Sunday, December 1, 2013

One month down...

I am in the building phase of training for Ironman Chattanooga. The actual 16 week Ironman training doesn't start until June. The plan is to focus on running alone in Nov/Dec then add swimming (re-tuning my stroke) in Jan/Feb and start cycling in March. I can do anything that I like to build strength and agility in addition to that between now and March 1st. So, if I am going to do anything to trim down, now is the time. As I prepare to head out for a long run today, I decided to take stock of where I am/how I'm doing. If I had to give myself a grade at this point, it would be a D.

The month of November was a challenge due to mental demons. I think I've discovered the source of the mental demons coming out. It was my plan to take the month of November off to just do whatever I wanted to do fitness wise. I didn't want to be committed to a plan that brings on the mental stress of having to do something. However, my dream of having a coach to get me ready for Ironman Chattanooga came true and his plan was to start base building in November, so I rolled with it. Perhaps I should have pushed back and shared what I needed mentally. Another thing is that I have come to the realization that I am more race focused/motivated and not as committed to fitness as I should be. When I have something on the calendar and the goal is to cross the finish line, I have no problem doing what it takes to get there. However, if there isn't something to get ready for or if I feel like have time to prepare, I am lazy. If I was more committed to fitness, despite what events are on the calendar, I would be in better physical shape. I must change this way of thinking/being.

I have stepped on the scale monthly to check out my weight, muscle mass, body fat and water %, etc. since January 2012, but fell off in September 2013. Consequently, the numbers on the scale are worse than they have ever been since I started this. I have had some events (job change, dealing with my Mother's illness/aging, etc) this year that have really worn me down. I feel like I have gotten a hold on things and feel optimistic about handling everything moving forward. I have identified the true source of the things and behavior that are not serving me and have a plan in place to combat that.

So, one month down and 10 to go until race day (September 28th). I hope to be able to give myself a better grade on January 1. Let's GOOOOOOO!

Monday, November 4, 2013

My 1st Marathon!

Mile 0.5: His IT band is hurting. “This is going to be a long… day!”

Mile 2: Bertha!!

Mile 4 (Rock Creek Park): Mahasin and a drunk girl. I was standing on the side of the road waiting for my friend to use the bathroom and she stopped and asked if I was peeing (yes, you read that correctly). She then asked if I needed some vodka to get me going again and then said, "WAIT, do I have vodka or tequila today?". She explained that she can only run marathons with vodka or tequila and that she went out drinking last night and only spent $42. Her eyes were glazed over, her speech was slurred, she told me bye and ran along... Yes. That happened.

Mile 8 (Rock Creek Park): “Oops, I waited too long to eat my Bonk Breaker. I hope this doesn’t ruin my day! Where is Teresa with those peanut M&M’s??!!” For some reason, if I eat something by an hour and a half of running, I am good for the rest of the race, if not I bonk.
Mile 9( Rock Creek Park): “I needed that hug from Teresa and those peanut M&M’s and coke were life-saving! Thank God for great friends!”
Mile 9.5 (Kennedy Center): “Oh yeah! I’m feeling good again!” I saw Sissy and Erin and took this photo like I was having way too much fun for this to be a marathon!

Mile 12 (Hains Point): “This is stupid and boring. Who thought of this?! I prefer the mix of triathlons. This continuous running is for the birds! Wait, is he stopping for so many pee breaks because he is hurting and/or tired?”. The pictures of the fallen soldiers and the people holding the American flags brought me to tears and a major attitude adjustment.
Mile 14 (Hains Point): “Okay, I have to focus. I’m not even 1/2way there. I’m not tired… I’m NOT tired”
Mile 15(leaving Hains Point): "Okay, my plan to run 2 miles and walk the water station is working. Pick up the pace. Run to the third tree and then just a short walk break. Angie is supposed to be at mile 16 by Lincoln. Just run to Angie!"
Mile 16 (Lincoln): No Angie, but I saw Ericka!! She was walking and complaining that her uterus felt like it was about to fall out. I gave her a hug and some Aleeve then kept it moving. He was really hurting and needed to walk. We stopped to use the bathroom and after stepping off the curb, he was in major pain.  Done. “Uh oh, this may not have been a good idea!”. I didn’t want to leave him, as he is only out here to support me. "What’s a girl to do???” I know... I am too kind.
Mile 17 (14th and Madison): Erin and Sissy were there and the entire Moshiman cheer crew with signs too! They were SO loud and all gave me high fives. I was feeling the love!!.... and then, I was so surprised to see Edwidge and Gladys there that I think I was feeling the love a little too much. I came to a screeching halt, put my hands over my face and started to cry. I just felt overwhelmed by the love and support. They pretty much told me to just suck it up and keep it moving… and I did. Ha!

Mile 18 (National Mall): Terri and Cass!!
Mile 19.5 (The turn to Beat the Bridge): Megan, Edwige, Gladys, Sissy and Erin!!
Mile 20(14th St bridge): Lisa!! We chatted for a few and I kept it moving. My feet were hurting when I walked and his IT band and calf hurt to run. “What’s a girl to do? I’m ready to finish this thing. I would hate to leave him!”
Mile 22 (Crystal City): Ieesha!!! She tried to run with us, but he couldn’t run and my bladder felt like it was about to fall out. We found a porta potty and walked a bit more. She took off and by mile 22.5, I could no longer walk and he could no longer run, so I took off and left him.
Mile 24: My watch died and I missed him singing cadence songs to me, so I made up my own…out LOUD . I tried to keep it moving to try to get my mind off my dang feet hurting so bad! I had never had my feet to hurt like that! I walked, ran, skipped, made up songs, danced, made friends and finally... I heard the announcers at the finish line!
Mile 26.1: Gladys, Edwidge, Sissy and Erin again!! These ladies were making their way around the course like professional spectathletes!  Gladys ran out and gave me a big ‘ol hug and I ran to the finish line!
Finish line fiasco: I DID IT!! I never had any doubt that I would, but I was SO very proud! I snapped a photo and headed off to have a Marine place a medal around my neck… only to be told that they ran out of medals. Big, hot, crocodile tears immediately started to roll down my face. I never knew that getting a medal meant so much to me, but I was so very disappointed. I had dreamed of running up to the Iwo Jima and having a Marine say, “Good job, Ma’am” while donning me with my well-deserved medal… but that dream was shattered. I had questions, I refused a 10k medal, I called bullshit on the two stories that they told me and pretty much made a big scene. I was so hurt. A staff member walked up to me and gave me a medal. That simmered me down. I stayed there for an hour to let other finishers take an official finisher photo with my medal.

Post-race: I took an ice bath and walked the stairs a few times that evening. Other than some quad pain and being sleepy all week, I felt fine. My ankle never bothered me. In the week after I sprained it, I had acupuncture twice, electrical stimulation 3 times and plenty of RICE. On race day, a popped a prescribed pain pill and slapped a lidocaine patch on it, so the ankle was in lala land.  I will run another marathon during training for Ironman Chattanooga. My greatest lesson is to not accept the offer from someone to run with me for support again. It was an extremely kind thing for him to do, but he was untrained and injured and should have realized that he could jeopardize my race. My predicted finish time was 5-5.5 hours, but it took me an hour longer. I never hit a wall or had any pain. Looking on the bright side, my marathon in March will be a PR of over an hour!!
Special thanks to James for running with me and trying to hang in there through the pain, Brook for doing Physical Therapy on the ankle, all of the FB folks and friends who gave me 1st timer tips and suggestions on how to get the ankle race ready. I am eternally grateful for all those who cheered me on virtually and in person. Please know that without you, my accomplishment would have been tougher. I am extremely proud to add a marathon to my list of accomplishments!
Next up: March marathon and whatever else my Coach tells me to do in preparation for Ironman Chattanooga! I will be an Ironman on September 28, 2014. I'm writing it down and will make it happen. I hope you come along for the journey...
Tri Becca

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ironman Augusta 70.3

I signed up for the Ironman 70.3 Augusta triathlon as a birthday present to myself. At the time, I was experiencing some financial difficulties and had to cut back on races this year, but I needed to have something big on my calendar to  help keep me sane. My first two Ironman 70.3 triathlons had its challenges and I just didn’t feel like I did my best. I wanted to race this distance one more time and race it faster and without the mistakes made in the past. I can't say that I accomplished that goal. My friend Tania signed up to race with me and the plan was to drive down and spend an extra night in Augusta. I got a new job and later learned that race day was the same day that I needed to fly out for sales training, so it drastically affected our plans. However, in true fashion of Tania being the absolute best friend, we made it work. Due to work schedules, we couldn’t leave before 5pm on Friday, but thank goodness Tania’s wife came with us so we were able to take the HOV lane to get out of crazy Friday evening DC traffic! The drive was uneventful. Tania drove us the entire way, arriving in Augusta after 3am at a Bed and Breakfast that was right on the run course and walking distance to everything. This place was old with creaky wood floors and would have been a nice place if it wasn’t for the stench of 100 years of dust with all of the windows nailed shut. It reminded us of an old haunted house.
We planned to do a practice swim on Saturday, but that plan got nixed after spending the day walking through a cute little street market, spending some time at the race expo, a couple hours at the bar and then walking back to the hotel taking random photo’s along the way.  We still had to get to the store, get some dinner and try to rest up for the big day. Despite a rough start to Tania's day, she ended up with a 9 minute PR! The highlight of my day was seeing my friend Brigitte’s sister and kids that drove down to cheer me on from Atlanta. They had some time to kill while I was on the bike, so they went to the library and made a sign for me. It was the cutest thing to see 6 year old Josiah holding it upside down as I rode by on my bike!

Swim: 1.2 miles

As Meghan put it, “Current is Love”. The Savannah River has a current that makes any swimmer look like a rock star! The water was 69 degrees this morning, which is much colder than I have probably ever swum in. It took me a few minutes to get acclimated. Against my better judgment and plans, I did not swim in the river prior to the swim. Had I done so, I would have possibly noted the seaweed that could get caught around your dang foot. After getting used to the water temperature and having to summon a kayak over so I could free myself of seaweed and calm down from my complete panic attack, I started to notice how the buoys were coming up rather fast. I didn’t feel the current, but noticed that I was swimming 100 meters at a time much faster than I ever did! No Sunday morning swimming for this chic today! I was a victim of the current’s love and got that swim done faster than ever! The Augusta Chronicle captured me exiting the water with a bright smile on my face! Lesson: Preparation prevents panic. Time: 39:10 (I probably lost 5 minutes freaking out about the seaweed with the kayak guy)

Bike: 56 miles

Perception is reality and most definitely varies from person to person. What one person thinks is slightly hilly with rolling hills; another person may see it as long slow climbs, false flats and the occasional downhill that abruptly ends with a stop and turn. I think to be good on a course; it takes training on a similar course.  Granted, the courses that I trained on have been harder and there were no insurmountable hills on the Augusta Tri course, however it was not at all what I expected. I didn’t train on slow climbs, so when I was on a climb that was freaking continuous like the one at mile 32.8, which had me to drop my speed down to 9.5mph, it was hard for me. This course only had the occasional rolling hill to me. This course was challenging with some fast flats, a few rolling hills with fast descends and long slow climbs/false flats to me. My perception of this bike course was different and not at all what I expected. I am sad that it took me much longer than expected. I thought that I was prepared by riding in Columbia, Southern Maryland and Reston, but I wasn’t. This is very disappointing, because I really wanted a 3:00-3:30 finish time. Nevertheless, I finished... and conquering 56 miles on a bike is no small feat, so I won’t beat myself up about it. Lesson: It is foolish to set time goals for something that I have not previously experienced, as one person’s perception may not be my reality. I really need to work on my cadence on rides to prepare for next year. Time: 3:51

Run: 13.1 miles

The run was just as expected. It was flat and the crowd support was amazing in some spots. I expected to have a tough 1st mile and expected that my Achilles may tighten up until I got it stretched out really good. What I did not expect was the side of my right foot to hurt so much. Plus, I was so fatigued that I considered just running to the finish line instead of going on my 2nd loop.... but, I fought the urge/crazy thought. I would have felt terrible if I had cheated and quit, so I fought back the tears and pushed on for another 7.1 miles. I was really hoping to finish the run much faster since I have been running more to prepare for the Marine Corp Marathon, but my time was only a few minutes faster than the run on my previous two Ironman 70.3 triathlon races. So, I am disappointed in my run time too. Staying with the whole "look on the brighter side" theme: I will just remind myself that just being able to physically and mentally complete this is a blessing. I crossed the finish line, grabbed my medal, said hello to Margo and sped walked to the hotel to get showered up for a flight that was leaving in 2 hours. Lesson: Get aches and pains checked out while in training and not wait until it causes me to lose time on race day. Time: 3:09

My swim to run transition time was 7:39 and my bike to run transition time was 10:38. My total race time was 7:58. Not quite the pipe dream of less than 6 hours or my worse day expected time of 7:15, but I finished and FINISHING IS WINNING.

All in all, it was a challenging day and I did not meet my time goals. I am still very happy that I was able to compete at this distance again and feel that I gave it all that I could, given my preparation. I don't want to make excuses for myself, but I have had a lot going on (new job, family and personal stuff) which impacted my training and mental game a bit.  Since 2010, I have followed training plans that were not specifically made for me. I really want to get stronger and faster. This race confirmed that it is time for me to get a coach that will tailor a plan for me with my goals in mind. This was my 12th triathlon and I could not be more proud of myself! This journey has not been a solo one, as my friends and many people that I don’t know have been great supporters. They really keep me going on race day when I know that they are tracking, thinking of and praying for me. I am one blessed girl.

Next up: My very first marathon! I will tackle 26.2 miles of running in the Marine Corp Marathon in 4 weeks.

In 1 year, I will double the distance of this race and tackle my very first full Ironman Triathlon in Chattanooga, TN! I know if you are reading this, then you will be along for the journey. Thank you!

Tri Becca

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A good day, a challenging day and a flat out PIPE DREAM

The day of a traveling salesperson makes it hard on a triathlon and marathon training schedule! I had to admit to a friend today that my Superwoman cape doesn't always fit. I had good training intentions today, but life happens. I pray that I get a chance to wake up tomorrow and make it a more productive training day than today.

I had a lot of time to think while driving for SEVEN hours today. I came up with what a good day, a bad day and a flat out pipe dream would be for my upcoming Augusta Ironman 70.3 triathlon on September 29th.

A good day would be if there is a really strong current, all of my hilly bike rides pay off and my marathon training has made me a stronger runner. It would look something like this:

Swim 1.2 miles: 30  minutes
Bike 56 miles: 3 hours
Run 13.1 miles: 2:30
T1/T2 (transitions): less than 10 minutes total
Total time: 6 hours 10 minutes

A challenging day would be if there is no current, the course is more hilly than expected and I am just hot and exhausted on the run. It would look something like this:

Swim 1.2 miles: 45 minutes +
Bike 56 miles: 3:30 +
Run 13.1 miles: 2:45 +
T1/T2 (transitions): 12 minutes +
Total time: 7+ hours (the cut off is 8 hours)

A flat out PIPE DREAM would be if I had followed my training plan with the consistency and intensity that it takes to be where I want to be as a triathlete (it's time to get a coach!). It would look something like this:

Swim 1.2 miles: less than 30 minutes
Bike 56 miles: 2 hours 45 minutes
Run 13.1 miles: 2:15
T1/T2 (transitions): less than 8 minutes total
Total time: 5:38

No matter what happens out there, I will remember that I am blessed just to be able to compete. I recall not being able to climb a flight of stairs without being short of breath and not being able to make it across the pool without stopping. That was just a few short years ago. This race was my birthday present to myself, so I will enjoy it! I hope to have a good day. Prayers, thoughts and virtual cheers are welcomed. However, there is no need for anybody to be out there to be twerking in my honor! LOL

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The ULTIMATE challenge!

It all started in January 2010 when I was recovering from an abdominal surgery and post surgical double pneumonia. 80% of both of my lungs were filled with pneumonia. I could barely climb a flight of stairs or take a shower without becoming extremely winded and fatigued. I started to run the year before and had learned about Triathlons. At the time, I quickly dismissed the idea of doing a Triathlon, as I could not swim, did not own a bike and was a new runner. However, when I was recovering from surgery and pneumonia, the idea of doing a Triathlon appealed to me.  The inability to do anything made me want to do everything! I wanted to complete a triathlon! My initial goal was just to be able to walk around the block. My next goal was to walk 4 blocks to my friend Jolie's house. Once I was able to do that, I prayed that if God allowed my lungs to get back to normal, I would learn to swim and complete a triathlon. I called my friend Dawn and told her that there was an inaugural Triathlon in DC in June and I was going to complete it. I'm sure she thought that I was crazy, but she promised to do it with me.

Training to complete my 1st triathlon was no small feat. I took my first swim lesson in January 2010. It was March before I could make it across the pool without stopping. I still had a touch of pneumonia, so running was challenging. I didn't purchase a bike until mid March and my greatest challenge was staying vertical. It was WORK. However, on June 20, 2010, I completed my first Triathlon with my friend Dawn at my side & my running coach and mentor at the finish line along with a whole cheer squad of friends! My First Triathlon

In 2010, I completed 3 triathlons, 5 triathlons in 2011, 2 in 2012 and I will be completing my 2nd one this year. 4 Sprints, 5 Olympics and 3 Ironman 70.3 (half Ironman) triathlons. Now, I am ready for the ULTIMATE Challenge. A full Ironman! Ironman Chattanooga!

Ironman Chattanooga will be on September 28th, 2014. The swim is 2.4 miles in the Tennessee River, 112 miles of cycling the rolling hills of North Georgia and a 26.2 mile marathon run through downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. That's a total of 140.6 miles that I must complete in 17 hours. It will take a village to get me to the start/finish line healthy and sane. If you are a runner, cyclist, swimmer, masseuse  or yogi, I will need your help! If you are none of these, I will need your positive vibes, thoughts, prayers and an occasional outing to help me to have some balance. I will start training for this after taking the month of November off from training. I'm going to be an Ironman!! What a journey.....


Friday, August 23, 2013

Tough, lazy, exuses or big bite?

More often than not these days, I  find myself thinking, "Am I not being tough enough? Am I being lazy? Am I just making excuses? Have I bitten off more than I can chew?".

Training for an Ironman 70.3 triathlon is tough. I have completed 2 of these races (Eagleman and Cozumel in 2012), so I know what it takes and what to expect. However, when you combine that with training for your very first marathon, it's a whole different beast. I have learned a lot so far, but something tells me that my learning curve will soon skyrocket, as my run mileage is about to increase. I just don't know how my body will respond to running more than 14 miles. On top of training, I recently started a new job and we all know how challenging getting acclimated to a new company can be. Plus, my Mother/Sister are starting to need more help and helping from a distance creates a challenge all on it's own. I feel like I have the world on my shoulders most days and like I'm on an island all alone. Many folks just can't seem to relate and even if they can, they really can't help. Stress is one of the things that causes my skin condition to act up and training puts stress on the body. So on many days, I feel like my skin is raw and is about to peel off or it's itchy like I have a million fire ants eating me up. The way that I have been coping with it all, is by channeling all of my energy to myself: "No, I can't help you do XYZ or volunteer or meet you for drinks to hear about your problems or take your call if you don't have anything positive to say/ask. Just no. Leave me alone while I try to get a handle on all this stuff." I need a true vacation, especially since the week of mandatory vacation for the new job was spent taking care of my Mother in Georgia. It's a lot.  I do plan to spend some time with friends soon. I really really need that. I need to laugh and dance and relax on a beach and explore a different country too.

The lessons in all of this have been plentiful. Some of them have been about digging deep and discovering who I really am when stress takes a hold. I have learned:

  • I really don't need anyone to run 14 miles with me. I thought I did. I even went out with a group. However, when I stopped to adjust my hydration belt and then to stretch my Achilles, I lost them. I had a cue sheet and in hindsight, I probably really didn't loose them. One of my phobias just took over. The path curves in Rock Creek Park so they were probably just right ahead of me, however, my phobia of running alone in parks (because of the Chandra Levy case) caused me to wig out and exit park left. I exited the park way too early and got off course. I managed to get back on course all alone, but at mile 7, the route took me back into the park. So, I turned around and retraced my steps, minus going back into the park. I have run 13 miles before (4 times, actually) and I have run 12 miles alone in the past. So, I was just wigging out. This experience taught me that sometimes when we think we need others, we really don't. Often times "we already have what we are searching for inside of us". My friend Monnie told me that back in 2003. I didn't know what she meant, but now I know. That run turned out to be just what I needed to clear my head, think through some things, pay attention to my form and asses why I stop so much while running. It was a perfect run to figure out some things about myself. I needed alone time with just me and my thoughts.
  • If my skin is feeling raw (due to my condition or a crazy chemical burn.... long story), I am not making excuses or being lazy about going for a swim. It just doesn't make sense to get into a public pool with chlorinated water that could possibly aggravate my raw skin even more.
  • Pacing myself while cycling hills, especially when I don't know the course, is really the smart thing to do. I tend to get all excited and want to CHARGE up the hills and then I burn out later in the ride. Pacing is key to endurance! Pacing is important in life. I need to take things slower and figure it out instead of just jumping in sometimes.
  •  It's true that I have not conditioned myself enough for some of the distances that I have run and that is probably one of the reasons why I fall apart on every single triathlon run. However, my diet is probably a very strong contributing factor as well. I have been reading more on nutrition for distance runners and it's not just a good idea to get enough carbs and energizing foods the day before a long run, but what you eat during the week leading up to the long run is just as important. Also, eating something sweet before a long run is not a good idea, because although, I will burn it off, that sugar high usually turns in a "crash and burn" feeling. So, I will not have desert the night before my long runs. There is no such thing as "I earned this desert" or "I will burn this desert off, so it's okay".  If I want desert, I will have it, but not if I will pay for it during my training. I don't need to make training any harder for myself than it already is.
  •  Sometimes I just really need more sleep. Our bodies repair itself when we rest and with all the extra mental and physical stress, sometimes I just need a little extra. If I can get it, then why not? It does not mean that I am being lazy. I may just need an extra hour or two to get recharged so I can continue to deal with everything effectively.
  • Dehydration can make you feel exhausted and ill. I previously thought that the only symptoms were thirst, dry lips or cramping. Sometimes water alone is just not enough for me. I really should make sure I stay hydrated with coconut water or an electrolyte drink while training throughout the week and not just for the long runs and long bike rides.

There have been many lessons learned from training this season. The answer to all of my questions are all, "No". No, it's not that I am not being tough enough. No, I am not being lazy. No, I am not just making excuses? No, I have not bitten off more than I can chew. {I am sure all of those double negatives drove someone reading this crazy}... It's just that I have a lot of stressful things going on all at once. My approach of not extending myself too much, working on remaining "whole" and eliminating the stressful people/things/articles/television shows, etc., that weigh on me, is probably a good and permanent approach. If something/someone doesn't serve me in some way, I can't give any energy to it. I just simply don't have the energy to give. All I want to do is focus on my job, my training, my family and spend some times with friends who actually care about me... Unfortunately, the beach and exploring another country will have to wait awhile.

5 weeks until Augusta Ironman 70.3!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sunday Morning Swimming

I'm in Georgia this week and need to get some work outs in, as time is rapidly passing by and Augusta Ironman 70.3 and the Marine Corp Marathon will be here before we know it! I reached out to a few nationwide triathlon groups on FB about places to swim and Ann-Marie responded. I was excited that Ann-Marie not only gave me some suggestions of places to swim but offered to swim with me. Game ON.... or so I thought.

Ann-Marie and I first met at the track at Piedmont Park to get some speed work in. The workout was hard, as expected, but the humidity made it tough on the lungs which made the rain much welcomed. I was a little pressed for time, so we had to cut our time at the track short and head to the pool. Yeah... Ann-Marie neglected to tell me beforehand that she swam competitively back in the day. I knew that she gave swim lessons earlier that morning and that she probably wanted to get a swim in herself, instead of coaching me, but urra uhm... that is what ended up happening after she saw me swim.

She just had this "look" on her face and so I decided to welcome any tips or suggestions.... and then it began. Ann-Marie first told me about a few things I was doing wrong and suggested that I do this and that... Then,  she pretty much just let me have it, with a big old Georgia smile. All I could do was laugh. This chick basically told me "You ain't going NO where fast if you keep up that SUNDAY MORNING SWIMMING!".  I was so focused on my swim form and trying to gliiiiiiide through the water and swim prrretttty and not disturb the water, but basically she told me to pick up the pace and do the dang thang! She told me to say this in my head as I swam, "1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2" and stroke each time I said it. I decided to say "1-PULL-1-PULL-1-PULL", because she had told me that I wasn't really PULLING ( This is when your arm is underwater and you are stroking back. You are supposed to really PULL yourself through the water). So, I guess I have been lollygagging as I swim and taking it easy like Sunday morning. Okay.

I tried the "1-PULL-1-PULL" tempo in my head for a lap and was breathing HARD at the end of the lane. She said, now THAT is how you swim when you are trying to go somewhere. She pointed out that for my cool-down, I could go back to my "Sunday morning swimming", but if I Sunday morning swam the whole time, my cool down would just be to stop swimming. Ha! She then told me of a lady she coached for an Ironman that was a "Sunday morning swimmer". She said in 2 weeks, this lady had gotten dramatically faster. Well, damn. I got it!

No more Sunday morning swimming for me! Thanks Ann-Marie!!

7 weeks until Augusta! YIKES......

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tri Rock Philadelphia Triathlon: Olympic

On Sunday I completed the Tri Rock Philly Olympic distance Triathlon. I have been training since the beginning of the year, but if I'm completely honest, my training has not been as intense nor consistent as it needed to be. I knew that I could complete the distances since this was my 5th Olympic distance triathlon. As the race got closer, I just started to think of it as a training day and as the jump start of my Augusta Ironman 70.3 Triathlon and Marine Corp Marathon training. What I didn't expect was to get my azz handed to me on a platter. That was one TOUGH race!

The swim: 1500 meters

It seemed like it took forever to get to each buoy. I swear I thought they forgot to put out the 500m buoy, as I don't recall seeing it. It felt like I was swimming at a stand still between the 700m buoy and the 800m buoy. It appeared I would never get to 800m buoy! Once I reached the 1000m buoy, Philly Joe was swimming next to me screaming "Rebecca, YOU GOT THIS!". I had no doubts, but that was not what I was trying to hear from Philly Joe, as he started 2 waves behind me. I started to see more and more red and orange swim caps from groups that started behind me, so I knew I was taking a long time. I just kept swimming my race and eventually I was done. Time: 38:59

The bike: 24.9 miles

Philly Joe made me cuss him out a few several times on this course. He initially said that there was only 1 or 2 hard hills... then he changed the story and said there were a few, but they weren't bad... then he started to really be truthful when we got to Philly and told us about all the hills we had waiting for us. Great. Yeah, I had been on the hills of Howard County and I rode in the mountains of Virginia, but these hills were long and winding and had a second part to them. I had to stop twice at the landing before attempting the second part of 2 of the hills. I have never stopped on the bike course before, but this time, I stopped twice on each loop. It wasn't because my legs couldn't take me up, but because my heart was pounding so hard that I had to give my ticker a little break. I will just chalk it up as not being conditioned enough for the bike course. My bad. When friends tell me there are only 1-2 hard hills, I now know to not trust them and expect like 6 long, winding hills with 2 parts. THANKS PHILLY JOE! (*insert evil side eye here*). There will be hills on the Augusta Ironman 70.3 course, so between now and then, I will start to ride with the guys and get my azz kicked in training, so I will never feel like a bike course kicked my butt like that again. Time: 1:45

The run: 6.2 miles
The weather was absolutely perfect on Friday and Saturday, but by the time I made it to the run on Sunday, it felt like I was running through hell! Man, it was hotter than Hades out there! The temps had reached 90 degrees. NINETY DEGREES!! There was shade and music for the first 3 miles, then we ran across the grass by transition, the music stopped and it felt like Satan started to breathe fiery dragon breath on me. OMG! It was SO HOT! I started to talk to people on the course, as I always do, to motivate them and myself. I started to want to jack someone running in the opposite direction out of their cold, wet towel. The thought crossed my mind to just turn around and head in the opposite direction. I was tired, don't get me wrong, but the heat was what made it bad. I felt sun whipped! I put ice in my sports bra, poured cold water on myself every chance I got, finally got a cold towel for my neck. I just suffered through. I met a guy named Steve who was celebrating his 40th birthday, in grad school, was racing with his older sister that always beats him during races, it was his 4th Triathlon, he has not had much luck on match. com...... I got to know everything about Steve as we ran past 2 poles and walked past one. It was survival of the fittest out there! Finally, Edwige and her Mom came out to the course as we were approaching the finish line, but I had already committed to Steve and our new friend Maggie that we would cross the finish line together. As soon as I crossed, I saw Philly Joe and Rosalind, who both told me the hills weren't bad. If my eyeballs were a knife, they would have been stabbed! Time: 1:24

Anyway. I finished and got my medal, right along with the triathlon azz whupping that I probably needed to kick me into full blown triathlon and marathon training. At least I wasn't last! I finished 1232 out of 1333 and 43 out of 47 in the F35-39 class. I would be concerned if I was competitive. To me, finishing really is winning and I know that I did more than more than 1/2 of the country's population before noon on Sunday. Once again: I am a Triathlete!!

Next Up:
Annapolis 10 miler
Augusta Ironman 70.3 triathlon
Army 10 miler
Marine Corp Marathon

Monday, June 3, 2013

Everything ain't for everybody

Some people need to realize that everything ain't for everybody and instead of putting in their two cents about something, they just need to shut the hell up. I realize that a small percentage of people do triathlons and to many people, it is a foreign concept. What I don't understand is why someone would tell me that, "You're 39. You're getting old and your body is slowing down. You need to rest. You are always running, biking or swimming or something. You're doing too much". Now, if this person understood that in the last week, I ran twice, cycled twice and swam once and that is not nearly doing too much, he would not be winning my STFU award today, but he is. 39 is "getting old"?? GTFOOHWTBS. I hate when people open their mouth and say stupid stuff. If you think that you are old, then deal with it, but don't try to project that shyt on me. This dude is 40 years old. FORTY! Maybe it's a military mindset or something. I'm not sure. But, 39 is NOT too old to compete in triathlons. Actually, the largest percentage of Triathletes are 30-39 and that's growing. Folks must realize that they can't push their stupid azz way of thinking on others. It's always some loser that doesn't believe that they can do something that tries to tell you that you can't do it. It's just projecting, I know. But he still wins the STFU award today for being an ignorant idiot. Moving on.... How was your day?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Self talk

We all have our moments when doubt creeps in, but it is absolutely imperative that we cut those thoughts at the root. Sometimes when I am riding, I say out loud, "I AM NOT TIRED!!" or "I AM SOOOO STRONG!!" and ironically, less than a minute later that feeling of fatigue goes away. Conversely, when I think or say, "This SUCKS" or start whining and asking who's idea was it to ride this course?!, it seems like the agony is unending. Our minds tell our bodies what to do. There are so many new folks training for a triathlon that don't seem to know and use the power of their thoughts to get them through. I hear so many excuses of why they can't do something, that I just want to tell them, "no you can't! If you think you can't, then you absolutely CAN NOT",  but I would be labeled as the mean girl, so I just keep my lip zipped. It's really simple. If there is something that you want to do, you find a way to do it.

I recall my self talk being completely different when I was learning to swim, trying to stay vertical on my bike and starting to run again after my surgery and double pneumonia. I remember having this belief that I could actually complete a triathlon, despite my challenges. I didn't know where the mental strength came from, but I knew it. I wrote about it here. I found out what I needed to do to accomplish that goal and I accomplished it. It wasn't easy, I fell, I cried, I was slow, there were many events that I missed out on, but I accomplished my goal. The word "can't" isn't even a part of my vocabulary. I have my moments just like everyone else, but I don't let those moments stop me. I don't quit. I can, because I believe I can. Our self talk is so very important. If we simply change our thoughts, we can change our world.

Believe you can, put in the work and don't quit.

Tri Becca

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tri training check in

Things are well under way with training for the 2013 Triathlon season. So far this year, I have run a 1/2 marathon, a 10 miler and I'm almost done with a 2 month boot camp. I am trying to eat less wheat, more smoothies and have seen the scale go down by 8 lbs! I have started to work on my training plan that will take me to my Olympic distance Triathlon in 7 weeks, my Ironman 70.3 triathlon in August and my first marathon in October. The biggest accomplishment so far has been been to finally move out of the slow lane at the pool and actually hold my own in the medium lane! GO ME!!

I am excited about this tri season, as it is my time to focus on speed and diet. I have never given these two things that much attention, as I have been trying to build my endurance and get my "head game" straight. As we all know, most of this is mental and it doesn't mater if you are speedy if you don't have the endurance. Now that I have the endurance, I am all about working on speed drills and my diet so I can hopefully lean out and finish faster. I can't wait to see what this year will bring!

The only bad thing is my hip that's been hurting off and on for a few months now. I am trying to stretch more and have taken yoga here and there, but have plenty of room for improvement. I will do my best to address this, so the hip is not my nemesis for the whole season. I have a free entry into a 1/2 marathon on Sunday that I'm thinking about bowing out of, as I don't want to make the hip hurt worse. I have to figure this hip thing out quickly...

Full speed ahead,
Tri Becca

Monday, April 8, 2013


So, it seems that me and a couple of my friends have the gift of giving race entry fees as birthday presents and I LOVE it! It started when I gifted Dawn the race entry to a triathlon in Bermuda, then she gifted me the Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon this year, I got her back by signing her up to raise funds for a charity and race in the Marine Corp Marathon this year and then Bertha got me by gifting me a bib to run the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run on yesterday! I love my friends! Bertha got me good! She asked if I was interested, but when I told her yes and asked if it was free, she slammed me by saying "NOTHING is ever FREE!".  I was disappointed, because I was excited about the possibility of running the race this year. Well, when Bertha came to my birthday dinner, she told me about my gift. I was ecstatic... but a little nervous because I had not run more than 6 miles in over a month and the race was less than a week away! Oh well. I was excited about running the race with Bertha and her clients from Fitness Heights International. Another friend, Candice, gifted me a ticket to an event the night before the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, but with not being prepared to go out and run 10 miles, I had to take a pass on dancing until the wee hours of race day morning.

Running races is so much easier than doing a Triathlon in that you can just show up and hop in line. I waited until the last minute to leave home, drove almost 1/2 way to the start line and ran the rest of the way to warm up. I saw a few friends and took some photos and we were off... every woman for herself.

I saw Bertha on the course and we threw high 5's. I saw Lisa twice and she was looking like she wanted to chop off her aching foot around mile 6, I saw Mia looking like she was hurting too. I had to start the self talk at about mile 6.5... you know the, " you are NOT tired! NOTHING hurts! You HAVE done this before! You have run further than this after swimming and cycling! Let's GOOO"  self talk. Then, out the blue someone slapped me on my butt. It was Tania! Whew, she came at the right time! Her and Heather were booking it and I managed to hang with them for a couple of miles. When I hit mile 8,  I started whining and taking little walk breaks. I let them run ahead and suffered through, but I never let mysef walk more than 1 minute at a time. I was well into mile 9 and taking a little walk break, when this girl all dressed up in pink told me, "if you run the last 1/2 mile, you will finish in under 2 hours!". That was my goal, not a lofty one, mind you, but my goal, nevertheless. The last 400 meters was up a little hill and me and the girl in pink kept it moving. I was SO happy to see the finish line and even more proud of myself for banging out a 10 miler with less than a week's notice! Go me!

Next up: Potomac River Running 1/2 Marathon on May 5th

Monday, April 1, 2013

Please support me

I am raising money for this very important cause and I'm asking you to help by making a contribution! On October 27th I will be running the Marine Corp Marathon on my "Tri Becca Journey to Ironman". Please support me & our Marine men and women as I train for my first marathon. I will be fundraising for "America 4R Marines" an organization with 100% volunteer management and 98.6% of funds going directly to our Marines and Sailors. No donation is too small and is 100% tax deductible.

Please use the link in this email to donate online quickly & securely. You will receive email confirmation of your donation and I will be notified as soon as you make your donation. Again, no amount is too small and is 100% tax deductible. I thank you in advance for supporting me as I train for my first marathon.

I really appreciate your generosity and support!!

Thank you,

Want to donate or help? Simply go to the link below:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The journey to Ironman

This journey to my first Triathlon began in 2010 and now the journey is on to a full Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run). I would like to accomplish this goal in 2014. I wrote about needing a bigger challenge this year and was contemplating signing up for the Ironman 70.3 in Augusta. I am still  thinking about signing up for that race, but my journey took an unexpected turn today. I have always said that I don't have the desire to run a full marathon until I compete in my first full Ironman. So, the plan was to not run a full marathon until next year.Yeah, that was the plan.

Well, with all the hype today about the Marine Corp Marathon registration opening and the trouble that folks went through with registering peaked my interest. I started to think about how awesome it was to run through Crystal City with Tracy last year and to run across the finish line with her and somehow, the desire set in to register. After Lisa wrote on Facebook that she got in, I wandered over to the site and discovered that it was sold out. I was bummed. Totally bummed. I made the mistake decision to share this feeling with my dear, sweet friend Tania, who immediately emailed me a link to a charity that I could race with. The only thing is that I had to raise $500 by October. Without even thinking about it, I was signing up and calling Dawn to tell her that I was signing her up too. So, it's done. I am running a marathon. I AM RUNNING A FULL FREAKING MARATHON! I still can't believe it!!

I do need your help. I have to raise $500 for the charity that I am racing with, Team America 4R Marines.  This organization is operated with 100% volunteer management and 98.6% of funds go directly to our Marines and Sailors. No donation is too small and all donations are 100% tax deductible. You can donate here. Please and thank you!!

Thanks for your support on my Triathlon journey. If I do the Augusta 70.3 Ironman (I will make the decision on my birthday. It may be an expensive personal gift), it will be 1 month before the Marine Corp Marathon. I am thinking that this is a good idea on my journey to a full Ironman triathlon.

I'm not sure how I became an addict, but today confirmed that I am. Lord help me.

Tri Becca

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The heart of the matter

I was out cheering at the Rock and Roll DC Marathon and 1/2 Marathon today and this runner screamed "HEY TRI BECCA!!!". That made me realize that I have been slacking on the blogging lately. Back at it.....

So far this year, I have run the New Orleans Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon, been on two 25 mile bike rides and only been in the pool about 5 times. I have been lacking the motivation to do anything until my Team PHLY tri suit showed up for the Tri Rock Philly Olympic Distance Triathlon from Philly Joe last week. I heard a few seams popping as I tried it on, which made me immediately call my girl to get signed up for some kick ass boot camp classes and schedule some rides/swims/runs with friends. Oh yeah, I'm BACK now!

I am really itching to do another Ironman 70.3 this year. I just know that with proper training, I can get a 6 hour finish time. I have my eyes on Augusta in September. I'm starting to feel like I need to have at least 1 real challenge on the schedule this year to help keep my sanity. I simply love overcoming obstacles and meeting my goals. Perhaps taking a year off from paying for any races is a bit extreme and most importantly, detrimental to my psyche. I decided to not pay for any races and redirect those funds to other things... but I don't want the other things to have to include a trip to sit on somebody's velvety couch. So, I may have to alter the plan. Cutting the triathlon, travel and entertainment budget is driving me kinda wacky. I need to have at last one of these things to look forward to. I am grateful for Dawn and Philly Joe for signing me up for the 1/2 marathon and Olympic Triathlon and to those that have hooked me up with free entries to some other running races. The thing is, I really want to do another Ironman 70.3. I really need the physical and mental challenge of doing another Ironman 70.3 this year. What's life if you are not "TRI-ing" to be better? That's the question that looms in my mind when I take the challenge of Triathlon out. Sure, I could find a different challenge, but I choose Triathlon. It's at the heart of the matter.  It's like TRIATHLON is woven into my DNA and is an integral part of who I am now. I will start to look at some financial options to make it happen. I have some close family in Georgia, so the Augusta Ironman 70.3 may be a reality.

Stay tuned... oh, and that New Orleans Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon 3 weeks ago? That was the hardest race to date, due to some hip pain. I finished and got a pretty medal, but it's still painful to even think about that race.

Tri Becca

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


 Adonis, in Greek mythology, is the god of beauty and desire

I will take swim motivation any way that I can get it these days. Yesterday I was motivated to get to the pool, but only because I really don't want to get kicked off the team for not attending at least 2 swim practices per month. I have learned that I prefer to swim when and where I want to swim and not at a specific location on a specific day at a specific time. That drives me nuts and makes me want to rebel. I don't know if I will renew my membership after this quarter because of this. But, who knows, I may change my mind once the weather gets warmer and I start to dream of swimming outdoors at Hains Point with a lane all to myself (a benefit of being on this swim team). I was talking to my Mama on the way to the pool last night and whining about the traffic and the location and time and parking and yada yada.... but my motivation when I got to the pool was worth all that I went through to get there.

As I made my way to the last (read "slowest") lane, I noticed this beauuuuuutiful man in the lane. As I eased my way into the cold water, I slowed down a bit as I watched how beautifully he swam. He stopped at the end of the lane to ask if I was getting in.  He told me to just take the plunge and I would warm up, but I tell ya, it was like music was playing when he spoke to me. Oh MY! So, I eased in, talked to the lane mates about where they were in the workout and got going. I found myself trying to get my hips and feet higher in the water as I swam past him. When we started doing sprints, I found myself swimming faster, as I didn't want him to think that I am a slacker. While my lane mates were waiting for the rest of us to finish the swim set, I found myself trying to make sure my hand entry into the water was perfect and my body rotation was just right. MAN! The motivation!! I swam faster and more efficiently than I probably ever have... or at least I thought I was. As he climbed out of the pool, I found myself just admiring the view and dreaming of our next swim together.

Delusional? Maybe. But I will take my swim motivation any way I can get it these days! I cannot WAIT until Thursday's swim practice. I know he won't be there, as I overheard him saying that he only swims on Tuesdays and Saturdays. However,  I need to work on my form a bit more on Thursday, so I can swim more beautifully when I see him again on Tuesday! The motivation man... the MOTIVATION!

...and for the icing on the cake with a cherry on top? He was wearing a Triathlon swim cap. Could the beautiful man be a Triathlete too? Oh my.... the MOTIVATION!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Finding a way

I have these little goals that keep me in check, like "Never wear double digit sized clothing again" and "Never wear a size Large again". Whenever I get back to a size 6, I am going to start "MISSION SIZE 6 for LIFE". Just little vain goals to help me to stay on track besides having to be ready for races. I noticed that my size 8's are fitting snug these days, so besides having to be ready to run a 1/2 Marathon in 6 weeks, I have my "never wear double digit sized clothing again" goal motivating me to get moving.

Last night I left the house and discovered a flat tire on my car. The car did not come with a spare tire, so I had to get it towed to the dealership. My plan today was to go for a long run, attend an inauguration training session and a short bike ride with a friend to help her get familiar with her new bike. I decided to run to the dealership  to get my car, then cycle to the training session and to the meeting spot for the ride. However, it seemed that every which way I turned, I was met with obstacles. Nevertheless, I remained committed to finding a way to  accomplish today's fitness goal of getting that long run in.

There is always something that we have to do or something that comes up and it's so easy to just push fitness aside. I am trying to stay committed to living an excuse free life when it comes to my personal health and fitness. I had a late night dealing with 2 different tow truck companies that turned into a 4 hour ordeal, had to help a friend out and didn't wind up going to bed until 2am. Sleep is not something that I sacrifice much, as I get headaches, don't look my best and feel cranky if I don't sleep enough. So, I slept in this morning. I learned that I couldn't pick up the car until 2pm, so that ruined the plans of running there before everything else I had to do. I decided to just cycle to the training and back, hitch a ride to the dealership, reschedule the ride with my friend and run this evening. I went to get ready to cycle to the training session, but remembered that my helmet and bike pump were in my car which was at the dealership. So, I switched the plan to running to the training session and back  (5.69 miles total). Sure, I could have taken the train, canceled or hitched a ride to the training session, but  I made a way to do what I had to do and accomplished my fitness goal. No excuses.

Next Saturday, I will be volunteering with my company for the National Day of Service, attending more Inauguration training and have to run 1 hour 45 minutes. The plan is to run to the volunteer event, run to the training session and take the train/walk home. So, incorporating my training into what I have to do is my way of staying committed. Finding a way is what it is all about. I'm not too busy for me. Besides, I need for these size 8's to fit comfortably again.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The lungs man, the lungs...

So, I have decided to pick up with my love affair of all things Triathlon again. I have had a very nice hiatus and need to get back on schedule. This intermittent training over the last 3 months has caused me to have some visually physical "adverse effects"! I was diagnosed with Bronchitis (AGAIN) about 2 weeks ago and didn't feel well for about 2 weeks before that, so I haven't been a total slacker without an excuse. I got in 20 miles on the trainer on Saturday and ran 5.5 miles on Sunday. Monday was weights and today I went for a run again.... if I can call it that. I guess my lungs are not back to 100%. The plan was to bang out 5 miles, but my lungs were NOT having it.  I felt like someone was giving me a bear hug the entire time. I kept trying to cough to clear my lungs and get more air, took deep breaths, changed my breathing pattern every way I knew how, but nothing was helping. My friend is training for a 1/2 marathon that is in 19 days and needed a 5 mile run today. I am sure that after moving as slow as molasses and me stopping periodically to hack up a lung, she was just done. She suggested that we just stop. I felt bad and wanted to suffer through another 1.3 miles, but we called it quits at 3.7 miles and I could not have been happier. I drove straight to the pharmacy to pick up my inhaler prescription.  I needed the prescription filled STAT! Man, there is nothing like not being able to breathe! I felt bad that my friend didn't get her miles in and I am sure that we were running much slower than her normal pace, but I hope she understands. I feel better already after taking that inhaler tonight. While there is a steroid in it and I try to avoid taking more steroids (I take steroids for a skin/scalp condition and a nasal steroid), I will be taking this sucker daily!

I am running the Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon in New Orleans in 6 weeks.  I am really stoked about training over the next 6 weeks and getting back to swimming, cycling and weights. The only Triathlon on the schedule so far is the Philly Olympic Distance in June. I am going to try really hard to stick to using my kettle bells regularly over the next 6 weeks. Try...

I hope your year is off to a great start!!

Tri Becca