women for tri

My "Do Over" September 28, 2018

September 28, 2018 was a new start for me.  Well. Not really a new “start” per say but more a “do-over”.  After my DNF at IM 70.3 LP on Sunday, September 9th due to a Spleen and Kidney injury I was allowed to start training again.  


I have to say, there is not much I am afraid of.  Legitimately. But this day, I was afraid. I have determined to this point that the bike has been and will continue to be My primary nemesis and now the pain it has caused me has made me afraid of it.  AGAIN. Well, I’m afraid of the pain, not the bike. I love my bike. The pain, I don’t love that.


After much discussion and back and forth with Michael for both the positive and the negative sides of triathlon, the decision was made to start training again.  Once I made the commitment, the fear set in.


I consider myself to have a super high pain threshold, especially after the break to the bones in my right leg in 2010.  The pain I experienced with this most recent injury is the most intense, relentless pain I have ever experienced. Relentless. Every minute of every day, asleep or awake, I was reminded that my Spleen was angry.  I had swelling on my side that was pronounced enough that you could see it under my white uniform shirt. I lovingly referred to it as my “Spleen Baby”. I was tired, sore, swollen, short of breath and generally crabby.  


To my fellow EMS providers that had to put up with me for those two weeks, I’m sorry.


September 28th, I suited up, stretched and headed out with instructions from Michael.  Start slow. 30 seconds on 30 seconds off, see if you can tolerate it and only do 20 minutes.  So I did. One foot in front of the other. Right foot, Left foot. Right foot, Left foot. Right foot, Left foot.  


Zero pain.  Like a child on their first day of school, off I went. Within a minute all of my fear and anxiety began to dissipate and I smiled and continued on. I finished, came into the house mildly short of breath and Michael asked how I did.  ZERO Pain!!


Then it sank in.  Eventually, I would have to get back on the bike and ride outside. Well, SHIT.


On October 2nd, that is just what I did.  I don’t know who was more leary, Michael or I.  Well, I think Michael may have showed it more than I did.  I hydrated, suited up, pumped up my tires and went through my gear to make sure I would have everything I needed.  Then just like that, I clicked in and off I went. At about the first half mile, the fear started to take a back seat to being hyper vigilant to my surroundings (at work we call it Situational Awareness).  My train of thought began to focus solely on the traffic, bumps in the road, animals and the smells of fall in the air.

At mile 5 I looked down saw how far I had gone and I smiled.  It was glorious. The wind in my face and the quiet solitude of just me and my bike, My little green monster.  


I’m not really sure at what mile exactly it happened, but it did.  The fear completely went away. When I returned home after 15 miles, it was clear to see that it had left Michael also.  It was like a breath of fresh air had entered our home.


So in the process of me attempting to finish my first half Ironman this past September, I learned a lot of new things and made a lot of new friends.  There is one in particular who I am especially thankful for coming into my life. You know that one friend who comes into your life when you most need it, like a giant hug from the Universe saying: “Here, I made this just for you!”.  Her name is Denise, she is Friends with Michael, they were training buddies for IMLP in July 2011, she had been following my progress all along and had a vested interest in my success.


Denise is an Ironman.  She has completed 5 full Ironmen over the course of 8 years.  Her resume also includes 15 marathons, two 50K’s, one 50 miler and a 212 mile bike in one day.  


Denise is a legit BADASS.  (if you ask her she uses the hashtag #usedtobeabadass.)  Denise has become my go to girl and my biggest support system next to Michael.  She is a Nurse, She is my Sherpa and I love her. Denise and I signed up to do a 70.3 together and train for it.  Our choice? The newly acquired IM 70.3 VA on May 5th. The rooms are booked, the entry has been paid for and away we go!  On a daily basis now we compare notes, training, equipment, diet but mostly, Denise shares her wealth of knowledge and experiences with me.


So, Denise and I have decided that we will set aside two days a week with our rotating schedules for our long runs/rides with one of the two being a rain date/alternate training date.  We may or may not have Michael convinced to do one with us!


WE will keep you posted!!  


Denise, Jaker, Ladybug and Myself will be participating in this years “2018 Stomp the Monster Almost 4 Miler” in Manasquan, NJ on Saturday, October 20th if you want to join!  No timing chips, just a great group of people running for a great cause and post race hanging out at our local go to place, Leggetts!

https://runsignup.com/Race/Events/NJ/Manasquan/StomptheMonsterSpooktacularAlmost4Miler#event-245946


Until next time, Stay Safe out there and BE GOOD TO EACH OTHER!!  - T



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Today, I get a day off. KIND OF.

Today is my day off.  Well.  Let me clarify.  Today, I am not on the Medic truck.

I got to sleep in past 03:45 and take the time to enjoy my coffee.  In all honesty, once you become acclimated to waking up at O'Dark Thirty on a regular basis your body naturally starts to wake itself up at an ungodly hour.  Today, I woke up in a panic twice between the hours of 04:00 and 07:00.  You know the kind.  "Oh, SHIT.  I slept late, I'm going to be late for work!  Where's my uniform?  I HAVE TO CALL THE SUPERVISOR!!" You heave your legs to the edge of the bed, feet dangling, head spinning with a raging case of bed head and it sinks in.  I do not have to go to work today.  GREAT.  Now what do I do with all of this unnecessary adrenaline?  

I laid in bed for a bit, scratching Sammy's ears.  When the light starts to creep in through the windows and my eyes begin to focus I think about all of the things I have to accomplish today.  Groceries.  Meal prep. (My Mommy is making me Chicken Salad today) LAUNDRY. (Have we talked about how much laundry we generate?? For the love of all things holy) Cleaning.  Eating.  TRAINING.  Oh lord.  What does Michael have on the agenda for me today??

I get up, Sammy reluctantly follows,  we both wander into the kitchen and I try to figure out how to make the coffee. I am a train wreck in the morning. Sammy is too. The pups go out, do their business and then lay in the morning sun to recharge their batteries.  I keep the house the temp of an Arctic Tundra at night and sleep with a fan in my face.  My bipeds and quadrupeds hate me for it. (Sorry, not sorry.  I'm the Adult who pays the bills)

Sitting at the computer, I have in front of me my Paleo-ish pancakes, my java and I log into my social media accounts to read the "news".  I get a text message from Michael. "Morning love"  "Morning, Babe" is my response.  "I'm up, moving super slow today, I'm going to finish my coffee and run"  See, now by this I mean I am going to figure out which way is up and then go do my circuits.  "Bricks" he calls them because they are blocks of daily workouts.  I call them shit bricks.  Blocks of heavy, hard work outs that at times make me feel like shit.  SHIT BRICKS.  

"Today you should be doing 1 hour on your bike and 25-30 min. run..the run is the easy part..you have to be prepared to be on the bike for 4-5 hours" "Just eat something, let it digest then stick a phone book under your wheel and do 1 hour and then your run..you need a brick with  1 hour bike and 30 mins run."  "OK, I'm on it"  Grumble.  There is not going to be enough coffee for today.

I then look to my left and there staring at me like a beast...Matt Long.  He's giving me an unapologetic stare from the cover of the book I use as my bible and motivation.  "The Long Run" By the way....Whoever did his cover work photography should receive an award.  He has a stare equivalent to the "Mona Lisa".  Anywhere you go, he's like "get the hell up and do this, you have no excuses."  Right, Matt.  I'm going. UGH. You Sir, are a beast. Today, however I am NOT.

So I'm heading out to do my "brick" so I can finish the rest of my day.  There will be lots of grumbling and bad, bad words today.  So here is what I can offer you today: For the Paleo-ish pancakes:  3 bananas, 2 eggs, one scoop of almond butter, mixed together really well.  When you pour them in the skillet, make sure to make them smaller than your spatula.  We learned the hard way, they don't like to be flipped so they fall apart easily.  Whatever you don't eat, put in the fridge.  They are just as good cold as warm.  I bring mine to work and snack on them throughout the day.

Heres a sampling of the training "BRICKS" (Shit Bricks) Mike has me doing through September 2:

August 13-19: 2) Bricks 1.5 hours bike then 35 minute run.  2) swim 3 intervals pf 5 mins with swim lanyard with 2 mins rest.

August 20-26: 2) Bricks 2 hours bike and 40 minute run. 2) Swim 4 times 5 minute intervals with lanyard with 2 minutes of rest.

August 27-September 2: 2) Bricks 2 hours 30 mins bike followed by one hour run. 2) Swim 3 times at 7 minute intervals with swim lanyard and 1 minute 30 seconds rest in between

After a 15 minute warm up on trainer, concentrate on incline trainer work.  Stand up and crank when tired..spin for last 5 minutes before going for your run.

Enjoy your day, Be safe and Be good to each other ~ T

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"The Lion and The Gazelle"

When I was growing up, I was not necessarily a quiet child.  I wasn’t a very loud one either. I was always the kind of kid who observed everything around me.  I took it all in, processed it and figured out what was going on. I never really spoke unless I was spoken to.  When I was asked a question or was provoked I would answer or come at you. There really was no in between. I wasn’t the kid who went looking for a fight.  I was the one who if the fight came to me, I would end it.

Not much has changed in 48 years.

At some point, I started to grow up and ease into adulting (there is an undertone of sarcasm here that would otherwise go completely undetected unless I point it out).  People appreciated my drive, tenacity and “tell it like it is” personality. I was the girl who if you asked me a question you better be prepared for an honest answer because that is all you will get.  “Are you sure you want me to answer that? ‘Cause it’s going to hurt” is my typical response. I was referred to as a leader and that is where I fall in line in both my social circle as well as professional one. “My pack”

I am a Leo.  Without really having to go into too much detail, I fit the personality profile perfectly if you believe in that kind of thing.  I am action oriented, warm hearted, I have an insatiable drive to succeed and I am not afraid to let people know I mean business.

A few months ago, I was watching some Ironman motivational videos.  (YouTube is life!) While on the Medic truck, I will sit between calls and watch these amazing athletes crush the sport of triathlon.  This of course, initially bothered Ed. It wasn’t until he began watching them with me that he began to understand. One one of my shifts, I came in more sore and tired then normal for a 07:00 start time.   That morning, I had spent an hour on the virtual bike trainer doing blocks of high intensity intervals to help with my fear of the hills in Lake Placid. Being not just a lifelong friend but partner, he listened graciously.  I grumbled something about “embracing the suck” and “this shit is hard” then Ed said “Tracy, you understand that the reason this is hard, is because IT IS. Your doing things a human body is not designed to do. Literally. Humans are not physically designed to run marathons, let alone a triathlon.”  Uhhhhh. Well, SHIT. Point taken.

One of my favorite videos to watch is “Wired Differently”.  It is that one video that gets my blood pumping and makes me want to go out and break land speed records. (In actuality, I’ll be lucky if I don’t trip over my own feet and roll backwards down a hill. GRAVITY.)  There is a part where Eric Thomas is speaking about the difference Lion and the Gazelle, how they are wired differently. “When a gazelle sees a Lion because of how he’s wired, automatically fear takes over. When a Lion sees a Gazelle, He lights up.  It’s SHOWTIME. The hunt is obviously what I was made for” I took that, memorized it and put it away.

While in Lake Placid a few weeks ago for my family’s annual vacation, my Best Friend, Melissa and I were talking about the personality differences in each person in the house.  (10 of us) She and my Father, Sid are both Taurus, the Bull. Jake and I are lions. Courtney is a Cancer and at 14 years old, she is in fact, a crab. (especially in the mornings) I started telling her the story of the “Lion and the Gazelle” then broke out the ipad so she could watch the video.  She watched intently. She got it. We spoke about the amount of commitment that trying to be an endurance athlete takes. I reminded her that the only thing stopping her from doing it also was herself.

Later that day, Michael signed me up for a sprint Triathlon after our Open Water Swim practice in Mirror Lake.  High Peaks Cyclery has a summer series Sprint Tri every Monday night (.35 mile swim, 12.5 mile bike, 3.1 mile run).  It’s fantastic. I’ll “Tri” anything, I thought. (see what I did there??)

I took my time, as the water is my worst suit especially getting in with a hundred people. I got out, transitioned and got on my bike. At mile 6, I threw up whatever I had in my stomach. The bike sucked. On the last 2 miles, at the hardest point for this race coming up to Main Street, my right leg gave out and I fell off the bike in grand fashion. I picked myself up, walked off the pain, got the hell back on the bike, clipped in and finished. I came into the transition with my right hand bleeding, black and blue and unable to make a fist.  Walking was hard, My hip felt like it was out.

Immediately, Mel knew something was wrong. Courtney came up and grabbed my bike and said “what happened?” “I think I broke my wrist” The Paramedic in Mel immediately grabbed my arm to look and said “let me see.” I stopped. Looked up at her and said. I’m fine, if it’s broken I’ll deal with it later.  I don’t need my arm to run.” I saw my quitting as a sign of defeat and with the bigger picture in focus, my inability to finish a 70.3. I refused to stop this far in. Mel bent down next to me to help me ties my sneakers. She whispered to me. “When the Lion sees the Gazelle, it lights up. It’s SHOWTIME.” I looked up at her, smiled and said “It’s Showtime”.

I stood up, transitioned out and I began the run. The first half of this 3.1 miles is completely uphill.  Somehow, I managed to pull off reverse splits. As I came down to the bottom of Mirror lake, toward the finish line, there waiting for me was My family. Cheering me on.

I came in first place in my age bracket.  After this particular race, I cried. I am not a crier, but this time I cried and it was a good cry. It was a validation that I could do this.

I refused to be a gazelle and run from fear.  Fear of failing myself and my goals.

The moral of the story:  In the world of Triathlon: Don’t be a Gazelle.  Be a LION.

Wired Differently - Ironman Triathlon Motivation https://youtu.be/107ldORVThs

Motivational Speech by Navy Seal Admiral William H. McRaven https://youtu.be/Z7QL6hjeNDA

 

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