Sunday, October 24, 2010

Austin 70.3

One week later and I'm finally getting around to my Austin 70.3 race report. For me, that's pretty good. We'll call Austin the good, the bad, and the ugly. Seriously, I'm actually pleased with my performance. I gave the best that I had that day with a tough field and ended up 6th (again here!) and the first American. I wish my legs felt a little snappier on the bike, but as I rode along with my pace deteriorating, I knew I had no one to blame but myself. However, I knowingly did this to myself, so I can't complain. With the Branson/Augusta "double" and Clearwater around the corner, I trained into this race a little more than I would have liked. I still pulled off a solid swim/run and I know with a little rest the legs and I will be happy by the World Champs!

photos courtesy of

Dear legs, I hope we can be friends again soon.
Yes, happy to be done! Any race worth finishing is worth finishing with a smile!

Gwyn even more happy I'm done. Rowan refused the photo op.

My Dad smoked the bike in a 2:47. Did I mention he's 67?
Also since my last post I got to go back to West Point for my 10 year reunion. It was absolutely awesome. There are so many people I hadn't seen since graduation. I think our class shares a special bond not only formed from the rigors while at the Academy, but also from serving in a war together. It is sad remembering our classmates no longer with us, but it was an awesome opportunity to reflect back and share stories about them. If you've never been to West Point and happen to be "around" you should check it out. It is truly inspiring. Seeing these cadets reminded me of much harder days. It makes me so proud--these cadets go here knowing that they will face deployments and war right out of the gate. My class, on the other hand, thought we'd be serving in peacetime. Boy, that changed pretty quick! I can't praise them enough and I'm truly humbled to be part of the long gray line.

West Point overlooks the Hudson River.
Lillian, my plebe roommate and fellow Texan, and I at the football game.
Inside of the Cadet Chapel. Simply beautiful.
Outside of the Cadet Chapel.
Another view of the Hudson River.With my plebe and yearling roommates Elizabeth and Lillian. (Thanks Liz and Lil for the photos!!)

Monday, October 4, 2010

1 Year Later....My First 70.3 Win!!

photo courtesy of

I can't believe it's been a year since my last post. That is terrible. You know it's bad when you have no idea what your password is. I will save you from my lame excuses. But what have I been doing? Training of course! And keeping up with Rowan and Gwyn! They keep me busy.

But really, a quick rundown of the last year. I had a great block of winter training and my first race of the year (besides the Claremore World Champs :) was Galveston 70.3 in April. When March rolled around I started having a lot more problems with my sinuses. I went through a couple rounds of antibiotics and would feel better for a short time, but then turn around and get sick again. I never had allergies growing up and I assumed my kids were just bringing me home bugs that I couldn't shake. It had been several years since I'd been able to breathe out of my nose and I finally bit the bullet and went to an allergist. Turns out I'm allergic to several spring/fall pollens (along with cats, dog, dust mites and a bunch of other stuff). Beyond that I had chronic sinusitis and a cyst in one of my sinus cavities. My immune system was shot--I basically had a sinus infection since the previous fall and ended up developing mycoplasma pneumonia by May. From March to June I went on 7 rounds of antibiotics and finally decided to go ahead with the sinus surgery at the end of June. Needless to say, I backed off significantly and started thinking about my 2011 season!

After the surgery I had a fairly quick recovery and felt like a new woman! Oh, to breathe again! And how amazing it feels to not be battling infection!! I had originally planned to do Boulder 70.3 but wrote it off after my surgery. However, a week out my husband encouraged me to go ahead and do it. We were going to be in Estes Park for a family reunion anyway, so why not? Also, I figured if I did the race I could have a recovery week and enjoy my family and not worry about training. I went in totally relaxed with no expectation except to have fun and work hard, and mostly to thank my body for cooperating! I ended up 3rd--a not so great swim which I expected because obviously swimming took the greatest hit with my sinus situation, a solid bike, and an unexpected fast run! Running is my background and I know I have not met my potential in the last few years. It feels great to be getting closer to what I know I can do. The best part of the race, confidence!! This also has been missing the last few years.

I came back to Tulsa ready to get to work. My next race was Branson 70.3 and I was ready. I came into the race fit, confident and ready to race. I had a good swim and transition and was feeling strong on the bike. I turned a corner and heard a strange noise and looked down to see something dragging. It took a second to register that my new chain was dragging behind my bike, broken. I sat on the side of the rode angry, then a little teary, but reminded myself to get my emotions under control so I'd be ready to go again when tech support came. 45 minutes later I realized that wasn't going to happen and Lucas came and picked me up. I went ahead and did a long run and ran into Amanda Lovato, who also DNFd due to double flats. She mentioned Augusta the next weekend and my immediate thought was "no way." I couldn't leave Lucas and the kids on such short notice. But Lucas again strongly encouraged me to go and even made all my travel arrangements. I wrote Amanda and she was in too. Augusta here I come!

At Augusta I was very relaxed which I can thank Amanda for. We kept it light and both figured as long as we didn't have a mechanical it'd be better than the week before. Before the race they announced the Pro Women and didn't announce me. Amanda looked at me and said, "What about you? They forgot you!" I shrugged and said, "I'm used to it, I don't ever get the love." She replied, "That's why you've got to win one these." I realized she was right and today was as good a day as any. Why not me? The swim was downstream and we took off. I noticed the feet I wanted to be on were ahead of me to the right with several people between us. I soft stroked and went around, then put my head down and hammered for the next 500 meters to catch up. When we got to T1, again, no announcement. Okay, this is starting to get annoying. I got out of T1 fast and the rain was really starting to come down. Out on the bike it ended up being 3 of us pushing the pace. I got in and out of T2 quickly (again, no announcement) and was first out on the run. Here's the thing about leading this thing. The energy was amazing!! I really fed off the crowd and kept the tempo going. I had great runners behind me. If they passed me--fine, but they would have to work for it. My running has been going well and I have been doing it so long I reminded myself that this is where I feel most at home. By the time I got to mile 11 I realize I was probably going to win. I thought of my kids and how I wish they were there. I thought of my brother in Afghanistan on his 2nd deployment and I wished he was there. I thought of my parents and family who have always encouraged me not to give up and I wished they were there. And I thought of my husband and his swims that I'm struggling to just stay on his feet and I wished he was there. I got to the finish and couldn't contain my emotions anymore and started to cry. Okay, for me this is pretty embarrassing. At West Point and in the Army you always contain your emotions. I don't lose my composure often and certainly not in public with cameras to record it!! But, it's still pretty awesome!

I had a great weekend and Amanda ended up with a great race as well. I'm so glad she talked me into it! :) I have to thank the Tulsa community for really helping out on my last minute trip--Duncan, Lisa, Amanda R., Ashley, Jennifer, and Bethany. My great sponsors Sport Beans/NTTC and 918XC (best bike shop in Tulsa!!) and to my incredible family for their continued support. On to Austin, my home state of Texas!