Ironman CDA 2012 – The Bike

So I really had nothing to lose in this race, which still didn’t stop me from being scared of losing something (I don’t know what…face maybe). In line with that, I love this interview with Lauren Fleshman, especially the part about understanding that failing doesn’t mean you are a failure. It’s a good one!

Part of why I signed up for CDA was as a dry run for Kona under Dirk. I wanted to see how I felt under Dirks tutelage, how my legs felt after his taper, it was a big experiment of sorts. Also I had executed 5 Ironmans with basically the same race plan and I was excited to try the plan that Dirk had suggested. This meant going quite a bit harder on the bike. It was a risk…a big KABOOM could happen. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have this quote in my little quote book, it says:
Nothing Started,
Nothing Experienced,
Nothing Learned,
Nothing Finished.

I was going for it. I hit that heart rate he suggested and drilled it. But here’s the deal. I could not wipe the biggest smile off my face. I rode though town giving shakas to EVERYONE. Like…EVERYONE. I was smiling, hamming it up, waving, shaka all over the place. Like the complete opposite of normal focused Sonja. It wasn’t that I wasn’t taking things seriously, it was just that I was having SO MUCH FUN.

I encouraged everyone around me, told them good job, talk talk talk. I gave shakas to the volunteers, to the bag pipe players, to the lady dancing zumba on the stage. I smiled, I made eye contact, I had fun. But I also nailed my plan. It was an odd turn of events for me, I had nothing to lose, and I was fearless.

The “happies” did not leave me, they stayed with me the entire bike. CDA has a 15 mile out and back along the lake and then the new course goes out to a highway for a 42 mile out and back. Then you do it all again. The way out is mostly up with 4 distinct climbs. The way back is generally more downwards, with 3 climbs. Of course I was watching my time gaps to Katy B (AKA uber studette swimmer, fastest swim split of the day in 53 minutes, my Team KE possee, and eventual 2nd in our AG and 5th woman overall, PROs included) and PIC (who you all know). At 6 miles in Katie had 16 minutes on me and PIC had 5. I had my work clearly cut out for me, but those two kept me motivated and kept me pushing for higher watts.

Starting into the first big climb I came upon Keith. He’s one of my closest friends (Moab 100 pacer extraordinare, AKA has seen me at my worst) and he said “Great swim Son” when I passed him. He said I was talking before I passed him, talked as I passed him and talked all the way until he couldn’t hear me. Dang I was happy. Every photographer I gave a big smile and a shaka! Totally Jazzercised!

At 35 miles in at the turn around on the highway Katy had 11 minutes on me and PIC had 3:30. I kept the pedal down, legs cranking, and a smile on my face. I had a group of guys go past me and there was a bit of a loose pack dynamic going on with them. I talked to a nice woman and we reminded each other to stay away from them because they were trouble, with a capitol T!

I loved the way back on the freeway. The descents were awesome, you could pedal down most of them and I was flying and smiling and loving the scenery. My QR CD0.1 was feeling great under me and all I could think was “awesome.” My legs felt really really good, and strong, and ready to shred. I was just cranking and happy to boot. I can not say enough wonderful things about my bike. It’s amazing how much of a difference a comfortable and well fit bike can do for your races.

Coming back through town was total hilarity, I hit the 1/2 way point at 2:42 and was a little shocked. Another one of those would make for an awesome bike split! I came upon Jocelyn who would eventually win our AG and take 4th woman overall (PROs included). I went through town waving, smiling, giving shakas, so freaking happy and jazzed to BE ALIVE. People were yelling my name, I was doing fist pumps. It was rather funny looking back. Jocelyn pulled up next to me and said “You know everyone here.” Actually I had only seen a few I knew, I was just loving up the crowd. I hadn’t seen Troy which worried me. I came up with a few crazy stories in my head, mostly involving Tony (AKA big brotha Beeson) not making it out of the swim (he was fine). I found out later everyone was worried because they couldn’t find me…all because of my green vest (green dress vest…that’s cruel).

We got out of town, onto lap #2. I felt like I was sitting really good, I was with Jocelyn, we were making our way up to the front of the race, I was ready to get off the bike with uber runner Katy B and Jocelyn and to go for broke. I told Jocelyn, “Now is where we get to work.” Lap 2 is where the poo hits the fan usually, where you have to dig deep on the bike because it’s not as easy any more. If only I could wipe this huge smile off my face and get serious here!

Then I started to feel like my back tire was squishy squashy. Humm? I kinda bounced on my seat to see if I could feel the rim hit the pavement and I did. Then I tried to look at it, but that’s always tough. I thought about asking Jocelyn because she was right there, but I didn’t want to interrupt her race with my issues. As we went up an incline I watched her pedal away and I was pedaling really hard. I knew I had a flat.

I pulled over next to a really nice family sitting in lawn chairs. They all hopped up to help and I said “No, I don’t want to get DQed.” Sure enough, I was flat but it was a slow leak and just squishy down to the rim but not totally flat. I also was on a set of rented wheels so that I could have power data.

The story of the flat is kinda long, but I’ll make it short. The valve extender kept me from deflating the tube all the way, so I’m trying to change the tube when the tube is rather inflated (to maybe 30-50psi). It was challenging and there was blood involved, and it slowed me down badly. My spare tubes and CO2 were WELL taped to my bike via electrical tape, this slowed me down badly too. I got it done! It’s all goooood! I think I said that like ten times to the family in the lawn chairs “It’s ALLL GOOOODDD!” I was fearless changing that flat, I knew I could do it, I knew I was quite capable, if only I could get the darn tube out.

Right when I finished inflating it with my CO2, the flat changing moto pulled up. He said to me “If you give me 1 minute I will check your work and pump your tire to 120psi”. I thought about it and said yes…what’s 1 more minute? So he did that, pumped it up, and put my tire back on. I almost asked to do that myself, because, really, I did change it all on my own, and I was proud of that.

Ten thank you’s and a few more “It’s all good”s and lots of smiles later, I was back on the road. A guy on a mountain bike rode up and said “Your looking good, Dirk is watching” or something like that, and I said “Well then tell him I just flatted” but I said it with a big smile and even maybe another “It’s all good” and probably a shaka or two….

I got right back to work straight away. It was time to drop the hammer. I saw Katy at the EXACT same place I saw her first loop. That was funny, back to 16 minutes back, doh! I saw Michelle was now 12:30 up on me. I thought I lost about 8 minutes to the flat. Turns out looking at the Garmin it was 11 minutes almost exactly. I won’t be hired on any sort of tire changing pit crews any time soon!! Hahahah!

(PS Since then I have come up with about 10 things I should have done differently, but I’m sticking to the fact that I problem solved the best I could in the moment…lessons learned. AND, not a single ounce of frustration the whole time, thinking about this a few days later makes me weepy. Because positivity is not positivity unless it remains in a difficult situation)

I got back to the plan, smiles abounded, even the next time we went through town. Shakas and fist pumps, smiles, and grins. Back to my favorite section of the course. I really had fun those last 40 miles. I felt better at mile 80 than I ever have. Mile 90 I was like “It’s on”. Mile 100 I was cheering for everyone around me going up the last climb, telling them “This is it, let’s do this, pedal hard boys, be tough, be fearless.” Also in the last 20 miles I passed most of the guys in that original pack, they were all solo now, fighting it out on their own. I even gave them “Good Job”s. I know, cheering for drafters…I don’t even who know I am?

Back into town, out of my shoes, hand off the bike, goodbye Blackjack, and run into transition with a big fatty stupid grin all over my face. Bike Split of 5:44, and I’m darn proud of that one. It was a quick T2 for me. Socks, shoes, wrist band, watch band, new race belt with EFS liquid shot in it. Off I went. I hadn’t seen Troy the whole bike, and yet there he was at the exit of T2 cheering. I apparently looked like poo, but BOY was I happy, although the photos don’t do it justice. I yelled to him “I flatted” and he yelled “I know.” Nothing more to say there. Off I went, putting on my new PxRx hat (AKA HAPPY HAT) and getting situated and ready to run.

Ironman CDA 2012 – The Swim

This was a tough Ironman for me to prepare for. I have my Kona slot. Why exactly am I racing? Oh yea, to see how Dirks training shows up in my body. I’ve had a rough go the last few weeks and I came to the race site less than confident. But if I know something about myself, it’s that I give my best every single time, AND, I can execute a plan. So, we have all read Chrissie’s book by now. Remember how she always writes something on her wrist band for when she races. I thought I would give that a go. As I did my pre race mental work sitting on a nice rock on Tubbs hill, I realized there was a lot of things I was scared of. I’m not usually a scared person, but I was scared of being slow, and I was scared of getting beat. That really was the bottom line, whether warranted or not, I was scared about these things.

As I was reading my little quote book I came across:

“Be fearless in the face of your fears”

So I wrote fearless on my wristband. And that was a good thing for me. Having fears happens, but I can choose to be fearless, I can choose to face them head on. So I did.


It seems that every year at CDA they compact the starting swimmers more and more. There are a few things that confuse me about the swim here. Why contain us in such a narrow start corral? And why 2 loops? The lake is really big, and the beach is quite large as well. I’m not sure if it’s for dramatic effect, but if so, they are successful in that. I lined up way left so that I could escape towards the inside buoy line if needed. They don’t like you to do this but survival is survival.

Pre Race Snuggles

All week long I had been talking to people about the cold swim and how to handle the mass start. I had two athletes racing their first Ironman, Katie and Emily. Both are strong swimmers, but the Ironman swim can squash strong swimmers like a bug, so I was especially attentive to them before race day, making sure they were “ready.” My advice (like Dori) was to “Just Keep Swimming” even though you want to stop and freak out a little, just keep swimming hard and things will settle with time. We also had to deal with the cold water and it’s easy to want to stop swimming when your face is freezing, but you just gotta keep going, keep swimming. The first 5 minutes of Ironman are the worst part of the day in my opinion.

Katie, Me, Emily (or EmyK as I call her)

I saw Katy B on the start line. We held hands through the national anthem, and I saw my friend Guy as well and my nerves were less than usual. I was standing next to the clock so I knew when we were going off. Boom went the cannon.


I ran in and started swimming. I was good for about 30 strokes, swimming, fighting, battling for some space. Then I started getting whaled on, so I went to my super wide “get the hell off me” stroke, still getting pummeled. Then a sharp kick to the chest and I got a little wind knocked out of me, just keep swimming Sonja, be fearless. Then I breathed left, no breath, right, no breath, a few strokes, no breath, a few strokes, no breath. I started to get scared, couldn’t breathe, and forgot completely about being fearless. Then a swift kick to the face and askew went the goggles. I breast stroked and put them back on, kick to the face, swam over several times. Back swimming freestyle, goggles are are full of water. I cleared the water, kick to the boobs, and go back swimming, still no breath, no breath, getting pummeled. And all I can think is “Just keep swimming, you told Katie and Emily to just keep swimming, be fearless.” Panic, and then, I find myself flipping over on my back. It felt like a total surrender, I got swam over what felt like 10 times, but I just backstroked and gasped for air. After somewhere between 6-100 strokes I flipped back on my belly and I breathed every 2 strokes all the way until the first turn buoy. I never breath 2 strokes, always 3 or 4. I also thought about Katie and Emily and I was scared for the both of them, hoping they were doing okay and were safe. They were fine…dealt with it all better than me. Good girls.

It was the worst start I had ever had to an Ironman. About 10 times I thought to myself “I should get a PRO card so I don’t have to put up with this shit.” Around the second turn buoy heading back in for the first loop, I looked up and saw the hundreds of people in front of me and thought “Maybe nix the PRO card idea.” Hahaha!

I hit the beach finishing up the first loop in 32:45. I waded out for more carnage. The second loop was particularly fun due to the chop. It was crazy out there. Luckily I knew better than to think it was due to boats. 2 years ago I cussed at the imaginary boats that were creating all the wake, but this year I knew better, I told myself to be fearless a good 5 times on that second loop and that seemed to give me strength. CDA really is one of the toughest IM swims out there with the cold water, congestion, too close together turn buoys, and 2nd lap chop-land. It’s a tough one. The last 25% of the swim I repeated over and over and over “Get me the F&#% out of here.” I was more than ready to be done with that swim.

I don’t know what’s going on with my cap here, I have a shark fin. Honestly, any Ironman swim that you make it through alive is a good day.

I exited, and looked at my watch, 1:08:40. Ouch. But honestly, I didn’t even judge it, or put an emotion on it (good progress for me). I just moved on. I was happy to have survived and fared okay. I was cold, but knew that if I was cold, then others would be freezing.

I grabbed my T1 bag and ran to the tent. I got a chair…always nice, and even had a volunteer to help me (super rad). This was the first time I was surprised by my mood. I was super chatty with the volunteer, usually I just nod. I methodically put on my favorite green vest, and my shoes, helmet, and sunglasses. She put on my race number, and helped me put on my little arm warmer bracelets that I rolled up after I got on the bike. I said thank you like 5 times, gave her a big smile and trucked on out of there.

I picked up my bike at the rack and headed out of transition. My mount was easy, methodical, and I was HAPPY! Like brimming with joy happy, smile from ear to ear.

3 – the number of triathlon coaches I’ve worked with, each complete opposites

2 – the number of times I’ve been to Kona, my favorite place in the world

7 – the number of Ironmans I will have stood on the start line of come Sunday morning

327 – if you are into literature

327 – or more into facts

327 – or possibly food


Our airplane departs bright and early Thursday morning. I’m checking a bike box and a huge bag and carrying on a backpack. Troy and Annie are each carrying on a tiny backpack.

We are staying at the cheapest motel in CDA. But we stayed there 2 years ago and cheep is how we roll. Home is where your husband and your daughter are…and where your bike box is. So what if the room needs a little airing out?

I am 100% healthy. Not a niggle, not one issue, nothing standing between me and my best effort other than the space between my ears. This is the 7th ironman start line I have stood on completely healthy.

I am really on the starting line because so many of my friends signed up for the race and I didn’t want to miss the party or their finishes. I will be there!

I will go to the midnight finish…because I will still be there.

I will cry at the midnight finish…always do.

I will wear my finishers medal and cap to the midnight finish.

There is a little hill in the middle of the CDA run course that I will visit and spend some quiet time there… doing who knows… not during the race though.

I have two athletes racing, it’s both of their 1st Ironmans. They are both scared and excited and I know how they feel.

I love Troy and Annie more than I ever thought was possible.

I will give all I have to this race. Every last ounce.

The number of words in this post?


MA and SJ

The last two days have been inspiration station! On Wednesday I heard that our local running shoe store was doing a fun run and afterwards Mark Allen, Luis Vargas, and Mighty Mouse Angela Naeth were doing a panel with Barry Siff moderating.

Please note here that although blurry, Barry is sporting a PxRx Hat. Boo to the Yaaa!

Then on Thursday night I had purchased tickets for a fun run and book signing with Scott Jurek in Boulder. He was showing a video and doing a panel chat and a reading. It was to be a busy few evenings, but with the opportunity to talk to some superior athletes and learn some stuff too.

Of course, I want to share it all here. Mostly because despite the fact that some of you read this…I read back on these things too. I like to get it all down before it fades.

L to R: Luis Vargas, Mark Allen, Angela Naeth, Barry Siff. L to R: BAMF, BAMF, BAMF, BAMF

Of course when they asked for questions from the audience my hand was the first one up (duh…overachiever #1 here). I asked Mark to give me some advice since I am 11 days out from CDA on what I can do at this point to set myself up for a good race. I actually phrased it more like “There are a lot of us here doing CDA, can you give us….” but really, I just wanted to sit in a room with him and pick his brain for about 18 hours. So yes, clearly the hay is in the barn at this point from a training perspective, but come on folks, training is only 1/2 of 1/2 of the battle. So what can we I do at this point? Here is what he said.

  • Make sure this week that you get everything for the race set aside in a corner of your house or room. Make sure you have enough water bottles, that the bike is tuned up and ready to go. Do all of that this week and don’t leave any running around to next week.
  • This weekend he suggested a 1:15 run on Saturday, followed by a 3:00 ride on Sunday
  • On Thursday of next week he suggested a 30 min swim, followed by a 1:30 bike, followed by a 30 min run. He said to get those done as early as possible in the day. The point here was to deplete the glycogen reserves 72 hours out of the race. He said they take 72 hours to completely refill and after this workout is when you should focus on getting the glycogen nice and full by adding a serving of carbs each day, don’t go overboard.
  • On Friday he suggested a day off. He said this was the most important day for rest so he would make sure to be in bed come 6pm and to sleep in the following day (Saturday) as much as possible (I find it interesting that the day you need the most rest is the day they keep you out until 10 pm with a banquet and mandatory race meeting)
  • Saturday he suggested a 20 min swim, 30 min ride, 10 min run all back to back to back, and then eat early and get to bed. He said sleep the night before is not a big deal. If it doesn’t happen that’s fine, it’s 2 days before that’s really important
  • He said to focus on hydration at least 3 full days out from the race. It takes that long for your cells to really fully hydrate. He also suggested over-salting foods during this time period.
  • He also advised against doing a lot of heavy thinking the week before the race. He talked about how our brain needs to stockpile resources for race day as well. So having a quiet mind and allowing the brain rest as well was important
  • He said the most important thing on race day was the ability to quiet the mind. He talked about positivity and how people always talk about having to stay positive in an Ironman, but he said that sometimes there isn’t anything positive to find in the situation. If you are hurting and struggling, there isn’t a lot of positive stuff to focus on, so he said that he prefers to quiet the mind, stop the chatter, and race. Once he figured out this skill, his racing took on a new dimension.

Those were the major points of his answer to me. He got asked another question about balance in life. He brought up that he loves to surf and someone asked if he and Luis advise athletes to take breaks on a weekly, or monthly basis to seek balance. There were some great comments from Luis and Mark on this one.

  • Luis said that something he sees interacting with a lot of athletes is the concept of honesty. You have to be honest with yourself and your needs. Different people need different things and part of this sport is assessing your own needs. He said most AGers do the sport as a hobby and a passion, and so they need to be honest with what their needs for a balanced life are.
  • Mark brought up an interesting point. He asked how many people went on a 6 hour ride last weekend? A lot of hands went up. He said “There is nothing balanced about a 6 hour ride.” On a day to day basis balance does not exist. He said that what he sought was balance over the year. So when he was training for Hawaii, the 7-8 weeks before it was all tri all the time. Nobody saw him unless it was in a training setting. But then after Hawaii he would take 2 months off and would see his friends and family, and have a lot of fun with them. He said his life was balanced over the year, but not in any one day or week.

Everywhere I had read that Mark was kind of a serious guy, but I didn’t find that at all. He cracked a lot of jokes and he exuded a very quiet and confident peace. He has that ability to relax a room full of people and to make the task at hand seem easier and more straight forward than you might have once thought.

I didn’t talk much about Ang. She was asked a lot of questions about her own training and her work with Mark. The talked about breaking her season into thirds and how that has helped her this year. I can tell that she is happy and thriving, which from a friend point of view makes me happy too.

So, last night was Scott Jurek. I went to the fun run with him and 200 other people that I didn’t know. But I did make some friends. These two were totally cracking me up and I’m sure that I’m going to be addicted to their YouTube feed for years to come. They were hilarious and adorable all at the same time.

When we got off and running I was in the front and Scott was right there. See…

And this is what it looked like behind me…

Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute…make all of your overachiever jokes now…


Okay, I got to talk to Scott a little, tell him I really enjoyed his book, listen to some things he had to say about his experiences writing it and going on this book tour. All in all it was well worth it to get to run a bit with him. He’s a really chill, and a really NICE guy. You just get that feeling straight up.

During the book signing he did a reading, and they had a panel discussion. This really got my thoughts flowing as I sat and listened to them speak about ultra running. As silly as this sounds, Ironman is about speed and the pain to go fast, the pain to turn yourself inside out, while all around you other athletes are posturing, walking, blowing up, puking, and then some of them passing you, hurting more than you, better than you. Ultrarunning is different, even for the guys at the top, ultra running is about pain. The genetic factor has honestly been mostly removed with ultra running and the guys who excel are uniquely a different breed.

The question was asked “why?” It always gets asked. But this time is was more like “What kind of sick demented person does 100 mile races and does well at them?” One of the panelists answered…At the core of it, most great ultra runners don’t feel like they are good enough. They hit the trails to either punish themselves for that, or to try to prove that they are good enough.

Damn. Someone finally sat there and told it like it was… only in ultra running. It was none of this CW BS “I’m just trying to get the most out of my body” (say it in a British accent…). No, at their core, anyone who repeatedly goes out there to F themselves up royally (do I need to repost the pics of my toenails from the Moab 100?) is trying to prove something. Either to others (that usually doesn’t work) or most likely to themselves. That point was discussed and it was dead on.

Why do people that clearly excel at things need to hurt themselves to prove worth? Well, for that you are going to need a chaise lounge and a few hundred hours. Sometimes, 100 miles on foot is just easier.

After the panel Scott stayed around to sign every single persons book, and I know that because somehow I ended up at the end of the line. He spoke with every person, he was genuine, he asked them about themselves. He was just a cool dude. He asked Annie if she was a runner. She said yes.

These last two evenings, while they threw me out of my routine, they were really good, and really needed. I have been really focused on the “work” these last weeks and I have worried about my fitness level, especially after the saddle sore incident. Following a new plan this year it’s been hard for me to feel like I am ready. I’ll say it, I don’t feel fit, not like I have been in the past. These last two nights I was reminded that good performances can come from a place of insecurity. They can stem from something to prove, to yourself, to others. So maybe going into this race feeling like I’m not “there”  is an okay place to compete from.

Recent Reads

I really hunkered down this last week and did only what was absolutely necessary. I trained alone for all my workouts an just tried to simplify things down a bit. I was successful in putting to bed that panicked, I don’t have enough time, feeling. I feel better in that regard.

For those of you who see a lot of MAF work on your schedules…this ones for you. I almost rear ended the guy trying to take this one!

Annie finished Kindergarten this week. She is also almost up to my collar bone, and she is 6. It’s only a short matter of time before she passes me on her way up. We put her in swimming class this summer, in hopes of getting her into swim club soon. She’s a little fidgety and energetic so I’m hoping the swimming will help, I think of Michael Phelps sometimes when I can’t get her to sit still.

All the times we have dragged her to the pool with us has really paid off. Her first swimming lesson she was put into level 6, the highest level and her teacher told us she is ready for stroke school. After stroke school it’s swim club, so we are close! I can not describe the joy that watching her swim brings me. Learning to swim as an adult I have such an appreciation for the little swimmer in her. She’s so fearless. I was similar as a kid, just not in the water, not after my eye sight went south and I had to wear glasses. That was the end of the confident swimmer in me.

Since I have been laying low this week I took the opportunity to catch up on my reading. Several highly anticipated books in the endurance world have come out recently.

Chrissie Wellington – A Life Without Limits: Humm, I was expecting to be blown away. She’s a great speaker so I thought there would be a lot of rah-rah in there, but not so much. It’s more a story that is equal parts her life before Ironman as a civil servant, and her life during Ironman where she kicked ass before she even knew that she was kicking ass. You understand what makes her tick by the end, that’s for sure!

Rich Roll – Finding Ultra: I was pretty blown away by this book. I found it to be more genuine and real than I was expecting. It was inspirational, and he was really honest about the demons he’s faced. It was also interesting to read about how he found his way to being vegan, and I would say he is now known as Mr.Vegan hot endurance athlete. Quite a change from where he came from. I really dug his point of view.

Scott Jurek – Eat and Run: I think I pulled more usable gems out of this book than any I have read in awhile. Scott has won so many ultras in his life, so many 100 milers, and a guy who spends that much time with himself knows how to navigate pain. I dug his stories and I had trouble putting it down. He was also vegan before Rich Roll even knew what nutritional yeast was, and he provides a sort of real time tested look on it. I also like that Scott tries things, he experiments. Sometimes his races don’t go well. He doesn’t chase perfection, just progress. That was a breath of fresh air.

Any other good endurance/sports books anyone has gotten though recently? I heard Amanda Beard wrote a great one, need to download it. I want to start 14 minutes – the memoir by Alberto Salazar.

I’ve also been trying to eat really well. After the set back I wanted to make sure I got lots of good food back in my system.

Oh, I also signed up for another Ironman. You always gotta be thinking a year ahead with these things. This time, more that anything I really wanted to mix it up and go exotic. It may be on a shoestring, and we may be sleeping on the beach, but I’m so excited to get another punch in my passport for what will hopefully be Ironman #9 for me (after CDA and Kona this year). Oh, and Troy signed up too. Yes, the man who had never done a triathlon is now signed up for two Ironmans.

Well, that about sums it up. I’m a little less that two weeks out from Coeur d’Alene now. 10 days until I leave. They will go by fast, they always do. I hope all of you that are in your final workouts for this race are feeling fit and ready to go. See ya there.

Put in My Place

Dang I have been put in my place. Take something for granted in this sport and you’ll get knocked upside your head. As per previous posts I’ve been a bit overwhelmed recently. I’ve been progressing through this Ironman build, coaching 15 athletes, and working for Rev3. Along with that Troy is IM training and I try to spend as much time as possible with Annie when she is out of school.

I am a big believer in doing things that you love. So much so, that I like to set up my life so doing the things I love don’t take work. Live next to the track, live simply, etc etc. I like to outsource the things I don’t like doing, or get rid of them completely (one car, all the bills on autopay, organic veg delivered to the doorstep, etc)

I feel if you chase your love then good things will follow. And the funny thing is, my life is full of the stuff I love. Training, coaching, Rev3, Troy, Annie, PIC, I love all of that, so fulfilling! I don’t feel like you can have too much of a good thing in your life but you can.

You can.

I was starting to feel like there weren’t enough hours in the day, like I couldn’t currently do all the things I love at once, at least not to the level that the perfectionist in me wants to do them at (100%). But my response was simply to buckle down, work harder, work faster, be more efficient, be better. The time that I used to have to hang out on the porch with a cup of hot coco was gone. I was about being productive, and focused…the majority of my days…7 days a week.

Then I got a saddle sore. That’s odd. I’m used to riding my bike a lot and have never experienced one. Then it got worse, kept riding. Then it got to where every pedal stroke was pure pain. Then it got to where walking around was bad pain. I hauled myself into the doctor (usually a practice I save for Pap smears and drilling holes in my toenails to drain them). I had a fever, and infection, and a saddle sore that had to be cut open, drained, and packed with gauze.

I was laid up for several days on antibiotics with a nice amount of pain and a fever. I had to cancel my plans to work for Rev3 at Quassy this weekend, a race that I LOVE, and that 5 of my athletes are racing at, and at the last minute which left Rev3 high and dry, which still makes me weepy. I’m so disappointed in myself over this.

Laying in bed these days I think about Maffetone, about Chuckie, and how much it was drilled in me to seek health first. It’s an adage I live by, and why I’m honestly not sweating the loss of fitness that this time off has no doubt resulted in. Dirk has been awesome along the way, and such a source of knowledge and experience, as he says “It’s not the Titanic” which makes me laugh. I need to have a shirt made.

While I feel that “balance” doesn’t have much of a place in Ironman, or Ironman training, or Ironman athletes, I do think that HEALTH is at the heart of the matter. It is painfully obvious to me that I am no good as a mom, as a wife, as a coach, as Transition coordinator, as a athlete, if I am laid up, stressed out, feverish, and on antibiotics. You have to take care of yourself if others are depending on you. You have to look out for #1, and you have to put health first.

So, while I am disappointed, and a little weepy about the last few days, I know that this is what had to happen.



Received loud and clear.

All we can expect of ourselves is to learn from these mistakes. Sure we may repeat them, sometimes they morph, sometimes the lessons taught fade and we have to be retaught. That’s life.