Author Archives: latinaandtriing

About latinaandtriing

I’m a 30 something year old Latina, who in the immigrant vocabulary we call a first generation Latina-American. My parents immigrated to The States back in the 70s from Colombia and I was born, 9 years later my baby sister was born. Originally from New Jersey (yes I’m a Jersey girl so watch out) but consider myself as Latina and Colombian as it can be. I was raised in a typical Colombian household, my parents both trying to make a living in this country, while trying to provide us with the best education and going above and beyond their means to make sure we had everything. For them, since they came as adults, they realized that education was the most important thing to become someone in this country. I was a bit nerdy growing up, always being top of my class, and not really focusing in sports or other extracurricular activities. I did dance and later on played tennis but attending a private catholic school sports were not the center of everything. Some of the guys and girls would play sports but definitely not me. My tennis was not competitive by any means. On top of that, I wasn’t the skinny Latina type. As a good Latina, I got curves in the right places and a really balanced diet at home (insert sarcasm here) really helped me with my figure. Yes, plantains, rice and potatoes could be found in a dinner plate with a piece of meat or chicken, that’s balanced for Colombians… :) I then went off to college, well didn’t really go off… Stayed in the same town living at home while attending Rutgers University. By then I was just focused in school and not in my figure, dropped dancing and tennis and didn’t really care about sports. I was probably at my heaviest, at a whopping size 16. Not until grad school that I moved to Miami for my doctorate (yes I’m a Doctor… A psychologist that is) that I started losing weight to a size 6, I blame it on the stress of being on my own and having a full time job and attending school full time. Again not the healthiest but I had lost weight. I met my now hubby for the second time (that’s a story for another page/blog) and we moved to Texas in 2006. Fast forward 4 years and we had started riding our bikes and running a little. We were getting tired of just being couch potatoes, looked healthy but when we started running and being active realized we were so out of shape. We did a couple of long bike rides (40 milers) a couple of 5k runs, and then we signed up for the MS150 in 2011. Did it again in 2012 this time completing both days but by then we has found a new hobby…. TRIATHLON. We completed our first triathlon in 2012 and got really hooked to it. This then will be my view of being a healthy Latina, a professional, a wife and trying to balance a career, staying healthy and being happy with whom I am and whom I’ve become now that I have found that being in shape, healthy and actually accomplishing the impossible is AWESOME!! Hope you enjoy my journeys.

Another Long Over Due Race Report – Ironman Lake Placid

126_m-100772636-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1779_094848-9422822It’s been about 4 months since finishing a tough and epic course at Ironman Lake Placid and what can I say… it’ been a couple of busy months since then. That’s why I’ve neglected the blog and social media in general a bit. For those who are following me on my Instagram  can see what I’m now up to, which is supporting the disaster relief missions in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Finally today I had a little of down time and was able to gather some of my thoughts and revamp the race report I started 4 months ago.

So let’s get to the race report… I can remember the day we first talked about IM LP after finishing IM Coz in 2015. I thought that was so far off and would have time to embrace my love/hate with hills. Well, I did. After moving to NY with my amazing partner in crime, reality check kicked in when I realized training for Placid would be tough since there really is nothing flat here in NY compared to TX. Having been in LP on couple of occasions for work and vacay, it was nerve wrecking to drive through LP and know that I would need to bike those same hills. I was up for the challenge and to get out of my comfort zone because that’s where “the magic happens.” And Sunday July 24th was a magical day!19

The entire week leading up to race day was wonderful as reuniting with our ITX family and spending time together was like no other. Lake Placid is beautiful and allowed for little to no stress especially as our condo was close enough to the village, but not in the hustle and bustle. Race day came quickly and it was time to put myself to the test. Everything leading up to the swim was smooth and easy going. We all lined up and I placed myself in the 1:30 pack, hoping to stay in that time frame. Calm, cool, and collective rolling start – perfect. I quickly got into a rhythm, found a clear area, remembered half way about the yellow cable, but realized I wasn’t close and seemed crowded near it. Got to the end of the first loop and quickly looked at my time, but it really didn’t register and off I went, this time finding more of the cable, but

102_m-100772636-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1779_006597-9422798having to move away from it due to crowds again. The 9th buoy on the return came fast and finished the swim. I looked down at my watch again and clearly thought something must be wrong with my watch – this can’t be right, but it was right … 1:24 swim … better than I had expected and huge PR from my first IM!! Boom!

Running into T1 was great, being cheered by friends, volunteers, and spectators. Awesome feeling. Quickly put on my bike gear and ran out. One of my goals was to have quicker transitions to save time and this went as planned. Mounted and off I went. Early on into the bike ride, I felt my feet moving everywhere in my bike shoes and felt the shoes loose, but didn’t pay attention to it and stayed focused. Keene descent had always been a concern of mine, but having been able to do it twice during our camp with Sue  I felt confident and ready to tackle the fast 6 mile descent … ✔️. So excited to see Felipe on the back side of Jay and yelled at each other for motivation. 💕 I knew he was killing the bike course and so proud! Saw Da Nang and Sue and their smiles were great to see on the course. I knew the toughest sections of the course were coming up as they were long uphills and needed the energy. My feet were now starting to bother me more and the shoes felt like they were moving much more. Stopped to refill at an aid station and noticed it was extra difficult to unclip, which isn’t normal. I lifted my foot and 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ I was wearing Felipe’s bike shoes. We have the same shoes but our cleats are different Ughhhh no wonder they were big and didn’t feel right! After a long sigh and a laugh (maybe couple of other words in between lol) #MatchyMatchy problem became a personal challenge! Second loop became easier to tackle mentally as I soaked in as much of the scenery and kept telling myself this is the last time I see this on my bike today! It worked! Sue rolled up beside me at around mile 105 or so and she was killing it as she soared up hills. Because I had been pushing hard to keep my feet straight in big shoes, it was affecting my IT band which was starting to yell at me with each stroke. I knew the 3 Bears were coming and Sue and I pushed through them to quickly get back to town. I was so relieved and thankful to be able to get off the bike.119_m-100772636-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1779_057197-9422815

Another fast T2 and onto the run. It took me some time to get my legs in control, but my IT pain became worse with the miles. My run became a drag my leg shuffle. Seeing my ITX family not only on run course but also seeing Pam and Michelle  at aid stations while they volunteered gave me energy to keep pushing through the pain and pushing my limits! Hugs from Felipe, Becky, Sue, and Penni were extra special boosts of energy 😀The out and back on the second loop was very mental as it was getting dark and I set myself to run to where there were bright lights and aid stations.

121_m-100772636-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1779_072971-9422817The thought of a bear 🐻 or something else popping out in those dark areas got me worried 🙄 By the time I realized it, I was back in town and heading for the finish. My mind was no longer focused on dragging my leg or the pain, but rather on finishing strong! Told my legs to shut up and just go! The energy of the crowd carried me in and the bright lights at the finish made me feel like I was flying in the chute! Crossed that finish line and felt so accomplished to have conquered a course that I had been worried about since day 1 of signing up! Ironman x 5!!!  The hardest part of moving to NY was having to leave our ITX family, but this race was proof that no matter near or far, family is family and picking up where we left off was epic. So thankful for all of you and ready to create more race memories!! 🙌🏼💕

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Spring is in the air

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shorts weather… finally

Finally it looks like spring is here, while it has been a rainy spring, we have been able to do our share of outdoor stuff over the last couple of weeks. The winter blues were really getting to us, the long days in the basement (aka the paincave) were getting old and it was definitely time for us to play outside and get to breathe some fresh air. We also were able to kick our season of races doing the Rutgers Unite Half. This is the 3rd year doing it and definitely it is turning to be a great race to kick off the season each year. It is in early April which makes me train during the earlier months and push through the winter getting either really cold miles outside or dark miles on the treadmill. Not only that, but it is a great race because we don’t have to spend a lot of money or plan a lot of logistics, since we stay at my parents’ house. Lastly, while it isn’t an easy course, it has a few rollers that make you push a little bit and also it is a good way to measure progress. This year I was really happy with the results, 2 years ago when we first did it we had just moved, our training for it was less than optimal, we couldn’t run much outside due to the snow, didn’t have a treadmill and barely got ourselves to the gym.  Note that this is a longer half with a 13.4 (as seen on multiple Garmins) and I finished with a 2:09:08 the 13.1 mark.  It was by far one of my slowest times.  Last year, Felipe was on a mission to get me down to the 2:00 half and I stuck with him up to mile 10 and told him to go.  Needless to say he finished with less than 2:00 and I was right behind him with a 2:03:53.  We had not trained a whole lot either, we had finished IMCozumel at the end of 2015 and it took us a while to get back to it.

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Race Perks… free downloads on pictures

We didn’t want to run and really weren’t ready for it, but we did our best to get to the start and finish line knowing the results weren’t going to show. This year was different. I have been working on my strength, got a lot more miles in, and in general did my homework on the treadmill, the track, and getting the long runs not only on the trail, but also around on the road where we did hill work and put in the miles. My 13.1 mark this year was right at 2:00:49. Finally back down to the 2:00’s it only took me 5 years to get there and I think I’m now stronger than I was 5 years ago, so I’m really happy with the progress and how it all is falling into place.

 

So that’s how our season got started,  speaking of seasons, this is our 5th season, who would’ve thought that after a cold morning in February, 5 years ago, we would still have the bug. We have learned so much over the last 5 years, while it probably isn’t what most do, at least we’ve learned what works for us.

Few things that we have learned:

  1. Triathlon is a life-style…. it isn’t our life. This is probably one of the most important
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    social life exists outside of triathlon believe it or not

    lessons. We have learned to balance our regular lives and our triathlon lives and we feel like we are doing a pretty good job at it. We don’t slack on our workouts, but if life gets in the way of things, we let it be. We don’t let it ruin our days or don’t simply plan every single day around our training. Not going to say we didn’t fall into that early on when we felt like we HAD to do everything possible to get all the workouts in.  A key to this has been planning our season and sticking to our plans.

  2. Adding to the last point, it is ok to not race every weekend, or even every month, anyways… we got so many medals now that we can’t even hang them all up. We were there, did that, did a total of over 15 races in less that 12 months the first year. It was fun, we felt like we wanted to do everything and didn’t want to miss an opportunity. However, we learned later after getting injured that over-racing was actually one of the issues. Once we started to take that into consideration, our training felt better and also we started to see gains. More importantly we haven’t been injured since. No injuries means you can train better, nail your workouts and also means you save time because you don’t have to start looking for doctors and going to physical therapy.
  3. Missing workouts is ok too. This is one that took us probably the longest to learn. At first we would feel so guilty about it. Getting reds on TrainingPeaks is like the walk of shame. What would our coach think? are we slacking? would we be able to compete? would we have enough miles? so many questions rushed through our heads that we simply sucked it up and ended up moving stuff around to simply get a workout in. Even if we were sacrificing our own regular lives like friends, families, work. Now we take a more relaxed approach to things. We actually don’t feel as guilty now, if we get to do an spontaneous date night at the City.
  4. Love for what we do. Recently I’ve read on social media a lot of posts related to
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    Betty down… sometimes it isn’t all pretty pictures and smiles

    burnout and simply losing the love for triathlon or losing hope.  To me, this life style is something we want to do, that’s a start. Once you lose the love or the interest, you might as well find something else, why do something you don’t enjoy?  About losing hope, let’s set something straight. Losing hope for what? I know we all have or own challenges and demons, trust me it isn’t easy for me, nor do I believe I make it look easy.  It takes a lot of work, perseverance, sweat, and tears. Also, I have learned to reset my expectations. I’ve made the mistake (as many people do) to compare myself to others, often times that other is Felipe (or random people of social media). He is for example a great swimmer, so his swims seem easy to him while I struggle. I have learned to not look at him as I would get down to his swim times, but rather to learn how he pushes his paces and tries to get the best out of the time in the water.

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    4 hours on the trainer had me like….

    Of course my gains are marginal at times, but they are gains and I take them and I put them in the bank with hopes I can cash them on race day. I have learned to be able to reset my expectations and not lose hope nor the love for this lifestyle. Finding the right balance between life, triathlon, marriage, work, friends, has been key for us.

Anyways, those are just my thoughts and a few lessons learned. I’m sure there are more and there will be plenty more. I hope I don’t lose the love anytime soon, I’m having way too much fun still. Even if sometimes I want to throw the towel when days get rough  and I feel like Ironman training simply sucks the life out of me and question my sanity for signing up for it, but the finish line, pushing my limits, and looking forward to racing with my honey, friends, and having fun while at it is what keeps me focused.  Seeing progress is motivation to keep striving for more and making those improvements only I can make.

 

Oh crap… time to get serious

16388333_10154997346218711_8125243064341415882_n.jpgLooks like the time is here, we are 24 weeks from Ironman Lake Placid and the training will start. Not that we haven’t been couch potatoes over the last 2 months since Ironman 70.3 Cartagena, but we definitely haven’t been sticking to the usual routine. We have been trying to fit workouts while we can. Work has been busier than ever for both of us and the winter days don’t make it any easier on us. Days are shorter, the basement is freezing and going down there is so hard no matter what time of the day it is, and heading outdoors when is in the 20s or 30s isn’t any easier.

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Anyways, February marks a special month for us. We celebrate our 5th year with IronTex, our 5th year of this crazy active lifestyle. 5 years of sharing with our Texas family and celebrating our friendships through these years. We are so excited that we get to race with our IronTex friends in July at IM Placid. Can’t wait to see them all and share another big race. Also, we are celebrating our 2nd year in NY. Hard to believe that it’s been now 2 years since we took that leap to move from Texas and start a new life in the East Coast. Now it is something that we don’t regret doing, we love our life out here…. despite the winter. We know we only have a couple more weeks and it is over so we can enjoy the spring and summer months.

2017-01-31-17-13-24So, for now… shit got real! time to get serious and start the training so we are ready for the next crazy adventure of our triathlon life, our 5th Ironman. I’ll try not to bore you too much with the details of our training, they get pretty boring, for that you can check my Instagram feed where I post some of what we do… as usual I’ll come here to share my thoughts, the good, bad and ugly and struggles. Hope everyone’s season is going well and that you stay motivated for whatever races/challenges you have for the year.

Take care and hope to be back here soon.

 

 

Another race in the Caribbean in the books…. Ironman 70.3 Cartagena

So finally getting around writing my race report for our last adventure in Cartagena, Colombia. Two years ago while walking the streets of Mexico City we heard that Ironman had opened up a race in Colombia. What was even better was that it was in Cartagena, which is one of the most beautiful cities of Colombia. It didn’t take long after the announcement came out for Felipe’s brother and sister to start texting us and asking us to do it with them. Before we knew it, we were committed to it and we were anxiously waiting for registration to open. Surprisingly it didn’t sell out on the day it opened, but regardless we all signed up on that day. We didn’t want to risk it. The rest of this report is about our trip planning and what went down once we got there. Hope this is helpful for you if you are considering to jump on this wagon this year. 

Our Trip

IMG_2652.JPGWhen we started looking at our plans for the trip, we soon realized that JetBlue flies direct to Cartagena from JFK. This was a pretty good option, since JetBlue is one of the airlines that have the best prices when it comes to flying with bikes, and even better, they honor Active Duty Military when it comes to baggage fees no questions asked (other airlines tend to give us a hard time since USPHS isn’t usually considered a military branch which it is). Earlier in2016-11-26-14-36-43-hdr the year my sister in law had moved to Medellin and had told us to start our trip there. JetBlue also goes to Medellin after a short stop in Fort Lauderdale. We then planned our tri
p starting in Medellin. It was pretty nice to be in another city which I had never been and Felipe’s last trip there was more than 20 years ago when he was a kid. Felipe’s parents actually met us in Medellin so we were able to spend more time with them since they usually only get us for a short time on our trips. It was an added bonus to them.

2016-12-01-10-49-09After a week in Medellin we then all took the same flight to Cartagena. This time we flew Avianca which is one of the local airlines. It was only about $100 per person (one way) so it wasn’t too bad and it is a short 45 minute flight from Medellin to Cartagena and the bikes were flying for free since it was the official airline. Once we all got to Cartagena since we were meeting 2 other friends (one of them doing the race) we had gotten a bigger van to take us to the condo. It was about $20 for that trip. We did the math later and having 4 bikes would’ve made us have 4 Ubers which was probably $40 for the whole thing. That worked out great. We had decided to get a condo instead of a hotel since originally it was going to be just our family. Our friends, Margo, Shayla and Brian with his wife were going to rent another one. At the end, due to shuffling of trips and last minute cancellations we all ended up in a bigger condo where the 9 of us fit just ok. The condo for all of us for the 6 days was about $1000.

Race mode….  Friday

2016-12-02-06-55-19We all got up and since we (Felipe and his brother) just had put together all 4 bikes we wanted to go and ride them a little as well as check out a little bit of the route. The condo actually had the route going in front of us so it was just simply get on the road and we were on it. Leaving the condo was a little sketchy because it is only an undivided 2 lane road but a couple of miles north it converts to a 6 lane divided. The first few miles had me super nervous, trucks, motorcycles, cars, you name it passing us. We had a car as an escort but still some people don’t respect. Once we got to the divided road, it was a lot better. We were able to get aero, try the gears a bit more and about 9 miles up the road we made the return. I felt great, the heat for sure was hitting hard. We left at around 10 am so figured that’s how it was going to be on race day… only one word HOT!!!!. We made it back to the condo and made some minor adjustments to the bikes.

VIRB Picture

img_2954Packet pick up was on Friday too, so we got ready after the ride and wanted to get the packet pick up stuff out of the way as soon as possible but it seems like everyone else had the same idea. The convention center was packed and we stood in line for about 2 hours going through the checkin. Then we did the store stuff and bought our race gear. International races usually don’t make it to the online Ironman store so that’s why we bought it all there. Didn’t want to risk our chances of not getting anything. After about 3 hours of being in lines we went to get some food and then back to the Condo.

Saturday… pre-race day

We tried to go for a short swim in the ocean, we knew the swim was in a bay but wanted to get a swim in. We swam for about 10-15 mins before a little storm passed by and we got out. After that, we got ready to go get the bikes to transition. We were able to get a bigger group with Angela, Margo, Maria Claudia, Maribel and the two of us to go. Maribel’s hubby followed us so we had some protection going towards the convention center to drop them off. Still it was scary at times because of the same trucks, buses, motorcycles, and everyone just trying to “share” the road. Bikes were dropped off and then we met up the rest of the family to do dinner. After that, it was just time to put the legs up and go back to the condo to set up for the next day.

Sunday…. race day

15799978_10154606341935783_387664569258036848_oSunday came pretty quick, by 3:30 am our alarms started to go off. We all got up and got ready for the day ahead. We had set up 2 vans to take us from the condo to the start. That trip was about $15 for each van which we pre-negotiated the night before. We got to transition and the setup started. Felipe and I went first to my bike to set up my transition. Felipe’s brother went to help their sister to set up hers since he wasn’t setting up transition. Margo set hers while I did mine and lastly Felipe set his. Then we were all ready to get going. Only problem is that we ended up waiting for about 2 hours or more to start. Some of the buoys had moved so the organizers had to re-set the swim course before the gun went off. The heat was really starting to climb while we waited. We were all getting worried because we had no water and the race people weren’t giving us any updates. Once they started things got moving pretty quick.
The swim went pretty uneventful, I felt strong however the swim is into the sun at first from the start to the first turn. I tried to sight as good as I could but it was hard. The Rokas did a great job but still the sun was in our eyes. I ended up swimming a little longer than I expected. My garmin called for a 2300 yd swim and not the 2100 yd. My time was 47:36 which was a bit longer than I expected. Considering that I swam 200 yds extra I think that was about 4-5 min extra that I ended up swimming. That is closer to the 40:00 I wanted to get for my swim so I consider it a success.

112_3rd-559250-digital_highres-1605_017235-5780061Once I got out of the water I felt the heat, I got into transition and tried to get all my stuff quickly and get on the bike. The first part of the bike was getting out of the city, the road has a little cheapaseal and then about 5 miles out there was a little rough because there was some construction which was cleaned up for that day but the roads weren’t in the greatest conditions. After that rough patch, it was a lot better, so for about 21 miles we were able to cruise. There wasn’t any major wind, just heat. Then the two short climbs came up towards the end. I’m not a big fun of any of those but got my way up those. The turn around came and those same climbs became downhills, that was fun getting a little push going back to transition. At about mile 40 or so, Felipe came up and the right after him Angela came by. I managed to finish my bike in 3:27, I compare this bike course with Atlantic City 70.3. It has about the same elevation gain. One thing that is true is that I was able to control my power and stay in the zone that Coach Mike and Felipe had told me to stay in. I’m hoping to understand the whole power training a little better but the result of keeping the numbers where I was told made me manage my legs and have some left for the run.

122_3rd-559250-digital_highres-1605_042809-5780071Once I got back to transition the heat was already up there. There was a short shower while we were on the bike so that brought our temps down on the bike. When we were on the run, it just made the walled city a cooking pot. We had no wind, sun was beating down and the humidity was high too. Luckily for us, the beauty of having an aid station every kilometer meant that instead of the usual 13 stations we had 20 instead. All I did on those was pour water on my and drink a little. I had lost my Base Salts vial in transition but was able to get Felipe’s when he was on his way back. Running in the walled city was surreal. The energy of the people from the volunteers, cheering squads (including ours) and the tourists walking the streets. The heat was pretty brutal and at one point it was matter of surviving and not doing anymore damage but needless to say I enjoyed every minute of it. At the end, the run ended with a 2:25, not as fast as others, but considering the heat I take it as a win. At the end, I finished with my usual big smile. Felipe had finished ahead of me and he was already waiting for me at the finish.

As a whole, I am glad we did this inaugural race. The whole experience of racing in Colombia with your family cheering is simply amazing. Cartagena is such a magical city that you have to visit once if not many more times in your life. This was my second time in the city and under two totally different conditions. The city caters to the tourists and if you are smart while traveling you get to see and do a lot in the city. We are glad we rented the condo, we got to spend time with Felipe’s family and also didn’t have any pressures of being with all the tourists either. It was pretty fun to do it that way. We got to enjoy a lot of the gastronomic awesomeness of Cartagena. Got to eat at so many places we’ve been wanting to go for years and honestly it wasn’t that expensive once you did the exchange to dollars. I definitely recommend this race to put on your list of 70.3s to do. Registrations are actually open now for 2017 so go on and sign up. It’s a great way to end a long season with a vacation. 
 

 

Becoming a Marathoner

Last year, when I finished Ironman Cozumel and I noticed that I had done so much better on the run than any previous Ironman, I said to Felipe, I think I want to run a full stand alone marathon. As weird as it sounds, up to that point we had done 4 full marathons but none as stand alone ones. They were all after riding 112 miles. We had made an attempt in 2014 when we had signed up for the Dallas Marathon which I couldn’t do because that’s when I got my orders and became a Commissioned Corps Officer for the U.S. Public Health Service so I had to be in D.C. for basic training during that time, and on top of that, Dallas was hit with a major winter storm and they had to cancel so even if I had been in town, I wouldn’t have run it.

We entered the NYC Marathon lottery earlier this year, of course, not even thinking we were going to get in. We had already entered the lottery on 2015 and didn’t get in, so we entered again this year. For those of you that know about it, the chances of getting in are very slim. The NYC Marathon has 3 pools for lottery entries, local to NYC (60 miles radius), out of state, and international. Those account for a great majority of the entries, others are the different charities, secured entries and/or the 9+1 method which is the one where you run 9 NYRR races and volunteer 1, it turns to be a really expensive method to get a secured entry to the marathon, but it is a good one if you are local to NYC. For us, it wasn’t a good option, as it would have been about a $2500 at the end of the year when it comes to entry fees, transport to the city for each race and on top of that you still pay full price for the marathon entry. Anyways… .so we both entered the lottery, to our surprise we both got in at the same time. So needless to say we were super excited to get in. On top of that, 2 of Felipe’s co-workers and one of our teammates from Texas got in as well, so we knew it would be a fun one.

From the beginning we knew that running it to kill ourselves wasn’t an option, we still had Ironman Cartagena 70.3 as our A race for the season on December 4th so going too hard at the marathon would hinder our last block of training and our recovery for it. Also, didn’t want to risk getting any injuries prior to Cartagena.  Those are little things that you learn season after season, the more races you do, the longer you race, it turns to more recovery. We didn’t want to sacrifice Cartagena so we decided that we were going to enjoy the 5 boroughs and take it all in. Of course, we didn’t want to walk it, but we weren’t going to break any records. Also, because of our A race, our training wasn’t focused for a marathon. We knew what the distance would entail, but needless to say, we respect the distance, knew we still needed to train for it, and little to no slacking was allowed.

img_2597Our logistics started with us staying in the City. We made our trip to the city and planned it as a weekend trip. We knew we could do the drive the morning of but we didn’t want to stress over all that on that morning. Our weekend started with our friend and teammate, Jenny, arriving on Friday to the city. We met each other around 3 pm, and we went to pick up our packages at the expo. That went pretty quick, then our adventure started by going to rescue Jenny’s cell which she left in the Uber that took her from the airport to meet us, so a few hours later we were ready to get on our way home. We were pretty tired, Felipe had just come back from Arizona that morning as well so it was a long day for all.
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Saturday morning we left our place at around 8. Jenny wanted to go to the Statue of Liberty but we couldn’t get tickets from NYC to get there, fortunate for us, we managed to get tickets from NJ. It was a nice day, so that helped a lot, and I think the crowd was probably better from the Jersey side than from the NYC side. We explored the Statue and then headed back to the city so we would settle in at the hotel. We wanted to put our legs up early as it is so easy to let your self get all excited about the city and not rest. We did about 17 miles between Friday and Saturday walking, so we were pretty ready to get our legs up.

15000208_616567051864429_5146014050346110768_oWe got back to the hotel by 8 pm, set up our race stuff for the next day, and by 9 pm lights were out. We were so tired, that it was easy to fall asleep. Since it was daylight savings that day, we had an extra hour to sleep so it was great.  The wake up alarm went off and we were ready to go. We had a 24-hr bagel place downstairs from our hotel so we got breakfast there and picked up our Uber to go to Whitehall Terminal. Then the fun begun. There were so many people, it was hard not to soak everything in. From there, the ferry takes you from Manhattan to Staten Island, then you get on the buses that take you to the start. We camped at the Staten Island terminal for a little bit before heading to the start VIRB Picturesince we had late starts. We didn’t want to just sit at the park waiting in the cold. Once we waited for a little bit, we then got on the buses which is a good 30-40 min ride to the start, traffic is heavy due to all the buses going back and forth. We got to the start and sat amongst 50,000 of our running friends to wait.  Cell reception wasn’t the best as so many people were all killing time on their phones.
Before we knew it, we were in our corral ready to go.  Being surrounded by so many awesome people was great, but the nerves were starting to kick in.  I was surprised they hadn’t knocked earlier in the day as is usual for me on race day, but the overall feeling of this race was different.  I knew I was going to have fun with my hunny running through the streets of NYC.  As a young kid, I remember seeing the marathon on tv and thinking how cool for so many people to be freely running through NYC, but never in my mind did I ever think I would be standing here about to run the streets of NYC.  We were able to get warm, and shed our layers off before we got to the actual start. We were getting really excited as we were getting closer to the start, tons of people, the energy was amazinVIRB Pictureg, the Star Spangled Banner performed by one of the runners and then the cannon went off. Those things give me goosebumps just remembering them. We had one goal for our run, we wanted to run a 4:30 marathon. We were able to keep the pace and stay on for 15-16 miles, until we hit Queens and got into Manhattan. The Queensboro bridge was a beast as it was a straight incline into Manhattan.  My legs were definitely feeling it at that point.  The Manhattan rollers slowed us down and by the time we hit the Bronx we were starting to fall off pace.

Our walking intervals were more often and longer and it was mentally draining. The crowds definitely helped to distract the pain and keep carrying us to the finish line. Once we got into Central Park, the last couple of “hills” which seem mountains at that time, came up and we looked at our watches, by that point our 4:30 goal became the “let’s make it under 5” so we did our best to run through the crowds and forget the pain to come in under 5 … mission accomplished 4:59:59. Such a great feeling to be done, but unlike other races where you get most of your things right at the finish, 26.2 miles became more like 28 miles.  Since so many people run the marathon, they have to make room for all who still are coming in.  It is another good mile or 2 (or seems like that) before you get your pictures taken, your bag with food, your blanket and your poncho. We didn’t make it out of the park until about 45 minutes after we finished, we were cold, stiff, and tired, but super happy to have been part of this epic marathon.  They gave us our well earned and long awaited NYC ponchos, which are amazing.  They have a fleece inner lining and it felt great wearing them as we were slow walking through NYC. An Under Armour rep had been standing outside of a building and he was inviting marathoners inside a pop up store where VIRB Picturethey had  set-up a stretching area with food for athletes.  Since we were waiting for Jenny, we ventured inside to check it out.  It sounded great until they told us it was downstairs and we had to maneuver stairs. LOL it was a sight to see as going down stairs wasn’t the prettiest after having done a marathon.  We walked into a room with all kinds of goodies including foam rollers, stretch bands, yoga mats, and Normatec boots. The best part of all was a delicious carrot cake they had for us.  Needless to say, Felipe and I took advantage of everything.  The mere thought of stretching wasn’t the best, but I knew I would quickly get stiff and then it would be even harder to move around.  So I made the effort and braved the foam rollimg_1233er, which actually didn’t feel too bad especially a high-tech vibrating foam roller.  Best thing! 🙂
Felipe then jumped into the Normatec boots and once he was done, I used them too.  By that time, Jenny had finished and met up with us, where she also took advantage of free stretching area.  As we hobbled up the stairs and back onto 72nd, we went to grab some food.  Burgers, fries, and beer – can’t beat that.  We took an Uber back to the hotel and got some rest. Medal Monday came and Felipe went off to work, accidentally taking both of our medals.  Worked out great though
img_9130because he was able to capture an awesome picture of them on his work terrace with the NYC backdrop.  Jenny and I had went for brunch and enjoyed some mimosas and delish breakfast.  We walked back towards the hotel and went to do some shopping.  You can’t be in NYC and not get some retail therapy in with a good friend.  It was a great cap to an awesome weekend and I can’t say enough how I love this city and all it offers.

 

 

 

How come 2016 is almost over

When did this year just fly by us and we didn’t noticed it. I can believe about a year ago today we were volunteeeing for the NYC Marathon and in 5 days we area actually taking on the streets of New York City to run with more than 50,000 of our closest friends. In a way I’m super excited but at the same time nervous. The nervous type that probably won’t let me sleep come race day. It is weird, you might say, you’ve done 4 Ironman distance triathlons and a bunch of other challenging races a marathon is a piece of cake for you. At least that’s what we hear a lot. Believe it or not, it isn’t quite the same. We know how to prepare for a 15 hour race a lot better than a 4-4:30 hour run. A lot less variables but really not a whole lot room for error. I can say I’ve done the work or at least some of it and I will get to it in a bit. Needless to say, it is in fact the first stand alone marathon we’ve ever run if we finish it. 

Earlier in the year when we planned our season it was planned for Cartagena 70.3. That was and still is our A race. Then lucky us got in the marathon via lottery. So we obviously had to make it a B race where we simply wanted to set one goal: TO HAVE FUN. In the process we realized quickly and thanks to our coach that marathon training never goes well with Triathlon training, much less with a 70.3 training. As good shape as we are in, the bodies take too much to recover from long runs and week after week it just gets in the way. So our coach’s approach knowing we had the endurance was to not put too many miles under us, and simply keep our run aerobic and control our paces. We said, well we can do that. So that’s the plan, we have been running together to pace and keep ourselves company and we will execute on Sunday. 

We are ready to have some fun. Ready to pick up our teammate Jenny on Friday and get our NYC marathon party going. Ready to take it all in and enjoy the day. 

Then after that, short recovery and last couple of peak weeks before we leave to Colombia for our annual race-cation. Can’t wait to get to Medellín and then off to the beach to Cartagena for our race. I’m so ready to get that one going, I’ve seen a lot of improvements this year and really excited to put it all together. It pays to control your season and plan it well, you can definitely focus during your workouts and you are less distracted by racing. I’ve gotten to enjoy everything a lot more, added that I feel stronger so it just makes me that much excited every time I nail a workout. It hasn’t come easy by any means. It’s a lot of work, but hoping it pays off 🙂 fingers crossed. 

A new found love… trail running

Since I started this whole thing of running, considering that I am not a real big fan of running I didn’t really see a point in it. If you hang with me for a second, or two, maybe I can get my point across. Sometimes when I run, I just looked at my TrainingPeaks workout and usually roll my eyes and then figure out how to get it done. A lot of times I simply just go for a run, more often than not I don’t execute the workout and simply hit the trail or the treadmill and get my time and finish it up. I know that’s not the way to get faster either, and of course that didn’t help to enhance my relationship with running. It didn’t get any better.

We have a nice trail by our house, an old rail road line that got paved and became an 11 mile trail. We can get it pretty much by going about half a mile into town and jumping on the trail. Well, the trail after numerous runs got old too. It just didn’t do it, it was just not helping the situation. We have the NYC Marathon coming up and those long runs simply were dreaded long runs. After checking in with the coach, and going over that running flunk we were in, he suggested a couple of things:

 

  1. Run without any devices, forget about those and go about it just by feel, more on that later.
  2. The second and best suggestion was go on trail runs, it was towards the end of the summer when we asked him and the heat was still out there so he suggested to take our runs to the woods.

Now, getting to the woods and no devices kind of freaked me out. It was one of those that I wanted to have a safety blanket that I could track back with my Garmin back to the trailhead, particularly since probably our run was going to be a brand new place to us. So No. 1 above wasn’t really a good option if we wanted to explore No. 2. So we started then looking at trails. To our surprise, we have a ton of trails around us. We kind of knew about them but didn’t really explore them because it was one of those things I was always afraid of. What if I tripped? Where are the trails? How hard are they? Do I need new shoes? all those questions of entering into the unknown. Well… Felipe one day after going to the pool and finding out it was closed said, “let’s go to Minnewaska“. I was like “for what?” He goes, “we need to get 2 hrs on our run, there is not way we will do it here on the trail, it will suck” so he proceeded to get the address on the GPS and off we went. We knew more or less the area, since we had done a few rides that take us around that area of New Paltz, so we knew it wasn’t that far. I was just a bit nervous since I didn’t know what it was going to be. We get there about 30 min after leaving the pool, and we enter the park (note it is $10 to enter the park). Then we asked the guy at the booth what would be the best thing to do, he said to go to the top to the Lake and then take it from there. We followed his direction and headed to Lake Minnewaska. Once there we headed to the trail, into the woods. We clearly didn’t know what we were doing, we looked briefly at the map we got at the entrance, but luckily there were markers and maps along the way. We used those and kept going. While it has been one of the hardest runs I’ve done, and we didn’t get nearly as close to the miles we would’ve done at our trail back home, it was priceless to be out there. The views were incredible and we know we hardly scratched the surface of the trails out there. We headed back to the car and while we pretty much were done with a mile to go, legs pretty much toast, we took it all in and we sort of crawled back to the car. Needless to say, trail running exceeded my expectations and I’ve been hooked since. We did another sort of long run at another trail near us, the Black Rock Forest Park  in Cornwall, NY. It was probably harder than the first one, but still loved it. Can’t wait to do it again and to keep exploring trail running. Even now I’m to the point that I want to do a trail run race (half marathon or something like that). My whole point is what I always say about this crazy triathlon and endurance sports is about. We need to continuously get out of our comfort zone, explore new venues and enjoy each moment, each trail, each path we are put in front of us. We don’t know when or how we would not get a chance to do it again and we are always grateful for it. Nothing beats enjoying nature, lakes and pure air. Wouldn’t change this life for anything and definitely will continue to explore our local/non-local trails in the off season to continue the mojo and keep getting stronger and better each day. For a few tips on Trail Running you can check here