light in the dark places

one year ago, life changed forever.

I didn’t know it yet, but tragedy had struck friends.  I was up in Lake Placid that weekend, watching Ironman, bitter that I wasn’t yet in a position to be able to tackle one of my own.  Despite that, I had a reasonably good time and when we started that drive home the next Monday I was filled with the same desire I had every time we went away to watch people race – that this time next year, I was going to be better.  Happier, thinner, fitter…  all those things I told myself, over and over, that I wanted to be.  By the time we were mostly home, I’d sunk back into thinking “well, I want to do this but I probably I’m not going to be able to, I’ll say I will but it won’t happen.”  I wasn’t as depressed as I’d been, but I wasn’t me.  At least, I wasn’t the me I wanted to be.

Then we found out that a friend was in the hospital.  Our friend Jen, the most full of life person I think I’d ever met in my entire life, was suddenly in the hospital.  She died a few days later.  One minute, she was there, spreading joy and laughter wherever she went, and then she was just… gone.  She was our age,  she was healthy and fit and full of life… and then she was gone.  Jen lived ferociously.  She dove into everything she did with enthusiasm and laughter and brought light with her everywhere.  She could talk to anyone, anywhere, about anything.   When we got our puppy, she didn’t just “like” the facebook post – she came by to meet her, and brought an entire BAG of puppy toys.  That was Jen.

At her memorial service, I promised myself that I’d start LIVING.  And I have.

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#tbt – 2008 Cranberry Oly RR

Another TBT recycled race report for you.   When I was writing the post earlier today, I said I was 0-2 on previous Olys going well.  I dug up this as evidence… and it’s evidence I maybe need to cut myself a little bit of slack sometimes.  Not a perfect or fast day, but all things considered, not at all as bad as I remembered.  In retrospect, I didn’t get enough sleep, didn’t get enough electrolytes, overcooked the bike a little bit, and hung on the best I could.  No haiku here.  Not mentioned:  The utter comedy of pre-race when the husband thought I grabbed his wetsuit before we left for the race (I didn’t), leaving him to realize he didn’t have it and frantically borrow a wetsuit from a (female) friend right before the race.  I think he’s still mad.

Cranberry Oly


Well. There was pre-race craziness, again. First off, my legs were horribly dead all week. I did basically nothing, and even sat in a couple of hot Epsom salt baths on Friday and Saturday. Then a friend stayed over the night before the race and there was not enough sleep, and more than the usual pre-race stress.   Swam a little before the race, ran into a friend, waited 40 minutes for my wave to go off.

swim:  35:56

I think I would have been way faster if I had swum in anything remotely resembling a straight line. *sigh* something to work on for next year.

T1:  4:04

Up flight of wet and uneven stone stairs, with a volunteer every 5 feet telling us to be careful, to use the handrail. Saw a friend again. Cracked some people up by commenting that no one told me it was swim, stairs, bike, run instead of swim, bike, run. Looooonnngggg run to my rack. Did my stuff, looonnnggg run to the bike mount. Not a bad time considering how much running was involved.

bike:  1:26:59

We had ridden the course two weeks ago, so I knew what to expect. I passed a few people, got passed by two (the joy of starting out very BOP). I tried to focus on riding sustainably hard. At one point, I realized that I was singing out loud to myself. Cracked myself up. Made up a little song (to the tune of I got you babe) called “I’ll drop you, b*tch”. Really had a great, great ride, thought about climbing well and really powered over the rollers. Legs were tired, but not abnormally so. Had a little bit of cramping in my glute, and discovered that on a downhill, you can use the tip of your saddle to apply pressure to the bad spot. Spent the entire bike course talking to myself. I think I was talking to myself out loud at some points. Good thing I was all alone out there. Drank one and a half bottles of water, had 2 shot bloks every 20 minutes (per plan).

T2:  2:51

Dismount. Ouch. Ok, run to spot (really far), switch stuff up, run to exit (also really far. WTF?) Ran past a friend and say “I mother-f*cking hate mother-f*cking running” as I run by. Realize about 30 seconds later that he was videotaping. Whoops.

run:  1:21:30

Let’s call it a slog. First ¼ mile felt normally bad. Next ½ mile felt like ragged death. Shins and calves totally cramped. Switched to a run 8/walk 2 plan. Shins didn’t really feel better when walking. Was actually crying at one point, which pissed me off. Passed exactly one person (she was 73). Stuck with the 8/2 plan for the first 30 minutes. At one point, my lower legs were so dead that all of the work of running was my upper legs – no foot control or spring at all. Was not exactly speedy. Anyway, started to loosen up in mile three – switched to 9/1, then ran straight for a while as the walk break corresponded to a downhill. Finally got my mojo back around mile four, and just cruised. Legs were working, feet were painful but not abnormally so. Laughed my butt off at the mile 4 water stop, where the volunteers threw water on me (at my request) and were generally very funny. Felt like I had a shot at not having an embarrassingly slow run.

Then I hit a loonnng, gradual uphill that sucked every last remaining bit of life out of me. Ran/walked it as best I could, at one point I think I was running 30 seconds and then walking 30 seconds. The last bit of the race was really just survival, I ran as much as I could. Walked the last bit before the turn into the park so that I would be able to run the entire finish chute.

total time:  3:31:19

Post race, got my chip taken off, got my medal, got my cold wet washcloth and a race waterbottle filled with ice cold water. Nice.

Oh, wait, does my watch say 3:31? Yes indeed – my pre-race plan had a best case of 3:30 and a worst case of 4:00… and I was at the lower end of the range. Either my estimating skills suck, or I didn’t have that bad of a race.

Saw husband and friend, husband directed me to the volunteer with the hose… I just stood under it for a while and cooled down.

Ate, visited friends, hung out, chatted, drove home, shower, nap.

Definitely need to swim straighter, pace the bike better… and get more than 3 and a half hours of sleep the night before races.

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next steps

I’ve learned a ton of things, good and bad, about myself during the last few messy years. One of the chief things I learned is if I give myself a choice about training, I’m likely to skip it, even if I know I’ll feel better after the workout, even if it’s something I really enjoy.  That inconsistency makes it impossible to accomplish my goals.  So one key thing that changed for me last August is that I decided that when I made the choice to hire a coach, I made the choice to stop making workouts a choice.  I needed to do the best that I could each day to accomplish whatever it was that appeared on my schedule – if I was going to choose to skip a workout, I better have a reason.*  While I’m certainly far from perfect, I’ve been far more successful since August than I have ever been, and I saw the benefit of that in a much better race experience.  Shocking, I know, to learn that training better = better race.  Again – consistency = fitness magic.



Going into Patriot, I refused to make any firm plans** for races later in the year, so I could just focus on THIS race.  I had just enough of a Plan B in case something prevented me from finishing, just to help manage any related anxiety.  Once Patriot was over, the recovery block that magically (and thankfully) appeared on my schedule left me lots of time to figure out what was next.  I thought pretty seriously about another attempt at a HIM in August or September.  I also thought about why I wanted to do my next race, and what I wanted out of it other than a tshirt to wear to the next race expo.  For the first time, I did a pretty good job of making an honest assessment about how much time I really have this summer (not as much as I want, because work is nuts and we have in-progress DIY stuff) and I’m…. not doing another HIM this year.  I’m signed up for an Oly (8/28, in Old Orchard Beach, ME) and I’m pretty damn at peace with that.  It’s the same Oly that eventually inspired me to start this blog.  I won’t lie and say I’m not looking for a teeny bit of redemption for my two attempts at the Oly distance (I’m 0-2 on good Oly experiences), but mostly I’m looking back on a sadder, angrier, much more broken version of myself with a lot of love and forgiveness.

For the first time, I don’t feel like I “should” have signed up for a half, I don’t feel like I’m wussing out or taking a step back… I feel like I’m taking the best possible next step to balance all of my crazy life so I can still take care of me.

And that feels damn freaking good.


*reason <> excuse

** Except I may have already been signed up for a Ragnar trail relay this fall.  Which totally doesn’t count, because there will be friends and camping and beer and just incidentally involves running.

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#tbt – 2009 timberman shit show

It’s not exactly recycled blog content because I never published it here…  for your reading pleasure, here is my shit show report from Timberman 2009.  Slightly edited.  And no, I don’t know why I insist on summarizing my races with haikus.

The short of it:

“It’s a perfect day
Nothing standing in my way”
Was stuck in my head

It wasn’t perfect
But that’s ok because I
Finished the **** race

My swim was perfect
My bike had its ups and downs
And I walked. A lot.

But I achieved my
Goal. Next time will be better
At least I hope so.

Pre-race goals:

1) don’t die
2) don’t end up in the med tent
3) finish
4) attempt to keep swim + transitions to one hour, keep bike to 4 hours, survive run

The numbers:

Swim 44:38
T1 6:32
Bike 4:04:12
T2 6:47
Walk unknown, and no clue as to overall time, probably around 8:27 or so. Timing mat was gone when I finished, and I’m currently listed under possible DNFs. I have an email in to the race director.
Run:  3:23:50
Total Time:  8:25:59

The long of it:

Well, this has been a tough summer for me in many ways, and any plans I had for having a good run off the bike at Timberman went away months ago. We’ve had to bail on far too many workouts due to the construction in the tenant unit, and I’ve also gone into way too many key workouts without really recovering since we do way, way too much. Between that and the bike crash that had me not running for almost a month, plus my latest stupid medical issue with my legs, I really wasn’t thinking that I was going to be tearing it up out there. I just wanted to get through the race and have a decent day.

We headed up to NH on Saturday after sleeping in a little. We dropped the dog off at my ILs, and then sat in traffic. We went up to Gunstock for packet pickup and the (useless) mandatory pre-race meeting, then down to Ellacoya where AdCo fixed his bike computer mount and we dropped the bikes off. We played tag with Cheryl the whole time as she said, when we were at Gunstock she was at Ellacoya, and vice versa. We then headed over to our weekend crash pad (courtesy of a friend… we got to stay at her family condo with them, a mile from race start, for free. Way better than the $200 hotel room we had reserved 30 minutes away). We chatted for a few, then headed out to drive the well-marked bike course. There wasn’t anything that looked too scary, except one hill where AdCo and I drove around the corner and we both literally said “holy crap” as we saw the hill. It was steep, but turned out to be short, so no increased panic. We then headed out to a late dinner, then back to the condo where we got our race stuff together, I went to sleep, and Adam hung out with our hosts.

Race morning, we got to “sleep in” until 4:40. Then we grabbed our bags and walked over to Ellacoya… down a very steep hill. We got bodymarked, then went to set up transition. Adam had been acting all secretive for a couple of days, turns out he’d complied some of your supportive comments etc into a sheet for me to read while I was getting ready. That was the first time I cried on Sunday. It would not be the last.

Got my stuff ready, choked down some breakfast (turkey bacon and sushi rice), and found out that I also had a surprise from Adam that I wasn’t allowed to look at until the run. Hmmm.

Saw friends at my rack. Tried not to FtFO. Headed over to swim start early with Adam, as he was in wave 4 (I was in wave 13, 45 minutes after him). Got wetsuited up, swam a very little in gorgeous lake, then hung out with him until it was time for him to go. We watched the pros go off, and the first couple waves, then I kissed him goodbye (and cried) and wandered down the beach looking for people I knew. Saw more friends, and hung out with them until it was time for me to go. Much thanks for keeping me from going completely nutty.

The swim – 44:38:

Lined up right (inside) and partway back, as I don’t mind contact but am not fast. Heard someone yell for me – that made me smile. We were off, and I just focused on gliding (my new swim focus, thank you Sara), and trying to swim in a straight line. I just ignored any incidental contact and held my line. Got in a good groove right away… thought a little bit on the way out about the kind of day I wanted to have… told myself that there was nothing standing in the way of a perfect day except my attitude. That promptly got the song from the opening scene of Clueless into my head, where it stayed for the next 4 hours. I just focused on gliding, swimming straight, and enjoying the perfect water (clear, and the perfect temperature for me), the weather (cloudy with sun peaking through a little bit), the fun of swimming up and down swells, and sang to myself. Every time something worrying or negative popped into my head, I “sang” louder. This was by far the best swim I have ever had. I didn’t want to get out of the water, but my hand hit the bottom and I had to keep moving forward.

T1: 6:32

Yes, that’s long. But I give myself permission during my first attempt at a new distance (or my first race of the year) to really not stress about transitions. I’m not to the point where I’m going to win/not win because of them.

So I head up the beach and over the longish run to the wetsuit strippers. I wasn’t going to use them, but I figured what the h*ll. I then learned my most important lesson in all of triathlon, ever. TIE YOUR SHORTS. Luckily I caught them about an inch and a half before flashing the entire crowd with my naked butt and other parts. I yanked up my shorts, grabbed my wetsuit, and headed to my rack laughing my fool head off. Then I spent some time making sure I had everything how I wanted it and headed over to the bike mount. I got on my bike, and headed out.

The bike: 4:04:12

As I got on my bike, I realized Cheryl was about 25 yards ahead of me, thought briefly about trying to catch her to say hi, then decided not to be an idiot and stick with my game plan of taking it easy for the first 10 -12 miles, slightly less easy for the next 32 for the out-and-back, then survive the last 10 – 12. I spun up the first hill and focused on enjoying the day, singing that stupid song to myself, and keeping in my target effort level (HR 145 – 150, survive hills). I reminded myself about 16 million times that I’d ridden this far before, and I was just out for my normal weekend long ride, it was just unusually well supported and busy. I ate and drank on plan (3 peanut M&M’s every ten minutes, chased with Gatorade endurance, plus water). I was doing well, then I got to the Marsh Hill Monster. Let me say that I’ve ridden up way worse, way later in rides. I made it a 1/3 of the way up the hill, my quads were on fire (that would be the stupid medical issue I’ve been having), my HR was 180 (over my LT), I was in my lowest gear…. and I decided to walk the rest of the way up the hill. I tried to walk briskly, but my legs REALLY hurt and I couldn’t get my **** heart rate to drop (it was 168). I stopped at the side of the road once I passed the devil lady, tried not to puke, and just stood there for 3 or 4 minutes, crying. I decided that I was done, that I was quitting, that my legs just really didn’t have anything that day. Then I decided that I could give it ten more minutes and see if I felt any better, and got back on my bike. I ambled along in my granniest gear for a while – then decided that I was going back to focusing on positives, I actually said to myself that “today is your day to be sally f*cking sunshine, so suck it the h*ll up”. I decided that I would keep going, but I wasn’t going to let myself stress out about what gear I was in or how fast I was going. I started singing to myself again.

This relentless forced positive attitude got me through the rest of the bike. Every time I started getting negative, every time my legs hurt or my bits hurt or I was hot or bored or whatever, I just kept singing to myself and finding SOMETHING positive to say, even if it was just “hey, the scenery is awesome, how lucky am I to be out here”. I had all of you with me out there, I thought about things people had said in race reports and to me directly. I saw Adam headed inbound (he asked how I was… I wonder if he expected an answer). I heard John yell my name too, then saw Cheryl and yelled for her. Stopped at the portapotty at the turnaround, then headed back.

I was flip flopping with a couple of people, so we were encouraging each other, yelling at the idiots who were blocking, and telling each other that we had this, we were all going to finish.

The last 10 -12 miles sucked. Badly. The sun came out and it got hot. I lost my relentless positive focus here, but I went to “relentless forward progress” instead. Walked a short hill (which was not the crazy steep one, that one I made it up. Zipped down the downhills as fast as I could. Started getting a little teary when I was almost back at the park and saw all the people out on the run.

Down the last hill, and…

T2: 6:47

I really didn’t want to run. I really, really, didn’t want to run. I wandered back to my rack, and hey! Cheryl was there! She talked to me while I slowly changed shoes and stuff, and it was very helpful in getting my brain to refocus. I grabbed the “gift” Adam had left for me, and started ambling out to the run. My garmin had just beeped that the memory was full, so I should have just left it at my rack, but I wasn’t that smart.

The run: time? No clue.  3:23:50

I headed out the run out… and then around the long way to the actual timing mat. CS had told me to run as long as I could before I started my run/walk plan, and I did. I ran one whole half mile. Then I started walking. I ended up really going with more of a walk plan, with occasional run breaks. I just had nothing. I was tired and hot, and I had no go. I pulled out my little gift from Adam, and it was a series of laminated notes, sorted out by mile, on a little twist tie so I could flip them over. I read a couple, and started crying. Again. Then I started running again for a while. I walked, and ran, and read my notes at the mile markers for the first 3 miles. Then, between the sweat and the hoses I’d run through, the ink ran too much. I just tried to keep moving, walking as fast as I could, running the downhills, but walking way, way too much. I shoved lots of ice (and snow!) down my bra at the water stops. I had lots of company on the first lap, but it was so depressing to watch them all turn off to the finish chute. I cried the entire time I had to run through the park to head out on loop two.

Loop two. So lonely. On the way out, lots of people heading back…. but no one heading out, really. Finally caught a couple of women and walked with one for a while, she was having a pretty rough time so I ordered her to finish. I stayed with her for a while, the lost her when she stopped at a portapotty. I really felt like if I stopped, I was done. I needed to pee the last half of the last loop, but I was afraid that if I stopped and sat down, I wouldn’t be able to get back up and I’d be stuck in a portapotty for a very long time until someone came to find me.

I ran more on the second loop – I don’t know that I felt better, I just was so done with being out there. At the little stretch on the main road, Michael Lovato passed me (at least I think it was him, he had the same race number) riding his bike with all of his stuff, and he said some encouraging things. It was actually pretty cool, all the cars leaving were honking horns and yelling out the window to me. It made me cry, again.

At mile 11, I told myself I was going to run the whole downhill – I ran for a decent amount of time, then switched to a two phone poles running, one walking (and pretended it was back to couch to 5K time). It started to rain about mile 11.5 – I was pretty bent that it had taken that long to start raining, but it made it easier to run rather than walk. I took a walk break again right before the turn into the park so I could run the whole finish chute, walked down the now-slippery 5 foot hill, then ran as fast as I could (not fast) down the finish chute, crying. I high fived some people (I was just so happy that there were still people there, in the rain), saw AdCo (my new official finish line photographer, since the real ones were gone), crossed where the mat should have been, and started crying for real.


I saw Cheryl (who said something… I’m brain-free the first couple post-race minutes), and just wandered down the chute. I walked right by the chip people, who had to actually grab me and take my chip. I got my water bottle and towel, realized I had a finisher’s medal on, walked over to the completely empty post-race food area (where I realized that not only were there no volunteers, but there was no food). Woke up enough to see Cheryl and yell thank you to her, then AdCo came over and I cried on his shoulder a little. I told you there was a lot of crying.

Then we collected our crap and headed out. Poor AdCo had to walk the mile back to the car up the giant hill while I sat with our stuff.

So, conclusions:

I met goal #1 – 3. I almost met goal #4, my bike time was over 4 hours but actually pretty much only by the amount of time I spent crying on the side of the road.

Other than that? I survived. I learned a lot. I know what I need to do over the next 11 months before IMLP*.

And seriously, THANK YOU. I could NOT have done it without you, you were there with me every step of the way.

And a shout out to the world’s best husband, who not only shares my love of this crazy stuff, but went out of his way to make my race day an amazing experience. AND walked back to the car, up the giant hill.

*Or, you know, not do IMLP, which turned out to be the much smarter decision.


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race report: patriot half iron

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.

-Georg C. Lichtenberg

short version:

process goals beat the
shit out of outcome goals and
this went really well

stupidly long version:

That tense, expectant time before a race is the hardest part for me. You’ve put in so much time and cared so very much, and all that is left is to DO – but it’s not time for that yet.  I’ve said so many times in the last few months that I’m really bad at being bad at things I care about.  It’s easier to give yourself an excuse to fail (my favorite, “I didn’t really train”) than to actually try and actually fail.  So Friday night, I slept fitfully until I woke up suddenly with this thought in my head – just do the thing that you are doing to the best of your ability, and let the rest of the day be what it is.  And  it was like a switch flipped in my head – I would do the best that I could, and that would be enough.


I would say that the pre-race time was the standard morning craziness, except it wasn’t.  It took me too long to eat my breakfast (hard for me to eat that early), so I was more rushed than I wanted to be.  Coach Katie had me do a run and a swim warmup, and while I was initially pretty WTF about it, that run warmup was exactly perfectly what I needed to get my body moving and settle down my brain.  I got out of the water after my swim warmup in the positive mental place I needed, and I wanted to stay there as long as I could.  I saw some friends, chit chatted with some other women in my wave, and then it was go time.


swim:  42:56

Process goals:  go out REALLY FUCKING HARD for 5-7 minutes, then swim uncomfortably hard for the rest of the swim.  swim a straight line, focus on form, stay in the moment.

Check.  Yup.  Nearly perfect.  Ran hard into the water, swam hard until my arms wanted to fall off, and then settled into the effort level I wanted for almost the whole swim.  Even when some douchbag grabbed (and pulled) my foot while swimming past me after the first turn, stayed in my little focused bubble of positive awesomeness.


t1:  7:26

Not racing in three years really got me. I got to my rack with about zero idea of WTF I was doing. I’d forgotten to calibrate my power meter (which thankfully I could do while I was getting stuff on).  I’d been having some hydration/nutrition problems on the bike, so I downed as much skratch as possible out of one of my bottles to help mitigate that.  I think at one point I was trying to figure out what exactly one does with their bike shoes.  So lots of extra time here, but in the moment I was amused and not frantic.

bike:  3:37:50

Process goals:  Hit power targets, eat and drink on schedule, no negative self talk.

Without boring even myself to tears, I’ll just say that I did a reasonable-for-me job of staying in my power targets (I’m pretty new to riding with power), I ate and drank on schedule until I got sick as a fucking dog, I ate a bunch of Tums, and I amazed myself with how good I was at positive self talk.  The entire second loop I was nauseous, and kept thinking that I was the wrong kind of miserable.  But I kept trying, and even when my knee started getting twingy, I used that to refocus myself on form and power and effort.  And yes, that’s a bottle between my boobs.   Use what you’ve got, kids.


 t2:  7:31

A relative repeat of the first, except with the added bonus of feeling super sick.  I will spare you the picture of me, horribly bloated, leaving transition.

run:  3:12:16

Process goals:  DON’T FUCKING WALK, hit some HR targets, eat and drink on schedule, no negative self talk

Looking at this in the frame of my process goals, I only hit the last one.  And yet I am SO PROUD of this.  This run is where all of the mental and physical work that I’ve done in the last few months really came together.

Between the heat and the stomach issues, I was so miserable at the start of this that I considered quitting.  Except I know myself, and I know that I would start the self hate about 15 seconds after I quit, and I didn’t want that.  I stopped at the portapotty leaving transition, and told myself that I would start to run and I would. not. stop.  I would hurt, and that would be OK.

So I ran, and I watched my HR, and I said nice things to myself, and I focused on every positive I could find (especially the wind – annoying on the bike, life saving on the run).  I saw Cheryl in the first mile, who said “you got this” – my response, apparently, was “whatever THIS is”.  I still don’t know what I meant.

I think I ran for somewhere around three miles (I’m far too lazy to check my garmin files).  I tried to eat (nope, not happening), I tried to drink (not really happening either), and I shoved an inappropriate amount of ice in my bra every chance I got.  I heard my coach saying “don’t you dare fucking walk” in my head.  At one point, I had nothing else nice to say, so I just counted to ten over and over and over. Finally, somewhere in the third mile, the heat really started getting to me.  I can ignore nausea, I can even ignore a little lightheadedness.   But when my skin starts prickling, I know that’s an early shutdown sign for me.  So I walked, and put ice on my wrists, and found all the shade I could, and tried not think about how long of a day it would be to the finish.  That was my lowest moment of the entire day.

Shortly afterwards, as I’m walking, a guy came up behind me and said “hey, you and me, we’re going to do this – one lightpole running, one walking – all the way into the finish”.  And the second he started running I thought there was no way I could run his pace, but Newly Positive me decided I would try, that I had all this run fitness that I was obviously not using while walking along.  And I did.  And we dragged each other, one light pole at a time, through the rest of the day.  (thank you, Steve from Bangor – and I’m sorry for all the farting.).   I thought I sprinted into the finish, but video evidence points more to a kind of shamble-y jog.  And that was it, I was done.  I didn’t even know my time until after I stopped my watch, as I hadn’t looked at it in hours.


total:  7:47:48 (a 38′ PR!)

I learned so much this day about myself, about how far I’ve come, about how far I have to go.  And when Adam (who gave me a reprint before the race of all those awesome notes from friends he collected at Timberman in 2009, and who generally makes my life so much easier, and so much brighter, and is pretty much the most awesome husband ever) hugged me after I finished, I cried a little.  And this race, it was the only time I cried, and it was joy and exhaustion and pride and light years from the self-pity and pain that’s been dragging me down for so long.


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there will be a race report. pinky swear.

My dearest internet, I must admit that I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing them, since they’ve been going so badly (spoiler:  you get out what you put in).  I’ve been shying away from analyzing my life in general, since that was pretty painful for a while.  I’m a much happier person these days AND training went well, so there was some Actual Racing.  I suppose that there must be an Actual Race Report.

Speaking of race reports, I like to think that I write race STORIES, rather than race reports.  Thanks to this most excellent article from Jesse Thomas, I’m going to try to up my game and do a better job of that, not just because the only other person who cares remotely about my watts is my coach.  Looking back at some older reports, what I like to see when I read them is not my times (slow) or my nutrition (failed), but the stories.  The people I’ve raced with, the songs that have been stuck in my head, the friends who have supported me, and the really nice things my husband has done for me that have made my racing experiences memorable.

I’m going to start posting race reports stories here, rather than other Mysterious Internet Places.  I will warn anyone actually reading this that I tend to write really long reports that start with haikus.  They may or may not be interesting, but I write them mostly for myself.  And since I do that, and since they’re scattered across a multitude of MIPs, I will probably end up reposting most of them here so I can find them.


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“Let me ‘splain…No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

Here’s a quick recap of the last ten-ish months.  I hired a (really awesome) coach*. I started making green boxes. I saw some big improvements, but was still struggling with some calf issues/plantar faciitis . I went back to therapy.  My lovely puppy pulled me off the stairs and I broke the bone spur on the bottom of my right foot.  I spent two months in a boot, not making boxes green.  That pretty much fixed my foot and calf problems. I went right back to making boxes green without spiraling into the deep dark hole of depression.  I started doing some real work on my mental game (I even developed a mantra for 2016**).  I kept making green boxes.  I realized that I was happier than I’ve been in a very, very long time.

Then last weekend, I did a half ironman.  It went really, really well (except where it did not).  For the first time, I’m happy and proud of a race I’ve done, flaws and all.  Soon I’ll write a race report for all two of you.   Maybe I’ll repost the report from my last half ironman as a bit of comparison.

Now you’re caught up.  Don’t you feel better?

*Katie Ingram at Team Amazing Day (  If you need a coach, go check her out.  She’s awesomesauce.  Tell her I sent you.

**consistency = fitness magic

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