Ironman Santa Rosa

LEAD UP TO RACE: 

The week before leaving for California, I was finishing up my internship, submitting projects, and taking finals. During this week, I was also preparing to move while also packing to leave town for 2 weeks (and race an Ironman!). There was a lot going on at once.

First item moved and set up in new apartment. Of course.

I was also offered a job during this time which brought on a slu of good and bad stress. I ultimately declined it as it wasn’t quite right for me. The offer did bring a lot of conversations to the surface between my family and I about what I want for myself and what aspects of a job really appeal or don’t appeal to my personality. It is not as though I had never given thought to this, but it is a little different when there is a tangible offer on the table. Truly, I did not give myself much time to think at all this semester. So, it was nice to open this kind of conversation with the people who know me best (even if it was at a crazy time!)

Our move: Fueled by coffee and Trader Joe bags

I was really stressed about moving the weekend prior to the race. Moving is tiring and time consuming no matter what. Steve would disagree, but I think we are as minimal as two triathletes could be. I mean, the gear needed for tri is just extensive but for god sake everything in our personal clothing closet fit into one suit case! I keep telling him this is rare ….especially for a female 😂 (someone back me up on this!?)  I did a lot of the brunt work Friday alone as Steve was at work. I am happy my schedule allows for flexibility and that I was able to begin the process as it felt overwhelming to complete in one day.

I could finally breathe a bit by Friday evening after most things were moved. I still felt I had so much to do though and was worried about making time to see my family before leaving town. My stress was put to ease when my family (including my sister) surprised Steve and I by taking us to breakfast then helping us move. It was really sweet of them as I could think of a thousand other things they could’ve been doing. It is very true of our family dynamic though.. We all have such different life paths and passions, but at the end of the day we are just all in & on board no matter what to help each other reach our goals. …Even if it means sacrificing a beautiful sunny day to scrub an old apartment bathroom!

By Sunday, we were a little more settled into our new space. I spent Monday and Tuesday running errands and packing for my trip (while also unpacking from the move). I began to feel guilty as I realized I was leaving Steve at a fairly crucial time in his Ironman training.

We stagger our big races like this so that we can support one another and pick up slack from the around the house (cooking, laundry, ect) so the other person can focus on work and training. He was ahhhhmazing support for me during my big weeks. I mean…dinner on the table as I am finishing a long trainer ride at 8PM.. waking up earlier than me to have coffee on the table before I can even think. Not complaining about the disaster our bedroom and apartment had become in the month or two leading into this race.

 

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Anyway, I was realizing that I would not be there for him in these weeks the way he was for me. I tried to do small things in preparation for this. Made a batch of cold brew, stocked the food, put things away around our apartment.

NIGHT BEFORE LEAVING & FREAK ACCIDENT

Tuesday night, I headed to my parent’s after track to pack my bike and sleep before my early morning flight. After the bike was packed, I began loading the car. One less thing to worry about in the morning.. As I went to lift the box into the trunk, I realized I had an awkward hold. I struggled for a moment before sliding it into the trunk.

I felt some pain in my right arm but I didn’t think much of it. I went inside and was talking to my mom when all of a sudden, my tricep balled right around my elbow where I had felt the initial pain. It was excruciating and I was suddenly scared as I looked to assess the damage. There was a lump where the muscle had balled and I wasn’t sure what the best plan of action was. Ultimately, I went to bed hoping it would feel better in the morning.

I woke up to the pain about an hour before my alarm. I tried to ice my arm a bit as there was noticeable swelling. We left for the airport and I began realizing I may have a fairly large problem on my hand. I was having trouble lifting and carrying my luggage in my right hand at all. It was even painful to hold my water bottle. I winced as I carried everything to the check in counter and felt relieved to get some of these items checked and off of my hands. Once on the plane, I went to put my backpack into the overhead bin and just kind of froze holding the backpack in my good arm as I realized I couldn’t lift it over my head without my right arm. I reluctantly asked for assistance and sank into my chair, fearful for what this meant for the race.

9 Days after injury/6 days after race…

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There is still some swelling and bruising. It is tender but much better now than it was prior to the race.

THREE DAYS UNTIL RACE DAY

I landed in CA and we almost immediately went to Heather’s chiropractor for her appointment. Her chiropractor, Dr Cooper, worked for Ironman for many years and is use to working with athletes (Even stubborn ones that say “I know I am hurt, I am racing anyway”) She was kind enough to take a look at my arm while we were there. She poked around in my tricep (thought I was going to throw up it was so painful) and had me test putting different amounts of weight and force on it. She told me there was definitely a tear and that there wasn’t too much we could do before the race. She hooked me up to red light therapy to reduce swelling and gave me some CBD cream which helped. I face timed Nathan, my PT at home, and he also gave me his opinion and a few things I could do to gain some mobility back in the next few days. (Did I mention I couldn’t straighten my arm from the swelling?)

Nathan giving me some exercises to gain some mobility back

It hurt. I knew racing would hurt. But we didn’t dwell on it… because why dwell on it? It was an unchanging factor at that point. I was just so baffled I made it through an entire move and then hurt myself lifting my bike box. Anyway. Moving on.

TWO DAYS UNTIL RACE DAY

Heather knows how to do panckaes. Size of your face!

Coffee and a little walk!

Thursday, Heather and I met with Meredith for one final briefing to go over our plan(s) of attack for the race. It was good to talk it through and also to just have some chill girl time with good, strong female energy!! It is what I needed. (And hello.. so inspiring MBK just raced Ironman Texas then St George 70.3 seven days later where she had her all time fastest bike split… amazing. I felt like being in her presence alone was giving me good race juju haha)

Heather, Coach MBK and I grabbing coffee

Amanda also got into town this day and we had pizza with Jennifer (@JBirdRuns) which was super fun! Then I took my last final…. twice (had technical difficulties and had to totally re do it which SUCKED. But… what a relief to have it done!)

ONE DAY UNTIL RACE DAY

Friday morning, Steve got to Heather’s house and we immediately loaded up the car to head to Santa Rosa. The goal was to streamline the check in process as much as possible so we could check into the hotel and get off of our feet. H and I signed up for tri bike transport so that we did not have to worry about driving our bikes to T1 (as it would’ve taken another 1.5 hours of driving round trip! For anyone doing IMSR in future, I would highly recommend this) So we brought our bikes to check in (also where T2 and the finish line are) and dropped them off with tri bike transport, checked in, dropped off our transition bags and headed to Whole Foods for lunch.

James Osullivan, Matt Miller, Steve and I getting our pre race hydration on at the Base tent!

Locked and loaded! Ready to race!

I stuck to safe staple items I regularly eat.. brown rice, beans, ect! I always try my best to keep food as regular as I can while traveling as race week is not the time to try new foods. I am also aware of my fiber consumption leading into a race. I typically cut all greens the day prior and try to minimize it even 2 days prior. Lots of brown. lots of carbs 😎

Once at the hotel, we unpacked and laid things out for the race. We went to take our flat Rachael and Heather picture and realized we had checked in all of our gear already. So we threw our kits on and opted for the real deal haha We ate dinner downstairs in the lobby. The options were not phenomenal but it was really nice to not have to get out again.

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Flat Rachael and Heather

Amanda was our professional Tri Tat applier!

RACE MORNING

Race morning I felt fairly calm and dialed. I felt good, physically, despite my tricep. Mentally, I knew I was prepared. I knew what the pain would feel like. I knew where I needed to be, what I needed to eat, pay attention to, ect. I just needed to execute.

Heather and I placed our nutrition on our bikes and pumped up our tires before heading to the swim start. Lake Sonoma is breathtakingly beautiful. Clear water. It was a chilly, calm morning and it was perfect. H and I hugged one last time and headed to our starting positions. I got to the front when I realized my group had already been released to the water. I ducked under the rope and ran, heart pounding, down to the edge of the water where we still had a minute or two before start. All of a sudden, a cannon went off and the volunteers began releasing groups of athletes into the water. About 5 people were released every few seconds off of the boat ramp. I was familiar with this type of start as this is what was done at 70.3 Worlds last year. It is nice as it allows some space and less chaos.

I saw Jacki Cronin at the start. Her smiling face and hug helped to ease the race jitters!

I took a deep breath and cleared my mind one last time. The only sneaking doubt I had was in my ability to swim with my tricep. I had not swam since injuring it 4 days prior as it was more important to me to allow the swelling to release than it was to irritate it more by “testing it out.” My wave entered the water and I was surprised to feel fairly smooth through the water.

Prior to the start, I began questioning if I should start with a later group as I knew my goal to break an hour (which I think would’ve been totally within reach for my fitness) was likely out the window due to the lack of mobility I had in my right arm. However, I was happy to have started with the group I had planned to as I still felt like I was weaving to get around some and was keeping pace well with others. The swim was two loops. When we finished the first, we got out ran around a timing mat then went back in for a second loop.

I am the pink cap in the middle. Somehow George and Tristan kept eyes on me through the entire swim. They took this from the bridge on the second loop of the swim.

The second loop was a mess because there were sooo many more people and paces at play. I was cautious to give people space. That is, unfortunately, the nature of the two loop swim. You catch later groups. You exert energy to go around others. It’s whatever. Take it in stride. Be mindful of others and their space and know that everyone is out there with the same goal!

Swim Time: 1:02:23

I didn’t see my time when I exited, but figured it was 1:15+ due to the pain I felt in my tricep and the way I felt swimming (not goo) so I was happy to later learn I swam a 1:02.

T1

If anyone thought the ramp in T1 at 70.3 worlds in Chattanooga was bad, you have never raced Ironman Santa Rosa. This T1 was insane. We ran out of the swim up a boat ramp and onto a road stretched almost a fourth mile and turned slightly before you ran into transition. We’re talking a like 7% grade hill. Most people were walking it and I don’t blame them as it was an aggressive exit to a swim! I ran it because I was just like.. This needs to end. Now.

BIKE

I exited transition and was ready to get out on the bike course as I love biking more than anything. The air was cool and I was hoping this would be the case for a while. Within the first mile, I hit a bump and my front hydration went flying then rolling down the hill behind me. Great start lol I stopped, unclipped, biked down the hill and retrieved my bottle. I thought briefly about leaving it, but knew I would lose more time by not having the hydration later.

Coming out of T1. You can see my nutrition on it’s way out… I ended up losing almost everything on the ride. Always important to be prepare to use on course fuel!!

I also noticed when I got back on that my back brake was rubbing. This was my fault for not looking over my bike that morning as I am sure it got jostled in tri bike transport to the T1 area. I was mad at myself for not thinking about this. It is just not something I normally have to do. I didn’t think I could fix it even if I did get off, so I just submitted to it and hoped the pad would shave down a bit as the day went on.

And, you know, since bad things come in 3s.. I was also trying to decide if my back tire was flat or not. I had literally just filled it before the swim and just had a mechanic look it over the day prior, but it was a borrowed wheel that I had never ridden before/was not use to.

……borrowed wheel that I had never ridden BECAUSE Southwest put a hole in my Enve wheel when traveling to CA by sending it down the luggage chute… Yes where oversized luggage aka carbon bikes that you’ve paid $75 to fly as oversized luggage do not go… I have a claim submitted. So annoying!

Luckily… kind friends to the rescue with a loaner wheel!!! Thank you Jason!!

Hole in our Enve wheel

Tim looking over my bike to make sure everything was good to go with the borrowed wheel

Anyway, I kept thinking it felt… odd. But…  I figured it just rode differently than I was use to. I decided to pay attention to it but to not stop right away as I would’ve been really bummed to stop again (had already stopped to retrieve my front hydration) to find nothing was wrong.

We had a few aggressive FAST downhills in the beginning. I was suddenly very aware that I had only ridden outside 4 times leading into this race as my bike handling skills were there… but rusty. I played it a bit cautious on the downhills as I didn’t know the roads (zero course recon.. whoops!) And… I am always very aware that not everyone is very aware. There can often be a lot of chaos coming out of transition…People are excited, trying to eat, get situated on bike, ect so I always err on the side of caution around people in those beginning miles!

Bike course set up:

We rode one arm out of T1 that connected us to the big loop. We rode one side of the loop up to Santa Rosa. We rounded the loop then rode down the other side of it all the way back to the initial arm out of T1. From there, we rode the first section of the loop again ending at a second arm that we didn’t ride the first time. This arm took us into T2 in Santa Rosa.

Smiling all day! I love racing and I love seeing Steve on the course!

The course was beautiful. It was still nice and cool and the sun was just peaking over all of the hills. Such a beautiful course. I began hydrating as I knew it would get hot, soon. The temperatures were projected to be in the mid 80s but were said to feel like 90. Unfortunately, I had lost all water when my front hydration fell off so I relied on my electrolyte concentrate in my bottles and Clif real food until I could get to aid.

I was having a lot of fun. I saw Steve, Amanda and Bev a lot. I am honestly not sure how they navigated the course so well and caught both Heather and I in so many places but to all spectators… It is do-able!!. I also saw George and Tristan quite a bit. They came out to get some shots for our film project we’ve been working on for the past two years. They would drive next to me and made me laugh for a few seconds in passing- I loved it. It was fun to see them.

The roads were, however, realllllly r o u g h in areas. Many of the roads were a more chipseal texture that frequently accommodated farming equipment. Lot of pot holes. Lot of weird ridges where the concrete was morphed. It was a little scary to be honest!! I saw more people with flats, changing flats, or in the back of a bike tech support car pulling out of the race due to a crash (One of the tech cars passed me with 3 broken, crashed bikes in the back) So.. my main goal was to be aware and not end up in that car, too.

Moving back to this seemingly flat back wheel of mine… I was pretty confident at this point that it was losing air. We later learned it was losing air as the morning after the race it was at 20 PSI. I’m not sure what the PSI was when I was riding, but this paired with the brake rubbing cost me huge time on this course and I am disappointed in that. I wanted to ride a 5:15-5:20 on this course and believe that would’ve been very attainable had these issues not been present or better handled.

BUT… That is part of this sport! Making sure your equipment is solid and ready to go. It doesn’t matter if you’re fit and ready to race if your bike isn’t! My lesson here.

Despite this, I was having a great ride. I was told at one point I was 9th overall female but was never entirely sure nor was I sure where I was in my age group. Steve yelled a few times and I caught once (I thought??) that I was 20 minutes behind a girl in my age group.

It changed nothing though. Hearing that from Steve or not hearing anything – I was doing the best I could the smartest way I knew and I wouldn’t have changed my effort had I known my placement or not. Around mile 60, I passed the girl he mentioned, exchanged encouragement and continued to put time between us for the remainder of the ride.

I was over the half way point and feeling strong. It was starting to get hot, but I was really really happy with how I was managing the heat, my effort and the course. Feeling strong in the back half of the bike (despite the time reflection) is HUGE for me as it is so so easy to take out the first half too fast. Time trial hero… been there… learned from that!

A shot Tristan took from their car out on the course.

I had trained with power all winter on my Wahoo. I wasn’t sure how this would translate to outdoor riding (as I don’t have a power meter on my bike) and I have to admit, it was strange going from numbers to perceived effort and trusting that I knew what this would feel like. But…. I continued to feel surprised during the bike at how STRONG I felt and how in tune with this effort I was. I really credit that to Meredith.

I mean listen.. I rode 4 times outside. Longest ride was maybe slightly under 90 miles. So I mean… I had some concerns! But cumulatively… we put in SOOO much work.. so I never doubted it would come together. I have NEVER been challenged more than I was the minute MBK took reign of my training. Friday’s we had 2-3 hour often very HARD trainer ride followed by a long ride (frequently working in sweet spot paces and intervals) the next day. A Sunday AM 4-6k swim followed by a long interval run ranging from 12-18 miles. Not to mention the beef during the week. I was happy to see this transfer over to my strength and energy as I raced.

Miles 60-75 were probably my worst miles. I couldn’t pee on my bike for whatever reason. (This has never been an issue!) After slowing to try 3 times and failing, I finally got off of my bike to go. My torso was so sore and uncomfortable in aero by this point so it was a huge relief once I stopped. I was a little under caloried as it began to get hotter (and I began needing more energy to cool myself down) and a little under hydrated because I had felt so full of fluid I refrained from taking more in. The difference between this race and races in the past though is that I KNEW this and was very intimately in tune with these signs.

Amanda cheering us on in her Boom Pow leggings!

Most of my food had dropped out of my back pockets. Like I mentioned earlier, there are a ton of bumps and railroad crossings on the course and my nutrition had flown at various times. I stuffed what remained (2 jels) down my bra to protect them. This is why you always pack extra nutrition OR are prepared to use what is at aid!!

Miles 80-95 were probably my best miles (in terms of how I felt!) I found myself smiling thinking about that as it as that is SO typical of endurance racing! Your worst and best miles can totally be sandwiched together. It is important to remember that as the high points and low points always come and go and it’s important to remain strong & smart through both.

The last 20 miles were the hardest. My tire was definitely low by this point and the wind had reallllly started to pick up. I felt for those who were not as close to the finish as the wind can really play factor in your day. I made friends with a girl in the last 12 miles. We were both ready to run.

Bike time: 5:42:41

Horrible quality picture I took from an instagram story. Running into T2

T2:

I was so happy to be off of my bike. My tricep was throbbing from the jostling and bumps on the course and my back was tight from climbing. It felt good to be upright!!

I chugged a half bottle of hydration mix in T2. SO happy I packed this!! I shoved what nutrition I had packed into my bra, threw on my race belt & shoes then hugged my volunteers who helped me through transition and headed out to the course.

I was kind of torn on how I felt about the day so far. I didn’t know what my swim time was at this point, but didn’t think it was anything to celebrate. And I was conflicted about my bike outcome. I was really proud of my effort and how I managed the course and heat, but at the same time, I knew my mechanical issues really hurt my time.

Regardless, I was having fun. It all felt like my own little celebration dance and I didn’t pay the details too much attention. (Of course that competitor in you is always analyzing everything in the back of your mind though!) I decided if I walked away with one beautiful, well executed piece of the day, it would be my run. So I made it my goal to make this mine.

RUN:

Run course was 3 loops. We ran some road, some gravel, but mostly we were on a concrete bike path. Mostly shaded. Lot of aid. YES. Mentally, I love looped courses and this one I could tell would be amazing for spectator support. I love that as I get sooooo much energy from other people.

LOOP 1:

My GPS hadn’t caught yet, so I was running blind on noodle legs. Probably too fast. Pretty typical off the bike. I found the girl I had briefly befriended at the end of the bike. We were trying to figure out what pace we were running. Finally, my GPS caught and we settled into 7:50/8s together. Her name is Ginny Meadway and she’s a bad ass mom and athlete. We ran together for about 5 miles. Some small talk, but mostly we just ran with a mutual understanding & similar goal time in mind.

I saw MBK at the far end of the first loop just like we planned. She was cracking me up: running alongside me with MAK strapped to her chest. It was amazing.

Eventually, Ginnny and I split off from one another and I ran solo. I was kind of shocked how easy this felt. I mean don’t get me wrong, I knew it would get harder. But I found myself caught between feeling really excited about that and also a little scared as I had never ran this fast (fast for me!) in an Ironman marathon before. We were running into unchartered territory.

I had a goal to run a 3:30, but did not voice this to many as I just didn’t know if it was attainable. MBK told me it was. It is what I had trained for, after all. I just did’t know what would happen. The fastest I had run an Ironman marathon prior was 4:21:22 and the fastest open marathon I had run WAS a 3:30:51 Fall of 2016. After finishing the first loop strong though, I knew I could do this. I saw Steve and gave him the silent nod that I was going for it.

SECOND LOOP:

The second loop, I put my game face on. And by game face I mean I continued to smile, laugh, thank people and love every moment!!! But at the same time, I was a woman on a god damn mission. I was holding consistent pace and still felt great all around (although with the spacing of timing mats and aid stations… it looked like paces were all over the place on the app! I was looking at it afterwards thinking how concerned people must have been seeing some of these come across).

I was diligent about my nutrition. 2 waters, Clif jel, Red Bull and ice in the boobs at almost every aid. I didn’t always take a jel, but tried to hit 200kcal an hour collectively. I ran through most stations in the first loop and started speed walking the aid on the second and third loop to ensure I was really getting everything I needed. (Easy to miss hands with volunteers, miss your mouth with water whatever) I use to be against walking aid with the belief that it would be hard to get my momentum going again, but found I really had no problem with this and enjoyed the break to fuel.

Fueling has always been my limiting factor. (Kona 2015.. Ironman Boulder 2016..) I learned, over time, that I sweat a LOT and that I am a fairly salty sweater. I feel happiest with 2 or more 24 oz bottles an hour on the bike and about 1 bottle + an hour of liquid on the run. I also learned I need far more calories than I had been giving myself. I was shooting for about 270 on the bike and 200 an hour on the run. Prior to last year, I had been shooting for about 210 and 150. MBK helped whip this into shape and I KNEW it would be the deciding factor on how this marathon went.

I could tell I needed to eat the minute I saw my pace drop. Without fail, I would have a jel and within a few minutes I’d be back to where I wanted to be. I also ate any time I started having negative thoughts, feeling tired OR any time I thanked a volunteer and it came out a little slurred (this really happened 😂) and calories fixed it every time.

THIRD LOOP:

I saw MBK on the second and third loop. Our small exchanges did so much for my heart and spirit. There were so many moments in training where I doubted myself going into a workout or going into a week and her belief in me helped me to fight through. This was no different and I really could never tell her how much this meant to me.

The third loop hurt, but not the way I imagined it would. I spent a lot of this time reflecting on how I got to this place. Not to loop 3 of the run, but more so to this place in my life. Graduating. Finishing another Ironman.

I thought about my parents. For whatever reason, I kept thinking about how my dad and I use to sit on the front porch during thunder storms when I was little. I was always so scared of them and this was always his solution. It wasn’t until looking back on this that I realized, all along, he was teaching me to face my fears head on. I thanked him in my head for this as I continued to fight through the back half of this marathon.

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Dad and I before my first Ironman

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Mom & I 2015

He and my mom have always worked to give me the tools needed to succeed and I guess, while running towards this Ironman/graduation finish line, I felt like I was holding a pretty solid tool box. The kind you carry in your heart. Full of lessons. Full of values and principles that may have been intended to guide your childhood behaviors but really ended up being the cornerstone in which you live your life from. (and race your heart out from!!)

I thought about Brandon. For those long time followers of my blog, you may know him as my “boyfriend” from Kona in 2015. Everyone, including our air bnb hosts, thought we were dating (as he loved to tell people we were). He was the reason I reenrolled in classes after declaring my college drop out in all its dramatic finality. He is one of the few people who can totally call me on my bull shit and make me listen to reason and I love him for that.

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I thought about Steve, a lot. He’s been the one person who truly sees day in and day out what I’ve dealt with, what I’ve overcome, what I struggle with… and nothing compares to having the person that knows you on those levels there with you. All it takes is one look and I know that he sees me & believes in me.

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I made my way off of the trail and onto the road heading to the final stretch before the finish. I couldn’t believe it was here. (My legs could) Steve handed me my graduation cap as I rounded the last corner into the finish chute. Some spectators along the railing erupted in cheer as they realized what was in my hand and what the finish line meant for me. I couldn’t stop smiling. I ran through the finish, cap and head held high.

finish line

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Jacki Cronin THANK YOU for these!!

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IMSR finish

Robbie Thank you for this!

 

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KoKo on her way to her finish and 30 min run PR!!! Not the overall race she wanted but so so proud of her. Always impressed by her GRIT even when the going gets tough.

IMSR finish 2

Tristan Gambling Thank you for this!!

RUN TIME: 3:29:37

FINAL TIME: 10:22:23

I am so happy. It wasn’t perfect. There are places I could’ve improved. But I gave MY best in every. single. moment. of that day. That is what I set out to do, and that is what I achieved.

THINGS TO CELEBRATE:

-Despite my tricep, I managed to shave 2 minutes off of my best swim time. Thank you MBK for those Sunday sessions with claws and to Roka, as always, for helping me #FindFaster !!

-I added time to my best bike split. (SAD!!) But think I could have cut 15 minutes from my best without the mechanical issues as my fitness was THERE! Counting that as a WIN!

-I cut 46 minutes off of my best total Ironman time which I am stoked about

-Although early in the year, I am currently ranked 1st in my AG in the world in the full Ironman distance which is rad

-Stat I am most proud of, however…. I cut 50 minutes off of my best Ironman marathon. and….. 1.5 seconds off of my best open marathon time. (October 2016: 3:30:51) This took a lot heart and gusto.. The power of the mind and body continues to amaze me.

DREAM. BELIEVE. ACHIEVE.

 

It reallllllly hurt me to DNF at Ironman Boulder in 2016. Not many people know this.. But – I woke up to an email from Meredith (who was not coaching me at the time) the day after my DNF. She talked about similar experiences she had, her failures, how she dealt with them. She told me it was OK. She validated the way I felt. I cried a lot. And you know what her email made me do? I left my pity part and went to the awards ceremony to congratulate those I raced against. Because that is what you do. Good day or bad, you carry yourself with integrity and you hold your head high no matter the outcome. I have ALWAYS respected MBK for this and always worked to hold myself to those standards.

It took a lot of time and space for me to put my heart back into an Ironman, again. I had planned to focus on shorter distance races prior my DNF, however, I think a large part of me staying away from the full distance was really just that I was scared to fail, again.

So… I’m really proud of this.

I am going back to Kona this year. I have learned so much about myself as a person and athlete since toeing the line last (2015) and I look forward to giving this another go!!

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So. Many. Thank you’s.

My parents for helping me pursue my college education. For supporting me, always. No matter what the goal has been or how many times it has changed.. or how many times I’ve fallen short.. They’ve always been there for me, loving me 10 times over.

My family and friends. I can’t say enough.. To everyone who understands this crazy sport and to those who do not and support me all the same anyway.. I love you all!

Heather & Nick for opening their home to Steve & I while we were in California

Jason for so quickly and selflessly loaning me his ENVE wheel last minute when mine was damaged by Southwest.

Tim for looking over my bike for me before the race!

Dr. Cooper for taking her time to look at my tricep the day I got to California. It gave me piece of mind to know what the problem was!!

George & Tristan for making the trek out to Santa Rosa to watch and film my race.

Coach Dave Shiffer for the amazing coaching and guidance in the pool. Moving to South KC and swimming with your group has been the best thing for both Steve and I!

Coach MBK for extending her wisdom, heart, guidance to me this year. I cannot speak enough to how well  prepared I was stepping to this start line: Body, mind, spirit. You are to credit for this and I am so grateful for you!

Nathan at Running Mate KC – Nathan has been my strength coach this year. He has played a HUGE role in my fitness this year. I cannot give him enough credit for how smooth I felt in my stride and posture coming off of the bike!!!

My training partners in KC:

Track Tuesday group- Tara, Liz, Lindsey,  Taylor, Quinn, Emily, Kelsey, Jeff, Steve… Too many to name. I spent so many nights chasing these guys. It is amazing to train alongside people who push you, laugh with you, go stuff their face with tacos with you afterwards!

Everyone at Masters – Kevin, Gilad, Steve (again! haha we hang out a lot!) Taylor, Julia.. again too many to name! So amazing that we have 50+ people in the water at 5AM twice a week. What a group!

Kc Endurance – Jeremy, Jessica.. You have created such an amazing space and community around running here in KC. Thank you for providing us with a fun, controlled environment to run (especially when training for an Ironman in the winter!) and for being such great friends to us all.

My sponsors:

Specialized Zwift Academy Tri Team

-Specialized and Zwift have been such amazing companies to work with. Zwift has been monumental in my bike training this year. With limited time, Zwift has really helped me to make each session a quality sessions.

-Specialized – I look forward to visiting HQ this coming month!!

Clif Bar – Thank you for fueling our adventures!

Wahoo – again.. monumental!! I do not have a power meter on my bike, but thanks to my wahoo I am able to train with power on my trainer. It has been the best investment I have made in my training.

Roka – Cannot thank you enough for all you do for me. I have worked with Roka for 3 years now and they continue to amaze me with the quality and durability of their products. My wetsuit has helped me to shave time off of my swim, yet again!

And this year…. I was able to race with Roka with me all day! My kit was amazing. Loved my SL-1 customs on the bike & phantoms on the run. Seriously knocked it out of the park with these!!

Panache – Thank you for providing me with quality kits this year!! I am constantly complimented – especially on our Boom Pow leggings!

Thank you to those who take the time to read my blogs. Those who take time to follow my journey, send me notes, wish me luck and encouragement. What an amazing community of people I am surrounded by. Love to ALL! xx

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