Category Archives: 140.6

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.

 

 

Mexico 2015 a late recap

Holy crap it is mid February, passed valentines and I’m just now trying to write a recap from our racecation to our Cozumel trip. Maybe I was doing it on purpose since remembering a place with sun, ocean, palm trees and beaches brings a little warmth on these freezing days.

So last year when we moved (yup it’s been a year already) we decided we were going to have a racecation in Cozumel where we will race with 17 of our teammates. It was in a way a super fun reunion while getting to see them all including our coach. I didn’t get to write a whole lot last year about our training. Didn’t want to bore you all with the same thing over and over. Swim, bike, run, hurt, eat, sleep, repeat. You might remember that when we moved there was plenty of snow around and also took us forever to get situated. Living in temporary quarters (aka Homewood Suites hotel), closing on our house almost a month after moving and moving truck getting to a week after we had closed. Add all that to learning a new job, Felipe traveling back and forth to Texas for his and eventually switching jobs for a more local job in the city and then finding new places to train and our year definitely was filled with things to figure out.

Luckily for us all those things above actually were a lot smoother than they sound. Things happened for a reason and we were able to adjust as we went. We got even luckier when we actually started to get better weather in the spring and finding out the beauty of our new training grounds. At first we had an OK pool at the local Y, but that changed when we got a brand new pool a mile away from the house. Our biking was pretty awesome with endless routes and finding a local cycling club which was the best thing ever. We met a few people we had talked to on Instagram and they were great at helping us get integrated with the club. Our running couldn’t have been any better. About 1/2 mile from our house we have an 11 mile trail that pretty much became our running grounds and if we got bored of that we just did our runs exploring different routes and even doing the local marathon route a couple of times. So as you can see our training once we got situated wasn’t an issue. We got going and it was probably the best ironman training of all. We didn’t race a whole bunch, just a few times and it helped because we knew our focus was Cozumel.

Sorry for the long preamble to a race, figured you wanted to hear or not hear what happened before the race since I didn’t talk much about through the year. Now into the race business.

Headquarters:

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from our backyard

If you ever decide to do this race definitely you want to read this as it was probably the best decision we made. Cozumel is a resorts type of place. You go to the resorts and normally get all inclusive ones and that’s the end. Or you do what we did, rent a house with a few friends and hired a chef. By renting a house we didn’t have any of the distractions of a hotel and also getting a chef made it for a way to explore local cooking without the hotel feel to it. It turned out great and a lot cheaper than the hotel plans being offered out there. We ended up paying about $300/person for a 6 day/5 night stay. A lot cheaper compared to the $1200 the hotels want. It was a little “far” from the center but taxis go by all the time and they are super cheap. Felipe actually negotiated always getting us cheaper fares to the city center which was like 3km (1.5-2 mi) away. You won’t pay more that $3 – $5 per ride

Pre-race shenanigans:

IMG_7686By us being a bit apart from the busy center it forced us to be more focused on staying near the house or simply being at the house resting. We did some swimming in the ocean since it was conveniently our backyard but we kept things low key. Everyone in the house was on the same boat and that helped. Not having anyone pressuring or even getting mad because we didn’t want to do anything. Being in an ironman destination you might be tempted to go crazy, walk a lot, not rest, eat crappy, not hydrate, we have done all those. This time we had focused on not doing any of that. Did our team dinner on Friday. Saturday we got to drop our bikes off and then do all the bag stuff. By 2 pm we were home legs up with bottles of hydration in our hands at all times. It was going to be a hot race so we didn’t want to risk it.

Race day: ironman 4 here we go:
Our race day came quick after a good night sleep. We woke up probably extra early because we had a taxi driver come and get us to the start. We didn’t want to risk any road closures and since we were kind of far it was safe to do. It was funny to seIMG_7754e the locals partying still while we were driving through town. We got to the hotel and of course transition wasn’t open. We just sat there and us girls braided our hairs.

Once transition opened we went into our rituals, air on the tires, fluid setup and then off to the group pictures with the team. Before we knew it we were on the bus on our way to the swim start. We got in the bus with the team. Was pretty cool since we haven’t been with the team but at the same time were all quiet getting in our own zones. Felipe and I did a quick stop in the port-a-potties (read got the race jitters) and then off to get in our corrals. We said our good byes as usual and off he went. I stayed with a group from the team. We stayed pretty close. My swim was simply amazing. The water is so clear and by doing it with the smart start it is less crowded so it feels safer and you don’t get as beat up. Kinda miss the mass start rush but not the beating you take while at it.

IMG_7864I came right where Felipe told me I was going to come out at. I was out in 1:19 which was a 1:52’/100 yds. It is what I was doing during training and also a 9:04′ PR for my swim. I couldn’t be happier.

T1: the usual, however I’m getting faster too. Only 8:31 compared to a 12:26 from IMAZ. I did have a girl help me the entire time.

The bike was as windy as we expected it. I wasn’t too worried about not finishing. I had a good cushion from the swim but I sure was out there more than I wanted. I wanted a 7:00 bike but was there 7:45. The wind at the end was beating us down but I just kept pushing forward. It seemed like the 12 miles into the wind were the longest miles each loop but kept thinking I’ve done worse bikes than this one so let’s wrap it up.

IMG_7950Came back to town and I knew I was done. Just wanted to get my run going, my transition time was faster too 5:55 compared to 6:31 from IMAZ. As fast as my 70.3 transition times (Felipe says that I take too long) I think I’ve paid attention to envisioning transitions prior to the race. It helps making the process smoother. Also helps to have a girl who has her undivided attention for you. She was awesome :).

I was excited to get on the run. I started seeing teammates and I was pumped. Saw finally Felipe during my first loop and he was on the way out for his second. He looked strong. told me he was starting to hurt but he was with a teammate so I knew they would drag each other to the finish. I met with Becky and she was on her second loop too. we did the intervals we used to do in Texas and were keeping a nice pace. Did her second loop and most of the 3rd with her but as she was finishing up she told me to go ahead with out her as I felt stronger than her. I just kept my pace and kicking miles one by one. Before I knew it i was on my third loop and my watch had died closer to 14:20 when I had about 3 miles to go. I kept my pace and all i was envisioning was breaking 14 hours. i knew i had to work hard but it was doable. I came in the shutte and pulled my flag. I couldn’t believe i was going to finish my 4th IM. when i came in to my surprise there he was, Felipe was waiting for me with my medal. After finishing 2I Ms with him it was bittersweet not to hold hands but seeing him at the end was the best, he put my medal around my neck and said you PRed huge. Don’t know how much but it is big. He got me through the shirt, food, and stuff and we just waited there for the rest of our friends to finish. My marathon was 5:39 which was almost 50′ PR to come in at 14:59. That was a 45 min PR overall. I couldn’t have asked for a better race. We can ask for less wind next time but at the end it was a great day out there.

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Being thankful… Family… Friends and Ironman

Meant to post this one yesterday but I guess I got out of the American Airlines wifi signal range before I got to post it…. here it is.

As we sit here at Miami airport waiting to board our flight to Cozumel, my mind is many places. For starters, it is Thanksgiving, so it actually have many things to be thankful for this year. Our move, our jobs, being close to my family, and in general it has been a great year for us. We are healthy and very happy with were we are in our lives.

We celebrated our thanksgiving with my family last weekend since we knew we were going to be flying out today, at least we know we are not the only crazy ones, most of our Texas teammates are also flying today and we can tell this is an Ironman flight.

  The majority of the people you can tell are triathlete or going with a triathlete.

We haven’t spent a thanksgiving with my parents in 2 years, and while it was a week earlier it was nice to know that we could start sharing these moments again.

A little about our trip. We were able to get our trip from Newark through Miami into Cozumel. That meant overnight in Miami. Before we left Newark, we connected with Amy Dixon (Team USA paralympic triathlete) who was going to be signing autographs as part of a gig with United Airlines (thou we flew American). We met her and it was really cool to finally chat with her in person. She is amazing trying to overcome Glaucoma and Uveitis which we have a close connection with through my mother in law. We chatted with her for a bit while she waited for her boyfriend Pierre (Team Canada :)) so in our own little triathlon world it was amazing to meet her and have her send us off.

nonameWe arrived in Miami and we were able to meet a couple of friends, had dinner and it was a pretty uneventful night, as much as Miami night life was starting to go near our hotel, I guess that’s not our thing anymore. Felipe was able to score a pretty good hotel for the night. I guess all those hotel points come in handy on these occasions, even got our room upgraded, too bad we only enjoyed it for one night.

Now I should change how I started… Now we are up it he air, mixed feelings setting in. You know, the usual questions we ask ourselves every time we do one of these. You would think that by the 4th one it gets easier or less nerve wrecking. Err… It isn’t. It feels like the very first one, someone said, if it doesn’t scare you, then the goal isn’t big enough. As much as we know we have put in the training. Or at least most of it, and I think we are in a better place with our minds, bodies and in general. It still gives me those butterflies to know what we are about to do. All I know is I can’t wait to see our IronTex family and share with them one more crazy race.

I’m going to try to post more during the week, and for sure next week from the beach with a well deserved margarita. So until then, just stay tuned to my Facebook and Instagram feeds for quick updates on what we are up to.

Happy Thanksgiving and see you on the other side!

No. 3 in the books…. Ironman Arizona 2014… what a day!!

IMAZ Report…. WINDY!!!!! j/k, here it goes… WARNING: It’s a long one!!!!

Let’s start by saying it has been one of the toughest one of all 3. Yes I know we’ve had our share of tough ones, from broken bones to mechanical failures. This one was hard but couldn’t have asked for an overall better race (I know doesn’t make any sense)… Well maybe less wind and I will spare the details for later.

We started this journey a yeaThe Journeyr ago when we volunteered all day by catching bikes and pointing runners until the last runner was taken out of the course at the 17 mi cutoff. It was an awesome journey, after 2 140.6 in a year we can say that while it wasn’t easy it definitely wasn’t impossible. We had our goals set for each one of our races and we had big dreams but we weren’t going to let our race day(s) be ruined by any setbacks we could encounter and we would make the best out of it regardless of the outcome. That doesn’t mean that we would not try our hardest out there but circumstances change and you simply adapt and keep moving forward.

So as promised here are some of the details of how it went down:

Days leading up to it:
We left home on Wednesday with a short stop overnight in El Paso. Ended up arriving to Tempe at around 2 pm on Thursday. So we were able to check-in at our hotel, dropped off the bikes and went to the Ironman Village to do the athlete check-in

Before we knew it, it was 5:30 pm and we had planned to do the Tribe Multisport Store SweatPink UndepantsUnderpants Run. It seemed like something fun and we had a blast along with other 100 people.

Friday:
We went early to a yoga/stretching session that a guy from the Arizona 2014 FB page had setup. He was pretty amazing as he was going through chemo the entire training and still toed the start line with us. We did that, kinda took it easy afterwards. Then we went to the Tribe Multisport annual party. It’s a pretty cool event. Got to talk to a couple pros and enjoy the tri community in the area. Highly recommend it. After that we went to dinner with Suzy, John, Herb and some friends we met through the Arizona 2014 FB group and then back to the hotel to pack the bags.

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some yoga stretching

Saturday:
Early morning swim, was pretty good. Water didn’t feel cold so we decided it was going to be a sleeveless swim, with a short spin after it. Then it was to the typical bike checkin, bag drop offs, met up the Swim Bike Mom Ambassadors  and heading back to the hotel. We wanted to rest since it had been a couple of intense days. No much rest on the legs. We didn’t really do much from 3 pm until race morning. Fixed nutrition, got dinner takeout and off to bed we went at 8:30.

Sunday:
So the day started pretty earall set to goly. 3:30 am the alarm went off. We wanted to be out of the hotel by 4:15. So it worked out great. We made it to parking at the US airways parking garage by 4:30 and had an awesome spot. That’s a tip for future participants it is free. However make sure you don’t leave your bike outside on your rack even if it is secured. There were a few reported stolen bikes from athletes. We did our normal routine, air on tires, fixed nutrition on the bikes, and off transition into the swim. We located our selves around the middle.

Swim

Although we had gone prepared and had both sleeveless and long sleeve wetsuits, I decided to brave the swim with my sleeveless as the day before during the practice swim, it felt great. Sunday morning the water temperature was about the same (@68 degrees) so sleeveless it was. Felipe and I had planned to start the swimwetsuits on in the middle and stay around each other at the start of the race. We jumped in the water and all I could think about was this water feels great!! We swam under the bridge to be closer to the start of the race and held on to a kayak while waiting for the start.

IMG_7012I realized there were so many people holding onto the kayak that we were floating backwards, so decided to let go, move to the front, and tread water. Cannon went off, we counted to 10, and off we went. I knew Felipe would leave me quickly and remained focused on my swim. I thought this swim was more challenging than IM TX as it took me longer to find an empty spot. I kept swimming into people and looking for open areas, but didn’t actually find one until the turn around. Felipe says it was because my swim has improved so much and I’m faster, but at the time it was just about surviving. Half way through, I heard some girl yell “ow” after I accidentally hit her on the head as she swam into a buoy. To my surprise, shortly after, I see her trying to pass me and then felt her hand on my hand. I guess she couldn’t continue her swim until she got even. Now that’s being on a mission, but I didn’t let that get in my way. Finished my swim strong and headed for the funky stairs that were tough to climb. I had to hop ontofinisherpix_0823_041066 the step, sit down, and then pull myself to stand up while the volunteer with the bright pink wig held me up. Finished strong and PR’d my swim by almost 14 min. Yay!!!

T1

Ran out of the swim into T1, which felt like it was almost a mile away, but was so excited when I heard Herb calling my name! That took my mind off the long run and I ran into the tent. The Volunteers were amazing and super helpful!

Bike

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holding on to the bike

I was looking forward to the bike, knowing that it isn’t my strongest, mainly because they describe it as mostly flat and 3 loops. As soon as I left town, I felt I was going straight into the wind. When I turned onto the Beeline, well Hellooooooo Wind!! All I thought about was who ticked off the Wind Gods as there had been little to no wind the days before. I kept hoping for relief on the later loops, but that never happened. It just got worse. I felt as if I was holding on for dear life to not fall over and doing no more than 9/10mph on a steady incline for 10miles. I was super excited to see Felipe cruising down on the other side and thought there must be relief back into town as people were flying. I did the turn around at the top of the hill and soared downhill. Looked at my watch and clocked 28mph. Wow what a difference!! I got back into town and felt strong ready to brave the remaining loops. I saw Herb and smiled and back out I went! The wind was just as bad or even worse on loop 2 and remember having pulled into an aid station for brief relief from the wind. On my finisherpix_0823_010060third loop, it was unfortunate that I witnessed another athlete have a bike accident. She was on the other side of the road and I was facing the wind, then all I heard was a loud scream and thump. She either had not seen the mile marker or was distracted. Luckily it happened near one of the intersections manned by police who called for assistance. I was shaken a bit as thoughts of our previous accidents came to mind, I slowed down, hoped she would be ok, and kept on fighting with the wind. I use the word fighting because it felt like a mental fight. I was thankful for riding in circles at TMS, but in true IronMan spirit, my mind began to play games, having thoughts about taking more breaks from the wind or worse giving in. I thought about Felipe, remembering how he finished our last race with 2 broken ribs, thought about the team, and about the hours spent training to give up because of some temporary wind. So I sucked it up, snapped out of it, and went to finish with another PR of about 15 minutes.

T2
Pretty similar experience to T1 just faster!!

Run

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Down to business sporting my new Wattie Ink Trucker hat

Going out on the run didn’t feel too bad after such a gruesome bike. I stuck with my intervals and stayed focused. At about mile 2, I saw Felipe and Suzy across the run path. It was awesome to see them and know they were out there already. I felt strong until about mile 8 and then my interval times started fading, becoming more of jog/speed-walking. My IT band was on fire and felt as if I was dragging my leg. Talked to other athletes on the run, compared bike experiences, and shared the same feelings about the wind!!! Ughhhh, The sun started to set, it started to get cooler, stopped by special needs to get my arm warmers, and kept on moving. At mile 15, after enjoying warm chicken broth, I noticed a particular shuffle in the dark that looked familiar….it was Felipe!! I was so glad to have caught up to him and off we went to finish together. As we neared the finish line and heard Mike Reilly, we both smiled and the pain disappeared while we ran down the shute!! Such an exciting feeling and burst of energy to have people cheering as we cross the finish line. I could not have asked for a better way to finish, both of us in one piece, and sealed with a kiss!!

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sweet finish… once again we finish together

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can’t get any better than this

This Ironman experience was #3 for us and this one is especially special as I got news in AZ about a position I put in for. We will be moving to NY. There will probably be more posts about that… definitely will continue to tri, we are far from bored with it and if you are asking yourself if we would do another one… the answer is yes… Bring it Ironman Cozumel 2015

Link

A couple of weeks ago I shared my version of the day and days leading up to our race. Well, Felipe put this video together. It is too good not to share it. Hope you enjoy it

A day to remember: Challenge AC recap

It’s been couple of weeks since Felipe and I finished our second 140.6 distance triathlon at Challenge Atlantic City at the Jersey Shore. We’ve been back to reality and our regular routines, but I find myself always thinking back to our experience in Atlantic City, especially when I need a mental vacation from stress. So Rather than keep thinking about it, here is my recap. (for Felipe’s recap click here)

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With my parents and nephew

The days before the race had been great. We had the chance to have a different experience to Ironman races and for It being an inaugural Challenge event in the US, I must say I enjoyed it and it had a different feel, more laid back and family oriented than Ironman. Felipe, my family, and our awesome friends who came to support us at the race enjoyed spending time on the shore, people watching the many special characters on the boardwalk, and being true triathletes as we met pros including the power ironcouple, Rinny and T.O. It was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by so many triathletes overlooking the jersey shore.

 

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Pic with Rinny and T.O.

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Suited up and ready to go

Race day came quicker than expected. We went by our regular early “getting ready for a race” routine, gathered up most of the troops, and headed to transition. The morning weather was great, the water looked calm, and the normal race jitters could be felt, but Felipe and I were so excited and enjoying the moment….until panic hit me for a sec as it was announced that water temps were in the 80s and “no wetsuits.” Ahhhhh I’ve trained with my lava pants and wetsuit in OWSwims, but not sure how I felt about NO security blanket! Time to breathe, stay positive, and engage in mindfulness! Felipe gives me reassurance it will be ok and says, “I’ll do wetsuit with you!!” Love him to pieces! Within minutes, the Announcer comes back and says they will have a later wave for wetsIMG_5796uits! Sigh of relief! Maybe a European thing since Challenge races are in Europe, but my humble suggestion would be to say “wetsuit optional” instead of “no wetsuits.” The race was off to an amazing start by three Navy seal military officers, two of whom were participating in the race, parachuted into the transition area. What a rush of emotions watching that and pride everywhere!! Bid our farewells to my parents and headed over to the start with our friends. Have I mentioned how amazing they were and so glad they were there to be our IronSherpas!!!

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Only 2 min behind Felipe 🙂 glad I’m out of that treadmill swim

Felipe and I make it through the crowd of fancy wetsuits and by the time we hit the dock, the gun goes off. No time to stall, but just jump in and swim with the crowd. Going out to the first bridge. about .5 mile, seemed fast, no current, and for the first time enjoyed drafting off people. We hit the second buoy and make a turn, and that’s where the fun started. I was in a rhythm, but when I sighted, it felt I wasn’t moving far. Well that’s because we all had a strong head current for the next 2 miles. I used other swimmers to sight off of since there weren’t that many buoys and we had sun glare the entire time. Half way through my swim, I hit a turnaround and because the current was so strong, I couldn’t manage to get around one of the buoys. I swam and it seemed to keep moving away from me. Later found out that the buoy was moving because it was loose due to the current. I freaked out a bit as I noticed I started getting tangled in the cords and fought to get out of there. Another swimmer had stopped to make sure I got out as she had the same issue. Now all I could think about was where is the finish and I so ready to get out. I look at my Garmin and I’m at 1.8 miles. I felt so disoriented in the water due to the many turns we had to make and the current. Breathe, focus, and swim Res! I remembered wise words from our coach, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” Finally saw the dock and headed for it. Gathered myself to get on some fancy floating decks, which volunteers helped with and went to transition. Our friend yells at me as I go to transition that Puli is ahead of me by 2 min. I thought he was kidding at first, but as I run out to get my bike, I see our team bike jersey and got super excited. I yell at my love and we are both relieved to see each other. We bike out together and start our 112 mile journey together. At about mile 10, Felipe goes off and tell him I’ll see him on the run. I felt strong and realized we had a tailwind while riding on the AC Expressway and the weather was great.

Starting the bike together...

Starting the bike together…

Enjoyed the first half of the ride and rode through some scenic blueberry fields in Hammonton. On my second loop, at about mile 70, pulled into special needs and again saw our Irontex jersey at a distance and couldn’t believe Felipe was there. But quickly I realized something must be wrong as Felipe is strong and me catching up to him isn’t typical. As I get closer, I worry as his jersey was torn and his compression sleeves were bloody from his knee. What happened???? I’m so amazed at his strength, focus, dedication, and endurance as he has ridden like this since having had the bike spill at mile 28. That’s my bad ass hubby! He was determined to continue and finish! Off we go again and keep a comfy pace with him behind me. It wasn’t the best feeling to know he was hurt and in pain, but knowing we were together helped and I knew I had to stay strong to get us back safely to T2. Easier said than done. We hit the AC Expressway back and smack in our face is a ridiculous head wind…for about 30 miles. Talk about mental strength needed! I felt I was barely moving and the heat wasn’t helping, but knew I couldn’t give in. We finally make it back to bike transition and we are so happy to see our friends at bike in! We head to the medical tent to get Felipe checked out and I’m hopeful that they can tell him he can continue on the run. The volunteers were awesome, clean his wounds, and bandage him up. I knew our run was going to be more of a walk, but I was going to stay with Felipe and finish this together. He wasn’t giving up!!! We figured out what we needed to do to make it to the finish and I knew my speed walking would get us in, but wasn’t sure how Felipe would do. Nothing else to do, but to move forward.

IMG_5930We were off to the boardwalk and on a mission to finish. Being on the boardwalk was different than most of our previous races as there were so many people to watch, but also became a bit stressful. It was amazing to see the ignorance of some people as they were clueless about the race, gave us weird looks when they found out what the athletes were doing, and felt like an obstacle course as at times it felt as we had to weave through people. Nonetheless I stayed focused and kept Felipe going. I could feel him fading as it got later and did anything I could to pump him up and give him energy. I thought about ways to distract him from the pain and seeing our family and friends on the boardwalk helped! On our last loop, we talked about life, our plans, travels, and our craziness in doing Tris together!! Wouldn’t change it for anything. We knew we were close to the finish and pushed together! We crossed holding our Colombian flag and relieved to have made it! I am so proud of Felipe for his mental and physical strength! This was definitely an experience and a memorable race for us, but soooo blessed and happy we finished together. So thankful and glad to have had our family and IronSherpas – Becky, Jenny, and Brian there for support! The night wasn’t over as I knew we had to most likely go to the hospital to get Felipe checked out. It was all good though as we accomplished our goal together and are proud to call ourselves 2 x Ironman distance finishers! Ironcouples rock!

Priceless Finish with the love of my life....

Priceless Finish with the love of my life….