Ironman Cozumel Part 3

Continued from Ironman Cozumel and Ironman Cozumel Part 2….

Transition 2 – A welcomed separation from Stanley. Although we are buds, 7hrs got the best of us. He was handed off to a volunteer to go rack and I grabbed my run bag and headed into the changing tent. Applied a little more body glide and sunscreen, switched out my shoes, and I was on my way, 5:12 later.

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Heading into T2! Bye Bye Stanley!
Run — It felt so good to walk that I took the first 20-30yards to just walk and stretch out my legs before finding my stride. Similar to the bike, it was a three loop course that consisted of running down the street away from the finish line a little over 4 miles then running back towards the finish line a little over 4miles. It sounds like a boring course but for an ironman when you want support, it was great! And my family took full advantage of this; they spread out over the 4 mile stretch to cheer me on the entire way. The course was relatively flat with a few gradual hills. The best part of the course, aside from the spectators, was that the aid stations were every kilometer (.6 miles). Something about them being every kilometer made them that much easier to stay focused and running in between them.

Lap 1…Sun high and still hot!

I was able to keep that focus and get through 10miles strong, just walking though the aid stations. At about mile 11, I started to struggle a little bit. I was STARVING!! And I couldn’t stomach any more Gu or gummies so I had to turn to the food on the course to get me through. From mile 11 – 16, the aid stations became Kathryn feeding stations. Pretzels and peanuts did the trick. During this time, my walks through the aid stations became a little more leisurely and my focus in between stations had dwindled. I was running 2min, walking 30seconds. Alex even briefly walked with me during this, I’m pitiful, I’m going to starve stretch. Eventually, I was able to build back up to about a 3-4min run 30sec walk.

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Still smiling!
By mile 17 I had found my stride again and was moving pretty good. Still keeping to about 3min run, 30sec walk. Somewhere close to this point, maybe a little before, I passed my mom and I told her “I got this.” My strong stride continued though mile 20, a 10k to go. Although my legs were doing okay, I was just all over getting tired and losing focus.

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Maybe a little pain but staying strong as the sun sets!
This is when I took a new approach and really started playing the mind game. The street was divided with cones so I took to counting cones. This was entertaining because they weren’t evenly spread out. I would run 10 cones then walk 2. This mind game plus a little encouragement from the guys from England I met during bike drop off worked till about a mile to go. Funny thing is, I am sure people thought I was some kind of crazy chick out there, I was counting out loud for all to hear. I didn’t realize it for the longest time though; I was just focused on my cones.

With a mile to go, it felt like I picked it up and was killing it to the finish line but really, that wasn’t quite the case at all. Regardless, I felt strong and I was determined to get there. The smile was still plastered on my face like it had been all day and I could feel my heart beating in my chest, I was about to be an Ironman!

Coming back up the street towards the finish line, I got to stay to the right at the split, as opposed to the left like I had the last two times. I could hear the cheering crowd and the announcer over the loud speakers. I was close. As I made the split, I spotted my parents straight ahead. I bee lined it for them, high fives all around before making my way up the ramp for the final stretch to the finish line. My hands held high, tears in my eyes; I was steps away from being an IRONMAN!!

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The final approach!
There was this huge sense of relief that rushed through my body as I crossed that finish line. It was unreal. I, Kathryn Leach, was officially an IRONMAN!!! Although, I felt confident all day, even during my low points, I had now, really done it! I had completed the 2.4mile swim, the 112mile bike ride, and the 26.2mile run with time to spare before the cut offs.

My run time was 4:48:31, making total time for the day, 13:20:51!!

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I did it!
To be continued….

 

Ironman Cozumel Part 2

Continued from Ironman Cozumel….

Swim – 7am the pro division heads into the water, that was my 30min till go time mark. I lined up with the 1:20 – 1:30 wave since it was a rolling start as opposed to the normal mass start of an Ironman event. Little did we know that 7:30 start would quickly turn into a 7:45, almost 8 o’clock start time. The announcer wasn’t doing a great job of keeping the athletes or the spectators informed and you could sense the frustration amongst the athletes as we stood waiting. Turns out the dock broke, luckily no one was hurt but it made it so they were only allowing about 4 people to start at a time. And what was supposed to be a ramp into the water turned into a jump in the roughly 4 feet of water. I fortunately didn’t have any issues but I did hear of others complaining about hitting their feet hard on the bottom and jarring themselves a bit.

Immediately into the swim I had a little bit of a panic. All along, I was told the swim was with the current but I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. I kept thinking to myself, if this is with the current, I am in trouble!! This went on for about the first 10(ish) minutes before making a slight turn around the island to where you could feel the difference. Immediately, the swim got easier and you were able to watch the fish swim below you and cruise…. Kind of like an intense snorkeling session. 😉 This went on for a while before the seaweed and jellyfish became a bit of an issue. The seaweed was more so gross but the jellyfish (which you couldn’t actually see) did become a problem. I ended up being stung twice. Lucky for me neither was bad but still irritating (and still scarring…literally) nonetheless. By about the last 15min of the swim, even though I was feeling good, I was about over the salt water. I happily welcomed the swim exit. I ended up finishing the swim in 1:17:00.

Transition 1 – It felt so good to be on land and to run through some fresh, NON SALTY, water. This was the first place I saw my team, Team Kat! Remember how I said my family had an awesome surprise for me the night before the race, well they made Team Kat shirts to support me! They were easy to pick out and I welcomed their smiling faces on the dock. After passing them, I grabbed my transition bag and headed for the changing tent. Y’all, take my word for it, if you’re doing an Ironman in salt water, change your clothes, you won’t regret it, plus it only takes about 2min! I wore my speed suit with a swimsuit underneath then changed into my tri kit for the rest of the day. It felt so good to start in dry, non-salty clothes for the 112mile bike ride. Another piece of advice, take advantage of the help the volunteers are willing to give you. As soon as I walked into the tent they had water in hand and were rinsing off my sandy feet then were quickly helping spray my sunscreen on my back. Thank you Thank you Thank you volunteers! Then it was an easy jog to my man Stanley and out the bike exit as I waved to Team Kat. Total time, 9:53.

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Stanley and I heading out for the next 112miles!!
Bike – The longest part of the day. Initially I felt a little iffy. My legs were great but all the salt water and the waves during the swim had my stomach a little uneasy. I drank a fair amount of water and Gatorade in those first few miles and quickly came back to life. The bike course was a three loop course that could easily be divided up into 4 sections. The first part, the long never ending straight, flat part. This section felt like it went on forever but you could cruise. It was well protected from the sun and wind. Part two, the windy, slightly uphill, sunny section. And calling it the windy section might be a bit of an understatement; I should really call it tornado ally. The wind was something between a head and cross wind coming off of the ocean. It was beautiful but lets just say it was a success to keep moving above about 12mph. The next section was the tail wind. Coming out tornado ally this was welcomed. Easy to gain some extra speed and allow your legs to recover a bit from the last torturous hour in part two. Part four was the fun section. This part went through downtown Cozumel and was lined with loud, cheering spectators. Also this was slightly downhill and with the wind still at your back, by far my favorite section of the course.

Lap one, after getting over my uneasy stomach was smooth sailing. I was on top of my fuel, drinking plenty of fluids and cruising. I am pretty sure I had a huge smile on my face the entire way.

Lap two, was a little more tough, the winds in tornado ally had picked up slightly and the sun was high and hot. This lap took a little out of me and I struggled with my fuel for about an hour, but overall, another strong lap with one big exception. There was a FIRE on the course in part three. A building had caught on fire and there was a huge black cloud of smoke that we had to ride through. Before entering the cloud I took a big breath and held my breath till I got through to the other side. Obviously, not ideal, but it didn’t end up being as bad as it could have been. And major plus…. Team Kat was everywhere on this lap! They were racing me on their mopeds! 

Lap three, at the start of part one, I made my first and only potty stop for the day. It felt so good to get off the bike that I almost didn’t want to get back on again but I knew I had a goal to get across that finish line so I hopped back on and got going. I did great through part one but tornado ally did get me. I remember looking down at my watch shortly after making the turn to tornado ally and seeing that I was only going 11mph. It was so defeating. I felt like I was working soooo hard but was hardly moving. This section was a little over 13miles, so I knew I had at least an hour to push through. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one with those same defeating thoughts though. As I passed one man, he jokingly (but totally dead serious) said, “Will someone please turn off the wind?!” Finally, I made it through the ally and was on my way to the nice tail wind. The tail wind was great but by now, my neck and shoulder were hurting pretty badly making it tough to stay tucked in aero position. This was annoying but overall, no big deal. Thankfully the smoke had cleared on part three and I had clear visual of the city ahead. I knew the city meant ditching he bike and heading for the running shoes, something I happily welcomed!

Total time on the bike: 7:00:15. I was 8:27 into my ironman journey.

To be continued…

Ironman Cozumel

I know I know I know….it has taken me forever to get this series (yes, it is a series) posted! This was such a big event that it has made it hard to wrap my mind around it to write about… so here it goes!

What an overwhelmingly amazing experience. Becoming an ironman is unlike any other experience I have ever had. I think its because of all the many months of training that lead to this one day, that no matter how conditioned you are, you never really know if you will make it across that finish line. A million things can happen from jellyfish stings, to bike malfunctions, to unbearable weather conditions over those 140.6miles. Some of these bumps are inevitable to happen and most you are able to overcome but at the end of the day, you just never know what the outcome will be. All I can say is coming out of this race, crossing the finish line, feeling good and all in one piece, I feel blessed.

Before I get too far ahead of myself though; let me back up a bit to give the whole recap on my Ironman experience….

Wednesday — Mom, Dad, Alex, and I got up bright and early for a day of travel. First stop the Charlotte airport, then the Atlanta airport, and then the Cancun airport. You’d think we would be done traveling by then, but no, the fun had just begun. Once arriving in the Cancun airport, going through customs, and picking up our luggage….which I should really rephrase as my luggage with a few pieces of clothing for everyone else (dang there is a lot of gear for this silly sport), we were off to stand in a giant line to take a taxi to Playa de Carmen. This was about an hour ride where I was sure I would get sick as the driver zipped through the streets of Mexico. Once there, I completely understood why everyone told me to send my bike with TriBike Transport, we had to lug all of our bags through the cobblestone streets, wait in another line, and then take a ferryboat to Cozumel. I felt bad for all those who were trying to pull their massive bike boxes and load them onto the boat. You could see the fear in their eyes as their bikes were passed over the water onto the boat as the ocean was super rough that day. I will say though, this is when the Ironman became real for me. Seeing all the Ironman tattoos and bike boxes made the event become a reality. Finally, after a nauseating boat ride to Cozumel and a quick taxi ride to the hotel, we had made it! Only a mere 14 hours of travel!!!

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On the ferry to Cozumel trying not to toss our cookies! 
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We made it!! The hotel even welcomed me! 😉

Thursday – Happy Thanksgiving! It certainly didn’t feel like Thanksgiving but it was a nice and relaxing day to recover from the previous day of travel. I did get in a short run followed by a quick swim in the beautiful blue water. It was so cool to be able to see the ocean floor and all the fish swimming about. Then a few hours on the beach (in the shade with 50spf on of course) and we were ready to watch the Panthers game. Yes, in Mexico, the crazy people from Dallas and my family did find a way to get the game projected on a wall of one of the bars at the hotel. The night closed with a traditional Mexican buffet and show.

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Typical beach attire right?! Cap, googles, and a speed suit for me! 
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And the family made sure to enjoy all of what the resort had to offer! Drinks all around! (water for me!)

Friday – The Ironman crazy festivities began. First thing was swim practice. They opened up the end of the swim course for all the athletes to get a feel for what race day would be like. It was really cool to meet so many other athletes who were also about to embark on this big adventure. You could quickly distinguish between the seasoned athletes and the newbies.

Next stop was packet pick-up. Here was the first time I realized that the language barrier was going to be a real thing. Going through the lines trying to communicate was quite the challenge. Also, since you cannot fly with the CO2 cartridges (used in the case that you get a flat on race day), my dad and I were on the hunt to find those at expo. We did manage to find them but then the question of where to pick up my bike became our next struggle. My bike, Mister Stanley, was only a couple blocks away but finding someone who spoke English to communicate that to us was nothing short of a miracle. Once finding the TriBike Transport bike lot, we headed back to the hotel for the remainder of the day where I was able to get in quick bike tune up and go for a smooth 10mile ride.

Saturday – Busy busy busy! I got up early to get in a quick brick workout. 20min on the bike followed by a 10min run. Then I packed up all my transition and special needs bags for the next day, had a good, hearty breakfast, and jumped on my bike again to go deliver all my gear for the next day. The ride to transition 1 was the moment I realized I was really going to do this. As I took the 2mile ride nice and easy, soaking up the beautiful views along the ocean all I could think about was how awesome, it was going to be to see that finish line and hear my name, “KATHRYN LEACH, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN” the next day.

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All the gear! Yikes!

Transition 1 was hectic to say the least but I was very impressed with the security. When you first got there, you were corralled to where you got your first piece of body marking done then they took a picture of everyone with their number and bike, then you individually went to another station where they recorded your number and a description of your bike before they let you into the bike drop area. Once in the most massive transition I have ever seen it was time to find my bike spot. It was exciting to see my name and USA on the spot reserved for Stanley surrounded by a multitude of people from other countries. After racking my bike, I hung my transition bag with all the others and continued on with more body marking and a quick walk down to the water where I met a couple guys from England who where about to take on their first ever triathlon!!! They were funny but you could sense their nerves, they were asking tons of questions and definitely got my confidence up a bit since I had some answers for once (HAHA).

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Bye Bye Mister Stanley! Enjoy your bike sleepover!

Next, it was time to head to transition 2, in downtown. I hopped on a bus and was there in no time. I dropped my bag, saw where the changing tents and run out would be, and walked past the finish line. All I could think about as I saw the bleachers and massive finish line was OMG THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING! After aimlessly wondering the city for what seemed to be forever to find the bus again, I managed to find the hotel where the busses picked up and headed back towards my hotel. I was officially all checked in and ready to race the next day.

Finally a little R&R on the beach before the night closed with a moped pick-up and an early dinner before and a super awesome surprise from my family.

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Is my beach attire improving?! 
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Boys and there toys! The mopeds used to get around on all the closed roads come race day!

Sunday – The day to become an IRONMAN!!! That 4:30 alarm sounded and I was quickly awaken… well, lets be real, I was awake almost all night anyways so I happily welcomed the alarm saying that, YES YOU CAN FINALLY GET UP NOW. First thing I saw when walking into the bathroom was a sweet, pump up note from my brother. I couldn’t help by smile since I could really sense how excited he was for me. Then it was time to choke down breakfast. I don’t know about you but eating a substantial amount of calories at what seems like the middle of the night is rough. The pump up music Alex was playing (Yes, we were jamming at 4:30 in the morning) and all the sweet messages from friends and family made it a little easier though. Before I knew it, 5am had rolled around and it was time to hit the road via moped to transition 1. Alex and I giggled a little as we were driving this little scooter through the dark, rainy morning.

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Headed to the race start!! 

Once arriving at T1, I got Stanley ready and did one final walk through before loading the bus to head to the start line. While in line for the bus, I met a nice girl from New York. This was her second Ironman and she was looking for redemption. We rode the bus together and she told me all about her first Ironman experience. I loved hearing all about it as it got me that much more excited for the gun to go off. By the time I stepped off the bus, the sun was finally starting to rise.

Stepping off the bus there was this sense of calm. It was almost only athletes at the start, very few spectators due to logistics of the race. People were dropping there morning clothes, eating a last minute snack, and helping one another apply sunscreen and body glide, as well as zip each other into our respective speed suits. This is when you could really feel the community of the sport. Everyone was happy and ready to help cheer each other on to having a great race.

To be continued….

Beach to Battleship Race Re-cap

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Hey Hey Hey! How are y’all doing? Things are still just as busy as ever on my end but nonetheless, I still managed to get in my final pre-ironman race this past weekend!…and y’all it went great!!! But before I get ahead of myself, let me back-up a minute to give you the WHOLE race weekend recap.

Wednesday night — Packed my bags (dang I have a lot of Tri gear) then Baby Brother came to town to hang out with me! Woohoo! Taco Mac and baseball, the perfect way to spend the evening.

Thursday — Starts out bright and early loading all my tri gear into little brother’s car and he drove me to work. That was such a treat! I sure did feel spoiled not having to fight my way through traffic alone like I do most days. Then (spoiled again) mom picks me up from work after only a half day at the office. THEN (SPOILED AGAIN) dad drove me (and the rest of the fam) all the way down to Wrightsville Beach.

Once we arrived…. we looked like the three ring circus. I did mention once that I had a lot of tri gear with me right?! Well the truck of the car got jammed!!! AND NO ONE SEEMED TO BE ABLE TO HELP US!! All the being said, all 4 of us were up a creek without a paddle. No one had a tooth brush, change of clothes, anything! We sure did look like a rough bunch by Friday morning….in the same clothes as we wore all day Thursday and Thursday night!

Friday — Lucky for us, the car dealership came through in the clutch and they were able to get the car trunk open. THANK GOODNESS! I was beginning to panic seeing as packet-pickup, and transition drop off all took place on Friday and they were MANDATORY! YIKES! Really should say, “Thanks dad” as he spent ALL morning stranded at the dealership, while the rest of us slept in and I was able to get a short run in on the beach.

Final pre-race workout! A short run along the beach!
Final pre-race workout! A short run along the beach!

Friday post lunch was nice and smooth, Mom and I were able to get my packet and all my gear made it to the correct spot, race day ready. Friday night even capped with a beautiful sunset over the channel.

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Saturday — AKA RACE DAY started out bright and early with papa and I heading over to T1 for the final gear drop. Then surprise surprise we got to go back to the condo to hang out for nearly 2 hours!! This never happens race morning but because this race had both a Full Ironman and Half Ironman race, us half people got to ease into the morning with our first wave going off at 8:30!!! I personally didn’t go off till 8:50, probably the latest start to a race I’ve ever had.

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Go Purple Caps! 34 and under females

8:50AM — The gun goes off and the mob of 34 and under women are kicking and scratching. Really, can we put in a rule that finger and toe nails must be clipped?! Anyways, the swim went great. With the current the entire way making for a very fast course. With the exception of poor sighting on my part, sighting a paddle boarder instead of a buoy, the swim went flawless! I finished in 34:45 and that even includes a little time out of the water as the timing mat was after the wetsuit strippers and partially up the hill. Also, I have to give kuddos to the volunteers at this locations…they were champs! They were on their game and not afraid to get wet at all, helping pull us out of the water and getting us out of our wetsuits in no time! THANK YOU!!

Headed into T1!
Headed into T1!

Transition 1 went smoothly, wetsuit in the bag and helmet on my head and I was on my way with a flying mount to get started on the bike (AKA Stanley).

The bike was probably my best ride of all times. It started out fast and ended even faster. I felt great and was able to stay on top of my fuel (with the exception of missing one gu) making for a great ride. The course was pretty flat and for the first time in my life I was got to ride on the highway!! That was really cool and also really nice as the roads were in great condition. The aid out on the bike was also great, I saw lots of people receiving support with flats and the aid stations were well stocked with very helpful volunteers. I ended up completing the bike in 2:55:23 for an average speed over the 56miles of 19.26mph. Thank you Stanley!

Bike Finish!
Bike Finish!

Transition 2…. well, I can’t say it went quite as smoothly as T1. The bike hand-off was pretty cool but getting my run stuff and making my way through the mandatory changing area (even though I wasn’t changing clothes) was a struggle. My run bag was no where to be found for what seemed like forever and the changing area entrance wasn’t marked making for a little confusion. Still nothing to get my panties in a wad about as I was about to deal with a MUCH bigger problem as soon as I stepped out on the run course…..

As is usual for me, my feet will sometimes fall asleep while I am on the bike. You know, the normal tingling but then after wiggling them a little they usually come back to life and are totally fine. Well today, that was not the case. I didn’t think much of it initially as it has happened before where my feet are asleep right at the ball of my foot when I have started the run, but typically by a 1/2 mile in they are completely fine. Not so much, today they didn’t wake up till MILE 4!!!! Then by mile 9 my right foot was asleep again!!!! I had to stop a couple times to walk and shake it out since it would also get a little painful as it feels like you have a ball of sand right under the ball of your foot. This continued all the way to the finish, where even though I felt strong, my face was saying otherwise. Nonetheless, even with a sleepy foot, the 13.1 mile run went great with a finishing time of 1:57:20, an 8:57 pace. The course, was boring at times but the aid stations were great and very lively. I also liked that there were constantly people around you. Although it got a little tight at times, I prefer that over a super spread out course where you can feel like you’re all on your own.

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High Five!

Overall for the day, I finished in 5:33:23, a nearly 20min personal best, placing 33rd out of 359 female athletes, and first in the 20-24 age group! It was a great race, and I feel strong going into Mexico in just a few short weeks!

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Ironman Training Thoughts

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Hey Y’all! I hope you are doing great! I am exhausted and running on E as per usual. Between working two jobs (Jenny Craig and personal training), attempting to have a social life, taking classes to keep all my certifications up to date, and ironman training, I am stretching myself to the limit. I love all that I am doing but dang, can it just slow down a bit?! As I like to tell my friends and family, hang on till December 1 and I will become a normal human again! December 1 is only 80 days away which means the Ironman is only 78 DAYS away!!! CRAZY!!!!! So for today, here are my training thoughts….

  1. Displaying IMG_0542.jpgHOLY CRAP THIS TAKES ALOT OF TIME! Yes, I knew it would, but gosh darn it seems like I am always training…. get home from work at 8pm and you think you’re done for the day….NOPE! Time to get on the bike in the apartment and spin for a couple hours then make dinner, shower, and go to bed. There are definitely some long days involved with getting ready for this race. Displaying IMG_0454.jpg
  2. Lake Norman needs more water. Although I am proud of myself for building up to some super long, continuous, open water swims, I am really tired of
    getting out of the water with a slightly orange tint (thank you red clay).
  3. This girl can eat! 4+ hour workouts really rev up the metabolism. I feel like there are days when (read as: most everyday) I just can’t eat enough to keep up.
  4. Displaying IMG_0777.jpgI think my new favorite of the three sports is biking. I have always been partial to running (which is why I say I think) but right now I am really loving my long rides. In fact, I really look forward to my 60+ mile rides. Something about going a really long distance under your own power and maintaining 16+ mph the entire time is really cool.
  5. However, biking is a struggle. Combine the fact that I am exerting myself for hours on end and I’ve already got a reved up metabolism, I hit like 3 hours in and I AM STARVING!! This is something I am working on but is taking some major work. I currently take a GU every 45min and am sipping gatorade endurance and water but it is just not cutting it. I think next long ride I am going to try an almond butter sandwich at the 2.5 – 3hr mark and see how that works out.
  6. I am having some issues with my neck and shoulder that stem from my soccer day which unfortunately throws a kink in training every now and again. I constantly have knots that run down my neck and under my left shoulder blade. This causes a lot of pain in my left shoulder and arm all the way down behind my elbow and when its really acting up all the way into my hand. Although this stinks, if this is the only “injury” I am having to deal with I feel like I am doing really good!
  7. I feel like I am going to be one of those people who says “I am never going to do another one of these again” and turns around and immediately signs up for the next one. The training is long and grueling but I couldn’t be more anxious and excited to get to race day. It is crazy that such a big life goal of mine in getting so close.
  8. I am most nervous about the logistics of getting to and the actual race itself at this point. My flight is booked but now the questions of, how will I get my bike there? What if it gets lost in transit? What if I need help making bike adjustments to my once I get there? What if everyone speaks spanish and I can’t communicate? How will I bring all my food down there? I can’t drink the water there so how am I supposed to drink on the race course? How will my hydration and nutrition needs change if I get down there and it is a sunny 90+ Displaying IMG_0568.jpgdegree day? The list goes on and on!
  9. I am so thankful for my family and friends that are being so patient and supportive of me as I take on this big adventure. Really, even though I am doing the training on my own, knowing I have a support crew cheering me on often from a distance means a TON and often what keeps me going.
  10. Training is tough. It is wearing me out. BUT I am so happy and excited to be taking on this big challenge! I cannot wait till race day when I get to put these many months of training to the test! I am confident I will be able to complete it but that doesn’t make it any less intimidating right now!

There you have it, my current thoughts on ironman training… I will be sure to check in as the race gets closer! If you’ve ever done an Ironman yourself, I would love any input you may have! Have a great day!

Ten Things Tuesday

Hey y’all! I hope you are all doing well and this week is off to a great start! Things are busy as usual over here but I can’t complain, thats the way I tend to like it. For today’s post, I am going to take you though a few recent favorites / what I have been up to over the past several weeks….

1. Bullet Journaling….have you heard of it?? I am in love with it! I read about it on Haley’s Blog a while ago but have really just gotten into it and it is great. A quick overview of it… Start the very first page with an index. Then on your next two page spread, label the left page with the Month and down the left side of the page write the dates. On this page you write your major events for the month. On the right page of that same two page spread label it tasks / goals you want / need to accomplish that month. Turn the page to your next two page spread. Here I start my week. The first thing I do is a week at a glance. In this section, I put my weekly workouts, personal training clients, and work schedule. Then you start with the individual days. Within the individual days an open circle represents an event, a bullet point represents a note, and an open box represents a task to be accomplished that day. I love it because there is no set amount of space you have per day and it is easy to keep up with everything day to day.

My first two page spread. Monthly calendar and Tasks / Goals page.
My first two page spread. Monthly calendar and Tasks / Goals page.

2. Long distance relationships….THEY ARE HARD! I love Dylan but dang it is tough. I definitely value the time we have together but I am certainly struggling not to plan out every second we are together and then not to plan when to see each other again when we are apart. I will say thank goodness for FaceTime though cause it allows us to have an “in person” conversation most nights which is amazing. Something about getting to see his face makes it seem like we aren’t apart quite so much. Any of you who have done the distance thing before, do you have any suggestions?

3. It’s my favorite time of the year…. lake days are in full swing now!! I am so lucky to live so close to the lake and I am taking full advantage of it nearly every weekend. My most recent favorite lake activity is wake surfing. And as lame as this is, I think it is because it doesn’t make your entire body hurt the next day and falls aren’t painful at all haha (does this make me sound old?!)!

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4. Speaking of the lake, ironman training is coming along. I just did a mile long open water swim this past Friday and it felt great. Biking and running are getting there as well. A lot of miles are being logged on the trainer and treadmill but I figure that is better than nothing and hitting the pavement in the dark isn’t my best bet. I have also adjusted my training schedule to where I am only (for the time being) doing one workout a day with a mid week rest day. I was getting really frustrated not having the time (or energy) to get in double workouts most days of the week like previously planned so now that I have taken some of the stress off of myself each of my workouts seem to be of much better quality and I am enjoying them more.

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5. Smoothie season! Y’all can thank Dylan for this one….here is my current favorite smoothie recipe:

  • 1 – 2 large spoonfuls of vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 cup (ish) Frozen Berries
  • 1/2 cup (ish) Frozen pineapple
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 cup (ish) orange juice

Sorry for the “ish” I am not much for the whole measuring thing. 

6. So I am not much of a movie buff but a couple weeks ago I finally watched Gone Girl and it was AMAZING! I didn’t have super high expectations going in so needless to say I was blown away. I think I need to watch it again to catch onto all the little details though. The main character was cray – cray! I have to give the writers props for coming up with her and the all the little twists and turns throughout the movie. Who else has seen it? What’d you think?

7. Finding what makes you happy. So as y’all know my days seem to be planned to the millisecond with work, training, and other commitments which can be great but can also be exhausting. Yesterday though, I finally had the realization that I was building my own coffin at the rate I was going as I was forgetting about the most important thing in life, myself and my personal happiness. This got me thinking about all the things that make me happy. Here is the list of things I came up with:IMG_9942

  • Playing soccer <— even made time and did this today!
  • Blogging <— look at me, two “happys” in one day!
  • Serving Others
  • Playing Recreational Sports….has anyone joined any of the adult leagues around the South Charlotte area? Thoughts? Suggestions?
  • Running with friends….I got on meet-up today so hopefully I will get connected with a running group or two in the area soon.
  • Being outside…hiking, paddle boarding, running, biking, and even just taking a nap in the sun.
  • Reading a good book (in the sun of course)…any suggestions? I tend to like something that is kind of educational. I really enjoy learning 🙂

What makes you happy? What is your go to stress buster activity?

8. Target swimwear is on point this year. I got a few bathing suits from there this year and I am loving them! They are cute and stay in place well…. Such a great combo!!

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9. I am thinking about changing up my hair style…. I just can’t decide, long or short?? I’m ready for a change but not sure what exactly I want to do. What’s your opinion?

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Short?
Long?
Long?

10. “Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that – that is what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself– Amy Poehler 

I love this quote. Personally it makes me think about what I am doing with my life and brings a few questions to mind… Am I being complacent? Am I taking appropriate risks? Am I putting myself out there to be successful? What am I capable of that I haven’t found out yet? I feel like it is always good to keep questioning what you’ve got going on. I feel like this helps you to keep growing as a person.

So there are my 10 things…feel free to play along in the comments with what you’re loving and what is new with you as well as answer a few of the questions throughout this post.

Have a great week! 

Tuesday Things

Hey Friends! How are y’all doing?! Things are a bit crazy here so to continue with the chaos I call life, I bring you my most unfocused blog post yet. Here are some things going on in my life and on my mind these days….

1. Hallelujah!! 31Day Detox is done in just a few hours. Most days have been totally fine but goodness I have had several days (<–read like last 10 days) I have wanted sugar and salt!!! I will write a full update on my 31Day Detox experience later this week.

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last weekends date night dinner…. low country shrimp boil and baked apple slices with cinnamon

2. Sorry 5AM, we have divorced and 4AM has taken my heart. I have quite a few more clients at the Y as of recently and dang it has made for some early mornings. I used to think getting up in the 5 o’clock hour was rough but now I have separated from that thought and have become good friends with Miss 4AM! Holy crow I don’t know that I will ever get used to this one!

3. The triathlon team at the Y is up and running for our next 8 week session and this go around I am an official coach and loving it!! The other two coaches are teaching me so much and it really is such a joy to go to each of the practices whether I am leading it or just participating.

4. Speaking of triathlon….Ironman training is in full swing! It definitely keeps me especially busy with my typical 2 workouts a day. Veteran Ironman competitors, any suggestions on finding the balance and fitting it all in? I feel like some days there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished or I am just exhausted. I am hoping as I figure out more of a schedule this will get easier.

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look closely and you will see my new training partner Izzy! she is totally fascinated my by trainer. 

5. Starburst Jelly Beans…get in my tummy!!!! …ahhhh just a few more hours!!! Is anyone else quite as obsessed as I am about these deliciously, fantastic candies?!

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can you sense my excitement?! 

6. Rock ‘n Roll Raleigh half marathon is almost here!!! Dylan and I did our last really long run (14miles) this past weekend and will be in full taper mode come Sunday! I am so excited for this race for a couple reasons…

  • Dylan and I are doing it together….we have already agreed that this race we will do start to finish together unless something catastrophic happens. Those who know me well will understand just how excited I am about this!
  • We are staying with my good friend Kathryn and her hubby in their NEW HOUSE!!! I cannot wait to see her and the new place!!
  • I am going back to Raleigh!!! Need I say more?!

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a couple weekends ago, our 4:30AM 12 mile training run! head lamps and reflectors were a must!

7. I am always hungry. I think this is because I am starting to ramp up the miles in my training and the detox had me eating a lot of fruits and veggies which unfortunately don’t keep you quite as full.

8. Guess who has her first three days off in a row since Christmas….?!!?!? THIS GIRL!!!! This weekend I am taking off Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday!!! I am so ready for the break. I know I will still be training and running around crazy since I do date “the hyper one” as my mom calls him but I am so excited to step away from work for a full 3 days. I think this break will do me well. Plus I will be getting away from Charlotte and will be headed up the mountains with my family and Dylan for Easter weekend where it looks like lots of starburst jelly beans will be had, hikes will be taken, and baseball will be watched.

9. I am loving this warmer weather!! And added bonus Alexie just informed me that so many fun things happen in Charlotte come spring and summer….think concerts at the white water center and baseball games in uptown!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

10. We have had a great couple weekends in the mountains. Three weeks ago just for a day trip and two weekends ago for an entire 24hours! I love getting to spend a little extra time with my family and the hyper one.

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baseball games and mountain hikes with my favorite people

11. I miss blogging. I know I have had my ups and downs with my posting frequency but I really enjoy it so I hope I am able to find more time to get posts up more regularly in the coming weeks and months. Speaking of which….what would you like to see more of on the blog?? Also, fellow bloggers, what is your strategy in a busy week to get a couple posts up?

I guess I will call it quits here….I would love to hear whats been going on with you and what you’d like to see more of on the blog. Be sure if you are a veteran ironman competitor to let me know how you find the balance of life and training. If you are a blogger, what is your strategy for posting frequently when you’re busy. And if you are just as obsessed with Starburst Jelly Beans as I am or if you have a different favorite Easter related candy!

Happy Tuesday Y’all!

8 Point Win

Hello Hello!! I hope you are staying warm and off the roads on this cold, yucky, ICY night!! Today’s post is a quick update of what has been going on with me these last couple weeks….

1. SNOW DAY or should I say ICE DAY!!! Today I didn’t go into either of my jobs since the roads were such a mess. This was a super strange concept for me considering it was a Tuesday and not going into either job only happens like 3-4 times a month!!! That being said my first reaction this morning was “….uhhh what do I do today?!” Not to worry though, I did manage to clean the entire apartment top to bottom, run on the treadmill, run the stairs, sign up for another race, cook a pretty awesome dinner, and still sit on the couch for several hours. Pretty productive day for never leaving my building!

My own personal ice skating rink!
My own personal ice skating rink!

2. Speaking of apartment, it is coming together great! My roommate had furnished most of the apartment before I got here but it feels more and more like home to me everyday.

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3. I am still on the Grilled Cheese kick that I talked about yesterday but today I traded out the chicken for a little canned tuna. It was awesome! I wonder what master piece I can pull off tomorrow?!

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4. My race calendar is starting to come together for the year. At this point I am going to be running Rock ‘n Roll Raleigh Half Marathon in April, Beach to Battleship Half Ironman in October, and Ironman Cozumel in November. I am looking to add in 2-3 more races between May and September. Maybe a sprint and an international distance triathlon…not sure yet but I do know I need to find a few more to keep myself motivated all the way to the end of November.

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A little indoor training for today!

5. My car finally has a name!!! I present to you Edna!!! Like the little lady that makes the super hero suits in the movie The Incredibles.

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6. Work is super busy and by super busy I just mean I am working all the time. As a mentioned a few months back, I am working at both Jenny Craig and the Y. I love that I am getting to help people achieve their goals but dang it is hard to find a balance sometimes. I am fighting to keep my Sunday’s free as often as possible but that seems to be getting harder and harder to do each week.

7. Cookie butter and cookie butter ice cream might be my new favorite foods. If you haven’t tried them, stay far far away!! They are almost too good to be true!!

8. Did you catch the “us” and the “we” in the grilled cheese post yesterday?! Since “love” is in the title of the blog I guess it is only fair I share the latest update in that category too…..His name is Dylan and we have been on a few dates now. Two of which were to one of my favorite places in Charlotte, Freedom Park. We went there the last two weekends to either throw the frisbee or shoot hoops. Aside from the park we have gone for ice cream, bowling, cooked each other dinner, and checked out Lake Norman State Park for a little hiking. I’ve had a great time on each of these dates and I am really enjoying getting to know him more and more!!

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Post hike smiles at Lake Norman State Park 🙂

So there you have it, a life update in 8 short points. And incase you couldn’t figure out why I titled this post 8 Point Win, it is because I am extremely happy with the way things are going these days as I adjust to Charlotte living…. basically it feels like I am winning 😉

Have a Great Day Y’all! 

Let’s Get the Party Started!

Happy Monday Y’all! I’m sure many of you are headed back to work or school after a nice hiatus through the holidays. I unfortunately did work through the holidays but still managed to squeeze in all the holiday fun I wanted (see yesterday’s post) which has put quite the damper on my typical healthy eating and regular exercise routine. Originally I had planned to kickstart my workouts at the beginning of December after taking a short break to recover from the marathon, as I mentioned in my Offseason Training post. That worked great till about the week of Christmas…. So here I am, ready to kick off the new year with a new training program but this time with a new goal.

This new goal is something I have wanted to accomplish for a long time. And I especially wanted to accomplish before turning 25. So this is the year. I am training for my first ever FULL IRONMAN!!! Thats right, that 140.6mile race consisting of a 2.4mile swim, 112mile bike, and 26.2mile run. I signed up over Christmas (Merry Christmas to me) to compete in Ironman Cozumel November 29th, 2015. And you might ask why before 25, well the answer is simple. 25 is when I move into the big girls league. Racing at 24, my age group is still small and tends to be a little less competitive but come 25 and beyond, the numbers and the competition greatly increase.

So now comes the hard part…training. How in the world do you train for a race this long? How long do you train for this? Should I complete all the distances before going into that day? Should I do a half iron as a warm up for this race? The questions go on and on. So for now, although as I talk to more people this may change, I am going to start my training now. I have found a 36week program online from Trifuel (anyone used it before??) that has gotten good reviews from others who have used it before with the only caveat to add a little extra distance to the long runs. I know 36weeks puts me starting the week of March 23rd so in the time leading up to then, I am going to work on building a base. I plan to pick a half marathon to do in the month of March as kind of my season opener so I will train for that plus adding in some miles on the bike and in the pool as cross-training. However, up till March, my main focus will the half marathon and strength training.

And since training for an Ironman is soooo many grueling hours, I figured why not reward myself?! I have created a jar that I will be putting a dollar in for every workout that I do leading up to the race. That way, when the race is all said and done at the end of November and I am an IRONMAN, I will be able to treat myself to something nice. Not sure what it will be yet but once I figure it out I will let you know.

So there you have it, my 2015 goal. What are your goals for 2015? Please share in the comments below.

LET’S GET THIS training PARTY STARTED!!! 
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