Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Just over a year after I moved to Arizona from Washington I started training for my first marathon where I met Shane.  Just a few shorts months after dating Shane was staring to look for a new house and wanted my input in the hopes that sometime in the future I would want to make it my home as well.  This process went pretty much how every other big decision in our lives has gone.  4 months into our relationship, training for a marathon, working full time and raising a crazy (vizsla) puppy we were remodeling and moving into our house.  I figured if a 4 month old relationship could survive the stress of all that, we were golden....

I truly believed our Scottsdale home would be our forever home. We've shed tears of joy, tears of sadness. Raised puppies, started multiple business. Dinner parties and post race parties. Sunday Fundays and lazy hangovers. When my parents moved to Arizona for a few years, my mom lived with us for a few months while my dad closed up and sold the only other home I had known in Spokane. We've remodeled the pool adding a fun little table and stools for cocktails. The bathrooms were completely gutted a few years ago so I could have a nice walk in closet and get rid of the 1985 vanities. We ended up blowing our kitchen budget on the bathrooms then started with these grand ideas that we would tear down walls and build a huge great room so the project just kept getting pushed out.

I digress...  In 2009 we spent our first "summer" in CDA. This place was my summer playground growing up. My mom took me as a kid spending all day long on the beach and when I was old enough to drive my friends and I would do the same. We did our first Ironman CDA in 07, then back in 08. We found a realtor in 09 and started looking at properties knowing our dream was to own a summer home there. It took 2 more years of paying WAY too much money for our 4 month stays, looking at dozens and dozens of homes and when we sold our home in Mexico we took the plunge and bought our little summer bungalow. I was the first person to preview the home when it went on the market. Shane was still working in California, but we made an offer sight unseen (for him).  Another offer came in at the same time and we were asked for our best and final and we wrote a letter to describe how much this house meant to us.

We spent two summers in the house making it ours.  We bought it furnished, but we slowly started adding our own decor. Shane spent every day working on the yard, and last summer he and my dad busted their asses in the record summer heat building our new patio cover and backyard pavers. We rode our bikes weekly to our favorite sushi restaurant where we don't even have to tell them our order anymore. After Ironman this year we went on "social" sightseeing bike rides and I started to get this feeling in my heart that this could be home. Shane has always felt this way, but he also spent two years away from Arizona working in California while I grasped on tightly to my friends which became my saving grace and my family while he was gone.

I started obsessing on and realizing that getting this lake view I've always dreamed of wasn't really out of reach...  As we sat on the floating restaurant for Shane's birthday last fall I am pretty sure I gave him the biggest surprise and present he could ask for.  I told him my revelation about being able to move our lives to CDA in the future.

We talked about a couple year plan to make the move. We would put a little time and money into our Scottsdale house to "update" the kitchen without the big renovation project so that we could enjoy it until we made the move. A fresh coat of paint and plenty of time to go through all the things you collect over 16 years of living in the same place. We started narrowing down the areas we would want to live in and the musts: massive lake view, 2 offices, yard for the dogs, a spare room for the bikes and trainers and a new treadmill, a guest suite for the BFFS.

Shortly after we returned for the summer we sat down over wine and told the BFFs.  It went about as planned. Tears and anger and denial. We didn't share our news with anyone else, because what was the point if it wasn't happening any time soon? We started the process for the kitchen which included a complete demo before we left for the holidays in CDA. We looked at about 10 homes to narrow down the search area, and in typical LaPan fashion we actually found "the one."

The house is about 20' from downtown on the opposite side of the lake (from downtown). The views go on for days and it has more room than we could ever need.

The asking price was reasonable, but the inside of the house was not. If I'm moving away from my home, my life, my friends I'm getting my dream house. A kitchen with all the space I need. A great room for entertaining. Nice, clean, fresh new look. We decided to take a change and throw out a crazy crazy low offer that would give us the budget to renovate. In a shocking twist, just days after we got back from the holidays we were under contract with a 90day closing for the new house. Shane flew up for the inspection, to get the downtown house ready to list and to meet with potential contractors. I stayed home trying to jump start the Ironman training and start the process of going through the house.

Our bungalow hit the market and had a cash offer just hours later and we've been busting our asses to get the Scottsdale house ready to list while trying to work and train at the same time. To say our stress levels and my OCD have reached their limits is quite the understatement. Tears have been shed, sleep has been missed, but I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Our house will hit the market mid next week, and our tentative plan is for Shane and the dogs to move to Idaho when the new home closes at the beginning of April, and I will stay in Arizona until the renovations and Ironman Santa Rosa are finished. There are a lot of unknowns and details to be hashed out (you know, like where will I live?!?!), but we're just taking it day by day and trying to hold our shit together.  One of us doing better than the other....

I know that soon the stress level and sadness of what we are leaving behind in Arizona will be over come with excitement and this new chapter in our lives will flourish with more adventure and happiness, but for now it's bitter sweet. I know that part of me is returning "home," but a big part of me is also leaving my home. The home I've made over the past 18 years where I've grown up, I've chosen a path in life, a job with a passion and friends that will never be replaced.

So rather than bask in the sadness of leaving, I'm trying to focus on the new memories to be made.  The many trips back for sunshine and laughter with my besties and thankful for all that the past 18 years in Arizona has brought to my life.

{if anyone knows of a north scottsdale casita available for rent, please let me know!}

Friday, November 3, 2017

IMCDA #7 -- The Sunset Year

It's been two months since Ironman CDA. The last Ironman CDA. It was a late registration for me.  After a couple stressful and busy years, I wasn't sure if I wanted to tackle another long event or take the year off. But, as per usual, as the training progressed so did my desire to race. About a week after I finally pulled the trigger and registered, the rumors started going around about it being the last year for the event in my favorite town. Denial at it's best, I didn't believe it. They still had another year on the contract so surely they would honor that....

Turns out, choosing to race this year is something I'll forever be thankful for. Being able to run down the finish line on Sherman for the last time is truly a blessing. There are a lot of things that made this year so special. I had 3 athletes racing that day, my BFFs in town cheering all day with Shane and what I felt like was a million people rooting for me.

Earlier in the year I set a goal of getting on the podium. Being my 7th year at this race, I felt like I needed to put it out there to entice myself to work a little harder.  Go to the pool when I didn't want to. I know what it takes to be top in the age group, and I know the time and commitment it takes to get to Kona, so that was not the goal (although would have been a nice bonus!), but I wanted to finally stand on that podium in City Beach Park!

About 6 weeks out from the race I was outside hanging laundry to dry and my back went into a complete spasm. I couldn't straighten my back or get comfortable for days. Without my go to ART guy I didn't know what to do. I got 2 massage that week which helped me at least gain some mobility back and I somehow made it through the training. Every minute was painful, but I'm stubborn and couldn't fathom the thought of missing some of the longest workouts. Not something I would ever recommend to one of my own athletes, but sometimes we are all our own worst enemy.

I finally found a chiropractor that would see me without going through a million tests and xrays, etc. He took one looking at me and could tell I was way out of whack. My pelvis was rotated and my right side was 1/2 inch shorter than the other leg. I spent the next 6 weeks doing 2-3 visits a week and finally after about the 3rd week I had relief.... There were many times I wondered if I'd even be able to get through the race, particularly the bike as my right QL would seize up when climbing, but somehow the therapy and at home work I was doing worked and I went into race day feeling GREAT!

Race week was awesome. I had some quiet solo workouts where I took a few moments to visualize and remember how LUCKY I am to GET to do this. I also had some fun and laughter with friends. I spent time reading the book, "How Bad do you want it," early nights in bed and focused on hydration.

One cool thing we do at TeamBSC is ask for post race reflections.  I love looking back at my notes:

~Expectations going in:
My expectations going in were to have a strong bike and run.  
* My swim has felt the least pep and when my back went out it was THE most painful.  I could feel it pushing off the wall all the way into race week.  
* I felt like I've worked really hard on the bike and was determined (weather permitting) to PR this bike course.  I know I'm capable of riding like a 5:50-6 on this course with good weather because I have calculated my efforts on the highway out an back in training.
*  My run hasn't felt great this summer, but in the last 2 weeks I dropped a few more lbs (not intentional, my body just lost all the water weight and swelling + clean eats during taper) got down to wear I was several years ago and just felt FLUID.  Was hopeful I could run 8:45-8:50s until the end where I'd need to walk thru the aid stations and put me over 9' pace.

~How it all went- include pacing and fueling/hydration:
* The swim went better than expected!  I swam side by side Courtney the entire first loop which I think kept me engaged.  I got out a few second before her and I think the excitement of seeing everyone really got my HR up because by the first buoy on the second turn I was out of breath.  I saw Courtney swim up next to me so I stayed with her for a bit, but was working too hard so I pulled behind her and drafted for like 400 yards.  It was JUST what I needed.  It was weird because swimming in her draft made it so easy I was losing form, but it gave me a little break so I just went with it.  On the final turn a couple girls cut across me and got on her feet so I just swam next to her using her to push me.  Turns out she was annoyed by the girls so swam REALLY hard, hence why I had probably the most evenly split lap 2 ever at this. My time was like 9" slower than my best ever here so I'll take it! -- swim time 1:06 and change, 2nd AG

* Onto the bike my legs felt so fresh, I took it really easy to get my HR down from the swim on the first out and back (I wore my fenix the whole race, and when I got out on the bike it showed HR which said 161 and freaked me out so I flipped that screen off and never looked at it again).  I started my nutrition at like 15' in and just kept stuffing my face the whole ride.  I don't have a TON to say about the bike, other than I had NO pep.  My legs weren't tired AT ALL, but my power was low, and I felt like PE was too high to get the watts up (breathing) which was ODD.  I was frustrated that I wasn't hitting my target, but I didn't feel like I could go any harder.  ON loop 2 I got passed by Laura Yost.  She was FLYING. I tried to use her (and did) for a bit, but she was too far ahead.  Then, a little bit later is when Caila passed me, but I repassed her and it made me focus on pushing harder.  I passed another girl in my AG and just kept trying to hold steady.

I just cleaned out my bento to count calories:  1715 calories.  4 NBS 2 with Amino and lots of water off course.  4 tylenol (felt crampy, pms early) and 8 e21. -- bike time 6:06 and change, 5th AG (split), course PR

* Run:  Felt ok coming out of T-2. I had downed some pre-load which tasted awesome and headed out.  Cailla passed me within the first mile so I just tried to get into my rhythm.  I just had no speed.  9:30s is where I wanted to run but I kept trying to push it down and nothing happened.  Super frustrating I just stopped looking at my watch and ran.  I had my own bottle so just grabbed water at the aid stations as it was at least 90deg out.  I had a headache which is odd for me considering how much I ate, drank & e21 so I grabbed some BASE salt and started taking licks of that every few miles and it went away.  Again, my legs still felt great.... did a gel every 3.5-4 miles (6 total) and started coke as I needed the caffeine around mile 18.  It tasted SO good.  That's when the pace went more like 9:40-10 because I'd walk thru the aid stations to get that adding 20 or so seconds. -- Run Time 4:11 and change, not fastest, 7th AG (split)

I had one million emotions over this run wondering if I was going to get that podium.  When I saw the other girls on the last out and back I thought maybe I could catch Rossolimo, but then Lindsay told me she dropped out and I was so confused so I just dug as hard as I could to get to that finish line.  Holding back tears the last 2 miles and just lots my shit at the finish line until I told Shane Rossolimo had pants on and he was like fuck she just finished.. My heart BROKE.  

I felt ok after the race, but then about 30' later while waiting for Courtney I started to feel the drunk spins.  I waiting for her then had to get to the shade and lay down.  I finally got up and was like I have to get home and eat.  I barely made it one block and barfed for like 5' (all liquid) in a garbage can on Sherman (classy!).  It made me feel like a new person and was totally fine after that.  Got home, had toast and chips and showered and back down to the race.

~What you were thinking/feeling during the race
Saddness it was my last time, frustrated that I had NO UMPH but also strong.  My legs never felt tired until the VERY end.
~Things you really did well
Didn't give up and fought on that second loop of the bike when I started getting passed.  Fuel and hydration was SPOT on.
~Things you would change if you could do it again
I'm not sure if there is anything I would change.  I couldn't have gone any faster on that day, but I also know I was prepared to go faster.  It wasn't lack of not trying, it was like I was stoned.
~Thoughts about how you want to move forward.  

I want to get my run speed back. I haven't had it for a couple years and it's frustrating. Continue to grow on the bike so I can be closer to those top AG girls.  Will definitely add a bike weekend in Tucson before Santa Rosa!  I need to get some strength back, but have to be careful with my back. 

That night I didn't sleep a wink. Pretty normal for me, but this time I just laid there with my laptop refreshing the results. I was showing 5th place AG, but I didn't understand what had happened to the above mentioned athlete who was leading the race all day until the run. I replayed the live feed and saw that she did in fact cross the finish line, but her chip and race bib were off. I just couldn't understand why? Still nervous, I showered, put on a "podium dress" and headed down to the awards.  They asked everyone to go line up together so the awards would go quickly, however, I just couldn't bring myself to go over there. I needed to hear my name called before I could relax and celebrate. 

I can't explain the relief when they called my name. My Hr was probably 160 and I was overwhelmed with joy. The last chance I had to get on this podium and it actually happened.  I chatted with the gals in my AG after (all amazingly talented and incredibly nice women) asking what had happened and they all said that "she" had not finished? I still don't know what had happened, but I have seen her name pop up on other races, including a win at a most recent IM.

While the race didn't go exactly as I planned, I fought and somehow managed to get my goal. I controlled what I could (my nutrition, my attitude, my fight) and problem solved the things I couldn't (my early PMS, my feeling of blah). A bitter, bitter sweet ending to this amazing little race. I really hope that someday it comes back.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

IMCDA 70.3

CDA 70.3 has turned into one of my favorite races (shocker) and as long as my body stays healthy I can see it being on my schedule every year. {especially now that the full is going away - big fat thumbs down}

This year it was made extra fun as my training buddy signed up to do it making it his official return from his temporary retirement.  It was fun to have someone for pretty much all my long rides, some of my pool swims and some of my runs!  

We arrived in CDA Memorial Day weekend. It was GORGEOUS for a few days, then temps cooled off and some storms came in so the first couple weekends of training were pretty darn cold. We also got in the lake for the first time at the beginning of June and to both of our surprise it wasn't freezing! We swam 45' and were both really comfortable.  6 days later after a cold front we got in for another ows and I lasted 25'. I couldn't keep my pull as my arms were getting stiff and my feet were super cold.  Nervous, but trying to get acclimated, we went back in the following week. I found my neoprene cap circa 2007 IMCDA and it really helped. Shane, however, was chilled to the bone, couldn't stay on my feet and we called it after 20'.

The race was a week later and after telling everyone I knew to be prepared to freeze, I headed down to the lake on Friday when I picked up my race packet and was PLEASANTLY surprised how much it had warmed up! We'd had some temps in the 90s and the water definitely reacted! 

Friday was probably the busiest day. Thankfully, my work was slow so I got to down and register right away, meet one of my new athletes who came into town to work the expo (she's FUN!) and swim.  I was PLEASANTLY surprised how much it had warmed up! We'd had some temps in the 90s and the water definitely reacted. While my AWA perk got me in and out quickly, Shane's 3 year retirement lost his status so we waited for him for another hour plus. I didn't realize it until I got back home but in the short couple hours I was down there I got sunburned. Guess my AZ base tan is all gone (my skin thanks me).

We had a pretty quiet night. I got my race wheels installed and shane helped me adjust the breaks. First time ever not having to go to the bike shop to have this done!  

{I'd say the shifting was about 95% perfect, but I'll save the pre IM tune up for the experts!}

Sunday was toasty so we got our short bike and run done early, then headed down to check our bikes in so we could get back home and feet up! My body has a really hard time regulating water. When I get even slightly dehydrated it will hold on to all my fluids for a couple days. That morning it was letting go of everything, but then perhaps the short workout and walk down to the expo I got slightly dehydrated again? I was drinking NBS and some new aminos from Base I got trying to top off all my stores. We made an early dinner (my go to is quinoa pasta, red sauce with tons of veggies) finished off with chocolate CAKE {Safeway cake FTW!} and were in bed by 8:30pm.

Our alarm went off at 3:45. We had to get the dogs out, played with, fed, eat, body marked (I always do this at home!) and leave the house by 4:30. It's about a 10' walk to transition and when we got there my middle of the night thought that I placed my bike on the wrong rack was confirmed 

{ right before we left to drop off our bikes I was checking on an athlete who was racing that day.  when I got back to the house I was looking through the local paper that had all our names and race bibs and noticed mine looked DIFFERENT.  I instantly thought... I think I racked my bike on my athletes number... There wasn't anything I could do about it, figured if it was wrong they would just move it....} 

The good news was my actual transition area was even better! We were told no bags on the perimeter of transition so setting up was pretty clean and easy. The one different thing I had this year was my speed top I'd be cycling and running in. It has 3/4 sleeves and I didn't want to wear it with my wetsuit so I draped it over my bike to put on in T1.

Shane & I headed away from our bikes and to the lake to put on our wetsuits with plenty of time. We split a package of chews and walked to the beach for a quick warmup then worked our way up to the 30' group and before we knew it it was time to go!

I know many hate the rolling starts, but I LOVE it. No stress, you can actually swim vs fight and for the most part, people are honest about their abilities and start groups. The first part of the swim I got stuck. I was frustrated as I had people on both sides and in front of me and no one was swimming my pace. I finally pulled back to get on the inside of them then hugged the inside of the buoy line until the turns with nearly perfectly clean open water! It was AWESOME. I didn't have a feel for my time, and while I felt like I was swimming strong and straight I knew I lost a bit of time in the beginning. I peaked at my watch for a second when I got out of the water and saw 32:xx and was a little bummed as last year I was 31:xx. If I've learned nothing else about the swim portion of a race it's that times do NOT reflect how you swim, but mores so how you compare to your competition so I don't let it get to me anymore.

Swim:  32:56

I fumbled a bit in T-1 getting my socks on.. I don't know what my deal was but I finally just sat down and put them on, speed top on, helmet and off I went.

I like to assess how I'm feeling in the first few miles. A lot of times cooler temps will fire up my asthma so my lungs will be burning and my legs feel like lead, but today everything just felt good. No need for my inhaler, and I didn't need those first few miles to get my legs. This was a really cool thing for me as I didn't feel much tapered that week and legs were HEAVY.

Within the first 2' on the bike my friend in the AG passed me. It was like she was riding for her life. I knew she was strong, and I knew she would pass me, but I didn't expect it to be so soon and I didn't expect to lose sight of her instantly. I looked down at my power and was riding about 10w above my plan, but I had a little plan in the back of my head that if I FELT good on the bike I was going to push it a bit. My run hasn't been awesome lately.  I spent 6 months training and running a couple of marathons and my top end (half or better) speed was just not there. I wanted to see what would happen if I biked just a tad harder. Would it really affect my run?

Since I've had the advantage of training and racing on the course over the years, in all different weather scenarios, I knew about how long it should take me to get to the turnaround. The first out and back was super quick! I felt really strong and watts were solid and as I was almost to the highway I saw a local (AZ) athlete and TriScottsdale teammate whom I'd never met, but knew of her, so we introduced ourself and played back and forth for a bit which was fun. The climbs started and I felt stronger than I have on the bike in months! I was having so much fun, but really had to go pee! I was able to let it go on the first descent and had instant relief. I was nearing the turnaround and saw Shane (who passed me about 5 miles into the bike) hadn't gained too much time on me so I was excited that I was riding pretty solid)! I checked my watch at the turnaround and realized if I could return in about what I expected I'd have almost a 10' PR over last years bike time. I did notice we'd had a slight tailwind so that slowed me down a bit, had another coasting opportunity to pee and had to slow through an aid station for water. I got back into transition about 5' quicker than last year!

Bike:  2:49:56  
Nutrition: 1 bottle of NBS, 1 bottle of NBS + Base Amino, 1 bottle of water (almost), 4 salty balls @125c each, 1pkg Skratch chews @160c 1/2 pkg Gu Chomps @80c, 1 gel @100 & 4xE21 for a total of 860calories ( I was hungry!) 

T2 was quick (as usual).  I have a quick shoe change, grab my visor, belt and pre-made bottle with gels.  A quick assessment and I felt "ok" - I planned to start out at about 8:20 and see if I could drop it from there.  I've trained on the course a ton and know that my garmin pace is ALWAYS off. There are certain neighborhoods where my garmin will go from like an 8:45 to an 11' pace for a bit. It's maddening for a data junky like me, but at least I was prepared. I was pleasantly surprised when I hit the first mile marker around 8:15 where my watch had me at 8:40 pace. I just manually hit lap when I saw those markers for my own sanity.  

The run was OK. I never felt awesome, but I was having fun. The new course is super spectator friendly as two out and back loops.  Plus you get to see other racers a ton. It was getting warm, but my speed top was amazing. I would dump water on my sleeves at the aid stations and stayed really nice and cool. I carried my own NBS/Amino bottle, but for some reason it was driving me absolutely bonkers. It felt SO heavy. I got about half of it down, and tossed it to the local tri-club tent as I headed back for the second loop. It was like instant relief. I felt so much better, not faster, but certainly not slowing much either. I took my gels at 3.5, 7 & 10.5 and had steady energy the whole run.  I honestly felt like I could have run 10 more miles at that pace, yet I didn't have any other speed. Not the best feeling when racing a 70.3, but not the worst with a full on the horizon. I finished with a smile, running down Sherman (there is truly, nothing like it!) and Shane was there waiting for me! It's been a long time since we've raced together so this was a lot of fun! He had smoked his run so we were both happy!

Run: 1:51:07 for a total finish of 5:20:04.  A couple minutes faster than last year, but the run and swim both a bit slower.  

Overall it was a "good" race. I gained a bit more bike confidence, but frustrated with the run. 70.3 is not my favorite distance as I just can't compete. I need more real estate! I don't have one specialty that gives me an edge over my competition, but I'm steady across all 3. My best races have been where I get off the bike with a bit of a deficit (but not too much) and run a steady, well paced run. A lot of girls over-bike then fade a bit (when conditions are tough!) and I seem to be able to just run my race at my pace. I've learned to FUEL on the bike to set my run up pretty well! 

IMCDA {the sunset race} is in just over 7 weeks and I'm on a big build. I'm TIRED, but my body is holding up pretty well so I'm getting pretty excited to do my favorite course this last time.... 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

IMCDA 07-17'

I planned on signing up for my first Ironman after I successfully completed my first 70.3 in 06 (one year to the day post IT band surgery). I was thinking in 2008 when I would be turning 30 at the end of the year, but some friends convinced me, why wait?!  So,I caved an signed up a year early!

We had a group of 7 of us racing, 5 first timers.  I chose CDA as it felt like "home" to me. Growing up in Spokane we spent the summer going to the lake as much as possible. I figured if I was going to swim that far in open water, it needed to be at a lake I loved and felt comfortable in.

I had no goals going into the race other than to finish! The bike was my favorite part. The old bike course was stunning looping around Hayden Lake with treelined streets, views for days and rolling farmland. The run course was challenging. 2 loops, 2 out and backs. The first out and back was along the lake towards the river. This is where my childhood memories were! Next you went back through transition through the Sanders Beach neighborhood full of partying locals in their yards cheering then outalong the other side of the lake where the infamous Bennet Bay hill climb was the end of the out and back. The swim in 07 was the most challenging. It was so choppy they actually gave athletes an opt out of the swim. If you chose to not do the swim, or end it early you could wait until the 2:20 cutoff time and continue the course. Not an official Ironman finisher, however, you were given the ability to complete the bike and run. Nothing beats the memory of heading down the finish shoot of your first Ironman ;)

Still on a race high, I signed up the next day for 2008. Not much changed that year. I learned to train a bit smarter, and with more experience. Another crazy year with the swim where the water was SO cold. I had trouble taking in fuel and finished just a bit faster than the previous year....

In 09 we rented a house for 8 weeks in CDA, but we didn't race. Shane had just sold his company and was furiously working (in circles) to get something new started. We spent the (early) evenings having happy hour on the patio and enjoying the weather and a few gained lbs, lol.  2010 we headed to Ironman Canada, but in 2011 we decided to come back (well I did). I had hired Michelle that year and was seeing new gains in my training like never before!  I was PR'd my 70.3 running ~1:50 OTB for the first time and had really high hopes for this race!

The weather was near perfect that year for Ironman. Sunny, low winds and 60-75degs. Unfortunately the water was barely 50degrees. I didn't realize it then, but remembering back to 2008 when the cold water shut my system down unable to take in calories, the same thing was happening again to me.  I had a 7' course swim PR, ~30' course bike PR (and still my fastest in CDA) and 30' run PR, but I ended the race disappointed. I was unable to get down my nutrition and did the whole race on about 1k calories. I was so bonked to start the run I started dry heaving. With some tough love from Shane, I puked and rallied and got through the day just shy of 12hrs.  I swore I was done with this race for a while.... All fun after though as we got to hang out with Michelle for the first time at our post race party!

A group of us from AZ decided to head back to CDA to race in 2014. The bike course had changed completely eliminating the gorgeous hills of Hayden and moved out to highway 95. We had rented a house for the whole summer so I was able to get out on the course to train. The course seemed much less technical, climbs not as steep, but the elements are what changed as we were now exposed to sun and wind for nearly 40 miles of each loop.

Speaking of elements, this year brought the most epic wind I had ever raced in (up to that point). I was getting to check points 10-15' SLOWER than in my training. I'm a pretty confident rider, but boy was the wind whipping me around!  I've never been so happy to be off the bike and onto the run in my life. I had nailed my nutrition on the bike (control what you CAN - 1800 calories for the win!) and started settling into my run pace, clicking off the miles and feeling bulletproof. This was my strongest finish and fastest IM marathon to date (3:52!). I missed the podium by just one spot finishing 6th, but on cloud 9 as I executed my perfect race on this course (finally!)

We rented another house for 2015 and I decided "why not,"  when in Rome.....  Arriving in CDA at the beginning of June temps were unusually warm. Typical PNW weather can change in an instant, but this time it didn't.  All of June was 80-95degrees. Growing up in the area I don't remember this EVER happening. The water was warmer than ever, and I was actually swimming in a sleeveless wetsuit.  Race week temps were almost comical. The race day forecast was changing between 98 and 110 at the peak.  I didn't believe it, but started to prep myself and the 5 athletes I was coaching for this race for the conditions. We made plans for extra hydration and electrolytes. Backed off pacing strategies. Purchased cooling towels for the run and placed extra sodium replacements in transition.

I made stops on the bike at multiple aid stations to replace my fluids. I dialed back my effort and watched as people were starting to crumble. On my way back into town for T-2 I saw people sitting on the shoulder of the highway seeking any square inch of shade. People walking their bikes up hills (these aren't short steep hills, think 1-3 mile long 3-5% grade climbs). It was devastating to watch.

As I started my run "I pulled back my pace by 1' per mile" to assess how my body would handle the heat.  I made a porta potty stop at mile 1, and then after that something clicked and I just started plugging away not too far off my goal pace. I ran 8:50-9' pace, but stopped at every single aid station to get water for my body, ice for my top. I carried my own bottle of hydration and refilled as necessary.  I had a cooling town that I kept wet. I went through every single hose/sprinkler offered and did whatever it took to stay wet and cool). I passed several people in my age group that had flown by me on the bike, and finished with the 3rd fastest run split in my AG. I had hoped for a podium at this race, but too many gains were made on the bike from me and I finished in 7th.

In the fall of 2015 we purchased a summer home in CDA. A long time dream of ours come true!  I decided to give IMCDA another go for 2016. The race had moved to August, so I was curious to see how the conditions would differ. Truth be told this wasn't my smartest idea. After the loss of my two dogs and a job gone to hell I was on the verge of burnout. My workouts weren't as quality and my recovery was not a priority. It was once again another year of adventure on the bike course with winds worse than 2014. I've never truly been scared on my bike until that day, but there were times I was legit scared I was going to be blown over. I had the BFF racing who's biggest fear is wind on the bike so my mind was able to transfer to her in hopes she would be able to get through the day. Nothing too amazing to report about this day, I gave what I had and the result was what I deserved.  I once again, retired from this race and venue (bahaha!).

With my job status pending, I didn't want to commit to another full Ironman if I didn't have the time and energy to put my all into it. Finally, in May my new job became effective and official. My stress levels decreased and my ambition to train again came back. Because I had spent the winter running and training for marathons I had a lot of work to do to get my bike back. I was toying with the idea of racing IMCanada (Whistler), but then as the weeks flew by I wasn't sure I wanted to make the 9hr drive for the race and started on a fall back plan of IMCDA. I realized I wanted the extra 4 weeks to get ready so at the end of May I made up my mind to sign up. We headed to Idaho Memorial Day weekend for the summer and have now been here for 2 weeks. Last weekend while heading out for a training swim a local news reporter was interviewing some athletes to get their thoughts on the rumor that the full distance would be going away after this year's event. I was stunned as I thought the contract was through 2018. As rumored, the official announcement came out last night that this will in fact be the last run of IMCDA. My heart sank as I read the article. This is such a special town and community. The venue is like no other. Yes, the course is challenging, but it's really the elements that make and set the tone of the day. As athletes we train our bodies to go the distance. We learn how to pace, how to fuel ourselves, but not every day is perfect. Storms and and heat and rain, these are things that we can not control, but what we can control is how we handle them. We train ourselves to problem solve, to adjust to what gets thrown at us on race day, not fold.

I'm so thankful that I get the opportunity to race this last run of Ironman Coeur d'Alene.  The race is 11.5 weeks away and still open, so if any of you are out there and have a solid base fitness and want to take on this challenge with me, I would love nothing more than to help you get there!  Please reach out to me with any questions or if you are looking for help preparing to race and participate in one of the most gorgeous and epic Ironman venues.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bat Cap Challenge!

A few weeks ago Michelle threw out the idea of ordering our famous bat caps. She had these made about 5 years ago, and they were handed out at her choosing to athletes that did something special, out of their comfort zone. This something didn't have to be a swim (and still doesn't), but I did earn mine in the pool.

Michelle flew out to AZ to train with a few of her local athletes for the first ever BSC camp. She stayed with Shane and I a few days before heading to Tucson to attend Hillary's SmashCamp so Shane & I got some bonus time with her. On our second swim with her, she learned, in person that I could in fact swim, but I must not be pushing myself enough because my times weren't all that impressive.  I don't remember what the swim was, but I remember this picture being taken after because I couldn't even lift my anything. I earned my bat cap that day. Unfortunately it wasn't silicone and didn't last, but in my head I knew I earned it ;)

The caps arrived and Michelle posted something on social media about how they can't be bought and the thread grew with like 200 comments in just a few hours.  One of my newer athletes, who had never even done a 3k set was the first to say she was IN.

The interest was growing, and while I had no desire to spend all week long in the pool, I wanted to lead by example and do the challenge myself.  I like swimming.  I like how my body feels when I'm done.  I like how it flushes the swelling and horrible water retention my body likes to hold onto and I like the weightless feeling. That said, after spending many years working on my swim, my speed has pretty much flatlined over the past few years, an I'm ok with that. I have other fish (bike splits) to fry, and with limited time these days for training spending 2+hrs with getting to the pool, etc doesn't leave time for much else!

I've done two epic swim challenges myself.  We trained for about 2 months to build up to a 10k swim in Kona. Logging about 12-15k/week for several weeks, then the swim itself. I didn't love, but I didn't hate the training, however, I didn't enjoy the 10k swim AT ALL. I was sea sick and dry heaving, and my swim buddy who did a bit less training then I did burned all his matches and struggled after 2hrs in the water which had me floating and swimming through swells making the nausea worse for almost half the swim.

My second challenge was doing 100x100 for my birthday swim a couple years ago.  I was post IMAZ and wanted something to focus on over the holidays. I had a bunch of friends join me for the swim, it took 3 hours, I swam strong and I LOVED every minute of it!

I digress, back to the swim challenge. My challenge was 30k over 7 days. I started it the day after we climbed Mnt Lemmon, so I was worried I'd have lingering fatigue, but the day went well! I took the day off work to catch up on life so it probably helped that I got to start at my chosen time and not feel rushed. Here's a real life recap of how my challenge went with the workout and then my post workout notes to Michelle!

Day 1:  4800
1000 w/u neg split
8 x 50's 25 easy/25 fast w/u set
MAIN SET: 2800
200 FAST @ 3:00!!
300 easy/steady @ 5:30
500 FAST @ 7:45
300 easy/steady @ 5:30
200 FAST @ 3:00!!
300 easy/steady @ 5:30
500 FAST @ 7:45
300 easy/steady @ 5:30
200 FAST @ 3:00!!
500 PBB easy c/d

My post activity notes:
Pleasantly surprised how good I felt!  My low back (both sides QL) are really sore, but not pain like before, just sore muscles.
Endurance wise fine, but the speed just not up to these splits to get any true rest.
I used the buoy for the fast stuff - 200s were 2:54, 2:57, 2:59 -- 500s were 7:35, 7:37.
Added a 100 easy flop to kick my legs out a bit at the end so one less 100 to do tomorrow   

Lindsay also took video of me when I didn't know.  My swim has felt like SHIT lately and masters coaches keep telling me I'm breathing late.  It's been driving me crazy because I can't figure it out.  I needed to see it. 10" of this video and I was MAD.  What happened to my rotation and no wonder my neck has been hurting so bad and I've lost like 5"/100....

I sent the video to both Jane (masters coach) and Michelle and they both gave me feedback.  Day 2 was masters and Jane gave me a tip that really clicked (getting my shoulder down which would force the rotation).  And, I self grounded myself from my buoy.  Too much swimming while exhausted and using the buoy as a crutch somehow made my body forget how to turn and the neck/head compensate.  I'm not rotating so I breathe late with a head turn and lose half my pull.

Day 2, Masters: Planned 3800, Completed 4200
My post activity notes:
Got in 1600 b4 class.  Jane gave me a cple thing to focus on.... dropping shoulder down to help  pop the hip.  I'm hoping it helps! I'll have lindsay do another video next week to see if anything clicks.

Mainset:  6x75 desc by 25s
5x 275 alt fast 100 through then all fast (3:49!) 
25 ez
6x 100. Build

Muscle fatigue, but energy good.

Day 3: 3100 cruise recovery day
1000 straight/easy swim
10x50's @1:00 as alternating 25 easy/25 fast; 25 fast/25 easy. (x4)
5x150's PBB cruise swim form focus 15" rest
5x100's swim no toys cruise form focus 10" rest
5x50's swim cruise form focus 5" rest
100 easy breaststroke

My post activity notes:
You mathed wrong on my challenge!!! Lol, now I'm 600 up.  I am sore today on my neck but really focused on getting my shoulder down to fire rotation... didn't look at the clock at all.

Day 4:  4400
400 swim easy w/u
300 as 25 kick/75 swim
4 x 75 descend 1-4 on 1:20
Main Set 3300
4 x 150 on 2:40
6 x 100 on 1:50
3 x 150 on 2:40
5 x 100 on 1:45
2 x 150 on 2:40
4 x 100 on 1:40
1 x 150 on 2:40
3 x 100 on 1:35
100 easy c/d

My post activity notes:
Slept like a ROCK last night!! I took the warmup stupid easy - didn't feel bad, but didn't feel awesome.  I'm so glad the main set was all short distance it was easier to wrap my head around.  I felt HUNGRY the whole swim even tho I ate a snack en route to the pool.  It wasn't like a bonk, just hunger (and fine when I stopped).

I used paddles for 150s and send off 2:30 vs 2:40
Then did baby descends to make the 100s have purpose or I'd just flop them.  Ranged from 1:35 down to 1:28.

Kept paddles for the last 3 and did 1:23. REALLY working on my rotation and kick.

Day 5: 3700 (this was probably the day I felt the worst!)
800 easy w/u choice
Main Set 1800 (repeat 2x through, 2nd time PBB)
3 x 100 fast @1:40
300 relaxed @5:00
2 x 150 as 50 fast/100 easy @2:30
1000 fartlek as:
100fast/100easy; (then repeat back down)

100 easy for cool down

My post activity notes:
I felt ok in the water, but my speed SUCKED.  My "fast" 100s were 1:30-1:31...... Put the SIMS on for the 1000 and did much better - 15:20ish for the total I think - helped I was trying to lap Shane :)

Day 6: 4000
800 w/u as 500 easy then 300 alt 50 fast, 50 easy
4 x (200 @ 3:30 holding <3:05 100="" 1:26="" 1:50="" 1="" 2="" between="" can="" hold="" if="" needed.="" p="" rest="" s="" sets="" x="">===================
1500 straight done like this- 500 solidly paced with paddles, bouy, bands; 500 drop the bands and back off the effort a bit; 500 drop the buoy and back off the effort further. Last 500 is rather easy.
100 easy

My post activity notes:
HOLY SHIT!  I am shocked.  The warmup HURT.  Like my shoulders and triceps were sore... so I beyond flopped it.  Then, put my SIMS on for the main set and right off felt smooth and had rotation and felt good!
200s were 2:59, 2:52, 2:51, 2:49 (WHAT?! Haven't seen that for a while)
100s were all 1:22!!!
1500 was pretty fast too - 7:09, 7:24, 7:35.

--- I was SUPER hungry after and enjoyed lunch, a couple of beers and silly talk with the BFF at the gym after.  It was perfect!

Day 7:  Planned 6400, Completed 6800
1000 mixed w/u
8x50 kick w/fins rest 15"
8x50 swim w/fins easy/fast by 25; rest 15"
200 easy
10x400 @6:30. Goal is to hold even pacing throughout the set.

2x200 easy w/ buoy c/d

My post activity notes:
SO happy with how I felt!  I ate really well the night before and went to bed early.  The middle of the week was hard for me cause I wasn't sleeping well (puppies).... once I got sleep and added calories I felt great.  I also was REALLY working on rotation after Jane gave me tips Tuesday and it sorta clicked, especially with the SIM shorts, on Friday.

I was tired at the end, but not wasted.  It felt so good to do 2 epic things the past weeks (Lemmon & this swim).  Even though I REALLY don't love to swim THIS much, I do love doing big things and feeling my fitness creeping back.  Between life, dogs, and work the past 2 years it's been tough and I haven't been back there so this makes me so happy!

#1 & 10 were 6:10, all others 6:06.  I finished up with 800 PBB relaxed to make it 6800 for the day and 3100 total.  Those damn bonus yards at the beginning of the week were haunting my OCD.

I'm super happy to have completed the challenge, but not just for the cap. I was really blown away by my athletes stepping up and joining in on this challenge. For a lot of people swimming is the first thing to get left out or pushed aside because of time or they just really don't enjoy it.  Most think they can't get faster or improve their swim fitness so they don't bother, but the truth is it takes time and it takes discipline. You may not see your swim split drop by an extraordinary amount, but the fitness gains are huge and you will see the benefits later in your race because of that solid fitness.

I'm also happy because it allowed me to really focus on what I had been doing wrong for quite some time.  I wasn't trashed from cycling or running so I could really put my time and energy into not just swimming the distance, but doing it with purpose and working on correcting my form.  It will be a work in progress for some time, but I'm happy to be heading back on that track.

Getting out of our comfort zones and doing something we would never do on our own is so fun and it's more fun when others are sharing in on the journey ;)  If you are interested in the #batcapchallenge let me know, we can come up with something EPIC together!