Ironman Victoria 70.3 Race Recap

Even though these races have long since passed, I’d love to give a brief overview of my race and experience with both Ironman Victoria 70.3 and Ironman Canada. Finding the time to actually sit down and write has been tough, but I’d like to continue sharing my experiences while I can and to help me remember and learn more from them in the future.
I traveled to Victoria, BC with two of my girlfriends, Raechel and Abby. It was awesome to have some great friends with me to travel and spectate my race. They were such huge supporters and made sure everything was in order and ready for me to race. We stayed at the cutest little cottage only a mile or so from transition. It made it so easy to do my check in the day before the race and to arrive ready to go on race morning.
This was my first ever Ironman brand event. Everything was super well organized set up. The volunteers were also amazing. Check in was a breeze on the day prior to the race and my friends and I all enjoyed the nice temperatures of the lake for a practice swim.
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Race morning was fairly uneventful. It took me a little while to unload my hydration and nutrition onto my bike and feel like my transition zone was ready. I hadn’t raced in about 9 months so I was triple checking to make sure everything was set! I had just enough time to make a quick trip to the bathroom before getting in the swim start line. Unfortunately no time for a swim warmup.
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The race had a rolling swim start, which I found to be awesome. It was very easy for me to find a good draft and just flow through the swim course. I was actually surprised at how many athletes I was passing during the swim. Overall my swim was smooth and steady. I was extra surprised to come out of the water in 34 minutes! My swimming has really improved through the course of Ironman training!
I got going on the bike quickly. The 56 miles actually also went by so fast for me. The course in Victoria is full of lots of rolling hills and turns. Sometimes there were steep downhills right into 90 degree turns and right back up hill! This meant that I really needed to keep my focus on the mechanics of riding and shifting. I wasn’t able to keep my power up quite as high as planned, but I know this will improve with practice at future races. Besides the rolling hills, the course is really beautiful. Vancouver Island was green and full of trees and farms. There were views of the water along the way too. I stopped once to use the bathroom, but otherwise was moving forward the whole ride.
Before I knew it I was off the bike and back in transition. The run was a two loop course, mostly on trail around Elk Lake, where we swam. It was so nice to have the shade of the trail. The terrain was mostly flat with some small rollers and one short and steeper climb. I plugged along pretty well for the first half the run. I tried to make sure my pace was feeling fairly easy to avoid the burnout later on. I ate a few Clif Shot Bloks that I carried with me and grabbed water at the aid stations. After about 7 miles, I switched to Coke to drink for an additional pick me up with the additional calories and caffeine. The last couple miles were tough, but I pushed it in with all the energy and focus I had left.
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I finished in 5:26, good enough for 10th in my age group. I’m really proud of this effort and result for my first 70.3. I also learned a few things during this race for improvements in the future. For starters, I did not take in enough calories on the bike. The need for increased calories while riding is something I did not appreciate until later in this year’s training cycle. I think I took in just about the minimum necessary to complete the race. In the future I’ll need to make sure to take in the right amount of calories, and I think this will help me with the run. I really liked this 70.3 distance and I look forward to making improvements in all areas and racing it again!
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Post-race we enjoyed a picnic lunch at a local winery then (after a quick nap at the rental house) a nice dinner in downtown Victoria. I’d love to go back to Victoria for another vacation. It was so beautiful! Many thanks to Raechel and Abby for supporting me in my first 70.3 and for helping me on this adventure!!
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Best in the West Olympic Tri Race Recap

So after Boston, I decided to jump back into triathlon training. Before I got pregnant I was really hoping to start training for a half Ironman distance race. While I knew I wasn’t ready for that yet after the intensity of marathon training with the little one, I thought an olympic tri would be just the right level of training and fun for the summer months. Plus, we had a whole big group of friends who were also going to be completing the race. In total there were 8 of us, with 3 completing their first tri ever (amazing!), and 2 doing their first Olympic (also amazing!).

The last time I had raced an Olympic distance event was in June 2014. Since then I have significantly improved my running. I did my best over the summer months to get to the pool when I should and get out on my bike, thought I’ll admit it wasn’t my best training. I just tried to have fun with it while still having time to enjoy with the family.

Onto the race…

I was kind of nervous race morning since I hadn’t done this whole thing in so long. Seriously — so much more to get together before a triathlon than a running race. On top of that I had to make sure Trevor was ready to spectate with some friends. I was able to get in the water to splash around for a minute before it was my wave’s start.

SWIM: I am always a little nervous at the start of the swim and feel like my heart rate skyrockets at first. But today was a little better than previous races. I tried not to get too caught up in what the other people were doing. I am not the best swimmer, but also not the worst. I just focused on my stroke and breathing. I forgot how long 1500m in the open water feels when you have done an open water swim in a while!     Swim time: 29: 53 (22 woman)

BIKE: I was super excited about the bike ride. I bought a tri bike in July and was looking forward to putting it to work in the race environment. I had a great time on this course. It is an out and back with some rolling hills. I think I was smiling pretty much the whole time on the bike. It was just SO MUCH FUN. I felt strong and in control, but was pushing hard. Bike time: 1:15:35 (4th woman on the bike)

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RUN:  The run was also rolling hills. In fact, the entire run felt like you were either on a long uphill or a long downhill. I felt good coming off the bike and knew I could do much better than my last olympic on the run. I really wanted to hit just about an 8 min/mile pace. I was cruising and feeling great until some of the uphill in mile 6. I tried my best to keep up as strong as I could and gave it my all into the finish line. Run time: 50:17 (10th woman in the run)

Total: 2:38:35 for 6th OA woman, 1st in AG. This was about 1.5 minute PR. And a PR in all three sports.

Overall BITW Tri fest is a really fantastic event. The organizers do a wonderful job keeping everything on track and organized. They know what they are doing. They are a growing small company in the area, putting together quite a few races. If you’re in the Willamette Valley, I highly recommend checking out a BITW race.

Thanks so much to Jon and Best In the West for the incredible race photos!

Boston Recap! What’s next?

Yet again, its been far too long between posts. I want to write an update from the Boston Marathon. And hopefully soon you’ll see another post from me with a recap of my recent triathlon at Best in the West in mid-September. I’m starting to feel ready to get back into blogging, so I hope to just jump right back in.

THE BOSTON MARATHON

The last post you saw was right before I ran Boston. I did in fact run the race, but I have to admit it did not go quite as I had planned. I ended up getting a cold right as I arrived in Boston. I tried to rest as much as possible in the days before the race and take some medications to feel good enough to run. The morning of the marathon I was feeling better, but definitely not 100%.

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The morning was warm at the start and I tried to hide in the shade in the staging area. It was so thrilling to finally be there. I couldn’t believe how many people were everywhere– running the race, spectating! I was soaking in every moment. I was actually there running the Boston Marathon!! Something I never thought I would get to do!

The first few miles of the race are mostly downhill. I knew from other people that I needed to take these miles incredibly easy so I didn’t burn out later in the race. The miles absolutely flew by. I was cruising along and feeling good for about 8-9 miles. But then things started to turn for the worse. The cold that I had been fighting reared it’s ugly head. I struggled to breathe and the only way I could settle down my breathing was to walk. It was incredibly frustrating because my legs were feeling so good!

I continued to focus on running when I could and walking when I had to in order to breathe. I kept thinking about when I would see my family and friends out to cheer me (totally what kept me going!!). This was the hardest race I had ever run. It felt like all I could do to keep moving forward at times. You know it’s rough when you start counting down the miles remaining at mile 10. I did my best to continue to enjoy being in the moment and taking in the crowds. It is seriously incredible to have such a huge number of supporters for an ENTIRE 26.2 miles. Staying positive and in the moment was critical to getting through those tough steps.

I ran as hard as I could… even when it hurt. I cried tears of pain, joy and relief as I pushed myself through the last half mile. I finally crossed the finish line in 4:40. My slowest marathon to date.

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To be completely honest, I was kind of disappointed in how everything went for a while. I know that I was trained for a better race. I was sad that my great post-partum training didn’t culminate in a great race as well.

Now though, I’m proud of my fight…of putting it all out on the course. I’m thankful that I was able to work hard and qualify for Boston, that I was able to go through a healthy pregnancy and delivery, and train for running Boston with my little guy with me along the way, that I was able to finish the Boston Marathon at only seven months post-partum. I’m also thankful for everyone who helped me get there. I think not having this race go as planned has fueled the fire to try to get back to Boston some day. In the end, I think I did do what I set out to do — run for the joy of running, and put everything I had that day out on the streets of Boston.

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For now though, it’s time to turn to a different chapter. I’m focusing this year on triathlon training. My next big adventure is training for my first IRONMAN! Ryan and I will be taking on Ironman Canada on July 30, 2017. I hope you’ll follow along as I continue on this journey!

The Boston Marathon

I was planning on blogging throughout my training for the Boston Marathon, but it just didn’t quite fit in with the rest of life. But before Marathon Monday arrives, I thought I’d give you a small peek into what my training was like.

I consider my training officially beginning on January 1st this year. At that point my longest run postpartum was almost 7 miles, which was done just after Christmas. Before January, I was working on building consistency in running at least three times per week. Most of my runs were only 3-4 miles.

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Since January I have built up my long runs and number of days running. I was able to complete 18, 19, and 20 mile long runs. In my peak weeks I was able to fit in five days of running each week. I even was able to start to integrate some speed-work in some of the later weeks, something I didn’t expect to be  comfortable with as I was building mileage so quickly. I was even able to race a 10k while pushing the stroller, and finished second in my age group!

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Not everything has been smooth sailing. There were some runs that were cut short because my little man just did NOT want to be in the stroller anymore. There were some post baby bedtime treadmill runs when it was beautiful outside, because I was the only person home. There was a “failed” 20 mile long run attempt that I had to cut off at 19 miles because I was bonking hard and didn’t want to risk injury by pushing it for *one* more mile.

Thankfully through all of this, I have been able to stay healthy. I have done many long runs with friends….many runs with my pup…and many runs with my baby. My little man even made it through that killer 19 mile long run (with just one feeding break).

I have put in the work — at least enough to feel confident in finishing the race. While I don’t expect that Monday’s Boston Marathon will be my fastest race, it is sure to be one of the most memorable…and that’s really why I’m running. I’m proud of the work that I was able to do. I’m thankful for friends and family who have supported me by watching my baby, pushing the stroller (like my amazing husband for that entire 19 mile long run!), running with me on easy days and hard days, and just asking how things are going. On Monday I will be putting whatever I have out on the road, but mostly I will be running for the joy of running.

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So with that, I hope at the end of the day on Monday I’ll officially be a Boston Marathon Finisher. If you feel like tracking me, my bib number is 18153 and I’m starting in Wave 3.

My Return to Running

After over six weeks without exercise, except for walking and carrying my heavy baby, I was finally cleared to do whatever I wanted at my post partum followup appointment. The day after my appointment, I went out for my first run in about seven weeks. And remember, at that time it was much more of a walk than a run anyway (see third trimester recap!).

I was definitely itching to get back out on the pavement, especially because I decided to sign up for (and made the cut off for!) the Boston Marathon in April. I’m excited to have a race on the schedule!

My first run back was definitely not easy. I had been going for walks and increasing mileage and pace since I returned home from the hospital. But let me tell you, recovery from a c-section is not easy either. The first day I got home, I could barely make it up the stairs, and walking across the house was a big effort. My first walk outside was only down the street and back, and included stopping twice for rest breaks! But over time I was able to go further and faster, push the stroller or carry Trevor, and also bring our dog along.

Back to the running though — while I was pushing Trevor in the stroller, I probably only ran a total of 1.5 miles of my 3.75 mile “run”. And it wasn’t all at once. I took several breaks to walk with my longest stretch of continuous running being about 0.5 miles. My pace ranged from about 11-12 minutes/mile. Yes, it was hard and I felt awkward — my gait felt different and I felt sluggish, and pushing the stroller made it a little more difficult. But it felt amazing to sweat again and actually have my heart rate up!

Afterward I felt good and tired. My legs practically felt like I ran a long run — time to slowly build the endurance back up! I was most sore/tired in my glutes and hamstrings. Since then I have been trying to get out for a run every couple days. I have been improving quickly, and am up to a continuous 4.5 miles at about a 10 minute/mile pace.While that’ a far cry from where I was a year ago, I know I will continue to improve every day.

I’m also working on doing some stretching and strengthening exercises during naps whenever possible, and working in cross training with biking and hopefully soon some swimming. I want to make sure that I keep taking things slow and building a good base before really getting into long runs. I hope to avoid any major setbacks! I’d love to be ready for a triathlon or two in 2016 as well!

Have you ever had to work back up in your running/fitness after a long time off? How long did it take you?

Maternity and Newborn Photos

Before Trevor was born, we decided to have maternity and newborn photos taken by Charlotte Trask. She did an absolutely wonderful job, and I wanted to share some of my favorites from each session. We are so glad she was able to capture these images of us during this special time in our lives.

Maternity photos: These were taken when I was 35 weeks pregnant, about 3 weeks before Trevor was born. It is so funny to look back now and see how big my belly actually was! I feel like I’ve already forgotten what it was like to have that bump sticking out front. Ha!

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Newborn photos: These images were taken when Trevor was 10 days old. He has grown so much since then! I love looking at these images and seeing how tiny, precious and new he was.

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Trevor’s Birth Story

This is a little long, but I wanted to capture all the details to remember them later. I can’t believe Trevor was born almost 7 weeks ago already!


On Friday September 18, I woke up around 4am with stomach ache and diarrhea. I thought it might just be from the spicy chicken wings we had for dinner. After using the bathroom, I got back in bed and eventually fell back to sleep. Then, at 6am I woke up with wet pants, which turned out to be that my water had broke. At first I wasn’t sure, but once I was leaking every time I moved/bent over, I knew that had to be it. I was not having any contractions or labor signs yet, so I got dressed for the day, called in sick to work, tried to move around a bunch hoping it would get labor started. I tried a few of the natural trigger points for initiating labor. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to work.

At 8:30am, I talked to a nurse at my doctor’s office, and they asked me come in to be checked and to make sure that my water had broke. Ryan and I grabbed our hospital bag just in case and headed out. At the doctor’s office, it was confirmed that my water had broken. My blood pressure was also high. (Side note: I had some high blood pressure earlier in the week, but it had gone back down a bit. I also didn’t have protein in my urine, so my doctor wasn’t worried at that time about preeclampsia.) Since my blood pressure was high, the doctor asked me to go the hospital to be monitored. She said that if it was ok after a little while sitting there, I could go home and wait for labor to begin at home. If not, I would be admitted. But either way, we could expect that the baby would be coming soon!

It was around 10:30am when I began being monitored at the hospital. After relaxing there for about an hour, and having some blood tests done it was determined that I had the signs of pregnancy induced hypertension and preeclampsia, and would be admitted. I was to remain on bed rest and my labor was induced. While this wasn’t exactly how I had hoped things would be going at this point, I was still excited to know that I would be meeting my baby boy within the next day or so.

After a few hours, my contractions had picked up to where I was really laboring hard in the bed. I breathed through each contraction, usually clinging to the side of the bed. Since I was on bed rest, I couldn’t get up to move around or use other positions like I had hoped to do, but I felt like I was working through them fairly well. I tried to focus on my breathing and reminding myself to stay in the moment of each contraction — that each one would not last long. After a few hours of hard work, I was about 4 cm dilated but baby boy was still very high in my belly. Since I couldn’t use other labor positions and I was stuck in the bed, I decided to have an epidural. While this was not initially in my plan, I struggled with having to only be on my back/side on the bed while working through each contraction. I felt like since he had not come down that it would probably be a longer labor too.

The epidural helped immediately. I no longer felt the pain of the contractions, which continued to be about 2 minutes apart — just some pressure with each one. An internal monitor was started to more closely monitor the strength of my contractions, and how the baby was handling them. My labor continued overnight. Thanks to the epidural I was able to get a little rest/relaxation and Ryan was able to sleep for a few hours. My blood pressure and progress were monitored overnight too.

At about 5am, I was dilated to 7cm. However, baby was still sitting high, and not descending. I also developed a slight fever, and by this point my water had been broken for about 23 hours. Because of all these things and my continued high blood pressure, the doctor suggested that the best course of action would be to do a cesarean delivery.

Once the decision was made, things moved so quickly! I was immediately prepped for surgery and taken into the operating room. During then procedure, I could feel the tugging and tension while the doctors pulled baby boy out. Ryan was able to be there with me to tell me what was going on and be with the baby once he arrived. 12043191_10102506930268554_6049333944693597689_n

Trevor was born at 6:09 am on Saturday September 19. He weighed 7 lb, 6 oz and was 21″ long. When Trevor arrived, I felt like I could hear his cries immediately after he was pulled out of me. He was whisked off to the side to be cleaned and weighed. Ryan was able to bring him over so I could see/meet him. Ryan and Trevor then went to the nursery while my procedure was finished.

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Once I was out of the operating room we had a little time for skin to skin. Trevor had to spend a little time in the nursery for some help with his breathing, and to receive antibiotics for a possible infection. I had to spend most of the day in bed before moving after the surgery. We transferred to a recovery room right around dinner time that day. After a few days of recovery in the hospital, we finally made it home with a happy and healthy, beautiful baby boy. We are absolutely in love.

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