Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 15th...

This year won’t be a Boston Marathon year for me.  I registered back in the fall, and I have gone back and forth continually for the last 6 months, over whether I wanted to go.  A big part of me just assumed I would end up running on Patriot’s day this year, because I have for the last 3 years.

The Boston Marathon has kind of become a big part of me, and I never really thought that was possible before.

As runners, the Boston Marathon is, in some way, part of all of us.  It always has been.  That big race is the topic of conversation for runners of all kinds, and even non-runners.

From the people that aren’t quite clear about running: 

“Oh, you’re a runner?  Have you ever run Boston?” or, “is that marathon the same distance as the Boston Marathon?” 

…to the people that are a bit more experienced: 

“Do you ever want to train to qualify for Boston?” or “Have you run a BQ?”

The Boston Marathon was always one of the most well-known marathons.  Even I knew of the race back a trillion years ago before I was ever a runner.  Back when I completed my very first marathon, I assumed that the likes of my running legs would never see the starting line of that race. When I worked at the Running Room throughout my University years, we had a little framed grid on the front counter.  It was a spreadsheet outlining the qualifying times for the elusive Boston Marathon. 

I would look at those times for Females under 30 (and, by the way, 30 seemed like, soooo old to me) and I would flip back and forth between dreaming of how manageable it would be to break 3:40, and how too.dang.hard it would be in reality.  This was back in the days before I could just glance at my smartphone and calculate paces/times so I was really just dreaming at that point!

When I ran my second marathon, a running friend (who ran the same race) qualified.  She ran a 3:30 in Ottawa and I was beyond excited for her.  If she did it, maybe I could too?


Exactly two years ago, the Boston Marathon was changed forever.  As I ran down the street amidst the chaos of that day, on tired legs and with a foggy brain, I realized that things wouldn’t ever be the same.

The Boston Marathon became inescapable headline news, where it really has remained.  The race became a bigger sign of hope and strength than it had ever been before. 

When we returned to the race in 2014, I arrived knowing I was there to prove something.  I was there to prove that this race was a place for runners and spectators, and the spirit of running and spectating.  That day was one of the most amazing days.  It was crowded.  Wow, it was crowded.  The course was pure energy.  Most of that energy came from the crowds of spectators that were there for me, a runner.  The spectators demonstrated a kind of endurance I was envious of!  They looked me in the eyes and shouted support.  They cheered and high-fived and made it magic. 

 On April 15th I will always pause to remember how lucky I am.  I will pause to remember the lives that were changed on that day.  I will remember the lives that were lost.  I will remember that this day is the day that things changed forever.

I will pause to remember the hopeful feeling I gained and appreciated when I returned to Boston last year. 

The Boston Marathon. 26.2 Miles, just like all of the other marathons.  But so much more than that at the same time.

Boston's Finest

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sometimes a Blog Needs a Break?

Well, look at that.

Another big chunk of time has passed since I last updated my blog.

Where to begin?

I haven't been hibernating, as tempting as it was this winter.  Man, those cold cold days of running in ski goggles and so many layers I actually noticed a dent in my extensive running wardrobe.  When the wind chill had me strongly considering other hobbies that didn't involve frost bite.  But, who am I kidding?  We all know that runners are all the same.  I'm no exception.  We like to get it done.  Then brag about it promptly.

Smiling because I know just how much of a badass runs with ski goggles :P

To do a quick recap of the last 6+ months (running/racing-wise, at least):

-I ran the wonderfully energetic Chicago Marathon in October!  Papa ran too.  PBs for both of us!  Someday I might go into more detail about that race, but in short…I had a tough race.  I wasn't mentally in the game from mile one. My garmin died at mile 20, and I have never been so happy to see a finish line (complete with beeeeeeer! yay!).  It was still a 3:24:17, so there's that.

Micky Mouse hands (?) waiting to start

Sunshine and smiles after the finish!
-I enjoyed some spectacular runs in the trails through October and into November.  Breathing in the air of those miles was exactly what we need after a hard race sometimes.  There were a few runs in that month that reminded me why I have been so addicted to running for so long.

-The Flamingo ladies were out in full force at the Angus Glen 10k in November!  It was an amazing day, despite some awful wind, and challenging hills out on the course.  The post-race massage and beautiful lunch made us feel super-spoiled!  (not to mention their amazing race kits)!
Angus Glen 10k…Our last Flamingo group race for 2014

-We cheered for Papa in the Egg Nog Jog (10.9k) in Terra Cotta! He had a great race and it was actually kind of nice with a view from the sidelines of that tough course.  Lots of familiar faces at the race!

-On a fateful day in early January, with a nudge from my friend Lorraine, I took a huge leap.  I traded my level-head (ok, I don't really have a level-head when it comes to races) for a spot in the Ironman Muskoka 70.3!


It's on.

This is a big deal for the girl that just two years ago, took swimming lessons for the first time.  I am proud of how far I have come in the last two years, and I am also very enthused about this sport of triathlon.  I never in a million years would have thought that I would do more than one triathlon…let alone build a whole season around it!
This is so much cuter than ANY photo of myself in swimming gear
There is so much more I have to talk about with regards to this race!  gah!

I have already been training for two months and it kind of feels like the tip of the iceberg.  I have a Coach and a training plan (my favourite kind of plan) and the support of my loving family.  Trust me, that medal at the finish line might just have to go directly to Papa for his patience and understanding…and I'm barely getting started!

I have a great deal of optimism, with regards to updating this blog, so I will talk lots and lots about all of this stuff in more detail in the coming weeks and months :)

-I completed my first-ever indoor Triathlon in February.  THAT was an interesting experience!  I have to say, I quite enjoyed the fact that the running was done on an indoor track to finish out the race.  I may just have to try it again next year…

-This past weekend was the Around the Bay 30k Road Race.  It was an amazing day, and I just might even write a race recap about it! (coming soon…)

Aside from Running, etc…

It has been a busy school year, for myself and the boys!  They have all tumbled past birthdays, so I am the mom of an 8 year old, a 6 year old, and a 4 year old!  Time flies.  I feel like I was just on this blog announcing the birth of little Oliver.

Happy Running.  And Cycling.  And Swimming!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What is a Marathon?

It would be nice to assume I know exactly what a marathon is.  And I do know what a marathon is.  It is 26.2 miles, or 42.2 kilometers, all on foot, propelled by mental and physical endurance.

But that is the simple answer.

A marathon is so much more than that.  It is more complicated, and at the same time, it is more basic.

A marathon is all of these things:

- A marathon begins years, months, weeks and days before many of us take our first step running.  A marathon, for many, is a, "maybe one day" idea.  It is rattling around in our brain as a goal that we might get around to doing when the time is right.
- The strange thing about a marathon, is that, although the finish line seems impossibly far away, also seems within reach.  How else can we explain the amount of people that run marathons?  Many of us have signed up for them without having accomplished that distance before, and we place all of that trust in our training that we will get there, ready to do it.  This is still amazing to me.
*I do know one person that decided to "practice" the marathon distance prior to signing up for the race, to be sure that he could cover the distance.  His only flaw was that he did his "practice run" 3 days before race day.  He still finished the marathon, but he was quite sore by the end of it all.  Definitely not recommended.
- A marathon "is crazy!!" Or so I'm told.  All the time.  When I am told this, I just nod and shrug it off.  I don't expect everyone to understand that it isn't crazy.  Things like jumping out of an airplane are "crazy."  Spending many years/months preparing your mind and body for an endurance event actually seems sensible.  But, to each his own, right?
- A marathon is long runs in crappy weather.
- A marathon is long runs in lovely weather.
- A marathon is speed work where your lungs are on fire.
- A marathon is speed work that makes you mentally tough enough to push your legs beyond what you ever thought possible.
- A marathon is easy runs with friends filled with laughter and chatter.
- A marathon is alone time to run for miles and think about everything, from upcoming lesson plans, to blog posts, to hopes and dreams.
- A marathon is 5am runs.
- A marathon is the fear of injury.
- A marathon is blisters, ugly feet and ice baths.
- A marathon is going to bed early (through discipline, or pure fatigue).
- A marathon is a choice.
- A marathon is peeing in a corn field.
- A marathon is calculating pace/splits (math on the run).
- A marathon is obsessively checking the weather.
- A marathon is hoping and praying your Garmin will work properly on race morning (or maybe that's just me...)
- A marathon is accepting things we cannot control, like long traffic lights in the middle of a tempo run.
- A marathon is a forgiving and supportive family.
- A marathon is "character building."
- A marathon is physio/massage therapy.
- A marathon is choosing a haircut based on whether it can easily pull back into a ponytail (true story).
- A marathon is pure mental strength from mile one.
- A marathon is about moving forward.
- A marathon is sunscreen, sunburns, and after-sun lotion.
- A marathon is being inspired by training partners and friends.
- A marathon is full of diversity.
- A marathon is never boring.  No two races are ever alike.
- A marathon is emotional.  I have cried many tears, smiled happy smiles, dug deeper into my heart and mind than I had ever thought possible. I have felt indifferent, frustrated and defeated.  I have felt exhilarated and triumphant.
- A marathon bonds runners together.  In training, in the race itself, and in recalling stories long afterward.
A marathon is running to the finish line

A marathon is always a part of us, whether we have done one, two, or a hundred and two.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Canadian 5k Road Championships! Race Recap

I'm going to start at the beginning.

Back when there was snow on the ground, and I was hobbling around with an injury (in March) I heard that the B&O Yorkville 5k registration was opening.  A friend had run this race last year, and said it was a great course.  Good for a PB in the 5k.

That's all I needed to hear!

When I went to the website to sign up, there was something interesting on their website.

They were also holding the "Canadian 5k Road Championships" at that race site on the same day.  There were qualifying times listed, and my most recent 5k was under the qualifying time for women.  Hmmmmm.

Should I enter?

After some encouragement from my friends, I decided to go for it (gulp)!

A few weeks later, I received an email that I was in the race, at which time I promptly panicked that I had made a terrible mistake and that now, as I was in this championship race, I would perhaps have the chance of finishing in last place.

Now.  There is nothing wrong with last place.  Nothing at all.

Ask my high school cross country coach.  I have definitely finished a race in last, or close to last place.  I have always felt like I am still waaaaay ahead of anyone that didn't even start the race, amiright?

I was going to strive for a strong race, and a strong race for me would probably be an easy run pace for some of the elites I would be starting beside (ok, behind).

I know I was being dramatic. I spent the summer of 2014 achieving PBs in a few races, and running some amazing (and challenging) workouts...thanks coach Tia!  I have never been in so many 5k races before this summer.

As race day approached, and I tried not to fall back into my panic zone, I realized that I should just take this opportunity (afterall, this might be the one and only time I have this opportunity) and enjoy it for what it is!  When they sent out the starting list for the race, I found my name 12 places up from the bottom of the list.  My goal became finishing at least 13 from the bottom of the list (Or, go for the win! hahaha!).

I went to pick up my race kit, and the race director (the amazingly quick Megan Brown) said hello and told me a little about the course.  I felt special in that moment, of course!  This sub-elite thing was kind of ego-boosting!

Just as I was standing waiting for my kit, a woman said hello, and that she recognized me from another race.  It was a woman I had met while seeking shelter from the crazy rain and wind a the Midsummer Night's Run, Alice!  I saw her the next day at the race, too.  Her friend (Genevieve) was doing the 5k as her very first race.  So awesome.  The feeling of crossing the finish line never gets boring, but the first race finish is quite special.  Way to go, Genevieve!

Race Morning...

Papa and the boys were making the trek to the race with me.  This was my big day, so they weren't going to miss it.  The fact that it was 5k was great, as there is a lot less time to hang around while I am out on the course. 

I had a great sleep the night before the race.  I woke up excited and ready.  When I went in to wake up Olly, he said, "we're going to your raaaaaace!"  It was so cute to see him excited with his bed-head.

I ate breakfast in the car, and we arrived to the race area around 8am.  I headed to the school (race headquarters) to use the washroom, then  I went out for a warm up around 8:20, while Papa and the boys hung out in the car.
Tech time in the car while Mama warmed up.  Check out those BRIGHT shoes!!
My garmin (oh, my silly garmin) started to act up during my warm up.  Not sure if it was all of the tall buildings in the middle of Toronto, but it switched (spontaneously) to pace/km.  Ummmm.  Either that, or I was running close to race-pace for my warm up (6:00 pace?).

Then, suddenly after a mile (or kilometer?) it switched back.  Phew!

*I know I should be running at pace/km.  I know I am Canadian and that is what we do.  But for some reason, I have always worked in pace/mile.  I think I like the fact that I don't have to count as high.  Seriously.  "3" seems less far than "5".  Duh.
Our little family parade heading to the starting area

I got back to the car, changed my shoes, and we got the kids ready to head over to the start!  It was almost time!

We really lucked out with this venue.  The start and finish were very close to each other, with a school (that had a big playground) right in the middle!  As soon as I started, Papa and the boys played on the playground for 15 minutes, then headed to the finish area.  Perfect!

they don't look that enthused about my race. hmmm
The starting area was my favourite part of the whole day.  All of these *actual* elites, doing warm up drills back and forth, and I was in there with them, just doing my strides.  No big deal. (!!)

In the last few minutes, as I started to line up (near the back) I saw Alice again, and she wished me a good race.  I also saw Robin (one of my speedy Guelph running friends).  Seeing them made me more calm and I was ready to do this thing!

The horn went off, and, wow.  So did the runners.  I took a deep breath and forced myself to keep calm and not rush out to fast.  This was a crowd that I was NOT going to get caught up in. 

The first mile headed down Bay Street, which had a slight downgrade.  That, combined with the fast runners, could spell disaster.  I managed to keep it cool.  My first mile beeped in at 6:23.  Perfect.  I was hoping for 6:20, but this was even better.  I didn't lose control! yay!

Then, as we were still heading down a bit, I sped up.  I thought I was safe from the evils of going out too fast, so I started to pass a couple of people. 

Mile 2: 5:58.  Ya.  Oops.  That wasn't exactly as even as I had hoped for!

Maybe I could keep it up?  (pfffft)

We were headed up University Ave. at this point, passing Queen's Park.  We were headed back up that slight upgrade now.  And there was a head wind I wasn't happy about.  We passed a water station, which just didn't seem worth it to me.  There would be water at the finish!

I came up on a few guys (what?!) and tried to draft behind them.  When it was time to pass them, I tried to tell myself to just push through that burning feeling and find the finish.

As I rounded the corner for the final few hundred meters, I couldn't even look down at my watch.  I just wanted to get there.  My lungs were on fire and my arms were pumping as fast as I could make them! (mile 3 - 6:33, and mile 0.1 - 6:10)

As I came up to the finish I could see Robin, and I tried to smile (goodness knows if it looked like a smile, or sheer pain?!) and I was so so happy to be done.  It was over in a flash.  And I wasn't in last place!!

Little Milo was there, and gave me a hug (he probably could've knocked me over at that point) and I found Papa and my good friend Stephanie!  Yay! for spectators!!

A diligent runner would have gone for a nice cool down run at this time.  I did not.  I was too happy to chat with my friends/family that I ate my banana and lived on the edge.

Final time: 19:54
Age Group: 4/10
Gender: 44/68
Overall: 137/168 (way better than my goal!)

I am not an elite runner, nor do I ever want to be.  I love striving for PBs, working as hard as I can, and throwing myself into races where I know I will be uncomfortable and challenged.  That's what it is all about!

I am so proud that I was part of this race.
milo, my number one fan, "gave" me a stuffy that he promptly asked if he could keep :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

New (school) Year's Eve

Labour Day.

The dreaded day, when our summer holiday comes to an official end. The last day before it is time to start sorting back packs, cramming schedules, and eating lunches out of brown paper bags.

I dare say the summer wore us out a little?

I could cry through lots of this post, as I just love the freedom that summer allows.  The long days that get us out of bed for early runs, and allow us to take a walk after dinner without bundling into warm and visible clothing.

But I am not going to dwell on all of that amazing stuff.


Instead, I am going to allow myself to get excited about all of the things a new (school) year brings.

…and there are lots of things.

- The kids will be back into their routine.  They love summer, but they have been role-playing "school" for more than a week now.  I think they are ready to be back in the classroom with their friends.

- I will be back into a routine.  We do have a little routine going on here in the summer, but I certainly feel like I am accomplishing more (I am) and I am more organized when I am working.  I guess those school bells have me trained as well.

- The fall is a beautiful time to be a runner.  The weather is still wonderful, the cool air is refreshing, and as the leaves on the trees change colour it is so pretty.  Long sleeves really aren't that bad, right?

- The Chicago Marathon is in 6 weeks!  A big fall race (and the taper beforehand) is something I am very excited about.  The fact that Papa and I will be spending the weekend in one of our favourite cities with some friends for Thanksgiving weekend isn't so bad, either.

- Halloween happens in the fall!  I am excited to make the costume ideas the boys have into actual costumes.

- Food in the fall is great.  I am really into summer foods, but I am ready to dig into some warm soups and stews.

So…school begins in the morning.  I have an early-rise and some speed work to accomplish before the day really begins.

Summer of 2014, you were very good to us.  The weather was *perfect* for running.  I enjoyed a very busy schedule of races (TEN races, that is) and we were so fortunate to have a great deal of family time together.

Cheers, to a good New (school) Year ahead!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Midsummer Night's Run 30k - Race Recap

Midsummer Night's Run is an evening race in Toronto that offers a 5k, 15k, and a 30k.  Every year I consider it, but I have never done it.

I was back and forth over this race for weeeeeks.

Should I do it?  Would it take too long for recovery afterwards?  Am I ready?

In the end, I realized that I would have to do an evening long run that day anyway (due to Papa's work schedule) so I might was well have some entertainment, some company, and some aid stations if I was running at dusk!

…a lovely race shirt, and amazing medal were added bonuses

This has to be one of the nicest medals I've received!

The run was going to be a training run with some fast miles.  No big deal.

As Saturday approached, the weather here in these parts started to turn.  Like, really turn.  People everywhere were calling it, "Augtober," and, well, I was bundling up too.

Surely the weather will brighten up by Saturday's race?

Not so much.  The weather network was calling for rain.  All day.

Summer rain isn't so bad.  It has a nice way of cooling off those really hot days, making for a nice and refreshing evening.  It will be ok.  Right?  Anyone?

Saturday came, and so did the rain.  And the wind.

I drove to the race parking, where I then had to leave the warmth of my car to board a shuttle bus to the starting area.  I was prepared with a bag of warm clothes for post-race, and a garbage bag to wear until the race start, if it started to pour at all.

By the time I got to the park, near the starting line, I had dug out my sweatshirt and was wearing it under my garbage bag.  I would then have to wait to check my bag, as I would definitely want that sweatshirt after the race.

The sideways wind out of the southwest brought rain drops that stung against my goosebumps on my legs.  This is August.  Mid-August.

Time passed very slowly, as I huddle at the side of a tent, trying to stay out of the wind.  Eventually it came time to go for a warm-up.  I was actually excited to go and "warm up."

I checked my bag (so long, sweatshirt!) but kept the garbage bag on.  High fashion at this race!

*many people actually do dress in costume for this race.  The weather didn't break anyone's spirit, either.  Lots of fairy wings in attendance here!  But not on me.

I made my way back to the start, and I actually thought, "what if I have to run this entire race in a garbage bag?"

I made sure my garmin was set, then, just before the gun went off, the rain really started to pour.

ah, well.

There is something magic about races though.  The moment the gun actually did go off, the weather was furthest from my mind.  Sure, heading out into the wind was kind of sucky, but we were moving, in a large crowd, trying to settle into pace.  We didn't have time to worry about the rain.

I am not really sure when the pouring stopped, but it did.

I told myself to keep those first couple of miles slow.  This was just a training run.  But then, it wasn't just a training run anymore somehow.

Put a timing chip on a runner, and all bets are off?

I settled into a pack of dudes that, if I played my cards right, could serve as nice wind-blockers when we would inevitably get into the big windy stretches.  One of the dudes was the 2:20min "pace fairy".  I knew this pace was sustainable, as I have run the Around the Bay in 2:18:47.

My goal became keeping my pace regulated throughout the whole course.  I really wanted to finish the race with Garmin results that I didn't cringe at in those last miles.

This course was lovely.  Mostly paved trails, with small stints on the road (very small road portions).  We started into the wind at about the 4 mile mark.  This lasted beyond the 7 mile mark, then we got a nice break with the wind behind us.

miles 1-7 splits: 7:24, 7:28, 7:16, 7:15, 7:32, 7:27 (Gu), 7:21

We headed back toward the main road, and joined the course of the 15km runners.  It was a HUGE crowd!  We ran together for a mile or two, then split apart.  They headed toward the finish, and we headed toward Ashbridges Bay park.  Lots of twists and turns in this part of the course.  Also, varying terrain.  Pavement, wooden boardwalk, mulch, sandy gravel, back to pavement.  While in the park, they had a timing mat at the half-marathon marker! (1:36:46)

miles 8-14 splits: 7:12, 7:18, 7:32, 7:33, 7:29, 7:16, 7:14

As I headed out of the park, I could feel the west-wind like a wall.  This part was going to be tough.  I had well under 10km left to run.  I could do this, but it might hurt a little.

miles 15-18.7 splits: 7:36 (Gu), 7:32, 7:40, 7:41, 7:28

The course was a lot busier in the last few miles, as the 30k route joined back up with the 15k route.  Lots of 15k runners still on the course.  It wasn't a big deal.  There was lots of room for everyone!

And it wasn't dark yet, and the rain had let up.  Oh, and I had warmed up a little bit :)

At the finish, they were handing out bottles of water (normal post-race behaviour, yes) but they were Reusable bottles that were pre-filled with cool, fresh water!  I love this.  They had a variety of colours and they let me pick my colour (red)!

nice touch, Midsummer Night's Run!!
Finish time: 2:19:33 (so much for the training run)
overall 72/630
Age Group 6/108
Gender 11/297

They had post-race festivities like Steam Whistle Beer (which I do enjoy) and a BBQ, but after I grabbed my checked bag and bundled into my sweatshirt, I took my banana to the shuttle bus and headed home.  Evening races are tiring sometimes!

My legs feel great, post-race, so I am ready for the next week of miles ahead of me!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon - Race Recap

Can I just say that I love this race?  It's a race that in some ways, feels very much like a race, but in other ways, feels like a fun day of hanging out with your girlfriends.

That is the perfect mix.  I love racing.  But I also don't like taking myself too seriously, especially when it comes to triathlons, where I still have so much to learn.

We did this event last summer, and it was really the race that made me think I could survive triathlons.  My first try-a-tri had been earlier in the summer, and, although it seemed to go well, it was my first open-water swim (ever) and it was kind of a miracle I ever stepped into the lake again afterwards!

I was very nervous last year for Irongirl, especially the swim, but it turned out to be amazing.  Clear, cool, clean water, and the 500m was a confidence booster.

I jumped at the chance to sign up again for 2014!

I love that all of my training partners/fellow pink flamingos were doing the race too.  We headed to the race together(ish) in two cars.  The race was in Grimsby, about an hour from home.

We arrived at the venue, and the music was blasting, people were excited, and transition was filling up with bikes.  The race was a bit bigger this year (over 600 racers, vs. 500 last year).  Sylvie and I racked our bikes next to each other.  I looked around and noticed a lot of fellow racers were wearing the same (PINK--ya, I've worn it for every triathlon this summer) outfit as me!

Triathlons take a bit of setting up, ya know?  Transition area, bike, wetsuit, goggles, swim cap (mine was baby blue) etc.

It was getting HOT out there, in the blazing sun.  Just the right time to squeeze into our wetsuits.

Tricia, Sylvie, Linda, Lorraine, and myself
We headed down to the beach.  Since it was a 500m point-to-point swim (with in-water start) we decided to swim the reverse 500m to the start as our warm up.  That water was cold.  But it was refreshing in the heat, and we had wetsuits on, so we had very little to complain about, right?

When we arrived at the starting area, there were crowds of swimmers, some in wetsuits, some there for their first triathlon, some not wearing wetsuits (brrrrrr).  We waded in the water for our waves to get the "GO!"

I was wave three this year.  This race is one of the "kinder" races, as far as pushing/shoving/swimming-in-a-pile goes.  When the gun went off, I still felt like I had lots of space to move through the water.

After the race, I was commenting that triathlons have crazy starts, compared to road races.  In the water, there seem to be no rules.  People just shove and swim their way to a good position.  That kind of thing would have you landing on your face in a road race!  In the water it really is "every man for himself!"

…but this race, as I said, is a bit gentler than that.

I felt really quick and fast during the swim, and although I wasn't as quick as I had imagined, I was still happy with my effort.

500m swim: 11:37

I bolted up the steep hill to transition (or at least it felt like I bolted).  My wetsuit got caught on my heel, but I refused to sit down to get it out.  I did my 'transition dance" to get out of it, and it did the trick eventually.

Transition 1: 1:19

Off I went on the bike.  This is a very flat course.  I got right down into aero position, and only moved my arms when I ate my Gu (at 11k) and drank water.  I tried to keep my position in the pack, as I didn't want to be passed as much as I was passed last year.  I feel like I passed more people than passed me on the bike, but it is hard to say for sure.

The bike was an out and back, so I was able to see all of my fellow flamingo racers, that started after me!  I saw Tricia, Lorraine, and Sylvie!

20km bike: 38:59

As I jumped off my bike and ran into transition, I realized my feet were completely numb.  This keeps happening.  The cold water never helps with this, and I think I need to consider blaming my bike shoes.

I had to get my running shoes on, regardless and get going!  Without any feeling in the front of my feet, this would be interesting. I told myself,  "fake it 'till you make it!"  I chased the other women leaving transition.

Transition 2: 0:53

We ran through a shute across the grass to get out to the roadway.  It was very hard to get good steps in there.  Ugh.

I just focused, and looked ahead.  Only 5km between me and finish line, and it was 5km of the part I like!

I managed to catch/pass a bunch of runners on the run course, which had two aid stations that you pass twice each.  After the 3km marker, we ran down a hill, into a trail.  By this point I could feel my toes again, so I didn't feel like I had the "smack smack smack" of wearing flippers on my feet!

But, in the trail, I feel that IronGirl could have splurged on a few more pylons, signs, ANYTHING to make it feel better marked.  I was in a dead zone where I couldn't see the person ahead of me, so I had to stop/backtrack a couple of times, for fear that I was headed off course.  It didn't add too much to my time, but it was annoying!

I came out of the trail and could see the last kilometre stretch to the finish!  One little hill between me and the misting tent!

I managed to catch a couple more racers in the last 100m, which made the race :)

5km run: 22:06

finish time: 1:14:50 (PB over last year by one minute)
2nd Age group (35-39), 10/624 women

LOVE the medals…love that they give age group award medals too!

All of the other girls did AMAZING!  PBs all over the place!

Nothing beats racing with friends.  Well, training with friends is also quite awesome.

These ladies motivate me every single day.

Melissa, Tricia, Sylvie, Linda, Me, and Lorraine

IronGirl was my last triathlon for 2014.  Lots more running to do though :)