Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2014 Chinook Half Triathlon Race Report

Winner schwag AND a photobomb!  Whoo hoo!  hahaha!

I won first overall female!!!

Whoo hoo!  Photo courtesy of Gord Bramfield

Race week started off less than ideal...

Traveling from Cozumel back home involved a ferry, a bus, a plane, another plane, then an overnight, then another drive.  Traveling this much takes a lot out of me, so I was careful to wash my hands, drink a lot of water, eat right, basically do everything in my power to lower my stress levels.

Random pic numero uno -- awesome weekend spent with great friends Aaron and Flor.  No stress in Coz baby!! :)

I spent the night in Calgary and woke up early to build my bike back up.  Why you ask?  Well, I had to take my bike in to the shop as after 2.5 months in Mexico, it was being held together by electrical tape and a I didn't want to get charged a "bike building fee."  Gotta save money where I can!!  :)

My Dad and I hung around in Calgary waiting for my bike to be repaired, when I got word that my bike was currently unridable due to the casette shifting mechanism.  They would express order a new set of shifters and hoped it got here in 4 days!

So, we left Calgary and continued the trek back home sans bike.  I still have my old cervelo and while it is not ideal, how on earth could I complain?!?!  I mean who happens to have an extra tri bike pretty much set up and ready to go?  lol.

Random pic 2:  My superstar athlete Tracey, me (yes I like cats, bahahaha!!) and Mike before race day in Coz.
I had (and still have) a lot of paperwork (and phonecalls I still need to return!!!) and assorted responsibilities to wade through after being gone for 2.5 months.  It was frankly overwhelming and I made it my mission to not freak out and take things one step at a time knowing the race was getting closer.

I have struggled with my emotional responses during race week and during races before and I was fully aware of this.  I've done a lot of work at letting go and going with the flow this year and I was feeling more in control, more large part due to my amazing coach Sara Gross!!!

Yes!!  There she is!  Winning IM Brasil 2014 AND going sub-9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Friday I got word that my bike was ready to go!  The pieces had come in -- whoo hoo!

Now I had made plans with my Mom to visit my sister (and take her out for a belated birthday lunch) once we arrived in Calgary.  By the time we left, there was no time to drive the bike course (there wasn't even an option for me to swim the swim course unless I had come up the day before) if I wanted to spend some time with my sister.

I did make a big mistake upon picking up my bike...I didn't take it for a test ride.  That is like one of the cardinal rules of triathlon!! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER pick up your bike without riding it first.   I was pressed for time, the weather was pouring down rain, whatever, I made the choice and it came back to haunt me race morning...

I woke up early enough to ride around the street where my sister lives (and this huge bunny kept dashing in front of me, hahaha). Right away two things leapt out:
  1. The aero bars were going one way and the front tire went another
  2. The shifter for the big ring only worked if I held it up manually.
Holy crap.

I knew the Chinook bike course is mostly a big ring course so I had to develop a strategy right there -- I knew I would have to relax my arm and hand and not stress about holding the little lever up for 3 hours.  I accepted it and moved on -- the bike was ridable if I just didn't look at the headset.  Hahaha.  I know how to adjust the headset myself but because the bearings are shot and I have had major issues with getting the headset back on properly, I was not touching it race morning.

When The Momma and I arrived at the race site, I was thrilled to see the Speed Theory tent at the entrance and Cam getting ready to help out athletes!!  He took care of my bike in no time -- very awesome Speed Theory was there volunteering their time and expertise!!!  Thank you!!

Oh yes, it's a little different racing mid-June in Canada.  No plus 37 degrees Celsius like Cozumel!!

Swim - 2km
It was a two loop course, the kind where you run out around a big buoy on the beach.  Air horn sounded and everyone goes off like a herd of turtles.  As usual, before the first turn buoy, the adrenaline rush of the start burned off and people began to fall away.  I found a couple of guys to draft from and stayed put.  Tried a few times to pass but it wasn't happening, so tucked back in and enjoyed the ride!  Hee-hee!

Getting into wetsuit race morning, man, that was a cold day.

Near the end, I was swimming with a group of 3 men and I managed to pull away from them, which led me to question if I had swam hard enough.  I always do this to myself -- start questioning and then a negative spiral happens...only today I recognized what was going on in my head and stopped it immediately.  I congratulated myself for pacing properly and not blowing up at the end but being strong enough to pass at the end.  Success!!

2nd female out of water!!  Photo courtesy of Rena Eveleigh. 

Bike - 96km

I had to put a jacket on in transition as I was pretty frozen.  I knew this was going to be a challenge for me coming from Cozumel but to be honest, it had been so freaking hot there, having some cool weather was a relief, hahaha.

There were a number of times during this ride where my mind wandered and I would begin a negative dialogue with myself.  Each time I was aware of it and brought my attention and focus back to the present.  I thought of all the things I have learned from Sara and was able to relax into the ride.  I felt strong.  I was cold, I couldn't feel my feet, but I didn't care.  I was even thinking how awesome it was that I was able to be so aware of the negative dialogue and be objective about.  I was free of it.

Run - 21.1 km

Off onto the run, my mental focus continued.  I paid attention to pacing, and brought the focus back to myself and myself only.  Awesome feeling.

Photo courtesy of Gord Bramfield

My athlete Darren Eveleigh cracked the top 10 of his age group at Chinook with a solid 7th pace finish!  Congratulations Darren!!

Darren and I at the finish line -- photo courtesy of Gord Bramfield.

Huge thank you to my Mike (Bunler), my parents, to Sara Gross and Clint Lien and Mercury Rising Triathlon.  Thank you my people!!!! :) :) :) 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

From Zero to Hero - Ironman Los Cabos 2014 et al

After IMCoz, I took some time off...

Especially the last two weeks of December where I did absolutely nothing but eat one of each of these every day. 

January 1 was to ease back into training as I had nothing planned until July...

That was until February rolled around.  I accompanied Coach Sara (yes, female champion of IM Brasil 2014) to Tucson and literally dove into training with her.  The first week with Sara, I logged 27.5 hours of swim, bike and run.  I felt a lot like I did during the first few months of my life:

Sara?  What are we doing today?

Training went well, so well in fact that Sara encouraged me to find a race I was excited about and go for it. What about Ironman Los Cabos?  Nothing like a last minute decision to race an iron distance race a month away -- haha.

I admit I started to get scared and questioned how I could be ready in time?  I wanted to take 6 months and just train to have a good iron-distance race.  But, after chatting with Sara, I was somewhat convinced and at the end of the day, trusted her!

Sandwiched in between here was our annual MRT Tucson Phat Camp and a trip to Palm Springs for a small race -- I had a huge PB in the swim and came 4th in my age group. The swim was what I was really excited about -- I came out with the fast girls in my age group for the first time in my life!!

Yay! I just swam like a rockstar and Sara is a pirate!
Onto IMLC --

Ironman Los Cabos results:
8th in AG (first time in the top 10 of my AG!)
Swim: 1:04:56 (!!!!)
Bike:  6:07:46
Run: 4:19:11
Total:  11:37:35

Whoever says that IMLC was easier this year because of the bike course change is full of shit.  It was very hot. The run was ridiculous -- it was 3 laps and near the end of every lap they put this sandy hilly trail section.  It was like Xterra -- I was like, Man you don't DO that to people in an iron-distance race!

Yeah, the money shot right there, Ironman sure ain't about looking glamourous. lol.

 The carnage was plentiful that day.  I chugged along and got it done, but I was borderline having complete bowel release and the occasional cramping along groin and inner thigh area.  I might slow down, but I keep on chugging.  :)

To date, out of the 15 iron-distance races I have done, this one hands down has been the "hardest."  I'm not looking for a harder one, by the  They are frigging hard enough without putting a hilly frigging trail section in there!

Good race and fast recovery which is good news for me since I have decided to take on the Dirty Double this year:  two iron-distance races in 7 days.  Ironman Mont Tremblant on Aug. 17 then 7 days later, Challenge Penticton.

After the race Sara and I indulged at the Cabo Gluten Free Bakery in San Jose Del Cabo -- this place is AWESOME!!!!!!!!

 Two days later, I hopped on a plane and made my way to Cozumel where I have been:



First female overall -- AND FIRST FEMALE OUT OF THE WATER!! 

Hitting pinatas

All for now!!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ironman Cozumel 2013 Race Report

Total time:  11:04:35
Swim:  46:18
Bike:  5:46:46
Run:  4:24:37

Let's do this!

One of the many lessons I have learned from training and racing so many iron-distance events is things never go according to plan.  The point of all this training is to be able to roll with it, so-to-speak on race day.

Ironman Cozumel this year was a perfect example of this.

In the days leading up to the race a fierce wind blew in -- a weather system that locals call the "norte."   Mike and I had experienced the norte earlier this year in Coz.  The wind whips up the ocean into such a frenzy that the port shuts down.  Vacationers who have booked scuba-dive trips are left sitting around waiting for the port to re-open.  And this November there were 2000+ nervous triathletes biting the inside of their collective cheeks...

Registration in my new bright pink top my sister got me for Christmas last year!!  :) :)

As it happened, every practice swim was canceled before the race.  That meant no ocean swimming at the race venue.  No getting familiar with how the currents felt, no practicing sighting and swim start/exit strategy.  Time for my new motto of "F@#k it" to kick in.  :)

Port closed down and no practice swims?
F@#k it.

Seriously, saying this in my head (and sometimes muttering it under my breath) acts as a release valve.  And it works.  My last key session before IM Coz was 25x 100m on 1.55.  I found when my pace started to shift, an emotional component would inevitably weasel its way into my thoughts and by me muttering "f@#k it" after every 100m, I brought my pace back down and got 'er done.  It is amazing how emotions can negatively impact my performance.  When emotions creep in, I lose focus...and speed and efficiency. 


Literally the night before the race, a mass email went out to all participants detailing changes to the swim portion of the Ironman.  The swim was changed to a 3.1km point-to-point swim with the current.
(Keep in mind the current is strong in Cozumel.  More than 300 people were pulled from the swim last year.  After the race last year, there was a video circulating that showed a swimmer vainly swimming into the current and actually moving BACKWARDS.)

Honestly, my first thought was BOOM!  Finally I land in a race with an obvious time advantage.  I've done SO MANY FRIGGING races where the course is long, the weather is brutal, etc.  It's about time!!  :D :D  My next thought was, better wait and see, it is an Ironman after all!

The Momma scoring bath bomb schwag to fill up my goodie all know that I trick-or-treated right up until I was 18 years old right?  (I would wear a walrus mask and crouch down behind my sister- who is 3 years younger than me -  and her friends and just hold my pillowcase out.)  And I would do it again if I knew I could get away with it.  :D :D

The morning of the race was a cluster.  Athletes still had to go to T1 and then catch buses to the new race start.  I went into stealth mode and mooched 80 pesos from The Momma and caught a cab instead.

The Swim: 46:18 -- LOL!!!!

The new race start and beginning of a current-assisted 3.1km swim.

What a gong show.  The pro men started first, followed by the pro women.  The pros swam out to their starting point while instructions shouted out on a megaphone (in both Spanish and English) to us age groupers that we were to stand in either ankle deep water or on the shore.

Well, that went over like a lead balloon.

Yes, literally.

As soon as the pro women started,  everyone started swimming out to the pro race start.  I looked around a few times hoping to hear a whistle or something getting everyone back to shore, but nothing was happening.  So, I joined the horde.

It was 15 min to our race start and the current was bit by bit pushing us past the pro start line.  Good grief.  I said to one guy beside me, "If they don't start us soon, we'll be finishing before we even start."

He didn't laugh.  Dork.

The best electrolyte drink on the planet.  Why can we not get this stuff here?!?!?!

There were a few half-hearted attempts made by a couple of guys on water-ski-jet-ski things (why I cannot remember the word for this is beyond me, hahaha!) to push the swimmers back, but you can't fight the current!  I tried swimming back a bit but when I turned around there was a frigging wall of people behind me.  I waffled, swimming back a bit, forward a bit, trying to find the right spot for my conscience.

Another guy beside me shouted to a volunteer on a SUP board -- "You should bonk these guys on the head!"  (Ok I am liberally paraphrasing here...Hee-hee.)

The volunteer was so awesome -- he laughed and said:  "I just live here!  I don't care -- this is your race, you do what you want."  Whoever you were -- awesome response man!!  :)

Eventually everyone started swimming so I did too.  I never did hear the cannon or gun or whatever it was.  

The current was really apparent.  I was flying.  And I was still drafting like crazy too.  Although the water is crystal clear, I never *see* anything during the swim portion.  I call it being "race blind."  I am just so in the moment of swimming I don't *see* anything but the swimmers around me and how best to strategize how to draft from them.  :)  So, I don't remember seeing any fish or scuba divers (except for my Mikey at the start).


Once we reached Chankanaab Park (T1), the current reversed and it was like hitting a wall.  Oh how I remember that feeling from last year!  I tucked in behind some swimmers and made my way to the steps and gracefully hoisted myself belly-first out of the water.

The Bike:  5:46:46

I'm sure many of you have heard about the draft-fest out there on race day.  It was just as bad as people say.  I was able to keep my emotions in check until the second lap when I let my emotions get the better of me.  There was one pack of guys and girls that would pass me, then fall apart, then repass me.  I went as hard as I could and passed them again and again during the second lap, but I really became frustrated.

There were two pelotons that I experienced:  within one group, two riders collided and one skittered to the pavement.  Big surprise there.  Honestly in pelotons like that I was just waiting to see riders go down especially at the aid stations.  

The winds picked up and it was AWESOME!  Again, it was like the swim current -- finally I was in a flat race with solid winds.  It was like Ironman Crowsnest Pass.   HAHAHAHAHAHA!!  I was in my element and on the windy side of the island, I felt amazing and solid.  The winds in the Pass are so brutal they truly prepare cyclists for all kinds of conditions.

My nutritional strategy was bang on for this race -- FINALLY!!!  It has only taken me 14 iron-distance races to figure this out!!! YAY!

From what I have heard from other competitors, the bike portion ended up being a mile long...Despite the swim being short and current-assisted, things have a funny way of evening out during an Ironman.

Loving the wind on the other side of the island!  And the zinc on my arms this year -- no burns baby!!

The Run:  4:24:37

After Challenge Penticton this year I injured both my achilles and consequently could do very little run training between that race and IMCoz.

F@#k it!  :D

I swam and biked instead and as race day approached I eased back into running slowly.  I had a couple of sketchy moments during training as I danced the line between preparation and re-injury.  Also, I was ready to call the whole race off if I felt like I was going to do some damage.

Once off the bike, I knew right away that this was going to be a LOOOOOOOONG frigging marathon.  It was hot.  It was humid.  I was very hot and I had one pace -- my Ironman chug-a-lug pace which felt even more sluggish than usual.  Slug-a-lug.  :D  Honestly I thought I was going to be doing a 5.5 hour marathon.  I resigned myself to it, so when I saw it was 4:24 I couldn't believe it.  Hahaha. 

I had a few scary moments during the marathon where my achilles or random leg stuff threatened to shut me down.  I knew I was running right at the edge of my current fitness -- the leg cramping wasn't like I had experienced was like I was at the threshold of what my body could do on that day, and if I went over it, even by an inch, I could be that girl who collapses 25m from the finish line.  I really didn't want to be that girl!  Hahaha!

When the heavens opened and a torrential downpour flooded the streets in ankle deep water -- the challenge was upped again.  I still had to grab ice water to cool myself off -- how crazy is that?  Running through rain and still needing to dump cold water on your head?  Only in Ironman! 

Towards the end of the race, I followed the example of some fellow athletes who had the clever idea to run up on the sidewalk to try to minimize puddle contact.  That lasted for a little while until I quickly realized that getting up and down each curb was too much for my legs.  Hahaha -- wimpy legs!!! Hahahahahaha! 

Those three laps were the longest run of my life.  I was *running* so slow, I would empty my mind again and again and get on with it.  I am still amused at how much this particular marathon sucked.

The.  Longest. "Run."  Ever. 

What was going on inside my head:
  • Of course you feel like crap, this is an Ironman what do you expect?
  • This is old news, been there, done that, this is number 14 for you.
  • Get' er done.

I also thought of my athlete Darren who jumped into a 100 mile trail race on less-than ideal training volume earlier this year.  I kept thinking to myself, all I have to do is run three laps to make 26.2 miles, that poor bastard would have run about 12 laps of this course! 

The finish:

As usual I had a "sprint to the finish" moment with a guy!  LMAO!!  I love this, I always end up having some kind of sprint -- it is so funny.  Said dude heard the race announcer say there were 2 athletes coming through the chute.  He looked back over his shoulder and I was smiling and laughing like a maniac and tried to sprint with him.  He was too fast for me!  Hahaha!

I shook his hand at the finish line and navigated my way through the mud pit that was the recovery tent.

Reclining to eat in the days after the race...

 The Aftermath --  

My ultimate goal for this race was to see how my body felt in the days my goal next year is to race two iron-distance events in 7 days....The Ironman Double.  If I wasn't able to stand straight due to my achilles like after Challenge Penticton, this goal would be out.  Obviously.  Heh-heh-heh. But...I felt good.  Really good.  :D :D

The idea of the Ironman Double came about after Challenge Penticton this year....(aside from not being able to stand straight, heh-heh) I was feeling really good and it occurred to me I might be one of those athletes that do well with the double kind of thing.

And so, August 17, 2014 will be Ironman Mont Tremblant and 7 days later will be Challenge Penticton August 24, 2014! 

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lucky Numero 13 -- Challenge Penticton Race Report 2013

I missed posting my race report from Calgary 70.3 -- in short I went 4:55 (one minute faster than GWN, whoohoo!), 4th in my age group.   But the biggest news was my athlete Tracey blasted her way to her first sub-5 performance and ended up 2nd in her AG with a blistering 4:52!!!  I was so flipping excited when she passed me on the run, I told her to GO!  And she did!

Tracey aka Dream Crusher Roemmele (pronounced ROM-LEE) went on to crush the inaugural Ironman Canada course in Whistler going sub-12 (IN HER VERY FIRST IRON-DISTANCE RACE) and executing a perfect race.  I am SO proud of her -- she was faced with a lot of adversity that day and each time a decision needed to be made, she kept her emotions out of it and addressed what needed to be addressed.  Now THAT is how an Ironman is run my friends!!!

Before the race start at Calgary 70.3.  Notice my swank patch-job on the wetsuit.  NICE.  Hahaha.

While Tracey was crushing dreams in Whistler on August 25, I was in Penticton at the first North American Challenge race!

I've done the Penticton course every year since 2005 and as I am a Taurean creature of habit, it was Challenge Family for me this year.  :)

Coffee required at all wetsuit swims.  :D

The first thing I noticed when me and The Momma rolled into town were the oodles of "vacancy" signs.  Down at the race expo, the vibe was completely different -- there were 2000 or so LESS people for one thing.  But, the vibe was so friendly and welcoming....It was low key but exciting at the same time.  I ran into one of my friends who is an experienced iron-distance and Ultraman competitor...he summed it up best:  "It's because everyone here actually LIKES triathlon."  It really did feel like one big happy family.  Another friend of mine noted, "The difference between Challenge and IM racers are the woman have real boobs here.  You see all these women running with big boobs that don't move during an Ironman."  I'll leave that comment right there...Hahahahahaha!

I will not get drawn into a Challenge Family versus Ironman debate because I enjoy racing period.  I have had great experiences with Ironman as well as independent races and now Challenge Family.  It all depends on what you expect/what you enjoy/etc.  Whatever floats your boat, man. Bottom line is I am thrilled there are more triathlon race choices!

You KNOW you have always wanted to do this!

Race Morning...

The wind picked up in the night and blew the swim buoys all over Penticton.  One reportedly was seen going down the channel!  The wind continued on race morning -- we were in for some serious chop.

Some poor sucker neglected to read the NO PARKING ON RACE DAY signs...

Swim -- 3800m no it was 4200m -- BONUS SWIM!

Different from the old Ironman Canada format, Challenge Penticton sent us off in waves -- the pros left first, then 5 minutes later age group 18-39 took off.  That's men and women together by the way.  From the get go, the chop was noticeable and acted almost as a head current.  And the lack of people to draft from was so noticeable!!  I spent about 85% of the swim on my own this year. 

Got out in 1:13 and change and onto the bike.

Bike -- 6:00 and some more change...

Pink helmet -- check.  Pink water bottles -- check.  Pink bento box -- CHECK!   :D

Now here is where the lack of competitors really makes a difference.  This race reminded me of The Great Floridian -- fewer competitors which translates to an absolutely honest bike effort.  Now THIS is the kind of course you are actually testing yourself on.

Make no mistake -- even if you ride "legal" during an IM event, the sheer numbers of people on the bike course give you a tangible advantage.  You benefit from drafting whether inadvertent or not.  Take away 2000 people and for vast portions of the ride I was out there completely alone.  Not a soul in sight.

Honestly it was like I was at home in the Pass, doing an iron-distance event on my own.

Saw a couple of Mercury Rising Triathletes out there during the bike and even had a mini-chat with one about the virtues of cycling in bikini bottoms...(They are THE BEST.   No padding = no chafing.)

Run -- 4:11

Sweet baby Jesus the finish line is there!  :) :)  Bonus points for those who spotted The Momma on the right in MRT Kit!!

If the bike was lonely, the first third of the run was like a ghost town.  There were people as I exited T2, but once I got out by Skaha Lake (if it were not for the odd person and aid station) I found myself questioning if I was even on the race course. Hahaha!  Seriously!

Man, I love being at the finish.  Hahahaha.

The back half of the marathon saw more people out and about.  At the turn around I hit a dark patch and felt like crap mentally.  Physically, I didn't feel nauseous but just really slow and like I was running through molasses.

This is where the self-talk and mind-emptying came into play.  I kept telling myself to get to 32km and then I could just jog it in.  "Just jog it in"  became my mantra.  I can jog for 10km!  At about 29km I started to come around and also started on Pepsi.  

I have always wanted to grab the finish line tape like this -- this year I remembered!  Hahahahaha!

A HUGE success for me on this run was noting the temperature on one of those digital signs that line the road -- 27 degrees Celsius.  I felt totally comfortable and never needed to dump water on my head to cool off the entire run!  So awesome!  All that Cozumel heat training is paying off!  YIPPEE!!!

Not much else to say about this run...except the last 25m I kicked it up through the finish chute --heh-heh-heh.  Although "kicking it up" is a generous (extremely generous) term here. 

The typical "is it gas or is it puke?" post iron-distance face...

Summary ---

This was my 13th iron-distance race and it's funny how an iron-distance race is like an old friend now.  I settle in and enjoy my time.  Well most of the time, anyways.  Hahaha.

After finishing, I drank some more Pepsi and sat down with my head between my knees to prevent either passing out/puking.   The usual.  :D  Next stop was the massage tent where I rambled on to anyone who would listen how great it was to race in bikini bottoms.  Hahahahaha!

If you ever want to hear the strangest/funniest conversations -- talk to someone who has just finished an iron-distance race.  My brain was on turbo jet-fuel -- I made no sense and talked fast.   Hahahahaha -- good stuff!!

I ended up 11th female overall and 3rd in my age group! WHOO HOO!!!

Receiving my award from Felix, CEO of Challenge Family!!

After the race, I played the "What does it look like game?"

Playing the "What does it look like game?" may/may not have happened after ice cream ...

Next up is Ironman Cozumel on December 1!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Great White North 1/2 Iron Race Report -- July 7, 2013

This was the first year of the new course --
  • The swim was changed from two loops with a beach run to a single swim loop.  This was an awesome change -- the best way I can sum up this change is with a story of a friend who is small in stature and who literally got stuck in the mud/goose poop one year mid-course.  Hahahahaha.  
  • The bike course was changed to two loops -- it was a challenging course with the wind.
  • The run was changed as well -- I really liked the course changes.  In the past I found it mentally fatiguing -- just the way it was laid out.  This year was mentally refreshing.  :) 
 Total time:  4:56:59

Swim:  29:22
I don't know about the length of the swim course as times were fast...what I do know is that I was a minute behind the eventual 2nd and 3rd place female pros.  That is all I need to see to gauge my swim improvement.  :)

My first sub-30 min swim -- I AM TAKING IT!!!! 

Bike:  2:40:29
Nothing special here -- I was alone for just about all of the ride.  It was an honest ride in the wind that's for sure.

Run:  1:47:08
I've been practicing pacing in all three disciplines for months now.  Coach Sara has written all kinds of sets where I am forced to pace properly!  My MO is I go out too hard and then suffer GI issues, cramps, etc.  My goal for this race was to execute my pacing, manage my emotional responses (ie have none, lol), and do my best on the day!

Other stuff:
  • This was the first time in my life I had the pleasant and ENJOYABLE experience of swimming with faster swimmers.  MAN what a difference!!!  Compared to what it feels like to swim mid-pack, everyone is a better a swimmer and "gets it."  I kept marveling at how awesome it was to swim!!!
  • The same feeling was echoed on the bike albeit on a smaller scale.  I was alone for most of it, however the minimal contact I had with fellow cyclists was sooooooo awesome.  Everyone "got it" and there was no swerving, shouting "on your left!" etc.  It was so bloody refreshing to not have to worry about these things!  YAY!
Me and my bud Lisa -- She is a super stud swimmer who routinely beats the pros out of the water!  Plans are in the works for me to stay at her place for a mini swim camp...she is so awesome!!!  :D :D

And for your viewing pleasure...this was post race...I was just about to get a massage when I realized I had a bottle of salt tabs and gels still down the front of my top!  LMAO!!!

CRAP!  I left my salt tabs and gels in there!  LMAO!