a mile, I was up next to Holli. "This is too fast!" she said. I looked down and saw 6:40 pace on my watch - yep, definitely too fast. I could see Ellen's yellow hat about 50 feet ahead and wondered if it would be possible to stay up with her. She's fast as shit and just qualified for Boston... and is going to Kona next year along with Holli. Jesus, I have talented friends.

I inched away from Holli in the first 1/2 mile and was keeping a steady, consistent space from Ellen. I felt like I was running easy and I settled into a 6:50 or so pace - still too fast in my head, but what did I have to lose? I began to gain some ground on Ellen until finally I was damn near on her heels in the first couple miles. She seemed to ease back ever so slightly - so I did too. Mentally, I was saving that smidge of energy that I'd hopefully be able to call on in the last mile when I would be hurting. I wasn't really looking at my watch a whole lot and every so often I'd glance at my heart rate. Mid 160's - seemed good to me? Mile marker 3 took place somewhere near the boats in Annapolis near the naval academy.

I checked on my watch again - 5K time was 21 something - fastest 5K to date. I reassessed the situation - Ellen had gotten a little bit away on the downhill, but I was feeling really good and thought - I could maybe do that again for the 2nd half of the run?

Approached an uphill and I caught back up with Ellen and this chick in blue that I'd been watching awhile. At mile 4, watch was reading 28 something - running under 45 was a definite possibility. Between 4-5 miles is a turnaround and as we both turned to head for the stadium, I began to see my friends and they called out to us. I groaned and smiled simultaneously as I realized my friend and pace leader would probably realize I had been running on her heels. Time to move. I nosed forward and said, "hey girl, good morning!" - to which she didn't reply (headphones). She then did a double take when i was a foot or so ahead and said something like "hey you!" and I waved and we kept running.

The sun was coming up behind us and I was watching the shadows of our running selves in front of me. I never looked back. I just tried to maintain the pace and approached a very pretty downhill around mile 5. I cruised down the hill and then up and into the split for the 10K and half. I turned left to run to the stadium (I could finally see it!) and realized I was now almost alone except for 2 guys just ahead of me. We ran into the parking lot and I picked it up just a tad. At that point, I did glance behind me and didn't see anyone with less than 1/2 a mile to go.

All of a sudden, there were no volunteers. Or directive signs. Or cones. um. so. where to go? I took a gamble (the wrong gamble it turns out) and followed the guys in between some cars to a sidewalk and we skirted the stadium. I recognized where my car was parked - which happened to be on the opposite end of the stadium from where the course should have been. oh well. took a hard right and ran through the parking lot - past the finish line along the barricade - in between parked cars - and then a sharp 180 degree right turn to run under the finish arch. With less than 20 feet to go, a guy and a girl SPRINTED past and finished 2 seconds ahead of me. It happened too quickly for me to do anything about it - by the time they ran past, I was crossing the line.

I looked down - 6.38 miles in 44:50. finally - a run to be happy about! I turned around to see Ellen finish, and then Holli just behind her. Pat had already finished and one by one, we watched our friends come across the line. And Caroline - who was going to "run slow" - kicked ass! I think all of us were pretty thankful we weren't running the half; it was time for beer, oysters, music, and friends. So thankful for these people. Friends that I met two years ago at this race. Friends that I train with, sweat with, hurt with - the kind that push you past your limits - physical, emotional, mental. and new friends! However we all came to be here - I'm grateful and thankful for every single one of you. And thank you Ellen and Holli - just... thank you. You guys are amazing women and athletes.

The Coeur ladies.

By my watch, my pace says 7:02 - since the course (with detour) was a little long. Ended up running about 30 seconds per mile faster than I was mentally capable of. 4th OA (turns out the sprinter girl was 3rd OA). 1st AG. Little victories. Hell, big victories even. I know its just a 10K - but busting down those mental walls that I have been putting up
feels. so. good.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Race Recap: IM Vineman... Bring on the Whine.

See what I did there? Didja get it? Didja, didja?

Guys. Moment of clarity for a second. I just did my 4th Ironman. That's big right?  At least my mom and dad think so...  Thanks mom and dad.

But I finished.  Healthy. Whole. And with a smile.

Lets recap.

So, I was marginally fully prepared to leave the house at 4:00 am wednesday morning. I ended up leaving at 4:30, thinking that I had plenty of time to get to BWI at least by 5:15 (over 2 hours before the flight - which really should have been plenty of time), ride the shuttle, get through security, etc (okay, you get the idea - you've seen an airport). Hours later, I half jogged up to Mark and Deb, sitting comfortably at the gate with 15 minutes to spare - sweating and swearing about my general hatred of the human race.

Step 1, complete.

Travel was uneventful other than Mark got us into some high class area for seasoned travelers where I got a free bloody mary and lunch. My anger from the morning's commute lifted when the nice bartender recognized my earlier distress and graced me with an extra olive.

We arrived in Santa Rosa - the world's most adorable and smallest airport - accidentally stealing someone else's rental car in the process, and arrived at our digs for the weekend. Cute airbnb less than a mile from the high school (finish line), great location in the somewhat sleepy town of Windsor. Mark and I put our bikes together, loaded them in the car and the three of us headed over to the high school to get checked in and collect our stuff. Took in the expo - pretty low key and quiet - and met Mark's awesome friend "Ironman Caroline" who I quickly developed a lady crush on because she's really cool. We explored, hit up the BASE tent, Normatech, and chowed on samples of Cliff bars. Again. and again. and again.  Lunch.  Thanks Ironman. Found a friend, Amy, to ride with us. Goal of the afternoon was to ride the run course and do some recon.

The run course was a triple out-and-back with a single sizeable hill that you hit near the end of the out-and-back. The rest of the course was rolling hills, definitely not flat.  But it was pretty and the weather was fabulous.

Dinner involved sharing pizza at an adorable little restaurant in Windsor accompanied by local wine. We went home and headed to bed - huge bed all to myself with a private bathroom. Thanks friends!

Earlier wake up call on Thursday to get to swim start and T1 (17 miles away) to get in a bike, run, and swim. hour easy on bike (with a few short intervals to get HR up), 30 min easy run (which ended up being multiple short loops in town), and a 20-30 min swim. the water was a perfect temp - no wetsuit needed except for speed; it was definitely going to be a comfortable swim. I shed the wetsuit and hung out for a few just enjoying the water. it would be a slightly different situation come Saturday morning...!

Amy, Mark, and I found a cute café for lunch that served amazing sandwiches and then headed back home to get Mark's bike fixed. Cruised the expo again (more snacks) and wandered over to downtown Windsor. We found the candy shop of my dreams and I spent a paycheck on unnecessary shit including an energy drink called "Kung Fu Street Fighter" and chocolate covered bugs.

Friday involved another trek to T1 to drop off bikes and gear bags and take a tour of the bike course.  Mark, Nicole, and I drove the course accompanied by the vocal stylilngs of  "Phantom of the Opera" - we sang all the songs.  Despite the fun road trip, I was getting legitimately nervous seeing the course, given the recent crash and the fact that i wasn't totally comfortable on a bike still.  Nothing I could do about it though except get up the next morning and put big girl tri shorts on.

Family chicken-parm-and-pasta-night (thanks for cooking mark) at the house with a couple Stellas. talked to my family and friends via text and phone for a few and then it was time for sleep... no problem falling asleep in the comfortable bed.

3:45 am arrived quickly. drank coffee. ate a bagel with peanut butter---

--- wait, can I just say that no where in the county of Sonoma are there Thomas blueberry bagels to be found? I went to three places and NONE of them had blueberry. I even got into an argument with the bagel shelf stocker who "works for Thomas" and he claimed that it was a seasonal flavor. oh please, guy. I am a blueberry bagel connoisseur (yea, its a thing) and I guarantee you that I buy them year round.  then i kicked him.  the end ---

---ate a whole wheat (sigh) bagel with peanut butter... (thank you mark for pointing out that I eat the same thing before every race and I have yet to qualify for the big dance so might as well switch it up) and a banana. had another half bagel and banana ready to eat once we arrived at the swim and were waiting at swim start. Deb drove and dropped us off near T1 to figure out our lives. Thank goodness for her this weekend. Port-a-potty break and donning wetsuit. Started to eat my food and realized if I wanted to start at the front id have to wade through the 2000 people already lined up on the other side of the half fence.

well, shit.

met a girl with the same swim goal and same affinity for being late for life so we basically held hands and zipped through the crowd like a couple of crazy passengers late for a plane. stranger bonding at its finest.

all of a sudden the pros were off. i got that excited feeling in my gut and got teary-eyed (as per usual) thinking about what the day would hold and how ridiculously lucky we are to get to live this life.

(follow up thought to above internal monologue - prochnow, you're a sap - for the love of god, pull your shit together.)

my friend and I followed suit behind the pros and before I knew it, I was already under the bridge. Swimming felt great - I had only been in a pool a handful of times since the crash and only had one or two good workouts under my belt in the past few weeks. I felt comfortable though and I would laugh anytime I'd see someone just stand up and start to walk in the very shallow water. many times my hands would scrape the bottom and I began pulling pebbles and rocks along with every stroke and pulling with a very bent elbow. but time passed uneventfully.  there weren't really a lot of people swimming around me so I had open water (despite the awkward depth). before i knew it, i could see the arch and found myself standing up and running out of the water to T1.  looked at watch - big smiles.

swim time: 58:55

MUD! ran in the mud to T1 where volunteers were waiting with paper towels to clean my feet (THANK YOU!). wetsuit was stripped off, grabbed a bonkbreaker for my pocket, Rudy project helmet/sunglasses and shoes in tow and headed out to reunite with Rosie. easy, quickish T1 (for once!).  no naps!

T1 time: 5:01

took the first 5 miles to get my heart rate at a sustainable level, drank some osmo and settled in. mile 5 is where the treacherous turn takes place and a handful of volunteers were on hand to remind us. i slowed way down for the sharp/steep downward turn - i'm really glad we rode that part previously because its not a safe spot if you are going too fast. the course is a constant up/down/side/side, difficult to ride in aero a lot of the time unless you are very confident on the bike. unfortunately for me, my confidence level was at a sad low and i had significant difficulty getting comfortable on that course.  not a lot of places to just go out and cruise; its a constant shift-fest. by mile 80 or so, i felt my eyes getting heavy and i hit a mental exhaustion wall.  my legs still felt strong, but i was mentally spent from being so focused on the roads and avoiding another potential bike crash (not the way you want to ride 100+ miles).   at one point i actually shut my eyes for a few seconds on a straight away and jolted awake after a bit. scary. i was wide awake after that... kept at the heart rate that i son and i had talked about and executed the race as desired for the most part, but my heart just wasnt in it anymore.  it wasn't fun.

bike time: 6:02:15

off the bike and into the tent - grabbed my stuff and was ever so thankful to be off the bike. took a look at my bike split - 6 hours... UGH, not what i was hoping for - slowest to date on what i would call an easier or comparable course to previous IMs. socks and shoes on. swig of mountain dew with an EL Fudge cookie. grabbed my race belt, pink visor, purple handheld bottle with Osmo and GUs stashed in the pocket and i was off, putting on my stuff as i ran out of T2.

T2 time: 3:37

jogged out of transition and my watch yelled at me - "low battery".  what. the. eff. GARMIN.  i charged it all night long. seriously garmin universe - WTF.  i saw deb and adrian right away and was feeling all right for the first mile or so. then i developed an awesome gas bubble in stomach and began to run slightly doubled over.

super. freaking. awesome.

i had an idea i was around 5th or 6th off the bike. not ideal, but not the end of the world. i ran - but i really didn't want to.  i was exhausted.  i wanted a nap.  i felt like if i stopped, theres no way i could get the momentum going to propel the body in a forward direction.  so i ran.  and ran.  and ran.  i thought about nothing.  then thought about everything.  i watched the athletes around me, took mental notes of what they were wearing, watched the spectators.  saw Shan at the BASE tent dancing in bike shoes - that did make me internally smile, but I was too tired to actually smile so I maintained the "ill kill everyone" death stare.  around mile 8, the watch died and i muttered a "fuck you" out loud to the watch.  then i laughed because otherwise i would've cried.  my gut felt like junk, my legs were tired, and my heart was somewhere back at the airbnb.  i continued to amble along the course, taking pleasure at the start of the 3rd loop knowing it was the last time id be heading out on course.  i had a few words with some random people, as you usually do during races, but my vision was focused on the mile markers and counting them down since i was running blind.  my pace was somewhere between 9 minutes and 30 minutes per mile.  in my head, i was rocking something like 12 minute miles and was a little scared to see what my final time would be.  please let me be under 11:30.  please let me finish before dark.  thats all i was hoping for during those dark miles.

finally - the hill... only a mile and a half to go!  i mustered a smidge of pep to my step and passed some people in other age groups.  tons of people were hanging out in the park outside of the high school but as i veered left to head back to the school and finish line, the crowd really dwindled and i was essentially alone when running the perimeter of the high school.  as i turned the corner and saw the finish line 50m or so away, i forced a smile.  another race completed.  it was not the day i had imagined in my head - i could see the finish time as 11:28 - a full 20+ minutes slower than the races last year on a comparable course.  as i ran down the chute, the forced smile because an actual smile.  i stopped at the finish arch and actually stayed upright this time!  i threw up my hands and grinned -there would be plenty of time in the future to dissect what went wrong and what went right but for that moment, i just wanted water, pizza, and comfy spot to sit down with my friends.

(i found out i was first out of the water in the swim for AG, 11th out of the women.  thats a cool 100 dollar gift card from ROKA so i was pretty pumped about getting the new bikini id been eyeing all weekend at the expo.)

we hung out for awhile and watched more friends finish.  eventually, we headed home to shower and change only to return to the finish later in the evening.  when I think back to watching the final finishers and seeing their faces full of happiness and triumph while running down the chute - I felt grateful. not everyone has the opportunity to do this sport, to travel, to enjoy time away from work.  not everyone that trains for these races gets to cross the finish line for one reason for another.  despite the ups and downs of the day - i still crossed the finish line and for that, i feel all right.

At the end of the day - I worked my ass off this season. Yes, I could have tried harder some days. I could have slept more. Ate better. Actually ridden up the hill at training camp instead of hitching a ride at the end of that exhausting day... But I did work hard this year.  Just because that didn't translate into the results I wanted doesn't mean I wasn't successful. I learned so much this year. About me, my body, my response to stress, creating limits when I have to but not accepting them as permanent. Being accepting of myself and my needs.  I'll push harder next year - be stronger and braver.  When the 5th, 6th, 7th IMs come around, I'll still be learning - but that makes us better and stronger, both physically and mentally.

looking forward to training and racing in 2017 my friends...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Race Recap: Rev3 Williamsburg 70.3 and a lesson in how to make a race more challenging

I'm horrible at this blog thing. Seriously. No wonder only my mom reads this... (mom? mom? Bueller?)

I'm going to turn over a new leaf and be more productive with blogging. I've already turned over like 42 new leaves in the blogging adventure, but whats one more. This ones for you Mom!

So - second 70.3 this year. And probably the one of the more painful experiences I've had in a racing weekend but more on that in a hot second.

Trekked down to Williamsburg Saturday mid-morning. This ended up being a terrible time traffic wise to venture down south so I stopped at Starbucks for a double dirty pick me up and cruised along 95 South to the sweet sexy stylings of Eric Church for four hours.

Arrived at the race site, picked up my packet - and I must commend Rev3 for the nice DC Tri/Rev3 hat - saw my SOAS sister Erin and her mom and got up the motivation to do an easy bike/run shake-out. Snapple'd myself up and away I went on the bike. Legs felt strong, I was replaying Eric Church in my head, and life was grand.

Life was grand for exactly 14 minutes and 57 seconds.

Life got significantly less grand when I went around some stuff in the road - cruising at 20+ mph on a slight downhill - and somehow ended up going over the handlebars and straight into the ditch on the side of the road. My face slid along the ditch, picking up dirt/stick/leaves in my mouth, and my bike flipped over and landed in front of me. I laid there for a few seconds, not really knowing what had just happened or what to do first. I rolled over and my first thought was, "shit, I just lost all my teeth - I wonder if I can even find all my teeth in the mess of leaves here. i don't want a redneck smile for the rest of my life."

You think I'm kidding but that was my honest-to-god first thought.

I spit out the mouthful of nature that was in my mouth and was surprised when I could feel all my teeth. I touched each one with my tongue and finger to make sure they were all there and relatively firm and in place. I then assessed my face. There was a little bit blood coming from my nose and mouth, the nose itself was incredibly painful, and I was currently rocking a unilaterally shadeless pair of Rudy sunglasses. Next thought was that I wouldn't have wearable sunglasses for the race the following day, so I looked down and by the sheer grace of god there was a tiny sliver of blue plastic peeking out from between the leaves.

Hallelujah. small victories.

As i picked up the shade, I felt a sharp jab in my left side. oh sweet mother of jesus, that stab in the ribs lowered me back to the ground and I questioned by ability to walk, let alone race the following day.

(one step at a time prochnow. just figure out your life and then worry about the race tomorrow.)

at that moment, a couple of dudes on hot bikes flew past. i looked myself up and down from my nest in the leaves and swore to god that if i ever encountered a person in my predicament in the future, i wouldn't fly past and ignore them. karma guys... karma.

(not even the seducing whir-whir-whir sound of your sexy disc wheel will make me hate you less.)

a sweet older couple arrived as i was in the middle of cursing out the cyclists. the woman looked pretty concerned but she handed me a rag and some water to clean up my face and asked if i needed a ride back. i said i thought i would be okay and they said they would stick around until they were able to see me ride away.

i fetched my bike from the far tree and attempted to get back on without checking it over. i know - brilliant.

i fell over immediately.

fixed the brake and the derailleur that were slightly out of whack, fished out some leaves that were stuck near the chain, and did a quick check with the brakes and made sure the wheels were turning without any issues. attempt number 2 was successful. i waved to my new friends and started laughing as some tears rolled down my cheeks. seconds later (once I was out of sight of their van), I pulled over and composed myself. i wanted to laugh at how stupid this situation was and how bad it hurt, but when i giggled, my rib felt like it was stabbing me in the lungs which made me cough and then the cough made it worse and then the tears started coming. i figured out if i pushed in a certain spot, then i could cough and i figured i had broken a rib. meh, as long as I could breathe, I figured there was nothing the doctor was going to do except give me pain medication.

got back on bike and made it back to the car. i stopped one of the volunteers to ask if a medic was around and as soon as he looked at me, he grabbed my left shoulder and asked if i was okay... yikes - my next stop would be a mirror with that kind of reaction... he said they were gone so i thanked him and trekked back to the car. i thought - hell, lets try running. i took my top off and a sea of leaves, sticks, and dirt spilled out. in front of a really attractive man in his mid 30's in the vehicle next to me. awesome.

the run hurt but was tolerable. i did 15 minutes in total and called it good. breathing was going to be rough during the race and i knew i would be hurting even more in the morning once my adrenaline dwindled down.

shape up or ship out - am i right? buck up or go home? harden the fuck up? the race was going to happen unless i was physically unable to walk in the morning. and even then - any forward motion counts right? i could probably float pretty effectively with the current and i could stay upright on a bike. i was golden! tip top shape even!

i hung out with some friends for awhile at the race site waiting for them to check-in. i borrowed ice from someone and froze my nose off. it had started to swell nicely and i was getting some impressive bruising across the bridge and by my eyes.

("hell yes I was in a fight" I will answer when asked later on. "and you should see the other dude. not chick - DUDE.")

calzone for dinner. fro-yo and girl talk in the hotel room for dessert. sleep.

woke up in the morning and did the whole laugh-cry thing again. dear god, that was some serious pain in my rib. i made the mistake of making sure my sunglasses were okay and i saw stars when i put them over my nose. that would surely feel excellent during the race a few hours from then...

nevertheless, I got my stuff together and headed to transition. got everything in place, a couple people asked about my face and we all had a good laugh. well - they did. my laughing kept turning into tears when i tried to laugh and/or breathe.

put on the speedsuit. had never worn it before. that was a treat to put on over my broken torso but lo and behold - i felt awesome once it was zipped up. that sucker was painted on and compressive and lovely - could i just do the whole race in it?

definitely a current. they were trying to keep us in a line and we kept drifting away in the active battle to stay near the start. i felt great for 3/4 of the swim. i felt a small twinge with every stroke using my left arm but it was the best i'd felt in about 18 hours so i was pleased. once i saw the arch, i knew i was starting to fade. i was losing strength in my left arm and i was drifting out to the right away from the finish. nevertheless, finished and ran out, happy to out of the water.

27 something.

tried to book it in transition since the race wasn't too big and transition was pretty small. taking off the speedsuit was pretty easy but the nice tightness around the chest disappeared and breathing became a chore again. balls.

i knew i needed to keep my heart rate in check for the ride. follow the plan... first half at MAF-10 and second half at MAF-5. i knew i was out in front for the swim and that cyclists would start passing me in due time. the key was just to hold them off as long as i could without maxing out my heart rate and killing myself. i started to count the few going by - and it happened earlier than i expected (shit.) i stuck with the grand plan and did my thing, eating when i needed to, making sure i was taking in enough fluid because it was getting pretty warm out there. the course itself was pretty easy and I enjoyed it a lot. the "hills" were nothing compared to what we've been training on in west virginia and pennsylvania so it was a bit of a self-confidence booster. i didn't feel like i was putting a significant effort into the bike so I was excited to get out and run to see what my legs had left. i was able to stay in aero for most of the ride so my ribs and breathing were pretty well controlled. i wasn't taking deep breaths and i was optimistic for what would happen when i got off the bike.


my friend rev 3 ed was standing right by my row so i paused for a picture and smile as i pulled my running shoes on, grabbed my visor, race belt, and water bottle and peaced onto the run.

wait for it... oof. my ribs hurt. breathing hurt. #everythinghurtsimdying.
suffice it to say, running 13.1 miles was a less than idyllic experience. BUT - i had running legs off the bike... it had been a long time since I felt that way! I got into a comfortably painful pace and just kept at it through the run. it was a double out-and-back with the end culminating in a fairly large incline on a bridge. saw friends on course and spectating and just took it all in. I was following the plan in terms of HR and perceived effort and just cruising. I actually started to feel a bit stronger around mile 9 and increased the tempo and pace a bit. before I knew it I was up and over the bridge and I could hear the finish line music. little did I realize it was still a solid 3/4 of a mile through the park to get there. I had just passed a girl in my age group so I turned on the jets... but may have turned them on a touch too early... I ran out of steam about halfway through the park, but when I turned to look over my shoulder, she was no where in sight. head down to the finish - looked at watch and saw i'd broken 5 hours. not bad all things considering.

all in all, it was a punch-you-in-the-gut type weekend with the crash but i tried to step up and perform regardless. no excuses guys - life is what it is.

thanks to Rev3 for a well run, fun race. thanks to Son and the team at Rising Tide :) and Snapple, Rudy project, Xterra, LG, District Taco and our other awesome sponsers!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The most epic flu of my adult life.

So I had that stressful week. Which ended up being a great training week since I focused my energy on training and not wallowing in the sad hole that was my life for a solid 7 days.

I bought a car Monday. 2011 Nissan Rogue - she's awesome and Rosie fits nicely inside. I'm glad the car buying process is over, lets leave it at that.

I thought to myself that night - self, you survived. your neck is back to normal. Let's try to stay in one piece from now on, shall we?

Wednesday morning (my day off) I woke up and my first thought was "oh. shit." I felt like I'd been legitimately run over by a truck. that was speeding. while transporting cement. my head weighed 100 lbs, my body was sore and achy and my face was on fire. I proceeded to sleep all day long, waking up for 10-15 minutes at a time before passing back out. By that evening, I wasn't doing much better, but ventured out to DC to have my friend take care of me because I was done fending for myself.

Thursday morning I woke up and couldn't remember when I had swallowed 37 knives, but apparently I had in the middle of the night because I couldn't swallow without searing pain. And head still weighed 100 lbs. I returned home very early Thursday morning after calling into work and passed out for the majority of the day. I tried to take Jazz outside and halfway down the stairs had to sit and take a break - it was pathetic.

Friday, if possible - I felt worse. The upper respiratory portion had begun at some point during the night and I had a dry hack of a cough that killed my throat. Miserable, I trekked out to Giant (I had barely eaten for two days) to restock on cold/flu medications and to find something enticing to eat. I came away with about 50 dollar in medicine, an avocado, yogurt (for the following week for work, no way I was eating dairy), crescent rolls, bread for olive oil/balsamic vinegar, and sardines. i'm dead serious. looking back, spaghettios would have really hit the spot as well...

Saturday I was off work - thank GOD. I don't even remember Saturday, that's how awesome I felt. I slept a lot. Watched Ian unpack from my view on the new amazing couch while watching Harry Potter... I provided moral support? Went to the movies Saturday night and tried not to infect anyone else with the plague.

Sunday I was able to venture out and help Ian with his new place. marginally. We went to Ikea and dined on Ikea food. Then i made a mental note to never do that again... I watched more Harry Potter from the couch and was pretty happy about that.

Today, however, is Wednesday and I still have a cough and I'm still raspy and snotty. This sickness has reached the 8 day mark and I'm over it. I was up for awhile last night hacking up a lung despite cough drops and medicine. But - I was able to ride (slow and steady) Sunday night, swim Monday and today, and bike Tuesday. Tomorrow I will attempt running seeing as a I have a half marathon next weekend... wish me luck.

I apologize to any people I was in contact with that are now suffering the same demise that I recently experienced. I missed almost a week of training, which sucks because I feel like I can't catch a break with my neck issue and hip flexor and flu bug. Here to happy, healthy weeks ahead and getting back on the horse!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Stress. It's a killer.

Hi negative three followers... I come bearing sad news. The infamous well-loved chevy cobalt died a sad, painful death Monday night. We (and Jazz) hit a guardrail at the breakneck speed of 30 mph and proceeded to deploy the airbag and smash the hell out of the front end of the car. Oh and it was raining. Ice rain.

It was scary. as. shit. I think I was in a little bit of shock, my neck got tweaked again, and I was just overall pretty shaken up. I had the help of some good friends that night and over the next couple days to get me squared away with a rental car and car shopping - very thankful to have these amazing people in my life.

It ended up being a very difficult week between the wreck, my neck hurting again, and work issues and I had a bit of a breakdown mid-week. I cried a lot... almost every day that week. But that support system of mine is awesome and I reflected on what I learned with my car issues last year and I think I handled it better this time around.

I'm proud of the fact that I managed the car shopping ordeal, work, and training without missing workouts last week. Training gave me something to focus on when it felt like my life was falling apart and I think I did pretty well overall.

swim: 6700 (1:55)
bike: 27 miles (1:30)
run: 17.55 (2:26)

I missed OSS sunday morning - with the hellacious week I had, I gave myself a mental health day and focused my efforts on organizing life and car shopping. I also did my taxes - yay.

had an amazing swim workout wednesday - 10 x 250s IM pace. My IM pace with a wetsuit is about 1:25/100y. My goal was to hold that pace in the pool for the 250s - and I totally did. My times were consistent, ranging from 3:32-3:35 across the board (1:24-1:25 pace). It was tough, but I was thrilled at the end about being able to hold that pace - I didn't think it would be possible at this point.

also had a beautiful outside run at haines point on saturday. it was 8.5 miles - 6 mile MAF test in the middle and I was pretty consistent with those miles too - 7:58-8:14 per mile. I felt comfortable and strong and it was glorious to run outside in shorts and a tank top in the sunny cool weather.

Light biking week (since I missed OSS), but overall good with swimming and running.

happy thoughts that I have some easier weeks ahead in life. and RIP chevy cobalt. I secretly (or publicly) hated you, but you were pretty reliable for awhile there. Thanks for being my first big girl new car purchase. To the junkyard with you love.

Monday, February 15, 2016

I can wear my skinny jeans again...

... and I am so pumped about that. I got fat at the end of 2015 with the injury and workout slump! Had to bust out the chubby jeans, HA! But I think I've lost about 10 lbs over the past 2 months and I feel like myself again. Getting back in shape sucks, but the rewards are awesome.

week in recap:

swim: 9900 yards (2:54)
bike: 83.1 miles (4:50)
run: 18.1 miles (2:50)

still in base phase and feeling good. completed a whole week (finally) without skipping any workouts and neck feels back in working order (thank god).

notable workouts include 9 miler (on treadmill) - but it was quite lovely, non painful. watched the marathon olympic trials which was amazing. had a moment with an older gentleman right after I watched amy cragg catch shalane at the finish line and I was tearing up. he was watching the tv screen on my treadmill and I turned to him and gave him a thumbs up and he returned the thumbs up and walked away. i love our sports - running, swimming, cycling - the team dynamic can be so awesome.

also had an interesting swim set - broken 250s: 100 fast, 75 cruise, 50 MAX, and 25 easy stroke with various rest intervals scattered in there between the individual parts. my initial 100's were quick - in the 1:16-1:18 range and I didn't really feel like I was killing myself. the fitness is returning...

... and training is good. makes me happy.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Neck says don't swim, I say... um, okay you have a point.

My neck is STILL bothering me BUT - I can run(ish) and bike fairly comfortably. I was afraid to swim at the beginning of the week because of the breathing and neck turning and all those things that feel just fantastic on my neck. However, I was able to do a 20 minute flop swim after the long run on saturday and neck felt tight, but not painful. Super easy swimming, I do love these short easy swims after running to loosen up the muscles and speed up recovery after long runs.

I got some quality work done this week regardless:

swim: 1300 yards (0:20 time) - STELLAR
bike: 79 miles (4:52 time)
run: 20.37 miles (3:12 time)

Did my long run of the week with Andy for his "39 for 39" birthday run. We were running a pretty steady, slow-ish pace (he was doing 39 miles...) but I was pumped that I had very little knee/hip pain and I really wanted to keep running. Did a 2.5 hour ride with Ian the day before and was happy with that - I can feel my legs are getting stronger and its definitely helping my run strength. It is SO nice to have company for these longer rides - PLUS House of Cards AND eating a sushi-burrito post-ride (that's a real thing, trust me). Lovely day!

We also did a tough hour trainer ride earlier in the week after work - 20 min warm up with a few 30 second sprints thrown in there, then main set was 15 x (30 seconds ON, 30 seconds OFF), 5 min easy spin, 30 x (15 seconds ON, 15 seconds OFF), 5 min cool down. Holy hell. My heart rate got up to 178 and I almost threw up over the last few repeats. Success.

Next week, I vow to complete every single workout and turn all those boxes green. Neck needs to shape up or ship out...

Monday, February 1, 2016

off with your head, slacker.

im slowly recovering from the neck thing. i wish i could just lift off my head and give my neck a break.

go ahead and picture that for a second.

still no swimming. light run week. i did a fair amount of biking though and that is always my major concern, so happy #1 for that. kicked my ass in spin yesterday which actually felt amazing - super pleased with that. yay. me.

my solo run of the week was an hour treadmill run - care free and easy. for the first time in awhile, i felt like my stride was smoothing out. still some IT band twingy ache, but i feel like i have more power back in my left leg. mission hip-flexor-loving is working. happy #2.

swim: none
bike: 94.2 miles
run: 6.7 miles

this is embarrassing.

but its progress.

this is a heavy week at work - I don't love the 4 full days in a row (monday-thursday) - but that means i have friday-sunday off. I have a long run sunday planned as part of my friend Andy Baldwin's birthday run for his foundation - Got Your Back Network. He is turning 39 and will be running 39 miles Sunday morning around the Virginia/DC area. I plan on doing about 10 miles with him, a short and sweet swim afterward then enjoying superbowl sunday. excited for the weekend!

Link to donate to GYBN -

Thanks guys :)

Friday, January 29, 2016

That week DC got 2 feet of snow and I broke my neck.

Time for the weekly round-up kids. Also, a lesson to be learned here. But first, here's what I actually got accomplished in triathlon life...

swim: 5100 yards
bike: 45.5 miles
run: 4.55 miles
strength training: 1

... so. basically nothing. neck was hurting early in the week, so Tuesday and Wednesday were rest days, still sticking with the hip flexor loving but not much else. Missed a swim and bike workout on those days which wasn't pleased about, but better to baby this thing for a few days than stress it out this early in the season.

The storm began in earnst friday afternoon - so friday morning I did my run outside (MAF work) followed by a short, sweet swim finishing 3 minutes before the pool closed for the weekend (prep for storm). My run is continuing to improve a bit, less hip pain and a more fluid stride, though IT band pain still present.

Saturday was a slice of heaven on earth. I stayed in DC all weekend with a good friend and we woke up Saturday morning to a literal wonderland. The city was asleep other than a few plows that were out but the snow was falling and the city was *quiet*. We woke up early to watch the snow, then went back to sleep for a couple hours. Around 10, we met up with a friend that lives really close and we headed to Meridian Park for round 1 of snow fun. The dogs that were off leash and jumping in the snow made my cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing so much. Watching dogs play with pure uninhibited joy is just awesome.

We sledded down some steps, made snow angels, ran down more steps and jumped into the unblemished expanse of snow that had blanketed everything overnight. We decided to explore the mall and monuments so with a quick break for clothing change, coffee and baileys and travel snacks, we headed out on our winter wonderland adventure. Walking down the center of normally busy streets was surreal - it was reminiscent of "Day After Tomorrow". People were out and about, in boots, skis, snowshoes, you name it. We watched downhill skiers on 15th street. We even saw the military Humvee's out and about on U street in the newly declared disaster zone.

The White House was our first stop. We weren't the only ones searching for presidential snow angels. After an obligatory photo op and an impromptu snow ball fight with complete strangers, we continued on past the WWII memorial, the reflecting pool, and onto the Lincoln Memorial. We had a blast running through the knee-thigh (depending on how tall you are...) snow and parked ourselves on the steps. We slid, we rolled, we tumbled down the snow covered stairs to the sweet musical tones of disney pandora. We had snow beers and shared muffins with pigeons before returning to home base for a quick break.

Then - THEN - the epic sledding of 15th street. We rode down the hill sitting on a snowboard at first. Then Ian grabbed his mountain bike and a surfing leash and proceeding to fly down 15th street hill towing me in a laundry basket.

Oh yea. That happened. Theres video evidence.

All in all, we walked at least 7 miles in snow which was borderline exhausting but exhilarating at the same time. I LOVE snow. Me and snow - we're committed for life.

Ambitiously, and still riding the winter wonderland high, we then decided to take on a 2 and a half hour trainer ride. I was pretty proud of us. We had a dynamite dinner of salmon and rice and chocolate and passed out watching House of Cards.

Sunday morning, I woke up very early and checked on the snow. I headed back to bed to sleep in. An hour later, I woke up in SEARING neck pain.

Oh for the love of God, I just wanted to cry. So I did.

I ended up obtaining my usual pharmacy of drugs that I treat my disk flare-ups with (THANK YOU JESUS) but the snowball fight and snow playtime were sadly out of the question. We spent the day lounging around watching even more House of Cards until it was football time. Headed to the navy yard to his friend's apartment to partake in football and food and drinks for the rest of the night while I tried incredibly hard to sit perfectly still.

Monday morning, I felt worse. I actually woke up from crying in my sleep at 4:30 am. Thankfully, I had a more than capable caretaker to make sure I didn't off myself or die from pain so that was most excellent. I felt better through the day, forced myself into a 2 hour trainer ride sitting up which was the only position that didn't hurt. Sitting hurt, laying down hurt, but shockingly, my neck position on the bike was comfortable so I embraced this small 2 hour relief in the form of a relatively laid-back trainer ride.

The rest of this week has just been hell. My neck is slowing improving and I eeked out an hour long trainer ride this morning. Tomorrow I have an hour run on the books (which I am overly excited about) before I head out to sign an apartment lease and trek out to Annapolis for the Navy-Army hockey game and dinner at one of my favorite places in town.

Here's to a painfully slow recovery week...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Baby, I'm a streaker.

You heard me. 9 day streaker. I have worked out 9 days in a row and its cause for celebration because the last time I did that was over a year ago. I feel tired - but good tired. Plus seeing all those little green boxes in training peaks makes my OCD super happy.

I pulled out a 1:30 trainer ride and hour swim on Wednesday - I was exhausted (still getting back into this training thing...) but I was riding that lovely exhaustion where you just want to eat and chill on the couch and relax but not pass out in a post-workout-coma. Other notable workout - 2:30 trainer ride on friday and it felt good. It was hard but I pushed it and felt pretty damn decent. so, yay.

workouts from last week:
swim (2): 7050 yds
bike (3): 110 miles
run (3): 14 miles

(I missed my Saturday "flop" swim after the run because a child pooped in the pool... which I was legitimately sad about because it was a short and sweet splash in the pool and I was super sweaty from the run.)

So - training is good - I love the specificity of the workouts with intervals (thanks Sonja and RTTC!).

Snowstorm is apparently coming this weekend. Even if I'm holed up in my apartment, I've got a few training rides on the books and I can always run on my beloved treadmill...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Oh hi. It's me. I'm BACK.

Let's try one more time to stay on top of all things in the online world, shall we?

So we left off early November in a real slump. Its improved - in ways different than expected, but its improved.

My body is not 100%, lets admit that fact. Thanks to that good ole boot from weeks back, the left side of my body decided to stay jacked up - we're working on it. Hip flexor needs some lovin' - PT style. Don't be gross.

My motivation is back. Hello! New year, new you? Yea, I'm not buying that crap either, but in the spirit of new-gym-memberships-and-weight-loss-goals-and-improving-oneself, lets jump on the bandwagon and get this training show on the road, shall we?

I hired a new coach (happy dance). I will miss Taneen and her spirit and motivation - she and I had a great year and I learned a lot - about myself, about things I like and dislike in triathlon and training and 2015 was a great stepping stone to lead into 2016. I have 2 more Ironmans under my belt, I've been pretty consistent but its time to leap off that plateau and climb the next mountain. Its going to be tough and, let's be honest, I'll probably cry... because, you know... me... - but I'm ready.

I'm a week and a half into the first block of training. I did the first swim workout last monday and then promptly came down with some nasty virus that nearly killed me for three days. Jumped back on the horse friday with the first run in weeks... did 3.7 whole miles and felt awkward but the leg is *marginally* getting better. Is it all in my head? Maybe. But I think its better, so I'm going with that.

Saturday was a off day since we were doing a threshold test the following morning at off-season-spin. So - that threshold test eh... After having a few cocktails and staying up a tad too late at a party (with other triathletes, so I think that makes it legit), I showed up to OSS and kicked my ass. But I got it done and done effectively.

At that point is when my body decided it had had enough for the day. The intention was to follow OSS with an easy 40 minute run. And I'm going to say this out loud for accountability sake - I need to learn to to run easy when it says to "run easy". EASY. Especially with other people.

I started running and my leg felt even better than it had on Friday. So - I ran too fast. After a mile and a half or so, I felt my legs start to die and I knew the next 28 minutes were going to be quite uncomfortable. And they were. Even when I slowed down to an embarrassingly slow pace that a 3 year old could sustain, my heart rate was in the 700's and I was watching my legs move but they seemed to have a mind of their own. I mean, the heart rate *might* have been a shade lower than that exaggerated number... but lets say new numbers were showing up that the 910 has never witnessed.

I was grumpy (sorry to running partner...) and hangry after that brick workout. Though the bloody mary that followed put me in a much better mood and I recovered with tacos (thank you District Taco!) and How to Make a Murderer all afternoon/evening... As much as some workouts can suck - I love being in training again!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

It turns out I don't suck.

Keep it appropriate kids. This is a PG-13 blog with occasional profanity, not sexual interludes.

One of the cool things about the triathlon world is being part of a team. Whether its the local tri club, an ambassador program, a racing team - triathlon accepts any and all people and encourages participation regardless of ability.

This past year, I had an awesome opportunity to represent SOAS - a women-specific brand created by women. The company is amazing, I love their vision for active women - just being a part of it this year and seeing it grow by leaps and bounds in 2015 alone has been exciting! They constantly seek our input and take our ideas into account - and make them happen! Our private facebook group is a safe haven for the "SOAS sisters" and is a constant go-to source for inspiration and motivation. I feel like I know so many of them through our interactions on facebook, messages, texts, etc. This past year, I had multiple opportunities to meet some of the fellow ambassadors and have even stayed in close contact with some of them - plus the fact that one of my best friends is on the team is incredibly awesome. I've even found an awesome teammate that lives local that I've ridden with and become friends with! I wouldn't have had these opportunities without SOAS and I'm so grateful.

This being my second year of racing (and the first year of having some semblance of knowledge about the sport), representing SOAS increased my confidence level which pushed me to apply for a local "elite" team, the Snapple Tri Team.

Lo and behold, they actually accepted me. Whaaaaaaat!

*happy dancing all around*

Despite the annoying, nagging, OBNOXIOUS injuries plaguing me - I'm pumped and excited for 2016. I get to hang with a team of awesome people and hopefully their awesomeness rubs off on me!

(Plus District Taco is a sponsor... HELLO, WELCOME TO MY DREAM WORLD.)

And look, I even became famous in the online world.

Cheers to an amazing 2016!