Life Lessons Learned From My First Ironman

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Three years ago, today, I became an Ironman. This morning while I drank my coffee in the pre-dawn hours before my run, I spent some time on Facebook and Timehop. All the emotions of that day came roaring back as I looked at friends’ posts on my wall, the comments from friends and family and the amazing photos that my awesome sister uploaded in order to keep everyone updated.

July 28, 2013 was one of the best days of my life – for so many reasons. Obviously being able to call myself an “Ironman” (and have it in my bio ) is a pretty sweet reward. But that day was so much more to me. I know I’m three years removed, but I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned from that experience.

Wait for the fire. There was a marked moment when an Ironman went from being something fun to watch on TV to a fire in my stomach and something I wanted to do. For years, I would watch Kona on TV with my husband and talk about how cool it would be to do one one day. But that was it. A couple of days after the Ironman would air, doing one would be out of sight, out of mind. It was one of those “lifetime goals” that didn’t have any weight to it.

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    Can a Dream Be Too Big?

    I’ve always tried to be pretty open with my goals. Goal for Half Marathon this weekend? A PR. Goal for Philly Marathon in 5 weeks? Somewhere around 3:12-3:15.

    I’ve talked about races I want to do one day. I’ve discussed my “Everest“.  I’ve shared my Ironman journey.

    But, I’ve been keeping a secret. I’ve been hesitant to share my biggest goal – the one that crosses my mind most days. I think it’s because I feel like some people will laugh and think I’m aiming for the stars and although outside opinions shouldn’t matter, they do. Nobody wants to hear others laugh at a goal or worse – tell them that it’s not feasible.

    I think that’s the beauty of keeping a dream to yourself. If nobody tells you it’s impossible, then it’s not, right? 

    When is a dream “acceptable” to being shared?
    When does it go from being a little kid dream to a concrete goal that you proudly tell family, friends or readers?
    Do you have to be within striking range? What is striking range? 10, 20 minutes of your BQ? What about going to Kona? How high up in your age group do you have to be in your previous IM?
    When does a dream go from being realistic and supported to impossible and laughed at? Who determines this?
    Can a dream be too big?

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      Weekend Highlights + 20 Mile Success

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      This past weekend was amazing! Thank you for all of your words of support and good luck wishes for my husband! He is officially a half-Ironman! =)  Below are some of the highlights from our weekend:

      – Crossing Finish Line with our youngest. I can’t stop smiling at this picture. This is the first finish line the little guy has crossed.

       Half Ironman: Despite the heat (it was 90 degrees + super humid despite being a week into October), a pinched nerve in his neck last week (he was on steroids and muscle relaxers until race day to help with the pain and stiffness), a flat tire on the bike and bad stomach cramping during the run, my husband crossed the finish line!! There will always be something to complain about if you want to, but we are focusing on the good instead. He is a half-Ironman!

      Weekend with our youngest – It was so fun to get 24+ hours with just the little guy. I put a picture up on IG last week and mentioned how I am loving my 90 min twice/week with him right now while my oldest is in “class” (it’s a toddler program that focuses on being around other children and the beginning parts of taking directions/listening). I love that they have each other. I grew up with three sisters and can’t imagine my life without them in it. But, it’s a constant struggle to give them both the undivided attention I wish I could give them. So I will gladly take these special moments when I can.

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        So You Want To Do An Ironman?

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        The best cheering crew ever! My parents, sons, niece and nephew!

        First, let me please preface this post by stating that I am by no means an expert at triathlons or Ironman competitions. Full disclosure: I’ve done ONE Ironman.{Hope to go for #2 next year!}

        But I’ve received a number of emails and comments asking various questions regarding choosing a race, training for one, time commitment and so on that I wanted to share my experience and “beginner” thoughts (not training tips) in hopes that it might help you if you are toying with the idea of one. AND, since the Ironman World Championship is next weekend (!!), I thought this was a great time for this post. I’ve watched Kona on TV for years – and each year, I would tell my husband that I wanted that to be me.

        {Note: most of these are not exclusive to Ironman competitions or even triathlons…many can be used in regards to your first running race as well!}

        You have to be all in. Training for an Ironman isn’t something you can fake or get by on with sporadic or little training. If you aren’t completely on board with wanting to do one, then you will slack on your training when things get tough.=&0=&.  Decide what is most important to you and then pick your race from that: location, time of year, swim start, and course profile are some of the main factors that might come into play when deciding your first. If you despise hills, don’t pick Lake Placid or CDA.  If you want your family and friends to support you along the course, pick a race that is close to home or one they could/would travel to.  If you hate training in the cold, don’t pick an early spring Ironman. Obviously there may be a few that fit for you and then you can further rank your priorities. For me, I really only had one choice. I wanted a race close by so that my family could be there. The only Ironman within 5-6 hours of me was/is Ironman Lake Placid. I wasn’t entirely thrilled about the hilly course, but I was willing to deal with the hills in order to have my family there. Timex has created the “Top 6 Ironman Races for Beginners where they rank: Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, Louisville, Lake Placid, and Texas as the top 6 (from #1 to #6)

      • Be aware of the time commitment. Regardless of what training plan you follow, you will be training for 3 different sports – any way you slice it, that takes time. Some days you will be doing multiple sports. A couple of days a week will be longer to fit in your long ride, swim, and run. By the end of my training, I was biking/running from 5am-12pm on Saturdays and swimming/running from 6am-12pm on Sundays – it made it hard to do a ton on the weekends because most of the day was spent with me working out or recovering (shower, stretch, ice bath). The further you get into your training, the longer your days will become. My social life became almost nonexistent the last 4-5 weeks before the Ironman because I was either training or too exhausted to stay up late.
      • Ensure your spouse/significant other is aware and supportive of time commitment. This is, in my opinion, one of the toughest parts of Ironman training. It was a struggle at times to juggle time with my husband. As I talked about here, it was often a strain on my marriage because my husband and I were like two strangers passing in the night.  Thankfully, he was 100% (okay, maybe 98%) supportive of me doing it (and was actually the one that gave me that little nudge I needed to sign up for my first). I would recommend that you and your significant other sit down and look at the training plan before you sign up so that you are both aware of the time commitment.

      • Use a training plan that is consistent with the time you have (or are willing to dedicate): If I were single and childless, I would have opted for a  more intense training plan.  I intially started with a plan that called for 3 more workouts a week but after 2 very long, tiring weeks, I decided to drop down to an “easier” plan so that I could have a bit more time with my family in the mornings/evenings.
      • Know what’s ahead but don’t get pysched out. On the first day of school each year, I would always flip ahead to the end of my textbooks (mostly math and science) to see what I would be learning by the end of the year. Without fail, I would get freaked out when I saw how hard the material looked. I did the same thing when I saw my training plan – how the heck am I going to be able to ride for 6 hours and then run for 3 hours the next day? But that’s why it’s at the end of the training cycle. Focus on what you are doing this weekend. Don’t worry about what’s in 12, 16, 18 weeks.
      • Have a budget. Triathlons are not cheap. Bikes, watches, shoes, helmets, wetsuit, wheels, power meters, pool access…never ending list and they are all expensive. And that’s not even factoring in the cost of an Ironman competition (upwards of $600 for registration) + transportation (if you need to ship your bike that could easily be another few hundred) + lodging. Set aside a budget that you want to spend and then stick to it. Determine what’s “essential” for you to make it to the start line and finish line – everything else can be borrowed or purchased if you decide to do subsequent Ironmans.

      • Seek out Ironman veterans for advice. This was one of the smartest things I did. My husband’s classmate and former roommate is a sub-10 Ironman finisher. My friend, Lindsey’s husband, is a professional triathlete.  These are the people I emailed when I had questions about nutrition, pacing, training.  It’s good to have websites, but it’s better to have someone real to talk to – they can give you guidance pertaining to you, your body and your training.
      • Nutrition is a different ballgame. Since my background is running, I am used to fueling just for running – a few gels and water during a marathon and I am good to go. The first time I realized the importance of fueling was my first Sunday long swim/long run. I swam 1.5 miles, ate a few energy blasts and started my run. I typically never fuel on runs less than 16 miles. I was *only* running 14 miles so didn’t think I would need to bring fuel with me. By mile 4, I felt like I was ready to bonk and had to run home to refuel (and carry some with me).  Lesson learned.  I would recommend trying several types of nutrition (especially during the long rides) to find what works best for you and your body. I’ve really only begun to scratch the surface of nutrition – I am sure that Ironman #2’s nutrition plan will look completely different from what I did for Lake Placid.

      • Find a coach or training plan. As much as I wanted to use a coach, I felt that the money would be better spent on necessary gear than a coach. The goal for my first Ironman was {mostly} to finish and I felt that a training plan would do that just as well as a coach – and it did. I’m sure that if I used a coach I could have trained a bit smarter and finished faster, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. {Note: I am using a coach for Iroman #2 because I have much more ambitious, concrete time goals.}
      • Don’t train for more than one event at a time. I started training for Ironman Lake Placid in February when I was knee-deep in NJ Marathon training. Despite numerous friends telling me otherwise, I assumed I would be able to successfully juggle both training plans. But truth is, one event will always outweigh the other. I skipped a ton of swim and bike workouts to save my legs for important marathon workouts. I didn’t swim or bike for the two weeks leading up to the NJ marathon. When I was pressed for time, running took precedence since that was the first race on my horizon.  I didn’t dedicate 100% of my attention and focus on the other two disciplines until after the NJ Marathon (May 5) which only gave me 12 weeks until the Ironman. This time around, my plan is to focus 100% of my attention to triathlons beginning in December (this gives me 11 months).
      • Believe in Yourself: I would argue that this is one of the most important. When I decided to do Ironman Lake Placid, I had never done a single triathlon before. I had never swam more than a length of a pool (straight) and the furthest I had ever ridden my bike was 65 miles (4 years ago). On paper, I probably didn’t look like the ideal person to sign up for an Ironman. But I believed in myself. In my discipline and determination. And in my ability. That is what you need to force you out the door at 4am for a long ride or 5am to get into a chilly pool.  I’m not going to tell you that you have to do X, Y and Z before you sign up for your first. I hadn’t done a single triathlon before I signed up for Placid (I did an Olympic and half during training). I’m sure there are loads of theories and formulas of when you are “ready” but I truly believed I was capable despite my inexperience with the sport. Yes, I could have eased into it and probably finished faster if I would have spent time at shorter distances, but I wanted a challenge and this was it for me. 
      • Enjoy the Journey: Training for my first Ironman was the toughest, but most rewarding, athletic endeavor I have done in my life. It’s not going to be easy – but it will definitely be worth it on race day. And just remember: ”Swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles- BRAG FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. ”   – John Collins, IRONMAN Founder
      • Have you done an Ironman? Any other tips for those on the fence?

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          Is It Selfish To Want One More Ironman?

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          In so much pain at mile 24.5 of the marathon

          When I was given the opportunity to race Ironman Lake Placid, it was too good to pass up. My husband and I briefly discussed the challenges of my training with two little ones, one of which I was still exclusively breastfeeding. We agreed it would be a “one and done” sort of thing. Check it off the bucket list. Be able to call myself an Ironman. 

          But that’s not the case. I have no doubt that the Ironman distance is for me. While there were so many points during the race last Sunday where I was in pain, there was NO point where I hated what I was doing or wanted to quit.  None. Even when I was bent over in pain, I was loving every second.

          If I were childless and had an endless supply of time and money (I keep telling my husband we need to plant that money tree in the backyard), I would sign up for 2x Ironman competitions a year. No question. It’s crazy to say, but I truly loved everything about the whole process.

          But, I have other commitments. More important things to preoccupy my time.  Other things and little ones to spend our money on. We want our family to continue to grow.  We would love to have another child (in a couple of years).  Ironman training with two little ones is tough.  I can’t imagine trying to do it with three little ones…and it would be tougher for my husband who would watch them all while I train.

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            Ironman Lake Placid Race Recap

            Get comfortable, friends.  This recap will probably take you as long to read as the Ironman took me to finish.

            When the alarm went off at 3:25am, I wanted nothing more than to go back to bed. I was exhausted. I got up, pulled my youngest out of the pack ‘n’ play and into bed with me to nurse.  (I had to nurse him since my pump was already packed in my transition bag and I wouldn’t pump until after the swim.)  I was thankful that he went right back to bed!

            I drank a small cup of coffee, got changed, and my husband and I were in the car on our way to Lake Placid by 4:10am.  I tried to eat a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, but race day nerves was making it hard to keep anything down.  We made awesome time and found a super close parking spot by 5am. I think I did things a bit backwards because I first dropped off my special needs bags which were right by the swim start (I think it would have been a lot easier / less walking to go to transition first then head to special needs then the start). Once the bags were dropped we made our way to transition to get body marked.

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              Ironman Lake Placid Race Weekend

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              I decided to break this into two segments – the days leading up to the race (Race Weekend) and then Race Day (swim, T1, bike, T2, run, post-race, post-race day). There’s a lot to say and I don’t want to have a ridiculous amount posts so bear with me. It’s long. If you want the cliff-notes version of the below novel, check out yesterday’s post =)

              Race Weekend

              My husband, sons, and I made our way up to the Adirondack region late Wednesday night (boys’ bedtime) and arrived at our friends’ home just after 1am.  The house could not have been more perfect.  I mean, what is there not to love about waking up to this view for a few days?

              Although the temps at night dropped down to the mid-40s (!!) and only got up to low/mid-70s during the day, the lake was really warm (mid-70s maybe?). The early mornings were eerily beautiful because of the mist coming off of the warm water.

              We spent the next couple of days not doing a whole lot – hanging out at the lake, feeding the ducks, reading, relaxing in the house, doing a bit of sight-seeing in Long Lake (the town where our friends’ home was).  It was tough for me to not do more because all I wanted to do was swim in the lake, walk around town and play with the boys, but I forced myself to stay off my feet as much as I could (which is fairly tough with two little boys under 3).  My husband and I have talked about vacationing at the beach every year with the boys, but after some time at the lake, we now think we may want a lake vacation instead. It was so incredibly relaxing and GORGEOUS.

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                Ironman Lake Placid

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                Few more feet until finish line!

                Good Morning!! I am working on a full recap from Sunday’s Ironman, but wanted to share the news (in case you aren’t on twitter or Instagram)…

                I am an Ironman!!! =)

                Sunday was a long day, but one that went amazingly smooth for almost the full 140.6 miles.  I finished in 13:04.  The swim was slower than I had wanted or anticipated, but man, it felt GOOD to be finished with it and to feel the ground on my feet.  The bike was awesome.  My laps were almost even split and BOTH were significantly faster than the one loop I did during my training weekend a few weeks ago.  The run started off amazingly – my legs were not dead and I was maintaining about 8:30 pace (I started walking through aid stations at mile 4 to ensure I was drinking at least 2 cups of water so my mile splits were around 9:00).  Unfortunately, pretty serious stomach cramping began just before mile 10 and I couldn’t eat anything for the final 16.2 miles.  Even worse was that at times it was so painful that I couldn’t run – I was bent over in pain.

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                  Ironman Lake Placid: Tracking Details

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                  Crossing finish line of 2013 Mossman Half Ironman

                  I’ve been asked a lot over the last week by friends and family about how they can track me on race day, so I wanted to share all the details here!

                  Race Day: Sunday, July 28, 2013

                  Start Time: Pros start at 6:30am; waves will begin a few minutes after that based on projected finish times.  I should enter the water sometime around 6:45-6:50am.

                  Bib #: 604

                  Finish Time: Anywhere between 7:15pm and midnight (7:15 is hoping that things go amazingly well on race day!)

                  Ways to Track Me:

                  • Ironman.com website: The “results” page should be updated on race morning to have live athlete tracking. There will be a TON of splits that will be given (start, loops, transition)
                  • TwitterMy sister, Danielle, will be tweeting the splits from the website as soon as they are updated.  Additionally, she will tweet any pics/updates that my family gets “in-person” from me as they will be at the race
                  • Instagram: Danielle will also be posting any pictures they are able to take to my IG account throughout the day!
                  • Got Chocolate Milk: I am representing Team Refuel this weekend and they will be posting/sharing pics and details of the race on their Twitter page!

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                    Give Me Your Mantras!!

                    In some ways, I have yet to accept what I will put my body through next Sunday.  I haven’t fully wrapped my head around the idea that I will be running a marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles.  It scares me.  When I think about it, I kind of get excited, but mostly get the heart-pounding butterfly feeling in my stomach.  So instead, I am trying to focus on only one discipline at a time and not think about what lies ahead until it’s time to tackle it.  I mean, I’ve swam 2.4 miles before.  I’ve biked 105 miles.  I’ve run a bunch of marathons.  I can do each of those distances.

                    But I know I will reach a point next Sunday when I don’t want to take another step. When I will want to sit on the side of the road and stop.  Maybe cry.  Maybe quit.  It will happen.  It’s just a question of when.

                    So rather than freak out about it (which is pointless since the race is just 11 days away), I am trying to work on my physical and mental readiness.  Physically, I will do what I can to postpone that moment.  Things like tapering, getting enough sleep, fueling and hydrating properly on the bike, taking it as easy as I can on the bike.  They will all help delay that pain. But, it will come.

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                      Ironman Lake Placid Goals + Woman Runs 366 Marathons in One Year

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                      Although the big day is still 11 days away, I know that there will be little to no time to post here next week.  We are heading up to Lake Placid Wednesday evening until Monday afternoon. Those days will be filled with as much relaxation and family time as possible.  I am not even sure if we will bring the computer.

                      One of the reasons I jumped on the opportunity to race Lake Placid was proximity.  Yes, it is 5 1/2 hours away.  Not an easy drive.  But it is driving distance.  It is also considered to be one of the more spectator-friendly Ironman races.  I knew I wanted my family there.  They have supported me through so many challenges I’ve taken on and been at the finish line for some of the most important (my first marathon {Philadelphia – 2002}, my first NYC Marathon in 2007, winning the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge in 2011).  My cheering squad will be out in FULL FORCE for the race – my husband, sons, mom, dad, all 3 sisters, my grandmother, brother-in-law, and niece and nephew.  Not only that, but they will be supporting me in style.  It will be SO easy for me to spot them in the crowd!

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                        Lake Placid Training Weekend

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                        It was bound to happen.  Up until this point, most of my Ironman training recaps have been successful.  They may not have been perfect, but I’ve hit the distance or time I wanted.  Well, I didn’t this weekend. While our weekend trip to Lake Placid was great for so many reasons (I’ll explain below), I am not entirely thrilled with how my training went down. It seemed like nothing went according to plan and I didn’t manage to reach any of my goals for the 3 disciplines.  And it was my last training weekend.  Not the way I wanted to enter the taper.

                        We left at the boys bedtime on Friday night.

                        The plan made sense – in theory.  For whatever reason, my husband and I were thinking it would take just over 4 hours but in reality, it took us 5.  We left at 8pm.  We go to bed early…we get up early.  So you can imagine how the drive felt by 10pm. Brutal. Slapping the face, drinking coffee trying-to-stay awake brutal.  I dozed in and out of sleep for the first 2 hours while my husband drove solo.  We checked in to the hotel just after 1am.  Carried the boys up to the room and guess what?  They were both WIDE awake for the next hour.  Happy as can be.  But wide awake.

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                          Things I’m Loving – Ironman Edition

                          Don't look too closely - not every frame is filled with pictures of our family yet. HA

                          Don’t look too closely – not every frame is filled with pictures of our family yet. HA

                          Husband came home earlier than expected yesterday (yay!). Even though I was able to take a 45-min nap before dinner, I guess my body still needed sleep as I slept straight through my 4am this morning. I hate missing workouts but I know that sleep is more important and that missing one measly workout (which was an easy swim at that) won’t make or break me in 15 days.  So unplanned rest day for me!

                          We are hanging out at home today and heading up to Lake Placid this evening at the boys bedtime.  Unless we left early this afternoon, we would hit a crapload of traffic which doesn’t bode well for a 9 1/2 month old who isn’t fond of the carseat.  Thankfully, I feel ahead of laundry and chores around the house – it helped having my wonderful in-laws here for a visit – I was able to do so many little projects around the house, including hanging these frames on our entry way wall.

                          And have I mentioned that whenever my in-laws visit, they bring a cooler of freshly caught seafood? Last visit was Ophelia crab…this time it was Copper River Red salmon. Heaven on a plate:

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                            Single Parenting

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                            I have so much respect for single moms and dads.  I function fine with the boys during the day but I start counting down the minutes until my husband walks in the door after he finishes work.  Kind of unfair to him because he just returned from a full day of work too.  But, even if I just occupy myself with one little guy while he gets the other, it’s a huge break. Especially when the littlest is now doing things like this:

                            I’ve had to single parent twice in the last week.  It’s exhausting. Straight from work on Friday, my husband headed up to Boston for a wedding and returned late Sunday afternoon.  And then late Tuesday night, he went down to DC for work and returns tonight.  It’s tough to have no break. No help at dinner. Bath time. Cleanup. Bedtime. It doesn’t help either that my youngest has been waking up 1-2x a night lately and the oldest is up for the day just after 5.  So there hasn’t been much sleep for me.  But who needs sleep when you have these two little nuggets?

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                              Arielle Newman 5 Mile Race Recap

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                              Cousins!

                              Hi there!! Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July and holiday weekend (if you were lucky enough to have a four day weekend!).  And if you are in an area that has been in the middle of this long heat wave, hope you had someplace cool to spend your time.  We have split our time between our air conditioned home  and the pool/slide in the backyard.  It’s WAY too hot to try to do anything else with the little ones.

                              We celebrated the 4th of July at my sister’s home (just a mile up the road).  BBQ, pool, and family time.  Perfect.  My in-laws are in town visiting – they live in Alaska so they try to come stay with us at least once or twice a year. It’s SO fun for my boys to have BOTH sets of grandparents together! =)

                              ——————————–

                              After going back and forth about the 4th of July race, I decided that I would attend the race while my husband, the boys, and his mom and dad stayed home. It would have been an early morning for everyone and it just made sense for me to head there on my own, run the race, and return home.

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                                Triathlon #2: Mighty Moss Half Ironman

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                                This weekend will bring me one step closer to Ironman Lake Placid (which is ONE month away today – aghh!). My second triathlon will be the Mighty Moss Half Ironman. I am surprisingly calm – and actually, even really, really excited!

                                This race is important for a number of reasons. First, it will be my longest triathlon {to date} and it fits perfectly into my trainup for IMLP. I lucked out that I was able to find the right distances at the right time based on what my training plan has called for. Second, I’m anxious to see how I do with the transitions and the other trouble areas I had for the Rev 3 Olympic a few weeks ago.  Practice makes perfect, right? Third, I’m testing out my nutrition plan for IMLP.  Fingers are crossed that things go smoothly. I’m replicating what I did for my 100 miler last weekend (I had no stomach issues albeit I think I need to consume a bit more calories/hour).

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                                  Breastfeeding and Endurance Sports

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                                  I’ve gotten a ton of emails, comments, and messages from readers asking how I am managing to breastfeed while Ironman training.  I am not going to sugar coat this post and pretend that I am doing all of this training while happily and easily breastfeeding without any issues or concerns. SO not the case. Juggling both is hard.  I do a lot of things on a regular basis to ensure I have enough milk. And as my husband can account to, I am often stressing out about how much milk I am providing for the little guy.

                                  I’ve had issues with supply (which I discuss below) and it’s almost a daily fight to keep the supply up.  But, here I am – just over 4 weeks away from my first Ironman and still exclusively breastfeeding my 9 month old son.  If nothing else, I hope this post shows that breastfeeding CAN be done while training for long distance events like marathons and even an Ironman. Yes, it takes a bit more time and energy to maintain a healthy supply, but it 100% can be done if you are determined and make yourself as knowledgeable as you can about breastfeeding.

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                                    Century Ride + 5k with Double Stroller

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                                    100 miles

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                                    After last week’s post on the demons I have been dealing with, I have tried to focus on what I can control each day while not freaking out about things that are still weeks away (less than 5 now!).

                                    Saturday was scheduled to be my longest ride {so far} in my training for Ironman Lake Placid.  My plan was to ride at least 5 hours (which would put me at 85-90 miles), but I knew in my head that my real goal was to hit 100 miles.  I wanted to see those three digits.

                                    Took me 5 hours 45 min (17.4 mph).

                                    It wasn’t easy and at points, really not fun, but it’s one more long training ride that is in the bank that hopefully will pay dividends on race day.  I rode continuously except 2 minor stops – at mile 31, I stopped at my mom’s to refill water bottles and use the bathroom and at mile 63, I returned home to breastfeed and pump.

                                    These long rides are important for three major reasons. The first two are the obvious ones – they are physically preparing me for the 112 miles I will be tackling in 5 weeks and are allowing me to practice and learn SO much about my nutrition and fueling needs that will be crucial on race day.

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                                      Chasing The Demons

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                                      I’ve been having a really hard time sleeping lately.  Most nights, I fall asleep pass out as soon as my head comes within 10 feet of my bed.  But I often find myself waking up for no apparent reason.  I spend the next 2-3 LONG hours willing sleep to wisk me away.

                                      These moments when I’m wide awake have been filled with demons.  Those little voices in your head that question your dreams, doubt all the work you have done, and scare the daylights out of you.  As I lay there at 2am, 3am, my head is filled with worry and my heart feels like it’s beating out of control.

                                      These demons are not new to me.  They are familiar visitors that I have been ready for in the past.   I have come to expect them in the days leading up to a big race…they often go by names such as taper crazies and doubt.  I guess in some weird way, I look forward to their visit.  I know they have come because I’ve dreamed big.  Because I’ve spent weeks/months working for this goal.  Because I’m scared of failing.  These are good things. And so I somewhat welcome the demons.

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                                        Whirlwind Weekend on the West Coast + 100 marathons by age 28

                                        Just wanted to drop in and say hello! It’s been over a week since I last came on here to blog.  I had such great intentions while I was on vacation – I even brought the computer with me…I always seem to think that I will have all this free time and that I will blog and respond to emails after the kids go to sleep.  But honestly, I am often in bed earlier than when we are home.  Being away from home with two little ones is pretty exhausting.  There is no safe area to let them roam while you kick your feet up and relax.  I also think I reached muscle failure no less than 50x this weekend from holding them so much.  The only place where it was really okay for my youngest to be roaming on the ground (crawling) was either the hotel room or the grass – but even in those instances, my husband or I could not take our eyes off of him.  So while it was technically a vacation, it’s not really a rest and relaxation vacation. HA.  We often passed out alongside the boys as we were putting them to sleep – so no blogging or work of any kind for me.

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