Tuesday, June 25, 2013



After falling in love with this race and the venue last year, Matt & I decided to sign up for IMMT70.3 2013 when the online registration opened last September.  I was determined to come back to this course racing better than ever.  Fast forward 8 months.  My yo-yo approach to diet and workouts has been running rampant.  This entire past spring season has been 2 -3 weeks good eating & workout schedule followed by weeks of being off the deep end.  Emotional, stress eating, etc.  I can blame it on a busy work schedule, or other commitments, but at the end of the day I made the decision to have other things take priority over what I wanted most.  Rather than beating myself up over my current physical condition (which is my normal MO), I decided to approach this race being thankful for the best I have to give at this moment.  Since, after all, I can’t change the past.  What’s done is done.  I can’t be upset over results I didn’t get because of the training I didn’t put in.

We arrived in Mt. Tremblant Friday evening after a looong 10 hour drive from NJ- mostly due to rush hour traffic in Montreal paired with construction.  Ugh…  But once we were there, all was forgotten as we settled in.  We met up with Ed & Margie for dinner later that night & then got a good night’s sleep.  We slept in a bit on Saturday morning, had breakfast, then met Ed for packet pick up at 10:15.  After that we took a quick walk around transition & the expo. Then it was time for a quick swim in the lake.  Water was a beautiful 65 degrees and clear. It had been steadily raining all day.  By 3:00pm we decided to rack our bikes as it didn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon.  We went back to the room, showered and got all of our race gear prepped for the next morning.  We met Ed & Margie for dinner at 6:00 and we were back in our room by 7:30. It was a leisurely day.  Exactly what I was hoping for and desperately needed.  You see, as an early surprise (sorry guys… it’s about to get real for a minute here.)  for the month, my “friend” arrived earlier that morning.  Women – you know the 2 days out of the month where you just want to curl up in a ball and cry because the cramps are so bad and ALL of the energy is sucked out of your body?  Yep, this was to be my Saturday & Sunday… race day.  ::sigh::  My mind quickly switched from “just taking it easy because of my lack of training” to “Oh my gosh… I’m really questioning  whether I can finish this race.”  I began pumping large doses of ibuprofen into myself, had a brief pity party and then decided I would do the best I can.  That’s all I can do.  My strategy would not change.  It just involved a few more drugs!
Walking to transition on race day
Mt Tremblant village at 6:00am race day

Ed, Matt and me before the race start
The alarm went off at 4:30am Sunday and the rain had stopped. Hooray!  I got up and ate my breakfast of oatmeal with agave/craisins, slice of toast with pb&j, a banana and a cup of tea. Oh! And a fistful of pills!  Matt & I walked down to transition, dropped of our gear & then walked back up to our room to leave our gear bags, get our wetsuits & walk down to swim start.  (Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this race venue because of these simple logistics?  So EASY!)  We met Ed & Margie down by the beach, chatted for a minute & then it was time for Ed’s wave to start.  Matt’s was next at 7:25am, which left me alone until my start at 7:40am.  I got in the water for a brief warm-up swim.  I was relieved to not have my wetsuit feel like a boa constrictor around my chest as it had the day before. For the first time in a long time, I was afraid to start the swim.  Not my normal jitters. I was SCARED.  I had no idea how my body was going to react.  Because of this, I lined up in the back.  I was the very last woman in my wave to enter the water. 

Buoys were to the right and kayaks to the left.  I quickly realized it was a mistake to be in the VERY back.  I swam past a few people & then stayed far left (couldn’t mentally deal with people this day), swimming easily with slow, smooth strokes.  I made my way around the course by way of zigzagging between the safety kayaks.  Luckily each of them was kind enough to keep me pointed in the right direction.  I mean literally pointing me with their paddle in the proper direction! Ah well… I kept catching a glimpse of my silver ring in the water.  It says WARRIOR on it.  So it kept my mind focused.  My swim was terribly slow but I made it out of the water without incident.  Part One of my day complete.

My Warrior ring
After the long path back to T1, I popped some more drugs and started out on the bike.  The start of my ride was one of the worst feeling parts of my day.  I felt as if I had ZERO energy.  I shifted into my easiest gears and told myself to give it time.  It’s a long ride.  See how it goes.  Just keep pedaling.  All while the entire field of racers went zooming past me.  It was difficult to see everyone go by.  For me, the bike is the only time in a race that I feel I stand a chance to be even a little competitive.  But I stayed focused on myself and kept on going.  Slow and Steady.  Once I got out of the village and onto Rt117, it was fun to see all of the pros on their way back in from that first section.  I caught myself with a big grin on my face.  Man, I love to see them out there! I am always amazed at what spectacular athletes these people are!  As I got some nutrition in me, I found a little more energy and in the final miles of the course, I was finally able to catch and pass a few of the people I recognized who had passed me at the start of the ride.  I felt a little vindicated.    But by the end of the ride, my cramps were kicking back in and despite eating 4 Gu’s & a bar on the bike, my stomach was growling.  Part 2 of my day was complete. 

In T2 I changed my top to my Dana Farber running shirt.  I haven’t worn it to race since my first Mooseman in 2008.  It was just the emotional boost I needed.  More drugs, hat, shoes and it was time to “run.”

Even on my best day, I use the term run loosely with myself. I am not fast and I am okay with that.  I knew this day may be more walking than running, so I was already mentally prepared.  As I made my way around the course, I began to mentally make a list of thing I was grateful for.

1.    The rain stopped for the race, but there was still a nice cloud cover to keep the sun away making for great race conditions.
2.    Matt is the best support a girl could ask for.  Seeing him out on the race course lifted my spirits immensely.
3.    The spectators and volunteers at this event are THE BEST!! Cheering and supporting every athlete like they were the winner. It was truly amazing! Like none I have ever seen. Cheering, bell ringing, horn blowing from driveways, windows, front porches and house boats!!
4.    Much of the run course is on a “rails to trails” type path along the water that runs into the lake, so I listened to bull frogs, water birds, chickadees and water running in a stream.
5.    Dragonflies danced around the path in front of me.
6.    I got to see Ed on the run & give him a high-five.  He had a crash AND flat on the bike, but despite some nasty road rash, he was giving it his all! So proud of him!
7.    My heart swelled as I felt the love and support from my family & friends.  It was coming all the way from Western PA/NY and NJ, but I felt every bit of it!  And boy did I need it! Thank you!
8.    Anytime my mind wandered, I found myself thinking of cousin Katie and how hard she has fought to WIN her battle with leukemia! YES!!! And how Judy, Nathan and Dan fought for one day more.  My pain in THIS moment was temporary.  And I drew strength from them.
9.    The determination of the “back of the pack” racers is inspiring.  No matter the age, the physical limitations or even just leg cramps, nothing was stopping them.
And finally my FAVORITE sign of the day, “Your body lies.  You can do this.”  Awesome.  And absolutely true.

As I ran down the chute through the village to the finish among all of the spectators cheering, with Matt waiting & cheering for me at the end, I had to smile!  I did it!!  It was not pretty, but I finished.  It was all I had wanted from this day. 
Crossing the finish line in 7:13:46

It has helped me to re-focus on the rest of my summer.  Getting back on a consistent path of healthy eating and training that I know I can do… one that I can be proud of.  I am looking forward to July as it brings almost 2 weeks in NH.  Our favorite place on earth! And August brings a week in Warren (our PA hometown) with the Tango adventure race kicking that week off.  Then it’s up to Maine for REV3 Old Orchard Beach Half-Iron.  It will be my first ocean swim…. YIKES!!  Can’t wait!!


Julie said...

I finished your post with tears in my eyes. I am so incredibly proud of you!!! And thanks for getting that "real". I know all too well what I've allowed my monthly pain to rob me of in the past. I just started running again, and with the new diet, I've felt stronger and had less pain. I think after reading your blog I WILL indeed sign up for a race. Because yes, sometimes our minds can dominate our bodies. Thanks for the inspiration. Blessings! :)

ruth said...

You're always an inspiration AND a WARRIOR. Thank you for sharing.