Not your typical race report. Sorry.
The Ironman Lake Placid experience started the Wednesday before the race. I was lucky enough to be able to stay the entire week in a house that I shared with my friend (and veteran IMLP-er) Lindsey. This arrangement was awesome for a bunch of reasons: she has an awesome dog, Beckham, we got to do our "end of the road" training together, and Lindsey was super helpful for answering pre-race questions. She also ended up lending me her aero top for the race since the one I had tried out last week kept riding up while running.
A couple of days before the race we took a short, early morning ride on a particularly mentally challenging part of the run course, River road. Lindsey's a talented multi-tasker/bike-photographer so she took some cool pics of me while riding. We chatted about the road, and the dark places one might go while running there, for a couple of reasons:
A few things started coming together for me before the race. We went to an awesome talk held by my training team, Endurance Nation, and they talked about the "suck line." The idea is that Ironman is demanding, and it's going to suck at some point. Based on how close you stick to your race plan, you can move that line towards the beginning of the race or push it back towards the end.
I thought about River Road after that talk and realized that's where the line is going to be. It's going to get dark out there, and it's going to suck. My mind is going to go to unthinkable places. I was kind of excited.
Was this going to be a new, evil Mel and I had never encountered before?? Should I find a stick-on goatee and a pitch fork and embrace my new dark self for the last ten miles of the run or so??
Race day came. I wasn't nervous. Just excited and a little emotional. I slept great the night before, highly unusual for me.
We swam, and the swim was fine. I got kicked/punched/pulled/swam over. I swam over people. But it was fine. Let's move on.
I swallowed a lot of pride on the bike. I wanted to race, but I knew I'd sink myself for the run. I held back, trying to convince myself to take it easy. I peed 5 times. Drank a ton of water and BASE Hydro. Ate a lot of GU's. Most of all, I just tried to enjoy myself. At mile 80 or so, I started to push it a bit. My legs felt good. I saw very few people I knew on the bike so I was ready to get off. My mind started to turn to mush a bit the last 12 miles.
I was ready to run, and I was ready to hurt. I felt awful getting off the bike, but then I descended down the hill out of town and my legs started to turn over. I found a familiar place on the run, but I was ready for that unfamiliar place of pain and mental anguish. I thought about some words that my friend Suz put in a note before the race: "Just stay positive and keep moving forward." I repeated that as my mantra.
And it never came. The suck never came. I had pain in my foot the first 6 miles that felt like someone was trying to rip off my pinky toe, but that's it. Oh and I almost puked because I took a Hot Shot in the middle of the run when I felt like I was going to cramp. To Hot Shot's credit, I didn't cramp!
But where were the dark places? I was really looking forward to getting to know a new side of myself, and she never showed up to the party. Instead I got this joker:
I learned more about why I do these races rather than about my character during IMLP, and I think that's okay. I think I do them to just see new sides of myself, and to see how I deal with pain. In a relatively comfortable life, it's hard to see how you would deal with actual pain, most of us are lucky enough to not see much in our day-to-day lives. Many of us end up not wanting to learn about the pain, some of us want to dig deeper and see what's under the hood.
I saw some pain during IMLP, but as a relentlessly positive person, the pain doesn't come easy. There will be more races, and more Ironmans, Maybe pushing harder will help me learn more. Is it a bad idea to adjust your race plan to ensure pain? Will I blow up next time for this weird quest?
I also learned (again) that I have the BEST support crew!
Two more tris this year: Martha's Vineyard 70.3 and Buzzard's Bay Sprint. Now for a FUN AUGUST!
Hi there! Hope everyone had a great memorial day weekend! What did you do? Was it fun? Did you have any weird run ins from middle school? Me neither.
We spent the weekend in Lake Placid biking on the course as much as possible and enjoying the area! We stayed at a great B&B run by a triathlon coach, Jeff Kline. He hosted us at the house he's renting until race day. The house was pretty incredible with tons of different spaces available for our use and it had amazing views. He even had his three dogs around which was a huge plus!
The best thing about the weekend was building confidence. Previously I thought I was above training on a race course, it does seem a little unnecessary and a lot of extra effort to travel to a race revenue on a non race weekend. All my friends started planning training weekends at Placid, so I followed suit.
After riding about a lap and a half on the actual course, I had totally calmed down about all the climbing, descending, flats, and oh...the entire thing. At this point thinking about doing the whole loop...with a swim before...and a marathon after...still seems unfathomable but at least I can get through parts of the bike comfortably. Posting some pics below of the weekend.
It's almost time to go to the beach so time to pick up my books/kindle again! I wish I made more time to read during the winter. I've started reading before bed instead of playing games on my phone, which I think is a step. I just finished The Liar's Club by Mary Karr, which is a memoir about her absolutely insane upbringing. I saw her at a Lena Dunham speaking event about a year and a half ago and got really curious when she starting talking about how her mother shot several of her husbands but was never arrested. I just started Devil in the White City by Erik Larson which, coincidentally, my fiance is also reading on his kinyeah fodle.
I've read a couple of books about endurance sports/running in the past and have a couple on the list for this summer. They kind of remind me that I'm not THAT crazy and there are plenty of others like me and also others trying to figure out why we do this weird running/endurance stuff. My favorites so far are pretty well known including Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, my first foray into this kind of writing. From there I wanted to learn more about one of the ultra runners mentioned in the book, Scott Jurek, who, besides being a record breaking ultra runner, is a big proponent of veganism and plant based fueling. He wrote a book called Eat & Run which is a combination recipe book and memoir.
One of the subthemes of that book is Jurek highlighting the endurance athlete's struggle with public support and finances. Although endurance sports have grown considerably over the last 20 years, things like the Leadville 100 and the Ironman World Championships in Kona don't garner public attention like the super bowl or the world series, despite arguably being some of the hardest sports known to man with some of the best athletes in the world. There are obvious reasons for the differences in public interest (watching someone bike at a steady pace for 5 hours isn't exactly thrilling) but it still results in a lot of financial differences for the athletes. I could go on about this for a long time but I think that's for another post!
Before I go on ten more tangents, here's my reading list of this summer! Click on the images for the amazon links.
You Are an Ironman by Jacques Steinberg
Just a Little Run Around the World by Rosie Swale Pope
I listened to an interview with Rosie Swale Pope in a Human Race podcast a couple weeks ago and could not stop thinking about her afterwards. Rachel Swaby, who hosts the podcast, kept using the word "effervescent" to describe her and I don't think any of us know many 70+ year olds that can be described as effervescent. I could never imagine running around the world like she did, but less because of the athletic demands and more because of the logistical safety concerns. Rosie talks a lot about bravery and confidence in sticky situations on her run, an especially pertinent theme these days as the discussion of sexual harassment, assault, and in some cases murder of female runners. During the interview she used the quote "be like water: find a way through" and I was immediately obsessed. I can't wait to learn more about her journey!
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
Training life is busy and every day is heavily planned and scheduled around my full time job. A friend recommended this book to me. It's kind of the dream to start a triathlon related business and I have some ideas for apps and products. The reviews for this book are a bit mixed but I think we could all use some productivity tips in our lives so I'm willing to give it a shot.
Iron Cowboy: Redefine Impossible by James Lawrence
I followed the Iron Cowboy online in the summer of 2015 as he completed 50 Ironmans in 50 states in 50 days. Yep, you read that right. It was an absolutely insane feat he completed for to raise money and awareness for childhood obesity with his wife and kids in tow. Since I followed the journey pretty closely online I feel like I already have a good sense of some of the obstacles he faced, but I'm really curious to hear the ins and outs of his day-to-day during that time. I'm expecting a lot of fun and maybe some insane anecdotes from the trip, and hopefully some life lessons about maintaining relationships while living a crazy busy life. The book is on pre-order right now.
Theft by Finding by David Sedaris
Not all books I read can be about productivity and endurance! We can only be SO inspired. I'm going to guess this will be my book during Ironman week so I can take my mind off the race and actually sleep. Theft by Finding is Sedaris' latest book, hes always great for a dark laugh. He played a special part in my relationship with my fiancee and I've seen him speak a couple of times and plan to invite him to my wedding. Fingers crossed he comes.
DAVID: IF YOU'RE READING THIS it's on Martha's Vineyard in 2018 and you'll obviously love it. Have your people contact me via my blog email address and I will send you a save the date.
Honorable mentions if I have time:
Feel free to leave me any suggestions in the comments, I know there are way more great books about endurance out there!
Oh hey there! I'm coming off of my first couple of full weeks of hard x core Ironman training, and I am excited to report that I am, in fact, still kickin'. I haven't physically imploded or lost my job yet, nor have I gotten a stress fracture or been diagnosed with that scary disease that comes from muscle overuse. At different times in the past two weeks I have been worried that I have at least one of the following:
So IIIIIII don't know. Time will tell. I am doing my best to keep organized though!
I made that planner from a medium Moleskine graph notebook and a little inspiration from a Runner's World article from a recent issue. I needed somewhere I can lay out my workouts and my social commitments to make sure I'm scheduling everything correctly, and I also really like having my schedule laid out in front of me instead of on my tiny iPhone. I also have another planner I made on a large Moleskine dotted notebook that lays out my entire months instead of weeks.
Another issue I was running into in marathon training was running out of training fuel and then panicking mid week. I use a lot of the Klean Athlete products and they're usually only available on their website, so they take a couple of days to get to you (Amazon prime has spoiled me.) I try to write out the number of minutes I'm doing each discipline and the amount of fuel that will require that week, like this:
I try to do all that math before every training week, we'll see how long I can keep that up. The last thing I do in that notebook is write out all my swim workouts ahead of time. For the run and bike workouts, I'll just summarize them in the notebook and then look them up on the Endurance Nation mobile website before I head out or onto the trainer. You can't bring your phone with you to a pool, so I go old school:
Crafting and triathlon: some of my favorite things! You have no idea how immensely happy this journal has made me.
Where I'm NOT organized...
Keeping nutrition in stock has been hard for me! Even with my recurring subscriptions I SITLL always seem to be running out of something and frantically running to Whole Foods to find a similar replacement for shot bloks/protein powder, graham crackers, etc. I'd buy a whole case of each products but nowhere to store in such a tiny apartment. Work in progress!
I'd love to hear how other people stay organized with their training, work, and social lives! Lots of travel for weddings and races coming up. This summer definitely won't be dull. ALSO 69 DAYS TILL PLACID WHAT?!? And this pretty little workout coming up, along with wedding venue shopping, for this weekend...that's the time in minutes on the right. At least Sunday is a rest day =).
HELLO! Still rehashing the GLORY of the Boston Marathon!
Saturday before the Boston Marathon was two big things: One Boston Day and the Marathon expo! The morning started with the One Boston Day "BOSTON" run with Zoom Multisport, an amazing annual event that produced the cool map below:
We do this run every year to commemorate One Boston Day which both memorializes the 2013 Marathon bombing and celebrates our city coming together. It's open to the public and it was nice to see a lot of other people joining in.
After brunch at Trinity Booksellers, we made our way down to the Boston (freakin) Marathon expo! Almost a month later I'm STILL excited about the expo, It was like going to FAO Schwarz as a little kid and see all the real life gigantic toys (Side note: I never did get that life size giraffe you could sit on, despite how many years in a row it appeared on my Christmas list.)
We picked up our numbers after waiting in a bit of a line but got to watch the B.A.A. 5k from a great vantage point and talk to some other runners, including one from Texas who was way more excited about the heat than we were. Everything ran SO smoothly, the line moved quick and everything was clearly labeled about where to pick up our bib, bags, tech shirts, etc. It was quite the operation.
We walked into the expo, luckily I had some Zoom friends with me who were JUST AS EXCITED to be there as I was, so we spent about 3.5 hours trying to see as much as possible! Here are some new products I'm excited about!
Nuun hydration vitamin drinks
I've been drinking the Nuun hydration products for a while, specifically their lemon-lime Nuun active tablets. If I'm getting crampy between workouts or if I have a sweatier workout than normal, I drink a Nuun and it usually solves all my problems! I've tried a couple of flavors and I don't love fruity tastes, but the lemon-lime is delicious and not sweet at all, especially compared to something like a Gatorade. I was intrigued by their vitamin products they had for sampling at the expo, which focus on "common daily vitamin deficiencies" and also contain CAFFEINE. I ended up drinking the ginger lemonade flavor for the rest of the expo and it definitely perked me up! They also contain vitamins a, c, e, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and some other good for you stuff.
New Balance Run Boston Gear
A lot of companies come to the expo and try to capitalize on the running culture/obsession in Boston by bringing a lot of Run Boston gear made specifically for the marathon (not that I'm complaining). Although I wanted to buy all of it and thought North Face (honorable mention) also did a great job, New Balance bring a little extra authenticity to the mix since they're a Boston based company. I actually was so excited by their ads that I went to the store a week before and bought my pullover then "just in case they ran out" even though all the employees said there was no chance of that BUT YOU CAN'T TAKE CHANCES with your Run Boston gear.
Z-clear glasses/goggle cleaner
Some other cool things from the Marathon Expo:
Were you at the expo? Did you get any cool stuff? Have you found any new running gear recently that has changed your life? Let me know!
The race of my dreams has come and gone. Well...maybe that's a little dramatic but it was an AMAZING DAY!! The weather was way warmer than what I had trained for. The day before the race (Easter Sunday) was in the 80s. I did a shakeout run in the late afternoon and felt "woozy" from the heat but was hoping the temperatures wouldn't carry into the next day.
I got up at my normal work time (6:30 AM) which really helped my sleep (I'm a terrible pre-race sleeper.) I had my normal breakfast of eggs and coffee...probably should have had a banana here for the extra potassium but didn't. I made my way over to my friend's house and we uber'ed with some other friends over to the bus pickup/bag drop off.
From there we took the bus to Hopkinton to wait around until our waves. I had about 3 hours to wait until my wave/corral got called up. In that time I ate my apple sauce, drank a ton of Base Hydro and water, peed about ten times, and hung out with the people on the left. After they all took off (I have speedy friends!) I found another girl from my charity, so I never had to wait alone and get nervous.
Overall I'm happy with my time of 3:40:19 even though I was foiled in my (secret) BQ attempt. To anyone running the Boston Marathon in the future, I suggest practicing a lot of downhill running.
Any suggestions for which race I should run to find that BQ?
Some more great/terrible/entertaining pictures for your viewing pleasure:
Oh hello there! I have a lot of thoughts in my brain, so I thought I'd put them somewhere.
I recently took on a huge task: fundraising $10,000 for a charity. A lot of people I talk to consider fundraising but are totally daunted by the amounts, and $10,000 sounded like a lot to me too, but I decided to do it anyway so I could race the 2017 Boston Marathon, a race that I've felt connected too since I was a little kid. Here are some things that helped me be successful in fundraising:
1) Pick a charity you feel connected to
The charity I chose, Youth Enrichment Services (YES), has a mission that I strongly support: getting kids outside, particularly through skiing. I've been a life long skier and also a scout leader. Additionally, I had gone to a bunch of their events in the past with a couple of my friends that have volunteered for YES so I was really familiar with a lot of people involved.
2) Talk to other people that have raised similar amounts
My best ideas for fundraising came from my friends on my tri team. A couple of them have raised tens of thousands of dollars for different charities for races, they had a lot of great ideas and also kept an eye out for me for other fundraising opportunities in the community. For example, I had an ice cream fundraiser earlier this year that my friend sent me because she saw the ice cream store was looking to hold fundraisers for marathoners.
3) Use social media! A lot!
It really helped that my friends from near and far already knew I was fundraising and offered to help. You forget how many people you're actually broadcasting to on Facebook until you see people from college at a wedding and they say things like "oh! I saw you're fundraising! I want to help!" My roommate Katie was super nice and did a photo shoot with me to help me promote my fundraising. Looking good in pictures is hard.
4) Have a budget in mind
My charity required me to do this, but with an amount that high it's smart to write down how much you'll think you can raise at each event you hold and have some back up events if you don't hit those goals. Here are the events I did:
I am SO grateful to all of my friends and family that have helped me reach my goal! I'm still fundraising until the end of May if anyone wants to donate here