This one time, I raced a race… over a month ago. #tbt?

Wow. The summer is almost over. Holy. Shit.

In all honesty, I don’t know why I’m surprised. It happens every year. It’s the fourth of July, I blink, and suddenly the mornings and evenings are cool, pumpkin spice everything is for sale, and all the little kiddies are back in school. It slays me every time.

Don’t get me wrong – fall has a lot to redeem itself: gorgeous weather (the BEST run weather), pretty leaves, FOOTBALL, the best clothes in my closet, the list goes on. But it does mean that summer is over.

And while that is sad for me – it does mean that I really REALLY owe you all my NYC Triathlon race recap.

First – I want to take one last moment to thank the amazing humans who donated to my race fundraiser for Back on My Feet New York City. You are so generous and kind, and I’m truly grateful for all of you!

I also want to thank Back on My Feet and my Brooklyn teammates. First, because running with ya’ll is the highlight of my week, and second, because you gave me the opportunity to race one of the coolest races on the planet. Thank you!

Next, I want to thank all of the volunteers and cheerers along the course and my fellow racers. I have run a LOT of races at this point, and the positivity and energy along the NYC Triathlon course was something else. The encouragement from on and off the course was palpable!

Last, but certainly not least- whoever handed me a bag of ice around mile 3 of the run – I will love you forever. If I had an estate to will to you – I would do it. HOLY SHIT was it hot that day, and that bag of ice made my last few miles so, so, so, so much more enjoyable.

On the whole, this race was definitely a more emotional experience than I’m used to. It meant a lot more to race it for an organization I love, and to think of all the people who made it possible for me to be there that day. I often get pretty blissed out while racing, but this was some other level shit. #hippydippyoverhere

A few weeks before the race, I decided that I wanted to really enjoy the whole thing, which was a deviation from my original season plan. Back in January, I had big plans to BEAST this one, but come June I was just feeling like racing for fun. I mean, aside from paying a grand to race it again, when else am I going to get the chance to swim in the Hudson River, ride my bike up the actual West Side Highway, and run down the middle of 72nd street?

So what was the Hudson like? It smells a little funky. There are definitely fish in there. I palmed a plastic grocery bag at one point. Otherwise, it’s basically just open water. It was pretty cool. I felt like Kramer.

The bike course is amazing. It’s full of rolling hills (which killed me, but in a good way…and what goes up gets to speed down), and it is BEAUTIFUL. You go over this one bridge twice (I should google what it is, but who has time for that) with this incredible view, and all I could think was “This is so f*cking cool!” Seriously, so cool.

The run course isn’t anything life changing, but it was cool to run down the middle of 72nd street – and who doesn’t love a loop (or almost loop) of Central Park? It was hot by the time I was on my feet, but thankfully, the park is nice and shady, and there were all of these wonderful humans giving me water – and a special set of humans who gave me a bag of magic ice (see above). #blessed

I’m about to get RULL with ya’ll. Around mile 2, I had to pee SO badly. There was a part of me that wanted to wait it out and suffer through…but I killed that part of me real fast and hit up a port-a-potty. Turns out, I’m just not that serious about racing and would rather be comfortable than speedy.

In the end, I came out with respectable times, but nothing to write home about, and I had a damn good time. I even took advantage of the free massages at the finish. #superblessed

Life was good. Life IS good.

I’ve decided to forego my previously planned October tri (for a million reasons), but it feels pretty good to close the season with this one. It was a great race, and it really captured everything I love about triathlon. Of course I want to get better, but at the end of the day, I enjoy the shit out of a good swim, bike, run.nyc tri

Until next season, triathlon!

P.S. – Imma blog about NOT training soon. #whaaaat?

P.P.S. – Please excuse my extraneous, inappropriate, and sarcastic use of hashtags and run-on sentences. I can’t help myself.

Challenge Accepted.

IMG_2115Hi friends! I have been the worst and raced two triathlons and made the switch from training to off-season without reporting back. Sorry! I’m still hopeful that I’ll pull together a NYC Tri race report for you before the summer’s up, but don’t hold your breath.

Frankly, it’s been a summer of total upheaval in my life and it’s left me with little time or inclination to write. My very long term relationship ended, which meant I had to move out of a place that I’ve considered home for the past few years and learn how to be an independent lady again. All changes for the best, but as you know, change is never easy.

But today I killed a giant water bug. All. by. my. self.

And I didn’t freak out about it or lose my shit.

Would it have been a whole lot nicer to be able to grab someone else to kill that sucker? Hell yea. Do I wish there was no bug at all, and I could carry on in my delusion that I found an apartment in NYC with absolutely no bugs? Uh, yes.  But it does feel pretty good to have done something that scares the bejeezus out of me (no matter how trivial). And so, I’m feeling pretty damn proud of myself.

I am a bug-killing, triathlon racing, early morning running, getting it done at work, badass grown lady.

While this summer has been one of the most challenging of my life, it’s also been one of the most gratifying. I’m learning what I’m capable of, how resilient I can be, and am consistently reminded that I have the world’s most amazing friends and family. (Seriously, I am SO, SO grateful for all of you – THANK YOU!)

I know I’m not alone here, so if you’re struggling out there, know that that you’re definitely not the only one, and if you need a listening ear, you know where to find me. Here’s to taking on new challenges, taking chances, and learning to be the very best version of ourselves!

If I totally fall apart…

Hi friends, happy June! How was your #NationalRunningDay on Wednesday? Mine was awesome-sauce. I got to run with the world’s best running team, so OBVIOUSLY it was a kick-ass celebration. My favorite part of the day was that we all got to write WHY we run at the end of our team workout. It was great to see the reasons that motivate my teammates to run, and it was a good reminder for me as well.

I run because it brings me joy.

Running brings me joy. So does swimming and biking, playing outside, chilling with friends and family, fundraising for important causes, and snuggling up in bed after a day well spent. I’m immensely grateful to be able to do so many things that bring me joy on a daily basis. Which brings me to my recap of the Rock Hall International Triathlon.

Going into the race last weekend – a totally new distance for me – I had three levels of goals: 1) If everything went absolutely perfectly – perfect conditions, feeling amazing, etc – I was (and am still) confident that I could race an international distance in 2:35; 2) A realistic goal of 2:45 that could be achieved with a less than perfect performance; and if I totally fell apart, my goal was to race under 3 hours. As referenced in this post’s title, I fell apart. Even from the start of the race, I knew that goal #1 was out of the question. It was too hot, too windy, and too choppy for a perfect race, but I still felt that 2:45 could be within reach.

First up – the water. It was 79 degrees (no wetsuits if you’re familiar with USAT rules). That is straight up bathwater! It was also super choppy. Due to the wind, the bay had issued a “small craft advisory,” which means that the water on the bay was so choppy they don’t recommend small boats go out on the water. It wasn’t too bad in the harbor, but it was far from calm. Whatevs – I’m comfortable in the water no matter the conditions, so I jumped right in!

My wave went off and I got to the first turn buoy no problem and headed to the next one. It was difficult to sight with the chop, but between following the pack and catching a glimpse of the buoys when I could, I was staying on track fairly well. Then we turned at the second turn buoy. Suddenly, there was no buoy in site. WTF! I kept swimming by following the pack, but knew we weren’t headed in the right direction. I poked my head up near a kayak and asked where to go. Turns out, a WHOLE massive group had taken a much harder left than needed. I redirected, found the buoy, and kept going. Back on track after at least an extra 100 meters – ok. THEN, as I turned at the next buoy, swimmers started swimming TOWARDS me. Ummm….what? Turns out, some folks didn’t stop to redirect and were literally sent back to go around the buoy, putting them in complete opposition to the direction of the rest of the swimmers. Welp, didn’t realize this would be an obstacle race, but ok. Dodged the swimmers and continued around the next buoy to start the next loop of the bay. I turned the corner, only to see people WALKING. I’m sorry, whaaaaaat is going on here?

At this point, I’m totally confused. First there were no buoys, then swimmers were going the wrong way, and now people are walking? Was something wrong? Were they stopping the race? I swam with my head out for awhile to try to figure out wtf was happening. The race appeared to be going on, and it seemed like people were just walking because it was shallow and they could, so I kept swimming. Finally, I turned at the last turn buoy before the final stretch. The sun was directly in front of me, and I couldn’t see a thing straight ahead. Bugging that I’d end up swimming the wrong way again (and lose even more time by swimming extra legs), I kept poking my head out and taking off my goggles to squint and see if I was still headed straight. I wasn’t trusting ANYONE else to follow to the end. After a very confusing swim leg, I made it out of the water and ran across the pier to transition. I came out of the water at 30:57 (6/20 AG) – 5 minutes slower than my usual comfortable pace. Goal #2 was slipping away, but still wasn’t impossible. I’d just need a kickass bike leg.IMG_2052In stark contrast to the swim, the bike leg was amazingly well directed. There was a volunteer or cop at every turn and every intersection. I felt incredibly safe the entire course, and it was gorgeous. I spent most of the bike leg just having a blast (and watching folks on tri bikes with aero wheels speed by me- whatevs). We hit a gravely patch of road mid-race that was pretty irritating, but otherwise the road conditions were solid. However, the second half of the bike leg met me with a BEAST of a headwind. I kid you not, there was a moment where I came up on a little hill and I was SO happy because it blocked the wind for a minute. Womp womp. In spite of it, I had a decent bike leg, nothing to write home about, but at 1:24 (10/20 AG), not a total disaster either. I’ll take it.

Coming off the bike, I had two thoughts on my mind: 1) I want a beer RIGHT NOW and 2) It is really hot out right now. I’d run the run course a few weeks before in cooler weather and it was hot then. The whole course is on asphalt and has very little shade. Oh, and it’s two loops of the same thing. I knew it was going to be brutal. In addition, at this point, I needed to run 8 min miles to come in under 2:45. On a good day – a 10K under 50 mins is no problem, but on a hot day? Forget it. I haven’t run in the heat at ALL this year, so I knew it was just not going to happen.

My wonderful parents and Charlie were cheering me on as I came out of transition, and I decided I was just going to enjoy the run as much as possible.IMG_2053After the first mile, it became very clear to me that this run wasn’t going to be particularly enjoyable. The sun was brutal. I started bargaining with myself. Run the first loop straight through, and then you can walk through water stations for the second loop. I picked up two cups of water at every water station – one to stay hydrated and one to dump on my head. I threw my nutrition plan out the window – it was way too hot to take in a gel while running (It would’ve made me totally nauseous). After seeing my cheer squad at the end of the the first loop, I just shuffled on. Run to the next water station – drink, dump, walk, shuffle on, repeat. I wasn’t tired or sore, I was just HOT. (Note to self – start training in the heat and trouble shooting for it). I rolled into the finish with a 57 min 10k (7/20 AG) – my slowest to date, ever – for a finish time of 2:56:25 (8/20 AG, 61/194 OAW).

Nothing to write home about, but in spite of it all, I was having fun the ENTIRE race. Even when I had no effing clue where I was swimming, and when I felt I was going backwards on my bike due to the wind, and when I felt like I was going to physically melt into the pavement on the run. I kept thinking how cool it was that I get to do this, how beautiful the scenery was, how lucky I am to have a kickass support system, and singing songs to myself about the beer I was going to drink at the finish line. I enjoyed every minute. Which is really why I race in the first place. It brings me joy – even when all my best laid plans totally fall apart.

So from a competition standpoint, my race was a complete failure, but from the perspective of a day well spent doing something that brings me joy, it was a total victory. Here’s to enjoying life!

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How it all went down

What a week! I kid you not, I put in a title for this post and promptly fell asleep on the couch. So here’s to take two!

IMG_2009Last Saturday was my birthday, and it got off to a great – albeit rainy – start on the Brooklyn Half course. I joined some of my teammates from Brooklyn Tri Club, and some friends and families of runner buddies to give ALL the cowbell. My ears are still ringing – but it was worth it. Sadly, all of my beautiful posters melted in the rain, but they were fun while they lasted!

P.S. – If you need more cowbell, call me. I’ve gotcha covered.

Afterwards, Charlie and I did super exciting things like dropping off the bags full of clothes we don’t wear anymore at Goodwill, and getting the massive pile of old mail that’s been building up behind our couch since we moved in shredded at NYC ShredFest. I kid you not – I was SO jazzed to get that stuff out of our apartment. #win. I also got in a little birthday run before taking a power nap and getting ready to party.

IMG_2027Huge thanks go out to everyone who came out to help me celebrate last weekend – it was a blast to drink beers and eat carbs with you! If anyone’s in need of a casual venue that can accommodate a large group in Brooklyn, I highly recommend Die Koelner Bierhall. They were so good to us, and made it super easy for us to split checks and such. (My fave pic from the night is to the right.)

In addition, I’m immensely grateful for all of the fantastic donors who made a birthday donation to my fundraiser for Back on My Feet. Your generosity means the world to me, and will make a huge difference for Back on My Feet – thank you! For those of you who want to make a donation, you have until the NYC Triathlon on July 19th!

After a weekend full of festivities, I got to jump right into some professional development on Monday at the American Express Leadership Academy run by the Center for Creative Leadership. I was super skeptical about spending a week locked in a hotel convention center to learn how to be a better leader with a bunch of strangers, but it ended up being an INCREDIBLE experience. I’m still trying to process everything I learned, but I’m confident that my participation in the Academy is going to make me a better leader at the office – and I’m so thrilled to have met so many of my colleagues leading nonprofits across New York City.

I’m proud to say, that in spite of the insanely busy week – that included spending a few nights at a hotel – I got some solid workouts done this week. Nothing impressive, but I got them done. And thank goodness, because I’ve got my first race of the season NEXT weekend. How did that come up so quickly?!?

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous for next week. It’s my first international distance race, so it’s longer than any tri I’ve raced before, and I have to travel the night before since it’s on a Saturday morning. It’ll also be the first tri I’ll race in a wetsuit, so there’s an added complication to T1. So many things to worry about! But ya know what – I’ve worked pretty hard this year. I could definitely have worked harder, gone out a little less, and gotten up earlier more often, but I’ve been pretty committed. I’m sure I’ll improve throughout the season, but I have faith that I’ll be able to push out a solid race this weekend. Good juju and words of encouragement welcome!

Here’s to a productive taper week for me – and a wonderful week of whatever you’ve got on your plate! I’ll report back with a recap of my first international distance tri next weekend!