I can’t believe it’s mid-August already, where did Summer go? Have you noticed evening daylight slowly creeping away earlier and earlier each night? Agh, Summer and triathlon season, nearing its end.

My focus in August has been increasing my run mileage and getting in some speed work and hill work in preparation for The Madison Mini Marathon (this Saturday), Redman 70.3 at the end of September, and The Haunted Hustle 26.2 at the end of October. My focus has had a rough start.

The first week of increased mileage and intensity brought a shock to my calves, shins, knees, basically everything. It all hurt. The second week I overdid the strength training and had achy hamstrings for six straight days. My recovery week long run of 10 miles brought on all kinds of self doubt that I battled for days. I questioned why I do this? Will I ever improve? Do my crazy, ridiculous life-long dream goals even make sense to have?dreams Of course my crazy, ridiculous dream-goals are worth having. If your goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough…What a silly quote really. Small goals are just as important. Mine just happens to be big and scary, and maybe even unattainable for me.

Anyway, back to the subject of focusing on improving my run in August. I’m onto the third week, and so far so good. I got in a good quality track workout tonight with a sub 9 five mile run. I haven’t seen sub 9 in a long time. Run, stumble, fall, get back up, keep running. There’s a quote. shit

I’ll tackle a brick workout tomorrow, Thursday is TBD, and Friday will have a shakeout run and a ride before the Madison Mini. It’s kind of strange how I often run better the day after a bike ride. Triathlete legs. These triathlete legs have work to do, and sleep to get.

Good night.

Wausau Woodson Triathlon

It feels like I’ve been chasing an age group award in short course triathlon for quite some time. I haven’t been on any specific plan to accomplish it, but I knew it was possible. Earlier this Summer I came close with 6th at Capitol View Triathlon and 4th at Triterium Triathlon, which technically should have been 3rd, but I won’t revisit that mix up right now. Instead I want to celebrate my first age group award at Wausau Woodson YMCA Triathlon!

Wausau Woodson Triathlon is a course that I did in 2011, I was in a younger age group at that point, 29! It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing triathlons that long. It’s kind of crazy that it took me five years to place considering how often I read “I did my first triathlon today and won an age group award!” by other triathlon bloggers. Oh my god, it was driving me crazy reading that over and over while I’ve been trying so hard to get there!

A brief recap of the race…


The swim is in a very small man-made lake. The water was warm enough to go without a wetsuit, and I knew it was a beach start swim. Knowing this I practiced running into a lake and swimming as fast as possible the week prior. I’m glad I did! I got in front of my wave, and when they yelled “Go!” I flung myself into the water and swam fast. No breathing or heart rate issues! I got out in 7:07, my fastest 400 yard swim split this year, and possibly to date!

T1 was 1:30, didn’t bother with bike gloves or socks for a short course.

The bike course was 17 miles. I didn’t remember it being this hilly five years ago, I was not mentally prepared for the hills the course had! It was also a bit windier than I expected. I was passing people, but also getting passed by girls that I assumed were in my age group. They don’t mark your age on your calf at this race, it was hard to know! Somewhere around mile eight I gave up a little mentally. My moment of “quit” lasted briefly, I got my head on right and did what I could to get my average mph up! Off the bike with 17.5 mph average.

T2 was 1:40, had to finagle with socks for the run!


This is the start of the run

The run is flat and offers no shade from the sun. It was getting hot! I did my best not to let the heat bother me and ran as strong as I could. First split was 8:44, not where I wanted to be. Second split was 9:14, crap, slowing down wasn’t what I wanted to do either! Third was 8:43, total 5k time 27:07. It was tough to run strong and stay mentally strong while not knowing how old anyone was out there. The other tricky part was that the waves were at random, not by age. I wasn’t confident that I had a chance at an age group award during the run.

After I finished I went to the bus where the preliminary results were posted and I was second. I knew not to get too excited about that because there was a couple waves behind mine. I tried to eat the complimentary lunch, but I was so anxious waiting for the final results. We re-checked several times and my placing didn’t budge. It wasn’t until they started to announce the age group winners that it became real.

She announced the 30-34 third place winner and my heart was pounding. I was shooting for third to begin with. When she announced my name as second my heart pounded harder, but I was so relieved! And so HAPPY!! Finally!!

I was 11th overall female out of 63, and 2nd in my age group out of 6. Yes, it’s a small race, but it doesn’t make this any less meaningful to me. It makes me want to continue to keep working on improving myself, and maybe go back again in five years to get first!


The award was a bottle of Root beer and some moisture wicking socks.

Our Own Team

This morning I quietly slid out of bed and did my best not to disturb the dogs and spouse so they could sleep in. I hopped on my bike at 7:00am. This just might be a record time on a Sunday for me. I didn’t have a plan, any certain mileage to get, I just wanted to get out there! I rode from my home to the stem of the Ironman WI bike course. The roads were all mine!

After the ride I slid into my running shoes to make it a brick. The first few seconds of the run I felt myself wanting to slog through it, but I told myself “Get uncomfortable, get faster” so I picked up the pace. I did two fast miles, 8:35 and 8:28. For me, this is a huge WOW!! I only did two miles because I have a sprint triathlon this coming Saturday that I do plan to race, all out, uncomfortable, huffing and puffing, propelling myself forward as fast as I possibly can.

After my brick John suggested that we go out and practice beach swim starts since I had such a rough start an Ironman 70.3 Racine. He’s so thoughtful, and smart, because I wouldn’t have thought “Gee I should practice that”

When we got to the beach, the plan was to do a running start from the beach and dive into the water and swim as fast as I can for 400 yards. The first attempt was not so good, I had that same heart-pounding, gasping for air feeling I did at Racine. The second one went better except for the mouthful of water I took in and had to stop and choke on that. Then the third attempt was a huge confidence boost. It was 265 yards that read a 1:10 per 100 yd average on my Garmin. The fourth was 365 yards with a 1:15 per 100 yd average. A huge takeaway I got from this exercise was finding a starting pace that works for me.

Another thing that blossomed out of this is that John and I had a conversation about our unhealthy habits on the drive to/from the beach. We drink, a lot. Too much. I will admit this openly, it’s no secret. We’re going to cut back on that, limit alcoholic drinks to one night a week. This is going to be SO GOOD for my waistline and my wallet!

We’re a full year and fifty some days until Ironman Wisconsin 2016, but I am so excited to have John as a training partner next Summer. During my ride this morning I rode past the Monona Terrace where I saw a few triathlon teams training. I used to feel some jealousy towards teams, but this morning for the first time I didn’t. I felt a tiny bit braver, knowing that I have been doing this alone. On my own will I’ve done the miles, nobody depending on me, except for me. Now I have my best friend, my spouse. We are our own team. Together, we’re going to go beyond limits we didn’t know we had.


A Road Trip Started by a Tweet

Sometimes that cliché’ saying “Everything happens for a reason” smacks you in the face. It happened to me the other day, it all started with a tweet.

My friend Kristin tossed a link to a triathlon at me and a couple of other local triathlete buddies. Kristin lives in Oklahoma, so my initial reaction was “pffffft I don’t travel for races”

After thirty minutes of banter back and forth, we all decided that actually yes, this is doable, let’s do it! Holy crap–ROAD TRIP!!

The triathlon is called Redman triathlon, located in Oklahoma City, on September 26th. My tri-besties and I signed up for the 70.3 distance. What makes this especially crazy to me is that I already have this time requested off of work for a marathon–that was canceled. I was planning on rescinding that time-off request from work the day after this Redman triathlon conversation happened. How crazy, weird, awesome is that!

The other crazy part is when the conversation started I was really worried about money. I’m stressing over how to pay for Ironman Wisconsin 2016. When John got home from work I told him about the conversation and his first reaction was “DO IT” no questions asked. The registration fee went onto a credit card. I’m so lucky to have a supportive husband that encourages adventure!

The Redman course is crazy flat, giving me crazy hope of breaking six hours there. My PR is 6:15, those 15 minutes can reasonably be slashed on the bike and maaaaaaaybe run. All I know is that I have all of August to work on my speed and I want it baaad. My only fear is that the travel time there in a van full of giggly girls will exhaust me and I won’t have any race energy. That would be okay though, good times all around!

What ever happens, I’ll know it was for a reason!


Ironman 70.3 Racine 2015

Fifty miles on the bike is too far to worry about your spouse who started in a wave 20 minutes behind me, and 57 miles is too far for a half iron distance triathlon. That’s what I learned at Ironman 70.3 Racine.

For the first time since 2011 when I started triathlon, I had a scare in my swim start. I started in the front, and took off wayyy too fast. Maybe 100 yards in I was gasping for air and my heart rate was entirely too high. I had to flop onto my back to collect myself, meanwhile being thrashed into by the hundred swimmers who started behind me. I was shocked at myself to think “I need a kayak back, I can’t do this” because I’m a strong swimmer! I’m not really a quitter either.

I doggie-paddled for a bit, tried a side stroke, back stroke, and finally after the first turn buoy I got back to my regular strong swimmer self and took off. I was able to catch up to the next two swim cap colors, so I thought maybe I made up enough of my lost time in my swim start biff, but my swim finish time was 37 minutes. It’s a decent swim time, but I know I could have done 35 minutes or less if I didn’t have an out of character panic attack in the start.

T1 is a fairly long haul from the lake to the transition area. I ran it knowing that in previous years my T1 time was always grossly long. It still took 5:03.

On the bike my legs felt heavy to start and it was windier than the weather forecast promised. I didn’t fight it, just did what I could. My Garmin read an average anywhere between 16.8 to 17.2 mph. I was okay with that, for not pushing very hard. My friend Jeff passed me somewhere after mile 10, so I expected John to be passing at any moment as well. Mile 20, 30, 40, where the hell is John? I started to really worry about him getting out of the swim. If I struggled in the swim, he obviously drowned in it! What if he DNF’ed? What if he quits triathlon? Worrying about him really put a strain on my energy levels. How the heck was I going to run 13.1 knowing he didn’t finish?

Finally mile 50 he passed me, I yelled at him, “What took so long? I was so worried!”  He didn’t slow down to explain, he just blew past. But seeing him lifted me back up and I started to book it at 20+ mph and got my Garmin average to read 17.5 by the end. It’s too bad the course was a mile too long, because the official results show 17.2 mph.

Some how we both exited T2 at the same time. We giggled down the T2 chute and he took off into the distance. The run felt just like it normally does, hot, hard, slow, sluggish. I managed to run all of it and only walk through aid stations. With it being 84 degrees, sunny, it was necessary to cool down at the aid stations. My splits were reading 10:40s. I want to get my 70.3 run down to 10:00 minute miles, but given the heat, survival comes first. At mile 11 I did half marathon math and saw it was possible to PR the run, so I picked up my pace as best as I could. I squeaked in just under 2:20, making it a 1 minute 70.3 run PR.

It’s also an eight minute course PR! This was my sixth half iron distance race, third time in Racine. It’s a fickle sport, anything can happen. I know I’ve improved since my first one in 2012, and the desire to keep getting better grows with each race.

I’m also really proud of John and glad he continues to kick ass in his race!


Taper Thoughts

Tapering. I’m doing that, again. All this extra time to think and ponder.


Right now thoughts that are weighing heavily on me is Ironman Wisconsin 2016. Do I really want to sign up? How am I going to pay for it? Am I going to regret making that commitment? Will I get my shit together and train smart to finish a little faster?

Money is a huge consideration this year because John expressed desire to sign up as well. Two seven hundred dollar registrations, yikes. I didn’t start an Ironman savings account this year, so it’ll be a big dent on the credit card. I get a mid-year bonus from work, but I really want to blow it on a Standing Paddle Board instead. See? Commitment, I want to blow money on fun things. Ironman is fun things too. Argh.

Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have been enjoying a relaxing Summer with just 90 minute bike rides and runs on the weekend. I haven’t felt stressed or pressured to get long training miles in. Though on Sunday morning it was a perfect melty hot Summer day and I felt like I wanted to ride for a lot longer than 90 minutes, part of me even thought “What a great day for a four hour ride!

This Ironman thing is a sickness, isn’t it?

I still have a good month and a half to make my decision, but I predict it’ll be like the time I went to just “look” at puppies and came home with Dexter. Seriously, who goes to just look at puppies? Of course you come home with one!

what did i get myself into...

Volunteering and spectating at Ironman WI this year will make me absolutely sure I want to go for it again. John too, he was bitten hard by the triathlon bug. Actually, I blame him entirely for this taper right now, he was the one who persuaded me into an IM 70.3 Racine registration!

Oh taper.

So many triathlons, so little time

When I signed up for Ironman 70.3 Racine I wasn’t thinking training logistics, I was just thinking ALL THE TRIATHLONS!! Well, and John really wanted to squeeze another half iron distance in this year, so we signed up! Then when I took a closer look at the calendar I realized how little time I had between Toughman 70.3 and Racine, just one little month. In that month I had to recover from Toughman since it was my A-race, and went on a little vacation where I couldn’t bring my bike, and somehow get some quality miles in before a short one week taper.


It was tough, but at the moment I’m pleased with how things panned out. I PR’ed my A-race, got THISclose to age grouping at a sprint triathlon the weekend after, enjoyed my vacation, and am in the middle of a good week of quality training. Just a few more good workouts before I taper for Racine.

Yesterday during a slow, easy seven mile run I was thinking about what I expect out of Racine. It’s hard to predict considering I had a busy June training and racing schedule, but I’m thinking I’m going to leave it all on the course. It’s my last long distance triathlon this year. It’s flat, I’m feeling fairly confident, maybe I can snag another PR?