the aftermath

It’s been almost 2 weeks since our race, and I still can’t believe that it’s over.  I feel like I did after my wedding last year.  I prepared so hard for so many months and within the blink of an eye (or maybe a few blinks during the 12 hours and 59 minutes and 36 seconds) it’s over!  Now what do I do??  The last 2 weeks have been really tough for me.  As soon as I crossed the finish line the first thing I asked Dusty was, when can I swim again?  He laughed at me until he realized I was serious and said, “NOTHING until Thursday.”  Riiiiight.

I tried really hard to listen.  Monday and Tuesday I had a hard time moving so it wasn’t really an issue but Wednesday after I saw that Melissa ran (more peer pressure!!) it was over!  I went from work and decided that if she can run 4.5 miles at a 9:15 pace, I can do it too.  So, without telling anyone, I snuck out!  And, let me tell you that just because she could do it, did NOT mean I could too!  It was the worst run for me.  The first mile seem to take FOREVER, and the second one was even worse.  I did knock out 2.5 miles but I averaged 11:30 minute miles and my heart rate was through the roof.  Bad mistake, and lesson well learned.

I did get in the pool on Thursday for an easy 1000 and that felt better than running.  We went to Rochester for the weekend, and with the combination of rain, wind and cold I was forced to take the entire weekend off.  It was great to see my family and best friend while I was home but I wish I would have been able to get a little workout in.

Monday I couldn’t take it anymore.  I had to do something productive with myself and needed to workout again.  I was now eating regularly and was hungry (I hadn’t been hungry since the Thursday before the race, weird I know) more often, so leaving out my workouts was no longer an option unless I wanted to gain weight.  I hopped in the pool in hopes it would feel amazing, and it did.  SLowly my legs are coming back.  This week my swimming will probably be around 6000 for the week, and running will be around 20 miles, and I was able to squeeze in some yoga with Lori yesterday.  So far, so good.  My runs this week were awesome and filled with lots of friends!  So many people came out to our RFYL, Montrail and Fuel Belt Unofficial 5k Halloween Run on Tuesday and  we had a lot of fun!  Thursday I was able to run with Sarah (Punky) for a post crappy Girls on the Run class!  Last night my wonderful run group joined me for some hill repeats which made me feel like I was really back!!   This weekend I am excited to be getting back out with my USA Fit running friends (especially Melissa to see what else she will be able to talk me into).

The one thing that I was able to learn during this post race working out situation is that everyone is different.  Our bodies can take different amounts of pain but then takes a different amount of pain in the aftermath.  What made me think I could do it because Melissa did?  I have no idea but my legs were NOT feeling as good as hers.  I am grateful that I realized that before it was too late and I got injured.  There is no time for injury!!  I have a 50k coming up in January that I need to start keep training for, a full marathon in February, a half Iron in April and a half marathon the week after with my best friend (props to Kimmy “Frick” Cardone for taking the plunge, I have waited years for this day to come and I wouldn’t miss it for the world)!!

I have to keep running so I can eat my pancakes :0)

one hundred and forty. six

It’s really, really long…sorry!

Race week was one of my favorite weeks of my training plan, but also was one of the most difficult as well.  As many of you know about my OCD with training (and my lack of self control during taper) up until this week, I had NEVER missed a workout!

Monday was a 60-minute swim, which I decided to make 2000 yards!  Tuesday I did a 60-minute bike, and then met Matt Newsom for a 35 minute run.  For run group on Tuesday, in which I did NOT run, I brought my bike.  (I guess now looking back I am thankful for the events that transpired after my night with my bike at run group, but at that moment, I wanted to beat Danielle up for bringing to my attention my “flat” in the surface of my tire.)  Wednesday, I SKIPPED my workout, because I was so exhausted!  I spent the day second guessing my sleep in option, but decided that my breakfast date with Theoden eased my racing mind, and my pre race “tune-up” from Ryan Danner was in order for after work, I basically didn’t have a choice!  Thursday morning was another pool swim, this time only clocking 1500 yards.  After my swim, I met up with Lisa for breakfast at Starbucks for some good words of wisdom and girl talk.   Later that night at run group, I only ran a little because I had to find one of my runners who forgot which way was left (it’s ok Rima, I still have a hard time with my left and right side too).  Friday morning was a 30-minute swim and a 30-minute run.  I swam 1000 and then met Adam for our pre race carb load!  Hello pancakes!!  I was NOT hungry at all, but the pumpkin pancakes were calling my name.

The rest of Friday was a blur.  Adam and I raced around packing the car, driving to the beach and getting all of our stuff together for the race.  Beach to Battleship is supposed to be one of the best races in the world, but as the point to point you have to have your crap together, or you’re in trouble!

By 6:00pm we had our bikes delivered to T1, bag waiting in T1, shoes in the bushes for the 400-yard dash to T1, T2 bag packed and in T2, pre race meeting done, special needs bags for run and bike in the trailers, and we were ready for dinner…or were we?

After we checked into our hotel we went to Olive Garden with Almonds for dinner.  (Did I mention yet that I haven’t been hungry all day on Friday?  I was just putting food in my mouth because Adam said so.)  As we sat there talking about our race, my mind and heart started racing, my head started pounding and my stomach was doing somersaults.  Adam and I ended up splitting some pasta and chicken dish, I guess it was ok, but my nerves were getting the best of me.  Welcome “pre-race” nerves you were missed since 26.2 with Donna…just kidding, go away!!

I finally started feeling better when got back to the hotel and I saw Erin and Dave.  My longest friend I have had, since I was 7, came down from D.C with her husband to cheer us on.  (Little did they know what they were really going to be responsible for.)  After we told them all of our plans for the day, asked them to take us to T1 at 6:00am, hold on to our post race bags AND bring us back after the race, we were on our way to bed.  At 9:15pm we were finally done with our crazy day.  As I laid in bed, I went through all of my texts, Facebook messages, emails and cards, I couldn’t stop smiling.  We have such an amazing group of friends and family that truly love and support us!  What a great feeling!  Tomorrow, I will race with their thoughts, quotes and bible verses in my head.  Above all else, tomorrow I will think that I am a BAMF (thanks Jamie and Melissa) Bad Arse…figure out the rest!

I didn’t sleep well on Friday night, which is pretty unusual for me, and woke up Saturday morning with the same headache.  I didn’t take anything, because your not supposed to, I figured by the time I got into the water it would be gone, I was wrong, but more on that later.  I ate my bagel with peanut butter, banana and honey and drank some water.  Then, I went into the bathroom because I thought for sure it was going to come back up.  I had to have a little chat with myself, I need to have those nutrients and vitamins in my body.  “Now is not the time to get sick!!  Come on Kara, pull yourself together!!”  And then there was a knock on the door.  Erin and Dave were here, reality set in.  The time has finally come to leave.

We walked outside the hotel and the weather was perfect!  In the mid 50s and not a cloud in the sky.  Today was going to be a great day!!  As we drove to T1, I tried to visualize the day that was ahead of me, but I couldn’t.  I was too focused on trying not to throw up!  Within 10 minutes we were getting out of the car.  “Oh my God, this is really happening?  I might as well stay with Dave and Erin today.  I feel horrible!  Today is not going to go well at all.”  I gathered myself together and walked into T1 with Adam.  We pumped up our bike tires, and brought Adam’s stuff to the bag drop area.  Suddenly, I realized I forgot the most important thing in the world, my Uncrustables, were sitting in the freezer at the hotel.  What was I going to eat on the bike?  I don’t have enough food.  I raced back up to Erin in a panic and asked for my phone.  I called my ever faithful friend Danielle, who was already on her way to the race with Brenda, Carlin, Cathy, Jessica and Carrie (because they are amazing and wonderful)…freaking out, I asked if she could stop and bring me some to where they were planning on being.  Thankful to have friends like that, I relaxed knowing that I would have food (come to find out Cathy stopped to pick them up, thank you Cathy 1)!  Now that I felt a little better, we went to get body marked.  356 and 357 are ready to race!  We said goodbye to the Meyer’s, wished them a good day at the beach and we’d see them later.

The line for the trolley was so long!  As we walked to the back of the line we found our partners in crime, Jamie and Melissa, and we got in line with them.  The 3 of them talked, laughed and joke, I sat on the curb and took deep breathes so I didn’t get sick…still feeling horrible!  The trolley was here, we sat down and I saw Erin and Dave once more!

It seemed like forever until we got to the swim start, felt like we were at least 10 miles away.  We got off the trolley and found a little spot by a pavilion to take off our extra sexy, and just bought, sweat suit with elastic bands, and my snowman toe socks that would now be donated to the Salvation Army as “gently worn.”  One more trip to the port-a-potty, some Vaseline on my neck so it doesn’t rub (and give me dreadlocks in my hair, sorry Melissa) and we are off to the swim start.  Head still pounding, heart racing, and feet frozen and there was the “start” arch.  There we were wishing Mauro was there to listen our spirits, we needed some jokes, because what we were about to do was NO joke!  HOLY CRAP!  Randomly we found Dusty and were able to talk for a minute before they started playing the National Anthem.  Everyone looked into the air at the camera that was flying over us.  As the National Anthem ended, Eminem “Lose Yourself” started playing.  “Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment would you capture it or just let it slip?”  Adam kissed me good luck and with that we were off.

We waited until the crowd of mass people left, but I guess we didn’t wait long enough because there were still so many people around.  I put my head down to start swimming and ignored all the people kicking and touching me until this one person who seemed to be aiming for my head and tried to push me under.  I was so mad, I stopped and turned around, only to find that it was good ol’ Coach Dusty.  He was like, “Of all the people out here, it’s you.  Sorry.  Ha!”  I needed a good laugh at that point, so I continued on my way.

(Because of Chad, and being able to swim so much in the open waters of Lake Davidson, I felt great!  Next time I am just going to ask him to invite all of his friends over though so I can see what it’s like to do a beach mass start and have people kicking me the entire time.)

I remember seeing the big water tower where the half was going to start.  I just kept thinking, swim to Holly.  I was in the zone, I was swimming well, nothing hurt, and the water was warmer than the lake.  Things were awesome and my head felt better!  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!!  Before I knew it, we were at the docks.  I stopped my watch as soon as I got the ladders, 54:21.  What?  2.4 miles and that was my time?  Awesome!  Took my goggles, ripped my swim cap off (it was caught in my hair) and some nice gentleman helped me get my wet suit off my left leg, because my huge calf was keeping it on!  I grabbed my “hidden” shoes, took a quick little HOT shower and headed to T1.  I waved to Erin and Dave and smiled at all of the people who were cheering around me.

There was nothing about me that was fast in T1…16:31 not fast.  I dried everything off, got dressed, put my socks on, put deodorant on, brushed my hair and then I was heading out.  Only to find my amazing husband walking out at the same time!  What are the chances?  So, we walked to our bikes together and we were on our way, TOGETHER!  112 miles, together!  SO much better than doing it alone!

My head was still pounding and I realized I was going to have to get used to it for the day.  Dreadful.  For the first few miles on the bike I played the alphabet game, until we hit the highway and I gave up.  I can’t even begin to tell you what I thought about all of those miles, but I can tell you that the most amazing thing in the world was turning around and seeing my husband behind me.  I knew that I was not alone and that we were going to do this together!

At mile 30ish, the course split, half to the left, full straight.  I had just flipped off the sign and was feeling pretty negative when I suddenly saw lots of pink and heard lots of noise!!  It was my amazing friends!!  Danielle, Cathy 1, Cathy 2, Carrie, Brenda, Carlin and Jessica were all there screaming and carrying on as we both pulled up to them.  I felt like I was a racecar driver doing a pit stop.  One person each taking off my arm warmers, someone helping Adam, Carlin unwrapping my first Uncrustable, Cathy 1 taking pictures, Danielle stuffing more Uncrustables into my pockets of my bike jersey, Carrie, Cathy 2 and Jessica flashing our signs and telling us how awesome we are!!  I high-fived Carlin and we were off!!  I couldn’t stop smiling and the tears started welling up inside of my eyes.  We have amazing people in our lives!

A little ways down the road we suddenly heard this screaming noise coming up from behind us, as the noise got louder there was a person hanging out of the car…it was Bridget and Beth!!  More tears, more smiles and a little more of a motor!  They stopped ahead of us, jumped out of the car, rang that cowbell and screamed as we rode by.  They got back in their car and rode a little more to do the same thing further down!  And then even further down, were the stunning seven!  I loved seeing them all and hearing them cheer for us!  It made the day so much better!

The next few miles went on as a blur, but Adam was behind me.  The day was beautiful.  I just kept thinking about my YMCA-ism I had picked up Friday morning after my swim, “God is good.”  God is good, what an amazing day.  We stopped for our “special needs” bag at 50 something, filled up our water bottles, got more pretzels and rode on.  Before I knew it, we were at mile 70, my last time to eat real food, so I ate another Uncrustable.  Mile 80 was my reward and I got to have 2 Oreos.  And finally at mile 90 some nice guy gave me 2 Ibuprofen for my head that was still pounding.  Within 3 minutes, no joke, I felt like a new person, I even used the bathroom at that stop.  Adam said that after that stop I was off and on a mission, I agree.  I felt wonderful and was ready to be off the bike!  At mile 101 and on, I kept thinking, “Wow this is the longest I have ever rode!  I feel great!”

As we approached the final mile, we had to cross another DRAW bridge.  Now, if you remember the last time when I was fish tailing across the bridge in Morehead City, NC I was having some bad flashbacks.  The “mats” they had on the bridge didn’t really help, my bike was still sliding all over the place, but it was only 100 yards.  When we came around the corner to the Convention Center (T2) and there were all my pink and yellow Iron Fans!  Screaming and yelling for us!!

Giving someone my bike to put up was awesome, I felt like a pro.  (Looking at all of the bikes that were already put up made me feel a lot less than a pro though!  Ha!)  I grabbed my changing bag and went to the bathroom AGAIN, and totally changed again!  I grabbed my EFS bottle and a real bottle of water and headed out with a much quicker transition time.  Adam was taking a little longer so, I went without him.  I knew we’d be running a different pace anyways.

When I came out of the Convention Center, there they were again, all of them, screaming and yelling and proudly showing their signs!  Another tear formed in my eye!  I kept running to our first turn around, saw Erin and Dave, dropped my real bottle with Dave while Erin ran to the cone with me and we talked a little, I felt great!  Erin stayed with Dave (and my water bottle) and I kept running, found the girls, Bridget ran with me for 1 second until I asked her to go get my water bottle from Dave and Erin, I thought I would see them again, and I didn’t.  So, it was me, my water water bottle, and my Margarita flavor shot blocks, for the next 26.2 miles!  I knew what kind of run this was, an out and back…two times!  What I didn’t know was how horrible it was.

There was a mile triangle that I had to run around FOUR times, FOUR!  Who wants to run around that FOUR times?  Not me and I was already thinking about it!!  Anyways, I just kept running, talking once in awhile to random people.  Asking them why we sign up for things like this?  At one point I remember singing BINGO and “I Like Big Butts” but for the first half that’s all I remember.  Seeing Bachy and Dave on that dreadful triangle was the BEST thing ever!  She ran the entire way with me and then said “OK, see you in a bit” and I headed for the next out and back.  The next turn around seemed like it was never going to get here, but it did!  I saw Adam and kissed him, he looked great and said he felt great too, that made me feel so much better, knowing that he was ok too! And then, there was another triangle run and back to the finish line, but not to finish.

On my way back out for my next 13 miles, I picked up 2 fabulous friends, Beth and Bridget.  They were awesome to have and kept me moving, my pace of course, but they kept it fun.  We talked, I don’t remember about what, I said the f word a lot, I swore at my Revennas (my favorite shoes, but had way too many miles on them for this kind of race, what an idiot, I know) on many occasions.  They made jokes, we took pictures and I kept eating my freaking shot blocks, 2 every 3 miles, yuck!  I had Pepsi at random times to put something more exciting into my stomach, but I felt great!  It was so weird!  I wanted to walk so I didn’t go too fast, I didn’t want to hit the wall, but there wasn’t a wall.  There was just darkness around me. The glow stick necklace they gave me bounced too much so I wore it as a headband.  And I kept running.  On my last triangle run, Beth found Adam (no I didn’t see him and I probably would have ran right by), and Erin and Dave were running with him.  We all stopped to walk and talk for a minute, but both of us were feeling pretty good and wanted to keep going.  I kissed him and we went our separate ways…the finish line was so close now.  Every person we saw kept saying “Go Power in Pink” or “Go Pink!”  And at one point, some guy asked if I was doing a relay.  Apparently I looked too strong to be running the full.  Ha!

Beth and Bridget kept me going, and kept my mind off of the pain I was starting to feel in my quads, and knees.  The last two miles we picked it up and on the last .25 mile, they ran ahead of me and said “Here comes Kara!”  And the crowd exploded into screams and chants!  There was the finish line and there was the guy talking about 30 seconds until 13 hours.  “OH HELL NO!  I am NOT getting 13 now!!”  I sprinted toward the finish line, tears in my eyes, barely breathing, and finish!!  (Even though they didn’t say it because it wasn’t an Ironman event) “Kara Vincent, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!”  I looked to the left and there was Dusty and Emily yelling for me!  I tried to cry, but I don’t think I had enough fluid left in my body!  I did it!!

So many emotions filled up inside, but mostly I just felt accomplished!  I just completed 140.6 miles (on my watch it said 141.4) in 12:59:36!!  I saw Jamie, he finished way ahead of me in 12:18, he is a BAMF!  Then I saw Beth and Bridget came to hug me, congratulate me and went back out to help Adam finish (they didn’t find him, but it was awesome that they tried).  I grabbed a Diet Pepsi and went to wait for Adam.  Emily was nice enough to share a coat with me so I wasn’t shivering until Dave and Erin came with my post race clothes!

 

Within an hour here he comes!!  My husband is an Ironman too!  I raced (not really because my legs were very tight) to the finish line to hug him! His final race time, just under 14 hours…13:59!!  I was so proud of him and he looked so good and so strong too!  And a little while later Melissa finished as well…just under 15!  We did it!  All 4 of us, successfully finished, up right and with smiles on our faces!

So, what’s the moral of the story?  If we can do it, you can too!!  Training takes a lot of hard work and dedication!  No you’re not going to have much of a life outside of work and training, but in the end, it’s all worth it!

I am grateful for everyone who helped me train.  In the water: Adam, Dinah, Melonie, Chad R, Lori, Graham, Michelle, Jodi, and Bill.  On the bike: Adam, Michelle, Holly, Christa, Jeff, Bill, Jodi, Dusty, Melissa, Jamie, Lori, Danielle, Dan, Franki, Andy, Lisa, Paula, Larry, Scott, Chad H, and Aaron.  And on the run: Adam, Matt N, Beth, Bridget, Walt, Danielle, Lori, Dan, Cathy 1, Cathy 2, Rima, Brenda, Cindy, Carlin, Sarah B, Rachel, Carrie, Landon, Holly, Chad R, Melissa, Jamie, John, Dale, Ashley, Sarah M, April, Perry, Eddie, Darren, and Susan!

I am grateful for everyone who took time out of their busy Saturdays and came out to support us: Erin and Dave all the way from D.C, Brenda, Carlin, Danielle, Jessica, Carrie, Cathy 1 and Cathy 2 and my running friends who helped me finish Bridget and Beth!  I cannot thank you each enough and I love you!

Thank you to our families who were very supportive of our decision to be crazy!

Bryan and Jamie Weinstein, we wouldn’t have done it without you deciding to do one too, so thank you for helping us be crazy with you!  Good luck in Florida in 2 weeks!!

Melissa and Jamie Almond, we couldn’t have trained as hard or had as much fun without you guys!  Thank you!

Thank you Dusty for my crazy workout plan and for giving me the confidence to get it done!!

And thank you Adam for doing this with me!  You are an amazing and wonderful husband!  We did this all together and I am so proud of you and us!  You are right, we are blessed to be able to do it!  Thank you for never giving up on me!  We are made of Iron!!

God is so good!

don’t forget where you came from…

Within the last week, I have had the chance to think about what my life used to be like, and how many people have changed my life to help me get where I am today, and this week!!

I would like to first thank my first swim coach, Melissa Avila.  She swam at Arizona University and as my roommate, made it her responsibility to teach me how to swim laps!  Thanks Mel, without you, I would have never started lap swimming!  Melonie Norris (thanks to Ryan Danner for introducing me to her) was my second swim coach, who took my flailing arms and made them into a stroke, and my running legs turned into a nice relaxed kick.  Dinah Mistilis has been my most recent coach and has helped me develop into a long distance swimmer.  Without her I never even be half the swimmer I am today!  Last year I swam around Charleston with her and some of her friends, which helped me conquer my fear of cold water and open water swimming!  Although Chad was not my coach, without him I couldn’t be as comfortable in the open water.  So many early morning swims in the lake, in the freezing cold, all so I could work on sighting and practice in my wet suit.  I am grateful you put your life and training on hold to help me!!  I am so lucky to have you all in my life, thank you for helping me get ready for this 2.4 mile swim!

Interesting to find out that I actually enjoyed swimming before I enjoyed running huh?  Weird I know…I didn’t catch the running bug until I started working at Run for Your Life in March of 2008.  There were 3 of us that started working at the Dilworth store all right about the same time; Chad, Alice and myself.  Chad was always one of those hard working guys who always had something to do, which is why it didn’t surprise me that he was one of those “Ultra Guys.”  I just laughed, there was no way I would ever run that far (then).  Alice was a mother of 2 who was into doing triathlons and marathons and had this vibe about her that made me fall for her peer pressure every time she had “an idea.”  Not too long after I started working there, as in 2 months, Alice and I went to buy my first bike and I started training for 24 Hour of Booty with the Bank of America team.  So, there I was on my first bike, I had even bought on my own, a Hybrid because I wasn’t sure I would like riding, and training for a long distance ride only 8 weeks away!  I did it, and enjoyed it and then didn’t ride for a while.

Instead, Alice nicely talked me into training for my first marathon.  We decided on a girls weekend in Jacksonville Beach with 26.2 with Donna, the breast cancer marathon in which I would run to honor my mom, who is a 2 time survivor.  She sent out the schedule and we were on our way.  Beth, Jes, Alice and I met every Sunday morning for our long run and before we knew it the race was here.  I completed the run, cried at the end, and within 2 weeks was already thinking about my next marathon!  I had caught the bug….

As Jes, Beth, Alice and I started training for our next full, I had it in my mind that I wanted to qualify for Boston.  Meaning, I had to bust out a 3:45 during the Marine Corps Marathon.  Jes and I started training for this in April (yes, that was wayyy to early and yes, I HATED running after MCM) and met every Tuesday night at Johnson C Smith for track workouts!  The race could not come soon enough, and after so much running, track workouts and overtraining, I found my way to see Ryan Danner, who has now the only person I trust with taking care of my poor beat up body!  With Ryan’s suggestions, once the race was over, I took a running hiatus’ and didn’t start running long distances again until September of 2011 because of all of my USA Fit runners, more on them later!

It was fine that I wasn’t running as much because in June of 2009, I met yet another person who was about to totally change my life….Theoden Janes (TJ).  He wandered into RFYL looking for his Latta Tri shirt and we started talking.  He was telling me that he did his first tri and DNF’d because he got a flat tire and he didn’t know how to change it, so he couldn’t.  I laughed at him because I told him if I ever did a Tri that would probably happen to me too.  I told him if he ever needed a training buddy to swim with to let him know.  We started swimming once a week together and before I knew it, he had me talked into my first tri at Lake Norman in August.  I did it on my hybrid and everything, and actually wasn’t last….that was quick peer pressure huh?

Adam and I had just started dating and after that he became hooked too, and wanted to do his first Tri the next year.  In 2010 we started doing Tri’s together….sprint tri’s is all that Adam was interested in.  I was also content with them, until I met Bryan Weinstein.  Bryan (B dub) starting working at RFYL in June of 2010 and was an avid biker, turned runner and was training for his first half Ironman in September.  As the summer began, I found myself trying to bike with Bryan as much as I could, and soon decided that if he could do a 70.3, I could too.  I signed up for Beach to Battleship Half Ironman on November 13th!  As Adam watched me cross the finish line and felt amazing, he suddenly caught the bug too.  We trained for our first Half Ironman at White Lake the following May (2011).

With our wedding and honeymoon in August, it didn’t leave for much training time, so we kept to the smaller distance tri’s and having fun with running.  It was after our wedding that I started hanging around with some more pretty amazing and inspirational people, they are the people of USA Fit North Charlotte.  With their help, I was able to pull myself back together for running long distances and trained with them for Thunder Road where I PRed in 3:55….special thanks to Kay, Walt, Melissa, Eddie, John, Dale, Ashley and Brian for the help for running long again!  The peer pressure strikes again, and with their help, I also trained for Myrtle Beach, and then followed that HORRIBLE race with Tobacco Road Marathon.  Because I stopped listening to Ryan, I then got hurt, and stopped running all together for 2 months.

This of course, is when my love for biking had time to develop.  I was very lucky because Michelle was also spending a good amount of time of the bike because of a running injury.  We met pretty regularly to work on speed and endurance and suddenly being on the bike was as good as being out for a run. During this “injury time off” I also had the peer pressure from Melissa and her husband Jamie to sign up for a full Ironman….and well you all know how that went!

I have become the triathlete I am today with the help of Coach Dusty Holcomb!  He has spent so much time putting together my workout plans and has challenged me like none else has ever done!  He pushed me and gave me the confidence I need to get through 140.6 miles next Saturday!  Thanks Coach Dman!  I am about to be an Iron(wo)man just like you!!!

So, the next time you are feeling down about your workouts, think about where you started.  Think about how you couldn’t run a mile without having to stop.  Think about how you hated swimming, or biking or whatever.  And then think about where you are now!!!

Now, that I have that done, my time is finally here!  We are into race week!  At this time next week, I hope to telling my tale of what it’s like to be an Iron Maiden, all the things that I had to deal with and how amazing it was to see all of my pink and yellow “Iron Fan” shirts in the crowd.  And most importantly what it was like to finally cross that finish line.

Until then, I will continue to take it all in.  I’ll get in my final runs with some of my favorite runners this week, swim a few more laps with some old friends, try to get in some much needed yoga and then Friday will be here!  I’ll get to see Erin and Dave for dinner, and hope to get as much sleep as I can all week.  I’ll apologize in advance for my tears you might see, the not so excited look I have when we talk about the upcoming race and how I might not be talking much.  I’m not very good at talking about races, let alone the biggest race of my life, in less than 7 days.

Please, just know how grateful I am to have you all in my life!  Thank you for all of your support and your kind words.  I have enjoyed working out with so many of you and am honored that so many people wanted to support us in wearing those neon shirts!!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

stop and smell the roses…

First week of Taper, wasn’t really as bad as I thought.
 
I still managed to get 5 miles swimming (that is crazy),  80 miles on the bike and 25 miles running in!
 
I couldn’t have done it without my amazing support system!  I have had so many friends as part of my Iron(wo)man training!

This week I had the pleasure of working out with so many people.  My week started out in Greenville and Adam and his mom Janis rode their bikes with me as I ran 6 miles in the WARM rain.  And then, they made waffles for breakfast!  Best Breakfast Ever!!
 
Tuesday was a long swim, alone, in the MAC pool.  But my run later that day was compliments of 30 minutes Dexter, with Mizuno who also used to be one of my co-workers!  And then 30 more minutes with my awesome runners: Darren, Susan, Lori, Rima, Ashli, Lauren, Dan, Danielle, Christi, Catie, Maggie (one of my GOTR), Connor, Charlie, Adam, Cathy 1, Shelia, Cathy 2 and Steph!  It was an awesome run with such great friends!!
 
Wednesday I worked out before work with an hour on the bike, and a 30 minute run.  It went horrible, because I didn’t eat first!  Let me tell you, if I don’t eat before my workouts, I feel like crap!!  So, for the later workout, Keara and I had some amazing pizza for dinner before our yoga class.  We were joined by Rima, Cathy 1, Cathy 2, and Mark for Rob’s awesome class!  We had a good time, with a lot of laughs (sorry Rob) and some good stretching. 
 
Thursday mornings workout was another 60 minute bike and a 60 minute swim….workouts alone are so boring, but I am grateful that I am now strong enough to get them done!
 
Although Friday was supposed to be my long run with Walt, sorry Dude, I needed some me time, and needed to sleep in.  So, I convinced Lori and Alice to join me for some extra hot and sweaty yoga!!  It was awesome and just what I needed on my off day!!
 
Saturday’s workout was the BEST run I have done in my training!  All USA Fit people met at Dilworth to do another preview run on the TRM course!  Seeing some new faces, and old friends was great!  The course was well mapped out and drinks were every few miles!  (Way to go Shelby and Chris)!!  I started running with the Orange group from North Charlotte, I just love those guys!!  But we got mixed with some red and yellow too!  So, I ran a little with Ashley, Dale, Lori, Cindy, Lisa, Pete, John, Perry, Brian, Eddie. Noelle (one of my previous Dilworth runners running another half), Darren, Susan, Melissa and Adam even came out for his last long run too!  I managed to talk some really good friends into just doing 10 miles with me!  So, Melissa, Eddie and I ran 5 miles out and turned around.  Instead of doing a boring out and back, we made our own route back.  Our awesome 5 miles back to Dilworth (exactly, 5 miles too may I add) included a quick sprint, in the wrong direction, of the Race for the Cure walk, about a mile with the Race for the Cure run, a mile and a half down the greenway Eddie had never been on, through Freedom park (where one guy smelled so good, I had to tell him), around the Buddy Walk for Down’s Syndrome and then back up Park Road!  Wow!  What run!!
 
Later that night, Adam and I met our trusty friend Chad, and his son James for a quick swim to 77 via Lake Davidson!  It was freezing and my teeth were chattering, but I managed to get in 1.42 miles in open water, with my WET SUIT on!  GROSS!  I hate that thing!  Yes, it kept me warm!  Yes, it kept me floating!  NO, it didn’t make me faster!  Yes, I feel like a whale in it…it’s so freakin tight!!!
 
Sunday morning, thankfully, it was raining…so it was a sleep in Sunday kinda morning!  wahoo!  When the sun finally came up, and the rain had stopped, it was now only 54 degrees outside!  Yes, I am serious!  Before this year, I was the worst person to be around if it was cold, or rainy.  I was such a fair weather runner!  Now…ug, I run in it all.  I blame my friend Theoden (TJ) for that!  Because he wrote my marathon plan for Myrtle Beach…and last winter was a wet winter.  In any case, Adam talked me into getting on the bike and going outside.  After all, it was ONLY 50 miles!  Ha!  The distance wasn’t bad, the sushi last night for dinner wasn’t ideal but the weather was FREEZING cold and miserable, but we did it and then I added 30 minutes by foot and that was it!
 
I am now happy to say that for all 5 months of my workouts, I never get bored with them and never hated what I was doing!  I think it’s because every day I tried to see something or do something different.  Whether it was changing up my running route, swimming in different pools or stopping to smell the roses (or look at cotton) I did it all!!  And I enjoyed every moment of it!
 
If you’re hating running right now…
Don’t run with people who are faster than you, it will make you HATE running more because you won’t be able to keep up! 
Don’t compare yourself to others, compare yourself to where you started!
Don’t think negative thoughts, you can do it!

Try these helpful hints instead:
change your locations
run with different friends
try to run with music (or without if you already do)
CROSS TRAIN
try some yoga (it’s free at RFYL on Wednesday and Sunday)
write EVERYTHING down about your workouts; why it was good or bad and where you ran
if you have a bad run, don’t worry about it, we ALL have bad runs…the next one will be better
enjoy the scenery around you!  take pictures and take it all in!
remember why you’re doing this…you chose to do it and take this challenge!
HAVE FUN…if you’re not having fun, your training is over :0)

Misery loves company at the beach…and in the rain!

As I have always said, “misery loves company.”  I have been fortunate enough over the last 5 months, for my workouts to be anything but miserable.  While I have had virtually no life outside of work, working out, eating and sleeping, I have pushed my body both physically and emotionally.  Yes, I have complained and made snide comments about getting suckered into this because of the Almond’s, but can honestly that I am very grateful to have both Melissa and Jamie in my life!  Although it has taken pretty much the entire training period for me to realize it, they are both responsible for this AMAZING quest I have set for myself in October.  I have always talked about doing an Ironman, but I was just talking about it.  That didn’t necessarily mean I was going to do it, I was just talking about it.  But then, we all took the plunge and the rest is history!

I cannot believe that race day is 21 days away…that’s THREE WEEKS PEOPLE!!!  Over the course of the last 5 months, I have religiously swam, biked and ran my heart out!  I have had so many friends who have joined me in my training, helping me get some miles in and I couldn’t have done it without any of you!

This week, I had a lot going on in the mornings, so I was up early (ok, just early for me).  Monday I met Chad for a swim/canoe ride.  He guided me down to I-77 and then down the road a little.  I managed to get 2 miles of open water in.  In case you didn’t know, open water freaks me out!!  I hate not being able to see the bottom, not knowing what or who is around me and truthfully, the cold water on my face takes my breath away.  So, with Chad’s help, I have been in the water more this summer and hope that will prevent my panic swimming.  After the swim, Chad and I hit the road for a 4-mile run of the old Davidson trails.  This was a nice change and brought back a ton of memories for me because this was where Chad had first taken me when I wanted to become a “runner” 4 years ago.  My how times flies!  Ha!

Tuesday and Wednesday I climbed on my fabulous, or not so fabulous bike trainer, for an hour and a half and knocked out a small 30-minute brick.  Tuesday I was also able to knock out a quick swim as well!!

Thursday was my last long run, and I was a bit nervous about it.  My legs have been getting tight around mile 14 and I haven’t ran 18 since March!  Luckily, I have amazing friends who also believe that misery loves company and three of them came out to run with me!  I ran 8 before I picked anyone up at the store and then Walt, Bridget, and Beth helped me with 5 more.  Before I knew it, I had 13 miles under my belt and was still feeling pretty good.  Walt stayed with me, and helped me knock out 4 more!  The last and final mile, I would need to do alone…but I did it and felt great!  I ended with a 9:08 minute mile!  Now, if only I can keep this pace for all 26.2 miles after 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike.  Everything went according to plan for the run, I ate when I needed to and kept drinking as well!  Last long run…check!

Friday was an off day, but I don’t recover well by just laying in bed.  My choices were to do yoga, or to hit the pool.  I have been hitting the pool way too much lately, so I decided to change it up and do some yoga.  Michelle and I went to Yoga 1 and sweated our butt’s off for an hour.  I felt amazing after and realized I need more yoga in my life.  Later that day, Adam and I drove to the beach to meet Jamie and Melissa in Emerald Isle for our last long workout before the dreaded taper began!  To say that I was feeling anxious is an understatement.  Danielle received massive texts with me freaking out, my chest would not stop hurting and my brain was racing with all of the “what-ifs”.

Saturday morning we woke up and got to it.  One mile swim in the sound…holy salt Batman..check!  100 mile bike ride….ummm…well 65 miles into our ride at the Minnesott Beach Ferry in Awrapaho, NC (in a towel, I’m freezing) the bottom fell out of the sky!  Melissa and I were NOT feeling the ride in the rain and we begged to turn around.  Adam and Jamie were positive that we could “out ride” the storm and make it back to Morehead City before the storm.  As we started leaving the terminal, thunder and lightening struck and we FINALLY turned around.  So, there we sat with the 50 different state workers of the Ferry terminal, their chocolate chip cookies and coffee and the 4 of us dripping wet.

Luckily for the boys the weather cleared up to our standards and we got back on the bike to head home…35 more miles!  We made the best of our situation; we took turns singing stupid songs, mostly about sunshine, and had some good laugh about 3 girls!  Thankfully the rain stopped and we got into Morehead City.  But that is where the poop almost hit the fan!  As I was crossing over a drawbridge, grated draw bridge, after it rained, with wet tires, and tons of cars (are you seeing where I am going with this?) my tires decided they didn’t like the grate.  I continued to, just barely, ride my bike across the bridge in a fish tail like position, and in the CENTER of the bridge.  I would say I saw my life flash before my eyes, but because of the grate and the different levels, I couldn’t see anything.  Thankfully the grated part wasn’t that long, but it seemed like it took forever.  Adam, Melissa and Jamie were all behind me and were able to slow down a bit, or maybe they should have walked across because they also had a hard time!  Anyways, the drama was over and we were back home with 100 miles under our belts!  The last part of my “Race Rehearsal” and last long workout was an hour run.  Conveniently, the Almonds are staying 7 miles from where we are and that would be a perfect run back for me.  So, I changed into my running clothes (there is NO way I am running 26.2 miles with that diaper on) and I was off.  I played the alphabet game and enjoyed the flat run back!

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7 hours and 49 minutes later I had conquered 108 miles…still 32.6 miles short of an Ironman, but I think I am ready to go…as long as I stay healthy (don’t mind my hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes I am carrying around) and do my taper as planned!

What a week…filled with lots friends and workouts.  I finished my week with:  4.5 miles swimming, 140 miles biking and 36 miles running…180.62 miles in 16:47 hours!   This week, was by far, the toughest week I have had, I want to give some shout out to the most wonderful friends and support team I have!  Words cannot thank you all enough.

My swimming friends: Lori, Graham, Michelle, Christa, Bill, Jodi and of course my trusty canoer, Chad!!  I know over the last few months, we maybe have only shared a lane, or a workout, but knowing you were there with me was so much better than going alone.

My biker dudes and dudettes:  Dan, Michelle, Jeff, Bill, Dusty (all of you responsible for my hilly rides, which didn’t kill me but made me stronger) Alice, Ryan, Holly, Christa, Lori, Danielle, Lisa, Paula, Chad, Larry, Scott, Jamie, Melissa, Franki and Andy (miss you guys)!

My running friends: Kimmie (my BFF), Bachy (I flew to DC to run with her), Bryan and Jamie (who helped me get back into running) Danielle, Amber, Cathy 1, Cathy 2, Cindy, Brenda, Punky, Charlie, Carlin, Lori, Dan, Sheila, Rima, Kristen, Steph (my awesome running group and supportive friends), Bill and Jodi (my Y friends), John, Dale, Ashley, Eddy, Julie, Melissa, Darren, Brian, Linda (my wonderful USA Fitters), Bridget, Walt, Beth (couldn’t have finished my last long run without you)!!

My AWESOME coach, Dusty, who pushed me and challenged my body more than ever before.  Just when I thought I couldn’t do it, he said I could and I did!!!  Thanks coach Dman!  You have been an inspiration and more help than you will ever know!

The most wonderful and loving husband who always believes in me!  It has been so awesome to do this training with him and always have him by my side.  Adam, I love you…you’re about to be an Ironman too!!  Thank you :0)

I am so lucky to call you all my friends and have you each in my life!  Thank you a million times for all of your support and workouts!  They have made all the difference in the world and have helped me become the athlete that I am today!  Thank you :0)

Now, on to Taper…beware!

things that make you go hmm…

Ahhh yes, a recovery week.  A week that most endurance runners/athletes HATE and love all that the same time.  (Also a time that coaches hate because athletes complain the entire week, sorry coach Dman)!  Recovery means just that, a time for your body to recover and get ready for yet another big week.  It also means, slowing down workouts, not as tough and not as often.  I needed it, so did my body but man, it was tough.  I managed to knock out 7,200 yards in the pool, 78 on the bike and 25 on foot but my biggest achievement was the 8 hours of sleep I got every night and the 10 hours of sleep I got last night!!  At 7:30 this morning I was ready to go!!

Throughout my recovery week, I was in a different place in my workouts.  I was in a different state of mind and did some great thinking on tips that I have learned during my training.

Here is what I came up with:

Surround yourself with positive people.  Whether your training for a long distance or a 5k, you don’t need anyone who is going to bring you down.  No negative Nancy’s…only positive Patty’s and chipper cheerleaders close to your side.

Eat as much real food on the bike (lesson learned, thanks Alice).

HAVE FUN…if you’re not enjoying what your doing, you’re NOT going to want to do and it’s going to make your training horrible.

Misery loves company…find people who like to do the same thing you do, so you don’t have to workout alone.

While you are still enjoying the training, plan another event so you can continue to eat everything you want!  You’re friends also want to be Ultra Runners, so give them a beer and talk them into it…it’s only FOUR MORE MILES!!

Build an army of friends you can always count on to make you feel better and make you feel like you can do it!

Find what works for you, and your stomach and stick with it!  For ALL workouts!

Sleep is essential to a good workout, get enough.  You are so lame going to bed at 9pm every night, but you’ll feel much better when your alarm goes off at 6am.

Use sunscreen whenever you’re biking, chances are pretty good you will eventually need it when you’re out there for 5+ hours…side note, do NOT put it on your forehead…

(Side note- if you do put it on your forehead)Clearisil works just as good in your 30’s as it did in your teen years….use it!  Otherwise, you look like a teenager going through puberty (fail)!

30 minutes…must find restroom within 30 minutes of eating breakfast…trees will NOT do!

EFS- the answer to all of my drinking and stomach issues…you should try it, might help yours too!

Recover within 1 hour of your workout!!  This means, chocolate milk AND food!

Cadence on the bike and running are similar…keep your legs moving quickly and you can go further and longer (Thanks Bill and Chad)!

When swimming, the longer the glide, the less you have to stroke and the more efficient you become (Thanks Dinah)!

You can sing one song for an entire 6 hour bike ride.

Laugh at yourself and the stupid things you do….

It’s NOT good when your hand gets stuck on your handle bar and you swerve into traffic.

DON’T FORGET THE WATER BOTTLES!!

Always think about what’s your breakfast after…it’s always time for pancakes!!

Stop and enjoy the view…and take pictures!  Life is a journey NOT a destination and so is an Ironman!!

One more TOUGH week this week and then Taper hits!  Heading to the beach with the Almonds to get some good flat riding and wind this weekend, but first we have some open water swimming, yoga, and a few good runs this week to get there!!  I’’m ready to make it my beach!  We are in the home stretch and I am getting SO nervous…but I know I can do it :0)

just another week in paradise

what a weak…I mean week!!

Holy moly!  As the weeks get closer, taper gets closer, but until then…VOLUME increases!!

This week I managed to get 12,500 yards in the pool, 151 miles on the bike and 26 miles on the run!!

I spent my entire day off on Wednesday working out!!  Woke up and got in the OUTDOOR (freezing cold) pool at Siskey for an hour.  Knocked out 3000 yards, and then met Holly and Christa for a ride.  With their help, I managed to get in 35 miles, but then, their life had to go on outside of biking, so they left and I kept riding…and riding…and riding!!  Thankfully it wasn’t too hot and the breeze felt nice.  I must say that riding alone is NOT as much fun as riding with the girls, but I did it!  (Side note- I have finally conquered my “I hate biking” attitude, and while I don’t love it like running, I don’t hate it!!)  Thankfully, because it’s making training much better!!  In the end, I rode 77 miles and only stopped for a rest room break (YAY for me) and to refill water!  After the swim, and the ride, my workout was STILL not over!!  I still had to conquer the run!  60 minutes as far as I could!  Let me tell you, the run was NOT easy, however, I did it and I felt GREAT!!  Who would have thought that after that workout I would still have the energy to get groceries, come home, cook dinner, do laundry and make dessert?  I didn’t! What a long, strenuous day but let me tell you about my confidence level!  I finally feel like I can do it, I finally think that I can be an Iron(wo)man!!

Thursday was an OFF day…100% off!!  And, like I have always said, off days are the hardest thing for me.  This time, I know that I needed it, and I knew that it was going to make me a better Iron(wo)man!!   I slept in and then for run group, I just rode 30 minutes on the bike with them.  It wasn’t easy, but I think they secretly like me being able to carry their water for them.
Friday I took to the greenway again.  Knocked out 15 of the hardest miles yet!  My legs felt like jello!  My first 3 miles were 11, 10:30 and 10…which aren’t horrible, but not my usual pace so it was tough for me.  My heart rate was at 160 and I was breathing like I had just ran a 15 minute 5k!  It was a tough run, but luckily all this time on the bike has made me mentally tough and I was able to overcome the long run!  I ended up getting my pace and heart rate down, and finished the 15 miles in a pretty good time!!

Saturday I met with some of my awesome runners who were running Hit the Brixx 10k!  It made me smile seeing them out there and knowing that I helped them get where they are today!  The gun went off, they were on their way, and I hit the pool to recover.  Yes, I am weird and recover better in the pool than by taking a day totally off….or so I thought…

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Today pretty much topped off the week!  I was pumped to help Jamie and Melissa hit their highest mileage yet on the bike, but when I woke up and saw the clouds, I truthfully wanted to stay in bed!!  I had already gotten MY long ride in, and pancakes were calling my name.  Yeah right, like I would actually be able to enjoy my day off alone knowing that Adam, Melissa and Jamie were out there biking without me, having fun and getting more miles on the bike.  They won!!  We rode down highway 601 through Midland (waved to J-rod), Unionville, and all the other little towns including…Monroe!  Yes, we rode from Harrisburg over highway 74 and into downtown Monroe and then kept riding!  Well…we did it!  We ended up with 83 miles and then hopped off for a brick!!
The good news is that I am alive to talk about it, the bad news is I’m lame and will be in bed by 9:00!!  This week’s pretty much kicked my butt, 12,500 in the pool, 151 miles on the bike, 26 miles on foot!!   This week had a lot of volume, so I am looking forward to a little “down” week this week before it ramps up again one more week ending with 100 miles at the beach right before Taper begins!!  eeeek…which reminds me, you should stay away from the monster during those couple of weeks!!
The weeks are getting closer, and I feel pretty good!  Fingers crossed that training keeps going well…and so does the sleeping :0)
Right now, I don’t have much of a life.  I workout, work, eat, sleep and repeat!  But, I am grateful for those little dinner dates or breakfast dates that I have been able to fit in with the crazy schedule I have!  I cannot thank you all enough for your encouraging words and support that you have given to me and to Adam!  I am having fun and enjoying every moment, but I cannot wait to have my life back and see my friends again on a regular basis!  Until then…training continues and I will try to eat as many pancakes as possible!!

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