Roar!

Every time I think about my next triathlon season, Katy Perry’s song You’re Going to Hear me Roar pops in to my head. I love it, it makes me feel strong and empowered.  Yes, I did some ranting in my last blog, but sometimes we need to just vent and get it all out before we move on.  I’ve had a couple of stressful months with a couple things in my life, things out of my control.  Usually I’d just let it go, but the actions of a couple people really hurt me.  Such is life. Anyway, I’m moving on now and music is helping and I’m seeking other things to make me Roar. ;)  Fortunately, I have plenty of positive things in my life which make me do so. Here are a few:

1) Sarah & Courtney are growing up so quickly!  Watching them learn, flourish, and enjoy everything they do makes my heart swell. I was cheering for them on the pool deck while they were swimming last night and when they saw me, they smiled.  Yes, while swimming, freestyle and again during backstroke.  I love it!

2) After a several dozen attempts, Courtney nailed a song on her violin the other night.  If I could only put her expression of joy in a jar!

3) Hearing my parents voices.  I know, this sounds cheesy, but they live far away and we only get to see them 2-3/year so talking to them always makes my day.

4) My jobs as a mom, triathlon coach, and swim coach bring me much joy. I have a great passion for all of them and I enjoy seeking ways in which to improve & learn.

5) Planning my next season is always fun and exciting. I’m slated for Ragnar for my first time (a 12- person relay running race from Madison to Chicago), the Chicago ITU race in June, Nationals, and the World Championships in the olympic distance, which will be in Edmonton, Canada.  There will be a few others races too, I just don’t have them all mapped out yet.  I know I have some untapped speed so I’m eager to work with my coach again this year and get it out!

I love about all these things and many more! Now go find what makes you Roar!

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Random Rants

Although I’m a positive person the vast majority of the time, I’ve had lots of rants going through my head lately.  I will share some of them as self-therapy.

-Tis the season right?  Then why are people pushing and shoving one another through stores and fighting over parking spots?  Several years ago, my mom and I were in her car waiting for the only parking spot in a huge department store lot. Our blinker was on to show we were waiting for  someone to back out.  Once they did, someone else came from the other direction and pulled into the spot.  (Yes, they did see us as we made eye contact first).  My kind and patient mom yelled at them, ‘Merry Christmas.’  Ironically they gave us a dirty look.

-I’ve never understood why people circle parking lots at fitness centers waiting for the closest spots.  Aren’t they there to workout?  Why not take a spot in back and walk an additional 25-75 yards and call it a warm up?

-Blinkers, it seems many have forgotten how and when to use them.  Most of the time I witness drivers take a quick peek in their mirrors, start to merge into the next lane whether there is a car nearby or not, then put on their blinker.  Then they wonder why people honk and get mad at them!  Put the blinker on first in order to seek permission to move over, then look in the other lane for possible clearance.  I was run off the road last month because someone merged into my lane without looking or using a blinker. I was very fortunate no trees or phone polls were in my way.  Having to jump the curb to avoid an accident was pretty scary though.

-I’ve witnessed a few accidents and have been nearly hit several times because many people don’t practice how to properly make a turn.  When doing so, the law states to turn into the lane closest to you.

-Please, if you’re in, or considering to be in, a position to be teaching or coaching kids in any manner, especially younger ones, ensure your personality includes empathy, sympathy, patience, and humor.  Yes, children are resilient, but there are tons of adults out there getting therapy because of how some adult mistreated them when they were kids.

-If passing a cyclist, allow 3 feet between your car and their bike.  It’s the law in many states including Illinois. Yes, some cyclists are annoying and some break laws, but them doing so won’t harm anyone.  If a car breaks a law, lives are endangered.

On a very sad note: my sister-in-law and her family had to put their dog down last week.  It all came on very unexpectedly so they only had a few days to say goodbye.  Luke, you will be greatly missed!  xoxo

Allie & Luke:

AllieLuke

Now if you’ve read all this, I apologize for the negativity.  It’s certainly not like me.  At the same time, thinking about some of these things can deter accidents and ill-behavior.  I’m certainly not perfect and am working on some of these things myself.  Ok, I ‘m done.  Next I’m going to take some deep breaths and move on.  It’s time to enjoy this holiday season!

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Off-season

With this off-season, I’m doing things differently than the last several years.  I typically take 2-4 months completely off, but as I’m ‘maturing,’ I’m finding it takes too long to get back into shape.  Plus I can’t afford to gain 12-15lbs as that also takes too long to lose. That being said, the last couple years I’ve taken months off rather weeks due to various injuries.  Thankfully, I don’t have anything to deter me from training right now. So, I only took about a week completely off this time, then started working out.  Yes, working out, not training.  The latter means having a well thought out plan with a purpose/goal(s).  Working out is doing what you want when you want without having it be a means to a race goal.  Both are good things for different reasons and for the time being, I need to chill and not be regimented in every swim, bike, or run.  I do them each when I want and am only putting in less than half the hours I was during the season.

That being said, I still have a focus.  During off-season, most go back to the discipline they love most, which is completely understandable.  If I did that, I’d be swimming every day.  However, I can’t afford to do that if I want to improve in triathlons.  My swim is not going to get any faster.  I’m about 30% slower than I was in college and I know I will never be that fast again, at least not by training for triathlons. Plus I know I have a little untapped speed remaining in my run and bike so I need to keep my focus there, mainly on my run.  So for now,  most rides are 50-60 min, runs vary between 25-50 min, and swims 45 min- an hour, but are done with a masters team. Most of my workouts are easy, but I won’t forego speed work, I do some once per week in each discipline.  The only other thing I’m doing is my PT exercises I was given last spring for my hip and back issues.  (I’ve learned to never stop doing these, even when things are feeling great).

Well, that’s it for my workouts for a couple months.  With that, some think I have all this extra time on my hands, especially with our girls in school all day now.  Oh contra ire mon freer!  I’m back to swim coaching a few nights per week and am providing more swim lessons. Plus I can actually get my work (triathlon coaching) done during the day instead of at night after our girls go to bed.  So my ‘extra’ time normally goes into getting a good nights sleep.

Hopefully you are getting ample sleep also.  It really makes a difference in workout & race performance.  Here are some other off season tips too:

1) Focus on your weakness.  For most it’s swimming, but that doesn’t mean jump in a pool and do lots of yardage.  Quite the opposite, spend most of your time on technique.  Yes, it can be boring and you’ll probably get anxious to do more yardage, don’t.  Why swim tons of yards without good technique?  It’ll only instill improper technique and make it harder down the road to change it. Improve your form now so when you do need to put in the yards, you can do so more efficiently and with greater speed.  Now read this paragraph again because most will ignore it.  ;)

a. Increase frequency in your weakest discipline.  If it’s swimming, do mainly drills, even if only 20-30 min per workout.  If it’s running or biking, ensure you still do some speed workouts, but also ensure you have easy days in between to deter the chance of injury.

2) Get to your desired weight, at least within a few pounds, before you start training for next season.  You want to be able to focus on your training, not your weight. And no, you don’t need to/shouldn’t train more to do this, you need to eat smart.  If you need help, which I did, seek advice from a Dietician. That’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy some things you normally wouldn’t during your race season, do so.  Just limit the frequency and serving size.

3) Try something new, it’ll give you a great mental break and will help with motivation for next season.  Take up paddle tennis, boxing, racquetball, some sort of class, etc.  If you can’t/don’t want to, at least mix up your workouts.  Try new routes or do current ones in the opposite direction, run & bike on trails, join a masters team, train with different people (some slower and some faster), work out at different times of the day if possible, etc.

4) Don’t ignore your body. If you’ve been doing PT exercises and/or getting massage, continue to do so and go into next season as healthy and strong as you can.

Yes, triathlon is a hobby for most of us, but many are quite serious about their racing goals and aspirations.  The more serious you are, the more you need to hone in on all these fine details.

Now go have some fun!

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HyVee U.S. Championships

This race was on my radar all season, but by the time August rolled around, the excitement to do it had dwindled.  Enter the bronchitis and being sick at Nationals, I opted to rest a week afterwards and sit on it.  The rest didn’t help the bronchitis, but my doc said it was just fine to train so HyVee became intriguing again.  That being said, I didn’t want to feel like I did at Nationals so I didn’t make the decision to race until a couple of days beforehand .  Even then I was still a little apprehensive as I still had a sore throat.

We made the 5 hour trek over on Saturday then listened to a mandatory race talk, picked up my packet, racked my bike, and grabbed some quick dinner before turning in. Oddly, I wasn’t nervous at all, just a bit frustrated with the chance of storms during the race.  Grrr!  I told Scott if they canceled the swim, I wouldn’t do the bike/run.

Thunder and heavy rain woke us up at 4:30am, oy!  I went back to sleep and got up again shortly before my alarm went off, around 5:20am.  Lightning and rain prevailed. I turned on my computer to see if there were any race updates and lo and behold, there were!  HyVee had posted on Facebook that there was a 45 min delay in the start of the race.  I thought about chilling in the room a while longer, but instead drove to the race site as I remembered parking had been a pain (not location wise, but the 30+ minute wait in the traffic line) last year.  That was a very good decision as even leaving early, I still had to wait over 35 minutes in the traffic again.  At least the rain had ceased!  Yay!

Upon entering transition, I heard music to my ears.  There was an announcement that the water temperature was 84 so it was a wetsuit illegal swim. Yea baby!!!  (This is a little advantageous to good swimmers as it doesn’t allow for technically incorrect swimmers to have proper body position.  Without it, they are less aerodynamic which makes it a little more difficult to swim. fyi-Wetsuits create great body positions for all).

Off  to walk to the swim start, which was part way across the small lake. The pros took off first so it was fun to watch them, but I then I became nervous as I couldn’t find Scott and the girls and I had to give him the car keys.  (Scott was smart and brought all their bikes so they biked to the race start).  I finally found them about 25 minutes before my wave.  So then I took to the water to warm up.  Upon exiting, I actually felt a little cold as it was rare for the water temp to be that much higher than the air, 84 versus a cloudy and windy 74.

The swim was a beach start so we had to run a few steps before diving in.  That’s not too common for us amateurs, but a welcome change of pace. Scott took a good pic here with me in the lead. I look like a giant compared to those peanuts!

Mary - Leading the Charge

Being in wave 7, I had to play a game of Frogger weaving around many people. Honestly, I kind of liked it as it presented more challenges and was fun.  Out of the water 1st in my age group, it was an easy transition as I had no wetsuit to take off.  I did wear a speed suit, but that’s easy breezy to get off.

As soon as I started cycling, I felt good, and I felt that way the entire ride.  There were some high winds out there which nearly knocked me off my bike a couple of times (the challenge/risk of using a disc wheel).   The course itself was a little more difficult than I recalled from the previous year, but it wasn’t bad.  Of course perspective has a lot do with this as I didn’t train on any hills this year so any course with a mere bump is a hill to me.  ;)  Anyway, a few ladies passed me on the bike, but 2 were 38, one was 28, one was a speedy 48 years old, and one was 40. I knew I had work to do to keep up with her and I tried, but it wasn’t to be on the bike.  Coming into T2, I had no idea how far ahead she was, but I really wanted to catch her.

Off I went and I felt good.  I felt even better after a minute as Scott and the girls were cheering, taking pics & video, and high-fiving me too. I loved it!  But then I looked at my watch, s-l-o-w.  :(  Really?!?  How could I be going so slowly when I felt so good?  I didn’t let it stress me out though, I just continued to focus on how good I felt and how much I enjoy this sport.  AND, I was breathing much better than I did at Nationals, whew!

I never did catch, nor see, the lead woman, but I gave it my all and was ok with finishing in 2nd place. I really did want to win this one, but it just wasn’t in the cards; my swim was a little slow, my bike was really slow, and my run was a little off.  That being said, I can’t complain as I did take a week off after Nationals so I’m grateful I accomplished what I did.  Plus I was able to catch up with a few friends including Seeley G who finished 3rd in the elite wave.   She reminded me one of the things I love about this sport, the people.  Her and her husband are genuine, down to earth, humble, and just good people.

After talking to them, I made a quick trip to the podium before returning home.

W40-44 Podium

Since I spent most of my younger years living in Moline, we had to make a pit stop there to enjoy some Whitey’s Ice Cream, yummy!  It hasn’t changed much since I graduated high school, which was just a few years ago…or not.  :)  It’s good old-fashioned ice cream and here’s proof  Sarah enjoyed it:

To the victor…go the spoils

Here are a few more pics from the day:

IMG_9072 IMG_9057 Finish Chute 3 IMG_9073

And now, the triathlon season is over!  Yay! Don’t be fooled though, I will be racing this fall/winter,  just not in triathlons.  ;)

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Nationals 2013

Tuesday morning of last week, I woke up at 4am nervous and excited, ready to race and that feeling didn’t stop all week…until the warm-up swim Friday at the race site.  I was extra nervous because I had been diagnosed with acute bronchitis the week prior. My doctor worried it might be pneumonia it was so bad. I’d been super-tired and unable to taper properly. Talk about bad timing!

Anyway, afterward my swim warm up I was cool as a cucumber, and my breathing was feeling better. As many of you know, I always get nervous before every race, no matter what the size or importance.  It’s been that way since I was a kid so it would be foreign to me not to have those butterflies.  To me, it means I’m ready to go.

I had some welcome distractions this time too as it was Sarah and Courtney’s first trip to Nationals and our friend and neighbor, Jenny Zapler, drove up behind us.   It only took us about 75 minutes up to Milwaukee Friday morning and upon arrival, we immediately picked up our packets, biked, and ran.  By the time we headed over to Lake Michigan to swim, our friends, Betsy & Bruce Noxon and Tom Chisholm, had arrived so it was fun to swim with all of them.

That evening we had a Bradbury Fitness team dinner with most of our athletes so that was fun and,  it was another good distraction.  Plus we are fortunate as most of our athletes have become good friends so it’s always a pleasure to be able to hang out with them, especially without workout clothes on.  ;)

I was up at 5:45am and at the race site by 6:15am, perfect.  I wasn’t rushed at all after pumping my tires, jogging, and setting up all my stuff.  There is nothing worse than feeling panicked if rushed for time as it’s easy to overlook something or not have time to use the rest room or warm-up.   I do everything I can to pad my time just in case and I’ve certainly needed that extra time, plus more,  on a few occasions.

Friends and clients Amy O and Betsy were in my wave as well as some other friends like Chris Wickard, Jennifer Takata, and Amy Dukstein.  It’s certainly not enough time to catch up with them, but it’s always nice to see friendly faces and have people with whom to have a little banter with moments before the start.

Off we went and I felt great.  Starting in the 2nd wave, and 7 minutes after the first, it was all clear water, awesome!  And, I was in the lead the entire way!  Now that is a good feeling!  I’ve had the “2nd place out of the water” curse for years at Nationals and Worlds so this made it extra special.  I just kept it long and smooth, very comfortable.  The best part was going under a pedestrian bridge as I could hear my awesome entourage (Scott, S&C, Sandy, Dick, and Kathy) all cheering for me.  Scott got some video of my wave consisting of about 160+ athletes with me leading the way under the bridge:

My awesome entourage was cheering as I exited the water too!

Out of T1, I knew there was a woman hot on my tail and yep, she passed me very soon.  The ride was harder (not as flat) as some anticipated.  I drove the course the day prior so I knew what to expect. Anyway, a few more women passed me throughout the ride.  Chris was great and cheered me on as she did so.  I cheered Michael G as I passed him, as he passed me, as I passed him, and as he passed me, again!  Then I had one more cheer for him as I ran by him in T2.

My legs felt awesome during my warm-up run so I was eager to see what I could do.  Within the first mile, I was passed by 2 ladies, grrr.  At this point I was in 7th place, not where I wanted to be so I tried to hang onto my race plan and hoped that they would fade towards the end of the race and I would catch them then.  The good news is I stayed in that position for most of the run.  Around mile 4, I was really really really starting to hurt.  Breathing was quite labored and my legs were dead. One more passed.  Since it was an out and back course, I knew where the other women in my age group were so I was calculating in my head what position I might end up in if I dared to walk at all.  (The top 18 in each age group qualify for the World Championships and that was my main goal and at this point, I knew my other goal was not to be achieved).  Ah, walking, it sounded so nice.  Thankfully, I’m not wired to do so in a race, let alone at Nationals.  With 1.5 miles to go 2 more passed me, crap!  I had nothing in the tank to respond.  Finally, finalllllllly, I saw the finish chute.  Now most athletes find a little extra and are able to sprint the last 25-100 yards.  Me?  I had not one drop of anything left in this tank, no sprinting, no pace increase at all and at this point, I was fine with it.  I knew my run was really slow, a few minutes slower than what I normally do. I also knew I had placed 10th, but after finishing, I wasn’t yet able to be proud of it.  Once I crossed the finish line, I sought out the med tent as I could barely get in any oxygen.  I’m accustomed to my asthma acting up and wheezing for a few minutes after most races, but this was different. I was actually a little scared.  The bronchitis hit me hard and coupled with asthma, it made for a very unpleasant run and even more unpleasant post race.  They sat me down and gave me a few inhalers.  That didn’t seem to help much which made me anxious and led me to shed a few tears.  I was messed up for about 20 minutes, but came away ok.  Regardless, it was not the finish I’d hoped for, nor was the med tent episode.

Don’t get me wrong, I am VERY grateful I qualified for Worlds, I just look at it differently.  Had it been the same race without the title of ‘Nationals’, I still would have been disappointed.  At the same time, I am realistic and know that battling illness the last couple weeks didn’t help. At least my 2nd place curse has been lifted so I am pretty darn happy about that.  And since Scott is adamant about me posting my times, here they are: swim 21:16, bike 1:06.49, run 47.34, total of 2:18.

What I am totally stoked about is how my clients performed.  They all rocked!!!  Bruce Noxon and Tim Glinski both qualified for the World Championships in the sprint distance and they did so after racing in the olympic distance the day before!  Saaaaweeeet!

So in the scheme of things, all is good:  I love my job and clients, I am thrilled I am able to participate in this awesome sport, my support system is great, and my coach Brian and masseuse Matt keep me in check and functioning properly.  Thank you all! I am a lucky girl!

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Race Weekend!

Saturday started off with a beautiful morning at Crystal Lake where I raced in a 2 mile swim.  It’s quite the laid back race and very fun.  I had a few clients and GA masters swimmers partake and saw many familiar faces too. Nothing much to report here as it just felt like a long swim and not a race.  The only thing that stood out, and I’ve never seen this before, is that they clumped the wetsuit and non-wetsuit swimmers together for awards.  (Wearing a wetsuit is always faster).  I was the 2nd fastest female.  (I was told the first woman was wearing a wetsuit, but that’s not confirmed and really, I don’t care. I swam my own race and it was me against the clock).  Anyway, a fun morning to share with many friends.

Then Sunday rolled around and it was time to do a triathlon.  I was hesitant to do it as I sprained my ankle a couple weeks ago and it was pretty bad last week so I didn’t run for several days.  I opted to sign up for the race Friday and make a decision come Sunday morning.  Since it didn’t get very sore after the swim Saturday, I decided to race.

With a bit of heat and humidity, it was going to be tough, even in the swim as they called a wetsuit legal race. Grrr!  Really? Right at 78 degrees. (At 78 degrees or lower, it’s wetsuit legal to compete for awards otherwise there is no way I would have worn one.  Like I said above, wearing one is always faster).

I love this race as it’s local, has a good venue, and always brings out lots of friends and athletes.  So it’s easy to get distracted chit-chatting with everyone, but sometimes that’s good for me.  It was no different today.  No nerves, no big expectations, just a good hard workout.

Off on the swim, one guy took off right away, too fast  for me. It was nice though as I had someone to swim with the entire way, a rarity.  Not much drafting though as we were about 15 feet apart most of the swim. I felt good throughout aside from melting.  Even my legs were sweating!  Coming out of the water was one of my few concerns as it was about a 1 minute run on damp grass slightly uphill to transition. One wrong move and I could easily roll my ankle.  All was good though and I made it unscathed. Whew!

T1 went smoothly and I hopped on my bike.  Parts of the ride I felt great, other parts my legs felt heavy and slow, not too uncommon on rolling hills though.  The first loop was pretty uneventful and lonely as only a few guys passed me.  Onto the 2nd loop though I was concerned as to where to make the turn for the last stretch into T2.  I should have seen it on the first loop.  Oy!  I was hoping I’d see someone ahead of me to find out.  And voila, not long after, Jen Harrison passed me.  I was pleased to have kept her within 20 yrds the remainder of the ride and thankfully so.  As soon as we passed our sponsor from Runner’s High n tri, Mark Rouse, he yelled at us to go left.  Slamming on our brakes, we barely made the turn.  We were both clearly disgruntled here as there was no marking on the course to turn nor was there a volunteer to provide directions.  (After the race, everyone I talked to complained about this as well, many even missed the turn).

After a solid T2, I was off on the run.  Eeks, my stride was so short!  I didn’t worry as it often takes me a while to warm-up.  It didn’t happen though, my legs felt heavy the entire run.  I never did feel zippy, in fact, Jen and I talked after the race and we both felt like we did a half-ironman pace.  It happens.  It was a hot day and it was great workout.

I had a good swim, a decent bike, and an ok run. I finished 2nd overall and had lots of clients do really well.  It was so fun to see so many local athletes and friends there.  My cheerleaders and sherpa were the best though; Scott, Sandy, Allie, Sarah, & Court.  They cheered hard and provided me with an internal smile throughout.  (I’m often given a hard time as I rarely smile when racing).

Congrats to all, especially on hot and humid day!

IMG_8390

Some BF team members:

BF Team

 

My wonderful family and support crew!

 

Super cheerleaders!

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Pleasant Prairie Tri

Oy, where to start? I was hesitant to do this race, I’m not sure why.  Perhaps my gut was telling me something…

As usual, I arrived about 75 minutes prior to the race start, which normally provides ample time to get everything set up, to warm-up, and to use the facilities with much time to spare.  I typically warm-up last so it’s close to race start time when my body needs to be ready.  So I got everything laid out and headed for the bathroom. The lines were quite long so thankfully I found Jenny Zapler and Stephanie Michelle who let me join them mi-line, whew!  25 minutes later, we’re still in line, not happy.  (I debated asking people if I could go ahead of them since I was in the first wave, but I didn’t have the guts.  Not smart in retrospect)!  Finally, a few minutes later, it was my turn.  Unfortunately the long wait didn’t allow me to warm-up. Grrr!  So I put on my wetsuit then jogged and jumped in place a little and ended with some arms swings and stretching.

My co-ed elite wave was pretty small in size, but large in contact.  It was quite the physical swim, at least for the first 5 minutes, much longer than normal.  I recall thinking how well I was sighting off the bat as I could see many buoys lined up to my left.  Yes!  But that first stretch was tough as some guy was swimming so close to me on my right that with every stroke he whacked me on the head!  He kept veering a couple of strokes right, then would come crashing back into me, again, again, and again.  I wanted to pick up the pace, yet I didn’t want this guy to dictate my race so I concocted a plan.  A turn buoy was about 50 yards away.  At that point I decided I would accelerate around the buoy and kick a little bit to see if I could pull ahead. It worked, whew!  Off to the next long stretch and again, I could see the buoys most of the time.  Sweet!  Closing in on the last turn buoy, no one was around, at least that I could see.  I made the turn and…where the heck were the buoys???  The sun was directly in my face and I couldn’t find any buoys or swimmers, nor the swim exit with the big building behind it.  Panic started to set in, but after a couple of minutes I felt relieved as I could see a boat coming up on my left.  I assumed it was on the buoy line and that I was swimming right on course.  As I got close, I saw two men aboard waving their hands at me so I lifted my head to see what was going on.  They yelled at me to go towards the nearest buoy, which was about 50 yards away.  So basically after making the last turn, instead of going straight, I went way left.  Grrrrr!  And to top it off, there were about 4 guys drafting off me.  Needless to say, they were not happy.  I won’t take responsibility for that though as I always tell people never to trust the person swimming in front of them, especially if it’s me!  (Ask Jen Harrison, she’s seen me do it several times and has been kind enough to help me out during a race)!  Needless to say, not a good swim and I took at least a minute+ hit on my time.

After a solid transition, I hopped on my bike. I kept the first few minutes on the easier side in order to get my high heart rate down.  It worked, but I also got passed by Lauren Jensen during that time.   (She is a former professional triathlete and is super strong on the bike). I expected her to pass me on the bike, but not that soon.  I knew to stick to my race plan and not bust a gut staying close to her. It was tempting though.  I was able to keep her in sight for the first 25 minutes, but then I quickly lost her.  I was going down a long low-grade hill so my speed was high. With that, I switched into my highest gear when bam, my chain fell off.  Crap!  Typically it’s not a big deal, but my pedals wouldn’t move at all and both cranks were parallel to the ground.  How would I dismount?  For whatever reason, I unclipped my left shoe then only removed my right foot from the shoe. I should have done the latter with both.  After slowing pumping my brakes a few times, I opted to do a flying dismount, which I do successfully at the end of every ride…except this time as I wiped out.  Ouchie!  I was ok, but shaken up and very mad, but I got my chain back on, moved my pedals around to ensure it worked, and off it came again.  Really?  Would this be my first DNF?  I tried again and was successful, but it took my head out of the game momentarily as about 4 riders passed me, one of whom was female.  More time lost, about 80 seconds per my Garmin.

Ok, back in the race Mary, shake it off.  I tried hard, but never found a groove.  My power was lower than usual, my heart rate was lower than usual, yet my effort was there. I opted to focus on what I could control, like hydration.  Really?  Another issue?  I couldn’t get more than a few drops of liquid out of my water bottle at a time, even with squeezing it.  Throughout the ride, I tried a plethora of times to hydrate to little avail.  To put it in perspective, I normally consume one bottle during my race rides.  This time I was only able to get about 20% of the liquid out of it. (And yes, I’ve used this bottle before with no qualms). Not good! Not good for the ride or for the upcoming run.

By the time I made my flying dismount, at the bike exit this time, I was THIRSTY.   At the start of the run I grabbed some water, as I did at every aid station.  I drank half and put half over my head as it was hot and there was no shade.  My legs felt decent and I thought I was going at a solid pace.  I even passed a couple of guys which is rare.  In the end, it wasn’t a good run either. The lack of hydration hurt me big time, so more time lost there.  It just wasn’t my day. It happens.

It’s all about perspective; just looking at the results and seeing I placed 4th, well, it sounds good and yes, that is good.  But looking at all my errors & issues and the time it cost me, well, it simply wasn’t a good race.  On the flip side, I am very fortunate I came away with just a little road rash and bruising on the wipe out and am even more blessed that my body allows me to race at all. I am always thankful for that!

A big shout out to sherpa Scott who loaned a stranger one of my spare wheels right before the race started!  That’s why I love the triathlon community!  They are so nice and helpful!  It was great to see so many friends out there hanging tough too; Amy O, Kim & Mark M, Mike, Jeremy, Mark G, Jenny, Stephanie, Tiffanie, Amy D (whom I hadn’t seen since high school), Brian, Marc, Dave, Christy, Rob, Marsha, Janet, Drew (he was very inspirational buddying up with a para-triathlete), etc. Sorry if I missed anyone!

Congrats to all who raced and to all who supported us! And thank you to my sister-in-law Allie for taking such good care of our girls that morning!

Onward and upward!

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