Thursday, November 17, 2011

Time is a funny thing....

New AW Tri Kit
It’s been almost 2months since Chesapeakman and tomorrow it will be 4 months since my mom’s passing. It seems like it has been forever for both. I would love to write and say how my training has been going so well and I am refocused and ready for my next adventure, but I can’t be ready for an adventure that I don’t have any energy for or even know what it will be.

I am writing this entry in hopes that it might help someone else not feel so alone in the grieving process and because it’s important for me to share for my own recovery.

My parents have always been supportive of my athletics...well maybe not the cheerleading...but cycling and running for sure! I said in my last post that finishing Chesapeakman was done for more than just myself, it was done for my family. Something happened during the time my mom passed to the time of my race. I never really started my grieving process. Sure I was sad, very sad. I cried everyday. My body and mind were exhausted. But in the end I was just sad. I could still get up each morning to train, I had a purpose. I often thought to the grand scheme of things, this grief process isn’t that doing ok...foolish girl!

5 weeks ago I started going to a support group for grief. It has really helped me look at the
different parts of grief and has given me some tools to work through my grief. Since my race I have had no motivation to do anything physically. I used to find joy in working out, now I don’t want to get out of bed. Work forces me to get up, and from there I am typically fine, but as the day wears on, my sadness deepens. It came to me a few weeks ago that this deep grief I am feeling is what I should have been feeling after my mom passed, not 3 months later. I have gotten into a terrible cycle. I am so tired in the morning that I don’t get up to run. I go through my day at work like a routine, I get in my car and drive home. It’s the hardest hour of the day because that was my time on the phone with mom. Then when I get home I keep myself busy, or I stay up way to late watching tv...I do this to avoid going to bed, because there I just think about my mom and it makes me too sad to sleep....then I am exhausted in the morning. In addition to that cycle, daylight savings has also I never seen the sun, which is depressing in itself.

Since I have recognized that this is whats happening, I feel a huge weight off my shoulders. It all makes much more sense to me know. I am working through my grief and feel stronger. My drive home is still hard, but is getting much better. I am ready to get back to that crazy training person that I was, and so I have picked a race to train towards. I am still doing the winter series at Tyler State Park, but my long term race will be the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon. I don’t normally pay to run 13 miles, but this is a really famous race in the area and it’s a hard race because of the hills. It’s in March, so I still have time to really get into great shape!!

To wrap this up, my point of this post is to show that I am human and as dedicated I am to my training, and want to be successful even at the amateur level in my sport, it’s more important that I fix “me” first. Otherwise I will just be going through the motions and not really living the experience.

I always knew how tough and strong my mom was...but how I saw her fighting for her life before she passed, put that strength to a whole new level. So if one thing I can take from her passing is that you have to keep fighting and not just for yourself but for those around you that love you.

I am taking it one day at a time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Another for the Story Books!

A week has passed since Chesapeakman. I have hit the post race blues. Not really sure what to do with myself…besides think back to how my race went and nurse my stress fractured foot!

My training this time around like I said before was not like last year. I took a different approach, and with how crazy my schedule got, I had to be really flexible with my training. I prepared all my supplies during the week. I Sorted out and labeled my food into bags according to caffeinated/non-caffeinated food. I only wanted to bring what I needed, and not over pack. Our hotel room can with a microwave and refrigerator, so that was a hug plus, I could bring cold things.

John and I headed from my work on Thursday afternoon. Stopped for dinner at a Mexican restaurant, then headed to the hotel. Not much is in Cambridge, or the surrounding towns…except a lot of Walmarts.

After a great night’s sleep, John and I had a lovely breakfast in the hotel room made by myself. We had homemade waffles on my portable waffle maker. We gathered our bike gear then headed to packet pickup. You know it is a small race when the Expo is in a room the size of your living room. Oh well, on to ride some of the bike course.

After riding and checking out the course and T2 area, some of my family made it in town. Michele, Dad and Alycia. We hit a really cool seafood place for dinner then back to the hotel. All seemed to be going well. In bed early…

Around 2am, I awoke feeling very sick and spent the next few hours throwing up everything I had eaten in the past few days. I felt defeated…and I hadn’t even started racing. I tried to drink some Gatorade, that came back up and so did anything else I tried to put in my body. I thought it would be best to try and sleep it off.

4am wake-up: Still not feeling well, I tried to eat something. I made some waffles and could barely get half down. I thought it would be best to just drink an ensure (high calorie drink) instead of taking in solids. Dad, John and I left for the Swim start. As we were walking to the start, my stomach got sick again, and I was on the side of the road throwing up what I had taken in that morning. I honestly didn’t know how I would make it in to the water. John came into the bike area with me and made sure all was good to go with the bike. I got into my wetsuit and tried to take down a gel. I was able to. This is a good sign, I was starting to feel better. 1 more Gel before heading into the water and I was feeling even better. (Better is still an understatement!)

The swim start was a mass start of all swimmers. The area where we started was pretty shallow, so you could actually stand instead of treading water, which was really nice. We did 2 1.2mile loops. Nothing too crazy happened during the swim, except that there were jellyfish!! Exited the swim in 1:19:09. Not great, but I’ll take it, considering I didn’t think I would even start.

Transition #1: 4:05

BIKE: I was looking forward to the bike, it’s my strongest area. Today, however, I didn’t want to be on the bike. I tried to take food in slowly. I wanted to make sure I built my fuel back up but wanted to do it gradually. The bike you typically ride in a race like this has bars the lay flat so you can get really aero and glide through the wind. Unfortunately the pressure that position put on my stomach made me feel very sick and I had to ride in an upright position 80% of the ride. That put me back prob 30min. I stopped about 25miles into the ride when I saw my Dad and John. I told them I didn’t think I could make it. They said to try a little further and they would meet me with a soda. Once I got a soda in my body, I felt much better. (Still all relative!) My cousin Marita, who also was racing that day, had a great day and caught up with me on the bike. We rode the rest of the bike portion together. It was nice to have familiar company. I had more soda in my special needs bag and drank it all…that seemed to be the trick! Bike time 5:59:03

Transition #2: 3:11

RUN: Happy to be off the bike, now I just need to muster out a marathon…. SERIOUSLY!! This whole Iron distance thing seems fun to talk about, but when you are depleted off all energy, it’s not fun. The sad thing is, my legs and muscular system felt great…I was just so tired, sleepy, groggy and according to John, very pail. But, on a positive, I felt so much better going into the marathon this race than I did in Louisville. I will take what positives I can get.

The run consisted on 3 out and back 4.2mile loops. It was very boring and nothing exciting to see. They had 4 aid stations, 1mile apart. I was feeling decent, knew I didn’t want to go out to hard…not that I could! I kept a steady pace of 9:00-9:20. My goal time was to run a 4hour marathon. I was lucky to have a running partner, Susan. She is an old college classmate of my sister in law Helena. Susan at one point was a professional runner, so I know she was bored out of her mind running a 9min pace with me, but I was beyond thankful to have the company. I was actually feeling better and stronger with each lap. Because of the lap structure, I kind of forgot that I was running a marathon! Crazy huh. As I approached the finishing shoot, I got all chocked up. I pulled out the picture of my mom that I kept in my shorts during the whole race and crossed the finish line with her. My family and friends were right there waiting for me and I collapsed in tears in my Dads arms. Finish time: 11:29:02. Marathon time: 4:03:36

This race was not just about me and not just for me. This race was for my family and for my mom. This race was bigger than a finishing medal and shirt. This race was about survival, family and courage. This race was everything that my mom was and everything that her spirit and family carry on today. I only got to the finish line today because of the strength that my family, friends and my mom gave me. The encouragement from my dad at the start, the unbelievable support on the bike and run from my husband John and new friend Susan and the loud cheers and creative posters from my family and friends on the side of the road. I can’t thank them enough for being there for me, standing in the cold drizzling rain all day, supporting and encouraging me.

Big THANK YOU to Beth at AdventureWoman for sponsoring me again and helping make this race possible.

And A HUGE THANK YOU to my husband John who stuck by me, through all my training, days of tears and days of successes, supporting me, loving me and always having faith in me. I LOVE YOU.

What's in store next is still up in the air. I have gotten another sponsorship, not sure how I keep getting them. This one is with CCN Sports, a sports clothing company. I am working with them on perfecting their tri gear. Planning to do the Winter Running Series at Tyler State Park. I am looking to do more half Ironman distance races and see if I can get into Kona...that is my ultimate goal. For right now though, I will spend so much needed time with my husband, step-son and my neglected house and dog!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Labor of Love

As I headed into the Labor Day weekend, and my last big weekend of training, I was feeling strong and really motivated. I had some great workouts, getting some good sleep and my overall attitude was very calm. For the weekend, John, Puma and I would be heading down to Perryville, MD. We rented a house with 6 other couples and there kids, along the northern most part of the Chesapeake Bay. It was a large house, right on the water with really pretty views. My goal for the weekend was to get in a long bike, medium swim and a long run.

Saturday morning was a little rough after not the best nights sleep. My brothers, John and I headed out on the bikes, only to be surprised by the very hilly terrain of Perryville. We were all expecting a much flatter ride, but that didn’t happen. I planned to sit in the first half and conserve and ride all out the second half, much like my race day plan. With a flat tire from myself and Travis, we ended up cutting the ride a little short, since we didn’t have any more spares tube left...and we did not really know the area. So, I made the most of it and rode as hard as I could back home. I quickly transitioned into my wetsuit and John and I headed out by Kayak into the Chesapeake. I won’t lie, I was nervous about the swim. The water was a lot choppier than I would have liked. I didn’t know the body of water, so I was unaware of what might be swimming in it with me! I sat on the Kayak, and John paddled me far enough out so I could start my swim. The plan was 15 minutes out and 15 back. I encountered tons of seaweed which really creeped me out. The current was coming from my right side, and the swim out was hard. When I did turn, it felt easier as my breathing side was not going into the crashing chop. John Kayaked beside me the whole time. I was concerned with getting run over by a motor boat, as I did swim in the middle of the day. Workouts done, now time to hangout with the babies and eat lots of food!!

Sunday came my big workout for the weekend, a 20miler. This would set my longest run for my training so far. I had done plenty of 15milers and 18milers, but not a 20. I also had done all my long runs on shorter/multiple loops where I could stash water and I ran with people. This run would not be so kind to me. I was running on hilly, unfamiliar terrain. I mapped out a run ahead of time. I rode a portion of the run on Sat on my bike, so I knew some of it. I wore my tri kit and a fuel belt with 3 flasks and my pouch to hold my map and food. I wanted to simulate race day as best I could with my gear.  It was a hot day, so I knew I needed to keep hydrated and take my salt tablets to prevent cramping. I planned to take them every 5 miles, take Tylenol at mile 10 and eat a gel every 30min. I kept to the plan and I paid off. By mile 10 I entered into a town called Perry Point. I stopped at a Pizza shop to fill up my water and get a coke. Since I was running in the middle of know where, I thought it would be best to stop and refill when I had the chance. I am glad I did because, the only thing I passed on my way back was a yard sale. I only had half a flask by that point, so I stopped and the two ladies who ran the yard sale were so kind and gave me 2 cold bottles of water. They were my shinning angels. With cold water on my belt and over my head, I made my way back with only 5 more miles of running. I felt great the rest of the way in. As I was running down the gravel road to the house, I see John driving towards me. He was getting nervous that I was still not home. I did get lost once and stop twice. I did not factor that into the time I told the group it would take me. I recovered great from the run and my legs are not sore. I really needed that run. It was such a positive uplifting day for me. I ran 20miles, by myself, in unfamiliar territory, in the hills on a hot day. What a great mental and physical boost.

I will start my tapper next week. I still have a long ride on Sunday, but no more long runs. 3 more weeks until race day....I am sooo excited. I will have so many people out cheering me on, which makes me work that much harder.

Have an awesome week!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A New Reason To Race!

My First Triathlon (My family & friends to Support me!!)
It has been a good while since I have last posted. I am still in full swing with my training and still competing at Chesapeakman in 6 weeks. Life sometimes takes you but storm and hands you a new set of cards and it’s up to you to decide how to play them.

My training this year has been much different than last year. I had different priorities and time last year than I do this year. I am focusing more on the bike portion, and have really developed that very well. I am riding strong and have developed a new love for the bike.

Being a new homeowner has taken up a ton of my free time, so I don’t have the luxury of coming home from a training ride/run and resting the rest of the day, I know work on house projects with my husband, and it’s exhausting.

Overall I feel strong and very excited to race. Im excited to see what I can do on a flat course. I am shooting for 12hours!!

My friend Larry gave me a book recently on the triathlete Chris, McCormack (Macca). It talks about his career and how the press and other athletes perceive him. He also talks about how the death of his mom affected him and gave him a new reason to race. At the time I read that part of the book, I was on a plane to Florida to visit my mom in the hospital, who passed away a day later. My mom was one of my biggest supporters. She read this blog religiously; even when she knew what my training was that week because we spoke on the phone every day!! My mom died from complications of Pulmonary Fibrosis. She couldn’t breather, so now I breathe for her and race for her. It would be so easy to quit training and racing, but what good would that do for anyone, and I know it’s not what my mom would have wanted. So now I race in honor of her. I know she will be there with me, through all the challenges and successes. And my dad is even flying up from Florida to come see me race too, it’s going to be a great day.

You always read about people who race because they just beat cancer, or lost a leg, or lost a ton of weight, well I race for those can’t, and I race for those who lost a loved one, because we race each day and are challenged with the grief monster. Someday the monster is easy to beat and others it’s not, but you get through it.

I am hoping the rain lets up here so I can get out on the road, but if it’s inside on the trainer, than so be it. At least I have a new bike to ride thanks to Michele and Travis!!

Talk to you all Soon.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Where has my training gone?

First let me start off by saying that I finally met Beth from AdventureWoman, in Florida of all places!! It was so great to finally meet such an amazing woman.

I thought going into this race that I would have so much more time on my hands with the wedding behind me…then we bought a house! Anyone who owns a home knows, understands and can be compassionate to a new homeowner. We did not buy a turn-key ready home, we bought a home that needed a ton of work, and that’s what we did. I was lucky to have all the base from the Marathon to hold me over, now it’s serious crunch time.

With the house, family and travel, my training has not been as structured as it was. That is a good and a bad thing. It is good because I know what I need to do and focus on, and it’s bad because the lack of structure messes with me mentally. This week I will be back on track.

This go around, the important aspects of my training will be the cycling. I am a good swimmer and need to keep it up, but it is not my main focus and will not be the make it or break it of the race. Since the bike portion of CM (Chesapeakman) is flat, I can really make up some time. That is where my focus is, and what I have missed most this winter. I have been getting some long hard rides in, starting in FL with the MS150. One day was 93 miles and the second day was 62. This past week I commuted to work, did group rides and got some great long rides in over the weekend in the hills of bucks county. I mixed in some running and my first lake swim of the season. I felt great in the lake, and will be out again on Friday.

The race is 3 months out and I am getting pumped. I still have another month until I am fully satisfied with my training, but I am not dissatisfied with my training thus far. I have an Olympic Tri I am doing in July that I want to podium in, that will be the test of my training.

Dad’s in town this weekend and next weekend is another MS150, this time in Virginia with Team MS is BS, riding with my sister Michele and Alycia and superstar Dad!!

Hope everyone had a great Holiday Weekend.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dream, Explore, Rest, Buy House, Train!

Life never stops. 2 days after the National Marathon, John and I closed on the house. The very next day we started small demo on the house. I scheduled a recovery week from training that week, but let me tell you, it was no rest. Construction work is hard. Painting works your upper body, your hands, fingers, etc. The bulk of the work on the house is almost done. With that my "rest" week is over and my training will resume. Since I have the base from the marathon training, I can jump right into block 2 off the Chesapeakeman training. I am using my program from last year, but with a few modifications.

I will be focusing more on swimming and cycling for the first phase to try and give my tailors bunion a little rest. I am excited to get back into the pool, and before long the water will be warmer and I can get into the lake. The weather has been funky here. Rain one day then hot the next. Today it is in the 40's but I still wore flip flops, it's spring and I want to flip flop away.

I am also very excited to mention 2 things. The first is that I will finally get to meet my sponsor, Beth from Adventure Woman next month at my friend Kelley's wedding. We have spoken in email and phone, just never in person. And the other thing is that I got a new bike! My sister Michele and her husband Travis gave me her old Specialized Ruby. It's a beautiful bike that I will get so much use out of. Again, I am the luckiest girl ever to have such great people in my life. I joke that I am the goodwill child! Can't wait to ride my new ride!

Hope the weather has been nice for everyone else. Swim time tomorrow!

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Saturday was the National Marathon. The weather was forcasted to be in the low 30's with rain or snow! Not fun. I left work early on Friday to drive to my sisters, no traffic and only one pit stop. Got to DC just in time to see Izzy and Davis before they went to bed.

Saturday morning was an early rise at 5am for a plate of tasty french toast. Travis was nice enough to get up early on his day off to drop me off by the stadium. The temps were better than expected and I was able to wear my favorite race day shorts. I also pimped out my Boston Marathon running shirt...bragging rights!

The race start was setup in corals, based on your entry time. I was in the 2nd Coral. The first only had about 50 runners, so that meant I was right at the front.

As the race got underway, I looked for the first mile marker, did not see it. I did not see it until 5, then i think I saw it at mile 11. I was not able to know what my pace was, not good. At the halfway point I saw Michele, Alycia, Izzy and Davis, that was the best halfway point cheering section ever. Just a few miles down, Cara, Crista and Sammy Davis Jr, Jr. were out cheering as well.

For a wrap up without going into boring details, the race did not go as well as I hoped. I was shooting for a 3:23 but ended up with a 3:32. It would be easy to blame the course for not having mile markers each mile, or the rolling hills and bad wind, but I just didn't race smart. I went out to fast to early and I wouldn't say I hit a wall, I just couldn't go any faster. I felt fine for the most part, ate plenty, it just wasn't my day. This race taught me that it's ok to have a bad day, except it and move on. It is hard to do that but I have to.
With the Marathon behind me, it was now time to focus on the house! John and I closed on the house on Monday. With a few minor the people not being moved out, closing went well. We started Reno on the house Tuesday after work. So far we have spackled most of the holes in the walls, ripped out the 100year old security system, removed all the blue carpet, switch faceplates, vents, closets and more. With the house sitting for over a year empty, I was surprised to not find to many bugs. Hopefully this is a good sign that we won't have problems with bugs when we live here.
I am taking this week off from "scheduled" training, but will workout when I want to. Next week will be back to Chesapeakman training in full force. Oh and did I mention we are supposed to get snow this weekend!!! Oh geez.