Sunday, July 17, 2022

Rev3 Williamsburg: 1/2 Aquabike

It's been awhile since I've posted.  Today marks exactly 1 week since I raced the Rev3 Williamsburg 1/2 Aquabike but also, it has been 13 years since I had knee surgery. So, here is the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

Let's start with race morning. Oh, I was originally expecting hot ass hell weather. Well, Mother Nature decided otherwise. We had rain!!!! You train for the race that you're given, not the race you want.

We had to bring shoes because there was approximately a .8 mile run from swim out to transition. Also, we had a new bike course from last year which I am so grateful for.


Per usual, I do not know why I always go into a cry-fit. I think it is because it is just the release of all the stress that I've been dealing with. Any hoo, I had my #FastChix and #CoeurSisters with me.

So we walked down the pier because we had to jump off the pier and swim towards the orange squiggly guy and climb out. Well, let's talk about the swim in the Chickahominy River. It is literally the most nastiest body of water only second to Tempe Town Lake. So, I'm swimming and it took a while to get my rhythm but I finally got it. I was sighting roughly every 8 strokes. During 2 different stroke/sight cycles I saw jumping fish. I also had  to navigate through plant life, diesel smell and swimming over a log. Yes, a log and in my defense I couldn't see it because the water was brown and gross. Once I made it to the ladder, I climbed out and took proceeded to take my glasses out of my sports bra. Why??? Well, there was no special needs table. Once I got my shoes on, it was time to do my run to transition. Geez!!! Can I just say that this is where I was saying in my head, "This is some absolute bullshit!"

Time: a 4 minute PR (46 minutes)

Transition time: 13 minutes and some change

Transition area:

It was a mud fest and everything was wet. I made the decision to not throw on my socks because they were soaking wet. Why try to put on wet socks? I threw on my cycling shoes, my visor, my helmet and grabbed Beeker and was ready to go.

The bike:

For some bizarre reason I had the hardest time clipping in to my pedals. I don't know what happened,  but I finally got locked in and it was time to roll. 

Oh, embrace the rain. I knew that the course had loose gravel. It was ridiculous! I went slower than I normally would because number one, it was pouring rain and there was a lot of loose gravel but add in traffic as well. I could have just been miserable, but I decided to change my mindset. My mindset was that I could do this all day. Thank you Captain America!!!

Well, while riding, the goal was to keep pedaling, stay upright and have fun. Somewhere around mile 20ish, I saw a dead deer on the side of the row. Don't focus, keep pedaling. Further down the road, I thought there were crows. No, there were a million buzzards! Okay, not a million but they were on a fence waiting for me to fall so they could eat my carcass. #pedalbishpedal

Further down the road, a truck sped past me. I had another "Final Destination" moment. The truck had logs on it. #iykyk

Luckily, highway patrol was very helpful with directing traffic. I was happy that this was the new course and not the old course. If it was the Old course, I think there would have been a lot more accidents due to how technical the old course was in nature. 

Plantations, cornfields,  more plantations, pouring rain and I kept going. I knew that I could make the cutoffs and I didn't have to run. When I saw mile 50, I knew I was home and I had to just keep pushing. I surprisingly wasn't really tired but I didn't want to push it due to the rain and all  of the loose gravel.

When I made it to the dismount line, I was so happy to not topple over.  When I got back to my bike spother, I changed shoes and crossed the finish line.

Time: 4 hours,  14.2 mph

Overall time: 5 hours

After thoughts:

Overall I'm happy with my performance even with all of the everyday stresses that I deal with on a daily basis. If I had did the Olympic Aquabike, I would have placed. I placed overall 10 out of 10 and 4 out of four for women.

I trashed my cycling shoes because there was no saving them anymore. In my defense, I did purchase the shoes for $25 8 years ago. I got my money's worth. Now if anyone can help me on finding a pair of cycling shoes for someone who has a size 12 AAU'S  (double narrow), I would be very, very appreciative. Now if I have to go with another pedal system I will if it is absolutely necessary. This was the first time I went 56 miles without stopping at any aid stations. I had all that I needed nutrition wise. 

The most important thing for me was that I was able to be with my people. I was able to just turn off my brain and just enjoy being with a group of wonderful amazing women and I am so appreciative of that. Until the next adventure.



Monday, January 31, 2022

First "Race" of the Season

 Welcome to Medal Monday! This past Saturday, I did the F^3  Half Marathon. 

So, real feel temperature at the start was 0 degrees, but I was surprisingly okay after I started running. Remember, there is no bad clothing, but bad clothing options. I wanted to see how my training was going for the #UnitedAirlinesNYCHalfMarathon in March.

What really helped me was my $6 mittens from Walgreens and 2 sets of hand warmers. The reason for these is simple. I have very bad Reynauds in my hands primarily. My last long run before taper was supposed to be 12 miles but I aborted the run at 10k because I was soo cold. It wasn't the temperature of 9 degrees but it was more the wind that was affecting me.

*getting ready for the start*

I truly loved the course with the backdrop of the Chicago Skyline as well as being able to see Indiana on the Southern end of the course. The course went from Soldier Field to 63rd Street and back on the Lakefront Path. The path was clear and well salted-one of the things that I love about the City. Now, of course there were at least 5 guys wearing shorts! Not shorts over their running tights, but ACTUAL SHORTS! Umm, it was cold outside folks.

*the beautiful Chicago Skyline from the South

Now one of the things that I did not mention in my Instagram post was the fact that I bonked hard at mile 11. The reason for this is I did the one thing that I also tell my athletes not to do. I did not fuel . Not, I didn't have a gel or a waffle, but I DID NOT FUEL AT ALL from Friday until I returned home after the race. Here's a little quirk about me: When I am very stressed out, I do not eat at all, I work out excessively. The past week had me in a very bad tailspin and I recognize that I have very disordered eating but I seriously just can't eat. So, at mile 11, I got dizzy and I had to walk for a while and then I started back running. I recognize I need to try and get a handle on my stress and some causes of my stress is being addressed this week.

Now, as far as my results, I was fine with my official finish time of 2:59:28 for it being the first race of the season. What I was more impressed with was my heart rate. I stayed primarily in the Green Zone or 70-79% of my max Heart Rate. This week, I'm taking it easy, but I will be back to the grind by next week. Only 6 weeks to go.

*all that green was the F^3 Half Marathon*

That's about it, but if you donate $13.10 for my half marathon efforts (I'm running the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon for Team 2 End AIDS) between now and February 5th, you will be entered into a raffle for 2 Private Pilates Session either in person (if you are local) or remote (via the Zoom). 

*my poor shoes-all that salt

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

When your Workouts/Trainings Go to Sh$t

I always tell my athletes and clients that you will have at least 3 shitty workouts/training sessions. And let me tell you, that includes coaches as well. Right now, it’s January in the Fitness Industry and it’s hard. If I am being honest, sleep has evaded me (thank you Insomnia), and the long days and let’s add in, I’m currently training for 2 half marathons for the first quarter of the year plus other items makes it tough to get a workout in.

What happens when this happens? It's very easy to sit on your ass and binge watch something on Disney+ (thank you Marvel Universe!) or you can go out and use it as a lesson learned. Something similar can happen on race day so embrace it, but within reason. What do I mean by that? Take notice of what is happening with your body, your breathing, your attitude. 

  • If something is not feeling right in your body, I usually tell people to wait after the first mile because the first mile is a liar. If your body is still not feeling right, stop the training. There is no shame in it. Perfect example of this, most people know that I have Reynaud's syndrome really bad in my hands coupled with migraines. Ike, yes, I named my migraine just comes along to my workouts. Now 2 weeks ago, my training plan had 12 miles for my last long run. It did not go well AT ALL! I was dressed appropriately for 9 degrees real feel but my hands were not happy. Although I had on 2 pairs of gloves with the hand warmers in between, my hands were NOT HAPPY. I aborted the run at 10k. Walked over to Starbuck's to get a coffee (really to warm my hands) and took the bus home. Defeated: yes. Discouraged: yes and no. Yes, because my hands were not happy. No, because I've done 11 miles. 

  • If your breathing is off, take a step back and think about breathing in for either 3 or 4 counts and exhaling out for 2 or 3 counts: slow inhale/slow exhale. 
  • Lastly, check your attitude. Your attitude dictates everything from how your body feels to how you perform at work. Now sometimes, your attitude can fuel your workouts. Sometimes, being pissed off can make you have an amazing workout (but then you feel like you are going to die). Again, check yourself, your ego, your attitude.
Just know that you are not alone. Embrace that shitty workout, learn from it and move on. Oh, and shameless plug, yes, I'm fundraising for T2EA (Team 2 End AIDS). Want to chip in a dollar or $13.10 for the F^3 Half Marathon that I'm running this Saturday? Here's the link:

Monday, January 10, 2022

Welcome to 2022!

Okay, I know we are now 10 days into the New Year, but Happy New Year anyway. January happens to be a very stressful and busy month for me that sets the tone for the rest of the year. So, what do I have on the horizon?

I have the following:

  • F^3 Half Marathon: January 29th in Chicago
    • Yeah, it may be -20 or it may be 40 degrees. I'm just going to go for it and see how everything goes.
  • United Airlines NYC Half Marathon: March 20th in NY
  • Chicago Half Marathon: September 25th in Chicago
    • Although it is technically a work day for me, I'm always trying to help anyone and everyone who needs my help to get to the finish line.
  • Bank of America Chicago Marathon: October 9th in Chicago
    • Another work day for me but I need to decided if I will cross the finish line or bail out after going back and forth on the course to help my athletes and anyone else who needs help.
  • New York City Marathon: November 6th  in New York
    • This has been the one race that I have always wanted to do and I will be doing it running/representing T2EA (Team 2 End AIDS or #ganginred). The goal is to smile and have fun.
Now I have some other races that are in the works:
  • Chattanooga 70.3: The return of #theBeez and #theFro adventures.
  • Rev3 Williamsburg Sprint and 70.3: I wasn't able to do the sprint last year due to airline issues but I will do the double.
Unknowns and possibilities:
  • USAT MultiSport Festival in Irving, TX: Aquathlon only
  • ITU Worlds for Aquathlon: Ibiza (date unknown)
We will see how the landscape plays out. But until then, check out some of the awesome photos from my TrainingPeaks Ambassador photoshoot by @snowymountainphotography.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Return to racing: Chicago Half Marathon 2021

This past Sunday, I participated in the Hoka Chicago Half Marathon. Per usual, I usual finish around the 3 hour mark as I double back on the course to help runners from the charity that I coach for - Team to End AIDS or any other runner who needs encouragement. It has been 2 years since this race has been put on due to the pandemic. When we participated in this race 2 years ago, it was pouring rain (if it's raining, we're training/racing). This time around, the weather was actually pleasant, delightful. So let's get into the intricacies and things to know about this race if you are interested in doing it in the future.

Packet Pickup:

The packet pick-up venue has changed over the years from the very first year that I did this race. The venue was in the West Loop which was very accessible to the Green and Pink CTA lines or via Divvy Bike. If you didn't want to pick up your packet on Friday or Saturday, you had the option of paying $40 extra to pick it up on race day. I would suggest going to the expo. You never know what may happen on race day. I was in and out of the expo in less than 10 minutes (world record) but it was a small expo and I didn't need to purchase anything. One of the things to note is that parking is at a premium in Jackson Park on Chicago's South Side and with the Uber and Lyft high prices, it's preferred to take advantage of the free shuttle buses (school buses) from either Belmont Station or Millenium Station. The only bad part is that you have to leave so early in the morning but you get to the race without having to deal with parking or the price of an Uber or Lyft.

Race Morning:

I got up early (3am) to get ready and to hop on the "L" to get to the Belmont Station to catch the shuttle. Luckily, the shuttles were there and ready for boarding. I saw some of my athletes and ended up sitting in the back. Now, if you are part of #teamtall, the seats are not meant for you. During the ride, we had an interesting mix of music from Lite FM including, Air Supply, The Bangles and Whitney Houston.

Once we hit our final destination, it was a nice 10-15 minute walk in the dark to the team tent where we could eat breakfast, have coffee and just get ready to race. 

Right before we took off for the corrals, we had our team photo. *note: Shameless plug for my T2 fundraiser

The course:

The course changed slightly from 2019 due to the construction of the Obama Library. We headed North on LSD from 63rd to 31st Street and this is where it got a little congested/a little tricky. 

We ended up migrating onto the Lakefront Path heading towards the South end of McCormick Place, heading under McCormick (very dark especially if you were wearing sunglasses) for a short stint and turning around to head back South on the bus causeway before we reconnected onto the Lakefront Path back to 31st street, going over and coming back onto LSD on the Southbound lanes. 

At Mile 12, I decided to do my double back on the course motivating and helping my fellow runners who needed that extra motivating. I ended up running literally into one of my athletes, Kali and I ran in with her. All in all, it was a great race with great weather and great friends. This is the perfect race to do if you are doing the Chicago Marathon since it falls perfectly with the training plan. Also, this is one of the few races where you get a medal as big as your head.

Monday, January 4, 2021

2021 and what I learned from 2020

Welcome to the first Monday of 2021. Normally, this would be the time of year when gyms are busting at the seams with #newyearrevolutionaries and those returning to fitness after a short or long break. Not this time. We are still in a Covid-19 world and fitness centers across the country are either at limited capacity or shut down completely. In 2020, we had to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Some of us learned new technologies to reach current and new participants.

For me, with races being cancelled, training was not. I rode a lot of miles on the trainer. I ran a lot of miles. I did a lot of dryland strength training (no pools/no open water swimming). 

2020 Totals:

1. 1151.5 miles of running (the run streak continues)

2. 2881.3 miles of cycling 

3. 181,146 yard or 102 miles of swimming

I was interviewed on 3 different Podcasts. I faced my fear of biking outdoors and started to actively bike commute once our facility reopened. I may have been doored (5 times), cussed out by motorists, had bottles thrown at me (twice), flipped over the handlebars of a Divvy Bike (in slow motion) and rode like I was in the Tour de France (more than a handful of times). My bike handling skills greatly improved. My anxiety of riding in traffic eased up. I rode in oppressive heat, unrelenting winds, pouring rain, snow, 19 degrees (not fun), early morning and late at night. I learned that I’m a better biker than I thought. It was years of others telling me that I was not good enough that got in my head. Not anymore, albeit there is still some anxiety, doubt and fear in the back of my head.

So that brings us to 2021.

• I'm a brand ambassador for @TrainingPeaks, @nuunhydration,  @fuerzacoffee, @blueseventy,  @honeystinger,  @coeursports

● I am approaching 250 days of running in a row. I’m continuing with 5 Zoom Pilates Classes until in person classes return. Although I think I will continue to keep 3 classes going.

● I will be presenting at a conference (virtually).Hopefully, this will lead to more opportunities.

● #TeaserTuesday and #WundaChairWednesday posts will continue. Some other things are in the pipeline which will be announced later on.

● Race wise, I only have technically 3 races in 2021: Rev3 Williamsburg Sprint and 70.3 distance in June, ITU World Championships in Aquathlon in September and the Chicago Marathon (it’s really a work day) in October.

So, that is it for now. Here’s to a great start to 2021!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

200 DAYS...of running

This morning marked a milestone for me. I have made it 200 straight days of running. Some days were just a mile and other days were 13.1. Total runs actually are 236 and counting. When I set out on my #runstreak back on May 1st, I was looking to only go through the #chimarathon.

When that became clear it was not going to happen, nor would any of my races or events, I decided to keep going because as my hashtag has been since the world stopped due to Covid-19, #trainingisnotcancelled.

So why do a #runstreak? It was something to keep myself accountable. It is something that kept my stress and anxiety levels down. It is something that helps me clear my mind and either just zone out or think of ideas/solutions.

Since I have hit the 200 day mark, I have run a total of 924.2 miles. Last year, my #runstreak started a month later (June 1st) and at the end (October 13th), I ended with 525.14 miles. That’s a huge increase but remember, I started a month early and I was doing some (okay, a LOT) of virtual challenges. But, another item I realized is that today also marks my #ironversary, the day I crossed #IMAZ 7 years ago. 

Some people have been wondering will I return to the full Iron distance and the answer is yes. Not in 2021 unless something magically happens, but definitely in 2022.

Now when will my #runstreak end? You just have to find out.