Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review and A Look Ahead at 2013

As typical at the end of every year, I like to look back and see what I accomplished.  2012 was actually a pretty good year.  I had set out some goals for 2012 and actually was able to accomplish several of them. 

*I wanted to get more organized and pay bills online.  DONE
*I wanted to get rid of stuff by donating or selling it online.  I haven't been as good in this area as I would like to be, but I did donate some stuff and I have sold some stuff on Craig's List.  I posted some things on Ebay without success, so I still need to figure out that beast, because I have a lot of stuff to sell.
*I wanted to do more of my workouts outside.  DONE.  While I did have to do a couple of long rides on the trainer while leading up to IMAZ, most of my workouts, including the weekday workouts, were outside.  And I do think it was beneficial come race day.
*I wanted to get faster with my swimming.  SOMEWHAT DONE.  While I was never able to work out a private lesson with a swim coach due to crazy schedules, I was able to get faster in the pool.  Being faster in the pool, however, doesn't always translate to being faster in the race.  Since most of my swimming is in the pool without a wetsuit, my shoulders are not use to the wetsuit.  I did swim several times in the wetsuit prior to IMAZ, but  between the cold water on race day and the shoulders getting tired, my swim time at IMAZ was just a wee bit slower than at IMFL (by like 1 minute).
*I wanted to eat better and take more leftovers rather than eat PB&J sandwiches for lunch.  DONE.  While I occassionally still took the PB&J sandwich, I was pretty good with taking leftovers, too.

My 2012 races included the following:
3M Half Marathon - 2:02:46
Hot Chocolate 15K - 1:27:29
Rosedale Ride
Cap 10K - 57:28
Lonestar 70.3 - 6:24:55
The Ranch 10K Trail Run - 1:34:33
Lake Pflugerville Triathlon - 1:27:27
Katy Flatland Century Ride
Outlaw Trail 100 Century Ride
Livestrong Challenge Century Ride
Ironman Arizona - 13:49:58

In looking back at the races, I did two new races - a 15K and a trail run.  While the 15K was in temps in the teens and the trail run was my slowest 10K ever, they were both a lot of fun.  I'd like to do more trail runs in the future.  Maybe that should be a goal for 2013.  And, I set new PRs at the Half Ironman and Ironman distances, so that was a success.

My totals for the year:

Bike: 3178.23 miles in 198h 43m 32s (an increase from last year)
Run: 1068.6 miles in 184h 14m 22s (a decrease from last year)
Swim:  200254.1 yards in 70h 27m 9s (an increase from last year)
Strength Training:  19h (an increase from last year)
Trainer Time:  1h
Foam Roll: 1h 25m (of recorded time anyway)
Jump Rope: 3m
Massage:  4h 30m (a decrease over last year - what's up with that?)
Race Volunteering: 4h
Reflexology: 1h
Trampoline: 45m
Trapeze Class: 1h
Walking: 5h 46m 41s (a decrease from last year - poor Roscoe)
Yoga:  36h 5m (an increase over last year)

Overall, I'm please with what I accomplished.  In looking at my list, I did some new things this year.  We went with the kids to Jump Street and actually participated with them rather than sit on the sidelines and watch, hence the trampoline time.  We had a trampoline growing up and I was always on that thing.  Let's just say that my kids were really surprised when I started doing back flips on the trampolines.  They had no idea I could do that, especially at my age!

I also did a 1 hour trapeze class with my daughter and her friend.  I'm not afraid to try anything, so when I saw the deal on Living Social I jumped on it.  It really was a lot of fun, but I was surprised at how nervous I was up on the platform before I jumped off the first time.  I was afraid my arm strength wouldn't be enough to hang onto the bar, but I was able to do it and as long as I listened to the instructor on the ground, I was able to accomplish the "routine" just fine.

Another new thing I tried was reflexology.  I was given a gift card for this after my Ironman and it was a welcome treat.  It's cheaper than a massage and you still get some massage benefits.  I would do it again, but if I had to choose in how I spent my hour, I'd pick a full body massage any day.

So, looking back was good.  But today is the last day of the year and it's time to look ahead.  What do I have in store for 2013 and what do I want to accomplish next year?

So far, my 2013 scheduled races include:
*1/13 - Houston Half Marathon with my Aunt.
*3/23-24 - Texas Independence Relay
*4/7 - Cap 10K
*6/16 - Lake Pflugerville Triathlon

That's all I have on the schedule right now.  I know more will be added, but I have to decide what.  Do I want to focus on short stuff and try to get faster?  Do I want to add another state to my 50 states of marathons?  Do I want to try to do an ultra run?  This is what I have to decide.  There is an ultra in October that I have been looking at that would give me a break in the spring from long distance training, but then I'd have to ramp it up over the summer.  I'm not sure if 2013 will be the year or if the ultra will come in 2014 (and yes, I'm already somewhat thinking about my plans for 2014).  I'd also kind of like to do another Half Ironman this year, but the one in Galveston I normally do falls on the same day as the Cap 10k, so if I do one, it would have to be something new.

Anyway, it's a lot to think about, because I also have some other big goals to accomplish in 2013.  For the last few years, I've thought about getting into coaching, but had not done anything about it.  Well, 2013 is the year to do something about it. 

First off in January I will be attending a YogaFit Level I Certification Clinic.  After attending this clinic, I will be able to teach yoga.  Probably not in a studio or big gym where they want a 200 hour RYT instructor, but I can teach yoga on my own.  I will most likely attend the Level II Clinic in June and then decide about continuing on to get 200 hour certified.

Then, in February I will be off to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the Road Runner's Club of
America Run Coach Certification class.  I am really looking forward to this.  I have written some run plans before, but attending this clinic will give me more confidence in what I am doing and I will feel like I can actually charge for my services.

And, if that isn't enough, for the next few months I will be studying so that I can take my personal trainer certification exam and become a personal trainer.  I've already started reading the materials and taking some quizzes.  It's pretty interesting so far, but I have a lot of studying to do when it comes to the anatomy part.  I know the major muscles, bones, etc., but it's the details that get me.

To help with my knowledge and understanding of all of this, I asked for several books for Christmas that have to do with yoga for runners, recovery for athletes, etc.  My plan is to read at least one fitness related book per month.  I've got enough to keep me busy for a while.

And in my quest to continue eating healthy, I've made it a goal to try one new recipe each week.  I figure that is doable even with the hectic schedule we live around.  I have 3 good cookbooks that I haven't really used yet, so it will be easy to find something new in them.  And it doesn't have to be complicated.  If I've got a busy week, maybe my new recipe will just be a shake. 

And last, but not least, the big one.  I have strong legs.  Always have and would like to always keep it that way.  My upper body strength, however, has always been lacking.  I do strength training, but it's with light weights and it is more to maintain tone than anything.  However, it's always been a secret desire of mine to be able to do a pullup.  A full pullup from just hanging there.  Maybe I'll start working on that and see if I can do just one by the end of the year.  It's a good goal to shoot for, but don't hold your breath.

Well, I think that about covers things.  It will be challenging to fit it all in, especially since high school soccer starts this week and we will have the typical club soccer in the spring as well.  And since Madison will be heading off to college in the next year and a half, I'd like to do a mother/daughter trip with her this spring.  We have talked about New York, so I need to start researching.  As always, stay tuned to see how things go.

I hope that you all have had a good 2012 and have an even better 2013.  Here's to health, happiness and new experiences.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ironman Arizona 2012 Race Report

In November  2011 I volunteered for Ironman Arizona so that I could get up the next day bright and early to stand in the registration line for Ironman Arizona 2012.  I got in line bright and early and was soon registered.  A whole year lay ahead of me.  I planned to use the same training plan that I used for Ironman Florida in 2010 and knew that “official” training wouldn’t start until sometime in April.  But, as all Ironman athletes know, training technically started the next day.  Building a good base prior to starting the official training is crucial.  I did a half Ironman in the spring as well as several running races.  I felt good as I began the official training.
April and May went well , but getting into June, I got sick.  I hardly ever get sick.  At least sick enough to miss work, but that’s exactly what happened.  I almost missed my annual Lake Pflugerville triathlon as well, but somehow between adrenaline and will power I was able to complete it.  Then in July I went on a mission trip with the youth group from church.  While I was able to keep running during that week, there was absolutely no swimming or bike riding.  And I wanted to be stronger on the bike this year.  I wasn’t overly worried about these setbacks, but comparing my training totals from 2010 to this years’ totals, it seemed everything was down. 
As I got into the peak training weeks, we had some brutally windy days for training.  I did two century rides in winds over 15mph, one of which was also extremely hilly.  I also did a 5 hour training ride on the trainer.  Not.  Fun.  At.  All.  What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, right?
So, as the race approached I knew I would go in and do the best I could with the training I had done.  I had some secret hopes.  I wanted to be close or better on the swim than I was in Florida.  I wanted to have a 6 as the first number for my bike split, even if it meant a 6:59:59, and I really wanted to go under 5 hours on the marathon.  If I did this, it would mean I would set a new personal record.  This didn’t seem a far stretch since my bike time in Florida was a 7:01 and my run was a 5:04.
I arrived in Tempe on the Thursday before the race.  I was with two friends who were also racing. One of the first things we did was go to the athlete check-in where we signed our lives away; got our blue wristband that would indicate to the world that we were, indeed, racers; got our race caps and chips; and then last but not least, got the coveted Ironman Arizona backpack.  When I did Florida, the race bag was a drawstring bag.  Nice, but how many drawstring bags does one need (and let me tell you, I’ve got plenty of them).  The backpack being handed out this year at Ironman races was a big bonus.  It is a nice backpack and one that WILL get used.

After checking in, we had to check out the merchandise tent.  Yes, they gouge you on the merchandise but you just can’t resist buying things.  Ironman events have started making shirts with the M-dot logo on back made out of everyone’s name that is doing the race.  This event was no different, so I had to get one of those.  And I wanted a new visor.  I don’t wear visors a lot but the one Ironman visor I have is lime green and, well, it really doesn’t go with a lot of things.  So I got me a black one. 
By this time, we were all hungry so we walked down Mill Avenue to Fatburgers.  I know they have veggie burgers and that sounded really good.  It was kind of surprising, though, to see how many people asked about the backpacks and what we were here for.  One guy even asked if we got the backpacks “at the fair down there” (referring to the expo area).  We thought that was funny. 
After lunch we met up with my parents to show them how everything was set up so they would know where to go on race day to see me. 
Thursday night we met up with some folks from a triathlon forum I’m a part of.  It’s kind of funny to introduce yourself to people and not really know who they are until they tell you their screen name.  When you hear that, you are like “oh yeah, I know who you are.”  There are some really neat folks on the forum and it was nice to put some faces to the names.  One of the guys there could actually be a pro if he wanted to.  His mom actually was back in her prime days.  He lives around Tempe and gave us some tips for race day.  Thanks so much to Marianne for hosting.  It was great to meet so many others and to see Bryan and his wife, Deb again.  After that it was time to get settled and relax for the evening.
Friday morning we did a bike ride out on the Beeline highway.  The bike course meanders from downtown Tempe out to the Beeline and then out the Beeline for about 11 miles to the turnaround at Shea and then back to town.  The Beeline is a fairly steady false flat on the way out and has been known to have some pretty brutal winds.  We wanted to see what it was like out there.  It was cold when we started (in the 50s) but within about 10 minutes we were warm.  We rode out for about 30 minutes and then turned around and came back.  That ride was good for me mentally.
We headed back to town because Patrick had to be somewhere for some filming of the documentary he is a part of.  Selene and I just sat in the truck and talked while he was doing his thing.  When he was done we grabbed some lunch and began laying stuff out for the race.  Getting ready for an Ironman race is a lot different than other races with the gear bags and special needs bags.  The transition bags have to be turned in the day before the race along with your bike, so you have to make sure you have everything you will need race day in that bag.

Friday night was the athlete dinner and “mandatory” meeting.  Since it was Selene’s first Ironman, we went.  The food isn’t all that great, but the program is pretty inspirational.  We found out that the youngest racer was 18 and the oldest was 78.  We also found out that a guitar player for the country band Sugarland would be racing with all of us.  After the dinner and program, the race director went over some of the rules for race day.  There was nothing new so we called it a night.
Saturday morning was the practice swim.  Those of you who know me well know that the swim was one of my biggest concerns.  Not because of the swim itself or the distance, but because of the water temperature.  I absolutely hate cold water.  To me, the pool where I swim is too cold and I have to gradually get in.   It’s probably low 80s.  Tempe Town Lake, where the swim would take place, is usually low 60s or high 50s on race day depending on what the day time temperatures have been like.  Luckily, it had been pretty warm during the days leading up to the race, so the temps were in the low 60s.
We met up with some of the other documentary folks as well as some forum folks and got suited up in the wetsuits.  I did everything like I planned for race day – ear plugs, two swim caps and booties.  I wanted to make sure I was as warm as possible.  We walked down to the start.  Slowly.  I was dreading jumping in that water.  I walked down the steps and told myself to just get it over with.  OH MY!!!!!  That initial shock was unbelievable.  My hands and ears immediately went numb.  Originally Selene, Patrick and I were planning on staying fairly close during the practice swim, but when I came up I saw Selene and told her I had to go.  I had to get moving or I would freeze.  I had no idea where Patrick was and at that point I didn’t care.  I just started swimming.  I was really beginning to wonder how I was going to swim 2.4 miles while being that cold.  But I told myself to stay calm and just keep moving.  Finally, about 200 yards in I started to get comfortable.  Notice I did not say warm, but comfortable.  The practice course was about 500 meters out and then 500 meters back.  I think I cut it short by one buoy when I turned around, but I was ready to be out of the water.  When I got out and looked at the watch I had been in the water for 20 minutes.  Race day I would be in a lot longer.
I headed back down to our initial meeting site still in my wetsuit.  I was still cold and it was still in the 50s.  I knew if I took the wetsuit off I would get even colder.  I left the wetsuit on until both Selene and Patrick were done and back at our meeting spot.  Finally I got up the courage to take the wetsuit off and then I did what I call the “triathlete Houdini strip act”.  I managed to change into dry clothes right there without flashing anyone.  I’ve gotten pretty good at that.  Several others were doing it, too.  I’m sure it’s a funny site to watch.
After the swim we went back to the truck to get our transition bags and bikes so that we could turn those in.  It was the last time we would see them until race morning. 

We got them all situated and then met up with John “the tri doc” Tuggle.  He is a chiropractor who does Active Release and Graston and has helped me with some shoulder issues I’ve had on the bike.  He was racing, too, and told me he would tape me up for race day.  We found a table to sit at and I got all fixed up.  I thought it was funny that he bought taped that had a bio hazard logo on it.  Thanks John.
We grabbed some lunch and got the rest of the stuff ready for race day.  It was getting real.  We met my parents and Selene’s husband along with a youth member from my church who is attending ASU for dinner.  It was nice to be surrounded by family and friends for a little bit.  We gave them the tickets for bike check out (just in case) and discussed where and when to meet in the morning and then headed our separate ways.  I think I was in bed at 8:30p.m.
Race morning the alarm went off at 3:00a.m.  I got up, got dressed, ate my breakfast, made my nutrition for the bike and gathered my things.  We got to the race site and parked at 4:45.  Then we made our way to transition to get body marked, drop off our nutrition, pump up the tires, and put the trackers in the transition bags.  We had made plans to meet with John at 6:15 for a prayer before the race, so we headed to that spot to put the wetsuits on. That’s also where I met up with my family and handed off my pre-race clothes that I would need after the race as well.  We did our prayer and then headed down to the race start.

I started taking deep breaths to prepare myself for the cold.  Because of the number of athletes and the small area where athletes can jump in, it’s tough to get all 2500 athletes in the water in 15 minutes.  We had decided to jump in early so that we could be at the start line when the gun went off.  You probably swim 200 yards from where you jump in to the actual start and none of us wanted those extra yards to be included in our time for the 2.4 miles. 
When we got to the ledge, we jumped in.  It was cold, but it was not near as cold to me as the practice swim was.  Selene, on the other hand, thought it was colder.  I’m not sure what the actual temp was race morning but someone later posted that it was 61 degrees.  We slowly made our way to the start.  We ended up in the middle side-to-side and fairly close to the front.  I’m not sure that was the best place to be, but it’s where we ended up so it’s what we went with.  I told Selene that when the gun went off I was doing my own race.  I reminded her to stay calm and just swim buoy to buoy.
The next thing we knew it was time to go.  I started swimming.  It was fairly crowded at the beginning and lots of contact, but nothing too bad.  I mean, when you have 2500 athletes in the water you can’t expect to have your own space.  I just kept going.  And going.  And going.  The swim course is just an out and back and let me tell you, the out part seemed really long.  I thought we were never going to get to the turnaround.  We finally made it there and turned around for the trip back.  Shortly after the turnaround, I could tell I was getting cold.  At one point I looked at my time and I was 52 minutes in.  I knew I’d be in the water at least another 30 minutes.  At this point, I encountered the worst contact of the race.  Someone actually grabbed my leg and pulled my (probably trying to pull themselves forward).  I may be small, but I played basketball in high school and I’m not afraid of a little contact.  I kicked hard and then did a hip check in the water to get that person away from me.  I also started getting a little bit of a cramp at this point.  I wasn’t sure exactly what was causing it, but I hoped it would go away.
Finally I got close to the bridges back at the start.  I knew that once I went under those I wouldn’t have far to go before I made the final turn to head to the exit.  It was pure joy when I made that turn.  I knew I’d be out soon.  I got to the steps and crawled up on them.  This was the advice I was given earlier.  Bryan said if you grabbed the bar, your feet would swing under the steps and it would be harder to get out.  So I climbed up on them and the volunteer right there pulled me up to a standing position.  I slowly walked up the remaining stairs and then had to decide if I was going to get “stripped” or not.  I made the last minute decision to do it.  And the volunteers definitely stripped me.  I don’t think I did a thing.  They unzipped me, they got the top off, they laid me on the ground, they got the wetsuit off and they stood me back up on my feet.
Swim Time:  1:24:02 for a pace of 2:10/100
I was so cold that I knew I couldn’t run.  I was frozen.  I saw my family briefly and started making the long way to transition. 

And it was a long way.  By the time I got to my transition bag I could hardly feel anything.  I was hoping the changing tent would be warm.  It was warmer, but I wished they had space heaters in there.  I took my time (as obvious by my transition time) to change into dry clothes and make sure I had everything I needed for the bike before I headed out.  Then I made the journey to get my bike and get going.
As I got close to where my bike was racked, I called out my number in hopes that a volunteer would grab my bike and have it waiting, but in the end I had to get it myself.  Luckily it was only a few bikes in so it didn’t take long.  When I got to the mount like there were lots of other folks.  They all stopped right at the mount line.  Not me.  I went past them to a clear spot and got on my bike to start the 112 mile ride.
T1:  12:47

For the first part of the bike you meander through town.  The course is flat, but you make several turns to get out to the Beeline highway.  I probably should have pottied in transition, but somehow I missed the port-a-potties.  I knew I’d need to stop soon on the bike, but I didn’t want to stop at the first aid station.  I managed to make it to the second aid station and tried to take care of business.  I didn’t have the success I wanted (and this would be an issue most of the day) so I just continued.  I figured I’d deal with what I needed to as the day went on.

Out on the Beeline you could tell that we had a headwind for the first loop.  I think at times I was going 13 or 14mph.  I was thinking that people tracking me were probably wondering what was going on, but I knew once I got to the turnaround and headed back into town they would figure it out.  And sure enough when I made the turn, I started flying.  I was going 24mph+ and it felt great.  I wanted to take advantage of the “free speed”.  I didn’t feel like I was pushing it for the most part so I just went with it.
There were times when I had to push a little to keep from drafting.  Although I have to say that since the bike is a 3 loop course, there were times on the first and even second loop where there was no way to not draft.   There are just too many people on the course at the same time.
I do remember that I got passed by the first pro males around mile 17 or 18.  They were, of course, on their second lap.  I got passed by more around mile 30.  I saw my family as I was making the turn around back at the transition area to head out for the second loop. 

As I was heading  out on the second loop on the Beeline I saw Selene heading back into town.  That made me happy as I knew she was worried about making the swim cutoff.   I stopped a second time at the special needs station.  Not because I needed my special needs bag, but because I needed to stretch a little and try to potty again.
At mile 80 I passed John.  I figured Patrick would catch me at some point as he is usually a much stronger cyclist than me, although I was having a really good bike ride for me.  Finally, when I made the final turnaround on the Beeline to head back toward town, I saw Patrick.  I’m not sure how far behind me he was but at least I knew he was out on the course as well.  I stopped one last time to see if I could take care of business so I wouldn’t have to in transition or on the run.  John passed me again about mile 105 and I told him to go and have a good race.  I figured I would catch him on the run.
The one big thing from the bike that I can remember is that at some point I can actually say that I passed a pro male.  I do fully admit that he seemed to be hurting and I’m sure he probably dropped out of the race, but I can say I passed a pro on the bike.  Ha!
As I came back through town and got close to the transition area, I had a big smile on my face. 

Bike Time:  6:42:12 for a pace of 16.71mph
I had made it through the bike with no mechanical issues or flats and it was time for the run.  As I approached the dismount line a volunteer said “I’ll take your bike.”  I said, “you can have it”.  That got a few laughs.  I headed through transition and grabbed my bag for the run as I headed into the change tent.  This time it didn’t take me as long since I didn’t change clothes.  I just needed to ditch the bike stuff and put on my running shoes and I was out of there.  I just wish I would have remembered to change socks before I started putting my shoes on.  Ooops.
The only bad thing was that the vision issues I had in Florida kind of came back while I was in the change tent.  In Florida, my vision became blurry with about 12 miles left on the bike and I never got clear vision again until after the race.  I figured it was either from the wind or the salt air in Florida.  And once again, my vision was a little blurry.  Not as bad as at Florida, but I wasn’t really looking forward to running 26.2 miles with blurry vision again.  Oh well.
T2:  5:38
I headed out to do my run/walk.  The plan was to run for 5 minutes and walk for 1.  I felt fairly good as I headed out, but it felt like I might have a rock in my shoe.  I also felt like I needed to use the restroom again.  I decide I would stop at the first aid station to take care of things.  If I had a rock in my shoe and left it there I knew I would have a huge blister at the end.  When I got to the aid station I took off my shoe and sock.  I didn’t see anything so I put it back on.  I tried to take care of business without much success (this would be the theme for a while). 
As I started running again I still felt like I had the rock in my shoe and I still felt like I needed to use the restroom.  I stopped two more times and finally decided the “rock” in my shoe was most likely a callous that was just bothering me today.  I also tried to think what could be causing the stomach issues.  I have a hard time drinking enough on the bike.  Always.  You should drink a bottle an hour and it usually takes me 1 ½ hours to drink a bottle.  On the bike today I only drank 3 bottles.  I knew I was a little dehydrated.  I figured I need to get more liquids in me.  It also got a little warm on the bike.  Not Texas warm, but the dry air can be deceptive.  After a long ride in the Texas heat, I am soaked in sweat.  I came off the bike today almost completely dry.  I decided I needed to get more salt in me.  And there was also the possibility that the earlier cramps and issues were from female issues.  Sorry if that’s too much information, but I had to look at all the possibilities.  At a couple of aid stations I took the salty chips.  And they tasted wonderful.  But that meant I also had to take water because they made me thirsty.  I couldn’t run when I had two cups of stuff, so I had to walk at some of the aid stations.
I kept up with my run/walk as best as I could that first lap.  I saw my family as I neared the transition area which was nice.  It gave me a little boost. 

I made the first lap and headed back out for the second of three laps.  As I was heading out, I saw Bryan and he told me I was looking strong.  That gave me a big boost.

Somewhere before mile 13 I really felt like I had to potty.  I stopped for a while to hopefully take care of things for the last time.  And after that I decided to try the cola at the aid stations.  I hadn’t done that at Florida, but when I took that first drink here it was heaven to my mouth.  Yum!!!!  From there on out I would take water or ice at one station and cola at the next.
The second loop was probably the worst, at least mentally.  There are some parts of the course that head out to some fairly desolate areas and it was starting to get dark.  Plus, it’s hard to know that you have to pass the turn to the finish yet again and do one more loop before you are done.  Eight miles of a training run aren’t that bad, but 8 mile loops during an Ironman seem to take forever.  I saw my family again and finally headed out for my third and final loop.  Bryan was there once again and gave encouraging words as I went on my way.  I couldn’t be happier.  I glanced at my watch and started calculating.  Could I beat my time from Florida?  What would it take to get there?  I decided at this point to ignore my watch and run when I could and walk when I needed to.  I knew I would finish at this point and I didn’t want to over stress my body but I still wanted to push as much as I could.
A lot of people were walking at this point, so I tried to be encouraging to those out on the course.  As I was running at one point with two other women one of the spectators said “you ladies are making this look easy” and I said “we’re just really good actors”.  That got a laugh. 
I hit mile 23 and did calculations.  I could beat my time from Florida as long as I ran some.  But let me tell you.   Those last three miles seemed like they took forever.  When you are out on the course at this point, you are on the opposite side of the lake from the finish, but you can hear Mike Reilly at the finish line.  It’s torture.  You want to be there so bad.  So when I made that turn to cross the bridge back to the other side I was beyond happy.  And as I approached the spot where you could either turn to the finish or go out for your second or third lap, I knew I’d be making the final turn.  It felt good.  But darn if they didn’t make you climb a small incline to get to the finish chute.  That didn’t stop me from running.
When I did Florida, I remember running down the chute, but since I couldn’t really see, I didn’t really “enjoy” it.  I just ran down in the spotlight and crossed the finish line.  I told myself I would enjoy this one.  So I started high-fiving people.  I went down one side at first and then went to the other side.  I found out later if I would have stayed on the original side I would have gotten to high-five my kids.  Oops.  It’s just so bright that I couldn’t see them.

I got to the finish line and crossed with a huge smile on my face. 

Run Time:  5:25:19 for an average pace of 12:25 per mile
Despite the cramp and cold of the water, despite the lower back pain on the bike and despite the stomach issues on the run, I felt great after crossing the finish line.  I got my medal, my shirt and my hat and then I saw my family at the end of the chute.  I made the detour for hugs.  My daughter told me that one of her male friends watched me cross online.  He told her I looked “bad ass” crossing the finish line.  As a 42 year old woman, I’ll take that compliment any day from a young, fit teenage boy.

Total Race Time:  13:49:58
I got my warm clothes from my family and told them I was going to get a massage and grab some food and that I would call them in a little bit to see where to meet them.  I got my massage (which wasn’t that great – she only worked on the my quads and it was my back that really needed it – but it was free so I guess I can’t complain).  I went to check out the food thinking I wouldn’t be able to eat anything (I can’t eat pizza) and they had French fries.  Oh yeah.  I grabbed some of those and a coke and sat for a bit talking to some other finishers.  Then it was time to find my family.
We sat for a bit on the sidewalk waiting for Patrick and Selene but decided based on the tracking it might be a while before they crossed the finish line.  My dad had some issues and had already gone back to the car, so I got my family to help me carry the bags I had to the truck and I changed into dry clothes.  They went ahead and left and I headed back to the finish line and found Selene’s husband to wait for her and Patrick.  After they finished we got our transition bags and bikes and headed back to the truck.
Surprisingly, I was walking pretty normal and had lots of energy.  After Florida I was exhausted.  I think it was all the cola I had at the aid stations.  I finally crawled into bed at 2am and then was up again Monday morning at 4am to head back downtown to get in line for finisher gear.  I know, call us crazy.  But I’m glad we did as the line to get in for finisher gear was over 200 deep when we left.  And the volunteer line – oh my.  I’m not surprised the race for next year sold out in 40 seconds.  The volunteer line was probably 250-300 deep at 4:45am.  It appeared that some people even camped overnight.  It’s just crazy.  But I got what I wanted.
I spent the afternoon packing and then the tiredness and soreness finally hit.  I crawled in bed Monday night at 8pm and slept like a rock.  I’m just glad I have the Thanksgiving weekend to be lazy and recover.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Katy Flatland Century - July

From July 7-14, I was gone on a mission trip with the youth group from our church.  Because of this, I missed a week’s worth of rides (and swims).  I knew I needed to get back on the bike and decided to do the Katy Flatland Century ride on July 22nd.  I did the ride in 2010 when training for IMFL and it was a great ride.  I was hoping it would be once again.

Saturday morning I got up and did my long run of the week.  Once I had showered and packed I headed to Katy to get my packet, eat dinner, and get ready to ride.

The start of the ride was a little different this year.  Instead of a mass start, there was a rolling start.  And, instead of starting at 7:00am the rolling start began at 6:30am this year.  That was nice as being in Texas, things heat up fast.  I wanted to be done as soon as possible, so I rolled out as close to 6:30 as I could.

My goal today was to do my ride and not get caught up in what everyone else was doing.  I wasn’t going to get caught up in the pace lines or worry about people passing me.  This ride is a flat ride and some of the riders are fast.  Besides, not all riders do the century ride, so it’s hard in the beginning to know who is doing what ride.  It’s obviously easier to ride 40 miles at 19mph than it is 100 miles.  Today was my ride, at my speed, whatever that speed turned out to be.

My plan from the beginning was to stop at every other aid station.  This would take care of my potty needs and allow me to refill my bottles and take enduralyte tablets.  This worked well and kept me feeling good on the bike.

At the half way point, I was still averaging 17.3 mph (which for me is good) and at mile 75 the average was still 17.1.  I was very happy with how the ride was going, but I will admit the last 25 miles (and especially the last 12 miles) were tough.  I have issues with my upper back (think traps and rhomboids) getting tight and today was no different.  Plus, it was finally starting to get hot and at this point the crowd is thinned out greatly so there are times you are pretty much on your own.  I pushed through, however, and finished with a ride time of 5:54:22 for a 16.94 average.  I would be so happy to have that average at IMAZ, but that time does not account for stops.  I don’t stop for long when I stop, but it does factor into your time during an IM.

After the ride, I enjoyed a veggie burger and some lemonade.  I’m so grateful they have the veggie burger as an option.  I then went outside and got a 20 minute massage to see they could loosen up my back.  After that I showered in the locker room at the stadium and then headed home. 

This ride gives me some confidence that my training is where it needs to be right now and that makes me happy.  Now if I can just figure out the tightness issue.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Catching Up - The 2012 Lake Pflugerville Triathlon Race Report

After my first trail run, I pretty much chilled out all day. I knew my legs were going to be sore, but it seemed I was really exhausted and felt kind of “off” as well. Monday I went to work and seemed to cough all day. With the Lake Pflugerville Triathlon coming up the following weekend, I couldn’t take the risk of getting sick, so I called to schedule a doctor’s appointment. I went in Monday afternoon and yep, I was sick. I was given a Z-pack, went home and planted my body in the recliner all evening. I knew it would take the Z-pack 24 hours to kick in, so I had called in to work to let them know I wouldn’t be there Tuesday. That is rare for me. I hardly ever call in sick.

I have to admit, it was nice sleeping in Tuesday morning. And knowing I was just going to lay around and rest on Tuesday was kind of nice, but I don’t like missing workouts and that part was bothering me. I was really hoping I would feel better and be back at work and working out on Wednesday, but Tuesday night when I was still coughing like crazy I decided I probably needed another day of rest. I stayed home from work Wednesday and did no workouts again.

Thursday I managed to go back to work, but was still unsure if I should do a workout or not. The coughing was horrible (think bronchitis) and I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to workout. Packet pick-up for the tri was Thursday, so I decided I’d try to do a little ride after getting my packet just to see how it felt. I managed to ride a whopping 6.92 miles and was exhausted. At this point I was questioning whether I’d be able to complete the tri or not.

The Lake Pflugerville tri is one that I have done every year since it started. I want to be one of those people in 20 years that can say I’ve done every one. The question of doing the triathlon was not an issue. At this point it was going to be “how long is it going to take me to finish?”

Friday when I got home from work I was determined to get my workout done. I had a one-hour run on the schedule. I started off at a very slow jog. It was not long before my lungs were telling me this wasn’t a good idea and my body was going into coughing fits. Let’s just say that the run turned into more of a walk.

Saturday morning I woke up and debated on whether it would be better for my body to rest or if I wanted to try to get in a ride. I knew I wouldn’t get in the ride on my Ironman schedule, but I did want to see if I could make it around the Lake Pflugerville Tri course. I headed to the lake and road the route. I did manage to make it, although slower than usual. The ride at least gave me the confidence that I could at least finish the race on Sunday. I headed home and relaxed the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday morning came and it was time to race. I got up, ate my normal breakfast and headed to the lake. As always, I was there early to claim a good spot in transition. I set up my things and sat by my stuff. I was still coughing like crazy and getting all kinds of looks, but I was going to race. Of that, there was no doubt. When it was time to exit transition I thought to myself, “it is what it is, so just have fun”.

As it got time for my swim wave to go off, I inched my way toward the water. I was worried about the swim from the respiratory aspect. I did not want to have a cough fit in the middle of the swim. I figured I would take it at an easy pace and let things fall where they did. That didn't stop me from getting up front for the start. I was second row on the inside and I used the technique Jessica Jacobs taught me at a tri camp in April - I got horizontal before the start to "claim my space" and sculled to get my body ready to go.

When the horn blew for us to go, I already had my space so I could easily start swimming. I saw and felt many of the women jump ahead of me and for once did not let that get to me mentally. I just kept my line on the buoys and swam.

Somewhere around the 2nd buoy (200 in) I came up on a girl who was swimming about my speed. I knew this because I could see her feet but I wasn't gaining on her. For really the first time in a race I focused on staying on her feet and drafting. It worked wonderfully. I was able to stay on her for about 150m. Once we rounded the turnaround buoy, however, things got congested and I ended up passing her. It was nice while it lasted.

I focused on keeping things smooth and steady and swam until my fingers touched the ground before standing up to exit.

Swim: 10:39

Luckily, the cough did not bother me during the swim. Running through transition was another story. I coughed like crazy and actually had to walk to my bike, which I never do.

T1: 2:09

After last year's race with horrible winds, today was about near perfect for the bike. Winds were under 8mph and probably closer to 5mph. I ride the course all the time in training, so I knew where I could hit it hard and where I may have to take it safe if the cough kicked in.

I left transition and hit it hard right away. I was feeling good and wanted to get speed where I could. I made the first turn which leads into a false flat and a little bit of a headwind. I did slow down a little, but not much, so that was a good sign. The only bad thing is that the course is not a closed course and takes place on 2 lane country roads. During the false flat a truck pulled out of its driveway and got behind a rider who was going about 14-15mph. A few cars were coming the other way so for a little bit there was nothing to do but slow down. When it was safe, I passed the truck and the rider and got on with my ride.

Doing the surge to pass the truck was probably a little much. I started coughing a little and knew I had the part of the course coming that would make me cough if any of it would. I made the turn at the Cele store to head into the rollers. I had already decided to go into the small ring up front for the first of the hills to ease into it. It did help, but during the first part of the rollers I had a cough fit. I thought it would really slow me down and cause problems, but I seemed to get one big cough in there that cleared things out and all of a sudden I could really breathe. I knew this was a good sign and decided to push as hard as I could.

I made it through the rollers and knew I was good. I passed several people and only got passed by a few. (The swim waves had started with men young to old and then women old to young, so I only had younger women behind me coming out of the swim).

I struggled a little again once I turned on to the false flat before the s-curves, but when I noticed my speed I kicked it up again. And once I got to the toll road, I let loose. I knew I didn't have much more to go.

My efforts paid off. I'll have to double check, but I think this may be my best bike split ever on this course. I was very happy.

Bike: 44:56 for an 18.69 average

I got off my bike and headed into transition, again, coughing along the way. The run is what is really affected by the cough, and it hurt me today.

T2: 1:29

Having been sick, I was very cautious today. I did not want a repeat of Friday night’s “run” where I would have to walk a lot. I wanted to "run" the whole thing if at all possible.

I started slow and just kept my feet moving. I tried not to take very deep breaths. Luckily it was pretty over cast and there was a slight breeze blowing in the beginning, so I wasn't getting real hot. I drank some gatorade and just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. One of my competitors (who usually beats me on the run every year) passed me about half a mile in. It was tough to watch her go, but I knew that today there was no way I'd keep up. Steady gets the job done and steady is what I did today.

I did manage to run the whole way and was happy with my time considering how I have felt the past week. I crossed the finish line happy to be done. And immediately started coughing again. I grabbed a cold wet towel and some water and stretched a little bit while waiting for friends to finish.

Run: 28:12 for a 9:24 pace

Total Time: 1:27:27

I managed to keep my streak going and can still say that I have done every Lake Pflugerville Triathlon and I’m happy with that. I knew there was no way I would even be close to getting an award, so I packed up my stuff and headed home.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My First Ever Trail Run - The Ranch 10K

I have been a long time subscrber to Runner's World magazine.  A few months ago, they published a special edition devoted to trail runs.  I enjoyed reading the magazine and thought it would be fun to try a trail run at some point.  A few weeks later I needed some new running shoes.  While I was at the store getting my repacements I thought "what the heck" and asked about trail shoes.  I ended up walking out the door with two new pair of shoes that day.  My new trail shoes were the Brooks Cascadia.  I have to admit that I am normally a Saucony wearer, so walking out with Brooks was something new.  It helped that they are lime green.  :)

Now that I had the shoes, all I had to do was find a race.  I wasn't really looking since my big focus this year is Ironman Arizona, but then someone mentioned The Ranch 10k on June 10th.  Hmmm.  In looking at the training calendar, it would work.  My run scheduled for the day was for 1:15 and I knew it would take me longer to run a 10k on the trail than it does on the road.  So I signed up.

The Ranch was actually the third race in a 3 part trail series put on by Rogue Running, one of the local run stores in town.  The first one was called The Maze, the second one The Loop and this one The Ranch.  They were all at different locations.  When I picked up my packet on Saturday, I realized that maybe I should have started with the first one.  It appeared from reading the description of the race course that this one was the more difficult ones and had some technical aspects to it.  Oh joy. 

The shirt was nice.  A pretty color blue and a dri-fit that came in men's and women's cut.  I love races that offer women's cut shirts.  However, I did notice on the back of the shirt it said "get dirty".  Hmmm.  Was this a sign of things to come?

This mornng I got up super early.  The race site was in the hill country about 1.5 hours away.  When I got to the race site, this was the beautiful sunrise in the sky.

I headed down to the race start to pick up my chip and hit the port-a-potty.  I could tell right away that trail races (or at least this one) have a different atmosphere than road races.  The start line was nothing fancy.  Just a timing mat and a timing clock next to it.  Everyone seemed really relaxed.  A few people were warming up a little, but not like at a road race.  Many people were bringing chairs and coolers down - either to spectate or for the party after the run.

There was a 30k race on the same course that started at 7:00.  When it was time for that race to start, a lady simply counted down and said go.  She didn't even have a megaphone.  Most of the 30k folks took off, but some were late.  They didn't seem to care.  They got their chip, put there stuff where they wanted it, walked on the other side of the timing mat and began their race.  No big deal.

Thirty minutes later it was time for us to start.  I knew I wouldn't be super fast (I'm not even super fast on the road), but I didn't want to be at the very back either, so I seeded myself kind of in the back of the middle.  The same lady counted down and told us to go.  And we were off.

I have to admit that I'm not one for doing warmups really before any race and this one was no different.  However, once we started the race I kind of wish I had done some warming up.  The race started right off the bat with a climb.  That will get your heart rate going real fast.  It wasn't a short climb either.  That may have been a good thing, however, as it kind of separated people into appropriate pace groups.  After we got up and over that hill the race narrowed into what I think of when I hear trail race - a single file narrow trail through the woods. I only hoped that I was running an ok pace and not holding anyone up behind me.  I was very careful about watching the feet of the guy in front of me.  The trail was fairly smooth, but there were definitely rocks and branches to watch out for.  I made sure to let the people behind me know that if they wanted to go around me, I wouldn't be offended.

The trail stayed single file for a while but would occasionally open up onto some open faced rock.  These areas were a little tricky, but did allow for the faster runners to move ahead.  I was feeling fairly happy with the progress I was making.  So far, I was managing to "run" the whole way.

The interesting thing about the trail run for me was that I had no concept of how far I had gone.  When I do a road race or even a training run around the neighborhood, I'm fairly good at knowing when a mile has passed.  Not out here.  And I didn't even look at my garmin.  I was too busy watching the ground beneath my feet.

The first aid station was probably somewhere between mile 1.5 and 2.  I did glance at my garmin around this point and note that I had  been running over 20 minutes so far.  I knew my pace would be slower today so I didn't really care.  I just kept going.  Running when I could, walking when I needed to because of a steep uphill climb or because I was afraid I might roll an ankle.  I did not want to risk any kind of injury with a tri next weekend and IMAZ as the main goal this year.  I will admit that a couple of times my ankles did "roll", but I rolled with them and did not hurt anything. 

Somewhere in there was also an "unofficial" aid station.  It was just a cooler with a jug or two of water and a trash can to throw empty water bottles.  I had managed to drink my gatorade by the time I reached this point (which is unusual for me as I normally don't finish a full bottle on a 1.5 hour run), so I bent down to throw it in the trash.  As I was turning away to get back on the trail, my right leg hit the cactus next to the trash.  I looked down and could see a few of the cactus thorns sticking out of my leg.  It wasn't a big cactus and they were not real sharp, so it didn't hurt.  I pulled out what I could and continued on.  It wouldn't be a trail run without some kind of brush with nature, would it?

I did stop a couple of times to take pictures of the kind of path we were running on.  It doesn't really do the trail justice, but here are the pictures.

I made it to the next aid station, grabbed a gatorade and headed toward the finish.  The first part of the course had been mostly uphill, which is hard on the lungs.  The second part was a lot of downhill, which is hard on the legs.  There were a couple of places where the drops were about 3 feet.  It was also about this point in the race when I began to get lapped by some of the 30k folks on their second lap.  Obviously some of these folks do this kind of racing all the time, because they were flying.  I'm not sure how they go so fast and avoid injury.  When I would hear them behind me I would find a place to move to the side and get out of their way.

We also had a few spots of low water crossing that we went through.  None of the water was high and there were usually rocks you could "jump" on to get across.  The fast folks - they just ran through it like it wasn't even there.

As we got closer to the end you could hear the voices of the people at the finish, but you couldn't see it.  And of course, we kept weaving this way and that way. I thought I'd never get to the finish.  Toward the end, I actually thought I might have taken a wrong turn.  There wasn't anyone in sight in front of me and I saw someone running on the road instead of the path.  But then two of the 30k folks came past me and I knew I was ok.  I was very happy to know I was headed downhill and across the finish of my first trail run.

I crossed the finish and checked my watch.   Ouch.  My slowest 10k ever.  The garming also said I had run 6.87 miles.  Just a little more than a 10k.  But, I had no injuries and I had finished, so it was a success.  I had kind of hoped coming into the race that it would be small and I might have a chance to place, but that was not to be.  Especially since they only gave awards for open division (39 and under), Masters (40-49) and Grand Masters (50+).  When I checked at the aid station I was 18th of the masters women.  I don't know if that is official or not.

However, they did have burgers (and veggie burgers for me) and beer ready at the finish.  It was kind of weird eating a burger at 10am, but it tasted good.  While I was sitting there eating it the winner of the 30k came in.  They also started giving out the 10k awards.  The 10k winner time was in the 50 minute range.  That's what I do on the road.  Again, I'm assuming they run on trails alot.

I did really enjoy the trail run and will definitely do more in the future.  I think it would be fun to go and camp the night before and then hang out after and swim and relax before heading home.  My new shoes seemed to work, so that was good, and I made some notes for next time.  Number one is bring a cooler with an ice cold coke for the finish!!!

While I may not have gotten in as many training miles today as I would have had I just run at home, I definitely got the time on my feet and a good workout it.  And because of the trail and having to have quick feet and alter my stride to miss rocks, etc., I have a feeling I will feel some muscles tomorrow that I haven't felt in a while.

Happy trails!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Team Red, White & Blue

Through my involvement in triathlons, I became aware of an organization called Team Red, White & Blue. I know a couple of people who race for them and became interested in them myself. Team RWB’s mission from their web site ( :

Team Red, White & Blue’s (Team RWB) vision is to transform the way wounded veterans are reintegrated into society when they return from combat and exit their position.

While much has improved since the post-Vietnam era, some polarization between veterans and our society still exists today. Strong relationships between wounded veterans and their fellow Americans are critical to veterans’ reintegration into civilian life as well as our nation’s success. That’s why Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of wounded veterans and their families. Team RWB works toward this mission by focusing on three key areas:

1. Personal connectivity between Veterans with invisible wounds and citizens in the community where they now live
- Community-building events that bring Veterans together with citizens
- Formation of friendships and natural individual relationships

2. Reintegration through physical fitness
- Physical: rebuild the body, give structure to life and bolster self-esteem
- Psychological: help to process experiences from Iraq/Afghanistan
- Social: connect with people to run, bike, workout and be active

3. Galvanization of esprit de corps and team membership
- Bringing back the feeling from the military of pride and being part of a unit

I decided a while back that I wanted to race for Team RWB in 2012 and raise money for their cause. I ordered a tri kit in the fall so that I could race all year as a Team RWB athlete. And then early in the year, I was asked to step up and do something more.

One of the ladies I know who is in the Army and is in charge of the triathlon portion of Team RWB asked if myself and a fellow local triathlete would be interested in helping to put on a triathlon camp for about 20 veterans. Not really knowing all that we were getting into, we said yes.

We met with the coach who would be in charge of the training. He happens to be the coach of at least two professional female triathletes, one of which is his wife. We discussed the vision for the camp and then set out to put everything in motion. This past weekend, it all came to fruition.

Thursday Evening

As soon as I left work Thursday afternoon, I headed to the airport to pick up one of the athletes. We went back to Jack & Adams (J&A), the local bike shop that was supporting the camp, and got him started on putting his bike together. Several athletes had arrived earlier and were either putting their bikes together or getting set up and fitted on brand new bikes that they would be able to take home with them. Bikes, shoes, helmets, wetsuits, etc. – if they didn’t come to the camp with it, they would be leaving with it.

When it was time for dinner we headed over to the park where the Texas Beef Council would be providing dinner. More athletes arrived as did the two pro triathletes who would be joining us for the camp – Jessica Jacobs and Jessica Meyers. The Beef Council grilled steaks for those who eat meat (not me) and we all introduced ourselves. Some athletes would be in home stays and went home with their host, while a few who registered last minute headed off for their hotel.


Friday morning we all met back at J&A. Derick took the athletes and a few volunteers over to a large field and went over some running drills. Then it was time to run. Those who wanted to could do a 2-mile time trial while the rest could just run for 30 minutes. I chose the latter as I didn’t really feel like punishing myself so early in the morning. Let me just say that some of the athletes are really fast, including the athlete who stayed with us.

Once back at J&A, those that still needed to get fit on bikes did that and lunch was delivered. Everyone just hung out, ate lunch and got to know each other better.
The two pros offered a ride for those that wanted to ride with them while the rest of the folks headed next door to the pitch-n-putt for a “closest to pin contest”. I thought I’d go out with the pros, but had my road bike instead of my tri bike and quickly realized that their version of a conversational pace and mine were two totally different things.

After the pitch-n-putt contest, it was time for a bike skills clinic. Everyone took their bike back to the same field we were at in the morning. Derick had everyone practice getting going with one foot clipped in to get a feel for how to start with some motion. Then he had us come back with the opposite foot clipped in. Let me just say that when you’ve ridden for over 5 years and always keep the same foot clipped in, it’s a little hard to do it with the other foot. Many people hit the ground, including myself.

He had us see who could go the slowest without falling over, had us do some bumping drills, had the athletes try to pick up bottles from the ground, etc. It was a very good clinic for first timers.

After the bikes skills clinic it was time to pack up and head north for some swimming. A lesson was given in how to get the wetsuit on (there really is an art to it and the zipper does go in the back). We were split into 3 groups – those with no open water experience, the really fast group and the rest of us. Jessica Jacobs was assigned to “the rest of us”. She went over some tips on breathing and sighting and then people were free to swim the loop.

After the swim, folks were on their own for the evening. I also had one of the volunteers staying with us, so we went home and ordered pizza. We were tired.


Saturday morning we met down south for a bike session. Derick went over a quick lesson on how to set up your transition area and how to think when you are packing for a triathlon. Then it was time to head out on the road. Remember, some of these guys had not been on a bike since they were little and we were getting ready to head out in a 2-up pace line on the shoulder of a fairly busy road.

Derick asked me to lead up front with him and asked another volunteer to bring up the rear and make sure no one got lost or fell off the group. We went really slow (like 12-14 mph), but the guys did amazing. I told Derick that day 2 of getting my clipless pedals there would have been no way I would have been out doing that.

After we finished the first loop we could go back out in smaller groups and do more of our speed. I stayed with some guys going out, but I am familiar with the area and did my own thing on the way back in. Once we were all through, it was time for lunch.

After lunch was another swim session. This was interesting as the athletes worked on a beach start scenario with dolphin dives into the water. Most of the triathlons I do have in-water starts, so that was something even I have not really done. After everyone tried it once, we broke back into groups. The group I was in worked on drafting. We were paired up and drafted off each other for the full loop, rotating who was in the lead and who followed.

After the swim, those who wanted to could run a couple of short laps around the quarry where we were swimming. Then it was time to shower and have a nutrition clinic. I thought I drank a lot of water, but after hearing how much Derick recommended and tracking my intake for a couple of days – yikes! I have some drinking to do.

Then it was time to head to dinner and a roundtable discussion with the pros. We were joined by Kelly Williamson and Patrick Evoe. How often do you have the chance to spend the evening with 4 pro triathletes? Awesome.


Sunday’s session was just a “long run”. We had about 2 hours of time, so people could do an out and back for up to an hour if they wanted. I did a 5 miler. The faster folks did around 10. Then it was time to break the bikes down and pack them up. I have to admit, I got a little teary eyed thinking about the weekend being over.

There were 14 athletes in attendance, each with their own unique story. Some shared a lot of their story and others were more reserved, but you could tell the camp meant a lot to each and every one of them. It just confirmed my decision to race as a Team RWB athlete this year leading up to IMAZ.

While the camp is over, the mission of Team RWB is not. If you believe in what they are doing and wish to support my fundraising efforts, please feel free to make a donation at:

Please know that the money you donate is going to the cause. They are not paying for my race entry or any part of my travels this year. I bought the triathlon uniform myself because I wanted to. I want to give back this year and this is my way. My first race in the Team RWB kit was Lonestar 70.3 where someone snapped this picture of me.

If you don’t wish to donate at this time, at least try and say thanks next time you see someone in the military or someone who is a veteran. You have no idea what their story is, but I can guarantee that they will appreciate a kind word.