Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Rose City (Welland) Half Race Report

...Better late than never, right?

As part of my Ironman training, I asked coach to let me race a 70.3 distance (among other fun things like a du, a sprint and an olympic), but only until after the Woodstock Du I got the permission to actually "go for it". I shared my thoughts about finding new inspiration in my top 5 placement at that race and how I was hungry for more of that kind of hurt. Last year when I raced Muskoka 70.3, my main goal was to make it across the finish line with a smile. But for my second attempt at this distance, I wanted to know how far I could push the envelope before I start cursing myself, while keeping in mind that this wasn't my A race. It's always about finding new limits, the mantra of my middle life crisis, I guess.

Hubbs and I decided to make it a mini family vacation and in competitive fashion, Zin signed up for the sprint race the day before. We got us packed for the weekend and on Friday night the 4 of us headed to Welland, where we took residence in a modest hotel about 10 minutes from the race site. A few other members from the FMCT tri club were also racing the same day, so it was a great opportunity to cheer everyone on and snap as many pictures as I could before I emptied my iPhone's battery. I will spare you all the pics that I took because the race photographers did a much better job than me, but I will share the one photo that I'm going to turn into wallpaper for my bedroom, thanks to Bob Hatcher. Hot damn! Aren't we good looking?
This stud took 4th place in his AG and had the second fastest bike split and 9th overall. He may just break the sound barrier next!

We spent the rest of the day in Niagara Falls, waiting for our kids get tired of having fun. Highlight of the afternoon was a little stroll through the park, relaxing on the grass (I wanted really badly to take a nap), and being our usual goofy selves.
We ended at Kelsey's for dinner where I had the exact same salad as the night before the Woodstock Du, but it was nowhere near as good as the first time. You'd think they follow the recipe to a T, but not really. Anyway, I had enough junk throughout the day, so it was time to eat my greens and shut up.

Back at the hotel, I made all the last minute race preparations, including taping 3 gels on my bike tube like the pros. That was really a great idea, thanks hubbs! I wonder why I didn't think of it before. Then I took my nerves to bed and switched off for the night.

I don't remember what time I woke up, but it was early. D'uh! Got into my Coeur kit and made sure that I had my spanking new helmet and sunglasses from Rudy Project and my transition bag ready to go, then headed downstairs for breakfast. I had 2 slices of bread with butter and honey and an orange, and something else that I cannot remember. 
We left for the race shortly afterwards since Zin was going to volunteer and had been assigned to body marking first. I didn't complain as having extra time to set up, socialize and take endless bathroom breaks was going to help bring the stress way down.

Found myself a spot in transition just beside my friend Carol (I'm such a stalker!) and quickly took possession of a slice of pavement where I laid out my paraphernalia.
I could not wait to get started. Went to pick up my bib and chip and had my calf and arm sharpied on by hubbs - how romantic! No, he did not draw hearts on, jeez. I went back to transition where I got into a funk about not having a banana to eat before my race. But just as I was starting to fall into an abyssal panic, a girl who racked her bike beside me read my mind and took out a bunch of bananas from her bag and offered one to me. She has no idea that she saved my day, so THANK YOU lovely stranger. I hope karma gave you the best race ever.

Ok, so I put on my wetsuit, listened to the race meeting and made my way to the canal where I got in the water to warm up for the swim. This was going to be an in-water wave start and I was in the second wave. I managed to get about 5-10 minutes of swimming pre-start, but after the first wave left, it seemed that I had barely 2 minutes to get positioned and then it was go time. I didn't have much time to think about what was about to happen, so I put my head down and got to work. My strategy, just like the race folks suggested, was to swim as close to the shore going out, then as close to the buoys coming back, thus taking advantage of the current, if there was going to be one.

For the major part, the swim was uneventful. Almost no contact, like I was swimming by myself the whole time - but of course, everyone else was ahead of me! But even when the following wave caught up with me, people were so civil, that I didn't even notice it. I just saw a few guys passing me, but that's it. There was quite a chop coming back and I remember drinking a lot of water, but not enough to slow me down. Or at least I don't think so. My final time was exactly the same as last year at Muskoka 70.3, but my GPS said that I swam 200m more? I really didn't think that I went off course, so my swim speed will remain a mystery. I don't think that I've gotten faster in open water based on the swims I did this year, so I'll leave it at that. Moving on...
As usual I got all confused with my swim cap and goggles in one hand, Garmin watch in the other (it was under my swim cap) and trying to take off my wetsuit while I was running towards transition. I gave up half way and took it off once I could drop everything on my mat. No biggie, I am quite happy with my transition time and for once I wasn't dizzy and I could remove my wetsuit in a jiffy.

Put on my helmet (not backwards!), sunglasses, a pair of socks and my cycling shoes and trotted my way out onto the bike course. Guess who I ran into again? Hubbs! He was doing the course marshaling around the first corner and I yelled at him "41 minutes" (my swim time, because that's exactly what he predicted). It was also the first time that I was riding in a race with road cycling shoes. Can you believe it? But you should, because just a few weeks ago I graduated from MTB shoes to these after using them on the trainer over the winter. Anyway, point is that I didn't fall over when I mounted my bike and I could clip in successfully within the first 50m.

And then I rode. And I rode hard! Something happened to my Garmin that it paused by itself and didn't start again, so I don't have a trace of the first 5k, but eventually it started showing a pace that my brain couldn't really process, and I took it as a baseline to try and stay on it the best I could. It definitely felt challenging and I knew that I would have to maintain it for the entire length of the bike leg since the course was pancake flat. No rest. No coasting. Nada. I didn't know what racing on flats meant, I have none of those around me in Caledon. 
The legs kept turning, I kept pushing the pace, feeling great. I passed a lot of people, I got passed a lot too. I was told that we were going to have a headwind on the way out and a tailwind on the way back. But for as long as I can remember, there was wind on my face and it never felt easier so to speak. Maybe it was just the feeling of going fast, to which I am not accustomed enough.

Given how the 5k markers were passing by fast, I started eating at 15km and decided to take in food every 15km and a sip of water every 5km. I had a Clif bar first, then used the bottle exchange at 30km and picked up a water bottle, which took me forever to pour inside my aero bottle because the spout would not stay open. That's it, this definitely got me decided to change my hydration setup. I need one of those bottle holders between my aero bars. Enough with the Aerodrink. It's not even sitting straight and it drives my OCD crazy (see the picture above, aaaargh).

Soon enough I hit and halfway point and that's when I started getting some pain inside my left leg/hip/adductor area. It felt like a cramp and it made me think that I should have started drinking electrolytes earlier. At this point I had not yet touched my bottle of Endura, but my stubborn brain took another 15km before it actually sent the signal to my hand to pick up the bottle and bring it to my mouth. By that time the pain was a lot more intense and my speed was going down because I needed to spin more often in order to keep the grinding to a minimum. Around 70km the cramp finally went away (elecrolytes and magnesium, magic!) and I could pick up the pace again.

I think we got about 10k of tail wind while riding along some body of water, and that was it. Then we hit the last stretch back into town and in a blink I was done! I had no idea what my time was given that my watch had been paused for quite a while, but I was happy to be back! Here is me again clickety clack-ing my way into transition. Damn, that Coeur kit looks rad!
After another quick transition I was happy to finally start the run, but I also knew that I was going to suffer. The initial plan was to stay on a 5:30min/km pace and hopefully come in under 2h, but it quickly went out of the window because of the heat and the tired legs. By the time I reached the 4th kilometer and started running on the pretty trail, I wanted to be done. My Garmin also gave me a headache by showing 800m extra distance and I thought that it got a sunstroke before me, therefore I chose to ignore it from that moment on.

Because of the two loops that we had to do on that trail I got to see everyone else about 3-4 times. That was interesting and a bit depressing too, especially when the pro gals passed me to start their second loop as I was starting my first, then other people left the trail towards the finish and I still had to put in 10km. I ate my Clif blocks like a champ, took in water at each station, either for my head, back or stomach. We even got sponges! Those were awesome. I stuck one inside my top at the base of my neck and let it drip on my back... So good. I also came across ice which I put inside my bra. Happy boobies, wheeee!! About half way I got some stomach pain. It was uncomfortable and it felt like gas buildup. I remembered what my hubby said about drinking coke during the Muskoka race. I first tried some HEED, but that made it worse.

You have to know that I gave up drinking pop about 5 years ago and never had Coke or a similar drink since. I was apprehensive to say the least. But I decided to try it anyway and see what happens. It tasted awfully, it was super hot and flat, of course, and to be honest, the taste was very different than what I could remember. Maybe because I wasn't drinking regular Coke back then, but the diet kind? Anyway, not even a km later: FAAAARRRRTTTT. Longest ever (sorry TMI). But it gave me instant relief. Another magic drink!!

A few kms later I took another sip of coke, passed more gas and I was finally pain free. But oh so tired! I had made pace with coming in over 2h, thanks to the reminder that this wasn't my A race. I truly did my best out there. Everyone was having a hard time. This race was definitely not a piece of cake, despite its pancake qualities. 

Eventually It was my turn to leave the trail and start the countdown. I was thankful for a straight line to the mat, but then... wait... why is there a mat 800m ahead of the finish line? Little did I know that was the actual finish because the course markings were actually screwed up and someone had added 800m to the course, hence the Garmin hiccup. I wish I knew, because I gave it all and in regular Irina fashion, sprinted in the last 500m because finish line pictures are so much better when you fly over the mat!
Yeah, right. I tried flapping my arms, but nothing happened. I got the picture above for proof though (glad that I shaved my armpits the night before). And DONE!! 5h42 and a full hour PR!!
Sure you cannot compare the hilly Muskoka 70.3 race with this one, especially with the 4km extra on the bike there, but a PR is a PR, and it's all mine!

I rested for a few minutes on a chair at the finish line, then went to grab some food. There was pizza but it tasted awful, so I threw it in the garbage. I scarfed down a few handfuls of pretzels then went to try yet another magic drink, Chocolate Milk. I wanted to get some swag from them because they have cool stuff, so I even posed with the STRONG(ER) sign. I certainly thought that to be very fitting for the day I had. It skyrocketed my confidence ahead of the Ironman and I could not be happier.
I came in 8th in my AG (out of 16) and that was good enough. I knew the field was going to be packed with much stronger athletes, so I didn't give myself unrealistic expectations. I went in this race for a test of my endurance and I delivered on that. 
I was also glad that I survived the day, despite all the "new things on race day" that I did not shy away from: helmet, sunglasses, heed and coke! It was the banana that made it all right, I tell ya!

And that's all folks. It took me 2 weeks to write this race report. I feel exhausted!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

IMMT Training Weeks 19, 20 and 21: Where did the time go??

You know what's harder than Ironman training? Blogging!!! Not only it takes me hours to complete a post, but it also stresses me to no end because I'm a person who tries to meet deadlines on a daily basis and when I miss my own deadlines by so many days, and even weeks in a row, I go cuckoo inside my head. Case in point, I could not delay this post a single more day and I decided to switch my rest day with tonight's workout and get it done!! Ok, ok, open water swim got cancelled (but I could have gone to the pool) and my legs aren't 100% and I could use more rest after last weekend's 70.3 race, but these are just excuses. If I really wanted to, I could have done both. End of story.

But, say... aren't you relieved to see that I am back? Yeah, baby, and I'm feeling fantastic! Bursting with energy even. No kidding... Can't wait to get this recap started! (now, where did I put my cheat sheet aka Training Peaks?)


Including the race, I swam 6 times in the last 3 weeks. Twice in the pool and 4 times in open water. One pool workout was a lazy continuous swim for 2300m and the second one was a glorious 10x200m with warmup and cooldown for a total of 3000m. Both times I left the pool as drunk as these lanes.
I won't even bother to share my times because as I expected, they did not transfer in open water. I returned to the exact same pace as last year. I chose not to dwell too much into the whys and hows of this particular WTF and instead, I listened to my hubby who wisely said that if this is my time at the beginning of the season, it can only improve from here. Do I believe it? When I see my last swimming analysis video, I truly do want to believe. If only I could keep that stroke consistent and powerful throughout, maybe I'll get somewhere.

But as with any open water swim, I get carried away. I love it so much in the lake, and maybe that's the problem. I have to stop swimming with my head in la-la land and FOCUS. I heard myself saying this a few times already... Next time I will listen, I promise.

I swam at the James Dick Quarry twice, and as usual, I struggled there. There always seem to be some sort of chop or current that makes me swallow a lot of sandy water and fight to stay on course. Or maybe I was still drunk, who knows. It may explain the thumb up despite the circumstances.
Then my FMCT tri club started the open water swims at Professor's Lake and OH. SO. MUCH. BLISS. Yes, I know I'm shouting. You should come swim there, it's wonderful! Just look at these photos. Seriously, dudes.
Back to swim dreaming... 


I managed to fit in 7 bike workouts in total. Four of them were on the trainer, mostly easy, recovery rides watching 24 or Jimmy Fallon. Three were outdoors and they all helped me reach different levels of "holy fuck I can do this".

Three weekends ago, I spent the entire day on Saturday volunteering at a race in Toronto with the office folks, and I had to shift my workouts around. Since coach was free on Sunday, he offered to ride 3h with me, and I was going to top up with 2h30 on my own to reach 5h30. But first, a visual.
I wasn't quite sure where he was going to take me, I only heard mention of Bond Head and that did not ring any bells with me. Another hint was that coach loves hills and he eats them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He must have been really hungry that day. And most days I don't mind them because I have no choice but ride the hills of Caledon. But hills with wind and more hills and more wind? Just look at that beauty of a profile, then look at my speed and my heart rate. If that doesn't scream constant mother-effing-hills-get-me-outta-here, I don't know what does. So we went to Bond Head (the end of the line to the north-east of the trace) and we took a short coffee break there, then we rode back down, on the map that is, because in reality it was very much up and down and up and down, and if I can say Hallelujah intervention, coach's chain broke and he lost 4 links and then he couldn't go into the big chain ring anymore, which meant a little break for my legs and time to look at the pretty landscape around us.

Eventually we parted ways and I decided to head west towards Belfountain because I really wanted to make the day even more memorable, and that meant ice cream. So I took all the courage that I had left and started chewing on it with all my teeth and eventually climbed that mammoth of hill and made it to Belfountain, which ended adding 10-15km extra to my trip. But I was a woman on a mission and nothing could stand between me and my ice cream. Once arrived at the restaurant, I also had a panini because I was starving, then, with a satisfied belleh at last, I started the last leg of my journey back home. It may have been all schuss from there, but it was no piece of cake. 150km in total, and oh so close to completing a first mile century! But hubbs was waiting for me with lunch and we were on a schedule to go to the quarry and so I decided to leave it for another day (spoiler alert: it's coming up this weekend, yikes!). The End.

The second ride in the series took me to Schomberg. Zin and I actually took the little group from the tri club there since we were the leaders of the day, and we had so much fun! Gorgeous route, awesome company, great coffee, yummy cherry pie.... Mmmmmm, yes, pie!!!
If you ever go to Schomberg, make sure to stop by The Grackle Coffee Company, you won't be disappointed. They also have Kawartha's ice cream, but that in itself is rather dangerous for my waistline. I don't have to drive all the way to Muskoka to have some! Anyway, 4h on the bike that day, over 100km ridden, I had no issues swapping gooey gels for pie.

Alright - last but not least, the bike leg in the Welland 70.3 race (now called Rose City Half) - it deserves a post in itself, so stand by... it shall come to this blog real soon.


Between the quick 2.5km runs off the bike and the long slow runs in the weekends, plus the speed work on the track and the hill repeats on the treadmill, 11 run workouts in total. It may not seem like a lot, but they were all quality workouts.

All long runs were over 20km, the hill repeats left me in a puddle of sweat and the track workouts got me pushing Yasso's 800s at mile pace and I didn't even puke. And dare I mention no pain at all in my hips, knees, ankles or ITBs? WIN!

Even though I felt like quitting at times, especially when I ran 5x3km mind-numbing loops around Professor's Lake, it was more out of boredom than anything. So when a girl from the tri club was looking for a partner to run 10-1s (10min run at 7min/km - 1min walk) for 15km, I said why not? As long as I was going to be moving my legs for 2h, it didn't matter the speed. I ended enjoying it so much, that I have no issues saying yes again in the future. These runs are good for the soul - put your pace away and enjoy the day!

In a nutshell

I felt pretty good in the last month, despite everything that I threw at my body and things got really promising. I managed to turn the page of negativity and truly enjoyed every single workout. I knew that I was going to go into my first 70.3 distance of the year with the confidence of a well executed training plan and that helped me stay relaxed and relatively stress free (when I wasn't in panic mode about missed blog posts, that is).

Truth to be told, the last 3 weeks were not that heavy volume wise (14h, 12h, 10h), but now it's time to drop the hammer again. A new cycle starts and this one looks rather scary. Will see you on the other side! Sleep is calling.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

2014 Woodstock Sprint Duathlon Race Report

I've been ruminating on this blog post for too many days already. I think it's time to spit it out, or move it to the next stomach so to speak (to stay within the bovine terminology). Mooooo?

It was a first of all kinds of sorts and I am a little overwhelmed by all the thoughts and feelings that have been inhabiting my brain since. Not sure if I will succeed in putting these thoughts into words, but I'll give it a try. So, where do I start? Maybe with this list. 40 steps to 40. Yes, again, I am reminding the Internet that I changed age groups this year and that a list of milestones should help keep me sane while I train for the biggest challenge of my life, the Ironman.
Age is just a number
Number 7 on this list: Complete a Duathlon. Now, you should know that I take lists seriously. And when I put this one on the list, I meant it. It had to be official, an event that I wanted to sign up for, and thankfully Mother Nature brought us the Polar Vortex this year, which provided a perfect opportunity for a Du since I am not yet ready to give myself a brain freeze in a lake that just thawed 4 weeks ago. Swimming in 15C/61F water? Brrrrrrrr.  I'll skip, thankyouverymuch.

And so I signed up for Woodstock Du and vowed that I would stay away from lakes in May races, at least in Canada. My race bestie, Carol, who was going to be braver than me and do the Sprint Tri, decided to drive up with her mom the day before and sleep at a hotel nearby. Great idea, I thought, and so I asked them to pick me up in the afternoon (after I finished my 5h ride and brick run) and drive me up there too.

After we checked into our hotel room, we went to visit the Pittock Conservation Area to get acquainted with the race venue. Carol tried the water as well, and was not impressed.
The place was absolutely gorgeous though, and it was the perfect summer day, if I dare to say. We walked around for a bit and we could see that slowly but surely, the transition area was coming along.
I found the Du start!!
Must not forget, I am #361.
I hope they don't want us to ride our bikes into the ground
Getting closer... #361, where are you?
Swim exit. Not going in there, nope nope nope.
We went to eat at Kelsey's and I had the yummiest salad - some mix of greens, beets and goat cheese, followed by a refreshing scoop of strawberry sherbet. We returned to the hotel where we prepared our race bags, kits and snacks, then turned off the lights at 10:45pm. I didn't get the best sleep, but who does before a race anyway? I am not expecting to sleep much the night before the Ironman, so it must have been part of the program, at least subliminally.

The next morning we woke up at 6am, a bit foggy eyed, but with the energy levels intact. For breakfast I had a Pretzel-bagel with egg, cheese and bacon from the nearby Tim Hortons and managed to drink half a coffee too. I took a banana and a gel to go, put on my Coeur kit and off we went to Pittock Conservation Area once more, but this time, to race!
I racked my bike and set up my little slice of real estate, then went to body marking and to pick up my bib. We returned to the transition area where Carol and I took our usual selfie and shared with the whole world that we were ready to kick some ass.
My camera
Carol's camera
I thought that it would be fun to share both perspectives. Deal with it. Besides, selfie is now in the dictionary and it's legit.
I also met my coach, who was ready for his own race. Another brave soul to sprint Tri that day, and he had to remind me that I was a whimp for not jumping in the lake with them. Whatever, coach... whatever! Enjoy the shrinkage. :-P
My coach and I. I love this guy!
Soon enough, the transition area was buzzing with activity. I saw a few more familiar faces, but the one I wanted to talk to was Phaedra. I went to give her a hug as I knew how nervous she was about the swim. Brave soul number three in my books! I am surrounded by crazies so much courage! Despite her reticence for getting in the water that day, I had no doubt that she was going to dominate the field. She has this energy around her, she's like the energizer bunny.
I also went to say hi to Jade, who is our club's Duathlon star, and often all around champ. She gave me a few words of encouragement and I told her that most likely I'll see her at the podium.
Can you feel the groove?
And just like that, it was almost show time. While Steve Fleck, the race announcer, was going on and on about how cold the water was and how people could switch to a Du if they wanted, I went to the port-a-potties for the third and last time, then on to warm up the legs, that were feeling rather spectacular even with 5h of biking in them the day before. What about that, huh? This could only mean one thing: it was a good day to RACE!! Boooyah!

I admit to feeling a bit confused by the run-bike-run schedule of events, but I was planning on my mental reflexes to kick in so I can make it in and out of the transition area through the right gates. I arrived to the run start just on time, with maybe 2 minutes to spare before the horn went off. You can see me in the picture below walking in front of the man in black shirt and shorts. I had never seen my Coeur kit from behind, thank you race photographer!
Anyway, it was time to run this 5k. The course was a bit hilly, but I loved the mix of trail and pavement, and the highlight was that I went over a dam, twice (4 times if we count both runs). I rarely run in this setting, actually never. I had no idea what kind of pace I would be able to sustain, but I knew that I was going to keep the foot on the gas pedal and hope for the best. And that's exactly what I did. Although my 10k pace in the last (paved, downhill, city) race was around 4:55min/km, I had only a 5:14min/km in me that day. But given my HR average of 175bpm, I know that I raced the hardest I could and managed not to pass out before the bike.

I had a quick transition and no issues starting the bike fast and furious, putting to test my passing skills. On your left!! I had to say it quite a lot and it gave me confidence that I could drop the hammer on this course and not suffer too much. The guy in front of me in the picture below is already suffering. He got chicked.
It helped tremendously that we drove the course the night before with Carol and her mom and I knew exactly what to expect. A few rollers, but overall, straight forward: turn twice to the right, a u-turn, then twice to the left, and you're done.

Really not that exciting - it went by too fast!! See, that's why I don't do sprint races. the fun doesn't last enough! I don't even remember if I ate something during the bike. I don't think so, but I remember that I drank two or three times. That is always memorable because I'm nervous when I grab the bottle from its holder between my legs and I pray that I don't lose balance and wipe out like a fool.

Last but not least, after another fast transition, I went out to run again, on the same course as the first 5k. But this time, we turned around a bit earlier - and I could not wait to see the end! Funny how it goes from "is that all?" when you finish the bike to "are we there yet?? I am dying out here!" ten minutes later. I ran once more as hard as I could. I also had a gel after 1km and took some water with it. I remember the hurt, and sprinting hard to the finish, leaving it all out there. I saw this guy ahead of me and he looked like a giant. I did not want him to take my spotlight in the finish picture, so I had to pass him.

Here are two pictures showing Mr. Corum getting chicked too. By a 5'3" thing with short legs and a big bottom, but so much heart and courage! Boom!
I finished the race, then immediately had a big asthma attack and walked back to the entrance to the transition where I asked to be let in to get my puffer from my spot, but I was not allowed in and someone had to go find it for me... all this time I was coughing and wheezing and I was very uncomfortable, trying not to panic. Since this operation was taking quite some time, I had to sit down and another volunteer offered me her puffer and someone else a bottle of water...Thankfully my puffer showed up eventually and I could get up and walk over to the finish area to get something to eat.

Then I went to look at the results and my eyes almost popped out of my head. 5th in my age group, the most competitive group of all with 22 women. I also had the third fastest bike. Excuse me??
Time: 1:21:55
Run 1 (5k): 26:02 (average HR 175)
Bike (20k): 40:29 (average HR 170)
Run 2 (2.5k): 13:12 (average HR 175)
T1: 1:14
T2: 1:01
So just like that, I found myself going from the middle of the pack to top 10 female, and so close to the podium!

I was ecstatic. I never thought that I was going to finish in the top 10, but from the moment I placed myself at the starting line, I had this quote from the Coeur blog in mind, and it stayed with me the entire race:
[The Coeur girls] They are some of the friendliest people you’ll know but they do tend to race “lights out” and if you’re in their age group and you slow down in the finishing chute, you’re going to get passed.
I went there to represent a company that gave me a chance to show off their colors wherever I race.
I went there to show my coach that his plan works and that I can make him proud.
I went there to show myself that I am something more than a "middle of the pack with no ambitions" girl.

There are many factors that contributed to me having such an amazing day, but being part of a team with so many fit and fast women, it definitely helped. Most days I don't feel that I belong and seeing the race pictures above makes me cringe to no end. I am not one of them champions, or even girls who can qualify for Kona or go to the worlds. I am not fit and fast, I am a mom of two teenage boys who is still trying to lose the baby fat after all these years. But I am dedicated and work hard to become the best that I can be. This is what drives me, a desire to be better than my yesterday's self. I am realistic with my fitness expectations, but when something like this happens, finishing towards the top rather than the bottom, it messes up with my head. It plants a seed - the seed of "what if".

I am glad that I had a Du on my "fun list" and that I got out of my comfort zone to race it. This was my first ever sprint distance too. I jumped from running a marathon into an Olympic tri, looking for something that hurts more. And until this Du, I did not find the hurt in the Olympic distance, not even the 70.3 But now I know what it feels like and I won't hesitate to push through.

What if...

And speaking of champions, Jade took first overall female and AG win in the Du, Phaedra won her AG and my coach took 2nd in his AG. Carol came in top 10 in her AG. At the end of the day, we all rocked Woodstock.
Carol and I after the race
Last word before I go (I promise) - I wanted to share two photos of a friend that I made during the race. She was also in the Du and wore the same Coeur kit. She noticed my kit first, then we kept encouraging each other during the race. We had to take a few pictures afterwards and I emailed them to her, thus getting the chance to know each other a bit better. We'll meet at other races this year, so look for these two foxy ladies and say Hi if you cross paths with them ;-)
Coeur twinsies!