Just keep swimming…just keep swimming

10 Jul

A couple days before the 10k event, we took the kids to see Finding Dory. Yep, her mantra was fresh in my mind. And seriously….a 10k in the water is a LONG way to swim. And it takes way more prep than I had originally thought. Aside from the ridiculously long workouts, part of that prep was requiring someone to kayak or SUP along side me for almost 4 hours on race day. Justin, husband of the year, stepped up to the challenge and agreed to do it. Ok…it was more like you’re-my-only-option-will-you-do-it-please-don’t-say-no. Neither of us had done anything like this before, so we were kinda winging it and hoping for the best. We rented a kayak and practiced…

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The week of the event we had heavy storms in the area and weather was not nice to us on race day. The morning was cold and windy but it appeared the thunderstorms would hold off until later in the afternoon.

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The race director took precautionary measures and due to the threatening weather and water conditions he shortened the swim course. The distance would remain the same but instead of the 10k swimmers doing 2 long loops, we would instead do 6 shorter loops. Just so ya know…this is what a summer day in NY can look like. The race director was wearing a long sleeve wet suit, a swim parka, and a beanie hat!! Whaaaaat?

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The condensed course made it easier to patrol and allowed for quicker response times to get swimmers out of the water in case of lightening. Also, there were strong winds out of the east contributing to a fierce current so shorter swim increments against the current would, in the end, be more beneficial to the swimmers and break up the time we were having to swim against it. We arrived on the beach, assessed the ocean, and started prepping for the day.

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Justin and I were worried about him being able to stay anywhere close to me for the swim. The swells were at least 4 feet and it would be too dangerous for him to get close to me in the kayak. So we strategized about where he would go and how we would manage. As we were prepping for the start…Justin talking to other kayakers, and I lubing up for the wetsuit…thinking we have plenty of time…I happen to notice the strap on my goggles was torn. (Ummm!!! No wonder my left eye was leaking during my Eagleman Half Ironman! The elastic nose piece was literally hanging by a thread) So I wandered off to find some scissors to repair it. And while I was gone I guess that’s when the race volunteers were directed to get into the water. Before I knew it, Justin was gone and the race briefing had started. As the race director was giving instructions to swimmers, you could see the kayakers behind him trying to get into the water. One by one…the volunteers would send a poor kayaker into the break, trying to get them out without flipping over. But every single boat flipped. Again and again. With “oooohs” and “aaaaahhhhhs” from the swimmers with each tumble. I didn’t see Justin the first time he flipped (too busy fixing goggles) but I eventually saw him out on the course and he looked okay (although I did notice he was missing his RayBans). So now my goggles are fixed. I’m looking for the 10k group – they’re at the start line – and then I see Justin’s kayak upside down out in the ocean, floating away in that strong current towards the end of the course, and I don’t see Justin. A friend reassures me that the guys are helping to flip it over and make sure he’s safe, but the kayak is heavy. He says don’t worry about it…to go line up. So I do, I go to the start line with the other 10k swimmers. But as they are doing the countdown to start the race I realize that oh crap…all my nutrition/food was out on that kayak with Justin. If he’s in trouble, I need a plan B.

So while I’m freaking out about what to do, here’s what had just happened to Justin that I was completely (and thankfully) unaware of…

  1. Upon flipping over the first time, Justin lost his sunglasses in the ocean.
  2. Justin and the others got tangled up in the rope that was used to attached my water bottles to the boat. They wrapped around the bottom and top of the kayak as it flipped. Oops
  3. Waves were hitting him so hard that the metal hook on his lanyard broke. Luckily, my coach had suggested to bring a waterproof case that floats. After it broke off, the case floated right up next to him and he was able to rescue it. It contained his cell phone and our car key!! He didn’t even know it had broken loose.
  4. At this point the kayak was full of water and was so heavy that Justin and the other guys had a hard time flipping it over so they rode the current down and to shore. This is when I spotted Justin swimming towards the beach pulling the upside down kayak behind him….just seconds before the start of the race.
  5. A couple of the more experienced kayakers were able to remain in the ocean, but most of the patrol volunteers were laying down on SUPs or surf boards and riding the course by paddling with their arms.

So back to “plan B”. Justin and I had decided that if he wasn’t able to stay out in the water I would wear my orange open water swim floatie to be more visible and he would keep a watchful eye on me from the shore. But as I was at the start line, watching Justin wrestle the kayak back to shore I realized he had all my nutrition with him. CRAP! So I sprinted the half mile down the beach to Justin and grabbed my gel and water bottles of Tailwind. And then sprinted back. The race had started and I was over here doing a nice little mile warm up run on the beach. SMH. I threw my gel into my swim buoy, tossed the water bottles to the volunteer at the start line and asked her to get them out to the turnaround float. I crossed the start line, and into the ocean I went.

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My Tailwind did eventually make it out to the turnaround point but not until half way through the race. The swells were big, but heading out to the east with the current behind me it was manageable. I could literally ride the wave at times…dare I say it was fun! But after the turnaround, coming back was extremely difficult and at times felt like a damn aqua treadmill. The first lap (.5 miles out and .5 back) took me 12 minutes there and 22 minutes back. Swimming against the current SUCKED and eventually I started feeling sea sick. In general it’s just a really long time to be in the ocean. I’m not a strong open water swimmer (compared to pool swimming) and I’m so much slower in these conditions. So many experienced and strong OW swimmers were out there that day and I was in awe of them, their form and ability to cut through the water. As I was being tossed around, treading water and trying not to drink the whole damn ocean. Swim goals! Eventually, I passed the turnaround point for the 6th and final time and headed to the finish line.

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Ok, so let’s talk about Justin for a second. He is seriously the best sherpa ever!! This guy puts up with a lot from me. He’s not into this whole swim bike run thing but he makes time in the family schedule to allow me to get it done. He hauls equipment and kids around so I can do my thing. He even willingly (if only slightly begrudgingly) agrees to kayak by my side for 6.2 miles in the ocean when he’d much rather be sitting in the sand with a cold beer. Even when his flight was delayed and only got a couple hours of sleep he didn’t complain once. Not even after clocking almost 12 miles in steps that day. He’s a good man. He supports my “me” things even though they make no sense to him.

Eagleman Half Ironman Race Report

15 Jun

2015 was the year of recreational running. Last year from July to December I ran in 13 different states on a mission to run a half marathon in all 50 by my 50th birthday (#50×50). Within 6 months I completed 12 half marathons and 1 full, all mostly for fun…not really working on speed or fitness. I wanted to change that in 2016, so just after Thanksgiving I started talking with my coach and we decided to start training after the holidays. For Christmas, Santa brought me a new bike trainer. And this thing is AWESOME! It gives accurate and real time feedback on power levels and allows me to share training session information with my coach to better adjust my workouts. I really believe in a very short time it improved my bike fitness tremendously. So happy with this purchase!

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So we started training in mid-January with a goal of a half ironman on May 1st. Well…training didn’t really go as planned. My family was plagued this winter by sickness after sickness. I just couldn’t catch a break.  We had multiple cases of strep, stomach bugs, bronchitis…we got hit hard. And then in April I got the flu and was coughing so hard that I cracked a rib. And it was all too obvious that a 70.3 in May wasn’t gonna happen. So we adjusted the plan, and settled on Eagleman 70.3 in Cambridge, Maryland on June 12th.

PRE-RACE:

We loaded up the family and drove the 6+ hours to Cambridge after school on Friday afternoon. Went to sleep as soon as we got to the hotel. Saturday I spent the day at the athlete check-in and expo, and checking out the course. My crew were busy back at the hotel making signs. So cute!

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I got a good night’s sleep that night and woke up feeling nervous, but excited…and ready for the day!

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Setting up at transition. Ready. Set. GO time!

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1.2 mile SWIM:

It was a pretty basic, and non-eventful swim…just how I’d like it to be! The only mention-able here is that the elastic nose piece on my goggles came loose just before the start and that caused my left eye to fill with water the whole swim…but the water was murky, and I suck at sighting anyway, so it didn’t really have a big impact. I didn’t push too hard…just tried to relax and enjoy the swim since I knew it would be the most comfortable I’d be all day.

Official swim time: 34:00 (seriously?? 34 flat…weird right?) That’s 1:37/100yd. 16th in my division

1

T1: the only surprise was when, upon exiting the water, there were no wetsuit strippers as there were supposed to be. It ended up being no big deal…was able to get it off myself within a minute or two. Didn’t hussle through transition, just relaxed and caught my breath, preparing myself for the next 56 miles. Official T1 time: 5:10

56 mile BIKE:

Who ordered the head wind??!!? From mile 4 on, the wind was relentless. Each time we made a turn on the course we thought…alright, here’s our break…but somehow it was a head wind (or at minimum a cross wind) at every turn. Say whaaaaat? And although the day was heating up quickly, we caught a break and got some nice cloud cover. For me…it was at least the first 2 hours on the bike. It was amazing, and certainly made conditions much more pleasant!! The sun wasn’t beating down on us the entire time. And although I would’ve preferred less wind, it wasn’t unbearable. I just stayed in a low gear and high cadence and tried to not push too hard. Honestly, I thought I was being really smart here by not pushing too hard. I was taking in all my nutrition as planned. I even ate a GU and half an energy bar. Side note: a lot of my non tri-athlete friends have asked what we do about food so I thought I would add here that most of us drink our nutrition and supplement with bars, bananas, gels, snacks, etc. For me, I carried 3 bottles (of Tailwind mixed with Skratch) that were approx. 280 calories each. A bar at 200 calories, and a GU with 100. So over the next 3.5 hours, I took in roughly 1,140 calories. Based on that…and because I was able to maintain my average goal speed even into the wind, I felt like I was setting myself up for a really decent run and possibly even a sub 7hr finish. Well, spoiler alert!! Things don’t always go as planned….

Official bike time: 3:23:44 (16.5 mph). 54th in my division

2

T2: this is where things went wrong. As soon as I got off my bike I felt nauseous. I felt light-headed and suddenly really hot. It was 92 and 73% humidity. And frankly…I was a little bit scared about what my body was doing. I spent probably at least 5 minutes trying to get the hair tie out of my hair. Thankfully the 11 year old volunteer finally just ripped it out of my head and sent me on my way. Official T2 time: 12:44. A sign that things were getting off course

13.1 mile RUN:

I tried my best to get on with it and run out. Still nauseous and still a little concerned about how I was feeling, not really able to do much more than a shuffle. I kept thinking to myself “Don’t puke! I can’t afford to lose the nutrients I drank on the bike” (is that a realistic concern?? I don’t know…) But my stomach wouldn’t calm and the cramping got worse and worse. Eventually everything came up and out. Then dry heaves. And I was MAYBE 400 ft into the run. Aye aye aye….not a good way to start. Feeling hotter than ever, I saw an adirondack chair in a sprinkler by the side of the road (the neighborhood was so awesome!! They had water hoses, misters, sprinklers set up along the course for the runners to run through. It literally saved us all) and I sat down in that chair for at least 2 minutes. For a second, I wasn’t sure if I could even hold my own self up. But I eventually put one foot in front of the other and tried to make forward progress. I would feel okay and start to run for 50 steps – yes I was counting them – and then the cramps would return and I would walk. This continued for the entire 13.1 mile run. YUCK!! It’s not fun to essentially walk a half marathon. I just wanted it to be over.

3

The heat was oppressive, specifically because I haven’t felt these temps in forever. My hottest training run in NY was only in the 70s. It’s been unseasonably cool this spring and I just haven’t had a lot of (recent) training in the heat. Oh well. You can’t control everything. Eventually…the end was near and I saw my family. I figured Justin would be worried about me, especially after a good swim and a good bike time. Those thoughts were confirmed when running into the finisher’s chute. The kids came running over, holding their adorable signs and giving me high fives. Aw, they’re so cute…cheering on their mom. What good kids. And then, my son says “Geez momma, what took you so long? We’ve been waiting FOOOOOOREVER”. I know right….I feel the same way kiddo! lol

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And off I went, to the finish line…

Official run time: 3:38:37 (16:41/mi). 84th in my division

4

Official overall time 7:54:15, and the obligatory Trista pose at the finish…

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The race was awesome! The course was perfect. The experience was one I won’t forget. And here’s the cool part. Everything is a learning experience, and after talking with my coach we already have ideas on how to improve nutrition and training for the next event. I’m excited!!

So what’s next? A couple days of recovery…and then I’m back in water this week to train for a (stupidly long) 10k open water swim at Fire Island in July. Just keep swimming…just keep swimming….

Turning 6

6 Apr

Because Easter was so early this year, we started Pierce’s 6th birthday celebration three weeks early to work around the holiday and Spring Break. It was a long celebration, and I think even he was ready for it to end! It started with a night in the city at Ninja New York, a fun restaurant where the waiters are ninjas and jump out of the shadows with fire and swords. He loved it!

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The following weekend he had a ninja party with friends. He even got to cut the cake with a real samurai sword (and then take it home).

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And then before leaving on Spring Break he was able to celebrate at school with Italian ices and story time with Grandma.

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And the party continued the week of Spring Break in Puerto Rico where we celebrated his actual birthday with family…and cake at more than a few meals.

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What a fun way to ring in your 6th year of life! Pierce, we love celebrating you and are so proud to be your parents. We hope the coming year brings more fun adventures with you…but also less notes home from the teacher :))

The facts: the last year of Pierce’s life has been filled with uping his game in reading, writing, and math skills. He is FINALLY able to freestyle across the pool (much to his swimmer mom’s delight). Dress up is still his favorite thing. Latest obsessions are Power Rangers and Star Wars. Still hasn’t lost a tooth yet. Still loves guitars and “playing” rock N roll with dad. Wants to be a tic tac toe master when he grows up.

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The Mouse

9 Mar

Yes we were THAT family with matching shirts and silly hats.

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Even though Pierce acted “too cool for school” when meeting some of the characters, he was excited to bring his autograph book to all of them, and he was really excited to meet Mickey.

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He enjoyed all the little kid rides with his sister, but he rode some big rides and scary roller-coasters which was fun for him. He is juuuuuust under the height cut off for the major roller-coasters which he was totally fine with.

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Addison was amazed by all things Disney. So much fun to watch the awe in their little faces as they soak it all in.

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She especially loved the parades, the characters (OMG, she met Anna and Elsa!!!) and all the little girls in their princess dresses.

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It was an amazing week…and an exhausting one. Our little princess and storm trooper were…..well…troopers to the end.

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Winter wonderland

11 Feb

 

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There’s so much excitement when a good blizzard is on the way. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, I love to sit by the window and watch the snow fall. There is something so serene and calming when the snow coats the trees and grass. Ironically enough, our best snow falls this year came just after Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow on groundhog day and proclaimed an early spring. Ha!

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Without a doubt the kids love snow days – snowball fights, igloos, sledding, snowmen and snow-angels – no school, cookies for breakfast and candy for lunch…what’s not to love!?! Playing, exploring, running in the snow is generally exhausting and they sleep so well. Momma has an early happy hour…it’s all around good for everyone.

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For Addison, this year is a bit easier than last since she is older and more stable on her feet. But she still gets frustrated when the snow is deep. The first blizzard dropped so much snow she sank all the way in.

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Queso is getting more brave (or just giving up?) and finally going outside.

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Sledding!! The second snowfall brought perfect sledding snow (Queso loved chasing us down the hill)…

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So the down side of all this snow? (because I know so many of you hate it) While you’re waiting for the blizzard to end so you can finally get outside and run off some energy before the kids kill each other…

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Or when you spend more time getting dressed than you actually spend outside playing. Because someone had to use the bathroom, needs a snack, has snow in their boots, etc…

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The shoveling and digging. Oh wait, I don’t do that anymore. That excitement ended last year and I’ve put the shovel away :)) We have a guy on-call for our snow removal…

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But hands down, the worst part about winter, is all the germs. SO MANY GERMS!!! So far this year our house has fought two cases of strep, a double ear infection, two sinus infections, and an upper respiratory infection. The kids are both on antibiotics right now. Ugh…it’s the worst!

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And look at this! Each kindergartner in Pierce’s class had to pick their favorite season, create a diorama on it, and write an explanation about why it’s their favorite. I was shocked to learn he chose winter. I thought he was my beach baby…

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Jan 14: Addi turns 2

5 Feb

Addison started her big day at Toys R Us picking out her own birthday gift (thanks, Uncle Brent for the gift card). They gave her a balloon and crown, and she was beaming.

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She is OBSESSED with all things Frozen so she had the most amazing cake. She was so so soooooo excited about it. Most mornings she demands (DEMANDS!!) to watch Frozen while eating her breakfast. She has a poster of the movie characters in her room and every night on the baby monitor you can hear her talking to Elsa, Anna and Olaf. She seriously lives for Frozen from the minute she wakes to the moment she kicks the wall to sleep each night.

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She also really loved her birthday outfit and asked to wear it everyday for at least a week straight. Here she is, at school, telling us how old she is. She can’t be bothered with holding up two fingers on the same hand, I guess? Little cutie…

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Girls. She definitely already has an opinion on what she wears…and accessories is her thang. Bags, shoes, necklaces, hats, sunglasses, snow pants, you name it. She loves it…

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Unless mom puts accessories in her hair. Then she’s like no

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Just recently she’s been talking more and more. It’s so fun to hear their little voices come out. Not surprisingly she has a lot more to say at this age than her older brother did. She is able to string together full sentences. But their little voices are so similar to one another. Soft, high, and sweet as can be.

She is no longer a great eater. I think she’s trying to set a record for how long a toddler can live off yogurt and cookies.

She is still a water baby, and loves swimming and bath time.

Loves the “got your nose” game. Will play it endlessly and she thinks its hilarious.

Still an amazing sleeper, always has been. She goes to bed by 6:30/7:00 and will sleep most mornings until 10am. Sometimes later. And still naps during the day.

When she was born, I called her Addi-bird because she was so vocal. She still babbles and sings non-stop. Her favorite song is “Let it Go”, of course! She is living up to her nick-name.

Just had her 2 year old well check at the doctor. Based on her current height, they guesstimated she will be 5 feet 9 inches tall.

Happy birthday baby girl. You are perfect in every way and we love you!!

 

Christmas break

5 Feb

This year we decided to be home for Christmas which was really nice, and really easy. Justin’s family came to visit for about a week and my brother was also able to come hang out. We had a great time in the city, despite the rain. And there was a lot of rain.

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But after the rain, we were left with some amazing weather for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Short sleeves outside playing with our new toys, and even had to turn on the air conditioning in the house…whaaaaat?

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Just after Christmas Day we said goodbye to the in-laws and headed to the Dominican Republic. Pierce has always been a good traveler, but Addi. Whoa. She is difficult. In an effort to save money she has been traveling as a lap child – free under 2 years old – and as sad as my checking account is to say goodbye to those days, I look forward to her having her own seat on the airplane. With this, and a little help from the iPad, I hope she will get better at this travel thing. Pierce is so nice to always share his seat with her.

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My parents met us there, in Cap Cana. It was relaxing, nice beaches, and the weather was perfect the whole time. Ahhhhh…..vacation….

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We rang in the new year with these party animals! Happy 2016 :)))

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We explored the island by boat, by foot, by golf cart (everyone’s favorite), and by dune buggy.

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The kids loved setting up their “coconut stand” each morning on the beach, and spending their days collecting hermit crabs.

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By the time we got home, the cold had definitely hit NY. I guess winter is finally here.

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