Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Blog and Life Update

I suck at keeping this blog updated lately.  So much has happened, especially for it being an "off season".  I have pretty much done next to nothing other than occasional runs and weight training here and there.  Until this week, I hadn't been on my bike or in a pool since my last race!  That's one sign you know you are a swim coach...when you are at the pool every day and haven't swam on your own in months!

Coaching is going well.  I love my kids.  I love coaching, almost all of it anyway.  The management part of it can suck and be overwhelming, but I am getting the hang of it.  I seriously work with the most talented, amazing kids on the planet in a sport I love, so how could I not love it!  They challenge and inspire me.  I couldn't be happier with the coaching aspect of my job!  I have learned a lot more about the sport as well in this process, which only makes me a better swimmer, I hope!

I applied for a coaching scholarship about a month ago with Ben Cagle, who is with Beyond Endurance Coaching.  Every year he picks one athlete to give a coaching scholarship to (one year free coaching).  I applied last year and didn't get it.  I got the email saying he was taking entries for this year as well and figured it couldn't hurt to apply again.  Well, what do you know, I actually got it!  I couldn't be more excited about this!  We have had several email exchanges, as well as a FaceTime call, and I think we are on the same page. I like his approach to training, and I think I am going to learn a lot from him.

The training plan started this week, and it feels so good to be back on a routine!  I forgot how much I love training, and it really helps me to be a nicer person :)  I just lack the motivation to stick with it on my own, and I also spend so much time analyzing, planning, and second guessing my training, that sometimes I just give up and don't train like I should.  I have found that this week it is so nice to just open Training Peaks and do what Ben has in there for me.  I am so excited to just do the execution part of the training!

Getting back on my bike last night was good.  Though with my extended break from biking I have to build up my butt acclimation to the saddle.  Even being on the trainer wasn't bad!  I was also happy to spend an hour on the bike and have ZERO shoulder issues.  Hopefully this continues because my shoulder/neck has been a major pain this fall.

I also got back in the pool this morning.  It felt good.  The set looked hard initially given the lack of swimming I have done lately, but it wasn't that bad.  Challenging...yes.  Impossible...nope.  I really enjoyed it!

It is fun to be excited again after an extended break.  I think that following IMTX, though I was on a high from completing such a huge thing, I was also burned out.  I was stupid to plan as many races as I did following IMTX.  Training became something I had to do, not something I wanted to do.  Then coaching started up this fall, and it slipped to the side like many things do.  It's just glad to be back.  I've got a lot of work to do to get where I want to be, but I am excited to be back on board.

In the meantime, happy training and racing all!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Serious Blog Neglect!!

Wow!  It's been awhile since I last posted!  Here's what's new with me, for all 3 readers of this blog.

I finished off my racing season.  I actually did the Utah Half 70.3 and never did a race report.  It was brutal.  I didn't train for it like I should have, and it showed.  The swim was awful, way, way, way too shallow of water.  It made Lake Woodlands look like the Caribbean.  Just plain nasty.  However, I did have a 5 minute PR for this swim.  I think I really just wanted to be out of that nasty, murky, mud puddle.  The bike was hot and windy.  I forgot how bad the roads are the middle third of race.  My arse wasn't happy bouncing and rattling around on chip seal for that long.  I got off the bike and was cramping EVERYWHERE, even my hands.  I was not having fun on the run and mentally was ready to turn in my timing chip as I have never cramped like that.  I gave myself a 30 minute/3 mile time limit.  If I wasn't feeling better by then I gave myself permission to quit.  Luckily, BASE salt saved the day and I found a groove and was able to finish.  Still brutal, but I did it. Final Finish time was 6:42:40, only 22 minutes past my PR, and considering how NOT ready for this I was, and the fact it felt much longer, I'll take it.

I was then supposed to do the St. George Marathon on Saturday.  I DNS'd again.  I did this two years ago as well due to an injury, and here I was in the same situation.  I have been nursing a knee injury, and by the time I finally got it better, I had missed so much of the training, that it wouldn't have been worth it.  So, I decided not to make it a 4-5 hour Sufferfest, which it would have been as well as risked further injury to the knee that is finally doing better.

For the first time in at least 3 years, I currently have no races on the calendar.  This is so weird for me, but I am okay with it.  I know that once the registration opens for next year's local stuff, I will sign up for short distance tri's.  I really want to try to qualify and possibly go to Nationals again. They will be in Omaha and I would love to take a crack at it.  I will probably sign up for several local sprints and see what happens :)

What is my focus now?  To be honest, it is on coaching my swimmers!  This has been perfect for me on so many levels.  It has given me an outlet and focus post IMTX that I have needed. It filled a void I knew would come with the let down of that race, and I have loved it.  The kids are amazing.  I love it! I have great assistant coaches, a big team, and a fun season ahead.

As far as my own training goes, I am trying to find a happy median.  I haven't been doing much with the added obligation of coaching to already working full time and being wife/mom.  I need to find a doable volume and goal (hence the sprints for next season), but also give myself a mental break.  Today I am going to start the Jillian Michael's Body Shred 60 day program.  It is 30 minutes a day and will give me some activity and a different focus other than SBR, and will work on strength training, which I need.  I am excited about it!

That's all that is new here.  I still spend way too much time on Tri websites and forums.  I am finding that knowledge gained from doing that over the past several years is paying off now that I am coaching.  I love that this combines a hobby of mine, and now an aspect of my job.  Win/win!  I still want to do another Ironman, but am okay with it being a few years.  I don't have the burning urge to go immediately do another one.  It's a great place to be at.

In the meantime, happy training and racing all!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It's Race Week!

Normally I am like a little kid at Christmas when it comes to race week, but that isn't the case this time.  I have the Toughman Utah Half 70.3 on Saturday and I can't help but feel a little hesitant about it.  This is mainly because I don't feel ready!  I seriously haven't trained the way I would have wanted to for many reasons.  One, I gave myself a mental and physical break following IMTX for about 4-6 weeks.  I trained, but it was unstructured what I want, when I want to kind of thing.  I needed that break.

After that break, I started in with a training plan and that went well for another 4 weeks, then injury reared it's ugly head.  It started with an inner thigh issue, just on the inner side of my knee.  Then I think that aggravated my IT band on the other side of the same knee.  I have been battling that for the past month.  I can still swim and bike all I want, but the run has been pretty much non-existent.  I have biked and swam, but even though these are "cleared" activities with the PT, it still bothers me, so I have not done those to the extent that I should.

So, this race will be interesting to say the least.  I know that the bike and swim will probably be decent, but the run will be a train wreck.  I had high hopes for this race as it is a very fast and flat course, and I was hoping for a PR, but I don't really think that is in the cards.  I am more worried about the St. George marathon in October!  With pretty much no running the last 4 weeks, it has seriously derailed the training plan I was following for that.  Ugh!

I will have a race report as always, and any race is better than no race, so I will go and enjoy all that the sport has to offer.  In the meantime, Happy Training and Racing all!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Swimming with the Iron Cowboy on Day 50!

Many of you in the endurance sports world have probably heard by now of James Lawrence aka The Iron Cowboy.  Already the world record holder for the most Ironman Triathlons completed within one year, he apparently wanted more, and this summer pulled off what many people said could not be done.  He set out to complete 50 Ironman distance triathlons in 50 states within 50 consecutive days, all while working with the Jamie Oliver Foundation to raise money and awareness for child hood obesity.

Day 50 for him was back in Utah, our shared home state.  He is also a member of the same tri club I am in, the Salt Lake Tri Club.  It was set up for anyone that wanted to join him for any part of the day.  I figured I would be safe and be able to keep up for the swim.  I woke up at 3 am my time to drive down to Deer Creek Reservoir to do the swim that was to start at 5:30.  I wasn't familiar with the area, so I wanted to make sure that I gave myself plenty of time to get there and find it.  It turned out to be no problem at all, and I was there early, which was also fine.

While waiting for him to come out and swim, I was standing around with Rory and Courtney from my tri club and Rory introduced me to Matt Fitzgerald.  Say what?!?  This was the same guy that has written tons of books and training plans for running and triathlon, including the plan I used to get through IMTX.  It was beyond cool to meet him.  He had flown in from California just for this event and would be running the marathon with him later.  We talked for a bit and he couldn't have been more down to earth and approachable, and even humored this fan with a picture.  So cool!

The swim was in the Wahlberg Bay area of Deer Creek Reservoir. I haven't swam here before, and as we all got into the water to swim, I wasn't impressed at first.  It was very shallow and murky and I didn't love that.  It cleared out after the first couple hundred yards though and was nice.  Water temp was about 72 from what everyone was saying.  The water actually felt good because air temperature was in the high 40's, low 50's.  I was glad that I had brought my wetsuit!

I started out and got ahead of the main group.  I then noticed the group was thinning as we got further out and I stopped to get oriented to where we were.  Just a few yards behind me was James and his Wingmen and a couple of others.  I decided to stick with them.  This was pretty cool to go stroke for stroke with them and that is what I did the remainder of the swim.  I would stop when they did, and followed their lead since there really wasn't a marked course or anything like that.  We turned around when we got (according to their watches) around 1.1 miles out.  We turned around and it seemed that James was confused.  He relied heavily on his Wingmen for guidance.  He was stopping more frequently and then he wasn't responding to their questions.  They pulled him over to the shore and saw that he was shaking like a leaf and freezing.  Though the water temp wasn't bad, when you have virtually no body fat for insulation as James does NOT, even with a wetsuit, he was shivering and starting to get hypothermic.  Another guy in the group took off his full sleeve wetsuit and put it over the one he already had on and he was able to continue.  It was a very cool demonstration of team work and perseverance.  Any other person would have said ENOUGH ALREADY and quit.  That is not even in this guy's vocabulary.  It was a matter of finding the problem, fixing it and continuing it.  When we got back to where we started, they still weren't at the exact distance needed, so they continued to swim in the zig zag motion in that shallow part to make sure they were true to what they said they were going to do, to the exact yardage.  These guys are the real deal.

After getting out of the water, James needed time to get warmed up and prepare for the bike, it probably took about a half hour until he was ready to start the bike.  I visited with others while we waited and the energy was electric among this group.  Apparently 80-90 had registered to do the swim, but only about 10-12 of us did the whole distance of 2.4 miles with him.  There were literally hundreds of bikers through out the day that would join him later.  It was very cool do be part of history as he accomplished what virtually everyone said could not be done.  I walked away inspired and realizing that my own excuses are pretty pathetic when I want to stay in bed to avoid a 3 mile run on some days.  Suck it up Buttercup!!

In the meantime, I still have 4 weeks until the Utah Half and then another couple months until the StG Marathon.  I am torn on these.  Part of me wants to be done already with the season, but I am also glad that I have these events to keep me training, as I think I would become a couch potato at this point without them.  I am coming back off 2 weeks of no running due to a pulled groin muscle, so that adds to some frustration I have had.  But, no more excuses.  Simply onward and upward!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

HR Rant

I am so over these stupid things.  I have been trying Heart Rate training for almost a year now and you know what?  I think it sucks!  I have tried to give it time, be patient, tried a gazillion different ways of configuring my zones and you know what?  I am either doing it completely wrong or it just isn't what it is cracked up to be.  Both are highly possible.

Rant #1 - I hate the dang strap.  It is awkward, one more piece of gear to remember prior to work outs, if chafes, and I have a hard time believing that we can send a man to the moon, but this is really the best way we can monitor heart rate on an athlete?  I really would love for Garmin to find a way to do it without the strap. have sensors on the back of the watch for Pete's sake!

Rant #2 - HR is highly variable.  One day a "Zone 2" can feel comfy.  The next day is feels pathetically slow.  If it is really hot and humid, it feels hard.  Most days Zone 2 for me feels like a walk.  Literally.  Zone 2 for me is about a 14 minute mile.  That is a walk, folks!  But in trying to "give it a chance" I have tried to stay in Zone 2 and feel like I barely break a sweat.  I call them bag runs.  Because I want to put a giant bag over my head so no one recognizes me on the run!

Rant #3 - As much as I hate HR training, it does provide good data and I am all about the TSS scores and all in TP, so I feel the need to wear it for data sakes.  It literally provides no score with out a HR data.  Ugh!  So I feel tied to the dang thing!

That's my rant for the day.  I may try to meet with people in my tri club to more accurately nail this sucker down and maybe once and for all figure out this is supposed to work!

I much prefer to just go ride.  And run.  And swim.  Just go by feel!  If I am feeling good, I will push it that day.  If not, back off.  If I know I am doing a long run, I will settle in to whatever I feel I can maintain that day for that distance.  I am LOVING the fact that my marathon training plan doesn't even mention heart rate!  My IMTX plan was dictated entirely by HR!  This has been a nice break :)

Rant over.  Carry on.  Happy Training and racing all!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rock Cliff Oly Race Report and Catch up

I realized it's been awhile since I last posted here.  I even completed a race two weeks ago that hasn't yet seen a race report!  I did the Rock Cliff Olympic again this year (I did it 2 years ago).  Here's the short version:

-I had a good swim, though not as good as 2 years ago.  I loved that the water level was much higher than last time, so we were spared the .25 mile run through duck poop

-The bike was still deceptively hard, but gorgeous

-The run sucked.  Hard, hot, dusty and slow

-This is the hardest Olympic Distance race I have done other than Rage in Vegas

-I was smoking crack to do this distance and this difficulty of a course just 4 weeks post IMTX.  My body hated me!

- The parking situation was greatly improved with the addition of VIP parking with my Triple Play registration.  Thanks Aaron!!

-I will not do this race again as an Oly, but it would be good as a Sprint...challenging yet not brutal.

In other updates, as of this past week, I am finally feeling like myself again post IMTX.  Man, folks aren't kidding when they say that this is a race that takes weeks to recover and not days.  It's amazing how much of a toll it takes on your body!  Even once the sun burn was gone, the blisters were healed, and the muscles were no longer sore, there was still a subtle residual fatigue to deal with.  I also felt like I was swimming, biking and running through jello.  My HR would spike much sooner than I would expect and under not so stressful situations.  Alas, 6 weeks post race, I am finally feeling like myself again :)

I have gotten back into a training routine as I still have the Utah Half 70.3 at the end of the summer and the StG Marathon in October.  Last week was a great week training wise!  I nailed my splits for a track speed work out I was totally intimidated by.  I biked a very hot 46.6 miles up to our church camp out up at Chrystal Hot Springs.  I did it in the middle of the day in 100 degree temps.  It was brutal, but I felt like a rock star when I was done.   I also completed my longest run since IMTX (10 miles) with Alicia yesterday.  I have missed her and I's long runs together!  And knowing she was waiting for me helped get my butt out the door!

Today I have been following my friends online as they race IMCDA.  It has been fun and even made  me nostalgic about my own IM experience.  However, it will still be awhile before I do another.  Life circumstances just won't permit it as soon as I would like.  There is still plenty to be enjoyed and done in this sport though and I am looking forward to that for the next few years :)

In the meantime, Happy Training and Racing all!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ironman made me slow and fat

There are so many misconceptions about Ironman athletes.  I had them before I became one!  I always thought that everyone that was into endurance sports looked like Rinnie or Crowie.  I was surprised and relieved when I did my first race back in 2010 at how there were every shape and size and age out on the course.  I loved it and it inspired me and still does!

However, when I signed up for an Ironman, I thought I would FINALLY drop those last 10 pounds or so that I wanted to. I thought the sheer volume of the training would make me faster as well.  Sadly though, that simply wasn't true, and the more that I talk to other Ironman finishers, it isn't unusual either!

Since embracing HR training almost a year ago (I am still on the fence about this by the way, not totally sold on it) I found that most of my training for IM was in "Zone 2", which is pretty slow if you stick to it strictly.  I tried to stay there and follow my plan like it said to, but I found that because I was always running or riding slow, guess what?  I am still slow!!  In some ways I feel like I am slower than I was before, especially with my running!  Now, that being said, I can go forever at that same slow pace, I have the endurance of a diesel engine, but no speed.  Kinda frustrating!

And as for shedding the weight that I want to get rid of, that didn't happen either.  I found that the nutritionist I visited was way off on what she told me to take in during training in order to train and lose weight at the same time.  She recommended just 1600 calories a day.  Yeah, um, I tried that for a day or two and I was STARVING.  I refused to not feed or fuel my body like it needed to compensate for the heavy training load and ever increasing volume.  But therein lies the issue.  You have to find a fine balance between how much it requires to fuel and recovery properly but at the same time not go crazy too.  During IM training, I ate well, meaning that I ate pretty dang clean, and pretty consistently as well.  I never let myself get hungry eating every 3 hours or so.  I did actually gain a few pounds, which is frustrating, but I am not sure if that is fat or muscle because I also incorporated strength training for the first time as well.  Who knows.  I also think that you metabolism is trying to figure what the heck is going on with this new volume load and increase in food, so it kinda hangs on to what it can.  And lets face it...I am getting older, so its not as easy to drop weight like I would like too.

Since IMTX ended, I have wanted to eat nonstop!  My body hasn't figured out that stuff is over now, so it's back to normal.  I need to adjust and I've tried to eat clean, but it is hard.  I love Oreos too much!

I officially start my training for the St. George Marathon on Monday.  I am excited to be back on a plan, but also this one is a pretty ambitious plan and incorporates speed work and intervals since I am trying to go sub 4 on this one.  We will see how that works out, but I am excited to see if I can't try to work on building some speed with this new plan.  I am also going to get more strict about what I eat and get back to the gym for weight training.  I have found that I am most successful with the weigh issue when I incorporate resistance training into my routine.  Nothing major, but 3-4 times a week seems to help.

So, if you are in this boat of getting slower and fatter while endurance training, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  It's frustrating!  More and more I am convinced that weight management is not simply calories in vs calories out.  If that were the case I would weigh nothing if you looked at myfitnesspal files while I was in my training. I always had a calorie deficit at the end of every day and still do, yet nothing is moving. 

There's my rant for the day.  At the end of the day, I try not to get bogged down in how I look in race pics, I am not thrilled with it.  Instead I say prayers of thanks for the amazing things my body CAN do.  I am always grateful for the opportunity to do what we do, and never take that for granted.  If I get to do it with a little more junk in the trunk, than that beats not being able to do it at all.  So onward and upwards my friends!

So what's next?  I have the rest of this week as my time off ( I allowed myself 4 weeks of recovery post IMTX) and then Monday my training plan for the St. George marathon begins.  I also do have the Utah Half in August as well, but my plan is going to mainly focus on the run and the marathon.  I have enjoyed some down time, but honestly feel a little lost looking into Training Peaks and not having a plan to follow.  It will be nice to get back into a training mode :)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Salem Spring Sprint Triathlon Race Report

I signed up for the Triple Play with Racetri this year.  This means I have to complete the Salem Spring Sprint, the Rock Cliff Olympic (June 13) and the Utah Half 70.3 (August 22).  When you complete all of those you get a special award after the Utah Half.  I was all game for this and immediately agreed and registered.  Then I looked closer at the dates of the events.  This meant that just two weeks after IMTX I would have a sprint and just two weeks after that an Olympic.  I have heard various things about how long IM recovery takes, and having never done one, I figured it would be a complete mess, but I would go anyway.

Race Day Selfie with this cutie!
Then I tried my first two workouts this past week since IMTX.  My attempt Monday morning at a swim (just 9 days post IMTX) was PATHETIC.  I felt like lead the whole time.  It took all I could to force 25 minutes, and it was a pathetically slow 25 minutes at that.  Then I attempted a bike ride out to the marina and back.  Flat, easy 15 miles.  I felt great at the time, but after I got home I felt like I had done a century ride.  So, I did nothing else the rest of the week and was just hoping to not die in this race!  I was pretty sure it would be comical!

Due to it being a typical crazy Saturday at our house, the IronSherpa wasn't able to make it.  I was fully prepared to make the trek to Salem on my own, but IronKid #1 wanted to come.  I was surprised that he wanted to, but thrilled at the same time.  I explained we would have to get up pathetically early and leave, and it would mean a long car drive (1.5 hours one way) and lots of waiting.  He said if I bought him a drink and snack at the gas station he wouldn't complain.  DONE!


IronKid #1 and I headed down to the race.  I haven't done this one before and am not that familiar with the area, but we were still able to find it okay.  It was a blast hanging with my oldest.  He's a hoot!  I thoroughly enjoyed his company.  Great kid!

We got to the race and he helped me with my bike, offered to carry stuff, etc.  What a great help!  He also held my stuff while I got my race packet and timing chip.

It was fun to have reserved racking as being a Triple Play participant.  Loved this!  No crowded racks at all!  I also got to see several of my friends from my tri club.  It was shaping up to be a great morning!


This was a 800 meter swim in the Salem Pond.  Not a huge pond by any means, and it did look pretty nasty.  However, after swimming in Lake Woodlands and the Utah Lake, it wasn't so bad :).  Typical greenish duck pond.  I was in the 35+ Women's wave, so we went very last.  I stayed dead on straight for the first two swim buoys, and I started off too fast too.  My heart was beating through my wetsuit and I was struggling to breathe.  I dialed it down a notch, but had a hard time finding the 3rd buoy  that was on the other side of the bridge.  I am not a straight swimmer, and I noticed I veered way too far to the right.  Dang it, Katie! Rookie mistake!  I should totally know better!  I was glad to find the buoy and stayed on course for the rest of the swim.  I did notice however, that when I would put my head up to breathe, the water smelled bad.  Eeewwwww!

I finished the swim and was glad to be out of the water.  My heart rate was crazy high, so I knew that I needed to chill a bit on the bike to bring it back down.

Final Swim Time: 15:01, fastest swim split of my age group, ....HECK YEAH!!!


I wanted a really fast transition because I have been working on them.  Apparently it paid off, my T1 time was 1:23!  Very pleased!

I must note two things here.  1)  My transition was only this fast because some nice spectator decided to act as a wetsuit stripper and got it off super quick 2) My truly pathetic/embarrassing/what the hell was I thinking moment happened here when I went to get my bike off of the rack and took down the entire rack with it.  Since I am a fast swimmer, there were still a ton of bikes on it.  Whoops!  Thanks heaven for good volunteers!!


This is a two loop 12 mile bike course.  It starts off circling the pond then up a short, but steep, hill.  Once to the top of that hill it is a false flat with climbing for a bit after that.  No real chance to settle into aero until you are a couple of miles into it.  However, the second half of this loop is FAST!  I loved it and at one point got up to 31 mph.  I was pleased with how good I was still feeling!  My heart rate was high, but then again, I reminded myself that this is a sprint, not an IM, so no need to get into Zone 2!  I was supposed to be working hard!  I decided to ignore HR for this race and just go as hard as I could stand.  I was especially pleased with how good I felt, so I decided to put the pedal on the gas until I ran out :)

First bike loop was fun, but I was glad to pass several people that were slow and had no clue what ON YOUR LEFT means.  Move over people!  I am well aware there are people faster than me, and when they say that, I get over!  Apparently several people didn't get the memo on this.  The second loop was more spread out, and I didn't have so much of this issue then.  I was able to power up the hills, and tuck in on the down. I also passed many people on this course.   I felt very fast and strong on this's about freaking time I felt like this on the bike!

Final bike split for this race was 42:35...second fastest bike in my division.  Man, some really crappy cyclists must have been on the course today if that was 2nd!


Again, I wanted this to be crazy fast.  Though I have been practicing flying dismounts, I decided against it seeing as how the bike dismount area was at the bottom of a decent hill.  Nope, not happening.  Still got off the bike fast and quickly switched shoes.  Decided to go sockless again for the run since this worked well for me at Icebreaker.

Final T2 time was 57 seconds.....HECK YEAH!!  First time I have even been under a minute on transition!  In and out Baby!


This is a simple, and pretty boring 5k run along the chip seal roads and neighborhoods near the pond. There is another short steep hill, but it isn't bad.  I was running comfortably hard, and my run mile splits were 9:51, 10:22 (where the hill is), 9:19, and 8:27 for the last .1 mile ;)  This made for a final run time of 30:36 or 9:46 avg pace. Second fastest run in my division as well.   I will definitely take that!

Final Race time for Salem Spring 1:30:36.


IronKid #1 found me and wanted me to sneak him a bagel from the finish line food :)  I then mingled with other friends and IronKid checked the results to see that I had podiumed with a second place finish for my age group!  What the crap?  I was so excited by this!  I literally had no expectations for this race, so I was thrilled and surprised at the same time.  We hung out for the awards ceremony, only to also see that my friend Brandy had finished right behind me for the #3 spot!  How fun to podium with a friend!  It was a great day!


I loved this race, and not just because I landed on the podium.  I love the course, and I was reminded how much fun, yet hard, a sprint can be!  It is a total different kind of racing, it is all about going as hard as you can!  Totally different from the Ironman, when you have to pace yourself and go long.  I really think that I could be content doing the short distances and taking on a different kind of challenge for awhile after this.  Plus, the training would be fun, I need to focus on speed anyhow!  Definitely gives me something to think about for 2016 :)

Also, another shot out to Racetri.  I love these guys!  I love their races!  They seriously know how to take care of their athletes!  The races are always fun, yet challenging, and I see myself doing many more in the future!  The only thing I didn't love about this race was the orange shirt.  I look like a traffic cone in it!  But they more than made up for it with the awesome medals and awards!


School is out on Wednesday, so I am looking forward to my summer off and some good training, as well as more down time with the IronKids.  I have the Rock Cliff Olympic in two weeks, then nothing until the Utah Half in August.  However, I did get into the St. George Marathon for October 3, so I will officially start my training plan for that right after Rock Cliff.

I am excited to be "back".  The past two weeks were tough and I hated the residual fatigue and crappy workouts.  I am glad that I am back on a plan, of some sort.  Technically I have 2 weeks until my marathon training officially begins, and I am going to continue doing what I want and only if I feel like it until then, as I don't want to take on too much too soon.  Ironman takes a lot out of you!  Though I do feel lost without a training plan....

In the meantime, Happy training and Racing all!!

Two medals, one day...I could get used to this!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

One week and some change past IMTX

I have had over a week to process and think about my race.  Here are some random thoughts I have had:

1)  When they say that IM recovery is a matter of weeks, not days, they mean it.  My poor body, though it feels better every day, still has some residual fatigue, and my poor feet are still healing from awful blisters.

2)  Trying to exercise for the first time yesterday was comical.  I tried a nice easy swim and though it felt good, my poor body was saying NOPE as it felt like lead for most of the swim.  It was pathetically slow too!

3)  This weekend's sprint tri is going to be even more comical than yesterday's attempt at a swim.

4)  I have changed my mind about never doing one again.  I know I will, but it won't be for awhile.  With my kids and their ages, the fact that I am coaching the swim team next year, and other life circumstances, I can't commit to another one for at least a few more years.  And I am okay with that!

5)  I didn't realize the commitment that it was until it was past.  All of a sudden my schedule is wide open with lack of training 15-18 hours a week.  I am not thinking about it constantly.  I have also noticed a few times I have even been BORED!    Ironman is pretty all consuming while getting ready for it.

6)  My injuries/battle wounds from IMTX included awful funky sunburn in weird patterns due to the unevenness of the volunteers putting it on, at least 8 blisters big enough to constitute their own zip code, friction burn from my timing chip, chaffing in weird places, hyper extension of my knee on the bike that a week and half later is still sore, nerve damage in my shoulder/neck from being on my bike for 7+ hours (this is nothing new, just the same old issue with the arthritis, but it has SUCKED the past week), and still crying at the drop of a hat when I think about the finish line :)

7)  I won't do another IM until I can upgrade my bike to a TT bike.  I love Belle, but if I am going to do another IM, I think it would be best done on a TT.  I will also not do another one with out hiring a coach.  I feel that I have come as far as I can on my own, and I liked my training plan, but don't know that it was enough.  Part of me thinks it was, but I am not so sure.  I would really want the personalized guidance and feedback of a coach. Plus, it would be nice to take a lot of the guesswork out of it for me.  So, given all of those things, it will be awhile till I do another one :)

8)  I can honestly say this was the best and worst thing I ever did.  I loved the journey, I loved the people I met, and I am proud of my accomplishment, but DANG it was hard!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Kathryn Limb of Syracuse Utah...YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!!

The title of this post is the short version of my first Ironman race.  If you want the abbreviated version...there ya go...I finished the most brutal day of my life.  If you want the long version, pull up a chair, grab the popcorn and a ya go:)


Ken and I arrived on Monday, 5 days prior to the race.  I was so glad that we did this.  My mindset was it would give me time to acclimate somewhat to the humidity, and at the same time, if we were spending the money to go to Houston, I wanted to have time to see and do things that I wanted to do as it is where I grew up and there were people I wanted to see and things that were definitely on what I was calling my Texas To Do list.  Among the highlights of my Pre-race activities were seeing my best friend from high school, Amanda for dinner, driving through my old neighborhood, going to an Astros game, and attending a pre-race clinic by Endurance Nation.  Pics below!

We also attended the Athlete Banquet.  I had been told this was a MUST DO, so we bought Ken a  ticket as my ticket was included in my registration fee.  The food was good, it is always fun to visit with other triathletes, but that is where the fun ended.  The actual presentation was lame and we left after 45 minutes of corporate plugs.  Pathetic!

I am not normally an emotional person, but I found all week that I was crying at the drop of a hat!  I went to packet pick up and the sweet volunteer asked for my name and I got all choked up and couldn't tell her that I was #1198.  She just nodded nicely and said, "You're a first timer, aren't you?"  Gee, how did you guess?

Then we had bike check in on Friday.  It was a muddy mess.  It was fun to run into my friends Jenny and Kerri from our Facebook group.  I think we were all a little dazed or a bundle of nerves! Ken and I then took it easy the rest of the day.  I was way excited to meet up with my friend Jenny who has done this race twice.  Reading her blog over the years not only made me want to try a triathlon, but also sparked the IronBug with me.  Seeing someone I know go through it made me believe that maybe, just maybe, I could do it as well.


I woke up amazingly calm and just flat out excited.  I was surprised because normally before a big race I am ready to puke, but not this time!  We woke up at 3:45.  I ate my breakfast of instant oatmeal and a banana with water to sip on until the swim start.  The water temp was 81, so this was not going to be wetsuit legal, so I had my swim suit on under my swim skin.  Ken helped me put my race tats on and I was pumped!  He then took me and dropped me off at transition where I went to load my bike with all of my nutrition.  It had poured all week, including during the night and it was super humid and the area was super muddy.  I went to tape my salt tabs to the top tube of Belle, and it was so humid, the tape had no stick to it!  Crazy!  I ended up just dumping them in my bento box.  Not horrible, but not as easy as I was hoping for either.  I then put my Perpetuem bottle on and filled my front aerobottle with water and dropped in a Nuun tab and Belle was ready to go!  IMTX has a swim start that is actually  just under a mile away from transition, so I started my walk over there and visited with other triathletes along the way.  It was fun.  I love the triathlon community and meeting others.  I walked over with an older gentleman named Skip.  He was a first timer as well and was working with Team in Training.  He is 67!  Amazing!  We talked about how the training had gone and how at the end of the day, we just wanted to finish.  He was awesome!  When we got to the swim start we went out separate ways and I went to get in line for the bathroom.  I dropped my special needs bags with the volunteers and then turned around to see Ken had made it!  I really wasn't sure that he would, but I was glad that he did!  Ken is my rock and he was good to be with those last few minutes.


We then lined up in a self seeded fashion for the rolling start which was new to IMTX this year.  You line up by projected finish times.  I had mixed feelings about this.  One, I wanted to experience the mass start of an Ironman just once, and it wasn't happening here.  On the other hand, I have anxiety about that kind of start and I didn't lose any sleep over a rolling start either.  However, the one down fall is it takes away from that magical midnight finish time because everyone's 17 hours starts when they cross the timing mat at the water's edge.  So, pros and cons.

The reality of it was it was slicker than snot!  I loved it!  It was very smooth and efficient and I felt like I seeded myself right with the 1:10-1:20 group.  I got bumped and toes tapped a few times, but nothing like the battle scene I have heard about it mass starts.  The water was always crowded around me, but totally manageable.  I settled into a good pattern of counting strokes and sighting every 4th stroke.  It worked well.  The water quality though it was no Caribbean or Bear Lake, wasn't as bad as I expected.  Utah Lake is worse!  I could see about a foot in front of me on the down stroke.  I really focused on counting strokes and not swimming any faster than I could maintain good form for.  The first turn buoy came and it did get pretty crowded and crazy around it, but it didn't last long.  Then we started swimming back to the bridge and that next third went very well!  I was in a very happy place and started to think ahead to the bike, but then reminded myself to stay in the moment and focus on it.  One, two, three, site, one, two, three, site, repeat.  Before I knew it we were rounding into the canal.  I had heard from others that this part is a double edged sword.  It is cool from the stand point that the spectators come out and have a great view of the swimmers and you of them.  The down side is that it is narrow and you are funneling all of those swimmers into a narrow area and it can get choppy and crazy.  I stayed to the far right of the canal, a couple feet out from the side, and I did just fine!  Not too crazy at all!  The canal seemed to go fast and then it got crazy at the swim exit, but the volunteers literally grab you and pull you out of the water.  I was very happy with this swim.  I stayed on course, stuck to a good rhythm, and felt physically very strong. I don't feel like I over did it, it was exactly what I would have hoped for.

Final swim time was 1:23:22....Heck yeah!!  Thrilled with this especially since it was a non wetsuit swim!  I ranked 42/120 in my age group for the swim portion

I will now say that the swim is the only part of my day that went as planned or better :/

Transition 1:

I got out of the water and went to do costume change #1.  I took off the swim skin and swim suit, then put on my cycling shorts, a sports bra and tri top.  I was glad that I did this, but it was much harder to get the dry clothes on a wet body than I thought.  Thank heaven for volunteers!  They help with whatever you want!  They greased my shoulders and back with sunscreen, gave me water, and helped me on my way.  I did get my bike shoes super muddy mess, but they will wash.

Final T1 time was 10:56.  It seemed like longer than that, so I was pleased.


The first part of this bike was great.  I did the best I could to just ride along as the coach at the Endurance Nation seminar had told us.  I rode easy for the first 10 miles or so to get my bearings, bring my heart rate into a solid Zone 2, and settle in for what would be a long ride.  The first 40ish miles were great, not fast, but smooth sailing.  I was loving this course.  It was all the great things I love about Texas.  Green forests, farm lands, wild flowers on the sides of the road, people coming out to cheer your on, etc.  I was sticking to my nutrition plan by taking in my Perpetuem every 15 minutes, taking a shot block or two, and taking salt tabs every 30 minutes.  It was great!

Around mile 50 the winds started. I would like to say that they didn't last long, but they lasted until mile 95 or so.  Brutal doesn't begin to describe these hot humid winds that were going 20-30 mph and they were a constant head wind.  It was like biking in a furnace. It also was hard because this course was more hilly than I thought.  Granted, this was not the Triple Bypass, but they hills were consistent and with the winds coming at you, they did get difficult.  I just wanted to be done!  I then glanced at my Garmin and noticed that I wasn't making good time at all.  I was starting to get bummed by this, and started to worry about having enough nutrition to last long enough.  I had planned 7 hours of bike nutrition, and it soon dawned on me I would NOT be off the bike in 7 hours.  Thank heavens for Bike Special Needs at mile 60!  I was glad that was there or I wouldn't have had enough.  I was so glad that I utilized this and packed extra stuff.

I got to be a pro at the aid stations, which were every 10-12 miles.  I grabbed 2 bottles at every station, one to refill my aero bottle up front and would dump the second on my head to cool off.  I was sticking to my nutrition, but it started to frustrate me.  It was working in that it was keeping me going, but it was too many moving pieces.  The Perpetuem, the Nuun, the Salt tabs, and the occasional Bonk Breaker was just too much to manage while riding.  Next time, I will go a simpler route.  However, I had to stop 3-4 times to pee, which is a good sign that I was getting enough fluids and electrolytes in.

Physically I felt pretty good except for a couple of things.  One, I got a cramp in my right leg at the top of my calf muscle behind my knee around mile 50 of the bike. It never went away.  Also, my saddle seemed very uncomfortable, and I am not sure why, but I was so ready to get off that thing!  Also, my sore shoulder that has been an issue reared it's ugly t

While on the bike I was getting pretty grumpy and frustrated that I wasn't making the time I wanted.  I then would hear occasional sirens of ambulances and it was a quick reminder that someone out there was having a worse day than I was, and Suck It Up Buttercup and just get the job done!  I then decided to quit being so hard on myself and just be grateful to get through it in one piece.

I was happy to get to Mile 100 and a nice lady named Dianna and I started talking.  She was friendly, happy and positive.  She was just what I needed at that point because I was being pretty negative.  Thank you, where ever you are Dianna!  You helped me to get into the right frame of mind before I started my marathon!

My final bike time was 7:55:09.  I am not thrilled with this, but what do you do?

Transition #2

Time for costume change #2.  I kept my same tri top on and put on the tri shorts and running shoes. I also took the chance to drink two glasses of ice cold water that the volunteers brought to me and reapply sunscreen.  I handed my bags over to the volunteers and started out on the marathon.  I felt like I took my time, as mentally I was NOT wanting to run a marathon in the heat of the day, but apparently it was better than I thought because my final T2 time was 10:08


Now to just run 26.2 miles.  This is a three loop run course with each loop being just over 8 miles a piece.  They run quite a bit along the Waterway, but they also venture off onto some more quiet running trails and into some beautiful neighborhoods with mega-mansions.  Other than a few switch back parts, I really liked this run course.  The volunteers, crowd support, and cheer stations were unreal.  Seriously so much fun!  They provided the mental diversions that you need to get through an Ironman Marathon.  My run strategy was pretty the whole thing at an easy pace but stop at every aid station that were every mile.  Then I would walk through and take in what I wanted to before I started off to the next one.  I was feeling really good at this point and was surprised I was able to stomach the Gu and other nutrition I took in.  In my other long distance races, by this point my stomach only wants water and maybe Coke.  However, I was able to do just fine with the Gatorade on the course and the Gu I had of my own.  About mile 10 a nice volunteer asked if I wanted grapes.  I don't know what it was, but that sounded like a piece of heaven and I started taking in a pixie cup of grapes at the aid stations as well.  They were wonderful!

The funnest part of this course were Hippie Hollow and the Moxie team cheer stations.  They simply made me laugh and smile.  I so needed to mental distraction of the Speedo clad dudes and the 70's dressed people dancing and cheering me on, as well as giving me a mental break from the suffering that is inevitable in this portion of an Ironman.  We also had tons of kids and families out and it was so nice to hear "Looking good" (even though I am pretty sure I would have been a shoe in for the cast of Walking Dead) or "Looking Strong" (even though I am sure most senior citizens could have gone faster).  I loved the signs along the course that not only motivated and made me laugh.  It was awesome!

I was able to maintain my strategy of running except at the aid stations. I had to make a few too many stops at the Porta-Potties (maybe the grapes weren't such a good idea after all?) and I found that I made new friends along the way.  There was one guy Dennis I met on my second loop.  He was just so friendly.  He asked where I was from, asked about my training, we talked about how much this hurt but how cool the finish line would be.  He was also a first timer.  I lost him when we got back to the Waterway, but he was so nice!  I also met another guy that was cramping pretty bad.  I didn't get his name, but he was walking and really suffering. I knew that I had more salt tabs than I needed so I gave him a few.  I sure hope he finished!  I saw Ken on both the first and second run loops.  Ken told me he was proud of me for making this loop easy and for the fact that I was still smiling.

By the third loop it was the tail end of the night and it was dark.  I really mentally had a hard time with this loop.  I just wanted to be done.  I mentally caved at a few points and walked just because I was sick of running.  I was sick of my feet burning.  I was sick of thinking about how I was going so slow.  I was just DONE.  I physically could have gone on running, but mentally, I needed a walk break to regroup.  I finally told myself that there was nothing else I could ask of myself other than to finish.  I had done my best all day, so get this done, Katie!  I was probably at Mile 23ish and I decided I would then suck it up and continue running this.  I was so happy to hit the Waterway part again and feel the crowd support again!

I finally hit the part of the run course where it forked between starting the 2nd/3rd Loop and then where you go to the Finisher's Shoot.  Because this was later in the evening, and most people had already finished, I had the shoot to myself.  I turned there and the energy is beyond anything you can describe.  You have hundreds of people on either side that are all clapping, cheering, calling your name and holding out their hands for high 5s as you pass by.  It was unreal running down that red Ironman carpet for the 100 or so yards that it was.  I ran from side to side to give as many people high fives as I could.  The BeeGee's song "Staying Alive" was blaring (pretty fitting considering how the marathon was a exercise in survival) and then I heard Mike Reilly yell, "Kathryn Limb of  Syracuse, Utah, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!"  By this time I was bawling.  Pretty funny when you look at my Finisher Pics because I am doing the ugly cry, not anything cute, but the pictures look like I am trying to sneeze.  Lovely, just lovely.

Final run time was 6:33:13, and final race time for IMTX was 16:12:48.

-I stuck to my training plan.  I missed very few workouts.  I allowed myself to recover well, and I tapered well.
-I arrived at the start line healthy and injury free
-Nutrition worked.  I believe that I took in the right amount  of everything...calories, sodium, electrolytes, etc, and I stuck to the plan in which to take them.
-I utilized the Special Needs bags...I would have been in a world of hurt if I hadn't done this, especially on the bike.
-I remained mostly positive,
-I smiled almost the entire time.
-I took the time to thank volunteers and to appreciate that I am able to do this,
-I took the time during the race to thank my Heavenly Father for the ability and opportunity to do this.

- Simplify nutrition.  Though I took in the right amounts of everything and felt good energy wise, there are too many moving parts.  I like the idea of having just one source of nutrition where you just reach for a bottle that contains all you need, and wash it down with water.  I may need to look into other options to do this.
- Take the time mode off my Garmin for the day, only have it show heart rate and maybe the distance.  Especially if for a first timer, the goal should be finish LINE not finish TIME.
-Look into a different saddle.  I have never loved the one that I am on, and I am more and more convinced it may just be worth the effort to experiment and find one that I love.
-Take the day after the race off from work.  It was brutal having to go to work yesterday morning.
- Have a first aid kit in the hotel after the race.  Given the amount of chaffing, blisters, soreness, swelling, etc, I wish I would have packed things like band aids, gauze, first aid tape, Neosporin, Ibuprofen, and things like that to tend to all my battle wounds :)


I am so glad that I had the opportunity to do this race.  I have prepared for it actively for a year, but I really think it goes beyond that.  I have come so far in a fairly short amount of time.  I wasn't raised an athlete.  I always admired the athletes in school, because I never thought I was one of them, though I wanted to be.  I love what triathlon has brought to my life and the experiences I have had and the friendships I have made.  This race was in many ways a coming together of all of that.

I was humbled to the point of tears by all of the posts, tweets, Facebook comments, text messages and phone calls I got from people literally all over the world.  I knew people were praying for me and I felt those prayers, especially during the hard moments, and believe me, there were many!  I have the best friends, family and support crew ever.  I am so thankful for each and every one of you who read this blog, commented, posted, texted, or watched and followed my progress online.  It means the world to me, more than I could ever express.

As good as my support crew is, Ken is the rock and my biggest cheerleader, I have said it before and I will say it a thousand times more, I couldn't do it without him, nor would I want to.  He puts up with me.  He supports me.  He never complains about the crazy adventures I take us on.  He never complains about the training, or having to pick things up the slack while I was training with kids or things around the house.  He's pretty fantastic.  I love him more than I can express.  No moment was as special as seeing him as soon as I crossed the finish line.  Falling into his arms was the perfect way to end my day.

What's next?  A break!  I need a mental and physical break.  My poor body took a beating and I need a mental break as well.  Of  course I have more races this year, but I'm not stressing over them and they are all just for fun, where I have no expectations other than to enjoy them.  I want to focus more on my run, my never ending nemesis (but apparently my bike needs some work too)

So, Happy Racing and Training all!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

It's Race Week!!

I can hardly believe that it is already Race Week!  We leave for Houston first thing in the morning.  My Belle has been cleaned, tuned, and the race bag is all packed and they are getting dropped off on our way to the airport with ProBike Express.  The reality of all of this is sinking in!

Blame the taper, or the fact that I am about to have a dream come true, but I have been pretty emotional lately, which isn't like me at all.  I actually cried while packing my race gear.  I have been stressed about this as all of a sudden I am second guessing everything and the logistics of planning for a race of 140.6 miles was overwhelming at times.  I actually had to walk away from it a few times.  But, I think I have done a good job and am as ready as I will ever be from a logistics stand point.  Once I had the bike and bag all packed I cried for a different reason.  My heart was full and I just had this sudden sense of gratitude.  Just a sense of gratitude for being able to have this journey and this opportunity.  Excited, nervous, thankful, all rolled into one.  It has been amazing and I am so thankful for the whole process!!

I have had anxiety over the weather.  At one point it showed severe thunderstorms that day, but now that isn't quite the case.  Any person with any sense of logic knows that you shouldn't trust any weather forecast 10 day out, especially in Texas, but logic went out the door when the taper started :)

I was also glad to get my sub plans all ready for the week as well. I have never taken that  much time off from school and it was a bit overwhelming to plan that much for someone else.   My students were sweet and hung the following banner outside my room for me to discover as I came in the other day.

My mother got here just fine and we have been getting her up to speed on the routine of the two minions.  My suitcase is all packed with the non race stuff  (there isn't really much of that :))

I know that  a week from today it will be all over, but I am so excited about this week!  I have missed Texas and it will be fun to be home.  It will be fun to see people I haven't seen in a long while, and make new friends as well.  I am super excited to meet up with the people from our IMTX Facebook group!

Do I have goals for this race?  Yes and No.  Obviously, I just want to finish.  I know that is all I should be focused on, but I am too competitive with myself especially and of course I have goals in mind for each discipline and for an overall time I would like to hit.  But, at the end of the day, I just want to finish, smile the whole time, and hear Mike Reilly call my name.  Oh, and bring home some sweet finisher gear as well :)

I am sure people will get sick of my posts this week that are all Texas and race related, so if that is the case, screw them!  Block me, hide me, delete me....but you have been forewarned, especially if you follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter :)

If you care to follow me on race day, my Bib # is 1198.  I am sure I will post between now and then, but in the meantime....Happy training, tapering, and racing all!!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Taper Madness

I'm not going to lie or sugar coat anything.  Tapering sucks.  Just.  Plain.  Sucks.  The past two weeks I have been moody, irritable, stressed, excited, happy, giddy, back to stressed, tired, hungry, hyper, hungry, and then back to all of the above. 

I know a lot of this stress is just the logistics of getting ready to go.  I have to make sub plans for a week, get everything graded, make all the copies, type up the instructions, etc just to be prepared to be off work for a week.

Then there are the logistics of making pack lists, packing, dropping the bike off, picking it up, coordinating with the bike transport company, etc.  Nothing that hard, but it all adds up.  I also have to get my house ready for my mom to be there all week with my kids!

At night I have laid in bed and some nights I am just plain excited.  Other nights I literally start to freak out and think "It's only 140.6 miles, what could POSSIBLY go wrong?"  I worry about the oddest things and things that haven't occurred to me yet, all of a sudden will, like, where do I meet Wes from ProBike Express after the race to get him my bike?  Not a huge deal, just a simple question, but in the middle of the night, this is a BIG DEAL.

And don't get me started on the weather.  I have now deleted the weather apps from my phone.  It is still too far out to accurately predict, but it was just giving me anxiety.  When I was still checking the weather, it was calling for thunderstorms that day.  Please, anything except thunderstorms.  The only reason I don't want that is because that could potentially shorten or cancel parts of the race.  I have trained too long and hard and don't want to complete anything less than 140.6 on May 16.  I am seriously prepared for anything else mentally, but that would just royally SUCK!

I know that I will in the end be fine.  I need to focus on what I can control instead of what I can't.  I know I need to trust my training, trust the planning, and it will be good in the end. It always works out, but right now I am kinda panicky!  Once I get on the plane and to Houston, a lot of this stress will be gone because it will all be packed, checked, rechecked, and we will be on our way! 

I guess tapering is a giant "ARE WE THERE YET?" feeling.  It is like studying for a test that you have to wait 3 weeks to take.  Yep, I am ready.  As ready as I am going to be.  Let's get this show on the road!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Peak Weak is over...HEEELLLOOOOO Taper!

I saw this on the FB page for my tri club, and it is probably going to be accurate as the final weeks to IMTX unfold...but we shall see :)

I concluded the bulk of my training today, there are no more build weeks, and I survived Peak Week (the week with the highest volume in a training plan, for those non-tri folks).  It actually went really fast and really well!  I had my long swim on Thursday night, and other than getting a horrible case of black line syndrom, it wasn't too bad!  I was grateful when the aqua Zumba class started in the lane next to me, because let's just say they provided the entertainment for the second half of that long swim :)

Yesterday I took the day off with the intents of getting my bike off the trainer and doing my 100 miler outside.  Well, wouldn't you know it, we woke up to wind and rain.  Dangit!  I wasn't happy about that, but guess what?  The ride still has to get done!  So, I was trainer bound. I loaded up my TV tray next to my bike with 6 hours of water, and all the fuel that I need for my mammoth ride and then got the remotes all situated and I was good to go!  Netflix is a thing of beauty for occasions like this!

You know what?  It really wasn't that bad!  I don't know why, but last week's 90 miler seemed more painful than this one!  Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't fantastic, but it was bearable.  Of course I would have preferred being outside, but this wasn't pure torture either!  With the kids at school and IronSherpa at work, I had the whole day to ride away, no interruptions or anything else, so it worked out well that way!

Today was my long run.  It was supposed to be just 16 (you know you are training for an IM when you say "just" 16) but earlier in the week someone posted on FB about giving their bib away for the Striders 30 k (18.6 miles) race up in Eden.  I figured why not?  I might as well have someone else lay out the support for me, run with a group and get a medal at the end, and what's a few extra miles?  So, I did just that and had a blast.  I decided to really make sure I treated this as what it was, a training run, I really made sure to keep it reigned in, and kept a good comfy pace.  I woke up with my butt and legs already tired from yesterday's ride, so I knew not to expect much.  I was pretty bummed by all the people that passed me the first half of this run, but ya know what?  I passed them in the last 3-4 miles!  I was proud of myself for keeping a good conservative pace and being able to run the entire thing with the exception of the few aid stations.  I finished feeling strong too.  Yes, I was tired, but this run didn't totally kill me either.  I love it when you see training pay off in small ways like this!

With that, my Peak Week ended!  Now, I have to say, this makes me sad and excited at the same time!  Sad because I know that this journey is quickly coming to an end and I have loved every moment of it.  I have loved what I have discovered about myself this past year, and I have loved the training. I have been pleased with how with a specific goal in mind (one that has scared the crap out of me) I have never been more consistent in my training and I have seen results.  I have loved pushing my body week after week and seeing it do so well and bounce back and maintain injury free status!  I tell ya, the human body is the most amazing thing ever!  I am also sad because I still don't know what I want to do post IM.  I know that there are always more races and heaven knows I will do them, but I don't know what else will live up to this kind of journey, if that makes any sense.

I am also so excited that the hard work is basically done!  On the way up to Eden for the race this morning the song Hall of Fame by the script came on.  I seriously started bawling as I listened to it and was visualizing race day.  I am so freaking excited for it!  I know what it will be something else, and the unknowns are always there, but I know that I have put in the majority of the work, and I am excited to see what the day holds.

So, bear with me the next couple weeks.  I feel like I need the first  pic printed on a t-shirt and use it as fair warning for people that have to deal with me the next few weeks :)

In the meantime, Happy training, racing and TAPERING all!

Thursday, April 16, 2015


I am officially one month out from the biggest race of my life, Ironman Texas!  How am I?  The truth is that I am so excited I can't stand it! Seriously!  I am excited about every aspect of this, from the trip to Texas and the time with Ken sans kids, to meeting up with people from the IMTX Facebook group, to going to an Astros game, to attending race clinics, the welcome dinner, and most importantly...RACING!
A couple of days ago bib assignments were made, and I am #1198.  I have this really weird thing about numbers, and I love even numbers, so I am glad I got an even number.  I noticed when I was on my bike the other night that my sticker from IMStG 70.3 was still on my bike and my number for that race was 981, so it is kind the same?  That is a good reminder if I can survive that race and the crap day that was, I can do IMTX :)
When I look at this in real life terms, I only have 10 more days of hard training and then my taper begins.  I have a 90 mile ride this week, 100 next, and a 16 mile run both of the next two Saturdays.  My swim taper is only a week, I still have a few build weeks in that regard, but that is no big deal, as I am most comfortable in the water.
My bike is going good.  I am able to bike relatively pain free (regarding the shoulder/neck issues I have had) and I think my bike fit is the reason.  I am more comfortable for longer periods of time on it.  I feel that endurance wise I can handle these rides, it is just the boredom aspect (they have all still been on the trainer) that makes them tough.  However, Netflix is a thing of beauty on these rides and helps the time to pass relatively quickly.
My run is what it is.  The good thing is I don't hate running anymore, in fact it is quite the opposite.  I just wish I was faster.  I am running pain free.  My endurance is there, the two 16 milers I have done have been pretty fast, for me anyway.  It has helped immensely to do them with a good friend of mine who is training for her first marathon.  However, due to differing schedules, the next two will be solo, which I need to do, even though I don't want to.  On race day I can only rely on myself to get myself to the finish line, so doing these final two long runs solo will be good from that aspect.
Nutrition wise, I am where I should be.  I have finally figured out bike nutrition that will work for long rides, and though it won't allow me to live off of the course like I wanted to, it will work for me and keep my stomach happy.  For the run, I will be fine with what is on the course.
I have read many articles lately on race execution and feel that I have a good plan.  Basically, I will take it easy until I hit Mile 80ish on the bike, then maybe push it into Zone 3 based upon how I am feeling and the conditions.  And, I will break down the course into segments and do one at a time.  Way excited to see it all in action though!
I have also heard about the infamous IMTX window display at Lulu Lemon in the Woodlands Town Center, where they put all the participants names up.  Yeah, finding my name on this window just got added to my Texas MUST DO list :)

I guess the only downside to all of this is that, as excited as I am, I don't want it to end.  I have LOVED this journey...every bit of it.  The training, the learning, the pushing myself, the planning, etc.  I really don't know what I will do with myself after it is all done.  I know there are other races, and if this goes well I don't see myself being a "one and done" kind of person, but I do worry about all the build up and then the "what now?" feeling after the race.  Heaven knows I will always have enough on my plate, but it just won't be the same!
For now, I am riding the roller coaster where it is at and it is a wild ride.  Can't wait to see how the next 30 days go!  Happy training and racing all!

Traveling and Training!

I went to a conference for swim coaches in Seattle this past weekend.  I had to still train seeing as how I am in my peak training month for IMTX, but I managed to get it in.  I had to move something around with my plan, but I don't think any of the changes will impact me negatively.  I had to switch when my rest week would have been since I knew I wouldn't be able to get in long bike or run while in Seattle, so I switched them out for this week instead, which would have been my rest week.

I also realized that I wouldn't be able to bike at all, given I wasn't taking my bike nor would I have access to one while there.

I was thrilled to see the hotel had a gorgeous 25 meter pool.  I was able to get my swim training in with no problem.  I had the entire pool to myself when I was there at 5 am! (Yes, I know it is pretty pathetic that while on vacation I was up that early, but dang internal clock, I couldn't help it!)

The highlight of my training and of my trip was my Friday morning run.  I had mapped it out before hand on Mapmyrun, and had no idea of the area, other than it would give me the distance I was wanting and I could tell that it ran along Lake Washington.  It turned out to be awesome!  It started at my hotel in downtown Bellevue, but within the first mile it turned off into a super swanky and beautiful neighborhood along the lake.  It was cool and sunny out and just perfect!  I loved running in this quiet and pretty neighborhood!  I obviously didn't pay any attention to the elevation chart when I was mapping it because there were some brutal hills!  I made myself run them no matter how slow, and it was actually a fun challenge!  I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this run.  I love exploring new areas on foot and with running, and this was perfect for that.

I had several "you know you are training for an Ironman when..." moments on this trip.  Like the fact that I got up at 5 every morning to train.  Or the fact that I took just as much, if not more, training clothes than regular clothes, or that I was also asleep most nights by 9 because I was so tired.  Yep, can't get away from these things!

I was proud of myself for sticking to my training while I was gone.  I usually pack training clothes when I travel, but don't get around to it.  Maybe it is because I was sufficiently scared of what lies ahead of me that I didn't skip, but it turned out well.

In the meantime, Happy Racing and training all!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Break Training and Welcome to Hell!

This week I am off for Spring break (one of the benefits of being a teacher).  Ken wanted to go somewhere as a family, and I told him that I couldn't get away and miss training.  April is peak Ironman training month and I just don't want to miss anything, nor do I want to try to fit it in on vacation, because that never goes as intended too.  He decided to take the kids and go camping with his brother and his kids in Southern Utah leaving me with 72 glorious hours to myself.  Hmmmmmm....what to do, what to do.....

I immediately knew I would call my fellow crazy friend Kim and arrange some quality training.  Kim and I met online (I love to say that, it just sounds so funny) on Beginner Triathlete and actually met up in person a year ago at IM StG 70.3.  We were instant kindred spirits.  We are both high school English teachers, both triathletes who love this crazy sport, and both quick witted. She is training for Ironman Couer de Laine. She is one of those people that just puts a smile on your face.  Anyhow, she lives in West Wendover, Nevada, about a 2.5 hour drive from me.  It was also her spring break, so this was going to work out perfectly!  She has always told me a ton about her swimming at a natural spring lake called Blue Lake that is about a half hour south of her.  I am so envious that she gets to swim in such a place year round and told her someday I would love to come and join her.  Well, this week was finally time to try it!

I arrived yesterday afternoon and we met for Mexican food.  We then went back to her house and watched a documentary called The Distance about 3 different Age Group athletes that are all training for IM Wisconsin.  It followed them throughout their year of preparations, jobs, family, etc leading up to the race.  Kim and I sat and laughed, nodded our heads in agreement at parts, or simply made fun of the people in the film.  We also had many "What the crap have we signed up for" moments where we just looked at each other and thought we have indeed truly lost our minds.  Good film, but honestly, if you are not a triathlete, it may bore you to tears.

It is very pretty out there!
We got up this morning and went trail running first.  Both of our plans called for a one hour run.  We drove a couple of miles out of town (not hard to do, it is in the middle of nowhere) where we parked the car and she took me on her favorite trails. It was fun, dusty, hilly, windy, and a great work out.  Thank heaven the wind calmed down though!!  I thoroughly enjoyed this run, but couldn't wait to swim :)

We went back to her house, ate a quick breakfast, changed clothes and were off to swim.  We took my Jeep and she directed me down to a State Highway that you follow for awhile, then turn onto a gravel road, that turns more into like a 4 wheeling kind of road.  There are only two signs telling you where to go, and you could easily miss them and even after that it is a series of twists and turns on this road to get you to literally the middle of nowhere.  There is this gorgeous Caribbean blue lake amidst the tumble weed and rocks.  Kim explained that she even comes here when there is snow everywhere because it stays around 70 degrees year round.  With a wetsuit on, that is a perfect temperature.  Weather today was around 45, windy, and sunny.  Very chilly, but, like she said, once we were in the water, it was perfect.

Two soon to be IronWomen!
Blue Lake is a popular spot for fishermen, scuba divers, and others, but today it was just us and two guys that were fishing.  The lake is pretty shallow along the perimeter, but will then quickly drop off to pretty much bottomless.  Apparently a plane is down there somewhere.  I immediately noticed as we were swimming that it is crystal clean and you can see pretty white sand right below you.  You can also see fish as well as you swim.  So freaking cool!  I was in immediate heaven out here!  I tried to swim the perimeter as Kim explained she does, but it would all of a sudden be too shallow and I was dragging knuckles and would actually get out and walk to where it would drop off again and I could swim.  I eventually just swam back and forth across it and practiced sighting.  I had several "All is right with the world" moments while doing this.  There was something magical, liberating, and freeing about looking up at a clear blue sky with sun and clouds surrounded by dessert, then looking down into the water on your down stroke and seeing the blue water, the fish, and the white sand.  I was like a kid at Christmas.  Pure heaven.  It reminded me how of all the workouts that we do as triathletes, open water swimming is my true Happy Place.  I loved every second of it.  With the wind, the waves got choppy at parts and I made myself swim against the chop for practice, and even though I wasn't going fast, I felt like it!

Our hour swim went way too fast.  It honestly felt like playing, not like "training" at all.  I got my planned 2600 meters in (thank you Garmin!) and we then had to get out of the water into the cold and get back to the car.  It wasn't even that bad!  It made for such a fun training day and I loved doing it with Kim!

This brings me to another thought I have been having.  I am now just a hair over 6 weeks from race day.  That is four weeks of solid training and a two week taper.  Holy Crap is that coming fast!  So, pretty much that means that the month of April is brutal as far as training goes.  As I look at Training Peaks and what it has in store for me over the next month, I truly believe if I can survive this month, I can survive anything, and that includes the race itself :)

I have now started referring to April as Hell Month for that specific reason.  Other than next weekend when I will be in Seattle, every Saturday has either a 16 mile run or some horribly painful brick workout.  This is along with the Friday night long rides which in all reality will most likely be on my trainer and are now up to 5 hours in length and getting longer.  The "short" work outs in the middle of the week are longer and more intense as well.  Like I said, April is now Hell Month :)

But, in keeping perspective on all of this, I know it will fly by.  I am loving it, as much as I dread it in the weeks ahead.  I have loved this journey so far.  It has gone too fast.  I have had ups and downs and moments where I am feeling like the strongest woman in the world and others where I lay in my bed at night and wonder what the heck did I get myself into and how much did I pay for this???.  The other night was one of those.  I was trying to break down how the day might go.  I visualized the swim, getting out, changing in T1, then getting on my bike.  Then I started to think about how I wanted to break the bike into segments as the whole thing will probably take 6-7 hours. Then I had a thought..."what the crap are you doing?  You don't even like riding that long!  It makes your butt hurt! Who the heck does that?  Did you not learn anything from the Triple Bypass?  But OH NO!  You didn't learn!  Because you are going to top that off with a full marathon because you wouldn't have suffered enough already, huh?  Did you forget how much you hate marathons???  Whatever happened to being content with 70.3s?"  So yes, I had a little mental meltdown. There may or may not have been tears involved.  Don't worry, after a day of training like today, I am over it :)

So, that is where I am at.  I am training well, feeling good, and enjoying my break.  I am committed to seeing these next 42 days till Go Time through and can't wait to see what it looks like from the other side :)  Happy Training and racing all!

My version of Heaven on Earth.  Thank you God for days like today and places like this!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Icebreaker 2015 Race Report

First race of the year!  What can I say?  I love this race!  It is a classic and it is one of the few on my yearly "must do" list.  This is my 4th year back and it didn't disappoint.  As I have said before, this is a great blow off the cobwebs race, and a great way to start the season.

Some of my new friends and team mates with Salt Lake Tri Club

I insisted on getting down to the race as early as possible even though my tri club had priority racking.  I got things all set up then touched base with my friend Alicia, who is back for her second year.  A year ago this was her first ever triathlon, so it was fun to have her back.  I set up my stuff, visited with team mates, and got to know some new people.  We then attended the pre-race meeting where the race director Aaron even gave me a shout out wishing me good luck in my first Ironman!  How cool is that??

Uh.  I hate the "fresh out of the pool" pics

This is a 300 meter pool swim, in an Olympic size pool.  It is time trial start with a serpentine style swim.  It works beautifully, especially when people seed themselves correctly, which for the most part, they do.  While I was waiting in line for my start a guy behind me asked me about my new watch.  I told him I had it a week and for the most part I like it.  He asked me if I had raced with it before and I told him no.  He looked at how I set it up and fixed a few things for me, that would have really thrown me off today!  So nice of him!  By the time I was done with the watch set up stuff, it was time for me to jump in the water.  It was a nice smooth start and I was off! I was able to keep a good pace, passed one person and got passed by one other.  That is a good sign I seeded myself just right.  My pool time was 6:28, a 2 second improvement from last year.  It is good to note that the swim time includes about a 100 yard run from the actual edge of the pool to the gate of T1.

I tried something new today in regards to racing, knowing that it may bite me in the butt, however, it was worth a try to me as I wanted to shave off any seconds I could from my race.  I decided to go sockless. It really was a snap to get my shoes on, my helmet and glasses and be on my way.  T1 final time was 1:06.  Not bad, but not as fast I was hoping.

I clipped in much easier than last year and was on my way.  I immediately noticed I could feel a breeze on me.  Funny the things you notice on the bike when you have been on your trainer all winter! I went down the hill and was passed by a kid, probably about 12 doing a flying mount then putting his shoes on.  WTH?  It was crazy and cool at the same time.  He buzzed off and I didn't see him again.  As soon as you round the corner at the edge of the cemetery, it is just straight up.  The hill is gradual at first, then more steep, then more gradual till its done. I geared down and just tried to find a good rythym.  I was glad to get to the top so I could get into aero and hit a good groove.  It felt good!  I passed many people on the second half of the loop, but also got passed by a certain team who shall remain nameless.  I have no problem with being passed, but 3-4 of these people were straight out classless.  They would speed up behind you, almost buzz you, never saying "ON YOUR LEFT" while they are supposed to, and then one had the nerve to spit after he passed.  Yeah, my shin really needed a bath, Jerk!  This happened with a few of them from the same team.  Way to keep it classy, folks.  I hope they get a penalty some day for it!  I have debated emailing the coach, but probably won't.

The second half of the bike course was much of the same.  I think that I probably did it faster, but who knows.  It was a ton of fun and I LOVED the second half the loop when  you are flying down the Alpine Highway.  Pure fun, especially for this trainer bound gal! I did come into the bike dismount area too fast and had an issue unclipping and fell.  Total rookie mistake.  I felt pretty stupid.  However, it was just a scrape and I recovered as fast as I could, but gladly handed Belle off to a volunteer and prepped for the run. Final Bike Time was 40:22. 

Totally uneventful.  Switched shoes and hats and was off.  I knew if my sockless experiment was going to backfire at any place, it was going to be the run.

I started off feeling pretty good, but I saw a friend who is in my age group leave T2 before I did and I wanted to at least keep her in my sights, so I ran harder than I may have normally. I skipped the aid station both at the T2 exit and the one mid course then even ran that nasty hill.  I won't lie, this run hurt.  I felt so winded because I knew I was pushing harder than I might have normally, but I wanted to see how hard I could push it.  The first half of the run was awful because of the hill.  The second half was more fun, and because it is a down hill as well, I really booked it.  When I turned the corner to the finish I did a full on sprint and finished the run in 28:08.  Meh.  Not thrilled with this at all!

My final race time was 1:17:11.  Dangit!  I missed a PR by 14 seconds.  Not sure what I could have done differently, other than not fall on the bike, but that is it. I really think that in the future I need to work on my run.  It is still my nemesis!!

This is Meagan!  Super cute friend I met at last year's Icebreaker. 


-Short course racing is painful.  I think I really am a distance gal.  I love this race, but sprints are hard!!
- There is some serious talent out there.  F35-39 was the biggest age group of the day.  Last year with my time of 1:16:59 I was on the podium in 3rd.  This year coming in just 17 seconds slower I was #15.  Dang!! 
-Going sockless for short distances is the bomb.  I seriously shaved at least 15-20 seconds off my T1 time. I always struggle with getting socks on wet feet.  It was seriously not an issue at all.

Now just 8 weeks till IMTX!  When you put that into reality, it is only 5-6 weeks of hard training then a taper.  I will be ready if things keep going as they are.  I am way excited to tackle the next few weeks and kick arse in Texas :)

In the meantime, Happy Training and Racing all!