Friday, November 9, 2012

The Future Is Bright

"Call the man

Who deals in love beyond repair
He can heal the world
Of hearts in need of care
Shine a light ahead
When the next step is unclear
Call the man
He's needed here "

July 27th, 2011 was the day my dad was struck while riding his bike by a driver looking in his backseat.  I still can't believe I stood in a funeral home over a year ago at my own dad's funeral - - I was supposed to be home in just 1 week to spend a long weekend with him, he still has to see me race, see me graduate as a doctor, walk me down the aisle, and oh so much more.

Since that day I've had times when I've wanted to throw my arms up call my dad and know he'd have all the answers or know the right thing to say.  I've moved more than a few times in the past year - into a storage unit, down to Georgia, back to DC, to a new apartment in DC, etc.  In the past my dad has always been a huge helper when I've moved, whether into my first dorm or first apartment in DC he was there carrying mattresses and hanging curtains.  When I had to move my DC stuff into a storage unit I was overwhelmed.  It took 2 days of hauling car loads to the storage unit and then unloading the car and filling the storage unit.  I couldn't take it anymore, I had to finish so I would be ready to fly to Arizona the next day and be moved out of my apartment completely -- so I called on my dad to help me, to give me some energy to finish what seemed like in insurmountable task.

I've called on my dad many other times throughout the past year +.  One of those times being the last 2.2 miles of my Ironman.  The first 24 miles of the run I had energy, I had support, I had friends on the course.  As my energy drained and the finish line drew near I didn't want to walk.  I wanted to speed up, but 110 miles into a race, it's hard to just speed up.  At mile 24 my main run support headed to the finish line to be there when I came through - so I did the only thing I could think of at the time.  I asked my dad to carry me on Angelwings (the name of his sailboat) the last 2.2 miles. 

When the next step isn't clear and the tears come I know there will be a way.  As my dad said in an email the morning of the accident, "The Future Is Bright."  My mom has moved to Arizona for a year to go to film school - with of course the ultimate goal being to produce a film.  The film will be a documentary on safety for cyclists, distracted drivers, and most importantly saving lives.  The "Sorry mate, I didn't see you" excuse should not be plausible for taking a human life or severely injuring someone and it all to often is.  There is a long list of people who have been killed or severely injured while cycling and following the rules of the road - some were even targeted by the drivers.  Names you might recognize affected by this include:  Bradley Wiggins (2012 TdF Champion) - Hit November 2012, Sarah McLarty (Pro Triathlete) - Father killed 2011, Levi Leipenheimer (Pro Cyclist) - Hit, Bob Breedelove - Killed during RAAM.  This is only a small sampling of more notable people who have been in this type of accident.  This happens everyday all across America.  As driver's we all need to be more aware and share the road.  

In order to produce this documentary my mom is starting a fundraising project.  Below is a guest post from her and a link to the official fundraising page.  

End Distracted Driving Now-Save Lives!

My husband was killed July 27, 2011 by a distracted driver!

     Hello, My name is Judith Finneren.  My husband of almost 37 years was killed by a distracted driver July 27, 2011, while riding his bicycle.  We have 2 children, ages 25 and 30, whom I had to call the night the accident happened, and tell them what happened to their father.  I never want to hear that gut wrenching scream of pain from my daughters voice again and the dead silence of my son!
     My campaign is extremely important to me, so that not one other family has to experience the pain, loss and tragedy we did!  As I am creating this documentary film, I am also healing the pain of loss and helping to make the world a safer place for bicyclists.  As a contributor to my campaign, you will be part of helping my family heal the pain of loss, while increasing awareness and making the world a safer place for bicyclists.
     I need $5,000 to help produce this documentary film.  The money will be used to travel to various locations, such as Michigan, where the accident occurred, and Washington D.C. where several safe bike paths exist.  Interviews will take place with several organizations that work towards ending distracted driving and increasing bike safety.  Interviews with families of people killed while bicycling and injured bicyclists will be shown in the film.  I will need to pay a production crew with lights, camera and sound to travel.  Food, lodging and travel expenses would be funded by your contributions.  This film will touch your heart and soul!  It is a human interest story.  It is real.  It happened to my family.  
     If I do not reach my entire goal, the funds I do receive will help create the film anyway.  I may not be able to do all I want to in the film if all funds are not received, but it will still be created, produced, touch peoples lives and make a difference!  You may not be able to contribute financially and that is okay.  Please get the word out and share, make noise about this campaign-you will be touched and changed, and so will the world! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

What the hell is that thing?

DCTC Crew - Stu, Dena, Myself, Adam
The Kent School Osprey Triathlon
"What the hell is that thing?!"
This wasn't your traditional triathlon at all.  The event was a bike, kayak, run - luckily you didn't have to bring your own kayak.  It was a fundraiser for the school so there were a lot of families and kids participating as relay teams.  This was by far the most relaxed and race I have ever seen.  Transition was an area of grass where people threw their stuff down.  The start line was an imaginary line through 2 hay bails the had set up.  Bike racking was - well just another area of grass near the hay bails.  There were 4 of us from DC Tri that went out to take part in the grueling 7 mile bike, 2 mile kayak, and 5k run.  We lined up in the front with our bikes with only a few seconds to spare before the announcer sent every one off over his megaphone.  Off we  rode about 3.5 miles out and 3.5 miles back.  The bike was over and done with in the blink of an eye and I was running to my kayak.  I saw the 1st place male only about 20 seconds ahead of me in the kayak.  My kayak goal was to catch him because knew he'd take me in the run no problem.  Through the 2 mile kayak I slowly caught up to him but not before this old dude in an outrigger jetted past both of us!  At the turn around I saw Adam and let him know how I felt about the fancy boat.  "Ahh, what the heck is that thing?!"  Totally not legal was my thought.  I came out of the kayak just 5ish seconds behind the now 2nd place male.  I pulled my kayak up to beach it dropped my life jacket and took off to start the 5k run.  The volunteers at the beach were pulling Adam's kayak up for him, yo what about mine, I'm the lady here!  I felt like I was running ok, but I had accidently left my hat on, no wonder Iwas sweating bullets.  I knew I probably wouldn't be catching the 1st or 2nd place males but I didn't want anyone catching me either.  About a 1/2 mile in a caught up to a young boy who was running as part of a relay team. When he looked back and saw me he took off sprinting.  This pattern continued for about 2 miles.  His mom was there telling him to take a break and walk if he need it.  He was having none of that - he was not going to let a girl pass him.  About 2.5 miles in I passed him, but next this I knew he's behind me talking to his dad and says, "it's time to gamble" and takes off again.  This kid was going to try to sprint it in about 1/2 a mile.  Good luck to him I thought.  A few hundred yards before the finish I caught him again.  By this time there was no way I was going to let this little shit beat me so I gave him a good little trip and took off to the finish with my arms held high.  No not really, actually instead of passing him I encourage him and stayed a step behind him the entire way in to the finish.

Overall Champs
It was a fun race and a cool setup afterwards with hot food and beer for everyone while we waited to the awards to start.  Our DC Tri crew took home 1st Overall Male and Female as well as a couple age group awards.  One of the best parts about this race is the location near the Chesapeake bay.  After the race we drove in through town and found a cute restaurant on the water to hang out at before continuing on the weekend adventure.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Augusta 70.3 Race Report

This was my 2nd trip to down south for Augusta 70.3.  In 2011 it was my first 70.3 and by far the longest race I'd ever done a year ago.  I set my goals high for the 2012 race - I'm more fit, more experienced, have raced much longer, have ridden and run much farther, and this would be my 3rd 70.3 race.  The two races previous I've been happy with, improving with each one.  I was told by some people that I would struggle being only 1 month our from IM Louisville - not once during the race did I feel tired, fatigued, or sluggish and blame it on Louisville.  Sure maybe if I hadn't done Louisville I could have had a better run in Augusta or I wouldn't be as sore now, but Augusta 70.3 is one of my favorite races and when I knew some newbies from DC wanted to head down I jumped on board right without much hesitation.


I met up with a couple friends, rocked my Canadian Tri Kit and headed down to the Savannah River for a practice swim.  The river was moving pretty well and I knew a swim time better than last year's could be possible.  Out of all the river's I've swam in the past couple years (Potomac, James, Ohio, Black, etc) the Savannah River is one of the cleanest.  I could see my hands through the water, I could see the wonderful seaweeds, and I could see feet in front of me.  We swam about 500m of the swim course and I felt great.  The water was just cool enough to be wetsuit legal.  Post practice swim I headed up to the expo for a short massage since I hadn't had time to get one in DC.  The massage was awesome and my hamstring felt way better afterwards.  Post massage I racked my bike (in the wrong spot :O whoops! just one digit off).  The rest of the day was spent napping, meeting up with an old friend from Southern, and finally capping it off with a pre race dinner I'm all too familiar with at Olive Garden. strategies


PRE RACE - 4:45 Wake Up

I plan out my entire race weekend prior to getting to the race site.  I leave plenty of time and space in the day or 2 before the race to make adjustments based on where and who I am with.  On race day, it's pretty by the book.  Wake up, change, eat breakfast.  Same breakfast as last year - Special K Red Berries, Almond Milk, banana, and peanut butter.  Yum. Loaded up all the car and hit the road by 5:15 AM.   Parked at the Inn on the run course that some DC Tri-ers were staying at and soon after headed to transition.  I was in transition by 6am inflating tires, reviewing in my head what nutrition I'd be taking and when, and if I had all the gear I needed.  I made my way out of transition and literally ran into one of my favorite patients that I treated at PTS in Acworth!  How amazing to see him and catch up, only if it was for a few minutes.  I decided to save my legs and take the bus the 1.2 miles up the road to the swim start.


Well the male pro's started at 7:30 and a lot of other people started after them.  My wave wasn't off until 9:04.  I had plenty of time to sit on the curb, chat with my friends, relax and eat half of an energy bar.  This is my least favorite thing about this race.  It is the largest 70.3 in the world and it takes forever to get all 25 waves into the water.  The time went by fast, before I knew it I was in my wetsuit standing under the arch, with only a couple more waves to start before me.

THE SWIM - 29:57

9:04 - we were finally off! I've busted my butt in the pool this year and as such expected that my swim time might be a minute or two faster than last years.  No such luck.  Good enough to still have a PR race result but not too happy as I saw the clock coming out of the water.  This year has not been a great swimming year.   I've spent 3 nights a week swimming was a Master's Program since May - I'm starting to believe I may be better off sticking to my own swim training.  The swim was a bit physical at the onset.  All women 18-29 started in the same wave.  Grabbing, kicking, punching, it all happened.  It was oddly enjoyable.

T1 - 3:38

The run into the transition area is a little long but at least there is wetsuit strippers.  My wetsuit was off with ease and I was on to get mister and take him for an awesome ride.

THE BIKE  - 2:38:56 (21.14 mph)

I love this bike course.  It's pretty much flat, rolling hills, flat.  My kind of course.  The southerners think the course is hilly.  I'm not sure where they got the idea that a total elevation of 476 ft  = hilly.  I was passing people the entire ride.   I started the ride with an aerobottle 3/4 full of water and a plastic sport top gatorade bottle full of Gu Brew in the back.  Once through the water I dumped the Gu Brew into the aerobottle and discarded the Gatorade bottle.   This made for simple bottle handoffs - or what should have been simple bottle handoffs.  The first two handoffs went great, the third handoff was a disaster waiting to happen.  As I snagged the water and got settled in to speed back up another chick cut in front of me to get something for herself, she also slowed way down and accidently unclipped her left foot.  There were people passing to our left and volunteers to our right.  I wasn't about to unclip or stop myself so I yelled, "pedal, pedal, pedal, please!"  In which she said something along the lines of "ahhh I don't know what to do!".  She gave me just enough room to skirt around her, crisis averted.  The course is great and takes you through some nice shady forest areas and over a couple bridges.  The course doesn't feel all that crowded until the last 10 miles or so.  This is where avoiding drafting and blocking became difficult.  I had passed 2 women (Penelope and ???) around the 45 mile marker and they weren't going to let me go.  They leap frogged me a couple times but it was obvious they could't keep up the pace. Every time they would pass me I'd pass them back within a minute.  As we crossed the bridge back into GA the course was so crowded the 3 of us were riding on the left the entire time passing others, passing each other, etc.  Soon we were making the final turn back into transition and before I knew it the dismount line was in front of us.  I had my feet atop my shoes ready for a moving dismount but the line was so congested I ended up having to pretty much stop before dismounting.

T2 - 1:36

I had a simple transition.  As I was bent over slipping into my running shoes I had the sudden urge to I did.  I turned my head to the side and let go some Ironman Perform right as #3179 (Penelope) was racking her bike.  Luckily for her it was under where her back tire was hanging so it didn't get up in her TA.  I was much more comfortable after letting go of the Perform and grabbed my nutrition and hat and headed out for the run.

THE RUN - 2:00:46

I tried to start the run pretty conservatively, knowing that I went out way to hard on the same course the year before.  I was actually most disappointed with this part of the race.  I ran better than this at the Kinetic 1/2 earlier this year, I've let myself get away with running slow all year long.   The Kinetic 1/2 course is a much more difficult run course.  My goal for the run was 1:50.  Ten minutes off.  On a good note I felt great during the run and kept on top of my nutrition. I carried a small container with salt/electrolyte pills in it during the run and popped a pill a few times throughout the course.

OVERALL - 5:14:50

A PR.  A great time with friends.  I was initially disappointed with this result.  I know what two sports I'll be reuniting with this winter.  I spent a lot of time on the bike this summer.  I enjoyed every second of it and my bike splits have shown improvement, but I love running and I definitely did not spend enough time working on my running this year. I  may end my "tri" season on this note and let the body recover for a little bit - but there is a race on Saturday that is in my head...

Friday, September 28, 2012

At It Again...

5 short weeks after Ironman Louisville I'm in Augusta, GA getting ready for the Augusta 70.3 on Sunday.  The past couple weeks of training my legs have felt great.  Augusta was a big race for me last year, the race I spent all season building up to.  Now, the distances seem short, the course familiar, and the pressure to do well a bit higher.  The pressure is all from myself, but really why go easy on myself, it's not like I've done much yet this year ( oh yeah, racing started in April with USAT Collegiate Nats...).

Augusta 70.3 Swim Start
I hitched a ride and a good hotel deal with a fellow DC Tri-er.  We rolled into town at about 11:30pm Thursday night.  It seemed uber late after a full day of work but we got some good sleep before heading over to athlete check-in this afternoon.  Our fellow DC Tri-ers will mostly arrive this evening after spending all day driving.  Mostly everyone else here from DC Tri is tackling their first 1/2 IM - it's a big race for them, the race they've been building for all year.  It reminds me that it's still a long race and a long day out there, though in comparison it seems short.

The race starts at 7:30 wave starts at 9:04 (transition closes at 7:15).  Not cool M-Dot.  Not cool at all.  That's almost 2 hours of, you got, waiting.  Yes, I'll get to see the pro's go off and all, then every single man.  Many of whom I'll get to chick on the bike - so at least there's that.  The river looked like the current was moving steadily this afternoon, so a swim time as good or a bit better than last year's will be a key in hitting my goal finish time.  My previous 1/2 IM times are 5:40 (Augusta '11) and 5:23 (Kinetic '12) - I'm looking forward to a good day in Augusta on Sunday ;)

Follow me through Augusta at  My bib # is 3178.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

IM Louisville 2012 Race Report

Ironman is a long weekend, a long day, and an unforgettable experience (so of course this post is long).  My mind turned to all things IM as I walked out of work on Thursday afternoon.  Did I have everything packed, was my bike going to make it out to Louisville ok, had I prepared well enough...Soon enough I was walking through the Louisville Airport, getting my bag, and meeting up with Zach for a ride to my hotel.

Friday morning started nice and early with a short ride/run with Zach, athlete check-in, preparing special needs and transition bags and nutrition, and the athlete banquet, as well as the arrival of my crew.  As much as I was reminded to stay off my feet as much as possible before IM it was difficult.  The host hotel was about 4 blocks from my hotel and I had to walk there for athlete check-in, stay on my feet during all of check-in, and then walk back.  I was able to sneak in a post-lunch nap on Friday which felt amazing.  The energy surrounding the entire city and downtown area was everything Ironman.  It was an energy the made me excited to be there, excited to race, and confident that I would have a good day in Louisville.  My mom arrived Friday afternoon and I was relieved to have someone else there helping me navigate, plan, and just share some of the stress.  I hadn't seen my mom since my May graduation so it was about time for a visit, and what better place the Ironman Louisville.  Mom and I headed to the athlete dinner and race briefing in the evening.  Dinner was pretty good and efficient.  I can't say the same about the briefing - it was long, repetitive, and a bit boring.  Luckily entertainment came in the form of more DC Tri support showing up mid race briefing :)  The last two members of my support crew got caught with a delayed flight and arrived late so  they stayed in a different hotel on Friday night so they wouldn't disturb my slumber - best sherpa team ever.

After a solid night of rest mom and I woke early and headed down toward the swim exit and transition area for the practice swim.  It was a 600m course out and 600m back.  The current wasn't horrible but definitely noticeable and helpful on the way back in.  Once out of the water mom and I took a gander at transition, people watched from the shade and awaited the arrival of the others.  Once all together we split up so Adam could get an Ohio River swim in, the fam could see Ironman village and make signs, and I could sit in the AC.  Once the signs were made, free samples obtained, and giveaways gotten we headed to lunch before getting back to the hotel room.  I needed to finalize my transition and special needs bags - nutrition and items to be in each as well as make final preps to Mr. Velo before taking him down to transition for the evening.  The other part of Saturday I didn't even want to think about was dinner - Louisville was jam packed with triathletes looking to carb load the night before their Ironman.  Luckily I had some of the best sherpa's ever, and they scouted out a great lil pasta joint that wasn't crazy packed just a few blocks from our hotel.  After dinner we went back to the hotel and I got ready for bed while the others headed out to 4th Street Live for a bit.  I was in bed by 9:15 - tired but had trouble sleeping.  My legs felt restless, I put on my compression pants and all was right in the world again.  I passed out and slept pretty soundly until the alarm sounded at 4:30am.

The alarm sounded and I was out of bed in no time ready to start the "plan".  Special K Red Berries, banana, peanut butter, almond milk.  I was happy.  Got dressed into race kit, woke the others, grabbed pre-made hydration from the fridge and headed out the door around 5am.  Transition was buzzing with athletes making final preparations, inflating bike tires, and loading nutrition onto the bikes.  Once the bikes and gear bags were finalized athletes had to walk about 3/4 of a mile to the swim start.  Once at the swim start you had to walk to the end of the swim start line.  For mom and I that was about another 3/4 of a mile.  Rory and Kara took care of sherpa duty #1 and ran back to transition to have someone pour H2O into my aerobottle, since I forgot to take care of that.  Mom and I enjoyed our time standing/sitting in line, meeting other athletes, getting soaked by sprinklers, and for me finding make shift bathrooms out of the surrounding weeds and parking lots - at least it was dark out still.  The pro's started at 6:50am and we got to see this swim by about 500m into the course, they were moving in a tight draft pack.  Once the age grouper's were in the water the line started moving pretty steadily.  Rory, Kara, and Adam were able to find us and share the last few moments with me before atheletes were separated and sent down to the dock.  My last question and concern of the morning - was it ok to pee my pants on the dock before I jumping in the water?  Adam's answer, as he looks at the ground I'm walking on, "Looks like you wouldn't be the first."  So as I zigzagged down the dock to start my Ironman I convinced myself that it was ok and that I would be much more comfortable if I just let myself pee.  For some reason peeing your pants is easier when you're already soaking wet with water and sweat.  I was able to get over the fact that the people behind me were probably judging me and just let it go.

THE SWIM 1:28:55
"Soon you won't be thinking about Ironman, because you'll be racing one.  The swim is long, it's long for everyone."  So true.  Once you step across the timing mat and jump into the water you're racing your Ironman.  You'll try to stick to plan A, may have to go to plan B, and from there may just have to keep moving forward the best way you know how.  The first 800m or so of the swim felt great.  I felt like I was cruising along, passing people and swimming strong, steady, and smart.  I did not want to feel like I was redlining at all during the swim.  The day would be too long for that.  I was expecting to swim past Towhead Island and making a U-turn to begin swimming back toward the swim exit, not the case.  There were about 3 more bouys past the end of the island!  Once out from behind the island you could feel the choppiness of the river and a bit of a struggle against a current.  Whatever current there may have been it wasn't very helpful once we made the turn around to head to the swim exit.  I still felt strong and knew I was passing some people and felt that my sighting was pretty good.  I hadn't had too much contact with fellow swimmers and was carrying on at my steady little pace toward the swim exit.  About 300m from the exit I got clobbered by a dude, he dropped an elbow right on my ear, talk about painful!  I couldn't do much except keep swimming, so I did, and the pain subsided.  As I began to think about the bike and my bike plan I forgot that it happened at all.  Finally I was turning left toward the swim exit and the final 50m was super congested.  I swam through and around people as I approached the stairs leading out of the river.  Once near the stairs a volunteer grabbed my arm and pulled me onto a stair and put my hand on the railing.  Thank you for making the swim exit a bit more manageable volunteers!

T1 4:11
I ran up the slight incline from the swim exit and around the corner to grab my bike gear bag.  With bag in hand I ran down and around another corner into the women's changing tent.  I put on my helmet, stuck PB sandwich in shorts, donned sunglasses, bike shoes, and race belt before heading out of the tent.  Once out I paused so I could get slathered in sunscreen.  I ran down toward row #2, just behind the pro's, where Mr. Velo was racked.  I accidently ran down a row too early, but there was a nice group of bikes missing and I just ducked under the rack.  Once Mr. was in my possession I headed for the mount line.

THE BIKE 6:01:46

Ready to dismount
112 miles of Louisville, here I come, you don't scare me.  The way out of town was filled with energy from all the fans and  especially seeing my family and friends and hearing their shouts and cheers.  The way out of town was flat and fast, we had a nice tailwind making the effort seem easy and speeds easily over 21 mph.  The first water bottle hand off came quite early and a chose to forego it as I was well stocked starting out on the bike.  Before I knew it I was making a right turn on the out and back portion of the bike course.  From everything I had  read and heard from previous IMKYer's this would be the toughest part of the course.  Early in the season  I probably would have felt that the "climb" was tough, but really it maybe took 4 minutes to get up and was super fun on the way down.  The tight U-turn created some congestion, especially with a guy taking a spill (don't leave your inside foot down, you'd think you'd figure that out after spending hours on the bike).  Volunteers helped him up and get his bike out of the way as quickly as possible, because he was blocking the entire lane.  I had to slow but didn't have to stop or even take my foot out, meanwhile this 42 year old lady comes flying passed most of us screaming "on the left" and yelling at the man who had fallen to get out of the way.  She soon came to a stop and then once again tried to shoot passed us on the climb back up the hill, needless to say she didn't last long ;)  Once back on the main road up to La Grange I was continuing to pass people, at one point I passed a guy and he yelled, "holy crap" so, shocked I looked back hoping I hadn't cut him off or messed him up somehow and he followed it up with "you're fast!"  Well, duh, I am chicking you right now.  The rest of the ride out to LaGrange was nice and mildly rolling but nothing to difficult.  Once into LaGrange there were a few different pockets of fans - which was super nice. For the first 35ish miles we hadn't seen much in terms of crowds and support except when we were just leaving town.  LaGrange had a nice slight downhill portion where the main announcer and most of the crowd was gathered. I rolled through, spotted my crew, gave them a wave and set out to knock out the 1st loop.  Once on the "back" side of the loop around LaGrange the rollers became it bit more difficult.  Nothing too crazy but definitely a bit more than what I was expecting.  As I continued on around mile 50 I began to notice an unusually large # of people changing flat tires, then I noticed an official squatting in the middle of the road looking at the pavement.  Oh no, the dreaded Louisville tack monster had done it again.  I tried to watch to road as close as I could and was thankful to make it off that section of roadway rolling smoothly.  Just before I began the 2nd loop was when I really started to feel the heat of the day.  I was drinking fluids constantly on the bike and taking water and/or perform at every handoff.  I was trying to dump cold water into my aerohelmet and down my shirt.  I had stuck to my nutrition plan and was feeling good in that way.  I just needed to keep my body cool.  Taking \care of yourself on the bike really sets you up for the run.  About 60 miles into the bike I began to put down my peanut butter and banana sandwich.  Small, small pieces were all I could choke down.  Small bite, gulp of water.  Eventually I got it all down minus the part the got stuck all over my aerobottle.  As planned I cruised through the special needs area without stopping and was onto my 2nd loop.  My support crew had moved up and I saw them sooner than anticipated which gave me a little kick of energy.  As I got through town and onto the more remote side of LaGrange the athletes were really spread out and at points I almost felt alone.  I was hot and continuing to poor cold water into my helmet as often as possible.  After going through one aid station where I took 2 waters and a peform I had a guy roll up next to me and ask me for some water.  After dumping about 1/2 the bottle on myself I handed it over, as I would have just chucked it the side anyways.   I continued to carry out my nutrition plan as best as I could. I missed a bar but was able to get down a couple gels and one bar after the sandwich.  As I finished up the final loop of LaGrange I was excited to be hitting some flats and rolling back into town.  Not so fast.  After getting passing the road of the out and back in which the course should have seemed flat or even slightly down hill we got hit with a pretty strong headwind.  Oi!  I kept at a solid state but was only going about 18mph.  I toyed with the idea of really dropping the hammer and getting in under 6 hours but the thought of the marathon right around the corner scared me off.  I hunkered down, stayed aero as best I could, and enjoyed the moment.  As I got closer to town and transition I could hear the crowds and knew it wouldn't be long until I hit the ground running.  By the last few miles I was more than ready to get off my bike.  I love my bike but holding my head had become so difficult and I knew no mechanical issues could arise during the run.  I rolled to the dismount line with my feet on the tops of my shoes, jumped off Mr. and he was taken away oh so very quickly.

T2: 4:17
A volunteer was right there to take my bike, all I had to worry about was getting my gear bag and getting into the tent.  Another volunteer had grabbed my gear bag and ran with me into the tent.  She dumped out the bag and went through everything inside of it - do you want to change your shorts? do you want these gels, do you want this?  do you want body glide...?  She didn't miss a thing and as I was slipping on my shoes another volunteer brought me 2 cups of cold water.  One over the head one into the body.  I ran out of transition, made a quick stop to be slathered with more sunscreen, and headed out to tour 26.2 miles of Louisville on foot.

THE RUN: 5:14:10
The last long run of my Ironman summer.  Yay!  I smiled, I high-fived my support crew on my way out to the course, and I took in the moment.  The first couple miles are an out and back on the bridge toward Indiana.  The breeze across the bridge felt good, I was keeping an eye on my watch for my pace and had hit 8:40 for my first mile.  Slow it down, be patient, it's going to be a long run.  I took water and perform at the first aid station, walked 20 steps and continued running.  Repeat at aid station 2, though this time I noticed I had slowed down more than I was planning on.  Repeat again at aid station 3, I was just around 10 minute miles, and feeling a little frustrated.  I turned the watch off.  It didn't matter.  I was doing my Ironman.  The run was going to be a test of patience.  Around this time Adam appeared on a bike.  He rode near me for a bit, skipped ahead, rode with me some more.  The first few miles I didn't speak to him much.  As I grew more comfortable with the run and with the pain I began to carry on a conversation with him.  The run hurt but I had expected it to, so I wasn't too surprised.  I made sure to enjoy every moment, take in as much as I could, and smile.  Apparently, I couldn't take in too much of the scenery as I was clueless that I had run through a college campus 4 times and I only noticed Louisville Downs once out of the 4 time we passed it.  Whoops.  The first 3-4 miles I kind of forgot about nutrition other than liquids.  As I remembered I began to take gels every few miles.  I was slowing and tiring mid-run and thankfully Adam reminded me to take salt pills and drink the chicken broth.  DRINK THE CHICKEN BROTH.  It sounds gross, but it's absolutely delicious and on a hot Ironman day, it's what your body is craving.  I made small goals for myself during the run.  Special needs was at about mile 14 - I got to changed my socks and grab my peach.  I loved on that peach.  So yum!  The next goal was single digits....yes mile 17 would mean I had single digits left to run....woo woo!  I think Adam thought I was nuts for cheering for single digits.  I had to keep myself going somehow.  Mile 20 wasn't too far away and we all know what happens at mile 20 - only 10k left!  10k to pick it up and make sure you leave everything on the course.  I was still smiling, I was cheering on fellow DC Tri-ers and enjoying the pain.  When the run really started to hurt I knew I could make a decision - let the pain take over my mind and suffer through the rest of the run, or embrace it, enjoy every step of it, and put it outside my mind.  I chose the 2nd option - I let it hurt for a moment, remembered I chose to do this, and was thankful that I just got to spend ALL DAY doing something I love.  I put the pain outside my mind, there was nothing I could do about it then anyways.  As I got near the last couple miles of the run I could feel the excitement of the finish line growing nearer.  Adam took off to meet up with the rest of the crew once we hit mile 24.  Adam, Mom, Rory, and Kara and all the other IM support crew peeps helped me through 138.4 miles.  The last 2.2 I was running with Dad, just him and I.  As I rounded the last few turns toward the finish chute the noise and excitement continued to grow.  I saw the lights, heard the announcer, and dug for one last kick toward the finish line.  I spotted my crew just before the line and I put my arms up as I crossed the line.  I was done.  I was an Ironman.  A volunteer caught me - I let him do the work and let my legs wobble a bit. He asked me a couple questions, got me some water, got me a shirt and hat, and connected me with the family as he walked me through the finish chute.  Hugs, tears, chocolate milk...I was happy!  We walked a few steps and then I needed to sit.  the curb was the closest seat so I sat.  It felt good to sit and not so good the stand back up.  I couldn't stand on my own.  I couldn't stand with Max Assist x1, it took Max Assist x2 to get my butt off the curb.  Ironman does that to you.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Hammer Time..or Not

If you've ever raced with me, or watched me race, you probably know that more often than not I like go out hard and see how long I can hold on.  In sprint and Oly tri's I've even used the term dropping the hammer as my motivation to myself on the bike.  I've got 2 years (plus this season so far under my belt) and should know better than that.  Really the results should speak for themselves.  My best running races are the ones that I've determined my pace, had a written pace sheet, and nailed it - allowing me to actually finish a bit better than my goal times.  My best tri's have been those that I tend to pace myself at as well - take for example Nation's 2011 and Augusta 2011.  I paced myself on the bike at Nation's and PR'd the run.  At Augusta I rode hard for the entire 56 miles, didn't follow a nutrition plan, and bonked hard on the run.  Have I learned my lesson - well cognitively yes, but have I truly put it into action this year?  Yes and no.  At the beginning of the season I paced and PR'd my HIM time by more than 19 minutes.  I paced pretty well at Collegiate's, and well I blew up at General Smallwood in an effort the "win" the bike race - no one else there was in a bike race, what was I doing,  I don't know, being an idiot really.

I'm a little bit competitive and to be honest this isn't good for pacing.  It leaves me wanting to drop people from the start and I usually pay for it by the end of the run.  That's exactly what will not happen in Louisville.  As competitive as I want to be I have to race my race at my pace.  Whether that leaves me in first or last in my age group, Sunday will be my race.  My body is feeling strong, rested, and ready to go so I'm confident it won't be last, but I have no control over the training and tapering of the other 80+ women in my age group.

Knowing myself and my body will be incredibly important for success on Sunday.  When to hold back, when to push, and when to keep calm and keep moving forward.  I'll listen to my body on the bike, following a nutrition plan I know works, to set myself up for a successful run, where I'll keep a steady and strong pace.  IM is a long day and at some point Plan A might not work out, so I'll go to Plan B, and if Plan B doesn't work I'll keep moving forward.  So often energy for racing and pacing is related to matches or bank accounts.  I've made all the deposits and I've got a box full of matches, the key is not to spend it all at once or light them all at once, but use it steadily throughout the day.

"Pace is essential in running and in life.  We have to know when to pick it up and when to conserve.  It is the most strategic component of running a good race, and as such it requires the greatest amount of maturity.  It is a worthwhile study and one that never ends, because our abilities and our goals are always in a state of flux.  But if you know your ideal pace, you know yourself..." - Mile Markers by Kristin Armstong.

Follow Me to Louisville

I've made it Louisville and so have over 2000 other future Ironmen!  The flight itself was not that exciting, though actually getting on the plane seemed to take forever.  Something about they had to install a new toilet, so we left almost an hour late.  I would be lying if I said this didn't make me nervous.  They didn't tell us what was going on or why we were just standing in line to board but not actually boarding.  I actually began to look up other flights on my phone that would get me here on Thursday night still.  All worked out well and I even got to sit next to a gem of a couple who had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Today will be pretty busy with IM business.  Starting the morning with a short ride/run, followed by athlete check-in and all that goes with that.  I'll try to sneak a pre or post lunch nap into the mix before the afternoon activities start including the banquet, athlete briefing and of course sorting out 2 special needs bags and 2 transition bags.  The weather here seems great so far, granted I haven't been here in the middle of the day yet, but from what I hear it could be much worse.

To track me on Sunday (race day!) you can visit ( for free text updates and 4 live streaming cameras.  The link to track an athlete will show up on Saturday.  I'm bib #75.  More updates and pics to come from Ironman Village, DC Tri Crew, PTS Sports crew, and of course My Crew arriving tonight :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad

2 years ago today, I started my blog, on my dad's birthday, for no particular reason.  Here's a look back through the blog, in pictures :) Enjoy.  Life is short, but sweet for certain. -DMB

East Tawas 2010 with CharlieJo
Old Rag with PT friends
1st Oly Tri 2010

Michigan Winter
Bringing home hardware at Tri Latta '11
Hardware at USAT Regional Club Champs. '11
Remember and missing a great man.
His last race, 4th in AG :)
Test riding my soon to be New Bike.
Hardware at Nation's Tri 2011

1st Half-Ironman 2011
1st Marathon 2011
Me best friends wedding :)

Your Heart's Home - Sedona, A

New Wheels!
1st Hardware of 2012

Collegiate National Championships 2012

Kinetic 70.3 2012
1st Hardware in a 70.3 :)

Long IM training ride with a great crew 
IM training - Day by day

Lookout Mountain, Colorado - July 2012

Happy birthday to the man who put me on 2 wheels. My first love. My biggest fan. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012


After weeks of pestering and months of advice to take a vacation before starting work I set foot in Colorado for 10 days of laughter, adventures, sweat, work and fun.  Kim and I headed to Colorado on a Tuesday and were greeted wonderfully by her old friend, Kirk, at the Denver Airport.  We spent a few days and nights exploring Denver before the rest of the DC Tri crew landed at 5280.

The first 3 days were spent in and around Denver with Kim and Kirk.  On Wednesday we woke up to fresh fruit for breakfast before heading out to Red Rocks.  Our plan was to run the "steps" at Red Rocks.  I assumed this would be similar to running stadiums in college - oh was I wrong.  Running the steps at Red Rocks is more like running the aisles.  You run across each row, go down a step, and run back.  We ran slow, with our camel backs, and kept a steady pace. After completing 1 round, which took about 20 minutes we took a break, ran up the stairs on the outside, and back down.  After resting for a few moments we ran up the aisles.  Running Red Rocks was great, we had free entertainment while a young girl rocked out for us, testing out her vocal cords.  She did a little operetta before nail Carly Rae Jaspen per our request.  The scenery that surrounds you is gorgeous and there is not shortage of other athletes around.

While running I didn't notice the O2 deficit much, but after lunch and once back home I passed out for a nice nap.  After I waking we headed to the outdoor 50m pool just down the road, Congress Pool.  The air was crisp, the water clean and I felt great.  My swim at Congress Pool was one of my best swim workouts I've had.  I hope I get into the dirty warm Ohio River next week and feel just as great :)  Kirk was nice enough to drop us off and pick us up, before heading to dinner.

One of our keys for acclimation was hydration, and hydrate we did!  I was constantly heading to the bathroom and Wednesday night I probably set a record for myself waking up about 4 times to use the restroom.  Thursday was a tough day, Kirk went to work and left Kim and I to navigate Denver public transportation on our own.  We walked out to the bus stop, watched 4 buses come and go, and finally boarded or bus to Applewood.  We were heading to Wheat Ridge Cyclery to pick up my rental bike and go out for a warm up ride.  The bus ride was rough, it took about 45 minutes and we saw quite the cast of characters.  We disembarked and walked the last mile to the shop feeling motion sick.  Once in the store I just needed a time out in the AC before taking care of anything.  The shop was awesome, and highly recommended.  I got my bike all set up and Kim and I set up to ride up Lookout Mountain.  We thought this would be a warm up ride.  We went through a rolling 12 miles past the Coors Brewery and through the town of Golden on our way to Lookout Mountain.  The School of Mines, not to be confused with The School of Mimes, is also in Golden.  I couldn't figure out why we didn't see anyone walking around in black and white talking with their hands, and then I realized.  Whoopsie dasiy.  The climb to Lookout Mountain was legit - switchbacks, up, up, and up.  So much for a warm up ride!  Once at the top the view and Gatorade was amazing.  The descent made every pain staking effort to climb to the summit worth it.  Once back at Wheat Ridge Cyclery we left our bikes for transport to Copper Mtn.  and walked over to Safeway for snacks, hydration, and fingers crossed a ride home.
Top of Lookout Mountain

Thursday night we spent downtown at the 16th St. Promenade before the arrival of the rest of the crew.  Denver was a pretty cool city and Kirk's generosity was amazing.  The break from the day to day of training in DC was much needed and the company couldn't have been better.  I'm glad I gave in to peer pressure and decided to head west for 10 days.  We were so lucky to have the opportunity to take advantage of funemployment playing and working out in Denver.  Friday morning brought a whole new set of adventures with more friends, more elevation, big vans, and big mountains outside of Denver.
Thanks for showing us a great time Kirk.