Thursday, January 5, 2017

Two Year Update in One Post

A little over two years ago, I stopped blogging.   I had big plans to "do the double" and race two iron-distance races in one week, however two days before Ironman Mont Tremblant I got sick...

I didn't realize it at the time -- maybe I was so focused on the upcoming race that the occasional wave of nausea, fevered dreams and night sweats and diarrhea didn't really sink in.   In retrospect I really have no idea how I started let alone finished IMMT.  I think it has to do with my massive streak of stubbornness that I prefer calling "being overly patient."  ;)

In any case, race day started and off I went.  Swim was ok, but as soon as I got on the bike, I had no power in my legs.  I could barely pedal up any incline!!  Now with me, as soon as my body is sick, my mind goes right along with it.  Instead of thinking, "Gee there might be something wrong with me,"  instead I thought, "I suck!  It doesn't matter how much or how hard I train I will never improve!"

The run was more of a slow shuffle.  Many times I thought I would get sick out there, but still thought of how much I sucked instead of piecing together that something might actually be wrong.  Managed to cross the finish line and it was only later that night that the shits began in earnest.

And I shit for another month straight.

It took two rounds of tests before the bacterial infection showed up:  campylobacter jejuni.  By this point, I was so weak, my iron levels were shockingly low, my hair had started to fall out.  Alberta Public Health called me and asked me all these questions about where I had been, what I had eaten and where, etc. 

After all that ballyhoo I was prescribed three pills and magically felt better.

Of course, the long road to recovery then began.  Coming back was very difficult.  I had lost a lot of weight and when I started feeling better, my hormones were all over the place.  I kept getting my period -- my boobs and hips grew like Betty Boop.  (I sort of liked this, I have never been voluptuous, but this was me at my curviest!)  At one point, I remember looking in the mirror whilst wearing my bra and flicking the tops of my boobs and watching them jiggle.  I was mesmerized -- I actually had boobs to jiggle!!  HAHAHAHA!

Sara encouraged me to seek out coaching from our good friend Marilyn Chychota (now Foreman -- congrats Marilyn!!!) as she had, "experience with bringing athletes back from the dead."  It was strange talking with Sara about not being coached by her anymore -- she is so much more to me than a coach.  She is now one of my closest friends!  What started off in 2008 as a simple coach/athlete relationship blossomed into one of my most valuable friendships.

When Sara and I would go to Tucson to train, we would always go for coffee and visit with Marilyn.  Marilyn is a southern Alberta girl -- born and bred, thus I have a special affinity for her!!  Hahaha!!

And, one chapter closed and another begun.

Marilyn is a coach with Endurance Corner and when I inquired about the possibility of her coaching me, she agreed!  She sent me so many questions to answer -- she was getting the whole picture.  It took me four days (this is no exaggeration) of me answering them fully.  As I was writing, I knew that there was going to be no bullshit from me tolerated. This woman impressed and scared me at the same time. HAHAHAHA!

Did I mention how Marilyn has been a professional athlete in three different sports?  Showjumping, triathlon and cycling.  I was excited to get to know Marilyn more as well -- every time we would go to Tucson, there just was never enough time to visit.

My very first session she wrote for me was:  20 min walk with arms in running position.  This was in -28 degrees Celsius if I remember correctly.  But, wow, I felt on top of the world to be moving again. The thing about being that sick for so long and then recovering to the point where I could try walking again, was that I threw out all expectations of myself and just wanted to get healthy again -- and do the activities that I love:  which are swimming, biking, and running.

Fast forward to 2015:  I won the Chinook Half Ironman, then got 3rd overall at Challenge Penticton.  2016 - I placed 5th female at the Wasa Olumpic and got some $$$, 5th in AG at CDA 70.3, then 2nd overall at Chinook Half Ironman,  Ironman Coeur D'Alene was brutal:  flat tire but it was a tubular.  I had squirted that pitstop stuff in there but the gash from the shard of glass was too big for the foam to fill the hole.  Had to wait for race support for another wheel -- which seemed agonizingly slow.

On the way to 5th place at Wasa - photo courtesy of Bruce Cocklin

I also had my period that day and it wasn't a good one. (Some months are better than others, this was sort of medium-meh) By the time I got to the run, I couldn't do more than jog.  So, I shuffled along until the third lap where I thought "Hey why don't I try some Red Bull?"

Sweet Jesus that stuff is disgusting.  It tasted exactly like I thought it would -- like some caustic substance that would clean off an engine. And whoo boy was that ever the correct metaphor...about 200m away from that aid station, I had that rumble in the tummy that every runner knows and fears...

Oh yes, this went far, far beyond "Never trust a fart on your long run."  This was imminent.

I made it into the portapotty in the absolute nick of time and the resounding bellows and whistles and trumpeting that went on in there was magnificent.  I don't know about wings, but Red Bull cleaned out my engine!

From that point on, I ran like I had never ran before - it was great!  I was running faster than I have ever run in an IM marathon.  I was grinning and coming very close to becoming one of those irritating smiling people during a race -- you know those kind?  The ones you want to slap to wipe off that stupid smile?  Oh yes, that was me -- grinning away.  Passed people in my AG in the last 2 miles of the run to squeak into 8th.  My goal had been top 5 in my AG and with all the events of the day, that was a win for me.  :D :D

Back at home - photo I think courtesy of Bruce Cocklin, if not him, I have no idea who took this, lol.

This pretty much covers the basics so all two of my blog readers are caught up.  :P

I'm coaching this year with Endurance Corner at the February Tucson camp.  EVERYTHING is included there -- bikes assembled and cleaned, meals made -- the most important asterisk being "Strong Coffee."  Hahahaha!  All an athlete has to do is show up.  Talks every night -- I'm really looking forward to helping out and learning at this camp.

Coaching is going great, I am so lucky to have so many amazing athletes to work with.  I'm also one of the coaches with Equally Inspiring -- an initiative to get more women involved in the sport of triathlon.  I volunteer 3 months free coaching and help my assigned athlete with anything and everything related to triathlon. 

Random parrot-kissing photo.  :D

All right, now that the past two years have been briefly covered, I can now resume my little corner of the blogging world!  :)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Tell Me How You Really Feel

After reading a news article about an Edmonton woman who after running for 2 hours on a treadmill wearing a sports bra and no shirt, was approached by gym staff and told that walking around in a sports bra was “unacceptable,” I was fired up to write a response.

I’ve had this experience myself – the first time was at a YMCA in Tucson, Arizona.  I was running a hard treadmill session and a staff member approached me and told me I had to either cover up or I could not be in the gym as it was a “family friendly facility.”  I was flabbergasted, humiliated, shocked. I had to stop mid-session, get off the treadmill and go back to the change room to grab a shirt. My face turned beet red – what had I done wrong?  Why was running in a sports bra deemed threatening to families?

The second time I had this experience was in Victoria, British Columbia.  I was even more shocked.  The very first thing that sprung to my mind was: “But this is CANADA!”  As a proud Canadian woman, this was my first experience of being told that what I was wearing was “wrong.”  My head swirled with emotions and questions and through that jumble scorched a red-hot indignation:  Why am I being told it is inappropriate and wrong to wear only a sports bra?  Why am I being made to feel that exposing my midriff is “inappropriate” and “wrong?”  
More importantly, why is having an exposed midriff so threatening?

Here are my thoughts…

Most of the sports bra only debate falls into four predictable responses:

  • Men have to wear shirts, so women should wear shirts.
  •  Worst case scenarios and hygienic reasons.
  • Women who wear sports bras are flaunting their goods so-to-speak and want to be looked at, ogled, approached.
  • Wearing only a sports bra is inappropriate, not family-friendly and somehow “unsafe.”

Men have to wear shirts, so women should wear shirts.
The difficulty with this tit-for-tat comparison is it can go on forever without resolution spiraling into ever more ludicrous comparisons until the focus becomes on who is winning with the latest example instead of addressing what is so fundamentally wrong with a woman wearing a sports bra. 

When a man takes off his shirt at the gym he is typically not wearing a sports bra underneath. Implying that a man’s bare torso is the equivalent as a woman wearing a sports bra is erroneous.  More along the lines of this, we’ve all seen men at the gym with tiny tank tops exposing their nipples. Applying this same logic to women, why can’t women wear skimpy tank tops without sports bras and expose their nipples too?  Is that considered safe and unthreatening?

Worst-case scenarios and hygienic reasons
Somehow if women are allowed to wear sports bras only at the gym, the floodgates to indecency will be opened for men as well.  I don’t really know what is implied here, but the image that springs to mind is masses of sweaty flesh, dripping perspiration all over the floor and overexposure of hairy backs and bellies.

Women who wear sports bras are flaunting their goods so-to-speak and want to be looked at, ogled, approached.
Is it ok to look at a woman because she is only wearing a sports bra at the gym?  This is a ridiculous question.  Of course, it is “ok” to look at anyone.  We look at people everyday as we shop for groceries, walk down the sidewalk.  

What this question really implies is that a woman wearing a sports bra is inviting more than cursory attention – in fact she deserves any attention she gets.

Wearing a sports bra in the gym is inappropriate, not family-friendly and somehow “unsafe.”
This idea that a woman’s bare midriff is threatening to the gym environment speaks directly to how old, entrenched ideas about woman’s behaviour still exist.   Why is wearing a sports bra sans shirt “inappropriate?”  This implies some offense has been given – who is offended and why is this offense granted more weight than the woman wearing the sports bra?  

The family-friendly adjective is tossed about quite frequently as well:  What is it about a sports-bra clad woman that threatens children and families?  Of what are they in danger?

How is a woman wearing a sports bra at the gym “unsafe?”  Is she the cause of danger or the target of danger?  There is no good answer for the latter question.  Are we as a society still saying that violence against women comes down to what the woman was wearing?

In Conclusion
The common denominator in all of this are those dark sexual innuendos that no one will come right out and say, but everyone inherently recognizes:  wearing only a sports bra is indecent, the woman wants attention, therefore any attention good or bad she receives is deserved.

This kind of reasoning is more reflective of the person doing the judging than of any threat posed by a sports bra clad woman.

These discussions inevitably circle back to the K.I.S.S. principle:  Put on a shirt, you warm up. Take off a shirt, you cool down.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2014 Chinook Half Triathlon Race Report

Winner schwag AND a photobomb!  Whoo hoo!  hahaha!

I won first overall female!!!

Whoo hoo!  Photo courtesy of Gord Bramfield

Race week started off less than ideal...

Traveling from Cozumel back home involved a ferry, a bus, a plane, another plane, then an overnight, then another drive.  Traveling this much takes a lot out of me, so I was careful to wash my hands, drink a lot of water, eat right, basically do everything in my power to lower my stress levels.

Random pic numero uno -- awesome weekend spent with great friends Aaron and Flor.  No stress in Coz baby!! :)

I spent the night in Calgary and woke up early to build my bike back up.  Why you ask?  Well, I had to take my bike in to the shop as after 2.5 months in Mexico, it was being held together by electrical tape and a I didn't want to get charged a "bike building fee."  Gotta save money where I can!!  :)

My Dad and I hung around in Calgary waiting for my bike to be repaired, when I got word that my bike was currently unridable due to the casette shifting mechanism.  They would express order a new set of shifters and hoped it got here in 4 days!

So, we left Calgary and continued the trek back home sans bike.  I still have my old cervelo and while it is not ideal, how on earth could I complain?!?!  I mean who happens to have an extra tri bike pretty much set up and ready to go?  lol.

Random pic 2:  My superstar athlete Tracey, me (yes I like cats, bahahaha!!) and Mike before race day in Coz.
I had (and still have) a lot of paperwork (and phonecalls I still need to return!!!) and assorted responsibilities to wade through after being gone for 2.5 months.  It was frankly overwhelming and I made it my mission to not freak out and take things one step at a time knowing the race was getting closer.

I have struggled with my emotional responses during race week and during races before and I was fully aware of this.  I've done a lot of work at letting go and going with the flow this year and I was feeling more in control, more large part due to my amazing coach Sara Gross!!!

Yes!!  There she is!  Winning IM Brasil 2014 AND going sub-9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Friday I got word that my bike was ready to go!  The pieces had come in -- whoo hoo!

Now I had made plans with my Mom to visit my sister (and take her out for a belated birthday lunch) once we arrived in Calgary.  By the time we left, there was no time to drive the bike course (there wasn't even an option for me to swim the swim course unless I had come up the day before) if I wanted to spend some time with my sister.

I did make a big mistake upon picking up my bike...I didn't take it for a test ride.  That is like one of the cardinal rules of triathlon!! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER pick up your bike without riding it first.   I was pressed for time, the weather was pouring down rain, whatever, I made the choice and it came back to haunt me race morning...

I woke up early enough to ride around the street where my sister lives (and this huge bunny kept dashing in front of me, hahaha). Right away two things leapt out:
  1. The aero bars were going one way and the front tire went another
  2. The shifter for the big ring only worked if I held it up manually.
Holy crap.

I knew the Chinook bike course is mostly a big ring course so I had to develop a strategy right there -- I knew I would have to relax my arm and hand and not stress about holding the little lever up for 3 hours.  I accepted it and moved on -- the bike was ridable if I just didn't look at the headset.  Hahaha.  I know how to adjust the headset myself but because the bearings are shot and I have had major issues with getting the headset back on properly, I was not touching it race morning.

When The Momma and I arrived at the race site, I was thrilled to see the Speed Theory tent at the entrance and Cam getting ready to help out athletes!!  He took care of my bike in no time -- very awesome Speed Theory was there volunteering their time and expertise!!!  Thank you!!

Oh yes, it's a little different racing mid-June in Canada.  No plus 37 degrees Celsius like Cozumel!!

Swim - 2km
It was a two loop course, the kind where you run out around a big buoy on the beach.  Air horn sounded and everyone goes off like a herd of turtles.  As usual, before the first turn buoy, the adrenaline rush of the start burned off and people began to fall away.  I found a couple of guys to draft from and stayed put.  Tried a few times to pass but it wasn't happening, so tucked back in and enjoyed the ride!  Hee-hee!

Getting into wetsuit race morning, man, that was a cold day.

Near the end, I was swimming with a group of 3 men and I managed to pull away from them, which led me to question if I had swam hard enough.  I always do this to myself -- start questioning and then a negative spiral happens...only today I recognized what was going on in my head and stopped it immediately.  I congratulated myself for pacing properly and not blowing up at the end but being strong enough to pass at the end.  Success!!

2nd female out of water!!  Photo courtesy of Rena Eveleigh. 

Bike - 96km

I had to put a jacket on in transition as I was pretty frozen.  I knew this was going to be a challenge for me coming from Cozumel but to be honest, it had been so freaking hot there, having some cool weather was a relief, hahaha.

There were a number of times during this ride where my mind wandered and I would begin a negative dialogue with myself.  Each time I was aware of it and brought my attention and focus back to the present.  I thought of all the things I have learned from Sara and was able to relax into the ride.  I felt strong.  I was cold, I couldn't feel my feet, but I didn't care.  I was even thinking how awesome it was that I was able to be so aware of the negative dialogue and be objective about.  I was free of it.

Run - 21.1 km

Off onto the run, my mental focus continued.  I paid attention to pacing, and brought the focus back to myself and myself only.  Awesome feeling.

Photo courtesy of Gord Bramfield

My athlete Darren Eveleigh cracked the top 10 of his age group at Chinook with a solid 7th pace finish!  Congratulations Darren!!

Darren and I at the finish line -- photo courtesy of Gord Bramfield.

Huge thank you to my Mike (Bunler), my parents, to Sara Gross and Clint Lien and Mercury Rising Triathlon.  Thank you my people!!!! :) :) :) 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

From Zero to Hero - Ironman Los Cabos 2014 et al

After IMCoz, I took some time off...

Especially the last two weeks of December where I did absolutely nothing but eat one of each of these every day. 

January 1 was to ease back into training as I had nothing planned until July...

That was until February rolled around.  I accompanied Coach Sara (yes, female champion of IM Brasil 2014) to Tucson and literally dove into training with her.  The first week with Sara, I logged 27.5 hours of swim, bike and run.  I felt a lot like I did during the first few months of my life:

Sara?  What are we doing today?

Training went well, so well in fact that Sara encouraged me to find a race I was excited about and go for it. What about Ironman Los Cabos?  Nothing like a last minute decision to race an iron distance race a month away -- haha.

I admit I started to get scared and questioned how I could be ready in time?  I wanted to take 6 months and just train to have a good iron-distance race.  But, after chatting with Sara, I was somewhat convinced and at the end of the day, trusted her!

Sandwiched in between here was our annual MRT Tucson Phat Camp and a trip to Palm Springs for a small race -- I had a huge PB in the swim and came 4th in my age group. The swim was what I was really excited about -- I came out with the fast girls in my age group for the first time in my life!!

Yay! I just swam like a rockstar and Sara is a pirate!
Onto IMLC --

Ironman Los Cabos results:
8th in AG (first time in the top 10 of my AG!)
Swim: 1:04:56 (!!!!)
Bike:  6:07:46
Run: 4:19:11
Total:  11:37:35

Whoever says that IMLC was easier this year because of the bike course change is full of shit.  It was very hot. The run was ridiculous -- it was 3 laps and near the end of every lap they put this sandy hilly trail section.  It was like Xterra -- I was like, Man you don't DO that to people in an iron-distance race!

Yeah, the money shot right there, Ironman sure ain't about looking glamourous. lol.

 The carnage was plentiful that day.  I chugged along and got it done, but I was borderline having complete bowel release and the occasional cramping along groin and inner thigh area.  I might slow down, but I keep on chugging.  :)

To date, out of the 15 iron-distance races I have done, this one hands down has been the "hardest."  I'm not looking for a harder one, by the  They are frigging hard enough without putting a hilly frigging trail section in there!

Good race and fast recovery which is good news for me since I have decided to take on the Dirty Double this year:  two iron-distance races in 7 days.  Ironman Mont Tremblant on Aug. 17 then 7 days later, Challenge Penticton.

After the race Sara and I indulged at the Cabo Gluten Free Bakery in San Jose Del Cabo -- this place is AWESOME!!!!!!!!

 Two days later, I hopped on a plane and made my way to Cozumel where I have been:



First female overall -- AND FIRST FEMALE OUT OF THE WATER!! 

Hitting pinatas

All for now!!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ironman Cozumel 2013 Race Report

Total time:  11:04:35
Swim:  46:18
Bike:  5:46:46
Run:  4:24:37

Let's do this!

One of the many lessons I have learned from training and racing so many iron-distance events is things never go according to plan.  The point of all this training is to be able to roll with it, so-to-speak on race day.

Ironman Cozumel this year was a perfect example of this.

In the days leading up to the race a fierce wind blew in -- a weather system that locals call the "norte."   Mike and I had experienced the norte earlier this year in Coz.  The wind whips up the ocean into such a frenzy that the port shuts down.  Vacationers who have booked scuba-dive trips are left sitting around waiting for the port to re-open.  And this November there were 2000+ nervous triathletes biting the inside of their collective cheeks...

Registration in my new bright pink top my sister got me for Christmas last year!!  :) :)

As it happened, every practice swim was canceled before the race.  That meant no ocean swimming at the race venue.  No getting familiar with how the currents felt, no practicing sighting and swim start/exit strategy.  Time for my new motto of "F@#k it" to kick in.  :)

Port closed down and no practice swims?
F@#k it.

Seriously, saying this in my head (and sometimes muttering it under my breath) acts as a release valve.  And it works.  My last key session before IM Coz was 25x 100m on 1.55.  I found when my pace started to shift, an emotional component would inevitably weasel its way into my thoughts and by me muttering "f@#k it" after every 100m, I brought my pace back down and got 'er done.  It is amazing how emotions can negatively impact my performance.  When emotions creep in, I lose focus...and speed and efficiency. 


Literally the night before the race, a mass email went out to all participants detailing changes to the swim portion of the Ironman.  The swim was changed to a 3.1km point-to-point swim with the current.
(Keep in mind the current is strong in Cozumel.  More than 300 people were pulled from the swim last year.  After the race last year, there was a video circulating that showed a swimmer vainly swimming into the current and actually moving BACKWARDS.)

Honestly, my first thought was BOOM!  Finally I land in a race with an obvious time advantage.  I've done SO MANY FRIGGING races where the course is long, the weather is brutal, etc.  It's about time!!  :D :D  My next thought was, better wait and see, it is an Ironman after all!

The Momma scoring bath bomb schwag to fill up my goodie all know that I trick-or-treated right up until I was 18 years old right?  (I would wear a walrus mask and crouch down behind my sister- who is 3 years younger than me -  and her friends and just hold my pillowcase out.)  And I would do it again if I knew I could get away with it.  :D :D

The morning of the race was a cluster.  Athletes still had to go to T1 and then catch buses to the new race start.  I went into stealth mode and mooched 80 pesos from The Momma and caught a cab instead.

The Swim: 46:18 -- LOL!!!!

The new race start and beginning of a current-assisted 3.1km swim.

What a gong show.  The pro men started first, followed by the pro women.  The pros swam out to their starting point while instructions shouted out on a megaphone (in both Spanish and English) to us age groupers that we were to stand in either ankle deep water or on the shore.

Well, that went over like a lead balloon.

Yes, literally.

As soon as the pro women started,  everyone started swimming out to the pro race start.  I looked around a few times hoping to hear a whistle or something getting everyone back to shore, but nothing was happening.  So, I joined the horde.

It was 15 min to our race start and the current was bit by bit pushing us past the pro start line.  Good grief.  I said to one guy beside me, "If they don't start us soon, we'll be finishing before we even start."

He didn't laugh.  Dork.

The best electrolyte drink on the planet.  Why can we not get this stuff here?!?!?!

There were a few half-hearted attempts made by a couple of guys on water-ski-jet-ski things (why I cannot remember the word for this is beyond me, hahaha!) to push the swimmers back, but you can't fight the current!  I tried swimming back a bit but when I turned around there was a frigging wall of people behind me.  I waffled, swimming back a bit, forward a bit, trying to find the right spot for my conscience.

Another guy beside me shouted to a volunteer on a SUP board -- "You should bonk these guys on the head!"  (Ok I am liberally paraphrasing here...Hee-hee.)

The volunteer was so awesome -- he laughed and said:  "I just live here!  I don't care -- this is your race, you do what you want."  Whoever you were -- awesome response man!!  :)

Eventually everyone started swimming so I did too.  I never did hear the cannon or gun or whatever it was.  

The current was really apparent.  I was flying.  And I was still drafting like crazy too.  Although the water is crystal clear, I never *see* anything during the swim portion.  I call it being "race blind."  I am just so in the moment of swimming I don't *see* anything but the swimmers around me and how best to strategize how to draft from them.  :)  So, I don't remember seeing any fish or scuba divers (except for my Mikey at the start).


Once we reached Chankanaab Park (T1), the current reversed and it was like hitting a wall.  Oh how I remember that feeling from last year!  I tucked in behind some swimmers and made my way to the steps and gracefully hoisted myself belly-first out of the water.

The Bike:  5:46:46

I'm sure many of you have heard about the draft-fest out there on race day.  It was just as bad as people say.  I was able to keep my emotions in check until the second lap when I let my emotions get the better of me.  There was one pack of guys and girls that would pass me, then fall apart, then repass me.  I went as hard as I could and passed them again and again during the second lap, but I really became frustrated.

There were two pelotons that I experienced:  within one group, two riders collided and one skittered to the pavement.  Big surprise there.  Honestly in pelotons like that I was just waiting to see riders go down especially at the aid stations.  

The winds picked up and it was AWESOME!  Again, it was like the swim current -- finally I was in a flat race with solid winds.  It was like Ironman Crowsnest Pass.   HAHAHAHAHAHA!!  I was in my element and on the windy side of the island, I felt amazing and solid.  The winds in the Pass are so brutal they truly prepare cyclists for all kinds of conditions.

My nutritional strategy was bang on for this race -- FINALLY!!!  It has only taken me 14 iron-distance races to figure this out!!! YAY!

From what I have heard from other competitors, the bike portion ended up being a mile long...Despite the swim being short and current-assisted, things have a funny way of evening out during an Ironman.

Loving the wind on the other side of the island!  And the zinc on my arms this year -- no burns baby!!

The Run:  4:24:37

After Challenge Penticton this year I injured both my achilles and consequently could do very little run training between that race and IMCoz.

F@#k it!  :D

I swam and biked instead and as race day approached I eased back into running slowly.  I had a couple of sketchy moments during training as I danced the line between preparation and re-injury.  Also, I was ready to call the whole race off if I felt like I was going to do some damage.

Once off the bike, I knew right away that this was going to be a LOOOOOOOONG frigging marathon.  It was hot.  It was humid.  I was very hot and I had one pace -- my Ironman chug-a-lug pace which felt even more sluggish than usual.  Slug-a-lug.  :D  Honestly I thought I was going to be doing a 5.5 hour marathon.  I resigned myself to it, so when I saw it was 4:24 I couldn't believe it.  Hahaha. 

I had a few scary moments during the marathon where my achilles or random leg stuff threatened to shut me down.  I knew I was running right at the edge of my current fitness -- the leg cramping wasn't like I had experienced was like I was at the threshold of what my body could do on that day, and if I went over it, even by an inch, I could be that girl who collapses 25m from the finish line.  I really didn't want to be that girl!  Hahaha!

When the heavens opened and a torrential downpour flooded the streets in ankle deep water -- the challenge was upped again.  I still had to grab ice water to cool myself off -- how crazy is that?  Running through rain and still needing to dump cold water on your head?  Only in Ironman! 

Towards the end of the race, I followed the example of some fellow athletes who had the clever idea to run up on the sidewalk to try to minimize puddle contact.  That lasted for a little while until I quickly realized that getting up and down each curb was too much for my legs.  Hahaha -- wimpy legs!!! Hahahahahaha! 

Those three laps were the longest run of my life.  I was *running* so slow, I would empty my mind again and again and get on with it.  I am still amused at how much this particular marathon sucked.

The.  Longest. "Run."  Ever. 

What was going on inside my head:
  • Of course you feel like crap, this is an Ironman what do you expect?
  • This is old news, been there, done that, this is number 14 for you.
  • Get' er done.

I also thought of my athlete Darren who jumped into a 100 mile trail race on less-than ideal training volume earlier this year.  I kept thinking to myself, all I have to do is run three laps to make 26.2 miles, that poor bastard would have run about 12 laps of this course! 

The finish:

As usual I had a "sprint to the finish" moment with a guy!  LMAO!!  I love this, I always end up having some kind of sprint -- it is so funny.  Said dude heard the race announcer say there were 2 athletes coming through the chute.  He looked back over his shoulder and I was smiling and laughing like a maniac and tried to sprint with him.  He was too fast for me!  Hahaha!

I shook his hand at the finish line and navigated my way through the mud pit that was the recovery tent.

Reclining to eat in the days after the race...

 The Aftermath --  

My ultimate goal for this race was to see how my body felt in the days my goal next year is to race two iron-distance events in 7 days....The Ironman Double.  If I wasn't able to stand straight due to my achilles like after Challenge Penticton, this goal would be out.  Obviously.  Heh-heh-heh. But...I felt good.  Really good.  :D :D

The idea of the Ironman Double came about after Challenge Penticton this year....(aside from not being able to stand straight, heh-heh) I was feeling really good and it occurred to me I might be one of those athletes that do well with the double kind of thing.

And so, August 17, 2014 will be Ironman Mont Tremblant and 7 days later will be Challenge Penticton August 24, 2014! 

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!