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so tired: B2B T-16

Author: Pen | Filed under: ironperson, Team SOAS, Triathlons

Well.  This week was a true week of ups and downs in training.  I lost count of the number of times I used the F word in my TrainingPeaks post-workout notes.  I wish my emotions didn’t depend so much on having good workouts; but, lately, in the wake of #Eaglemanfail, I’ve been letting bad workouts get the best of me.  There were a couple of low points this week, so lets just get the crap out of the way:

  • Slowest run ever.  Like e.v.e.r.  Normally I’m not even capable of running like 9:15s unless its a run-walk.  But on Tuesday, I just couldn’t get faster than 9 minute miles…even on a downhill.  It was just so weird.  I came home and let loose a string of Fbombs in TrainingPeaks and felt as though the sky was falling.  Incidentally, the sky is not, in fact, falling.  A big part of this horrible run was the humidity. And let me tell you people, the summer is here in the south.  We’ve had such a mild spring/summer; I had forgotten how miserable the summer is.  I sweat so much that I lose 4-5 lbs every run, even with mid-run hydration.  In fact, my visor is so sweaty that it serves as an ideal doggy-salt lick.


  • Swims with dead arms.  My first two swims of the week were just rough.  You know that feeling when you just have nothing in your arms nd you can barely move.  That was what I had.  Sadly, I let that get the best of me when I got out of the pool part way through a workout.  I really need to work on sticking to my motto: Just do it, even if you suck.

But, in all of my bitching…I had a couple breakthroughs:

  •  A swim workout with 5X500m @ HIM pace on Saturday where I was about 20-25 seconds faster than when I did this workout two months ago.
  • I ACTUALLY DID A CORE WORKOUT. This seems like a silly breakthrough, but getting myself to do core work is like pulling teeth.  I have actually been feeling the effect of a weak core on my running speed (particularly during track workouts) and I know I need the core work.  It’s just…it sucks so bad.

And a couple of nice rides, one on the trainer with Scoutty-poo watching the team time trails of the Tour de France (btw, trainer + the tour = pure happiness).


And a ride that alternated between longhorns…



And rain.  Somehow yesterday, while I rode in the rain for two hours, I got sunburned.  WTF.  Not only was it raining, but I’m Greek.  I’m not supposed to burn!!! Darn you, faulty mediterranean skin!  My face when I realized TWC lied to me about 0% chance of rain:



Fortunately, after a rough start to the week, I ended the week on a high note (could also be the glass of wine I drank and the puppy kisses I got Sunday night while watching Despicable Me).

The week topped off with:

Week T-16 6/1/13 – 6/7/13

Swim 2:51 8743 yards
Bike 5:11 75 miles
Run 3:10 22 miles
Strength 1:10
Total: 12:22

Next week is a recovery/testing week and I’m actually *excited* to see where I am…at least with my swimming…I expect more of the same with bike and run.

After a nice week of recovery from completely blistered feet, a swollen shut eye, and a sliced open foot, it was time to regroup and figure out what to do and where to go from here.  I had already registered for Augusta 70.3, but was looking for another fall race–hopefully a cool race.  After much debate between Rev3FL and Beach 2 Battleship half, I decided on a trip to Wilmington.

There are many things that make me excited for B2B: I have a good record with Setup Events Halfs, I have a lot of family in Wilmington, it’s an easy 4ish hour drive from Aug, and I can take my pupperoos.  Oh, and did I tell you it’s normally cool?  Yea, that’s important too.

I’ve decided that B2B on October 26th will be my fall A race and August 70.3 on September 29th will just be a long, well supported, very expensive training day.  And, after regrouping and selecting my next A race, it was time to get back at it with training.  The first week back at it (just the second week after Eman) was tough.  I felt like crap and had zero motivation.  Every swim workout was a mental battle to stay in the pool.  Every run was a mental battle to keep myself running through *just the next block*  and then the next.  And I was dropped on the hills every. single. ride.

Even with all that, I managed a double digit training week.

Week T-18 6/17/13

Swim 2:37 7874 yards
Bike 6:06 112 miles
Run 1:17 9 miles
Strength 0:00 (oops)
Total: 10:01

And after my legs got 2-3 weeks out from Eagleman, they started to get a bit of spunk and things were easier the next week.  Not *easy*…but easier.

Week T-17 6/24/13

Swim 2:49 8343 yards
Bike 5:20 95.54 miles
Run 2:47 17.42 miles
Strength 1:15
Total: 12:11

Ok, gotta get myself out on the road now.   I slept ALL day today!  ALL DAY, seriously.  What else is a 4th of July holiday for if not sleeping all day? :)

Well hello world, I’m back from attempting to catch my white whale again.  And once again that slippery little bitch alluded me.  The end of the story is: Eagleman remains my white whale and I will return to the battle next June to fight yet again.

But, I’m struggling with writing this report, because it was so clearly not the race I wanted or the race that I was capable of–and I cannot figure out why.  In my head I have like 70 billion excuses. Shall we list them out?

  • The Sunday before the race I woke up with a Staph infection in my eye (f-ing working in jails).  My eye was swollen shut and I was put on a 10 day course of antibiotics (to extend through race day).  I still had bits of an active infection on race day.

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  • The antibiotics gave me tummy troubles and shall we just say, I was losing A LOT of water during the week because of that.  AND, my body wasn’t absorbing any nutrients because food was just, well, on a fast course through me.  I did try as hard as I could to stay hydrated, get nutrients in the form of juice, and keep my belly full of good probiotics.


  • I sliced my foot open on rocks 15 minutes before my wave start as I climbed out of the water after warming up.  I spent the next ten minutes in the med tent because the toe was bleeding profusely and didn’t get out of the med tent until 3 minutes before my swim wave went off.
  • I got an F-ing drafting penalty (although, it sounds like A LOT of people did).
  • According to some sources, the swim was “long” and there was a bad cross current.

They are all potential legit reasons for my bad race–active infection, on antibiotics, blah blah blah.

In all honesty, do I think any of these things contributed to my shit race? Maybe.  I don’t know.  Do I know enough to have a legit excuse? No.  Do I really have an excuse? No.  And that is the most fucking frustrating thing ever.  Without a cause, how do I stop this from happening again?

The day was what the day was. So what happened?

After many years of combined Eagleman experience, Josh and I managed to pull off the best executed Eagleman logistically this year.  We actually booked a hotel in Cambridge and managed to not almost miss the last shuttle/the closing of transition like last year.

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We got there early and were setting up when I went to check out my tire pressure.  And f.  Somehow on my trip up from GA, my bike tire got scuffed and it ripped away a chunk of my 3 month old front tire.  I frantically ran to the mechanic tent to see if (a) I could ride like that since it didn’t seem to be bulging and/or (b) they had an extra tire.  After being told that I should be ok, I decided to let it go and deal with getting a new tire after the race.  I just crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t blow out on the course (fortunately, it didn’t).

Then I loaded up with my “I’m on antibiotics and have had diarrhea all week and I’m still racing my A race” survival kit.  It includes all kinds of forms of electrolytes, advil, a probiotic or two, and the very very important imodium.

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Like I said before, I climbed over the rocks to swim a little warmup before my wave.  But as I was getting back out, I stepped on a sharp rock or something and cut my toe open.  I honestly didn’t think anything of it until, as I was talking to a friend, I looked down and there was a very large bright red puddle under my foot.  At that point, I decided to take a quick trip to medical to see if they could stop the bleeding (they couldn’t) or bandage it for the race (they kinda did until it came off first thing during my swim).  Fortunately, it didn’t really hurt too bad and with the blisters I acquired during the run to distract me, I didn’t even notice it again until after the race.

Swim: (40:00, 23 AG)
The swim was wetsuit legal (yay) and the water appeared not to have too bad of a tidal current.  Turns out, however, that most people were slow.  I thought I was having a good swim–felt strong and long and figured that I should come in right around where I came in at TryCharleston.  So, when I came out of the water in 40 minutes, I had a brief “what the f?” moment.  I was 7 minutes off my time.  At that point, I knew that unless some miracle happened, my sub5 was out the window.

Bike: (2:51:19, 22AG…includes 4min penalty)
Transition area (as documented here and here) was a mud pit.  The bike exit has a little run on the grass, but with tropical storm andrea passing through a couple of days before, the field was a swamp.  Like entire feet submerged in muddy, watery, grass swamp.  As I hopped on my bike, my first order of business was to settle my HR between 150-155bpm.  But, even at what felt like RPE 3-4, my HR was over 160bom.  I made the, perhaps bad, executive decision to just race there and hope for the best.

I managed to stay pretty patient and my riding was pretty even throughout.  I saw many packs pass me by and instead of being pulled into the illegal drafting and potentially overcooking my legs to stay with those ladies, I just sat back and rode my race.  By mile 35, though, I knew that, unlike my coaches predication and my hope, I wasn’t going to be close to sub 2:40.  At that point, a pack of blatantly illegally drafting 25-29yo ladies passed me by and I decided to go with them but hang back a few lengths.  The problem with that is that being in wave 20, the course is already so crowded that there was almost nowhere to go to not draft.  And so, that was when I got a drafting penalty.  Sigh.  Was I on someone’s butt like the riders I’d been seeing all day? No.  Was I likely between 3-4 lengths back? Yea.  Unfortunately, yes, that’s still illegal.

So, knowing that I would now be spending four minutes in the penalty tent before I could run, I just tried to stay strong on the rest of the bike.  Unfortunately, I knew then at this point that a PR was out of the window.

Run: (2:24:28, 35 AG)
I started out on the run feeling good…and that lasted for .8 miles.  I don’t run well in the heat.  And, with both a PR and sub5 out the window, my motivation started to wane.  I tried to run slowly and steadily, but, I just kept wanting (and giving into) walk breaks.  By mile 4 when I figured that even 5:20 was slipping away, I just decided that I didn’t really care and would just enjoy the rest of the trip.  What that meant was doing a lot of walking and meeting people on the run.   The only issue was that I had gone out on the run without socks (which I always do) but something about the humidity and running through the muddy swamp water, led to tearing the shit out of my feet.  So, the last 6 miles were basically hobble/walking/running.  I realized that I would be cutting the 6 hour time close about one mile out.  And did I race that last mile in?  Nope.  I just could not get myself into the pain cave and stay there on the run.

I couldn’t get in there.  And that’s what happened on the run.  I was in the pain cave for approximately 15 minutes.

And then I finished up, nearly 1 hour slower than my race 6 weeks ago in 6 hours, 1 minute, and 20 seconds (I think).

Moral of the story:  Unlike every other bad race, I actually enjoyed myself.  I legit was happy to be out there.  I didn’t have any of the “you are a fraud and a slow piece of crap” thoughts that normally enter my head when I have a bad race.  That, my friends, is a win.  Because, honestly, I’m not a pro.  I do this because it’s “fun”  and I “enjoy” training.  Fun, even slow fun, makes this race maybe not such the personal worst that it technically is.

And, lets not forget that Eagleman 2010, raced two weeks after a concussion, was the beginning of my two horrible years that I’m finally coming out of.  It was my first ever DNF.  It began two of the hardest years of my life as I struggled to figure out why I physically couldn’t keep up anymore.  So, yea, that’s a win too.

I’m trying to focus on those two big wins and not the epic fail that was my attempt to spend my 30th birthday racing Kona.  I’m disappointed in myself because, sure I could have run faster.  No doubt.  I probably even could have finished under 5:40.  But it wasn’t going to be a day that was anywhere close to a PR.  And I have this lingering frustration like–what the F?  Yes I mentally imploded on the run and cost myself 20 or 30 minutes.  But even with that taken away–I was still no where near my PR or what I should be capable of and I don’t know why.  I have all of those above excuses, but honestly.

And, even worse–why do I struggle getting into and staying in the pain cave? No seriously, guys?  Why?

In sum, I had a couple of wins.  And a couple of “WTF happened”s?  But, let’s focus on the wins.

And–thank you to Soas Racing for the most adorable and comfortable team kit!

Next up?  Running (jogging?) the Baltimore 10 miler tomorrow, just 6 days post Eagleman.  And then 3 months to focus for the fall races: Augusta 70.3 and the Beach 2 Battleship Half Iron.

Btdubs, anyone out there reading this who might have some ideas why I sucked, please let me know.  I need outside ideas!


taper crazies.

Author: Pen | Filed under: Uncategorized

Eagleman is in 10 days. And I’m heading way down to taper crazy town.

Let’s start with the fact that yesterday I sat at my desk all day too excited to sit still.  What was I looking forward to?  A measly 80minute brick.  But omg.  I couldn’t wait.  I needed the endorphines and the exhaustion.  I was too excited and jumpy to be productive.  I was doing tricip dips in my desk chair.  6 or 7 or 8 hours of training a week is just. not. enough.

And then I have this text convo with my coach after I see his projected finish times for Eagleman.

Me: A 1:40 marathon?  Yea.  I want to do that.  But I just don’t think that is an option…Given my bad history with this race, I’ll be happy to finish in under 5:10″

Coach: So be happy with 5:10, but don’t be surprised if you go faster.  I want you to go in with the attitude of just killing it.  Like nothing can stand in your way.

Me: I do think running sub 1:40 is an awesome goal for Augusta, though.

Coach: We’ll see how it goes. :)

Any normal person would read that last comment as “I think you can do it at Eagleman, stop trying to sell yourself short”

But me? I was like “wtf does that mean?  Does that mean he thinks its ridiculous that I would even think I could ever run a 1:40 off the bike?  Oh god I suck.  I suck.  And I’m going to bomb.  And I suck and I’m stupid for thinking that I don’t suck. I’m always going to suck and I’m never going to be good and I suck.  I suck.”

I managed, after 10 minutes of meltdown, to talk myself back of the ledge, considering my coach was the one who first planted the thought that I might be able to run 1:40 at Eagleman.  So of course, his “we’ll see” is meant as “you might surprise yourself at Eagleman.”  But…that was not after I chased the “you suck” ball down the rabbit hole for a good 10 minutes.

And you know that taper feeling when you are just feeling sluggish and like a giant and like you’ve gained 50 lbs?  Yep.  That’s where I’m at.  And my race isn’t even for a week and a half.

The worst part of racing is, without a doubt, the taper.

GAH!?  So, I wrote out this post last night and then when I hit publish it got lost.  Sigh.  It’s hard to recreate the magic.  But, I’ll try anyway…here we go.  (If you read this and judge the writing, that’s fair.  Just know that it was better written the first time I wrote it.  I promise.)

On Friday, I packed up (a lot) and headed down to Charleston for the first race of season.  Is it not ridiculous how much one *must* pack for a 48 hour trip to a triathlon?

photo 1

The race started at a KOA campground and being the cheapie (and lazy) that I am, I decided to stay there.  We had a nice view of the swim course even if our cabin didn’t have a bathroom or anything (which was particularly unfortunate when I had to pee 3 times in the middle of the night during a crazy thunderstorm…)

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I really welcomed the crazy thunderstorm because it was hot in humid on Friday when I got to Charleston and by the time the race morning rolled around it was 55s and chilly: Perfect race weather! See, crazy thunderstorm approaching:

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Saturday morning, I woke up at 4:30am after a restless night in a twin bunk bed shared with Brennybear.  The weather was cold and rainy and the transition areas were muddy.  The race started at 7, but I had two transition areas to set up, so I headed over early.  In my haste to leave the cabin, I forgot my rain jacket, bike jacket, and plastic bags to keep my shoes dry during transition.  Oops.  It was going to be a wet day, for sure.

Heading into this race, coach and I had discussed a game plan.  The game plan basically amounted to using the swim and bike as a way to set up the run.  My only true goal was to run the entire run (spoiler alert: I was pretty successful).  So, swim was the normal game plan: swim straight and relaxed.  Relaxed is easy, straight not so easy.  Bike was going to be solely focused on hitting specific tempo HRs and not worrying about speed.  And on the run I would just let it all hang out.  There was no overall time goal, no goal to PR, really.  Just the goal to have a well executed race.  I perform best when there is a lack of (self-imposed) pressure, so these were ideal racing conditions.

Swim: 0:33:42 (1:32/100yds) 11th OA, 3rd AG
The swim was a two loop course in a relatively warm (72degree) lake.  Because this was a relatively small race, all the women started in the same swim wave.  There was the normal kicking and thrashing to start, but it settled down after the first 50m.  After that, I just relaxed and cruised.  I couldn’t find feet to draft off of, so I just lengthened out and tried to stay in a straight line.  For the most part, I was successful.  Loop 1 and loop 2 were about the same speed, so I paced well and came out of the water happy.  My goal was 35 minutes, and I came out of the water in 33:14, so I crushed that.  More than anything, I’m just excited to see that all my work in the pool this winter is making a difference.

T1: 2:29
T1 was a little pain in the butt.  Because it had been raining all morning leading up to the start, everything was already wet.  And, because there were 2 transition areas, we had to pack everything from T1 into a plastic bag before getting out on the bike.  You know what else I learned during T1?  It is flipping hard to put on arm warmers when you are wet.  The weather hovered around 55ish most of the day and there was threat of rain all day, so I wanted arm warmers on the bike…unfortunately, I was only ever able to pull one up.  My left arm warmer hung around my wrist for the 56 mile ride. It was mad stylish and my race pictures look totally cool.

Bike: 2:41:51 (20.75mph), 5th OA, 3rd AG, 155 AHR
Nutrition: 2 scoops perpetuem, 2 honey stingers, 3 swigs of gel/water flask = 670
The goal here was patience.  Patience, young grasshopper.  I have this horrible habit of getting so caught up in going as fast as I can on the bike that I blow up on the run.  With the singular goal of this race being a solid run, I only had a vague bike time goal and really was focused on not laying it all out there before I got my running shoes on.

My coach had told me to hang out at 145-150bpm for the first 25 minutes, so for the first 10 miles, I really didn’t even look at what speed I was riding at.  I just loosened up, spinned quickly and started to take in some nutrition.  Every time I saw competition, I had to have a little self-talk: “let ‘em go.  let ‘em go and get ‘em on the run.”  And later “calm the fuck down, penelope anne.”  I actually said that last one out loud.

At about mile 18, I pulled out my bonk breaker bar, excited to consume my only solid food of the race.  I had planned to eat it at mile 20, so being the ever food-motivated-dog-like-girl I held and stared at the unwrapped bar for nearly 2 miles.  Just before mile 20, there was a turn…and then a bump in the road…and then SLIP!  There goes mr. bonk breaker.  Saddest moment of the day.

The rest of the bike was uneventful.  I kept my HR hovering between 155-157 with the bike in the big ring and a relatively high cadence.  Because of the small size of the race, there was very little opportunity for legal (or illegal) drafting and 35-40miles of the bike were spent riding all by myself.  It was slightly boring, but I just employed my long run tricks: showtunes singing and hand dancing (can’t really full body dance on a bike).  Yep, while racing a half-ironman, I sang showtunes on my bike.  But, seriously, do you know how freeing it is to be on your bike and not flipping out about not going fast enough?  It was amazing.  I’d occasionally look at my HR to make sure it was on point, but mostly, I was just happily grinning like a goofball and enjoying life out on my bike.  There were two instances where I was carelessly hand-dancing on the bike and nearly crashed.  Oops.  But, before I even realized it, I was at T2 with a bike leg PR and I felt as fresh as a daisy.

T2: 2:01
T2 was actually nice.  I got off the bike with a spring in my step and excited to run.  I’ve NEVER had that happen.  Typically I drag my butt through T2 dreading the run.  In fact, starting at about 35 miles on the bike, I start dreading the run.  But, this past weekend, I didn’t have any of that.  I was all smiles and happy to be racing.

Run: 1:46:52 (8:09/mi) 7th OA, 3rd AG
Nutrition: 4 or 5 gulps of coke, 1 swig of gel/water flask = 200 cal??

Miles 1-3: 8:11 (166bpm)//8:13 (167bpm)// 8:08 (170bpm)
Coming out of T2, I was thrilled. I felt GREAT!  Normally, I come out guns blazing and fizzle out by mile 3.  My body just wants to run 7:00s right off the bike.  So, I put on the breaks imediately.  The goal was to run the first 3 miles in 8:20s and it was a struggle to get myself to run slower than 8:00s…A couple times I had to tell myself “slow the fuck down, penelope anne.”  Out loud.  I really do talk out loud to myself a lot during races.  These first 3 miles felt easy peasy lemon squeezy.  I actually started wondering if I was pushing hard enough because I was smiling too much and having too much fun.

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Miles 4-6: 8:06 (171bpm)// 8:02 (173bpm)// 8:06 (173bpm)
Felt good here, and just cruised.  I actually started to get a little bored and really wanted to find someone to run with and talk to.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyone to make my pace up with at that point, so I just hummed and danced along by myself.  (Note: The more I get into this race report, the more I realize how deranged I must look when I’m having a happy race: talking to myself, dancing on the run, singing showtunes on the bike?).

Miles 7-9: 8:08 (174bpm)// 8:03 (174bpm)// 8:10 (175bpm)
At the start of the second loop, I started to doubt myself some and started to wonder if I could keep this up.  I hooked on to a lady starting her first lap and ran up and said “I’m fading, can I run with you?”  And then she and I chatted for the next couple of miles until she got a rock in her shoe and had to stop and fix that.  I kept going but I was mentally fading fast.  I saw a shocking number of people out on the run course with headphones (for non-triathletes, that is against USAT rules) and I was a little jealous.  Some good music in my ears would have gone a long way…

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Miles 10-12: 8:26 (173bpm)// 8:30 (173bpm)// 8:34 (173bpm)
And the wheels start to fall off…I think more mentally than anything else.  At the second turn-around, I had yet to walk at all (this is HUGE for me).  But, at this point in the race I was supposed to be dropping the pace down to sub 8s.  And, instead, in miles 10 and 11 I took a 15-20sec walk break to get my head together.  I was starting to get tight and probably hadn’t taken in enough nutrition on the run and also had a hard time switching from the easy-peasy pace of the rest of the day into the “holy fuck this hurts” pace of the last three miles.

And actually, at mile 10, I stopped smiling for the first time that day–until Victoria said hi to me out on the race course and told me that she reads my blog (I spent the next mile thinking, “people besides my mother still read this thing?!”).  The shout out made me smile and give me a little pep in my step!  (Thanks Victoria!  Also, go over to her blog and tell her congrats!  She rocked an amazing PR too!)

Mile 13.1: 8:05 (176bpm)// 6:09 (179bpm)
Once I hit the 12 mile marker, I knew my guy friends would likely be around cheering soon, so I picked up the pace to run it in strong.  Also, I wanted a bloody mary sooner rather than later.  And ta-da!  18 minute PR and all around funtastic day.  When I finished, I was a little worried that I hadn’t actually pushed hard enough because I was bouncing around all excited and ready to do it again.  But, I think that was just the post-race high.

Total: 5:06:53 5th OA, 3rd AG

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I’d like to point out a few things:

  1. PR in every leg. Clearly my focused training this winter and early spring is paying off.
  2. My splits for each leg were 3rd in my AG…adding up to make me 3rd place.  How’s that for consistency?
  3. I couldn’t sleep last night because I hurt so much from the race. A sign I did push myself hard.
  4. I smiled during 97% of the race.  It was fun.  I had fun almost the whole time.  Even in the end when it hurt, I was happy to be out there having fun.  This was my first long tri where I had fun…and was happy…and smiley.  I think the correct pacing made a world of difference.

What’s awesomest? A finisher’s medal that doubles as a bottle opener.

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Also awesome?  Retreating back to the campground for some post-race s’mores.  (S’mores were also had the next morning for breakfast)

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First race of the season!

Author: Pen | Filed under: ironperson, Races

In an hour, I’m leaving for the first tri of the season.  Unlike most other years, I’m starting out right away with a 70.3.  Unlike the days leading up to my last 70.3 (where I put an insane amount of pressure on myself), I’m cool as a cucumber.  I’m actually a little worried that I haven’t had the taper tantrums (well, ok, my boss did make a comment about me being a little more angry lately).  I’ve used the extra time during taper to have a party for master’s week and garden the heck out of some vegetables (and wine).


When I planned out my 2013 season, the goal was to build to hopefully sub 5 by Augusta70.3 in September.  And at my first half of the year in Charleston, the sole goal was to run the entire run (I’ve still yet to do that).  I wanted small, attainable, reasonable goals to start building my self-confidence back. But, my mind started wandering when I decided to try to crush it at Eagleman for hopes of a Kona spot.  That meant I needed to be sub5 by April…to hopefully be closer to 4:50 by June.

Here’s the problem with that:  I don’t perform well under (self-imposed) pressure right now.  With my self-confidence in the crapper, if something starts to falter I fold like a cheap suit.  I know that is something I need to work on–and I am working on it.  But I’m still not there.

I also don’t “feel” like a strong racer right now.  I’m about 10 lbs over where my ideal race weight is and I just feel uncomfortable in my skin.  I’m worried that that weight is going to hold me back.  And I wish it weren’t on my mind every day, but it is.

So, back to reasonable goals.  Back to seeing where I am right now.  I don’t think 5 is in the cards for me this weekend–but I think a strong run is.  And that is important.

You know what else is in the cards for me this weekend?  An awesome campfire with friends post race, noshing on some s’mores.  Holla.

Anyway, off to Charleston with the bff!


Last week involved a lot of mental gymnastics. Once I get over the 11-12hour weeks, I sometimes struggle with the additional time. I start worrying that I’m going to burn out or get overtrained.  I worry that I will break down and end up not healthy.  I am almost paralyzed by fear that I will get sent back to 2010 when 3 miles was a struggle and I lived from nap to nap.  I have a lot of workouts that I don’t feel like doing…so I just have to get up and say to myself: “do it.”  And a lot of workouts where I just have to continually reassure myself that I’m healthy now and that I can trust my coach.  But by the end of the week when my legs are tired, I start worrying that I’m slow and stupid for having dreams and yadda yadda yadda…

But seriously, last week, I had a mild mental breakdown on the bike.  I was struggling to go above 17mph and felt slow and silly and tired and…I almost got off the bike, threw it in a ditch and drove over it with my car.  I really really really wanted to.  Like really wanted to.

I even finished up and sent my coach a text that said “why do i suck so bad on the bike this year?”  As my coach talked me off a ledge, I was reminded that this year is really about slaying my demons.  I’ve become so obsessed with making it to Kona THIS YEAR, that I forgot what this year is about.  This year is about slaying my internal demons after three years of rough racing.  I’m healthy, finally.  And I have my first fully healthy year ahead of me to get well trained…to get well trained and see what is possible.  It’s likely that Kona is not realistic this year.  That’s ok.  You know what is realistic?  Slaying Demons.  Because did I tell you?  I’m Healthy.  It feels amazing to be healthy and to enjoy training (most of the time).

With the pressure off about making Kona (if it happens, amazeballs.  if not, it should be the goal next year after a good year of racing), I’m going to just focus on getting as fast as I can get.  But in the back of my head, I have this fear that “as fast as I can get” will fall greatly short of All American or of Kona material.  And that makes me scared and sad. A big part of me is too scared to try since I might fail.  That’s always been my problem.  I’m such a perfectionist that if I’m not great or the best at something I feel too ashamed and embarrassed to try.  I try to tell myself that as fast as I can get is as fast as I can get.  If it’s not as fast as I want, I’ll deal with that.  If it’s not as fast as everybody else, I’ll deal with it. But, my huge fear of failure is always there.

More on that later.  For now:  Just Do It…even if you suck.

So, for March 4 – 10 this is what I had going on:

Complete Planned
Total 14 hrs, 51 mins 15 hours 35 mins
Swim 4 hrs, 5 mins 12,800 yards
Bike 5 hrs, 51 mins 101 miles
Run 3 hrs, 35 mins 26.17 miles
Strength 1 hr, 20 mins

This is how I feel about 2 hour trainer rides:

photo 1

During 2 hour trainer rides, I keep dog treats in my bento box and when I get bored, I throw them at the dogs.


While Scoutty waits patiently.  She likes trainer rides.  Trainer = Treats.

photo 3






Swim 3500yds, 70min Run 50min easy in pouring rain!


Trainer, 5min power intervals Swim 3700yds, 75min


Trainer easy ride 105min


Run LT Intvls, 2X15min @ 7:15ish Swim 2100yds (bailed early)Yoga – 1hour


Run Long – 11.75mi at 8:14/mi Swim 1hr continuous – 3500yds


Ride Long 56mi at 17.7mph//Run transition 2mi @ 8:00/mi Core – 20min

Ending an almost 15hour training week with the two best things: Foam rolling and a pint of Ben & Jerrys.  (Yes, I ate the entire pint in one delicious sitting)

photo 5photo 4


So Excited! (Team SOAS 2013!)

Author: Pen | Filed under: Team SOAS

I can’t believe that I’ve neglected to write this post.  I’ve tried but felt like what I wrote didn’t convey my level of excitement, so I did a lot of deleting.  Anyway, back in January, I saw that SOAS Racing was taking applications for their 2013 Team.  And, given my love for women’s sports and looking cute, I had to take the chance to apply.  After having read the bios from the ladies on the team last year, I really thought that there was NO WAY that I would get picked.  They were/are rockstars and I’m a little nobody.  But, I applied anyway.

And then back on February 15th (I was at a work related happy-hour and a few glasses of wine in), I found out that I got picked!!!!!


Now, don’t take my month delay in posting as any indication of my level of excitement.  I seriously looked like a goon for the rest of the happy-hour because of the size of the smile on my face.  Seriously.  I was a grinning fool.

There are so many reasons that I am honored to be a part of this team and excited to represent a company that makes the most comfortable and cutest tri suits!  But mostly, I am proud to represent a company started by two amazing female triathletes and to be a part of a wonderful group of ladies.  SOAS and Team SOAS are made up of a bunch amazingly strong women that I am proud to be associated with.

Since moving to Augusta, I’ve struggled to find female training partners.  The majority of my 2010 Ironman training was done almost exclusively with dudes….which is fine, except that I love having female training partners (the training chatter is just not the same…).  I’m so nerdily excited to get to know the other ladies and gain new female training partners…even if they are primarily virtual training partners! :)

So, yea, I’m thrilled to be a member of Team SOAS 2013!


With just over 8 hours of training last week, I felt a little silly having a recovery week this week.  But, I guess with two heavy weeks before and a race last Sunday, I probably did need a little recovery.  Recovery weeks are a little bittersweet for me.  I’m sad that I don’t get lots of training, but I get to catch up with housework, my pups, my dvr, sleeping.  My favorite part of recovery weeks is the freedom on the weekends.

Saturday  was spent playing indoor fetch with Brennan, snuggling with Scout (who was pretty lethargic and pathetic after getting all her yearly vaccines on Friday), clearing out 600+ unread entries in Google Reader, sipping on Starbucks, watching the last three episodes of Pretty Little Liars (don’t judge, I am, in fact, 13 years old maturity-wise), and making an upholstered headboard for the guest bedroom.  I was so productive!  Normally, Saturday and Sunday mornings are spent killing three hours or more of running or biking and then sleeping for 3 hours and then eating a lot and then going to bed.  Clearly, I live I super exciting life.

Here’s how the week went:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Swim TT Test – 2100yds, including a 1000yd test (completed in 14:45, 1:28ish/100yds)
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Swim 1800yds, Ride 1hr easy
Friday: 1hr Yoga
Saturday: Run LT test (7:15s at 182bpm)
Sunday: Bike LT test (AHR: 159…super low, no idea why)


  • Total: 5 hours
  • Swim: 1:14, 3850yds
  • Bike: 1:56, ??mi – all on the trainer
  • Run: 0:50, 6.46mi

So, I have this one skill: standardized tests.  Applying that shit to real life?  Eh.  But multiple choice exams, I can slam the shit out of that stuff.  Unfortunately, that has not translated to my LT testing.  Actually, I’ve rarely seen an improvement in my LT testing over the 3 years that I’ve been with my coach.  It is not his fault.  Seriously.  It’s my fault.  And this is how I know:

This week brought new LT testing.  My last LT test was the week of Christmas, and get this, training helps you get better.

Groundbreaking, huh?  But, generally my training has been so sporadic that I have remained relatively stagnant except for the gains I’ve seen in biking and swimming just from having more experience in those disciplines (I’ve rested on my running laurels for about a decade now).  This time, though, I’ve been super-duper consistent during the winter.  Usually during the winter, I don’t swim because I’m cold and I stink at swimming and yea.  But this winter, I’ve been a swimming fiend.  And you know what?  My 1000TT was almost an entire minute and 30 seconds faster than this time last year.  And my run LT was at a pace 15sec/mi faster than in December.  When I saw how I compared to just a few months ago, I was all.

Apparently consistency is key.  I’d always hoped that I had untapped potential because I hadn’t been putting in solid training numbers consistently.  Now I see that I might be right.  Fingers crossed that I can make that 25minute PR at Eagleman with 14 more weeks of consistent training.  Nothing like a little positive reinforcement to kick you into another gear. 15+ hours on the schedule for next week.  Now, time to get at it.

ps. I love me some Jennifer Lawrence.  Primarily because of the faces she makes.  Because I’m a huge face-maker too.  A lot of times I can’t control it.  Which is good and bad.  On the one hand, you know totally what I’m feeling.  On the other hand, you know totally what I’m feeling.

pps. I will post sometime during this week before my recap.  I will.

Always playing catch up, aren’t I? So, let’s just put myself out of my misery and get the last two weeks summary in now and move on with it. Because, let’s be honest, I don’t even really remember what my training was like two weeks ago.

2/11 – 2/17

  • Total: 10:05 completed (13:00 planned)
  • Swim: 3:42, 1100 yards
  • Bike: 4:05, 54 miles
  • Run:1:38, 12 miles
  • Workouts Missed: 90mim long run, 90min easy spin.
  • Key Workouts: 3 hour ride in the frigid cold.

Booties for the first time ever!

2/18 – 2/24 (Race week, Training through)

  • Total: 8:15:46 (9:10 planned)
  • Swim: 2:47, 9100 yards
  • Bike: 3:05, 53 miles
  • Run: 2:23:46, 18.16 miles
  • Workouts Missed: Core workouts (as always) and stretch out strides before the race
  • Key Workouts: Trained-through hilly half-marathon at 1:41:29 (10th OA, 3rd AG)


Three things about the last couple of weeks:

1.Training really does make you better. Shocking, I know. But, I’ve been very good about getting in all of my swim workouts over the last two months, and I’ve seen a huge improvement. Now, if only could see those kinds of improvements in my running and riding.

2. I look at last week’s 8-hour week and feel like that should be considered a rest week. Because I should be doing 13, 14, 15 hour weeks to get my butt in shape to nab a kona spot. I’m starting to feel panicked–like I’m just not doing enough. I feel like Eagleman is already upon us and I’m just never going to get myself to the place that I want to be. It’s a good thing I have a coach to reign me in because otherwise I would be overtraining like crazy, I’m sure. That said, my 6 hour recovery week this week makes me really anxious.

3. In spite of the above freak out, over the last two weeks, I had my first real race-ish of the year, my first ride with full booties, my first decent trained-through race, and my fastest 200m interval ever. I recognize, objectively, that hings are going wellish.

4. And back to freak out, I really need to be running more. My first year of tris I successfully rested on my running laurels…and now I’ve lost all the speed that I used to have and can no longer rest on laurels. So, more running. Lots more running.

5. And, seriously, panicking about getting in a better training place before Eagleman…because I want a Kona spot so much it’s crazy.  More than anything, I’m worried that I’m going to be so far off from earning a spot that I’ll be embarrassed that I even thought I could get one.

A public defender super heroine by day, I am a cupcake baker extraordinaire by night. And come weekend, I am an IronPerson. I deal with an NPR addiction daily and I dream of one day having Carl Kasell on my answering machine. I strive to be the best fur-mommy I can be, and when I have time, I'm learning to be a grownup.

Team SOAS 2013

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