2015: Focus, Purpose & Gratitude

New Years day. A day to feel instantly renewed and ready to face the brand new year! Well, not so much for me. I sat comatose on the coach for the majority of the day nursing my New Years hangover (insert shame face) and a bad cough I have been trying to kick for two weeks. Throughout the day, I found myself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and I was struck by the number of my friends who updated their statuses noting how challenging 2014 was and that it also had some exciting and memorable moments. I thought to myself, wow, I’m not alone. 2014 certainly had some high points, but it had a great deal of stress, challenges and sadness. While I celebrate and enjoy the high points, I unfortunately continue to feel overwhelmed by the sadness, illness and struggles of many close friends and family.

As a little break from these challenges, I decided to move on and visit some old photos of fun times

Fun in college with my swimming friends.

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My incredible trip to visit my best friend from high school in Panama, who was there for 2.5 years in the Peace Corps. 

Life is good

The beginning of my foray into running and my first marathon in 2008.

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I won’t bore you with my entire digital photography archive from the past 10 years. It made me laugh, smile and also yearn for a period in my life that was in no way free from stress, but my friends all seemed happier and life certainly seemed a bit less complicated.

Life is certainly not a cake walk. I came to the realization, that maybe all of this means I am finally a “grown up”? But, even as an adult do you need to feel overwhelmed by unfortunate and bad things that happen to those around us? I refuse to let this be the case any longer. I want to make a concerted effort to be positive and optimistic each day. With that in mind, my only goals for 2015 are: focus, purpose & gratitude for happiness in 2015.

Focus

Everyone who knows me will not dispute the fact that I am a type A, intense person, for better or for worse. I set the bar very high for myself and I do not stop until I achieve that goal. The last few months of 2014 were a very challenging at work, but also a period of tremendous growth in my professional life that I have craved since graduating from college.

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I was so far out of my comfort zone, but I was thriving and happy. I confirmed that I loved my career path, the people I work with, but I was completely spent at the end of each day. Luckily, in 2015 I will welcome a new boss and better work/life balance (fingers crossed). I hope to continue this same focus on my career, but on a manageable scale so I can focus on pursuits equally, career, personal life, training and the list goes on.

Purpose

This goes hand in hand with focus, but I am hoping to be more strategic in all facets of life in 2015: Training, career, personal life, friendships, and hobbies. I am the queen of taking on too much and feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, so I would like to approach things by thinking about how it will impact my schedule, husband and most importantly, my happiness. 

My husband constantly reminds me to think about how adding something to my schedule will impact my schedule long term. He also always carefully points out that something will need to come off to make room for the new addition. He also recognizes that sometimes adding things to my schedule with purpose bring a great deal of happiness to my daily life. An example of this was joining Cambridge Masters Swim Club after a long hiatus and years of swim training on my own.

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I missed swimming with a group for the motivation, friendships and team camaraderie. Swimming by myself certainly was convenient, but it was not fun. I began to toy with this idea of rejoining CMSC as OWS season was ending. I decided to join and my first practice back with the team I immediately felt at home and had I a huge grin on my face. The pool is truly my happy place. This addition has had a significant impact on my schedule, as it requires me to wake up at 4:45 am when I am going to practice. It means going to bed at 9:30pm at the absolute latest (ideally, closer to 8:30) and having my bag and lunch for the entire work day packed the night before. In a time when the work felt never ending, it provided me with a fantastic outlet, the opportunity to train with a dedicated group of swimmers, many of whom have become good friends. I am thrilled to continue this in 2015.

Gratitude

For my amazingly patient and incredibly supportive husband. There are not enough words to express my love for him. I try to make it a point to tell him thank you and how much I appreciate every small gesture he does for me. I am also thankful for the fact that no matter what is going on, what we are feeling, we always find a way to laugh together.

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I have incredible gratitude for my amazing friends, many of whom who live far away and go to great lengths to stay in touch. I want to make sure that I approach each day by being gracious for what it brings me, and also approach every situation with positivity.

So that is it. I am excited to have a new year to tackle new challenges, goals and experiences. I look forward to filling out my training and racing calendar, but for now I am focusing on positivity in 2015. Most of all, I am looking forward to following this mantra…

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 What are your resolutions and goals for 2015?

Boston Triathlon Team, New Member Application Deadline November 8!

This past year, I was accepted onto the Boston Triathlon Team and I was very proud to race in the blue and green this season! BTT has proved to be an excellent group of likeminded triathletes and friends. I have learned so much from fellow teammates about the sport of triathlon, enjoyed the team camaraderie during events, the support of teammates during an injury or difficult time and last but not least, the post-race celebrations! We are certainly a team that likes to work hard and also have fun. We are sponsored by not one, but two alcoholic beverage companies, after all!

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Do you live in Boston? Are you interested in joining BTT? Feel free to shoot me a note or comment with any questions! You can find the new member application here: BTT Membership Application 2015 Template-1

BTT is now accepting new membership applications through November 8, 2014 for the 2015 season. Please complete the attached form and EMAIL your completed application to Kelwin Conroy at membership@bostontriathlonteam.com.

Here is the skinny on the rules:

Active Members must be residents of the Commonwealth of MA on January 1 of the year they first join the team. Active Members must also at least twenty one (21) years of age.

Active Members must participate in a minimum of 4 events per year, wear the 2015 race jersey while racing, and record their race results on the BTT website. These 4 events must include:
1. – at least one complete triathlon (relays do not count)

2. – one official BTT volunteer event

3. -one additional competitive race (any multisport race, single sport race, or relay in a multisport)

4. -your choice of any of the above

If you do not fulfill the minimum requirements during your first year on the team you must re-apply for the team the following calendar year. Exceptions due to extenuating circumstances are at the discretion of the Executive Committee.

Active members are required to wear a current BTT race top when racing in a multi-sport event and to the extent possible, when volunteering for BTT. (Your membership fee includes a uniform stipend.) Our sponsors provide funding in exchange for advertising. As a team member, you are representing these sponsors by honoring a commitment to display their logos while racing and to the extent possible, when training or volunteering.

*A “triathlon” shall be defined as a competitive race that includes a swim, bike and run. In the event that a triathlon is modified by the race director due to weather or other safety concern, the Active member will be viewed as fulfilling his/her triathlon requirement as long as the member completes the modified race.
* “Volunteering” shall be defined as participation as a volunteer at an activity sponsored by BTT and provides race support to the race director or to a charitable or civic event.
* An “additional competitive race” shall be defined as any competitive sport event/race, such as running, road biking, mountain biking, swimming, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing.
* “Competitive race” shall be defined as any single sport competitive race event, including but not limited to running, road biking, mountain biking, swimming, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing. A relay in any type of race is also acceptable.
* BTT Race Top Requirement refers to the current year’s BTT race top showing the current year’s sponsors.

 

The “Not So Endless Runner”

This post has been brewing for a few years, so be patient with me if I ramble on at all. Since I completed my first USAT sanctioned event in the summer of 2011, I knew I was completely hooked on the sport of triathlon.The only issue was, I didn’t own a bike, wet suit, tri kit, or really have any training strategy. I just sort of went with it for two summers. I borrowed road bikes from fellow triathlete friends, showed up and pretended like I knew what I was doing.

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Luckily, I had an absolute blast and knew that it was the start of a long and (hopefully) happy relationship with triathlon. I was so jazzed that before 2012 even rolled around I publicly made a commitment that 2012 was going to be the year of triathlon. I signed up for three races and shouted it from the roof tops.

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And then, just a few days later my boyfriend at the time asked me to marry him! So all of a sudden there was a wedding to plan and pay for, so quickly I reverted back to my “borrow & make it work” strategy of cycling.

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Since I was already signed up for races, I completed two sprint distance triathlons and then unfortunately had to skip the third race due to the time conflicting with our wedding. I had fun, laughed a lot and struggled through one very hilly bike course (or at least it seemed to be at the time), but it was all for fun. The rest of the summer I focused on getting lean and tone for the big day by trying out a lot of different classes. Boxing, Pilates reformer, Exhale Barre, Hot Yoga, Spinning…and running nearly every day. If getting buff for your wedding was a sport, I was dominating it. I really enjoyed the variety and the excuse to be so laser focused on working out, and even welcomed the fact that I didn’t have a “goal race” on the horizon.

I haven’t discussed this too much on the interwebs because I never want our wedding to be the subject of a wedding blog and picked apart by other brides to be. It was our day, and to us it was magical and perfect and that’s how I would like it to stay, our perfect day. It was an absolutely picture perfect day and we celebrated with all of our best friends who flew in from all over the country and even the UK! Our wedding weekend was one of the most special times in our lives, not because we were now husband and wife, but that we had all of our friends and family in one place supporting us. There aren’t any words to describe the outpouring of love, it was just amazing.

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After our wedding, we both settled back into real life and I came to realize that my reliance on group classes and laser focus before our wedding made me unbelievably burnt out. I set out on runs on beautiful fall days feeling extremely fit, but mentally I was beyond checked out. I couldn’t really compute what was happening, so I decided to take some time off, rethink some things and go back to working out when I was ready.

Luckily, it didn’t take long for me to snap out of my funk. I set my sights on a new goal, the Ironman Timberman 70.3, a race I had been eying for a few years, but my lack of cycling experience and scheduling always got in the way. I signed up, made the commitment to buy a bike (and everything that goes along with the sport of triathlon) and dove in head first.

After a great 2013 season where I learned so much and fell so hard for such an amazing sport, I have come to realize that I am not the same person I was when I started this blog. I’m now a part of an amazing team, have made new triathlete friends and I am constantly researching and learning as much as possible about swimming, biking and running. Yet, I still find myself typing on a blog that says it is specifically focused on running. Yes, I do still run. But, after seven and a half years of overuse injuries I am beyond done with the traditional marathon training program. Clearly, my body cannot handle the stress of the pounding and the variety that triathlons offer not only plays to my strengths, but helps me compete without suffering season ending injuries.

So, in a few days I am going to say goodbye to “Tales from an Endless Runner” and this blog will become www.swimmykimy.com! A journey through my triathlon obsession and all of the musings that go along with it. I hope you will join me for the ride while I aim high and try to achieve my new goals…

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Hello, 2014 (a little late!)

Welcome, 2014! Err, I mean, 18 days ago. So, I’m a little bit late to the “new year post” party, ooops!  I think it’s safe to say, that when the clock struck midnight and the ball dropped, I sighed a huge sigh of relief and smiled that 2013 was finally behind us. 2014 is here, and it’s time to look forward and rediscover my optimistic view of the world. That might read like 2013 was the worst year ever for me, which is certainly not the case. I certainly had my share of happy moments, laughs and amazing races. There were so many adorable babies born, engagements that I celebrated, weddings that I shook my tail feather late into the evening at, and not mention landing a job that I absolutely LOVE. On top of that, I have a husband that loves me unconditionally and can find the silver lining in absolutely everything. I really am very, very lucky.

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Sadly, 2013 was full of a lot of bad news. I said to a friend recently that I can’t remember a year with more cancer diagnosis’s and deaths. Not to mention,  fear and anxiety that brought my beloved city to it’s knees in April. To top it off, there were some sketchy and terrifying crimes in my neighborhood.  But, dealing with these hard times is a part of life and as my mother’s extremely ill best friend said to me recently, life is really just one foot in front of the other.

I’ve decided that my only new year’s resolution this year is to live life to the fullest. Take advantage of every opportunity, savor every second and remember to laugh. If 2013 taught me anything it is that life is very, very short. Unfortunately, I can’t leave all bad news in 2013, but my new mantra for dealing with unfortunate and sad news is to turn lemons into lemonade. I am going to focus on trying to find the silver lining in every situation and do something positive to help ensure that someone else doesn’t need to suffer in the future.

To kick off this resolution, 2014 will also be my first time training and racing with a team, the Boston Triathlon Team! Acceptance onto this team is very competitive and I’m honored and psyched that they have so graciously welcomed me onto their team. After just a few events, I have learned so much about cycling and the sport of triathlon. I’m so thrilled to be a part of the team, make new triathlon friends and proudly wear blue and green while racing!

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I am hopeful that with the help of my new team, an indoor trainer and time in the saddle, 2014 can be the year of the bike. Prior to the 2013 Kona Ironman world championships Mirinda Carfrae said in order to win she “had to get faster on the bike.” and I am employing that same strategy. 2013 was the year I purchased my bike and I surprised myself with how much I came to enjoy my new sport, but I am very far from an expert. 2014 will be the year I build upon that foundation, learn more technical knowledge and simply spend more time on the bike trainer and on the road.

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So far I have three triathlon races on the calendar: Patriot Half Ironman, Cohasset Triathlon and Ironman Timberman 70.3. I’m eyeing the Twin Lights Half Marathon and Mashpee Superswim and I’m looking forward to adding a few more. Are you racing any of these races? Let me know! Do you have any suggestions for races that I should add to my schedule?

There are plenty of other exciting things that will be happening in 2014, and I can’t wait to share all of them!

What is your new years resolution? What are your goals for 2014?

Timberman Half Ironman Race Report

Ok folks, here it is, the spoiler alert – I had  BLAST at Ironman Timberman 70.3. So much so that I am still riding the wave even a week later! The day was not without it’s challenges, but for the most part I had an unreal day.

Pre-Race:

My alarm wet off at 4am, just as planned. I joke with Rob and a lot of my friend’s that as a swimmer we have a ridiculous internal body clock. Well, race mornings seem to only magnify this special quality. I found myself staring at the clock at 3:59am – BOOM! Not only did I think, “Oh, I have a moment to myself to relax before this alarm goes off.” I thought “OOF, Jules and D are ALREADY at the parking lot.”

Foxy was a rockstar husband/sherpa and ran everything out to the car while I ate breakfast, packed up my essentials and made sure that I was achieving everything on my to do list. I put on the TV and watched a really heart warming Make A Wish story about a terminally ill boy who got to meet the entire Seattle Seahawks team and play with them during training camp. I thought it was particularly approprate considering how much Ironman Timberman raises for the Make A Wish Foundation. Always good to start off your day feeling thankful for what you have!

Once we piled in the car, I felt confident, some nervous energy but most of all, I felt excited. I knew I put in all of the work that I could, so it was time to test my training.

We made the short trip to Ellacoya State Park. I updated my facebook status with an amazing quote from Andy Potts “Every Race is a balance of hope and doubt” (then I improvised) “today, the hope will be louder than the doubt!” I felt great and just wanted to stay positive and most of all, HAVE FUN.

In addition to motivational quotes from my swimming/triathlon idol, we were treated to an amazing sunrise over the lake at that hour:

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(Photo credit: Beth from Unleash the Beath)

When we arrived I was very pleasantly surprised to see that we were able to get a parking spot at the state park. Usually, the parking lot fills up so quickly that people are diverted to the nearby ski mountain for parking and shuttle service. I was really happy that I was able to park with Foxy (aka, Zen Fox) and walk with him to the transition area 🙂

I stopped and got inked by the body markers and then made my way to my transition spot. Since I was so close to the end Foxy was able to stand so close that we could chat. Then, I started bumping into people left and right, first Alett’s husband Hugh – who spotted my amongst the craziness and looked as cool as a cucumber. Then I saw Julia and Dutch. Then I saw Alett herself. I met a Ashley in the rack position next to me  who I recently friended on Instagram. I finally met up with my high school best friend, Kaitlin in line for the porto-potties. I then bumped into Will, another friend from high school at the Porto-potties, along with his entire crew (who I had met briefly previously.)

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LOTS of excitement in the TA

When I arrived at the park I thought I had eons of time, then all of a sudden I found myself sprinting to the transition area before it closed in order to retrieve my wet suit, cap and goggles before it officially closed. Luckily, I still had another 45 minutes before my wave went off, so I spent that time joking around with Rob, Kaitlin and my other friends I had picked up along the way.

Before too long I saw that my wave of women was corralled and we were quickly pushed to the edge of the lake, so I kissed Foxy goodbye, hugged Kaitlin (who unfortunately her wave wasn’t set to go off for another 30 minutes) and made my way to the edge of Lake Winnipesaukee.

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So excited to SWIM!

I watched the two waves in front of me go off, and when they called my wave to the water, I did my standard nervous shake out, jump and arm movements and confidently walked the distance to the swim start (side note: I absolutely LOVE beach starts, nothing gets my adrenaline going more! I realize that the lake where Timberman is located is insanely shallow, but this was a huge let down for me) and tried like hell to let my body relax enough to pee.

NO DICE.

I stood at the start and made my way to the front row. I looked around and found Jules and wished her good luck! I talked to MJ and Mary (newly acquired triathlon friends) and tried to just take in the amazing scenery. Before too long they were giving us the count down, and then WE WERE OFF!

The swim:

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In every triathlon race my strategy is to take out the first 50 yards relatively hard so I can do my best to break away from the pack. I did that and quickly noticed that there were 2 other women hanging with me and I thought “sweet – PACERS!”, so I just tried to settle in and find my pace. Unfortunately, the field was so dense with slow people in the waves in front of us and the chop from the water was so tough that I struggled to settle in. In the beginning I tried to count the amount of different colored swim caps I passed in Ragnar/Reach The Beach fashion, counting my “kills” (though, they would then definitely not only kill but murder me on the bike in a few short moments), but after awhile I started to lose track and gave up. The last cap I remember seeing was five waves in front of me. Hooray for swimming!

Somewhere along the way I felt my left calf seize up in a slight charlie horse and I tried to remain calm. Calf cramps when you’re roughly 20 minutes into a 6+ hour day doesn’t exactly bode well. I quickly modified my stroke and did everything in my power to stretch out my leg while still pulling like crazy. It seemed to work, but I struggled with the current pushing me into shore on the parrallel section and then it then again, pushed me  away from the finish on our way into shore. I kept on thinking to myself “why do I feel so crappy?!” (In hindsight, this is because I didn’t warm up. I always enjoy stretching out and getting loose, but no one I was with wanted to join. Next time I will most certainly warm up!)

Finally I closed in on that beautiful white arch and hammered down for the last 200 yards. I knew that expending lower body energy at this point wasn’t worth it, so I tried to turn off my legs and let my upper body do the work. Quickly I was on shore and Foxy was standing nearby screaming my name.

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I made my way into the transition area and reminded myself to relax and take my time. I knew I had over three hours on the bike ahead of me, so taking an extra minute wasn’t going to kill me!

Swim time: 30:25

T1: 3:04

The bike: “Go Knausser”

Oh hello the bike, my triathlon nemesis.

I’ve been dreading this section of the race ever since I signed up. There were a million questions swirling in my head…

What if I got a flat tire? What if I bonked on the bike? What if my ass hurt so much I wanted to cry? What am I going to do if I need to pee?

I tried to quell my nerves and just focus. A friend of mine from college told me that a former triathlon coach of her’s told her to treat the bike portion as “an all you can eat buffett.” So I went to town and did just that, trying to get as much down before infamous Marsh Hill.

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There was a gentle hill straight out of the transition area and I looked down at my bike computer to and noticed it said I was going 25 UP the hill. I knew something was definitely wrong and realized that when resetting it the night before I accidentally set it to kilometers and not miles, sonofa! I joked to myself that I was channeling my friend’s Hannah & Nick in more ways than my transition towel 🙂

There were a couple hills and turns into little neighborhoods and I knew that Marsh was coming soon. My left hip flexor was CRAZY tight and I was very uncomfortable. To make matters worse, I was getting passed like crazy by all sorts of fancy bikes. I told myself “this isn’t your strength, just ride your own race!”

Prior to Timberman I met Paul from the Boston Triathlon Team, who told me that people climbing up Marsh Hill will be “tire to tire”, which didn’t seem possible to me at the time. As I approached Marsh I all of a sudden felt like I was in the middle of the peloton in the Pyrenees mountains at the Tour De France. USAT has a rule against drafting, but apparently that doesn’t apply to Marsh Hill! Everyone was literally tire to tire, huffing and puffing away. It was a pretty surreal moment having so many cyclists working so hard to conquer a single hill.

I was hurting big time and would have loved to hop off my bike and walk it up the hill. I started thinking about a lot of friends and people I know that are sick, or had lost their battle with cancer. I thought of my friend Tanya and her husband Eric who passed away from brain cancer in March. My heart ached and I dug DEEP. A few days before we left for Timberman I found some photos from their wedding in fall of 2004. When I found the photos, my heart sank, but instead I decided to use this as my motivation to literally carry me up this hill. I thought about his suffering and how people rallied by his side in his final days. People from different parts of Eric’s life changed their facebook photos to “Go Knausser”, and I must have repeated that to myself hundreds of times. Eric’s fight and strength were exactly what I needed to dig deep. From now on I’m going to call that beat of a hill Knausser’s Hill instead of Marsh hill!

Just when I thought the hill would absolutely never end I heard my friend Julia talking to someone behind me and I heard her say “that was it, we’re done with Marsh!” I said hello and then she was off. We had some amazing descents which I took at full speed before we headed out towards the main highway.

The next 30 miles went like this:

“I need to pee…should I go in the woods?”

“THIS IS SO BORING”

“MY ASS HURTS”

“I think the entire race field passed me”

I saw a few of my friends heading out on the other side of the road which gave me a nice boost, but my GOD that bike course was boring! Where are the mountains, lake, neighborhoods, ANYTHING to look at?! This would probably be my biggest beef with this race, the bike course wasn’t exactly what I would call visually interesting.

Somewhere around miles 30-40 I finally gave in and used a porto-potty, where an eager volunteer was ready to hold my bike and get me anything I might need. So amazing! It took me awhile to find a break in the pack so I could head back out, but eventually I did! Before too long we hit the same hills on the way back and then I was within 3 miles of the transition area. I passed by the section of the run course that shares the road with the bike and thought, “man, that looks hard” and I instantly went into my lowest gear and tried my best to spin out my legs.

SO HAPPY TO BE DONE (with the bike!)

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T2: I dropped my bike, drank some water and slipped on my sneakers and then I was off – 13.1 miles!

Bike: 3:22:16/16.61 average MPH

T2: 3:02

The Run: “No White Flags”

I had been slightly nervous about the fact that the run course is a double loop, but as soon as I made my way out on the run absolutely loved it. It was so motivating seeing my fellow competitors working so hard, and I was able to see a lot of friends, which gave me a huge boost. I set a goal for myself: No walking (except for the hill around mile 4) and no bathroom stops until the second loop. I also made the decision not to run with a garmin or to worry about my pace, but rather to just enjoy the experience and focus on feeling good and finishing with a SMILE!

As I ran I was surprised at how good I felt coming off the bike, I guess that is what happens when you actually put work in! I kept on seeing more and more friends, which was a huge blast. I heard a LOT of people choking and gagging, which I tried my best to block out. The last thing I needed was to barf, ick. The first lap was suddenly done and I made my way towards the turn around – I knew this would get in my head so I just decided to look at the finish line and take it all in…I would be there SOON! I looked around for Rob but sadly never saw him. Apparently my splits were saying I was walking so he was expecting me much, much later. Definitely a bummer, but it’s always better to be faster than slower 🙂

Lap two: I somehow found myself running with a woman that worked in fitness at my rival high school. She was running as a part of a relay and tried to motivate people as she ran by. Most people were scowling and getting pretty annoyed, but I personally LOVED her drill sergeant attitude and insesent comments for me to push up hard sections of the course. I don’t know who you are, but Fitness instructor/coach from Lincoln-Sudbury High School – you literally carried me through the 2nd lap.

As I approached the finish line I dug deep and all of a sudden Rob was running up to me, I was shocked he wasn’t at the finish line, but again my splits were all messed up so he had no idea where I was on the course.

As I ran through the finish chute I kept on thinking, I’M DOING IT!!!!!!! I put my hands up and then enjoyed the fact that I could finally walk after over six hours of racing.

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The run: 2:14:19

Volunteers were putting medals around finisher’s necks and all of a sudden a man was telling me congrats and I looked up and it was ANDY POTTS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had a huge moment of disbelief and then like a small child asked “CAN I HUG YOU?!” he laughed and said yes.

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Final Time: 6:13:06/Division Rank: 55/Overall Rank: 1292

Happiness level: through the freaking roof.

Post race thoughts:

  • I loved every moment of this race. Yes, even when I was really bored on the bike, it was still better than my best running race.
  • I have finally found my sport. I will definitely run another marathon, but not for quite some time.
  • I have a LOT of work to do on the bike, but I’ve also made a lot of progress considering how I was nervous about even biking around the block, let alone 56 miles.
  • I can’t wait to do it again!
  • A full ironman would be a ridiculous amount of work, but I think I can do it…someday!

I definitely never could have done with without the amazing support of my husband Rob, who is my rock and “Zen Fox” (His new nickname I bestowed upon him during Timberman craziness.)

I also had some amazing friends near and far that were unbelievably supportive, THANK YOU!

And to everyone in blogland/twitter/instagram – you ROCK! Your advice kept my nervousness in check, laughs on point and enthusiasm was through the roof.

Now the big question is – WHAT’S NEXT?!

What races should I do next year??

Moving Up, and On

I’ve been a bit quiet this year, sorry about that.

Sometimes it’s easier to shy away from communicating when things are tough or unpleasant. No one wants to be a Debbie Downer, right?!

However, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing really, really fun and awesome things:

I took a trip out west to CO to ski and spend time with my amazing college friends. Sadly, we all live far away from one another and it was my one chance to see friends that know me better than anyone else.

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I’ve learned to face my fears and get out on my bike. I’ve relied on a lot of bike savvy friends who have been extremely patient with me. THANK YOU.

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I’ve raced in some incredible triathlons. Most of which included my super sherpa/cheer squad by my side.

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And I have been able to race and train with friends who I haven’t seen nearly enough before this foray into swimming, biking and running…

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But, I’ve had a few things going on that have been occupying the time I would be spending by documenting and sharing  my training experiences and making new friends through this blog.

I’m happy to report that over the last month or so, things have been moving in the right direction. I won’t elaborate on details, but I’m really excited about what lies ahead:

Two weeks off: Now until 8.26.13

My very first 70.3 race, Timberman 70.3: 8.18.13

Starting a new job: 8.26.13

Buying a car: ?

Rejoining Cambridge Masters swim team: Sometime in September or October.

Life certainly is an unpredictable journey. There are ups and downs. Luckily, I have an amazing husband, support system, sherpa and all around awesome guy by my side. Foxy, thank you for all of your hugs, jokes to make me laugh and ability to roll with the punches. And, I would remiss if I didn’t mention that I have some amazing friends. No matter how far away they are, will always be there for me.

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I’m looking forward to a great mix of relaxation, organizing, and racing over the next few weeks. I’m also psyched to see what lies ahead in the next few years in my professional, personal and athletic lives.

Additionally, I am taking on a new side project, to revamp this blog and continue making connections that I enjoy making so much.

Thanks for your patience and I look forward to catching up on everyone’s race schedules very soon.

And if you’re wondering, this will be me for the next few weeks: Ridiculously happy and maybe, perhaps “photogenic triathlon girl”

Kim Tri Finish

xoxo

Swimmy

Pretending to be a cyclist

2013 has certainly been an interesting and very busy year – I could bore you with all of the ups and the downs, but right now my eyes are on the prize: Successfully finishing the Timberman Half Ironman with a smile on my face on August 18th! 

So far, training has been great. I’ve been nursing my hip injury from Boston training and the running portion of my training plan is definitely behind, but I’m not nervous. Strengthening and avoiding future issues is definitely my #1 goal. 

To compensate, I have been swimming at higher volume than in my prescribed training plan.  Swimming is my strongest leg and where I feel the most confident. I am extremely grateful that I started the sport at such a young age and my swim club had such heavy emphasis on stroke and technique. I listen to fellow triathletes complain about the swim portion of the race constantly. As they talk, I nod my head and usually insert a quip about what a novice I am in the sport of cycling, but silently I am thanking all of my swim coaches over the years. Imagine if I had anxiety about swimming AND cycling? I think this whole Half Ironman game would most certainly be over if that was the case. I’ve adjusted my training plan as follows: when my plan calls for 1,000-1,500 I am traditionally swimming anywhere from 1,650-3,000. Part of this is to try to over compensate for lack of running, and the other part is: 1,000 yards swimming is a joke for me! In order to feel like I have done anything at all, I really need to swim at least a mile. 

The other part, is aggressively trying to wrap my head around the sport of cycling. I have been slow to get started with my new “hobby”, but luckily I have some really patient cycling friends. They are willing to give me parking lot tutorials on how to clip in and out, proper technique for starting and stopping and generally avoiding getting killed by crazy Boston motorists. They will even wait for me at the top of a hill when I’m too nervous to go up clipped in and half to walk my bike up to the top (this has happened on multiple occasions) and of course they are always willing to smile for a photo as I constantly need to document every single aspect of training. 

Here are such a few of my cycling sensi’s & myself in Lexington a few weeks ago – Proof I can do this!

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And, cycling is VERY hard, especially on Boston’s first warm weekend of the year. #unattractiveselfies

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All in all, I know this will pay off in a big way at Timberman, but I’m TERRIFIED. I looked at the elevation chart and HOT DAMN, there are some crazy, crazy elevation grades. If you don’t believe me, just check out this course map here. I just feel like there is so much to learn, and so much strategy behind it! Luckily the internet has a breadth of cycling and triathlon tips, tricks, videos and articles. Thank you, internet!

The other source of cycling anxiety is my general “fraidy cat” ways when driving a car with an engine, let alone a road bike with tiny wheels sharing the road with crazy Boston motorists. I’m hoping this pays off since I am overly cautious, but I definitely have a tendency to psyche myself out in a big way. I just need to repeat to myself “keep calm and pedal on.” (Side note, I need this shirt!)

I know in order to succeed, I need to stay calm and focus, so here are my goals over this next month of training:

  • Get increasingly more comfortable on the bike
  • Tackle as many challenging hills as humanly possible (without having a total mental breakdown)
  • Amp up running mileage once I get the OK that my hip is cleared to run longer than 3-4 miles (hopefully this news will come very soon)
  • Practice transitions. Luckily I have a triple brick work out planned on Cape Cod with friends on June 15th followed by the Oh My Goddard Olympic Triathlon June 23rd and the Cohasset Sprint Triathlon June 30th

So there we have it friends, someday soon perhaps I can remove “pretending” and instead shout from the roof tops about how much I love cycling. Something tells me it will be awhile before I get to that point, but I am certainly in it for the long haul to give this new sport the good old college try. It also wouldn’t hurt if I took a step back and reminded myself of this…

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Do you have fears of cycling? What steps have you taken to help ease your fears and build up confidence?