IM70.3 Eagleman was my preview race for IMMD. I worked hard and felt ready. Believed & Knew.
Swim ended up cancelled due to wind. The National Weather Service issued a small craft advisory meaning that not of the small safety craft could be on the water. No safety craft, no athletes in the water.
The minute they announced hat the swim was cancelled you could actually feel the tension in the air go down a gazillion notches and people were actually jovial...about doing an expensive brick.
I was actually un-bothered. I have swam across the frigid San Francisco Bay with slap yo momma chop and swells. I did the Ocean City Swim where the swell and waves were so bad that I am amazed I survived it...and so didn't The FireMarshall who walked the beach the entire swim to make sure I got out. The Choptank? Yeah, it was gonna be rough but with the return only be 4ft deep - I'd walk that damn swim if I had to. GET OUT OF THE DAMN WATER BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY - PDQ (Pretty damn quick)
Whelp, I didn't have to so I chilled at the Mid-Maryland Tent till it was time to go to transition and line up with your bike.
SWIM: NO GO
So, about an hour later we are all in transition by our bikes and they send us out on a rolling start beginning at #1 and rolling through till the last athlete was out of transition on the bike course. I was #765 and it come fast. I don't know what came over me. I had a goal in my head to 3:30 for the bike. I have never been faster than 3:45/3:50 and I went out there and CRUSHED IT! I felt powerful and fast. I was comfortable; not tired. I felt my nutrition was on point. I was grinning from ear to ear. Even when the heavens opened up to give us our swim on the bike which I affectionately called the aquabike, I was having a good time. The rain was so crazy that I called it Forrest Gump Rain - we had stinging rain, rain that came up from the ground rain, sideways rain - WE HAD RAIN.
I had to pocket my sunglasses because I just got sick and tired of trying to use my finger as a windshield wiper and just went with squinting. I could see better, despite the rain and could navigate the
BIKE: CRUSHED IT!
As for the run...a colossal cluster fugg. HOW MANY DAMN TIMES does your coach, other experienced athletes, YOUR OWN DAMN SELF...have to say: "NOTHING! NOTHING NEW! NOT A DAMN THING NEW ON RACE DAY.
You know how many times...ALL THE TIME and when you do it and pay the price, YOU LEARN. Hard head equal a soft ass.
So, what I do? I have been training both bike and run with my hydration pack. I love that damn thing. It works. I'm comfortable with it and I load it up with what I can tolerate. I have NEVER (knock on wood) been sick or had GI issue during a race...until Eagleman. I had this brilliant idea...because I couldn't figure out how I was gonna refill my hydration pack for the run, that I would just wear my hydration belt and refill the bottles on the course. DUMB BYOTCH. A mile into the run, that belt was digging into my stomach and weighing on my hips and back. My back started hurting, my sciatica started flaring up. It was too damn heavy and uncomfortable. I drank one of the bottles, emptied the other and dumped my edible nutrition (except my Hammer Gels) and figured I would get what I needed from the aid stations.
YOU ARE A NO GO AT ALL OF THESE STATIONS. I tried the flat syrupy coke - retch. I tried the too sweet gatorade - retch. I tried to swallow down anything they had at the aid stations to each and none of it would stay down. I was in the SUNKEN PLACE. I had no idea how I was going to make it. My stomach was doing somersaults. I tried to wog and, yeah, that didn't go well. I was in that dark place where you just want to sit on the ground - lay on the ground - and quit.
Full transparency...even though my friend and idol, Pat McNabb said "There was no crying in triathlon." I sobbed for about 2 min and then channeling a little of David Goggins from his book "Can't Hurt Me."...I HTFU. I changed my perspective. I lifted my head and asked HOW BAD DO I WANT IT! I remembered the words of that wise sage, Rock Balboa - paraphrasing - how much can I take, how much can I suffer and STILL MOVE FORWARD.
I checked my watch and decided if walking was going to be it then walk as fast as I can while keeping whatever I can in my stomach. It came down to walking a 17 min pace for about 9 of the 13 miles. It was brutal, but I kept moving foward. I was going to make the cutoff. I would survive to learn from my folly.
Two miles out and I could hear the music. I could hear the announcer. Many of my MMTC friends and RipIt family had passed me and encouraged me on. I came around the corner with less than a mile to go...and the crowd of MMTC/RipIt family was running toward me. Screaming and cheering. Word got back that I was sick and struggling...and I burst into tears. Tears of joy of overcoming and victory.
RUN: I SURVIVED
Onward to IMMD!
Video Slideshow of Eagleman2019
I decided to do Six Pillars because one of the course routes was the 56 mile Eagleman course (which I would have to do for IM70.3 Eagleman in June) and cause my coach said so. My mother, The Queen Momz decided she wanted to start riding again and decided to join me by doing the 37 mile family fun ride...that don't even sound right, does it?
I came and did what I needed to get done for my training day. Nevertheless, I am super proud of my Momz, 75 years young this November, that has the tenacity and resilience to do something epic and outside her comfort zone. Where do I get it from?...The Apple don't fall far from the Tree.
Thank you, Connie for joining us for the weekend. What a blast.
So, yeah, I was gonna do my first IM in 2017, but life sometimes gets in the way and you have to take a detour. I pulled out of doing IMMD17 – new job, job travel, injuries, family situations – not ideal.
2018 turned out to be a EPIC year of racing for me as it seemed that things started to click for me. Redefining what success looked like FOR ME, finding the joy in triathlon, changing my perspective about adversity & challenges and just #racinghappy brought Triathlon into a new focus for me.
The first race of 2018 that I just KNEW it clicked was at the 1st Bear Triathlon:
I was skinning and grinning the WHOLE DAMN TIME. I was happy that I could move forward. My mind was clear, the day was glorious (it was a rainy muddy mess) and the water was warm (it was not). I stepped up to the line and my only thought was it is a great day to be alive …let’s have some fun.
2018 EPIC Races:
Escape from Alcatraz The London Triathlon IM70.3 Atlantic City –Aquabike
After such an awesome 2018, what next? I decided that it might be a great time to go ahead and get that bucket list item done…My first Ironman – Full distance –140.6
I had the family meeting and The FireMarshall and the QueenMomz was in for the support system. Talked to Coach Suzy and she was YES YOU CAN!! And FastChix Hannah VonTanna came over and held my had while I registered on the IM Layaway A Race Plan – I was in dem “circumstances” from losing my job the day before A/C. So here I am!
I also registered for Eagleman70.3 in June.
Training started in January and I’m on pace to be ace!! I’ve been told that I have been remiss in my blogging (I have), so I’m going to try and do better on this journey to IMMD.
1. I pulled my “Talismans” out again and started wearing them everywhere like I wear my Garmin. Here is an excerpt about them from the post – Journey to IMMD – My Talismans:
…Then I started looking at all the "talismans" and their meanings and decided to put a set together that represented my journey to IMMD. My coach, Suzy McCulloch Serpico and trainer/mentor Shawn Chevalier always encourage to have that one word/phrase to get you through the tough times.
This is my word -->
RELENTLESS - to be a fiery, driving force that lets no obstacle or setback get in the way of achieving a noteworthy goal.
I put this set of bracelets together as my reminder of my why...
BIKE - Wellness, Movement, Spirit
RUN - Endurance, Heart, Sportsmanship
5 (Numerology) - Adventure, Free, Variety
FOUR LEAF CLOVER - Blessing, Fortune, Prosperity
GODSPEED (Cuff) - Journey, Blessing, Protection
2. Because my knees just ain’t what they used to be, I have had to find another way to “run”. I am more like a power wogger now. I have actually be training with a metronome set at 170 bpm (ultimate goal would be 180) and 1:30/:30 intervals. I have gone from averaging a 16/15:30 pace to a 15/14:30 pace in a few months. My first race of the season was The 41st Clydes 10k and I crushed it with an avg. 14:22 pace. My goal is to be able to walk a marathon like my classmate Charlie Jackson does (avg walk pace of 12:30 over 26 miles) when I grow up. Maybe not that fast after 112 on the bike, but a girl has GOT TO HAVE GOALS.
Join me as I go on this journey to do EPIC SHIT and be a BADASS! See you out there!
The AJ Bell London Triathlon (21 years strong) is the worlds largest triathlon with over 11,000 participants. Overall, if I consider the race day as a whole, they didn’t do a bad job. On the other hand, when you have raced with awesome RD’s and venues…the London Tri left some things to be desired.
1. If you have such a large social media presence with a “worlds largest” in your name then when people ask questions – ANSWER THEM! Dedicate someone to respond to questions posted on your site or update the freakin’ FAQ’s on a regular. NOBODY EVER responded to one damn question asked by anybody. You had to rely on word of mouth answers from previous race athletes
2. Athlete Guide. Just burn the damn thing on the trash heap of misinformation/no-information.
3. Things I had to just “get my mind right” about:
* A transition area the size of a football field
* You have to take off your wetsuit BEFORE you enter building, stuff in a bag while also trying to get to transition, climb 2 flights of stairs and dump at your bike.
* Ride LEFT, Pass RIGHT (Remember to say “On Your Right”)
So, with all that said, lets get to it…
TODAY IS CHALLENGE DAY!
I love this picture my mother took of us walking to the transition area inside the the ExCel Center. We look fierce and ready to do battle. Time to get it done!
When they opened the doors to the show floor it was like a line at an amusement park to get into transition and then you racked by race start/race as you arrived. 1st come first serve.
We set up our gear and then 20 min before your wave started you lined up in the chute and they gave you a swim cap right there. Okay.
One min we were in the corral, then next we are on the dock and they are yelling for you to get in the water. It was a mass start. The horn goes off and ….
SWIM (1500m – actual 1973yds): 42min 2:08/100m
BIKE 80K/49.7miles 3:35/avg 14mph:
This bike course kicked my ASS. 3 laps of pure DISRESPECT. Unless the Brits have a different definition of flat & fast, there was NOTHING flat about it. NOT A DAMN THING. The first loop I was avg about 15mph despite the fact that there were very narrow curve sections where people whizzed past without saying a damn work and so close that if you were fast enough you could snatch their bottles. Nobody said “on your right”. This course and the people on it require you to have your bike handling skills sharp or you would bite it…like into a curb or jersey wall. The climbing up and out of tunnels and up and over highway ramps was just RE-DAMN-DICULOUS. By lap 3, I was OVER IT. My last 5 miles – slow as frozen molasses. I was so thrilled to be heading to transition until I saw the ramp we had to go up. It was so steep that people were unclipping, standing – anything, just to get up. Ugggaaahhh!!!!
Side Note: People certainly are NOT used to people talking and/or encouraging each other. I don’t know how many people I scared or shocked when I said something. I nearly caused a crash when I screamed – “GO GET IT, CRYSTAL” – across the highway as I was going out on a loop and Crystal was coming back. They wasn’t ready for Wakandians.
RUN 5 miles 1:19 (pathetic zone):
It was hot as hades. CENTER OF THE SUN HOT by this time. I actually thought I was moving faster than the time says I was, but I guess stopping EVERY SINGLE TIME to drench myself with water – SLOOOWWW. The course was 4 laps which didn’t make sense to me after my first two laps…it was apparent that each lap was more than 2 miles and by time I finished the 4th lap I would be at about 7 miles. Whatever…just get it done. The course was a 4 lap obstacle course of uneven mats, poorly marked broken/uneven concrete and indoor slippery running past the GOSH DANG FINISH CHUTE 3 – THREE – FUGGING TIMES. For the love of all that is HOLY. And then it happened, on lap two, I tripped on a uneven part of the path and fell so hard that I knocked the wind out of myself. My visor and sunglasses went flying. This nice man snatched me up off the ground, gave me his water and each time he saw me on the course, he checked in. Bless him. I dusted myself off and plodded along. As I came into the hall to do my last lap, I saw Shaunna Payne Gold standing near the split for more loops or the finish talking to two ladies. I come around and they say “sorry, the Elites have started so you can’t go out.” STRAIGHT BULLSHIGGITY THAT WAS NO WHERE IN THE ATHLETES GUIDE. I suppose they didn’t want a couple of back of the pack Athena's out on the course fugging with them filming the elite race. GTFOOHWTBS. Shaunna and I stood there for a minute and then since we had no choice, I applied lipstick and we ran in together.
I adapted, improvised and overcame all the obstacles put before me. It wasn’t my best race overall, it wasn’t my worst either. I handled all the unfamiliar with a perspective of live, love and learn. I had a wonderful time.
I am still in awe that I did it. I overcame every fear and doubt I had about my abilities and ESCAPED!! When I won the entry at Nations in 2017, I knew that this would be WAAAYYY out of my comfort zone (FLAT EVERYTHING), but with my great coach,focus, dedication and a positive mental attitude, I could – I WOULD – FINISH this race.
So, how did I get here? Last year was a very challenging and busy year. I decided at the end of 2016 to do IMMD and then 2017 came and hit me with a whirlwind. I had a major job change, we ended up having to move out and into a new house on short notice and training suffered. I made the command decision to pull out of doing IMMD. Hmmmm. What to do with the rest of the season and my training. I filled it in with a few races and then at the last minute I decided to do Nations Tri in DC. It was my first triathlon ever (7years prior) and for grins and giggles, I registered. Let’s see how I improved over the years.
I cut off 47 – FORTY SEVEN MINUTES – off my race time and came in 1st in my Division. 10 min off the swim and 37 min faster off the bike – run was essentially the same. WHO KNEW?!! Still, I didn’t even realize this until days later when I decided to look at the results. I didn’t even stay for the awards ceremony cause these Athena Maters (seasoned plum ladies) are fast a muthafugger. Yet when I looked at the results there was a 1 under DIVISON. Say what?
And email came – YOU ARE GOING TO ALCATRAZ!!
COLD ASS WATER for the swim, the HILLY streets of SAN FRANCISCO for the bike, HILLY climbs and sand stairs for the run. Jesus be some BioFreeze.
Race morning came fast. Transition opened at 4am and you had to be on the buses to the Pier by 6am. Everyone had to be on The San Francisco Belle NLT 6:30 as the ferry left promptly. If you missed it, you did not race. I made friends with a bunch of great ladies racked near me and #2034 Melanie Detloff from New Orleans took me under her wing, kept me with her for the ferry ride and we jumped together. Having a buddy made that hour before the jump go by without getting in my head.
7:30am Time to Jump
Swim 46:02 (1.5mi) 1:45/100 yds
In about 7 min, they put 2000+ athletes in the water. There was no time to think, dwell, get in your feels or hesitate. You move like sheep towards one of two doors and step off and go. One minute I’m moving forward and then the next, I’m in the water and swimming FOR MY LIFE!!!
The water was 54.7 degrees but to be perfectly honest, it didn’t even register that it was that cold. I thought, oh yeah, it’s a little cool, but byotch YOU BETTA SWIM!! For me. it was a literal fight – fight the current (swift and fast), fight to stay on course, fight to breath against swells and white caps (the wind picked up significantly by time all of us were in the water). Fight and yet, stay calm.
I got to what was about a little more than a football field away from the exit and I knew I was off course. I was swimming with everything I had…EVERYTHING…and going nowhere, I was getting no closer and I was drifting further away down the beach. I was gonna miss the landing if I couldn’t swim against this current.
Him: How you feeling? Whipped huh?
Me: Yeah, it doesn’t seem like I’m making progress and I can see the exit.
Him: You ain’t gonna make it. You are gonna end up about 2 miles down the beach. I need to reposition you.
If you are told you need to be repositioned, you don’t have any choice. You HAVE to do it or get DQ. You do NOT argue or debate the water safety people. Now, if you are repositioned or ask for help, you are no longer eligible for age group awards. BWAAAAHAAAHAAAHAAA!!! Yeah, not my main concern, bro.
I had to pull myself up on a board on the back of the jet ski and he dragged me back way left of the exit. Him: Now get off and SWIM! Keep LEFT of the dome. LEFT OF THE DOME. GO!
I slid off and SWAM as if JAWS was on my ass. I MADE I IT. LAND. SWEET BABY JESUS and ALL THE SAINTS. LAND!!! I made it. I was FUGGING OUT OF THE GOT DAMN WATER!!!!
There is a half mile run from swim exit to T1. You can leave a swim exit bag (mine had a pair of shoes, gloves, hand towel and water in it). The crew was awesome. I was asked my number and he screamed it out. I heard someone yell over here and I was directed to the row it was in. They were really not there to strip your wet suit, but the volunteer snatched me out of it. I stood on my towel, yanked my shoes on (slip on kicks), threw my stuff in the bag and was off to T1.
T1: 14:23 Don’t even step to me about transition times. It was a long run to warm up after the swim and YES, I took my damn time to get my shit together for the EPIC climbing I was about to do on the bike. I gobbled an egg and an applesauce, threw on my hydration pack and was off.
Bike 1:50:54 (18mi) 9.7/mph
Time to climb! My bike time was 7 min slower than when I did the course on the computrainer. Why? Cause on the computrainer you can go as fast as you can pedal on the downhill without riding your brakes, going off a cliff or crashing into some life sucking shit. I’m glad I at least practiced the course because for the love of all that is Holy, the climbs are LONG and STEEP and I knew that it was going to be a long grind. Just keep peddling – up and over. The descents were equally as long and steep AND FAST as hell. I saw 30+mph speeds and was screaming and riding my brakes on each one. I’m just not THAT fearless to just let go and let God. I knew He had me, but yeah, I wanted to arrive alive.
I thought for sure that I would be able to get back without unclipping, but I (and the pack I was with) didn’t foresee the double climb. On the 1st long climb back to the finish (climbing after leaving Golden State Park, left turn up 100m and then hard right up short and STEEP), I hit that right turn, standing in the saddle and STILL couldn’t move the pedal. CLICK CLICK. I was off the bike with about 6 others and we walked and commiserated together. Two more long climbs and we were home free. Me and another lady played leapfrog up and down the last two climbs and kept encouraging each other to keep peddling, keep moving, almost to the top. I was ahead on the very last part of the climb towards near the bridge and I turned around to look for her and yelled. LET’S GO! COME ON! WE ARE ALMOST THERE!!
We were and we brought it in.
T2 8:35 I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT. Worry ‘bout your damn self.
Run 2:23:54 (8.35mi) 17:14/mile
They say the race is won on the run. Since I wasn’t in it to win it – I didn’t give a fugg. Just wogg, shuffle and hump up and over the hills and GET IT DONE!!
The first 2 miles were flat out of Marina Green but into a headwind. The view of the bridge was spectacular. At mile 2 you had to climb stairs to the top of the park overlooking the bridge. You continue climbing for another mile. I was sticking to my 1:30/:30 intervals. I felt good. I was wogging happy. I made it to the top and then it was a steep descent onto the beach. I wish I could take a downhill like the other runners, but my knees can’t take it. I probably looked like a Weeble (they wobble but they don’t fall down) as I turned my feet out, extended my stride and shuffle/hopped side to side down the hill to the beach.
Sand Ladder 8:55
400 wooden pile-on steps. Whose fugging idea was this shiggity right damn here! I looked up and told myself to not look up again until I got up there. Hunker down and climb and pull yourself up and along the best you can. 9 min later I was up at the top. A little more of a climb and then it was downhill to the finish.
I got to the top and texted Ron that was coming home. 3 miles left! I was filled with JOY!
I laughed my way back. Seemed like the longest 3 miles EVER but I knew it was almost over.
I ESCAPED FROM ALCATRAZ!
I am so THANKFUL and BLESSED! The list of people that helped, supported, encouraged and coached me to achieving this goal is long. Know that I appreciate and love each and every single one of you.
And just so you know that I don’t have the big head…
I managed to swim across the San Francisco Bay, climb up and down hills on the streets of San Francisco, survive the sand ladder without injury or a mark on me. I climb the stairs in my own house, trip over the bar to the grandbaby gate almost going head first down the back stairs and hurt myself more, losing skin off my knee and knocking the wind out of me. That shit RIGHT THERE hurt more than ESCAPING FROM ALCATRAZ!!! The dangers of your own home will keep you humble. LOL!
Seriously???!!!! OUCH! That hurt.