Spring Racing and 2014 Plans

This post is a long time coming. And just plain long. I apologize in advance if it seems like a bunch of random thoughts thrown out. But there are a lot of factors going into my plans for the year and I want to try to explain them all so that my decision makes sense (even if just to me).

After making the announcement of my goal of qualifying for the Ironman World championships (one day) back in October, I began filling my race calendar with triathlons – 70.3 Eagleman in June, 70.3 Princeton in September, Ironman Florida in November. Every ounce of my competitive self wanted to train my butt off and focus as much time and energy as I could to start the road to (hopefully  one day) qualify for Kona. (*Note: the only race I am currently signed up for is Eagleman; I held off on Princeton and it is now sold out; I was going to run IM Florida with Team Refuel again so no entry was necessary.)

I don’t remember the exact moment or day, but at some point in December / January I kind of had that “aha” moment and realized there was a part of me that did NOT want to train for an Ironman this year. (I kind of alluded to it in this post.) It’s not that I didn’t want to do it – more that priorities and other outside factors outweighed my training for an Ironman. I may have only done one, but I can tell you this – you have to be all in. If there is a part of you that doubts your decision or feels guilty, you won’t get through training. So the decision was made to postpone Ironmans until (more than likely) the boys are in school. It was a gradual decision brought on by a few factors – some of which are listed below.

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    New Year, New Goals

    me and AJ

    Happy New Year!!!

    After a string of some wonderful days of running, I woke up on New Year’s Eve with a headache, congestion and general body aching that always indicates the start of something more serious. Stupidly, I forced myself through my first brick workout in months – 45 min on the trainer followed by an easy 5 mile run. It felt good to bike again, but I felt like crap. UGH.

    Later that afternoon, we all went to my sister’s where we rang in the New Year. Despite still feeling awful, I had a blast staying up late (2am for me) and playing Just Dance” (my first time) with my sisters and parents.

    As much as I wanted to start the new year off running, my body was not having it – I did not run Wednesday or Thursday. I was/am disappointed but decided it was better to be smart and take a few days off rather than push my body more than I had already. My husband was off both days and we spent most of the last few days rearranging various rooms in our house <- This is what I do when I can’t run! First up was our basement. The workout area has been moved and reorganized:

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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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        Staten Island Triathlon Race Recap

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        baseball

        Hi everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!! The weather was incredible all weekend in NYC – we finally are having the summer days that I dream of – sunny, warm days and cool, breezy nights. PERFECTION.

        So, I signed up for a local sprint triathlon early last week. My intention was to race it if my body felt recovered, complete it if I wanted to, and skip it if my heart wasn’t in it.  I was {this} close to skipping it.  My oldest son and I went to his first minor league baseball game (the Staten Island Yankees) with my mom, dad, sister and her family. The stadium is on the northern edge of Staten Island which gives you these amazing views of NYC’s skyline – all while you are taking in a baseball game!

        We had a blast. My son watched a bit of the game, walked around with me for a while, and enjoyed some baseball stadium food (fries, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, ice cream).

        There was an amazing fireworks display post-game followed by the opportunity for all the little ones to run the bases!

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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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            Mighty Moss Half Ironman Race Recap

            After the Rev 3 Quassy Olympic 4 weeks ago, I knew it was in my best interest to have another tune-up race before Lake Placid.  There was so much that I learned in that first triathlon and I wanted to make some adjustments as well as test out my nutrition plan at the longer distance.  My training plan had a half ironman on the schedule for this past weekend and I couldn’t believe  my luck when I found the Mighty Moss Half – it was within driving distance, was the right weekend, and was a small race.  Sign me up!

            The website touted it as a great tune-up for Ironman Lake Placid and although I looked at the elevation for the run and bike, I didn’t realize how hilly it was.  It had 3,700+ ft of gain for the 56 mile bike and 800 ft for the 13.1 mile run.  The great news is that this course is actually hillier than Lake Placid!  Lake Placid has 2,400 ft of gain per loop for the bike (4,800 total) and about 500 for the first half of the run (1,000 total) – so over the same distance, the course this weekend was 50% hillier.  The idea of having to go double the distance I went Sunday is a bit overwhelming, but it helps knowing that I don’t have much more elevation gain to add.

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              Age Group Win at Mighty Moss Half Ironman!

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              Happy Monday, friends!! The full recap of yesterday’s half-ironman is coming…I have so much to share, but was too wiped out after the race to write it last night. Plus, I wanted to spend the rest of the afternoon with the boys rather than sitting in front of the computer.

              Lots of good things (36ish minute swim!!) and not so good things (I crashed on the bike) happened.  The rain held off but the heat and humidity came out to make for a very long, sweltering day.  The run was a gut check.  But as one of my Instagram friends said “This is a memory bank race for IMLP. Draw in the good and build on the bad.”

              I finished in 6:03ish (results have not been posted yet so I don’t know my exact time or placing yet)…but I do know that I won my age group.  Granted, this wasn’t a huge race, but placing in my age group makes the day a bit brighter and somehow even makes me forget some of the pain I felt during the run!

              Thank you for all of your messages, comments, and tweets wishing me good luck.  They mean so much to me!

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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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                  Century Ride + 5k with Double Stroller

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                  100 miles

                  Don’t forget to enter the Sparkly Soul Giveaway!

                  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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                    First 10-hour Weekend

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                    I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see a Monday.  Monday is / has been my rest day – often after a weekend of racing or long training.  This weekend was a pretty big one for me – I set distance PRs in the pool and on the bike and hit the highest number of hours of training over 2 days =)

                    And most importantly – my littlest guy took his first steps yesterday!  He’s been standing unsupported on his own for ~3 weeks and has been cruising around the house for about ~6 weeks, so we knew it was going to happen soon.  He’s pretty proud of himself!

                    Tuesday

                    Swim: 3,100 yards.  First workout since the triathlon on Saturday.  Felt surprisingly tired and fatigued.  Ugh.

                    Bike: 1 hr 40 min. Tough bike. 34 minutes of this ride (on the trainer b/c it was raining) was at threshold – on the trainer, I kept it on the big chain ring and just try to keep my RPMs high.  I entertained myself with the Princesses of Long Island.  I’ve heard so much about this show and wanted to see what all the {negative} fuss was about.  First and last time I will ever watch that show.  Have you seen it? {don’t waste your time if you haven’t!}

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                      Tips for Your 1st Triathlon

                      First, let me preface this by saying that I am by no means an expert at triathlons or triathlon-racing.  With a measly ONE Olympic-distance triathlon under my belt, I am still very much a novice.  But, there was SO much that I learned in just that one triathlon that I wish I could have been prepared for or done differently on race day and I hope that my insight, however basic it may be, may help someone else.

                      Some of these may seem like common sense to you, but my mind was on a million things in the weeks leading up to this race (plus it is not my target triathlon this season), so I didn’t fully prepare the way I should have.

                      Please (!!) if you are a seasoned triathlete, weigh in here and add your two cents – especially if I say something that you feel is inaccurate.

                      WetsuitI’ve practiced taking my wetsuit off twice.  Each time was fairly easy so I had the mentality of “How hard could this be on race day?”.  Well, I was wrong.  I hadn’t practiced it when the wetsuit was wet. Nor when my arms were slightly fatigued.  Nor when I was out of breath from running from the water to T1.   Recommendation: Wear your wetsuit in the shower, do some jumping jacks and take it off.  It will get you used to how it will feel on race day. Also, use some sort of lubricant on your wrists/ankles so it is easier to slide off (Amanda, an Ironman, recommends Pam cooking spray)

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                        Race Report: Rev3 Quassy Olympic (My 1st Triathlon)

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                        Saturday morning was the Rev3 Quassy Olympic Triathlon – the first of 2 tris put on by Rev3 this weekend in Middlebury, CT (the 70.3 was held Sunday AM).  As most of you know, this was my first triathlon – and I’m happy that I can finally call myself a triathlete =)

                        Below is the (lengthy) race recap from the race.  Instead of hearing me go on about one sport, you now get to hear me go over three (plus transitions) – Lucky you! HA. I am going to do another post this week on things I learned / tips to help any other first time triathletes out there!

                        This certainly wasn’t a speedy race for me nor was it executed exactly how I wanted…but the most important thing is that I got some experience under my belt – transitioning, swimming in open water, and practicing a ride and run on a very hilly course. (Quassy is touted as one of the toughest triathlon courses in the country.)  Based on how things played out, there are about 10 things I would have done differently on race day that likely would have helped take at least 10 minutes off my time.

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                          BIG News, More Races and Last Speed Workout

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                          I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had some exciting news to share with you all…On Monday, my husband, both boys, and I will be heading down to Atlanta, GA, to spend the week working with Mizuno!!! A short time ago, I was contacted by Mizuno’s PR agency to see if I was interested in participating in their upcoming ad campaign.

                          Hello?  Is this real life?!?!  There was ZERO hesitation.  I started wearing Mizunos in mid-2007 when I was training for the Army 10-miler (when I was a member of the Ft Hood Army-10 miler team).  Mizunos were on my feet for that race, for every single run during my last deployment, for my first Boston Marathon (and current marathon PR), for my pregnancy running, and many brilliant moments in between.

                          We fly out Monday, film for the better part of the week, and will be flying home Friday.  I am SO incredibly excited, humbled, and honored to have been asked by Mizuno to participate in their campaign.  I will share what I can via twitter and Instagram (and maybe a blog post) during my adventure next week.

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                            I Miss Running

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                            I couldn’t get my act together this week and get out of bed when my alarm went off.  The littlest guy has returned to his twice (or sometimes three) a night wakeup to nurse (maybe a growth spurt?) so I’d like to think it’s from a lack of sleep.  I am slightly OCD and so I set multiple alarms on my phone offset by 5 min – in case I shut the alarm off while I’m still half asleep.

                            The plan works great in theory – and most mornings, I have no problem jumping out of bed with the first alarm (I am typically not a snooze girl) – but when you are exhausted and continually hit snooze on the alarms, it means that there is an alarm going off every 5 min.  You don’t really get any sort of sleep in those 5 minutes.  It’s just enough time to start to fall back asleep before the beeping commences.  One morning, I hit snooze for 40 min.  My husband wanted to kill me.  Per his request, the alarms are now set 10 min apart.

                            This week was an eye opener for me.  Since most mornings I was running behind and couldn’t follow my planned workout, I fit in what I could.  I’ve noticed that when I am pressed for time, my mind and body immediately want to squeeze in a run – not a bike or swim – regardless of what I was supposed to be doing that day.  I think part of it is that I miss running.  It sounds strange to say because I am running – and often times, about 3-5x/week.  But, I miss having my whole day revolve around running – I used to eat, hydrate, sleep for my run the next day.  I like running on tired legs because of a hard run the day before – not because I had a hard bike ride.  And it’s not just the act of running – I am spending more time reading and learning about the other two sports and am finding that I am spending much less time completely focused on running. And I miss it. 

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                              Race Calendar + Ironman Lake Placid Training

                              Hello friends!

                              One of my good friends pointed out to me that my race calendar was severely outdated…so I took a few minutes and updated it.  (The calendar can be found here.)  The big/long races are definites.   The smaller/shorter ones are still up in the air (5 miler on 4th of July, RW races, etc).  I made the decision on a fall marathon…the Wineglass Marathon!  SUPER excited about this one. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things and I’m loving the elevation chart for the race:

                              I’m also looking for a triathlon to do before the ironman in July.  There is the Rev3 Quassy in June that I would LOVE to do but not sure we will be able to swing it financially (registration alone is over $250…then we will need hotel for 1-2 nights, etc).  Anyone want to sponsor me? (I’m only half kidding).

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                              I realized it’s been a while since I gave any sort of update with how training is going in prep for IM Lake Placid.  I post a lot of pictures on my Instagram account {NYCRunningMama} with training updates, but don’t really blog about how things are going.  So here goes:

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                                Go Big or Go Home

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                                Go Big or Go Home.  I love this phrase.  It’s been a mantra that I’ve used a lot in recent years:

                                Example A: First race I ever signed up for and ran – 2002 Philadelphia Marathon.  I didn’t see a need to run shorter distances – I wanted to run a marathon and believed I could with 3 months of training.  Longest run was 16 miles.  I finished in 3:54.

                                Example B: After falling during a trail race in 2009, my knee was acting up and decided to take a few weeks off from running. I signed up for my first bike “race” (more of a ride).  It was 70 miles (including the ride to/from the start/finish).  I trained for 3 weeks and finished smiling about 4 hours later (which included forced rest stops twice).

                                Probably not always the smartest decisions.  But I’m a big believer that you can do anything you want – as long as you want it badly enough to put in the proper time and training.  From when I was a little girl, whenever there was something I was unsure if I could do or accomplish, my mom always would ask me Why not you?  Meaning that if others could do it, then what was stopping me from doing it?  Was there a physical or mental limitation?   She said it to make me realize that nothing was stopping me from doing it – except myself.   She empowered me to believe in myself from a young age.  I could do what I wanted and succeed if I believed in myself.

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                                  Running Book for Kids: Pellie Runs a Marathon

                                  Pellie Runs A Marathon

                                  My husband bought me the cutest kids book a few months after our oldest son was born in 2011 – Pellie Runs a Marathon (by Michele Bredice Craemer):

                                  One of the things I am MOST grateful to my parents is my exposure to sports from a young age.  They didn’t force a sport on my sisters and I.  Instead, we were given and shown a wide range of sports from when we were first old enough to understand them.  Basketball, softball, football, running, golf, bowling, soccer, dancing…We played/did them all.  Basketball was my first love and lasted until sophomore year of college.  It wasn’t until that point – and then even more-so during my time in the military and deployments – that my love for running began.

                                  My husband and I are not going to push running, or any other sport for that matter, onto either of our boys.  But, just as both our parents did with us, we’ve already begun introducing a handful of sports to our oldest whether through activity outside with his bat and ball, watching football on the couch with daddy, or reading a book about marathons.

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                                    #Lucky13 Fitness Goals

                                    Run this Year Challenge

                                    Happy New Year!!

                                    I love the start of the New Year.  There is something so exciting and invigorating about setting goals for the next 365 days and hearing about all the goals others have set.

                                    13 has always been a lucky number for me (it was my high school basketball number for a few years), I decided to create my #Lucky13 Fitness Goals.  Some of them are the same goals as I had for 2012…I found out I was pregnant only a few weeks into 2012 and so almost all of my fitness-related goals had to be postponed until post-baby.

                                    1. Complete 50 miler: JFK 50 miler (Nov 16)  This was one of my 2012 goals but pregnancy put it on hold.  The JFK 50 miler is the largest 50 miler in the world (over 1,000 finishers) and I have heard nothing but amazing things about the entire race experience. I ran my first ultra distance in 2010 and my first ultra race in 2011 and have been itching to do another one.  Current distance PR: 60k (37.2 miles) in 5:41 (Knickerbocker 60k, 2011)

                                    2. Sub-3:10 MarathonNJ Marathon (May 5)  I was able to defer this race last year when I found out I was pregnant.  Taking 11 minutes off my previous PR may seem a bit of a stretch – but I haven’t actually “raced” a marathon since 2009 – between training for my first ultra, two pregnancies/childbirths, and the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge, racing a marathon never seemed to be in the cards for me.  Current PR: 3:21:32 (Boston, 2009)

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                                      Help Me BECOME ONE!

                                      Become One Kona

                                      So I’ve been keeping a little secret…

                                      I have applied to Become ONE!

                                      got chocolate milk? is having a contest which will give two lucky winners the Ironman experience of a lifetime.  This program includes:

                                      • A customized seven-month training program in their hometown with elite IRONMAN coaches
                                      • Seven months of lowfat chocolate milk to refuel and recover between workouts
                                      • Entry into 3-5 IRONMAN training events, to be determined by their coach
                                      • Any equipment or gear necessary to train and fully recover effectively
                                      • Entry into, and 2 round-trip airline tickets and lodging for, the 2013 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona-Kailua, Hawaii

                                      For the past two years, I have signed up for Ironman competitions, had them on my racing calendar, begun training…only to find out I was pregnant.  Pregnancy and my two little boys are the best things in my life…but I’m definitely itching to fulfill what has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.

                                      2013 is going to be the year I call myself an Ironman.

                                      But I need your help!  

                                      Part of the application process required creating a video to explain why we should be picked, why we want to be an Ironman, why we would inspire others…

                                      I would LOVE any help spreading the word about my video and any likes/comments on the site (youtube) itself (if you think I should be picked!)

                                      Thank you so much for your help!!

                                      My application can be found here. 

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                                        Ironman 70.3 Texas

                                        Chatting with Tim at the post-race press conference

                                        Note: This post will highlight some of the photos of the day (caution: there are A LOT!).  It is not meant to be a race results post – if you are interested in reading the full story about the results, click here.  

                                        Sunday morning began bright and early – we met in the lobby at 545am.  We checked out and drove to the start/finish/transition areas (they were all in the same area).

                                        When we arrived at the race location, we were given Media Passes which allowed us to walk to the swim start – pretty awesome!  

                                        By the time we got out there, most of the professional men and women were already in the water warming up…There were a few still making their way to the docks to jump in the water – including the eventual winner, Tim O’Donnell.

                                        The swim was held at Moody Gardens’ white sand beach, in the protected Offats Bayou.  From what we were told, there was a good chance of rough water, but on race day, the bayou was pretty calm which allowed for some pretty fast swim times.

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