Thursday, October 25, 2018

Ironman 70.3 New Orleans

It all started in Williamsburg when Alexis a.k.a. Dr. B Badass said, "Let's go home to race Ironman 70.3 New Orleans. I don't know why she asked, but my answer was, "I hate you!... Okay, you sign up first and I'm in".  I really doubted that she would sign up in advance, as  Alexis is known for rolling into town, signing up for a race the day before, racing, then ending up on the podium or something. She is badazz like that! Then, one day about a month later, she posted on Facebook that she signed up. She didn't text me or anything, knowing that I would see her post and figure out that we were racing this thing. So, I kept my word and signed up immediately, after checking with my coach. For some reason, my coach is always down for me doing something crazy, like 2 races in 2 days or in this instance, racing 2 Ironman 70.3 triathlons within 4 weeks of each other. Now, in her defense, I did tell her that I was just starting to get my consistency in order and wasn't ready to  end my season after Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City. So, I was IN!!! Alexis said that we could stay with her family that lived right off the course, we would share the cost of a rental car and this race eventually had the Tri Bike Transport service, so we could ship our bikes. However, this race wasn't at an ideal time, as my friend Shayla's Cancer Free Party was that weekend and  my God sister's wedding was about 3 weeks prior {My God sister is really my ex-sister and law that showed up to my race with my brother. I recently changed her title because she is so amazing and a God send}.  I figured out a way to make it happen, as this was the 10th anniversary and final year of New Orleans having this race. How awesome would this be to go home to race and have family support? I was STOKED. I promised myself that I would stay consistent with my training, so I wouldn't have my family out there all dang day and have Alexis thinking that I had a problem on the course or something because I was taking so long. Mission accomplished: I was race ready when it was time to travel! LET'S GEAUX!!!!!!!! The Ironman 70.3 New Orleans triathlon was set to be my 2018 season finale triathlon!!


My travel to New Orleans was uneventful. Alexis met me in the airport and off we went to Ironman village. We chatted about how we had not received ANY emails or FB notices from the race director and how this race was drastically different from a PR perspective than other 70.3 races. After recently racing AC 70.3 with the awesome Delmo, my expectations were very high for a race director. When we pulled up and saw transition set up, I breathed a sigh of relief, as this was a sign that a race was indeed going to happen. We were expecting an AMAZING Ironman Village and lots of awesome 10 year anniversary race gear. Sadly,  the race director did not order anything with 2018 on it, except the t-shirt with athlete names. Most of the gear had 2017 on it, we were falsely told that it was all discounted, and it looked like they had just gotten the un sold gear from Kona the week prior. The expo was extremely sub par and the entire race expo/registration just seemed low budget/small town and definitely not of Ironman quality. Most times, we are assigned a swim cap with a color to correspond to our age group or something, but at this race, they told us to just pick what ever color cap we wanted. Huh? There weren't many vendors there. The whole feel to this race was just "different".

I wanted to attend the athlete briefing, as I was confused by the swim course map in the athlete guide. It was supposed to be the shape of a M, but I wasn't seeing it. Well, we were told that the swim course had changed  and so did the bike and the run courses. When the race director got up to talk, he told us stories about Hurricane Katrina 13 years prior, information on the water pumps for the city, where to dance on tables in the French Quarter, how he saved money by making us ride in circles and how he spent so much money on 900 lb stairs for us to enter/exit the swim. He told us goodbye before he ever talked about the swim course, until I inquired. He showed us the map that was in our race packet which had been changed from the athlete guide and used his finger to quickly draw an imaginary line on the map on where/how we would swim. Okay? Alexis asked a follow up question about the color of the buoys and turn buoys and his answer ended with, "I think". Oh boy. This was all a sign of the race potentially being a shit show.

The facial expression when you realize you traveled to a race that wasn't properly organized

Alexis and I got some good traditional New Orleans food at Acme Oyster House, went shopping for race day essentials and ended the evening just hanging out on the couch relaxing while we could.


We went out for the practice swim, which was uneventful and then took our bikes for a pre-race spin to make sure all was in good working order. We tied up some other pre -race tasks and her family cooked a pre-race meal for us. I just LOVE my New Orleans people!! They took very good care of us! I was in a bit of a panic all day because I could not find my watch. Once I realized that I indeed did not have it, the panic set in pretty profoundly. I texted my Tri Tribe and Coach and everyone just encouraged me to race "naked" (meaning, without a watch). I was petrified! How was I going to race without a watch and have no metrics to know how fast/slow I was going and how I was doing on time, as there are cut off times? I was racing at home, so I could not get a DNF (Did Not Finish/Disqualified)! I have never DNF'd at this distance.... well, I did pull myself out of Poconos 70.3 the 2nd time because I didn't feel well and then there was that time that I missed a turn at Ironman 70.3 Cozumel, but I never did check to see if I got disqualified.... I knew that I was trained to finish the distance, but not having a watch made me feel VERY uncomfortable. Like, I was moved to tears and had heart palpitations. I am the chic that wears a watch even when the battery is dead, because I don't feel dressed without a watch. To race with out a watch? THE HORROR!!! I called every bike store, every sporting goods store, every store on the Garmin Store locator, and NO ONE had the watch I wanted to purchase. I started to slowly try to wrap my mind around racing naked. I put up posts on FB for happy/successful stories and texted with my coach, Tri Tribe and friend until I started to be able to visualize myself racing watch less and finishing. I was determined to start AND finish. I was determined to go fast when I could and take it one sport at a time. I was determined to not be bothered by the pending cold front and winds that were developing over night. I was determined that I could and I would do this!! WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

Practice swim COMPLETE

Shake out ride!


I was awakened before my alarm by the sound of the WIND. Oh boy. I knew there was a small craft advisory, so I anticipated a delay or cancellation of the swim. I was determined to race the race that was laid out for me that day. I raced in the pouring rain in Atlantic City, raced in Cozumel with winds on the back side of the island, I  swam in choppy water before. I knew I could do the distance and was determined to finish in the allotted time, regardless of race conditions.

Fresh faced and ready to race!!!

Swim: 1.2 miles (planned)

Driving to the race site, I looked away when I saw the white caps on  Lake Ponchartrain, as I knew that we were swimming in a protected marina. I was praying that it was really "protected". I stayed positive and focused on being a finisher that day. The announcement came that the swim would be delayed because the water safety personnel could not get to the marina, because they were coming from the big lake and battling 4-6ft waves. I called BS on that, as I knew that the water safety personnel would not likely to be out there with the small craft advisory, and I think the boats are usually in place the day prior. But I stayed positive and got on the ground and started stretching. I sent a few texts to my Tri Tribe to get the thoughts out of my mind, but I was good. Eventually they told us that the swim was not wet suit legal, because the water in the marina was warm, unlike the big lake. We were FREEZING, so it was hard to believe this. We decided to wear our wetsuits and get in the very last wave. Halima was there volunteering and she is so pleasant and calming that we were un bothered as we waited forever to start the swim. They shortened the swim to 500 yards, and had 2 turn buoys and only 2 kayakers out there to assist 1100 athletes, if needed. This was sounding dangerous. We finally started and were swimming through 2 rows of boats, so it was fine. When we made the 1st turn, it felt DANGEROUS out there. The waves were huge, we couldn't see and my only thought was "I didn't want to swim this bad! They should have canceled this swim altogether!". Reportedly, some athletes saw a woman calling for help, but the kayakers could not get to her and they saw her go under. God, I pray that she is okay. I made the 2nd turn, where the water was calmer and headed back to shore. Halima was there cheering as I jogged to transition.

Bike: 56 miles. 2 loops

I knew to expect a windy course and WINDY it was. I had no idea of my pace, so that was probably a good thing. While going over bridges with side winds, I am sure my speed was super slow and would have been demoralizing had I known my actual speed. I was just going to go fast when I could and not burn my legs out when I had a head and/or side wind. The wind WHUPPED my butt. I started to think about going back to transition after the first loop. I started to write my race report in my head and how I was going to explain that the wind won that day. How I decided to be a quitter. I planned a brunch spot to take my friends and family to if they came out to cheer me on. I was planning to quit and was wrapping my head around that. I wasn't tired or ill, I was just tired of getting beat by the wind.... until the tail wind came. YASSS! I started to say, "I DON'T QUIT WHEN IT'S HARD, I QUIT WHEN I'M DONE!... I DON'T QUIT WHEN IT'S HARD, I QUIT WHEN I'M DONE!!. I repeated this over and over and picked up my speed. I started to pass people on the bike. I had no idea of my speed, but felt like I was flying! When I had the choice of going to transition and being a quitter, or going on the 2nd loop, I decided to go on the 2nd loop. I was NOT going to quit today. I had been through the torturous winds once, so I could do it again. I just vowed to go as fast as I could when the winds died down. I'm not sure if it was the winds in my face or crud I picked up in the lake, but my nose was off the CHAIN. I had to stop at a porty potty to get tissue and blow my nose. I put some extra tissue in my shirt for later and had to stop twice more on the 2nd loop to blow my nose and apply some cream to my girl parts (OUCHH!! I must have been riding differently trying to stay upright on the bike with the winds, and my girl took the brunt of it). I was right behind Alexis on every turn, but these 3 stops put me further behind her. Ugh.... But then, I finished the bike course!!

Run: 13.1 miles. 2.5 loops

I wasn't tired. I wasn't hurting. I vowed to run 1 mile, walk the aid stations and repeat until I got to the finish line. Yeah. That plan was upended when my legs told me, "After what you just put me through on that bike, what we WON'T do, is run today!!". My legs were beat! Before I hit the 1st mile marker I saw my brother and his ex wife/my lovely God sister (new title for her)!! What the hellllll???? I stopped to give them both a hug and told them that I would be back. For most of my run, I tried to come up with a story about how they ended up there together to cheer me on. It made me so happy that they could put whatever differences they have aside to be there together to support me. That's love bruh. That's love for ME! I was very happy!! My legs were really tired and I could not get any speeds like I had recently seen on my runs. I vowed to do what it takes to become a stronger and faster athlete. There were people that passed me on the bike and run that were clearly stronger and faster so I knew the race conditions were not debilitating. I am just not the best athlete that I can be at this time. The run was 2.5 loops, so there was plenty of time to see and encourage/be encouraged by other athletes. I saw Alexis a few times. She was hanging out with a senior athlete and seemed to be doing just fine. I saw an old college friend that I hadn't seen in years and before long I saw MY COUSIN SIMONE!!!!! I could not be happier!!! I gave her a hug and she said that she would see me at the finish line. Oh man, I had to hurry up and get to the finish line! I ran, I walked, I sang, I gave high fives and encouraging words to others, I joked with the volunteers and before long... well, after a very long LONG time, I was crossing the finish line with my family there screaming for me!!! Actually, my brother picked up an orange cone to use as a mega phone and told me that it was about time I finished! Ha!!! Whatever!!  I know he was proud! Halima was there too calling my name, just as she did after the swim and bike! {That Halima is some kind of awesome!} I ran through the finish chute, they gave me a Gatorade, took my timing chip..... and then took my name down and told me that they would mail me my medal. UM... WHAT???? No medal???? Oh, I LOST IT. I called for the race director, PR person whomever they needed to call RIGHT NOW that could figure out how I was going to get a medal TODAY. I raced TODAY and wanted my medal TODAY. The race director came over with his lying, sorry, disorganized self and gave some lame excuses and I was NOT having it. Another athlete crossed the finish line after me and it was his first triathlon ever, but no medal. His wife lost her shyt. Another athlete came over and told the race director how this has been the most low budget Ironman event ever. We were NOT happy. They never produced a medal for this year and tried to give us medals from 2017. After nothing was happening, I snatched the medal out of the race director's hand, snatched the MAGA looking non athletic hat they were giving and headed out to see my family. I was MAD, SAD and extremely DISAPPOINTED! I am still disappointed days later.

These were the medals from the canceled race LAST YEAR

This is the finisher hat. Do you see the word "FINISHER"? It wasn't even a running hat. It was cheap, thick cotton

At the end of the day, I FINISHED!! It was a very hard day, but I came, I raced and  I conquered my goal to be a finisher once again. What could be more awesome than setting a hard goal, battling defeating thoughts, lost gear, challenging weather and finishing despite it all in the allotted time?  That's a wrap for the 2018 Triathlon season and I could not be more proud. I DID IT!!!! Let's see what 2019 brings. I pray that I am able do the work to become a stronger and faster athlete.

Mi Familia! My God sister, cousin Simone and big brother Mark!!

Breakfast the morning after the race with Alexis and Halima

Tri Becca

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City

In preparation for  the Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City triathlon, I raced the Chicago International Triathlon and the Super Sprint triathlon on back to back days. Yes, 2 races in 2 days. However, the mileage was nothing in comparison to this 70.3 triathlon, where I swam 1.2 miles in water that seemed to be against the current and extremely salty, biked 56 miles in what felt like a monsoon at times and then a constant drizzle and rain at other times, then ran 13.1 miles which was in continuous rain that at times, made me thankful that I was wearing a hat with a brim to keep the water out of my eyes. Weather wise, it was a miserable day.

I drove to Atlantic City on Friday after working in Delaware and worked until Lisa arrived. She had a tough week, so we immediately went for some liquid sunshine in a cocktail glass, and some food. It was nice to sleep in on a Saturday morning. I think we surprised ourselves by how late we awakened, as our girls drove there from Maryland and we hadn't even moved to a vertical position yet. We slowly got going for the day and rode our bikes over to transition. We decided to stop at the ATM to take out some cash for retail therapy, this way we would not blow our budget in the Ironman Shopping Village.... well, that was the plan. We saw so many familiar faces and put faces with names from FB groups. We linked up with Shaunna and Crystal, went for a pre race meal and picked up race day necessities at a local store. Before long, we were all back in our rooms to rest up for the big day. Lots of laughs were had with these ladies. They are a great mix of smart and funny!!

I hope I didn't blow my budget!!

Waiting on our great pre-race meal  at Kelsey's! 

These guys make me look tiny!

Enjoying beautiful blue skies the day before the race

Race day

3:30am wake up. We checked the forecast and it only said a CHANCE of rain. Yeah, that was a big fat LIE. The morning started off gray at sunrise. I thought that a little rain would keep us cool. Who knew that the rain would be a menace? Obviously not the meteorologists or whoever puts info on the weather app and back up app that I use. Ugh! I was not feeling well, but was determined to push through. The last time I was unwell on the morning of a race, I ended up turning in my timing chip after the swim. I was determined to not let that happen today. I was going to push through!

Swim: 1.2 miles

Pre swim!!

We made the absolute best out of the time that we had to wait to start the swim. 3 of us took turns crying, we prayed with each other and with 2 different sets of strangers/fellow competitors, we asked a volunteer to take our picture and text to us, we danced, we told stories, Lisa started singing some song about a baby shark, until one nervous athlete shut it down. We dodged the wet spots on the ground from fellow competitors peeing in their wet suit. You know, just regular pre race fun stuff. Before long... well after what seemed like forever, it was time to jump in and swim. I didn't hear a beep or anything it was like, JUST GOOOO. So, off we went. I thought I was killing it, but every time I looked at my watch it said that I was taking forever. I didn't feel like I was swimming that slow. There was a lot of safety personnel in the water on jet skis, paddle boards, boats, etc that were making some waves. The course was a little confusing and not what I remember seeing in the guide or them explaining at the briefing. But I took it buoy by buoy and before long, it was time to get out. There were 2 young girls who stripped me out of my wetsuit so fast, and I was on my way!

Bike: 56 miles

I really can't remember much about the ride except that there were quite a few turns that we had to take slow due to the rain. It was pretty flat minus some on ramps. The rain was UNforgiving! At times it POURED and all I could do was keep my head down and keep it moving. I was surprised that I did not feel any anxiety about riding in the rain. Maybe on the curves I had some anxiety but other than that, I was okay. I had 2 mechanical issues. The first was before I even got on my bike, but a few people came to help me at the mount line. Then riding up a ramp, I switched gears and my chain became lodged so tightly that I had to walk down the off ramp and down to a corner to ask a cop to call SAG to help me. Someone out there helped me, although he was so rough, I was afraid that he would crack my frame. I was on my way after quite a few minutes. It continued to rain and RAIN.

Run 13.1 miles

I was not going to think too much about the rain and just keep my head down. Lisa was in transition and gave me a big hug as I headed out to run. My goal was to just take it 1 mile at a time and only walk the aid stations. At mile 2, I stopped to stretch my achilles and saw Lisa Laws and the ladies from AWTT, Megan and Shirley. They gave me a nice boost of energy as I headed out onto the non live section of the boardwalk. My watch died at mile 3. Great! I paced myself and shuffled in the rain for the first 7 miles, it started to get hairy by mile 9 and then the wheels completely came off by mile 10. Nothing hurt and I surprisingly did not feel tired, but my legs just would NOT listen to my brain anymore. They just did not want to move faster than a very slow walk. They were done. I was done. I wanted the rain to be DONE. I did not want to play anymore and when I tell you those last 3 miles were the longest 3 miles EVER, trust and believe I was OVER IT. I kept saying, "Becca, if you are tired of being wet and cold, you have GOT to just pick up the pace. MOVE Becca!". But nothing worked. No words. No motivation. I didn't cry, but I growled at anyone that told me how close I was to the finish. I wanted no parts of it... Until I turned the last corner and could hear the finish line. I straightened my clothes and my face and put on a little lip gloss to give me some power. At the beginning of the finisher chute, there was a sign that read, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. I saw the red carpet, picked up the pace and ran through the FINISHER chute to the sound of my girls cheering and the announcer calling my name! My legs wanted to make up to me after I got my medal, so when Beyonce started playing, they decided to do a little New Orleans 7th Ward high step, with a two step, a twerk and a twirl. I AM ONCE AGAIN AN IRONMAN 70.3 TRIATHLON FINISHER!!!

I DID IT!!!!!

Next up: I do it all over again in New Orleans soon. Please standby. Reloading......

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Rev 3 Williamsburg: Olympic distance triathlon

The weekend started with a meet up for Fast Chix on Friday at Chili's. It was great to see so many facebook friends in person!The camaraderie of 30+ women all coming together to race and support each other was second to none! Last year, we were excited to have 5 Trikandians racing. Who knew we could turn Williamsburg into into what looked like a sea of chocolate goodness that was as loud as we were beautiful and racing strong? I could not be more happier than to be among so many of my sister friends. It was Von's birthday, so we surprised her with a beautiful cake and let her know about the lip gloss exchange PRANK. We got her good! Good times with the ladies on Friday. Good times...

Saturday: Layla and I got up before the crack of dawn to meet the Fast Chix that were racing and cheer them on. Everyone did amazing and finished without incident. We all supported each other for a practice swim and Layla and I went on a short "shake out" ride to make sure our bikes were ready for our race on Sunday.
Me and Driq post practice swim

RACE DAY: Like last year, my training wasn't up to par with what it would take to have a good half distance triathlon. I managed to get more training in this year, but even with a 10 mile run in the bank and some 3 and 4 hour rides, I just didn't feel fit enough to put it all together. I didn't want to be out there suffering because my fitness isn't where it needs to be, so I downgraded to the Olympic distance race: 0.9 mile swim, 27 mile bike and 6.2 mile run.

Pre Olympic swim with our sherpas and relay team members!

Swim: 0.8 miles - The wait to get started was longer than expected, because the dock that we were jumping off with the timing mat collapsed. The race organizers were also adjusting the course so that we would not have to deal with the current that some of the half distance triathletes had to contend with. When we got started, it was uneventful for me. I found myself being overly cautious and sighting a lot, which I believe tends to slow me down during my open water swims. I need to get back to sighting every 5-6 strokes. It was a straight swim to a turn buoy, a turn and then a straight swim. It was a little confusing once we turned, because there were red buoys that were a different shape, the boats the Athletes serving Athletes had were orange and a few times I thought they were buoys, the sun was in my eyes and I just could not see anything. I just followed the swim caps ahead of me and brought it on in. Overall, not a bad swim, but I really want to get faster in open water.

Bike: 27 miles - I was having a really good ride. When ever I felt my speed dip, I said out loud to myself, "come on, don't mess around girl!!". For some reason that worked. I felt strong out there.... until I hit a pot hole. HARD. The trees provided some nice shade, but they made it hard to see some spots on the road. I immediately knew that this was a bad hit. I heard the air coming out of my tire and started to slow down. What I absolutely love about the way my mind works, is that I immediately stared to think about how I was going to quickly work this out. I decided to take my shoes off, put them on my handle bars, put my bike on my shoulder and just run it in to transition. Yeah.... That was until I realized that I was EIGHT miles from transition. So, my plan B was to get to work and change my flat tire. I had everything I needed and Robert Clarence and those guys at Arrow Bicycles made me change my tire a few times in the past to make sure I knew what I was doing. That was a few years ago but, I knew that I could figure it out. I was doing well, but kept asking folks passing by to call Sag support to help me. A few Fast Chix and some others offered to stop and help, but I declined. I really didn't want to mess up anybody's race. A fellow Fast Chix and BTA member stopped and wouldn't leave my side until Sag support came out. I am eternally grateful to them. I had it just right but was a little nervous to use the CO2 cartridge for some reason. When they used the CO2 cartridge, my tire made a popping sound, because the tube wasn't seated properly. They got me fixed up and I was on my way. I finished the last 8 miles strong and was on to transition.

Run: 6.2 miles - I felt good starting the run. I planned to make it a great run and was going to remind myself to not mess around and get it done. The plan was to just walk the aid stations and take something at each one since it was getting hot. The run started in the grass and before long, I stepped into a pot hole, rolled my ankle and found myself on the ground. I have had so many ankle injuries in life that I know how to tell if it's a bad roll or if I can continue on and deal with it later. Thankfully, I knew that I could pick myself up off that ground and continue on. I am not sure why I walked as much as I did. Maybe it was the ankle or maybe I was just tired, but that run took me longer than I had anticipated. Oh well. I got it done.

Post race: I was so hot and sweaty and just felt angry (probably just hungry) and non social so I headed straight to transition to get my bike, to the car to change and then... my medal fell off the dang ribbon. They had run out of Olympic medals, so they gave me a half distance medal. Well, the medal was exactly the same, the ribbon was different. I took it falling off the ribbon as a sign of something. I was hot and hungry, but once I got some food in me and took a baby wipe bath, I felt better. The Fast Chix took the podium in a major way! We represented well, had a lot of fun and stayed glossy
while doing it!

Von!!! She took to the podium on BOTH days!
Note the medal is NOT connected to the ribbon. Ugh

Next up: Chicago Super Sprint and Olympic, Atlantic City 70.3 and maybe New Orleans, 70.3 if Alexis registers first. I have some running races on the books too (Army 10 miler, Marine Corp Marathon and Across the Bridge 10K).

All in all, it was a good race and an even better weekend! I laughed SO HARD with the Fast Chix. This is the same distance triathlon that I did in Bear, DE 1 month ago, and this race was not a struggle fest like that one. So, I AM making improvements! I still like this triathlon life. It makes me feel like a badazz, trikandian, superhero of a woman!
Seeing Mr. Peanut made me happy. I took this picture for my sister JuJu.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Bear Triathlon: 0.9 Mile Swim, 25 Mile Bike, 6 Mile Run - May 20, 2018 Bear, Delaware

Do you remember the T'Challa and M'Baku battle for the throne? T'Challa won in the end, but he got his butt WHUPPED! Yeah, that is how I felt after finishing today's race. I finished, but it was a hard fought battle of me against the asphalt and my thoughts.

THANKFUL. That is the word given to me by Lisa this morning. We met in the parking lot at 4:45am to head to the park for the race. I began to tell her how I had recently read some old race reports and how I needed to have a good race experience, which means I need to train harder and more consistently, so race day could just be the test for all the hard work I put in while training. She immediately recognized that negative self talk about to come out and nipped that right in the bud. She reminded me that no matter how hard or consistently I train, I never know what race day will bring. She shared that she is going into this race and every race THANKFUL. Thankful for the ability to do this physically. She's right. We are blessed to have the mental and physical strength to get through these challenges. The sport of triathlon is expensive, so we are blessed to have the financial resources, and some of us have family support to make this all attainable. Triathlon is a tough sport, but for many of us, it's therapy and it strengthens us mentally to take on the many challenges in life. So, I carried that word with me today. I was THANKFUL.

The fact that I was able to compete at all today was a blessing. Mid week last week, I felt a vertigo spell coming on. I didn't know if it was from my head injury, as I still get vertigo spells for some reason, or if it was just sinus congestion/my sinuses draining to my middle ear again. I took a few days to take Zyrtec D twice a day and pushed forward cautiously. I went for a swim on Friday night and found that I only felt dizzy if I breathed to my right. I knew the race course had all buoys were to my left, so I would be okay. I have been training, but not as consistently as I need to and I have not been incorporating other exercises in, that will prevent injury. However, I knew that I could swim 0.9 miles, cycle 25 miles and run 6.2 miles, so I headed up to the race site on Saturday after a day of real estate business.

Swim: 0.9 miles
Uneventful. The course was clearly marked and there was plenty of race support on the water. It seemed like it took forever, so I know that I need to work on my swimming endurance. When I saw Layla swimming by me towards the end (she started in the wave after me), I knew that I needed to work on my form and speed again. I reminded myself that today was all about racing MY race. My race, my pace. My day was going to be representative of the training that I put in, and no matter if I was passed by everyone on the course, I was going to finish. My motto is: FINISHING IS WINNING. I finished and was terribly dizzy upon exiting the water, but I pressed forward.

Bike: 25 miles
It was a little tough getting ready for the bike. The dizziness continued as I put on my shoes and bent over to get the rest of my stuff ready. I knew I would be fine if I just kept my head up. My T1 (1st transition) was a little long, but before long, I felt comfortable with pressing forward.  If I am completely honest, I am still very nervous about riding on wet roads. I am almost back to my pre accident confidence on the bike, but wet roads still makes me proceed with a lot of caution. I reminded myself again: MY RACE, MY PACE. It helped that my coach was on the course and I could chase Layla and Lisa, so I was motivated to go at my fastest comfortable pace. The course was fair. It had a few inclines over bridges and false flats, but no real hills.

Run: 6.2 miles
It felt more like 62 miles to me. The course was fair, but my legs felt shot.  There was only a little bump of a hill, but relatively flat and on a shady course. I haven't done any of my scheduled brick (bike then run) workouts, so my legs were screaming at me in the first mile. I wasn't in pain and nothing was wrong out there, except I just wanted to be done. I took many walk breaks and reminded myself that I was a finisher and I would soon earn my medal, and I did!!

THANKFUL. I am most thankful for Lisa and her positivity, and for my coach who pushed me to keep moving every time I saw her on the course. All of the athletes and volunteers were positive and shared words of encouragement. All in all, it was a good day. It showed me that I need to get more consistent with training and other exercises to help make me the best triathlete that I can be.

This was a great race course and venue. The location was a short 2 hour drive from DC, plus the race staff and volunteers were second to none. If you are in the DC/Baltimore/Philly/Jersey area, I would highly suggest you consider this race next year. It had the feel of a Rev 3 race, but on a smaller, nicer and more intimate scale.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

IGNITE SwimRun Maryland: Greenbrier State Park - May 12, 2018

WARNING: This is NOT a "saved" post; this post contains plenty of vulgar language

IGNITE SwimRun is an endurance race that combines the thrill of endurance racing with the beauty of nature. 
Participants compete as a two-person team. Not a relay. Teams consist of all men, all women and mixed gender. The race begins with a mass wave start. Teams complete numerous swim and run legs ending at the finish line. During the race, teammates must remain within 10 meters of each other at all times. Teammates must complete the entire course and cross the finish line together. Everything we started with, we had to finish with and carry with us. This means we had to swim in our sneakers and carry a first aid kit, tether, GPS, and run with wetsuit, goggles, swim cap, buoy, etc. No easy feat!

Lisa and I completed the short course: (Thank God we decided to change from the long course!!)

Swim - 4 legs: 1.4 mi

Run - 5 legs: 7.8 mi (it was supposed to be 6.2 miles. SURPRISE!)
Total distance: 9.2

Colors: We were given rubber bands at the end of each swim course to tell us what signs to follow on the course. Not tree markings, but Ignite signs. The tree markings will get you lost in the woods.

Run 1:  Red - 0.9 miles 
Uneventful. When we started, My swim buoy started to slide down my leg. I took it off and decided to run with it in hand. {We needed a swim buoy because we had to swim in our sneakers, which would pull our legs down while swimming. The swim buoy helped to keep our feet up while swimming) . We were running on uneven grass, so it took a few minutes to gain our confidence. It was a mass start and we quickly got dropped by all except 2 teams. Forget them!

In hindsight, it just doesn't look like it was an even playing field.This was the start. Do you see me an Lisa? Me either. We were waaaaaaaay in the back. They got a head start! lol

Swim 1: 0.35 miles:
I couldn't keep the buoy between my legs, it kept sliding down and at one point it was around my ankle. I had to summon a kayaker to ask that I hold on while I pulled the buoy up. Lisa's response: GIRL, JUST KEEP YOUR LEGS CLOSED! Ugh. I hated her. Swimming in shoes was hard, getting dragged across the lake by Lisa (we were tethered by a 10 meter cord), who is clearly a much faster swimmer than me, was hard. I couldn't see. It felt like a total shit show to me. We finished the first swim and as we approached the aid station and I saw our coach Danny. He asked how it was. My response, "THAT WAS HARD AS FUCK!". He just laughed and said at some point I will be saying it was fun as fuck. Yeah, that moment didn't come throughout that race.

Lisa is looking at me like, "What ARE you DOING??!!! Why couldn't you just keep your legs closed and not let the buoy go down to your ankle??!!! Come ON! We gotta GO!!!" LOL

Run 2:  Green - Almost 2 miles. 
I'm not sure of the elevation. Lisa was dragging me up the freaking mountain with her words telling to just take 10 steps at a time. "Just 10 steps.... COME ON BECCA!!!!!!!!".

Swim 2: 0.35 miles

Uneventful. I kept my legs closed as suggested and had my buoy the right way and tightened. No cuss words at the end.

Run 3: Blue  - Closer to 1.5 miles

I was feeling totally unfit. I started to tell Lisa how my mama told me that my legs were getting big. I started to talk about how my arms and belly were too, and how I hated it all, but it's all my fault because I haven't done a pushup or situp in months..... she quickly corrected my self hate talk and started to tell me that I don't hate anything about my body. That God gave me this body and I am going to do everything I can to make it the best that I can. She told me that I love my body, because God gave it to me. She saved me from my negative self talk, as it could have brought me down that dark rabbit hole and had me thinking that I wasn't fit enough to finish this race and had no business out there. That Lisa is a good friend. Thanks Lisa! This run wasn't that bad. It was less steep and we saw the lake before we knew it

Swim 3: 0.35 miles

Uneventful for me. Lisa kept stopping and had a tough time going again. I tried to tell her to stay horizontal when she stopped, but I think her sneakers were pulling her to a more vertical position and the swim buoy made it hard to change positions or something. 

Run 4: Orange - about 4 miles - elevation was almost 9% grade

This race was now described by Lisa as some #whitepepo shit. What were we doing out here in these woods?!! Lisa was OVER IT and kept asking, WHEN WILL THIS ENNNNDDDDDD?!!???. All l I could say was, "I don't know girl, let's go find out. Just take 10 steps at a time. Just 10 steps....". I started to remind Lisa that we have finished 100 mile bike rides, marathons, 70.3 races and Ironman competitions, that we have jumped off boats and swam to shore then hopped on our bikes followed by a run. The reminders that we are BAD ASS were needed at this point. We needed to remind ourselves that we could do this, because we have done harder things. Hell, Lisa is a Mother. What could be harder than giving birth and raising an amazing son? HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, LISA!!!

We came up on an aide station. They told us that we just have 2 more miles to "run", then swim again and then it's just a 0.5 mile run to the finish line. This is when the melt down occurred. NO one was saved! Here is a list of people and things that got cussed out. And by cussed out, I mean we very harshly said FUCK them and probably called them a bitch too, for extra effect. Here is an example of the way this fuck fest/complete melt down went: "Yeah, fuck Danny and his lil' friends that planned this fucking course. Yeah, girl, Fuck Danny!.....{Haaaaa! We were OVER IT and the word FUCK just some how made us feel better. We even used the F word when we saw some people out in the woods. They just laughed at us. We weren't angry, for those that don't understand. It was just a way to get through it. Lisa and I can cuss each other out one second and be 10000% okay the next second. Not angry at all. It's a survival technique. Fuck is a stress relieving word in difficult situations. You should try it! lol} Lisa: who the fuck put all these fucking rocks out here?! Me: Mother Nature. Lisa: Yeah, Fuck that bitch too!". Here is a non comprehensive list of people who got cussed out:

  • Lisa - yeah, I think that's how it got started. At the last aid station when it was time to get going again. I cussed her out, because it was her idea to do this. I think it went something like, "You know what? Fuck you, Lisa. This shit was all your idea! Lisa chuckled and said, "come on girl, let's finish this race."
  • Fellow racer who completed the short course race and came back on the course to run some more. Yeah, fuck him
  • Mother nature (see the example above)
  • Race director (see above)
  • Trees - I cussed them out in my mind, for dropping all those damn leaves and making it hard to see the rocks. I rolled my ankle on a rock, but kept going. 
  • All the people back at home tracking us and wondering what was taking us so long. "Yeah, fuck them. They need to get off the couch and come out here and see how HARD this shit is"
  • The people that already finished. They better had not eaten up all the Chick-fil-A and drank up all the beer. They know Danny and them ordered that chicken for us!!!
  • The people who will think that instead of using the vulgarity in our race reports we should "use our words". Fuck them. FUCK is the only appropriate word to describe our thoughts and feelings during this difficult time. The shit was tough, bruh!
We cussed our way through the end of the last run, swam 0.35 miles again tethered, which means, I was dragged across the lake AGAIN by Lisa. She was swimming HARD this time. Me and 2 kayakers tried to get her to slow down so I could adjust my buoy. This chick was FOCUSED on finishing this last swim. She got me all twisted up in the tether by going to my right and then back to my left. I could tell she was on a mission to get out of the lake, so I just adjusted the tether and my swim stroke to her and we got 'er done!

We look like we are in deep prayer and thankful to the Almighty for getting us through huh? Just a 0.5 run to the finish line!!

Lisa crawled on to the sand at the end of that last swim with a look in her eye that said, "THERE IS A GOD! THERE IZ A GOD!!!!!!!!!". We waddled through the sand, hit the finisher's chute.... and ran like some rock stars to the finish line! My Coach Suzy came over to me looking all gingerly. I said, no worries. I don't hate you! LOL. Lisa and I proceeded to eat all the food and beer and took pictures like we just won 1st place. Haaaa. I had to get up to go home after I found myself putting my head on the table to take a nap.

I must say, Lisa and I ignited our inner athlete! Go get you some. Challenge yourself to do new and harder things. Here is the link to the Ignite series. There are several races remaining this year! If you sign up, let me know. I might try to come out there to race it too. Crazy, I know!

This is how I was feeling about Lisa signing us up for this race.... but we got 'er DONE!!!

.... okay, let me stop procrastinating and go get this 30 mile bike ride done. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Rev 3 Poconos Mountains - Half - August 13, 2017

I signed up for this race again although I swore that I would never do another race with ‘mountain’ in the name. However, the timing of this race is perfect for an October Ironman triathlon. I was thinking about going back to race Ironman Louisville for redemption. However, as the season wore on and my training wasn’t consistent, especially with riding hills, I decided to instead race Ironman Maryland again. Michael Shipley signed up to race Poconos also, so it was a GO.

Pre- race: The day got off to an unexpectedly late start. We made it to the pre-race talk right on time and to transition in the nick of time to rack our bikes. We checked into our Air BnB with his teammate/girlfriend and then went on to meet his family for dinner. I saw some signs of my ‘monthly visitor’ and tried to pray it away.

Race day: I awakened before my alarm and discovered that my monthly visitor was indeed here. Lately the 1st day of my cycle is a day to curl up and remain in the fetal position. I tried to make myself eat, but could barely get anything down. I took some Midol, but it never seemed to kick in. I used the bathroom a few times and we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to the race site, so I could use it again. My tummy hurt, I couldn’t stop crying, and I just generally didn’t feel well. I got nauseous on the car ride to the race. I texted my coach and Lisa for some good race vibes. They both came back with tough talk and motivation, which only made me cry more. I made it to transition and I kept crying. I saw my coach Danny and got a hug and told him that I didn’t feel well, but I was going to take it one sport at a time. My nice transition neighbor told me that it would be okay and to just keep moving forward. I used the bathroom again and started to feel a little better. There was an area to warm up pre-swim, which was good so I could get acclimated to the chilly water. I ran back to get some tinted goggles and before long, it was time to hop in. 

Swim: Not long after I got in, my chest started to feel tight. I tried to breathe every 3 strokes, like I normally do when I get into a groove, but that made me feel short of breath. (I also felt a little short of breath this morning, but I chalked that up to being in the mountains). I had a cramp like feeling in my chest and thought, “maybe I just have to burp”. I burped and the feeling didn’t go away. After awhile of swimming while being short of breath and having this cramp/tight like feeling in my chest, I decided that today wasn’t my day to race. My coach made me think of a phase that would get me through the dark moments of the race and to write that on my forearm. I wrote the words, “I WILL” on my forearm. I saw that a few times when I stroked. But my thought were, “I WILL FINISH THIS SWIM…. I WILL LIVE TO RACE ANOTHER DAY… I WILL LISTEN TO MY BODY AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT SOMETHING IS JUST NOT RIGHT TODAY…. I WILL NOT PUT MYSELF IN JEOPARDY OF NOT MAKING IT HOME TO MY MAMA AND JUJU… I WILL BE OKAY WITH PULLING MYSELF FROM THIS RACE TODAY… I WILL TAKE CARE OF MYSELF TODAY AND THEN GET BACK TO TRAINING FOR IRONMAN MARYLAND”. I saw the swim exit and made a bee line for it, but missed the last turn. I was told that I had to swim back and make that turn. When I got out, I saw Michael’s girlfriend and told her that I was done and asked where the car was parked. This was my 18th (I think) triathlon and I have never pulled myself from a race. Today just wasn’t my day and I am 1000% okay with that. I saw my coach Danny and told him that I was done. He didn’t put up a fuss or ask any questions. He just said okay. I asked a staff member to take my timing chip, changed out of my wet clothes and I was OUT. Time: too long

Post race: I went to the Med tent and asked them to take my blood pressure. It was high for me, but not too high: 117/77 (I am usually 90’s over 60’s). My belly sounds and feels like there is an exorcist in it, my chest still doesn’t feel right. I took another dose of Midol and the cramps have started to subside. I don’t have one ounce of dissatisfaction with my race performance today. Today, I was smart. Today, I listened to my body and I live to race another day. Now, if my cycle comes down on the day of Ironman Maryland, I am not so sure how the day will play out differently. I just know that feeling short of breath with chest discomfort, and continuing to race was not smart.

After a couple of hours, I started to feel better and I went out to cheer on others. I texted my coach and told her that I was feeling better. She asked me if I could go out and run 13 miles, on the course in the opposite direction of the runners still racing. I felt up to it and took off. After about a 1/2 mile, I realized that I had changed into post race gear, which  wasn’t a good idea to run in. I had on long pants and a cotton long sleeved shirt. I figured that if I got too hot, I could always just run in my sports bra, so I kept going. My body felt good, the hills weren’t too challenging and the athletes on the course were making jokes about me running the wrong way. It wasn’t too bad until I got close to the end of the 2nd loop of a 4 loop course. I started to feel light headed and remembered that I never ate after the swim and I didn’t have much for breakfast. They only  had gels on the course and I needed food to ward off the lightheaded 
feeling from not having enough nutrition in me. So, I called it. I ran 2 of the 4 loops and headed to get a Cliff bar from Daniella’s bag. What a shit of a training day! I’ve had to remind myself that today’s performance was not about ability, as I have raced this distance 4 times, to include this same race last year. Doubt starts to creep in when I don’t accomplish my goals. Today, my body was simply the boss of me. Total: 1.2 mile swim and 6.2 mile run.

Next up: Ironman Maryland. I WILL

Tri Becca

Rev 3 Williamsburg - Olympic -July 9, 2017

I was initially scheduled to race the Half distance triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run), but didn’t feel ready, as my training hasn’t been consistent. I consulted with my coach before the race and decided that it was best to just race the Olympic distance triathlon (0.9 mile swim, 25 mile bike 6.2 mile swim). Heather decided to get back in the triathlon journey  after a hiatus, so I was super pumped about racing with her again! Layla was signed up to race, too so we booked a room and planned to carpool. The drive down to Williamsburg was uneventful. We got checked in and found a nice spot for a pre race meal. Before long, it was GAME TIME!

Swim: I find that I am extremely cautious in the swim. I sight more than necessary, both for the course makers and for other swimmers that are too close. It’s always like I don’t trust my vision or something, because when I see something or someone, I tend to look again 2 or 3 more times, which I know slows me down. Goal: sight less and only once. I need to come up with a set amount of stroke to take before I sight, and stick with it. Time: too long

T1: Uneventful. Time: too long

Bike: The goal of the day was to fall in love with racing again. Just have fun and complete the distance. I didn’t push it on the bike at all. I took in the sites and just enjoyed riding my bike again. Time: too long

T2: Uneventful. Time: too long

Run: Heather’s husband snapped a picture of me coming out of T2. The size of the smile on my face is immeasurable. When I saw that, I realized that I need to keep doing triathlons, if doing so makes me that happy. It was a hot day and I decided to stick to my goal of “just have fun”. I cheered others on, applied lipgloss, sang happy songs, gave high 5’s to others running in the opposite direction and finished strong. It wasn’t about speed. It was about doing a triathlon, because I can… and because I like this crazy stuff. Time: too long

It was a good day. No issues. I had fun. I finished what I started. It was a great training day. 

Next up: Poconos Half on August 13th.

Tri Becca