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

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ironman Maryland... well, sort of

An Ironman triathlon is a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile swim. The night before, we knew that the bike ride would be shortened due to flooding on the bike course. The swim ended up being canceled and the bike ride was shortened more than we were told. I will sign up for another Ironman triathlon, so I can complete the entire distance. Well, truth be told, I would have likely signed up for another Ironman anyway. While I did not complete the entire ironman distance at Ironman Maryland, it was so mentally exhausting with the swim delay then cancellation, the 2 hour wait to start the bike, running through water and mud multiple times, I believe that if we had swam the 2.4 miles and cycled the entire 112 miles, it would have been far easier than what we went through. However, since it was such a tough day and because I accomplished my goal of crossing an Ironman finish line and heard the words, "REBECCA WILLIAMS, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN", I still consider myself to be an Ironman Finisher.  I raced the race that was laid out for me, although it is bittersweet and feels like an incomplete goal.

Pre Race - Thursday:

The person that was supposed to travel to Cambridge to help and support me, disappointed me and went AWOL, so I arrived in Cambridge all alone. I knew that some BTA members would be there, Tania and Lisa were volunteering and that I would make friends. After seeing so many trump signs on my drive there and not seeing anyone of color when I arrived at the athlete reception, I was having BTA withdrawal in the worst way. I put out a BTA bat signal on Facebook and BTA started to come out of the woodworks. I saw Erica and soon met Alex Torres. I ended up having dinner with Alex and that ended up being one of the blessings of my weekend. Alex shared the poem "Thinking" by Walter Wintle and other tips to help me get through the mental aspect of the run.

Pre Race - Friday:

I headed out to rack my bike and for a practice swim and met the women of the All Women Tri Team (AWTT). They welcomed me in quickly and I instantly felt as though I had support. Note to self: Only race with friends, as the pre race stuff is much more fun and a lot less lonely. I felt the anxiety creep in while looking at the rough water that we were swimming in the next day. Erica and the ladies of the AWTT were done with the swim by the time I was ready to hop in, so I decided to just find a place to relax. I pulled into the Hyatt, booked a couple of treatments at the spa, had lunch overlooking the water and before long, I was nice and zen. I had dinner with AWTT, found my missing wallet (I left it at the Hyatt) and before long, I was laid up and resting for the big day.

Race day!

I did my usual pre-race meal and met the AWTT ladies in the lobby at 4:30 am. When we arrived at transition, it was flooded. That should have been a sign of the day to come. I didn't feel nervous or scared. I was just ready to get the day started and make my way to the finish line. It was really odd to not have my crew with me pre race, but I was just trying to focus on the day ahead and stay calm. They announced a 30 minute swim delay. I met Kimberlie and Tom Sheer shared some tips with us newbies. I noticed that the time had passed for the 30 minute delay, but they didn't make another announcement. I happened to look to my right and saw Tania! I screamed and hugged her so TIGHT and started to cry. The tears were of happiness that she was there. Tania is ALWAYS there for every important moment in my life since we've met, especially for triathlon stuff. I really needed to see a familiar face at that time. My BTA peeps are cool and all, but seeing a familiar face is what I needed. I fought hard to not think about all of the support that I had last year and compare it to this year. I was fighting all morning to be positive and focused, but when I saw Tania, I completely LOST it. As I hugged her and cried, they announced that the swim was canceled and I started to cry harder. Those tears were of disappointment, as I felt like my day was being chipped away and that I wouldn't have the full ironman experience. I saw Lenora, Tania left to do her volunteer duties and I was off to prep for and wait for the bike ride to start.


They were starting at bib numbers 1-100 and sending athletes off every 3 seconds. My race number was 2,610, which meant that I would be waiting around for at least another TWO HOURS to start the bike. I spoke to everyone that was up to chat, met other BTA members, huddled in the tent to stay warm, drank a bottle of my bike hydration, because at this point, it had been hours since my 3:30am breakfast. After many hours of waiting, at 9:35am, I was finally able to start the bike. It was windy as expected. I was advised to go fast when I could, because the wind would surely slow me down at several points. I promised myself that I would never allow my speed to drop below 16mph. Whenever it did, I gave myself permission to take a little break, reposition, drink, eat and get focused again. I had to keep stopping to blow my nose, as I haven't mastered the snot rocket thing yet. I stayed on top of my hydration/nutrition, enjoyed the rain showers and stood up on every turn to stretch my legs a bit. I didn't spend too much time at special needs this time. I just changed my socks, reapplied chamois cream, changed out my bottles, blew my nose again and I was off. Before long, I was at mile 90. I got a hug from Lisa, drank a strangers coca cola, blew my nose again and I was off.  I don't know what was up with my dang nose!!! Lisa told me that I had fewer miles to go than they previously told us. When I made it to transition, I was impressed that I had rode the 100 miles in a little over 6 hours, so my goal of averaging 16+mph was accomplished! My quads were burning, so I knew that I probably went a little too hard.  I was completely shocked by the amount of water that I had to walk through to get into transition and even more shocked to see people on the run course walking/running through the water. I knew that I had 8 hours to run the marathon and was not excited about getting started and having to run through that water. I lubed up extra good, because I knew it was supposed to rain again and I headed out.

About to lube it up

This was a part of the run course

I promised myself that I would only walk the aid stations. I ended up walking through water and mud about 6 times each loop (it was 2.5 loops). At the end of loop one, I saw Tania, Lisa and AWTT. My spirits were shot, because at that point, I had been through the water and mud a couple of times and I was NOT happy about it. Tania waded through the water with me on loop 1 and Lisa waded through the waters with me on the second loop. It was just a casual walk though calf deep water as they tried to talk to me to keep my mind off of the shitty run conditions. The water receded on the 3rd loop, but the mud got deeper and slicker. As it got dark and late, it started to rain, my darn feet were hurting, the course had thinned out, and my thoughts started to go dark. It started to rain harder around mile 21. I just stopped on the side of the road and started to analyze the decisions of my life. A little lady in yellow came up and told me, "Oh no, no NO! YOU KEEP MOVING!!". I noticed that the age on her calf was 72. 72!! So, I dried my tears and started moving again. At mile 22 this girl gave me some Aleeve that made my throat burn like they had been soaking in hot sauce. I took the soup. I saw Erica and tried to chat her up and she was rude AF. I let her be and took off. I recalled the words to the poem that Alex told me to commit to memory, and made a cadence of it: "Success begins with a fellow's will, it's all in the state of mind"I repeated that for the next few miles and before long I was back to where Tania was, she pumped me up and then ran off to the finish line to meet me. I passed the spot where Lisa had been sitting as I made my way to the finish line. I remembered Lisa telling me last year that my Ironman dream was delayed but not denied. I heard the cheers at the finish line and I thought and said out loud, I will NOT be denied! I WILL NOT be denied! I WILL NOT BE DENIED.... The song by Meghan Trainor, "No", started blaring out of the speakers. I heard someone say BTA!!, My hand went up, I heard my name called and then called again and the words, "REBECCA WILLIAMS OF WASHINGTON, DC.... YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!". Tania was right there in the finish chute with my medal. She put it around my neck and then we hugged and jumped around like 10 year olds! No tears. No pain. Just happiness. I DID IT!!


Thanks to my Coach for helping me to get more comfortable on my bike again and for getting me to the start line healthy and positive.

Thanks to Tania for always being there for me. Always. Seeing you at the swim, on the bike course, walking through the water with me and being at the finish line with my medal. You are ALWAYS there. THANK YOU!

Thanks to Lisa for the back cracking hug at mile 90 on the bike, for wading through the waters with me, for always supporting and believing in me, and for telling me that my goals were delayed but not denied. Words matter and you always know the right thing to say. THANK YOU!

Thank you to everyone who texted, sent FB messages, positive thoughts and vibes. Your energy carried me through those dark moments on the run. Thanks to Alex Torres for sharing tips with me over dinner. Thanks to everyone that came out to ride with me during training. That meant more to me than you would ever know. My anxiety on the bike was bad and you riding with me helped to increase my confidence. THANK YOU all.

Those AWTT women are the TRUTH. Since I didn't have anyone with me to help, they got my bike and bags after the race and put them in their hotel room. Not only did they bring me to the race site, they gave me a ride back to the hotel, invited me to their room for a post race massage with an amazing masseuse, invited me to get into their hot tub post race, invited me to pre race dinner and post race lunch. I was just a part of their crew. The TRUTH, I tell you. These women embody true sisterhood. THANK YOU ALL!

AWTT support crew!

I am not quite ready to change my name from Tri Becca to IRON BECCA just yet. I have to complete the full distance of an Ironman triathlon before I do that and get the tattoo. But, I did finish an Ironman competition, so I am proudly a FINISHER!!

Tri Becca

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Getting back to being brave

Before my bike crash a couple of years ago, I would hop on my bike solo, go ride down to the river or to a trail, pack my bike up and go on a group ride knowing that I would see someone I knew or meet some new cycling friends. I didn't need to have someone to ride with me, I didn't need to know the pace of the group in advance in fear of getting dropped. I was perfectly okay riding and just getting it IN. Until that fateful day, when I went out on a solo ride in the 'hood and ended up in the back of an ambulance with my head split open. I've never been able to get my mojo back. The anxiety has been far greater than I have admitted to anyone. Anxiety about falling, anxiety about getting left alone, anxiety about riding solo, anxiety because of... the anxiety. But today, I made a huge step toward getting my mojo back. Today I ended up being the brave Tri Becca I used to be.

I signed up for the Patuxent River Rural Legacy ride. I invited folks to join me, but got no bites. My coach had it on my plan and I was committed to getting it done, even if it meant going alone. I had a sick tummy this morning, I got a late start, I considered not going, I got there and considered riding the 22 mile route instead of the 44 mile route as planned. I was ALL OVER THE PLACE! I pulled up and saw Tedd and Lynette. I started out riding with them, but ended up leaving them on the first climb. I met up with 2 other girls, who I ended up leaving on the next hill. I kept finding people and then leaving them when I realized that I had more in me to give on the bike. I rode with these 2 women for awhile that challenged me to keep up. They decided to go to the rest stop, but I had hydration and my legs were feeling fresh, so I didn't stop at the rest stop. I caught up with another group and hung with them for awhile before I realized that I could push my pace more. As I took off, this tall piece of man candy with  Getting It IN cycling took off with me. We pushed each other and chased each other up and down hills. My bladder started to hate me, so he held my bike while I hit the bushes. We made a quick stop for hydration at the next aid station and pushed off again. I past SO many people today! I've never said "ON YOUR LEFT"... and gave so many words of encouragement as much as I did today. I thank John at 90+ cycling for the help with hill climbing. His classes kick my ass every time and I am always one of the last to finish a climb, but I can see that it's helping me to get stronger.

I did the damn thang today! I went out there, not knowing if I would see a familiar face or if I would be riding solo because I got a late start, but I decided to be brave and get it done. I did it! I completed the 44 mile route and discovered a new cycling group to ride with. I was BRAVE today and for that I am extremely proud of myself! Last year, I was too afraid to get outside to ride.  I spent countless hours on my trainer due to fear. This year I hope to get back to the brave Tri Becca that I once was and become a stronger and faster cyclist/triathlete. This year I will get outside more and just do the damn thing! This year I will train for an Ironman again and hope to change my name to "Iron Becca". Nice ring to it, huh?

the very BRAVE  and PROUD Tri Becca