Sunday, August 21, 2016

Grand Dog candidate, My Winnie-Dog

Winnie is running for Grand Dog.
What does this mean?
If she wins the vote she will represent Grand County as Grand Dog.

And, she made the newspaper:

All dog candidates get a blurb each Friday in the paper.
You can read all their stories here:

Grand Dog is a collaborative fundraiser for Advocates for a Violence-Free Community and Grand County Pet Pals to raise awareness that violence affects everyone in the home- adults, children, and pets. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Rest Days

Sometimes you just need a break. When bad things happen and you are about to lose it, what do you do?
In the past, I would sleep.

Now, I clean, organize and plan my anger and restlessness away.
Once I put everything in order, create piles and TO DO lists, vacuum, and reduce clutter, I’m back to myself.

I had a friend many years ago who wouldn’t go hiking or biking on a Saturday. We tried everything to entice her to come. None of us understood why because she could clean her house any day. It was Saturday; it was time to be outside and play. Plus, her house was so clean anyway.

But now, I get it.
In her mind her life was chaos. Too much to do over the work week and Saturday was her day to restore order with a clean house. 

That is what a rest day is to me now. A true rest day from training and life.
Restore Order

Get Calm

Organize the Chaos

When I don’t schedule in a rest day this is what happens: little things build up, I frantically try to do everything, I yell at my dogs and I hate my life.

Instead of running that 20 mile scheduled run that needed to be done for my upcoming race, I stayed home, planned the next day, ate a healthy dinner, listened to music, and started writing this blog post. 

Order Resorted.

Writing is my outlet. It always has been. I love writing this blog about endurance training, racing, traveling and meeting new people who love the sport. These things truly make me happy.
Despite this nomad life I’ve chosen for myself, including the job changes, injuries and bike crashes, these things are all part of making a great life for myself, and endurance sports and writing are the two constants.
Every year I say I’m giving up triathlon. Every year I say I’ll write my second book. I’m not sure what this next year holds for me. 

Keep reading this blog and we will both find out.  

Friday, August 5, 2016

Post-Ironman blues and training

Post-Ironman blues is real.
I've been reading on the Ironman Lake Placid Facebook page two very opposing views of Post-Ironman blues.
Some get back at it.
Some don't want to even look at their running shoes.

I'm a little in between.

I started running again yesterday. Since finishing Ironman Lake Placid, I swam once. I biked once. I did a spin/circuit class once.
This week is about slowly getting back into it.

Ironman Arizona is 14 weeks away and I know what I need to do.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ironman Lake Placid Race Report, what does it all mean?

Now that six days have passed I can finally process what race day 2016 meant to me - what this 14 plus hours of swimming, biking and running meant to me.

First, I finally met Than’s wife, Kathy. Than has been Mark’s Ironman Sherpa since 2009. And he was both Mark and my Sherpa at Ironman Wisconsin in 2013. Kathy was my sherpa meaning that she would help me during race weekend (carrying bags, etc) and on race day would be responsible for getting my bike from transition to TriBike tranport.

Second,  going to New York I was on Nash and Oren turf since they grew up near Albany and both attended college in New York. This would be Mark’s third Ironman Lake Placid.
I knew I was going to be in good hands and would get all the pre-race prep done efficiently and on time. This reduced every bit of stress. 

I wasn’t nervous since they took care of everything.
I was in awe of the place.
I grew up one hour north of Lake Placid in Plattsburg so it was a bit of a coming home for me. 
All the history of the Olympics was inspiring, being in the Olympic Oval and knowing I would finish in it, was pretty emotional.
The day before the race was the Nash Family Reunion and I got to meet Mark’s family. They were so happy to be there and I felt a part of the family instantly.
Mark handed out shirts to everyone (every year he designs a shirt for all the sherpas and spectators) and thanked them for coming out to cheer.

Race Day:
The swim was fantastic. No fighting for space, no kicks in the gut or face, just swimming my race. The water was a perfect temperature – 73 degrees, clear and calm. I didn’t have to sight as much since I could see people next to me and just followed them in the right direction. After the first lap I felt pretty good and didn't pushed the pace.
The wetsuit strippers were amazing. Since I have such back pain after swimming I asked them to help me up after they got my wetsuit off and the one man just grabbed my torso and I was up. Amazing.
In the shoot I saw many of our group cheering and it felt so good!
The bike was challenging. I knew I needed to pace myself for the hills so I tried to recover on the downhills.  The uphills were intense, especially the 10 miles heading back to Lake Placid but I felt okay on the first loop. The second loop my left foot started bothering me, thinking it was from my inserts. But looking back I think that is when the swelling started from the heat and dehydration. 
The course is really beautiful and everyone said to be sure to look around, but I didn’t really look around. I just biked like I always do. I was happy to see Mark a few times and I tried to keep up with him, but he took off and I didn’t see him again until the run.
I saw my Mom, Dad and Carol, my mom’s sister from Pennsylvania, a few times. I was so happy they came to see me.
The run did me in. I knew it was going to be slow. My feet hurt and it was hot. The crowd cheering was amazing. Knowing I would see our team made me run more than I wanted, which is a good thing. I started to walk a lot and knew I was never going to make my goal and I was going to be closer to a 14 hour finish. I was completely bummed out. 
I just kept moving forward. I started to talk to people. 
I started talking to a man who was wearing a shirt that said “Cancer survivor”. At first we talked about our race and other races we had finished. Then, I knew I couldn’t keep walking. I asked him if he would play my running game with me. I would pick a spot ahead and we would run to it. He was game. Then he told me about cancer. This race was his redemption race. He would finish; even if it took him 17 hours despite having 11 and 12-hour Ironman races in the past. We knew we had to run more so I started picking objects farther in the distance.
Finally after the last out and back we ran to the finish. I heard my Dad yell – Go Kristen – as I dropped my wings cover shirt and almost tripped. I saw my Mom and Carol just before the finish. I saw Than and Kathy.
I finished and got my medal.
I went into the food area and Than pointed out where Mark was sitting. Mark and I sat and talked about our race. My slowest Ironman ever – Mark’s too. We were happy to finish, but.

 I got up to go meet our team and I looked over to people cheering and a sea of green shirts were cheering wildly! Mark looked over and I was happy again. Wow. 
My sadness of my time slipped away and the accomplishment set in.
We sat and talked to everyone. Than grabbed my mother’s arm from the finishing area and guided her to sit next to me. She was so proud of me. We talked and took a photo.

This is what matters.

Family and friends sharing an important day.

I will always remember this day. Always.

What does it all mean?
I didn’t achieve the time goal I set out for myself on July 24.
But I didn’t do the training I set for myself either.

This is the all-important Life/Career/Sport take-away:

I cannot expect to the have the results I want when I don't put in the time required to reach a goal. 

However, I was able to toe the start line and finish a race in one of the most beautiful places in the US – Lake Placid, New York.

I got to meet an amazing group of people from Mark’s family who reminded me how important it is that family supports family.

My Mom and Dad got to see me finish an Ironman for the second time.

I got to spend time with Mark who shares so many of the same goals that I have. I simply enjoy being with him for a few days a year for a Racecation. He is able to calm me just with his presence. I’m so thankful he is in my life. 

Mostly I am grateful. I am grateful for my health so I can do these races. And, I am grateful for my family and friends who support me in my endurance goals.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ironman Lake Placid in pictures - version 1

Almost to Lake Placid, finally.

Drop off bags, Shepas from right: Than, Kathy. Mark (racing)

The 3 Amigos - making a plan - what they do best.

Side trip to the top of Whiteface - awe inspiring and cold!

Race Day - The Swim
Kristen on the bike
Kristen on the Run (thank you Mary for the wings)
And the Finish with Sherpa Kathy. Wow. That hurt a lot.
Post Race photos of the most awesome rental house.

A quick trip home to see my family and the ocean.
And back to my Home, Away from Home and Daisy is happy to see me and snuggle time.

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's Ironman Race Week

It's going to be a crazy week.
Prepping to be gone from work for a week, getting last minute workouts in and packing.

But I have to remember to stretch, breathe and relax as much as possible.

Work, life, training and racing - this quote is applicable to it all.

Race week. I've been looking forward to it for a year.
A year in the making.
Just breathe.