Eating the Elephant

16 Mar

My dad has an expression for everything. So when I think about my goal of completing an Ironman before turning 40, it’s no surprise I can hear his voice telling me the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing for the last 7 months…just chewing away on a big ass elephant, which used to represent a lofty goal in a seemingly never-going-to-get-here-far-off date. But suddenly, the elephant is in my face reminding me that my Ironman race is now just a little over a month away. And there is still plenty of him left to eat.

For the most part, I’d say the training has been going well. I don’t really have anything to compare it to, since I’ve never done this before. But I’m healthy (knock on wood), injury free (knock on wood) and making progress where progress needs to be made. But I’m pretty sure if you asked my family how the training is going, they would ask if you’ve seen me lately because they’ve forgotten what I look like.

Let’s talk about the swim first….I feel so lucky to have found a home at MSA – my masters swimming program. There’s such a sense of community here which I was desperately lacking in New York. It’s nice to look forward to practice not just because I can get stronger in the pool, but because I can also have fun with my swimming peeps! They even convinced me to register for a swim meet – my first one in 20 years – and so glad I did. It was a fun distraction from the usual weekend activities. I swam 5 events at the Sunbelt Regional Meet, and never did an official “race” report like I usually do, so here are the results:

50 free (200 medley relay) = 27:8
100 free (400 free relay) = 1:07:3
100 free (400 free relay mixed) = 1:07:8
200 free (800 free relay) = 2:15:2
1650 (the mile) = 23:55:56

I continue to put the work in at the pool, and just hope and pray that some of it will translate into open water swimming on race day. Even though I’m pretty comfortable in the water, I’ve only done Half Ironman races which I’m told does not compare to the “washing machine” that is Ironman.

One of my awesome relay teams

Our team took home first place overall, woot woot!

Ok, now the bike. I’ve mentioned my wahoo bike trainer before and how much I love it. It’s a great tool for communicating with my coach. It helps refine the workouts, and it’s been key in getting me stronger on the bike. But I’m so excited to have fallen in with an awesome group of girls here who love to cycle. Upon moving here I met a wonderful friend, Tami who has since introduced me to a group of girls who are always down for a long ride. They are fun on and off the road, and love to have a good time! Luckily for me, most of them are currently training for a ridiculously long race, so they hardly even flinch when I ask if they want to go ride 100 miles with me. They’re pretty great. We’ve done some long stuff, but we’re about to hit the REALLY long stuff so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things continue to progress nicely…

When you ride across state lines, it’s a mandatory selfie

“We’re in training”

And it wouldn’t be triathlon if we didn’t talk about running. Ugh…running. My nemesis, and where I fear the most that the wheels will come off at IMTX. However, I have somewhat good news here. I’ve made progress in the last 5 months, both mentally and physically in the run. In November I ran a 2:03 half marathon almost by accident. Until then I had no idea that was even possible for me. My winter training has been going well, and I completed a marathon last month which isn’t always typical for Ironman training. I had high hopes for a great race because training was going so well, but unfortunately things didn’t really go as planned on race day. Again, no official race report, mainly because I was too upset to write one. However, my coach reminds me all the ways it was a helpful run. It gave me tools that I can pull from, showed me that I can keep going when shit gets hard AAAAAAND it was a PR. So I’ve decided I can’t be too upset about it.

Pre-marathon, showing off my cute arm warmers

Post race, contemplating taking the biggest ice bath ever

Ok so finally, my favorite part. Let’s talk about my Austin peeps. Hands down…THE BEST part about IMTX training has been my coach and my teammates in Austin. Coach Karen has been coaching, supporting, and cheering me on over the last 10 years and I’m so thankful for her. She keeps me from falling apart when things get crazy hard, and talks me off the ledge probably weekly. It’s through her that I met Amy and Cecilia, who round out our IMTX team. Our little group has no doubt been my lifesaver on so many occasions, and I’m so happy to be doing this along side them. Karen and Amy are Ironman veterans, but Cecilia and I are both attempting our firsts, so it’s a good mix.  Last weekend I got to travel to Austin for a mini training camp with them, and it was so much fun! We got an open water practice swim, a very soggy and nasty 70 mile ride with a short run after. And then a long run (can you hear me groaning).

Wetsuit swim in the quarry

An 85 mile ride, quickly reduced to 70 due to nasty weather. Yuck

Pre 16 mile long run in the almost freezing temps. What gives, Austin?

No, it’s not a Nike ad. It’s a deer selfie! Cecilia and I had to stop for a photo op

Coach has all the fun recovery toys

And no surprise….my favorite part of training camp was the end, where we celebrated with pizza and booze. Amy got these amazing swim caps for everyone. This is definitely my favorite picture from the weekend, and it makes me smile when I see it. Love these ladies!

Do Epic Shit

Can’t wait until we all meet up again in just 2 and a half weeks for Galveston 70.3. I’m looking forward to another fun weekend with this group. And it also means we’ll hit our peak training soon, then…HELLO TAPER!!

Half a year, here!

21 Feb

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It’s been almost 6 months since the move, and we’re in that funny paradox where everything feels new and old at the same time. We’re still learning our way in Charlotte, but we’ve settled in nicely, and overall things are feeling like HOME.

It took a little longer than I had hoped, but we eventually found fun things for the kids to do that they enjoy. Pierce, is of course continuing his love of all things ninja and is enrolled in Tae Kwon Do. I am loving his new school, which is very different than the place in New York, and I’m proud of him for adapting so quickly. He is up for a belt promotion next month, and we can’t wait to be his cheerleaders at the belt test.

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You want some of this?

He also joined cub scouts. We were excited to find out his best buddy is also in the pack so he’s loving it. He’s done some community service, we have the Pine Wood Derby coming up, and the much anticipated sleepover aboard the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier in Charleston is in a couple months. He is having so much fun with it!

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Addison is happiest when twirling and jumping, so no surprise she is LOVING her dance class. They have a spring recital which I can’t wait to see. These little girls are so adorable….and hysterical.

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We got our hopes up last month that we may actually see some snow. And I guess technically we did, but it was just a few flakes. They didn’t stick. And we were disappointed. But the towns north of us got like 8 inches!! So we hold out hope. Pierce, more than anyone is really missing the New York winters.

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Catching snowflakes in January

Both kids continue to practice their swim skills….

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Which is more important than ever because WE’RE GETTING A POOL SOON!!!

Me, in the shallow end. Check out that form!

Me, swimming in the shallow end. Check out that form!

This was the end of dig day 1. If we’re lucky, we’ll be swimming in 8-10 weeks.

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Justin has been hard at work in his new CIO role. He’s enjoying it, but like any new gig it’s taking a lot of time and effort. He’s been traveling, but not as much internationally so that’s been nice to have him around more. And as for me….I’ve been steadily sweating away the days, training for my first full Ironman. I knew it was going to be a challenge, with the move and all, but I think I’ve done pretty well keeping consistent with the training. But it is so much a group effort. Justin and Justin’s mom have really picked up my slack, and help out with the kids when I’m away for hours on end. With only 8 weeks to go before the big race, the long workouts are about to get REALLY long, and the family is showing their support of me and my journey to 140.6. Hmmm….I feel another post coming soon about the Ironman journey.

Threenager

14 Jan

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I’m pretty sure Addison skipped the “terrible two’s” and went straight to being a threenager. This girl is so full of….well everything. Sass, personality, love and laughter. She surprises me daily with the stuff that comes out of her mouth. She has attitude for days and a stubborn streak that puts mine to shame. But somehow she pulls it off and makes it work for her. Everyone loves her little self.

We started her 3rd birthday with a celebration at school Friday afternoon. Her class sang her Happy Birthday in Mandarin (ok, probably only the Mandarin teacher sang her happy birthday in Mandarin) while she proudly wore her birthday crown and shared pink cookies with her friends.

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Because everything in her world is PINK!

When she woke up Saturday morning, a princess party was waiting downstairs for her.

Pink, pink, pink

Pink, pink, pink

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Pierce, the #bestbigbro having a princess tea party with the birthday girl

Cake for breakfast!

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And then later, cake for lunch with friends from the neighborhood

She opened presents, with a little help from Pierce

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A full length mirror to see her princess dresses from tiara to tip toes!

From Grandma, a new vanity with her very own makeup kit

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Is she a girly girl or what? She may get her attitude from me, but definitely did not inherit the girly gene from me

Addi’s stats:

Still not a great eater, but she’s starting to venture out. The other night she ate her entire plate of lasagna! Loves pricesses, dressup, tutus, jewelry, accessories, and everything else “girly”. She still sucks her thumb. Potty trained before 3, and y’all this is a big one. I swear, for a while there I thought she was going to be starting kindergarten in diapers. She just didn’t care. Still Frozen obsessed, loves all things Elsa and Ana. Big talker, so easy for her to communicate her wishes (ahem, demands), which still surprises me at times, because Pierce was never this vocal. Girl can talk! Addi loves to dance, sing and listen to stories. Likes to copy big brother, especially his Tae Kwon Do moves. She recently discovered jumping jacks, pushups and the splits and loves showing off her new skills. I hear “momma, watch this” like 3000 times per day. Loves a good tickle-scratch and cuddling sesh.

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Addi, my heart is full. You test my patience and make me giggle every day. We will survive THREE together and make so many memories in the process. Love you baby girl, keep being you.

Ironman Austin 70.3 race report

5 Nov

After racing Eagelman 70.3 earlier this year, I almost immediately signed up for (what will be my first FULL) Ironman Texas next April. The driving reason for wanting to do Austin 70.3 was to get another half under my belt to build confidence for the full. The last two halves didn’t really go as planned…so I needed a redemption race and I was determined to be successful in Austin!! I was so excited to be back there for the race, it’s been far too long since I’ve been “home”. I was excited not only because I was able to stay with and meet up with my girlfriends while there, but also because I was able to hang out with my coach who lives in Austin. She decided kinda last minute not to race, so lucky for me she made herself available to play sherpa, and did a fantastic job of it all weekend!

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Me and coach, pre-race

There was a lot of fog that morning, and the start of the race was delayed. Which at first I was somewhat ok with because the traffic getting to the expo center, and the shuttle buses to T1 were backed up and everything was running behind. I was worried I wasn’t going to have enough time to get everything done in T1.

So much fog!

So much fog!

But as the morning progressed, the fog didn’t budge. So we waited. And waited. And waited for it to clear. What do YOU do while sitting around waiting for the weather to change? Cuz my coach makes me do ridiculous poses and duck face…

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What? Doesn’t everyone look sexy in a wetsuit and goggles?

My swim wave was supposed to start at 8:15am, which was already later than I had hoped. It was forecasted to be a hot day (surprise, surprise…it’s Austin) so I was anxious to get started to limit exposure to the heat. But ultimately, the fog wasn’t going anywhere and with the minutes ticking away, the race director had to make a call…and they decided to cancel the swim. This was met by some athletes with audible sighs of relief. For me, I was really bummed. Like REALLY bummed. I was hoping to get a good practice race in, and was really looking forward to swimming in Decker Lake. This is where it all began for me….where I was “hooked” by the triathlon bug back in 2006 with the Danskin (shout out to Dawn for making me sign up woot woot, and to Pam and Tamara for jumping on the crazy train. This was also how I met coach Karen, thru the Iron Chicks training program…and then later convinced to join her Rogue Running group for marathon training. I digress). But swimming with all that fog would be just too dangerous, so after the swim was cancelled we all went to T1 and got ready for a time trial bike start.

This meant we sat around in transition for hours. They let the pros go first, one by one 3o seconds in between each athlete. And then finally us age groupers got to go, 2×2 with 5 seconds apart. I didn’t get started on the bike until almost lunchtime and I was starving before the race even began. Luckily for me, a girl next to me gave me a granola bar. (lesson learned…plan ahead and prepare/pack for anything!) I also peed like 4 times while waiting. TMI? Well at least I was hydrated! :))

While waiting around in T1, I kept seeing this guy. An amazing volunteer, in the Halloween spirit!

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Captain Jack Sparrow helped us get across the mount line!

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And I can’t talk about volunteers without mentioning this guy. So much energy from purple-speedo-cowboy-dude on the run!

Finally our race numbers were called, and I was happily on my way. The bike course was fun, with lots of rolling hills. The road quality was not ideal, it’s been a long time since I’ve ridden on these Texas roads and I’d forgotten all about chip seal. Most of the bike course was spent dodging water bottles, flat kits, and cages that had flown off the bikes ahead of me. And sadly enough, I saw a lot of drafting…hello, totally illegal in triathlon! Anyway, the miles ticked by pretty quickly, and after crossing the half way point, I did a quick calculation and realized I should probably reel it in a bit and slow down. I was trying to follow coach’s advice to “stay within myself” and not overdo it on the bike so that I had something left for the run. Wait, did I forget to mention my new bike!?! I did! So…I got a new bike…a Cervelo P3. It’s awesome and I love it. I pooled my birthday money from my parents and in-laws and asked for an advance Christmas present from Justin…and VOILA! Here she is…Di2 shifters and everything.

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Borrowing coach’s aero helmet

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I’m too cheap to buy the official race photos

Official bike split: 3:11:05, (18.27mph for the first half, 17.05mph the second half) 40th in my division, and 13 minutes faster than my last race. Yay for progress!

T2 was non-eventful at 5:02

By the time I got to the run it was almost 2pm (I think…going all from memory here, so ya know…it’s give or take) but started off pretty well. I wasn’t walking, so that was so-far-so-good. And let me tell ya, if anyone ever tries to say this run course is nice they are LYING. It’s hilly, there is no shade, no crowds, and most of it is a dirt path with rocks, or loose pavement. And it’s 3 loops of this nonsense. There was a lot of competitors walking, and many laying on the ground complaining of cramps (guess they didn’t “stay within themselves” on the bike). For me…I was feeling ok. I ran the first 5k, and then started taking walking breaks as needed. But by the 3rd loop what I realized was that my run pace was actually pretty good (for me), staying around a 10:30 pace. I lost a lot of time at the aid stations which were about every mile. Each one went like this: grab 2 cups of ice fill one with coke and drink it. Pour leftover ice down into the back of my sports bra. Second cup of ice went in my water bottle after opening the lid and forcing the cubes in one by one. Grab 2 waters. Pour one in water bottle, pour other over head. Grab one last cup of ice, pour into front of bra. I did this at every aid station, so a bit overkill yeah, but I was afraid of the alternative. And it worked…it kept me running, just ate into my time. Which I’m totally ok with. Obviously not trying to win, just trying to learn things as I go.

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Are we there yet?

With about a mile to go, as I could see the expo center that held the finish line, my coach jumped out of nowhere on the course. Thank god I was running. She was happy to see me smiling and enjoying myself, and then we raced to the finish (she beat me) to collect my medal and do my pose.

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Official run time 2:37:11 (11:59/mi and 45th in my division)

Official overall race time was 5:53:28. And if the damn swim hadn’t been cancelled I’m positive I would’ve been less than 36 minutes for swim and T1, putting me at 6:30 for this 70.3 which I would have been completely proud of. I know it’s not a HUGE deal that the swim was cancelled, and while it’s arguably the least liked leg of the triathlon by most athletes, it’s such a bummer that we didn’t get to do it. Not only because it messed with my head, threw timing and nutrition way off, and just sucked in general…but because DAMN these races are expensive. And while I 100% agree with the RD’s decision to cancel the swim for the safety of the athletes, not being able to do the whole thing as planned just really sucks. Let me break it down for you what a race like this can cost. And keep in mind…this is just a half.

Race entry: $310; Hotel: $380; Airfare: ok I used points, but STILL! Rental car: $160; Bike transport to/from race: $420. That’s already over $1200 and we’re just getting started. That doesn’t even take into consideration the prep one does for these things….pool membership/swimteam fees, coaching fees, running and biking shoes, bike maintenance (and in my case, a whole new bike!), and all the triathlon accessories (my new aero bottle cost $149.99) etc. etc. etc. As you can see, we are deeply invested and so when things don’t go your way it kinda just sucks. But as I’m learning…everything is a learning experience and it comes with the territory. And although it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m still happy with the race and the work I put in. I’ve gotten faster and stronger on the bike and in the pool over the last few months, but the most impactful improvement has been on the run. One of my first workouts with coach this year was in January. It was a 6 mile run which I did at a 12 min pace. The last 6 mile run I just did was a 9:34 pace. Progress!

So anywho…after the race we had a fun celebration with some other badass women at Karen’s house. There was lots of food, drinks, a soak in the pool and the hot tub, and a lot of entertaining conversation. So happy to have the support of these amazing athletes as we begin training for Ironman Texas, and to know these wonderful people!

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You’re lookin at the IMTX 2017 dream team :))

And so I’ll leave you with just one last picture. Triathlon can be such a humbling experience. Especially so when having to walk through the airport the day after your race, with your age sunburned into your leg!!

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The walk of shame…

 

2 week update…

30 Aug

It’s been (an intense, crazy, whirlwind of a) 2 weeks since we announced our move to Charlotte. Justin and I have been busy trying to make this transition as easy as possible for our little family and are cranking through our to-do list. But as you can imagine, as soon as we cross off 1 thing, we add 5 new ones. But we’re getting it done. And dare I say…it’s going pretty smoothly as far as relocations go.

Before leaving NY a lot of our time was spent getting the house packed up, and then ready to sell. The house didn’t require a whole lot, thankfully, but we only had 24 hours to squeeze everything in and get it all done.

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Captain Safety working thru the storm

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Painting into the wee hours on the morning

After Justin’s last day of work on Tuesday, he started the long drive south with Pierce and Queso. We wanted to get Pierce down there in time for meet-the-teacher and Open House at his new school so we said one last goodbye to 40 Cove and they headed out.

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Goodbyes can be hard

Addi and my mom stayed with me in NY to finish up the move and wrap things up in Huntington. I worked my mom almost to her death, and how is she thanked? The last night we were there, I went out for one last hurrah with my girlfriends and came home to a sick Addi who had been puking all over my mom. Kids somehow know the most inopportune times to get sick. We were crossing our fingers that the roadtrip to Charlotte wasn’t going to be a 13 hour puke fest. We packed the car, waved goodbye to the movers and were on our way….

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Everything went into storage except the essentials. We’ll be living out of bags for the next month

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The mattresses wouldn’t fit, so they tied them to the back of the truck. #whiteglove

The last thing to go was Goldie. I wish I could say I was sad to see her go. Pierce’s friend Tyler wanted to adopt her, and thankfully Pierce agreed so that she wouldn’t have to die in a baggie on the trip down.

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Bye Felicia!

The girls left NY Thursday afternoon around 2pm and drove straight thru to Charlotte. Addi did great (no puking!) and we finally arrived in our temp housing around 2:30am. The next morning, feeling jet-lagged and exhausted we took the kids to the pool and then gave my mom a quick tour of our new city. My first observation: it’s hot here.

Apartment life perk: the pool!

Apartment life perk: the pool!

We took my mom by the new house! It'll be ready end of month

We took my mom by the new house. It’ll be ready end of month, yay!

It was a quick weekend of marking off more to-do’s on our list, and then time for school to start. I’m sure Pierce was a little nervous, not knowing anyone at his new school, but he was brave and calm and excited to start a new year in 1st grade.

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So proud of our little guy

After getting Pierce settled into his school yesterday, today it was Addi’s turn. She started preschool today and was all smiles.

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Literally jumping for joy

Charlotte seems to be very transient, where everyone we meet is from somewhere else. Even Pierce’s teacher’s aid is from Long Island, neat! So I’m hoping that means it will be easy to meet people and we can start building a circle of friends quickly. We’re gonna love it here…

North Carolina or BUST!

16 Aug

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We have news. We are packing up our boxes and diving into our next big adventure! Justin accepted a new position as CIO with a company in Charlotte and we leave New York in (gulp) a week and a half. As you can imagine, this is a crazy time as we try to tie up loose ends here and make arrangements in our future home.

I’ve never been to North Carolina, so was happy to get the chance last weekend to visit the area and check things out. It was a fast and furious house-hunting/school search trip but was very successful. We put an offer on a house and found a school perfect for Pierce’s 1st grade year, which he’ll start in two weeks. And we indulged in comfort food all weekend…because it wouldn’t be a trip to the south without good BBQ and fried chicken!! I can’t wait for more of it…

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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.