Saturday, January 20, 2018

Get into Gear and Resolve to Ride!

You have made the resolution, now to stick to it.  Nearly 42% of people that establish a resolution fail to follow through on that resolution.  Not this time!  Here are some steps to follow to keep you on track and focused on the goal.

Step 1 - Make your goal visible.   A goal in your head is an idea.  Sharing the idea with others will help make the vision a reality.  Create a vision board that reflects the completion of the goal and share your board for others to see.

Step 2 - Develop your mindset around the successful completion of your resolution.  You body achieves what your mind believes.  Recite and/or write your affirmations for your resolution.  Create a positive mindset and curb any doubt that you may have.  

Step 3 - Set small goals that support your larger vision.  There are many known sayings about taking small steps, eating one bite at a time, etc.  Take your overall goal or resolution and break it down into smaller goals to track your progress along the way.  These milestones will establish a plan to keep you on track and allow feedback to stay on course.  

Step 4 - Find a group or an accountability partner.  It is important to surround yourself with those that support you.  Find a group that is focused on your interest to find like minded people or find a friend that you trust to hold you accountable to following your plan.  An accountability partner and group will provide feedback that you may not see on your own.

Step 5 - Hire a coach.  If you find that you are needing additional support or a person to help map your blueprint to success, it is time to consider hiring a coach.  Look for a coach that understands your goals and what it will take to keep you on track.  

A goal may seem daunting when you look only at the end result.  It is important to break it down into smaller steps and celebrate each milestone along the way.  Think of constructing a building.  A building is built one brick, nail and board at a time. Without the blueprints as a guideline, the building would not exist.  Follow your blueprint and completion of your goal will become reality.  #OneDayOneStep

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Life of a Medal

As an active endurance athlete, I toe the line several times throughout the year and with most races comes a medal, a shirt and many times a hat or other token of the event.  For all of us, each race that we participate in carries a different reason.  Our “why.”  And the tokens at the time carry an amazing value.  Over time, the pile of tokens grows and we eventually come to a time when we have medals hanging from lampshades and hooks throughout the house, a drawer overflowing with shirts and more hats than a person could wear in a lifetime.  Does this sound like your house?


This December, I was introduced to an organization called Medals 4 Mettle (www.medals4mettle.org).  This organization accepts donated ½ marathon, marathon and triathlon medals, affixes a new M4M ribbon to the medal, and “joyfully awards them to children and adults who must run a much more difficult race as they struggle to save their lives.  These medals are awarded to honor the mettle and courage it takes to face the challenges of the race we all share together: the HUMAN RACE.”   

The introduction to Medals 4 Mettle could not have happened at a better time.  I have spent a good portion of the fall sorting through my home, donating, selling and clearing out many of these tokens that I have held onto “just in case.” Medals were something I had left untouched to this point as I knew there were places to donate but hadn’t investigated the process to do it.  Committed to deliver my medals to the Colorado dropoff site, I decided to not only pass on my own but run a drive, as many of the people that I am connected to have a similar “medal problem” around their homes.  

As I gathered my medals together today, it provided a walk down memory lane.  I have opted to hold onto some of my medals awarded for my accomplishments over the years.  A finish line or a distance that I never thought possible.  Celebrations of firsts.  My first ½ marathon (boy was that a crazy story), my first marathon, my first 70.3, my first Ironman and many other milestones along the way.  As I went through the medals and reflected on them, I found myself torn for a few.  Do I need to keep them, “just in case?”  - what if I want to put together a frame to celebrate the series?  The hesitation did not last long when I remembered the vision behind Medals 4 Mettle and embraced the opportunity to share my joy from finishing the event with one of the children or adults who will be honored.  

I attended an event in which a friend celebrated his journey to the Ironman World Championships in Kona.  He held up his medal and said this looks like an exclamation point! “It is a story that you just created, ended with an exclamation point!  You will write a story, entry and finish are the bookends.”  Thank you for providing the perspective Tom!

I removed the race ribbons and set aside the medals that I will deliver to the Colorado donation site next week.  I will pick up other’s medals in several places over the next few days and hope that our miles and medals will carry onto others.  The medals will continue their journey and the memories of the race day, the milestone and the celebration will remain as my journey continues on.

If you would like to donate your medals, here’s how:
Contact me directly to determine a pick up location or visit www.medals4mettle.org to find a drop off near you as well as information to ship the medals directly to the organization.

Thank you in advance for your support.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

08-12-2017 A Weekend in the Life of a Leadville 100 MTB Race Crew Member

After sending the girls off for their first day of school, we loaded up and headed to Leadville.  Upon arriving in Leadville, our first stop was race check-in.  We picked up Mike’s race packet and headed off to find our lodging location.  We were fortunate this time around to find Alison and the perfect rental set-up off 9th and Harrison.  We were able to walk to the various race events and would have easy access to the start and finish without needing to park the car elsewhere.

As we were settling in, we ran into our first “issue” of the weekend.  The bike lock keeping the bike on the car was jammed and would not open.  A bit of panic as we headed to ACE and had the fortunate encounter with Ryan who allowed us to borrow bolt cutters and helped us free the bike!  Back to the apartment, dropped the bike and the rest of our gear and headed off to the athlete briefing.  

Picture 100s of people packed into the Lake County High School gym and this would describe the athlete briefing.  We were able to gather our entire group together and listened to the history and stories of the Leadville race leaving inspired to take on the event the next day.  

We had lunch at the Tennessee Pass cafe and headed back to our apartment to lay low for a while.  A final run to the grocery store.  A quiet dinner at the apartment and early to bed.  

Saturday was my first experience crewing for the Leadville 100 MTB event. I arrived in Leadville with several responsibilities for the day as a wife, a crew manager, a friend, and a press assistant, with my number one priority being Mike and anything that he needed to make his day go smoother.   

I learned when Mike ran the Leadville 100 in 2015 that as the event approaches that I need to start keeping notes as he shares his expectations of the day.  I had a decent list prepared of what to expect his needs to be as he came through and with my new found projected timelines that I use at all of my coaching events a reasonable expectation of times that my athletes should be rolling through.  The good news for me this time was that everyone was paced slightly different so I had time to assist each one as they came through as I had three that I had gear for.  My goal for the other athletes that I was following was to cheer, support and take pictures.

Here is how the day went:

4:45 a.m. - The alarm sounds.  It is go time.
4:45-5:45 a.m. - Get dressed, pack up my food cooler, pack up crew supplies cooler
5:45 a.m. - Head out to the start area
6:00 a.m. - Arrive at Corals - drop Mike in his coral.
6:10 a.m. - Meet Thad to pick up crew items
6:20 a.m. - Facebook Live National Anthem
6:28 a.m. - Send Thad to start race - run up 6th to meet Mike
6:30 a.m. - Watch Mike start
6:35 a.m. - Pack up guitar, amp and all supporting equipment in Thad’s car.
Pack crew supplies in his car to pick up as I leave for Twin Lakes
6:45 a.m. - Meet with Hugh and Cole at City on the Hill
7:15 a.m. - Walk back to apartment - use functioning restroom one last time and head out
7:20 a.m. - Pick up Thad’s crew items from his car
7:45 a.m. - Arrive Twin Lakes Dam aid area/Opted to pass first parking option (GOOD CHOICE)
7:45-8:30 a.m. - Unload car/set up crew area
8:39 a.m. - Race Leaders through TL Outbound
8:54 a.m. - First Female through TL Outbound
9:07 a.m. - First First Descents Team Member TL Outbound
9:14 a.m. - Wesley Sandoval TL Outbound
9:18 a.m. - Chris Colt TL Outbound
9:28 a.m. - One Arm Willie TL Outbound
9:55 a.m. - Thad TL Outbound
10:12 a.m. - Race Leaders TL Inbound
10:20 a.m. - Carrie Larson TL Outbound
10:23 a.m. - John Baker TL Outbound
10:45 a.m. - Mike TL Outbound
10:45-11:00 a.m. - Walked to restroom
11:15 a.m. - Columbine UPDATE received on Chris
11:25 a.m. - First First Descents Team Member TL Inbound
11:55 a.m. - Chris TL Inbound
12:03 p.m. - One Arm Willie TL Inbound
12:06 p.m. - Aided Athlete #1998 with water - could not find his crew to refill
1:19 p.m. - Thad TL Inbound
Begin loading car back up/move car closer in event of rain and for additional supplies
1:40 p.m. - Carrie Larson TL Inbound
2:00 p.m. - John Baker TL Inbound
2:15 p.m. - Mike TL inbound
Load car of remaining gear
3:00 p.m. - Arrive in Leadville
Check in at apartment, regroup on supplies, head to finish
4:00 p.m. - One Arm Willie  FINISH
4:08 p.m. - Chris Colt FINISH
Coffee shop to visit with Tom & Margie, meet Laura from CAF and take a break from the rain
6:15 p.m. - Thad FINISH
6:25 p.m. - Carrie Larson FINISH
Move supplies from cars
Home to regroup, send photos, respond to messages
8:00 p.m. - Out to dinner with Colts
9:30 p.m. - To Bed

I always ask my athletes that I coach to provide me with a 5/5/5 report post race.  5 Celebrations/5 Challenges/5 Goals to work towards next time.  Here is my post event report.

5 Celebrations:
  1. Supporting Chris in his final step of a journey we have been a part of all year (seeing his family and experiencing all of their reactions)
  2. Did not miss anyone that I was tracking/watching coming through either direction
  3. Seeing friends achieve milestones in their journeys
  4. Good weather - a bit of rain but most of the day sunny and not too warm
  5. Pictures of nearly all if not all First Descents Team Members

5 Challenges:
  1. Poor service in Twin Lakes - struggled to get messages through to establish meetup location
  2. Celebrating friends accomplishments while others in our pack did not finish
  3. Mike’s return to Twin Lakes Inbound - replaying what had transpired since his last pass through (his expression)
  4. The mood swing of celebrating the cut made to finding out that it was missed and why
  5. Catching people for photos - not identifying quickly enough

5 Goals:
  1. Execute the storage container plan that I have been wanting to start for crew organization
  2. Get a collapsible wagon to easily transport items from car to designated spot - the walk is inevitable (found one to borrow - remember Miss Dee for the next round!)
  3. Figure out how to work with a spotter/tracking to anticipate and catch desired pictures
  4. One bike tool kit of sorts to be shared among all athletes versus duplication of multiple items
  5. Is it worth connecting crew spot to existing tent (First Descents or others?)

Sunday, we enjoyed a quiet morning in Leadville.  A chilly walk to the Golden Burrow for breakfast followed by a little bit of browsing around town.  We then participated in the Leadville Race Series 10K which showed a very fast field at elevation with climbing.  We then headed back to Denver - a part of the I70 heavy traffic to Idaho Springs that the signs told us about.  

Sunday, August 6, 2017

08-06-2017 Swimming with Simone

Throughout my triathlon journey, I have always been inspired by others racing beside me.  The mindset and the “why” are equally and often times more important than the hours of swim, bike and run training that it takes to toe the line at a race, and the life lessons learned along the path carry into everyday life.  


On Sunday, August 6, 2017, I had the opportunity to support Simone in achieving a finish at her first sprint triathlon.  Simone suffers from a very rare and severe form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis.  She has faced challenges throughout her life as a result and has adapted to each one.  


Simone set a goal for 2017 to complete her first sprint triathlon with her friends from her tri group from Colorado Springs.  The challenge for Simone with this race was the open water swim.  With Ankylosing Spondylitis she is no longer able to turn her head to breathe in the water, nor can she lift he head to sight.  Simone swims with a snorkel.  In the pool, this is not a problem with the line on the bottom, however open water is cloudy and there is no line.  
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Simone reached out to the race director to request permission to take part in the Tri for the Cure at Cherry Creek Reservoir.  The permission involved her being able to swim with a snorkel as well as the need for someone to swim with her in the race.  Simone was granted permission to compete and was requested to provide her own swim buddy.  Simone went to the Women for Tri Facebook page - a sight and a community that greatly inspires her.  She posted her need for a swim buddy for the race and our connection was made when I responded to her post.  We scheduled a time to connect via phone.  Simone explained to me about Ankylosing Spondylitis and informed me that my duties would require guiding her through the swim via a rope tied to my ankle and tied to her wetsuit.  This would provide her with a guide in the water so she knew where to go.  A couple of cautions - if the rope gets taught I am swimming too fast or she has stopped.  Don’t pull as it will waterlog her snorkel!  And, keep her away from people as she is very fragile and cannot risk being kicked or punched in the water.  She said my duties for the day were strictly in the water, she would bike and run on her own.  


Simone and I met in person the Tuesday before the race to do a trial swim at her local pool.  We swam tethered together and discussed issues we had with the rope and got a system in place for Sunday.  We were quite efficient in the pool after a very short time!


Sunday morning, we met early at the park.  We took time to set up transition and visit with her tri club friends.  We pulled on our wetsuits and walked to wait for our start.  Simone and I both experienced race day jitters.  Simone’s those of an athlete and me as the role of mother duck - will I be able to keep her safe and perform on the swim so that she achieves the outcome she is after.  I focused my attention, as a coach, on her nerves and worked to calm her down.  I never mentioned mine.  


We watched the other swimmers start the race and waited for our wave to start.  We high fived the race coordinator and entered the water starting last.  We stood in the water once our wave started and waited for the other swimmers to swim away from shore.  We saw our path of clear water and set off.  My goal was to keep Simone to the left side of the swimmers as we were making right turns so congestion would be towards the right.  My mother duck instincts kicked in as we began to pass people and I found myself talking to race assistance and other swimmers to keep them out of our path.  We made it to the first buoy and had a decent rhythm established.  My plan seemed to be working so I kept on.  Alerting people as I made course plans and keeping Simone swimming.  We rounded the final turn and approached the finish.  We had to slow a bit due to other swimmers and we reached the shore.  I tapped on Simone to let her know we were finished.  We stood up in the water and she couldn’t believe we were already done.  We had achieved our goal time in the water and had passed many swimmers along the way.  As we made our way up into transition, I asked Simone to pause and look back at all of the swimmers still in the water and to remind her that she had passed all of them.  She was elated!  
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Transition was smooth and Simone set off on her bike. I waited in transition for her.  She came off the bike finishing in a shorter time than her goal and set off on the run.  And she ran!  My thirteen year old was there watching and said that she was running fast!  We moved to the finish to wait for her to come in.  I had the opportunity to take pictures of Simone in the finish chute and it was awesome to see her pure joy!  She had crushed her goal time on her run too and was feeling great!!  


Simone told me in our initial conversation that my sole job was to help her through the swim.  She did not want to take any more of my time and I was welcome to leave as soon as we were out of the water.  I would not have missed the rest of her race for anything.  The look on her husband’s face was nothing but pride.  He was so proud of her.  The celebrations as each member of her tri group finished were priceless and it was a very special day for everyone.  Simone’s family and tri group welcomed myself and my daughter into their family and it was an honor to share in their celebration.  


Thank you to Simone for setting a goal, for pushing hard to make it possible (and it took work), and for reaching out to the community on blind faith for your swim buddy.  I will remember this day forever and look forward to supporting you in achieving your goals of longer tri distances!!


#OneDayOneStep and as I told Simone race morning #ControltheControllables  

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

08-05-2017 Faces in the Races - Team Agar

Jeff and Johnny Agar of Rockford, Michigan will be among the faces in the Ironman Boulder 70.3 event on Saturday.  Jeff and Johnny are a father-son team.  Johnny is 23 and was born with cerebral palsy.  Johnny is an athlete. On his website, Johnny defines athlete as -
a person who is proficient in sports and other physical exercise.”  He goes on to state that “Now that I have crossed the finish line, I feel like I am officially an athlete.”  Jeff and Johnny have completed 5Ks to Marathons and sprint to 70.3 triathlons.  

I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff and Johnny as well as his Mom Becki, Sisters Annie and Grace and Coaches Thad Beaty and Nicole Serraiocco to talk about the race.  


This is the family’s first visit to Colorado.  After driving 17 hours from Michigan they were happy to settle into their home away from home for the week.  Johnny enjoyed the opportunity to visit a park with his Aunt and Uncle and fish in the stream where he caught several brown trout.  He also hopes to get to the Olympic Training Center while he is here.  The family also plans to go to a Colorado Rockies baseball game.  They all expressed how much they like Colorado and how excited they are to be here.  


Jeff and Johnny have been getting their training in since arriving.  Yesterday was a preview of the swim at the reservoir and a brief look at the bike course.  They have also driven the bike course and looked at targets using Best Bike Split software to determine their strategy for race day.  The goal for both Jeff and Johnny is to manage the matches that they will use on the course and ensure that there are enough matches left for Johnny to walk the last ½ mile of the run course and cross the finish under his own power.  For Jeff - this means controlling power output on the bike, hydrating properly to limit the impacts of the altitude and applying his training with confidence.  For Johnny - he too needs to ensure that he is properly hydrated, he has to shift around in the chariot to keep his feet awake so they are ready to walk and he says his most important job is to remind his Dad about his cadence!  He looks forward to the ice cream post race!


As most triathletes know, mindset is equally as important as the skills needed to swim, bike and run.  Johnny’s mindset is an inspiration.  He believes that failure is part of the process.  He has received encouragement from his family, his coaches and his friends every step of the way.  His sister Annie said “if he failed it was not because of the fact that he had cerebral palsy it was because he did not try hard enough.”  And Johnny agrees - he takes ownership and does not make excuses.  Johnny is not worried about not doing it, he is worried about “not trying.”




Race morning will involve many checklists.  Johnny said that he doesn’t sleep because he is so excited for the event so when it is time to get rolling he is waking the family up.  His Sisters commented that their job is to get themselves to the car so that he stops herding them to go!  Jeff said the set-up takes much longer for them with all of the equipment and referring to the checklists often is a must.  He said there is only one time that you show up at a race without a life jacket!  


Jeff and Johnny will have their coaches on sight to support them throughout the day.  They embrace the opportunity to learn and grow from observing this team at work and to gather information to carry forward to the next goal.  The Agars are hoping for an invitation to return to Kona and Johnny will continue to train towards his ultimate goal of completing a 5K on his own and “give his Dad a break!”


To learn more about Team Agar, visit their webpage -
www.TeamAgar.com.  

As the writer of this article, receiving the opportunity to cover Team Agar at this race is a gift that is amazing.   There were so many valuable life lessons learned in our brief conversation.  I look forward to a continued friendship with the family and following Johnny and Jeff’s journey and celebrating each milestone along the way.  

Look for additional information throughout the weekend on Team Agar’s journey as well as their race recap.  Until then as Johnny says - “one step at a time!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

07-08-2017 LG Tri - Sprint - Race Report

After flying in from Florida late Thursday evening.  We arrived in Eagle, Colorado on Friday afternoon after driving through heat, sun, rain, cold and wind. The cloud cover remained, some showers continued but all in all a pleasant afternoon and evening in the beautiful town of Eagle.  Abby and I headed out to pre-ride the sprint bike course prior to checking in for the LG Tri.  The bike course travels along Brush Creek Road.  A beautiful road with farms and animals along the way.  There is 500 feet of elevation gain in the first 5 miles and fortunately the reward of the climb on the last 5 miles back.  A good ride to stretch out our legs after a week of travel.  We stopped to pick up dinner and spent time with friends at the hotel pool prior to turning in for the night.  

Three beds in three nights led to confusion when I woke and had no idea where I was…  5:30 I was up and out of the room and headed to transition.  I took time to set up my spot, made a trip back to the car for my sunglasses and then found a spot inside to wait out the start of the race and stay warm.  It was about 55 degrees outside - a crisp mountain summer morning.  It was great to reconnect with many friends prior to the race start.  

This is Abby’s third year participating in the kids race and my second year participating in the sprint.  At 7:00 the race introductions began, a beautiful dedication and prayer and singing of the national anthem.  Then off to the pool to line up.  I quickly met Sy and Jeff and we partnered up to be in the same lane for the swim.  It was fun to get to know both of them and to hear what brought them to the tri.  

The swim went as planned.  Pool swims are challenging, especially in this pool as lanes are narrow which makes passing challenging.  Out of the swim and onto the bike.  My goal was to push the bike as hard as I could and hope that I had legs left to run.  I fumbled a bit with my shoes but recovered and headed out.  I was happy to spot the baby pigs that I had seen the day before and continued to press.  I left transition with Mac and hoped I could stay with him but he smoked me with a well deserved effort on his part!  My climb out the first six miles felt solid.  The downhill delivered a headwind that forced pedalling the whole way and provided lower than planned speeds.  I was a bit bummed as that is a screaming downhill and I had hoped to gain a lot of time.  I was proud of the fact that on my ride I was only passed by one male athlete on the outbound and one male athlete on the inbound.  I did not get passed by any women and passed several along the way.  My ride was slightly faster than last year and was the 10th fastest time of the day out of 85!  

I returned to transition.  Dismounted and quickly switched over to run.  I headed out with the goal of holding position as best as I could.  My first two miles came in right around 9 minutes each which I was happy with.  The last mile had a bit of climbing and I was able to maintain pace - slowing slightly but overall happy with my run.  I passed many and was only passed by two women.  I was happy with my performance and my time landed me 2nd in my age group of 14, 6th gender of 50 and 19th overall of 85.  My goal was to improve to 2nd in my age group.  I was third last year.  Mission accomplished.  My time was within 15 seconds of last year but I feel the bike conditions varied a bit.  I was on my road bike versus my tri bike this year which was fun!  All in all a good, fun race and nice to be on the course with friends and former athletes.

It was great to reconnect with Jeanne, the race coordinator and to get to know Robye the race director.  I enjoyed watching Abby as she raced and improved over last year as well.  I like the local feel of the tri.  As my lane mate Sy said it is a “country tri.”  Very family friendly and a great environment to tri with others!  I look forward to returning for the 10th anniversary race and will set a goal to up my game once again!

Thanks to Eagle and the LG Tri for another great weekend!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ironman Boulder 2017 Race Report

3 a.m. Sunday morning saw Mike, Abby Lynn and Me loaded in the car and headed to Boulder.  This was Abby’s first in person Ironman experience as she was excited to be there from start to finish.  After scoping out parking on previous trips this week, we headed to our garage and walked from there in the dark, quiet streets of Boulder to the Special Needs drops and onto the shuttle to the reservoir.  It was a dark, quiet ride.  All stuffed in on the bus.  The music played through the crackly bus speakers and definitely did not provide the excitement boost that was needed.  

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We unloaded off the bus and I made one last trip to my bike to prepare everything for the day ahead.  The bike was ready to roll. Now it was time to wait.  We were bundled up and camped next to the fence by bodymarking.  I had the opportunity to greet many friends and to see teammates as we all prepared for the day.  

We headed to the boat ramp as go time arrived.  Last hugs and kisses to Mike and Abby and the slow, cold shuffle to the water’s edge began.  I was fortunate to connect with Maureen and Lori from Team Poppy and we entered the water together.  Shuffling past we saw many friends and following Lori’s lead all hugged Mike Reilly before heading in.  Emotions all over the board - tears, excitement, fear and more.  

The water turned out to be quite warm on race day.  Low 70s.  Almost mocking the conversation we had had a few weeks back about being too cold to swim at all.  The swim started and I was quick to settle into pretty clear water and start plugging away.  It was relatively uneventful.  I remember pausing for a moment around mid way and taking in the view from the furthest point out in the res and thinking to myself that shore looks like it is a long way away and those tents on shore are really small!  I pressed on.  After making the final turn on shore I managed to become tangled up with two male athletes.  Not sure which or us or if it was all three of us were not swimming straight but we were crossing and our paths kept getting tangled.  We were progressing although I was not able to get away.  At this point, I saw my friend Khem on a kayak.  I paused and said hi to her and after a quick visit went on to finish the swim.  Khem reached out to me after the race, she said you know you stopped to say hi right?  I said - yes, I enjoyed seeing you!  I was not going to make or break my day and I enjoyed the visit!  1:29:58
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Headed out on the bike, I felt excitement.  I had completed the swim and completed it ahead of schedule so now was off to the familiar part of my day and ready to execute a plan.  I was happy to see Mike and Abby as I passed from transition and to my bike.  My goal for the ride was to have fun and have consistent, fast times on each loop.  I stopped for the first time at Bike Aid #2 on 65th.  I had a potty stop and at a bar before heading off again.  The loop was pretty uneventful, on schedule and felt good.  It was fun to see Team eNRG as I passed through Special Needs and motivated me to see them on the next round.  I dropped an electrolyte bottle as I was passing through reservoir road starting my second loop.  An unexpected bump dislodged it - fortunately I did not get penalized - but based on learning from this problem in CHOO I knew the value of stopping at the next aid to make sure that I had all fluids in place again.  This was not the time to fall behind on fluids.  I stopped at BIKE AID #1 on Neva Rd.  Here is where I met one of my favorite volunteers of the day.  She was a young girl, perhaps about Abby’s age and she was ready to do anything that I needed.  A restroom stop, fresh water, a bottle of ketones mixed and I was ready to head out.  I had another bottle of electrolytes at Special Needs so I would replace that there.  I handed her my volunteer bracelet that she immediately showed to her Dad and I was off.  I powered through the second loop and pulled into Special Needs confident and ahead of schedule.  I was greeted by Team eNRG and friends Sarah M. and Michelle.  This was the best special needs service ever!  I got off my bike, rested in the shade for a few minutes all while being sunscreened up and catered to every move.  PS, Sarah - don’t ever let me tell you that I don’t need sunscreen someplace.  The only burn that day was the place I told you I was good!  I enjoyed my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and my avocado, replenished fluids and headed back out.  One loop to go.
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Climbing Jay Road for the final time, the course became a bit congested.  Lots of bikers around, an open road and a hill made passing from the draft zone difficult.  I got tied up in the congestion and next thing I knew I had a motorcycle next to me with the lady official in back telling me that I had a penalty and that I would need to stop at the end of this lap.  As she pulled away, the guy next to me said - did you just get a penalty - I responded yes.  He said that is BS what were you supposed to do?  I tended to agree with him but it was what it was and the penalty was not going to make or break my day.  I stopped again at Bike Aid #1 - one last time for a potty break and refill.  It was fun to see my friend Diane M. there - we had cat and moused some on the course and I encouraged her as I pulled out to get it done!  The rest of the loop other than a head wind on the downhills (not fair) was pretty uneventful.  It was fun to see Winston the pig out in his side yard as I passed his house the last time. (note the picture is from training not from race day ;))  I pulled into the res and joined several others in the penalty box.  We all pleaded our case to the officials claiming our innocence but they had heard our story before.  So five for drafting was a time to get off the bike for a minute.  Have something to eat and drink and get to know the officials!  When the timer went off I was marked and on my way to the bike finish.  The last 7 miles of the course meander through bike paths and the streets of Boulder to get you downtown.  It was a time to pay attention.  Activity on the path, bumps and holes in the road and coned lanes leading to turns.  As soon as I dismounted I heard a call from my friend Barb and her daughter Sarah.  Their timing could not have been better.  It had been a long ride, a long week and at that point a nap was really sounding good!  I made my way to transition and sat down in the tent to prepare for the run.  6:58:54
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Transition was a time to rest and regroup for a few minutes.  I was on track for my scheduled day - in fact a bit ahead at the moment and knew I just needed to move through the marathon to accomplish my goal.  Maureen from Team Poppy ended up arriving while I was there and we talked for a few minutes before I headed to hit the bathroom and agreed to see her on the course.  Entering the run course was a stream of familiar faces.  Bill from 303, followed by Mike and Abby and the Carla and Joan and more and more.  My goal as I started the run was to run to aid stations, walk the aid and inventory what was needed and repeat.  I set out and kept this up for about the first 6 miles.  Maureen and I were together for most of this way but she was moving better than me so I encouraged her to go ahead.  The walks became longer and I eventually figured out that I was moving at the same pace doing a run/walk as the walkers were so it turned into more walking than running.  Somehow, all of my professional photos had me running so I guess I ran at some point!  It was fun to see so many friends along the way and have familiar and unfamiliar faces cheering me one.  Someone provided popsicles along the course and that was a great reward too!  I had seen everyone from Team Poppy on the course so at that point knew that the day was on course for success!  Approaching the high school I connected with Mike and Abby and many other familiar faces before heading to the library loop.  Familiar faces at the aid stations and on course the whole way.  I tried to make mental notes of where people were so I knew to look for them again.  Mike encouraged me to keep moving and to perhaps pick up the pace a bit.  I was feeling good and enjoying the day.
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The start of Loop #2 found me with my friend Lynette who was on course supporting one of her athletes.  She walked with me for a few miles and sent me on my way.  From there almost immediately, the cat and mouse with Diane brought us back together and we forged off for about 6 or 7 miles together.  We had the most amazing time catching up and reflecting on our days and on our journeys to getting here and kept each other in the game.  Our husbands thought we should run some but we were content as we were.  Thanks to Ocky we also got one of the best pictures of the day to share how great it was!  I saw more friends on the second loop including Bridgit who had no idea that I was racing and was thrilled to cheer.  It was fun to see all of her family there and to receive their support.  Diane opted to take off for the last three miles - we hugged and I encouraged her to press on.  At that point I saw Mike again - this time not only with Abby but Katelyn and Abby Kay too as well as Kimbirly and Beth!  This meant the world.  I had just over three miles to go.  Knew I was doing fine.  Walked with Mike for a few minutes and headed out on the library loop.  I met up with Heather.  I did not know her at the time, but have made a great friend.  She had a headlamp and I asked if I could walk with her and share her light.  We walked the final three miles together, discussed our lives which both involved being coaches and shared our days and our journeys.  We said hi to my family as we passed through the last time and headed to the finish.  I asked that she do the honors of leading us down the carpet to our greetings from Mike Reilly of You are an Ironman!  I was greeted by Mike inside the finish area - an advantage of home turf.  We shared a hug and a moment to celebrate.  I then found Melanie and Maureen, both finishers of their first, to share a Team Poppy moment and knowing Lori and Hande were close behind.  Melanie and I shared a hugs and I squeezed her hard and said “I am so f’ing proud of you!”  Her first, lots of self doubt at the time of our crazy decision to do this and now standing as finishers together!  A true celebration!   (6:39:57)
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IMG_2526.jpgTotal time for the day was 15:29:33.  The day ended up being a better than expected swim, about on track bike and a slower run.  But this photo shows what I had projected for the day.  I had accomplished my goals of finishing, finishing healthy and enjoying the day with the ability to walk away and keep going.  I was back on my bike two days post race and completed the Denver Century 50 on Saturday.  Team Poppy provided a great bond for this event.  Friendships that will last forever and a day that we will never forget.  Old friends and new met on course.  Another one in the books and a celebration on so many levels.  They say each one has a special meaning and this one definitely did!  This one was for you Adi!  Thank you for the support.  I look forward to celebrating your finish!!

By the way, my Gator survived the long day on the course as support crew. It was 1 a.m. once we got home. She persevered through the day. And from experience I can tell you that support crew is harder than racing. She posted this the following day. Still makes a Mom cry! Definitely an advantage of a home race - having family there to support!