Sunday, 27 December 2015

Year End Wrap Up

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

It's time again for the year end wrap up post, one word sums up my year and it is IRONMAN!

I wanted to do something epic for my 50th birthday and in 2012 I decided it would be Ironman Mont Tremblant, it did not matter that I had never completed a triathlon or run more than 10k, that was the dream.  I have worked since that time to be ready and I was ready with lots of experience in the bank on race day...and I needed it all and then some to finish the race.  I still can't believe I finished it, it was so close to being a DNF but with the help of my friends and determination and strength I did not know I had, I did it.

Also during the year I ran 2 marathons, a few half marathons, a 10k, a 30k and a few other fun runs, I also did a 70.3 triathlon in NY state with my friend Michelle and Neale. 

I think a highlight (other than Ironman) was starting the year running the Miami half marathon and hopping on a cruise ship with my friend Debbie for a vacation, a perfect vacation that combined all my favorite things, running, cruising and Debbie. Another was finishing the year running the Space Coast Marathon with Kate as her first marathon. She did great and I so enjoyed the weekend with her in Cocoa and can't wait to go back soon.

A few of my medals from this year, I am missing at least 3
So what does 2016 have in store, I am not really sure yet.  I have registered for the ATB relay on April 3 with my friend Anita. we are each running 15k, I am doing the Mississauga half marathon on May 1 and the 10k in Ottawa on May 28th and a 5.5km open water swim on July 2nd but I have not planned much else.  I am torn as to what I want to do this summer for my triathlons and don't really have a plan yet.  We are going to Peru for 2 weeks in June but will be back to watch our friends do the 70.3 in Tremblant.  Eventually I will make a plan but for now I am focusing on strength training and speed work and having fun.  I want to learn to cross country ski and to go mountain biking and kayaking, I want to try snowboarding and skate on the canal this winter...all the stuff I did not have time for while I was on the Ironman journey.  The last few years have been great, I really enjoyed the journey and I know I will keep on running and doing triathlons but I am eager to try new things and return to some familiar things I put aside. Who knows what adventures await but what I do know is I can can do whatever I set my mind too and I have a never ending bucket list of things to do.  I look forward to the challenges ahead including the 2017 challenge of running the Dopey one weekend and the Rebel Challenge the next, coast to coast, 109.4km, 10 medals, that will be a great way to start 2017! 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Running and a Business

For a long time I wanted to write a blog post about how running and triathlon helped me become a better business person but did not think anyone would want to read it. My business coach gave me this for my homework so I have to do it before our call on Tuesday, she knew without a deadline I would probable be too scared to write it so thank you for the push coach.

In 2005 I started my own business, it was a risk but one I needed to take for myself and my family. Having a business is scary, your financial success or failure is down to you and sometimes you lose sight of the big picture because you are so busy surviving.  For four years, my business survived, slowly growing but along the way I had lost my passion, my reason why, my drive.  I gave everything I had to my clients, my business, my family and other outside commitments and I forgot to keep something for me, I was miserable.  In May 2009 I decided it had to change…just like that, I made a decision and I did it.  That decision lead me to athletics, first walking, then running and than triathlon. Along the way the lessons I learned through training made their way into my business life as well.  This happened slowly, I really did not even notice it happening, it just evolved but over time my athletics and my business lives supported each other and lessons learned in one area were carried into the other, seamlessly.

This is the first lesson in everything we do, there is no place for doubt, we can feel the fear but we must believe we can do what we set out to do. When I stand at the start line of a race, or start training for a new big goal I need to be able to visualize myself at the finish, successful and happy or what is the point.  If we let doubt creep it in erodes our resolve, like water on rock, ever so slowly it creates cracks that break us down. Be clear on what you want to do, be confident you can do it (or fake it until you are confident) and don't let anyone stop you from your goal.

Not everything in business goes the way you plan it, you need to be resilient or persistent, know when to dig in for the long haul or when to pivot and change direction. Nothing I have ever done has gone they way I thought it would. I encountered setbacks along the way but it is how I deal with them that affects the outcome.  We can give up the first time we fall or we can pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and  carry on, stronger, more determined and more focused.  The ability to shake off bad training days, injuries and even failures in athletics has helped me become more resilient in my business life.  There are so many cliches that work here, find one that speaks to you and use it. You are stronger than the force that is trying to defeat you so view it as a learning opportunity, there is usually something you need to learn, learn it and move on, just never stop moving.

One of the biggest gifts we give others and ourselves is to support and encourage each other in life.  Every race I am surrounded by runners who support me, they support my successes and encourage me to keep going when its a bad race. I have slowed down to support a runner who is struggling and I have been a cheerleader for those passing me, usually on the bike at a triathlon.  In fact when I get too self centered and focus just on my results, the experience is usually a lot less fun. This is the same in business, we do not have competitors, we have colleagues and I firmly believe we can support their business as well as making ours exceptional. It is not a I win/they lose, because if they lose and I did nothing about it I have lost as well.  Share your passion, help others and encourage them to be successful in their business, there is room for everyone. 

Five years ago if someone told me I would be a marathoner runner, an Ironman and have two successful businesses I would have said they are crazy but here I am. Life, business and athletics is not always easy, thing happen, some we can plan for and some we cannot.  I have learned that anything worth having has to be worked for, it is never just given. We have to work hard, we have to be willing to do the work others do not want to do, we must be willing to give it everything we have and if we do this, we have a better chance of being successful.  It might be uncomfortable, it might hurt but in this pain, we grow, we change and we become the person who can accomplish our goal and even become an Ironman. 

Monday, 30 November 2015

Blast off to Space

Well it is done, marathon #5 is in the books, Space Coast Marathon.  I found the race really nice and it was nice running in flat Florida, the heat was something else.

I arrived in Florida last Sunday, I spend some time visiting my Mom and running in the Florida heat.  It was about 15C warmer than I was use too and I am not a big heat fan anyway, flash backs to IMMT and all that.  I managed a few runs for my taper week and the running was pretty good.  On Friday we drove to Cocoa to stay with Kate.  We did our 5k shake out run of Friday at 1pm so we were running in the heat, it was then I knew the heat would be my biggest problem on Sunday. On Saturday we went to the race expo and picked up my race bib.  At first they could not find it which was a concern but it all got sorted out and we took some photos and walked around a bit.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing, binge watching Call the Midwife and the Food Network. We did go for a short walk to grocery store, Kate could not relax well.  After dinner we got organized and had an early night, blast off was 6:30 so we had to be up at 4am.

Sunday morning went fast, eat, get dressed, get to the Cocoa library to met Kate's friends and then bag drop.  It was already warm at 6:30am, yikes but it was fun waiting for the space shuttle to blast off to signal our start.  This is a small race, only 3600 for the marathon and the same number for the half marathon and we hit the start line 3 mins after the official start. The marathon started north and there were some small uphills to wake the legs up but as the sun rose it was mostly overcast and not too bad.  Kate was doing great as we hit the half way point and turned back to the village.  This race is 2 out and backs, the north loop and the south loop so it was nice seeing the other racers as we ran.  We slowed our pace a bit on the second part of this loop but Kate finished right where I wanted her too, a 2:20 half marathon.

We then moved onto the south loop and by then the sun was out and it was HOT. I had trained in Ottawa's colder temps and I found the heat hard.  Around mile 18 I had to walk for the first time and it was hard to get going again.  I told Kate to go ahead, I would catch up and I was only minutes behind her at the south loop turnaround but I never did catch her.  By mile 20 the heat got to me and I started to walk more, I kept telling myself to keep  moving forward and I alternated running and walking for a bit.  Eventually the 5:15 Galloway pace group caught me and I thought I would run with them, there were doing 1 min run/1 min walk.  I did this for a mile or so and then the pacer had to stop, he was suffering from the heat as well.  He passed the sign to someone else who was obviously fresher and he took off running at a fast pace and slowly the group fell apart and I was on my own again.  I walked mile 24 and 25 and then I I started to run, I could do anything for 1.2 miles and I wanted to salvage some pride and finish under 5:30.

I was so happy to make that final turn into the park and finished in 5:24. Other than Disney and Ironman, this is my worst marathon time but on this given day, it was the best I could do.  Kate finished in 5:13 and kept going even though she was suffering from leg cramps for the last 6 miles.  I am so happy and proud for her, she joined the marathon club and she tells me I kept her going in the middle portion when she was really struggling.  I did not accomplish my goal of getting her to the finish line but I was glad I helped and glad we did this together.

I found out they have a Milky Way Challenge for those that do the race three years in a row so I am planning on coming back next year, this time to run the half but the marathon might be on the cards for 2017, I have unfinished business on this course and next time I will be better prepared for the heat.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Running Friends

Hello again
I am just back from a week in Winterpeg...sorry Winnipeg for work and am quickly re-packing my bags fro my trip to Florida and my last race on 2015.  It was a tough week to get any running in but I managed 2 short runs on the treadmill at the hotel and I had 3 days on my feet on a stone floor that was way tougher than any marathon. Today I went out for my last long run, 16k at race pace and it went well. 

My race in Florida is not about me, it is a race for others and I am delighted to share the story of how it happened with you. In Dec 2013 Neale and I were training for the Goofy and were taking a cruise out of Cocoa Beach Florida. I posted in a FaceBook group looking or running routes and Kate answered.  By the end she agreed to run with me on Sunday for half of my 21k run.  What a brave thing to do, agreeing to meet and run with a stranger  early on a Sunday morning.  I was a little worried she would not show up but she did and I had a great time running with her, the distance seemed short as we ran together.  Kate had run the Space Coast half marathon that  year but was not ready to move up to the marathon distance yet but by the end of the run she had declared that one day she would and I had decided I would come back and pace her for it.  After running together for 10k, a little over an hour our lives became intertwined and one day we would meet up again to run together. Fast forward and now is that time, next weekend we meet again to run 42.2k/26.2 miles, my 5th marathon and Kate's first.  

We will also be doing our 5k shake out run for another, Andrea Peet, a triathlete who was diagnosed with ALS.  A group Kate and I belong to are doing a virtual run to raise funds for ALS research. Next weekend I am running not for myself but with and for Kate and for Andrea and I am so happy to be doing so. 

I mentioned I was in Winnipeg last week and so was a new friend Marcie.  Marcie is a single Mom to 2 boys, she works full time and is doing her Masters in Accounting as well.   Marcie is like most women, trying to do it all and finding it hard to find time for herself.  I know a lot of Marcies, woman who do for others, everyday and forget the first rule about doing something for themselves.  I use to be like this and one of my first blog posts was about this. For some reason it was coming up a lot in my life and I went back in the archives to send it to a few people and along the way, by re-reading it I found a new/renewed purpose for my life. I need to help others keep bits of themselves through whatever speaks to them so they be there for others and themselves. I think I have convinced Marcie to train to run a half marathon in Disney with me and my friends in January 2017 but either way I will continue to be there to encourage her to make time for herself.  This is my blog post from 2012, it still rings true today.   Things I wish I knew 20 years ago

Marcie and I also made a new friend in Winnipeg, we were leaving the conference and decided to share a taxi with a gentleman who noticed my Ironman tag on my bag. He was a runner and triathlete and the trip to the airport was filled with his stories, his 20+ marathons that included 3 trips to Boston and saving his friends life when he had a heart attack on the Boston course (in 2004 I think he said). He and his wife are moving to Ottawa in Jan when he starts a new job and we have made plans to meet up and run the Parliament 5k route, I may have to have Neale come as well since I think he is more Neale's speed then mine. 

I have been blessed to meet many people through running, it is a common bond that ties us, a community of like-mindedness, we immediately understand the drive, the commitment and the passion, we are friends from that first greeting and I glad I belong.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Cross Roads

So, I have had a few great weeks of training, I did a great 10k race and a hilly half marathon in Gatineau Park last Saturday.  Let talk Rattle Me Bones 10K first.  So I have wanted to do this race for a few year, last year it was cancelled so when a friend offered me he bib, I jumped at the chance. On Saturday Neale did his first trail 10k and on Sunday I got to run my 10k.  It was overcast and warmer on Sunday so last minute I mad my decision on what to wear and headed off to the race.  I had originally hoped to try for a PB but I ran a fast 20k on Saturday after I got back from Neale's race.  I knew a PB would not happen so I decided to aim for 58 mins.  It was windy and we had drizzle for part of the race but all in all I was happy with my run and time 58:14.  I definitely would like to do this race again next year.

Last Saturday I did the MEC half marathon, I did the race last year and I decided to do it again. This race is hilly and I was not racing it, I was doing it as a training run. My friend Anita had to pull out but I ran with Kristina and Leanne and we managed to stay together, or at least near each other for the race and we finished hand in hand.  It was a great race, I handled the hills well and I was happy with the run.  Will I do the run again next year, probably.

Today I did my last long run before my marathon. I was not looking forward to doing the run on my own, 34k alone with my head can be problematic.  I planned my route and I figured it would take 4 hours and I headed out at 7am.  I was still fighting my desire not to do the run after 12k and as I stood at the corner of Bearbrook Rd and St Joseph Blvd, in my head the corner of I Don't Want to do This Rd and Suck it Up Buttercup Blvd I decided to stop thinking and to just run. The next 14k went really well and I truly enjoyed the run.The last 8k was harder and my pace dropped but I finished within my planned time and distance.  It was a great fall day to run, I am slightly worried about the Florida heat on raceday but I will deal with that when I need too.

Last night I heard Ray Zahab speak again at a fundraising event for his charity i2p.  Christopher McDougall was the other speaker and while I had not read his book, Born to Run I am looking forward to reading it soon.  It was a great night of inspiration and I know it helped me on today's run. Three weeks until Spacecoast Marathon and I am so ready!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Winter is Coming

So it happened today, the dreaded S word was uttered during my run...SNOW!!!  The one thing living in Ottawa is you have to embrace winter, its here for at least 5 months so you have no choice.  I have been gradually increasing my running in the winter, running in the snow and cold longer but I do have my limits. A few days ago, my hubby said he knew what to get me for Christmas, running snowshoes.  My first thought was no way, I am not doing that, are you crazy but I have warmed to the idea a bit.  I was thinking of adding cross country skiing to my winter training not snowshoe racing.  We have lots of skiing trails in Gatineau Park that I think would be cool to explore and while I know it is not, skiing seems more relaxing then snowshoe racing. I am sure this winter I will do a bit of both and maybe I can pick a clear favorite.

Today I did my longest run of my marathon training, 34k.  I ran 5k to the Running Room at 6:15 pace and then did 29k at 6:44 pace with my friend Kory.  It was nice to run with Kory, I have not really talked much with her since IMMT and we managed to fill the hours easily with talk to races, life and cooking.  I have the greatest running and triathlon friends and by the end of the run we were ready to sign my hubby, her hubby and herself up for a marathon next fall with a back up in case they don't get in.  Luckily Neale agreed that he would be game for it if they did get in and I would be happy to go as the cheer squad, the other option has a half for me but I am doing a 70.3 on Sept 18th so I am happy not to race if they get in.

I almost have a race plan for 2016, a few more details to work out but it is coming together nicely.  A few half marathons, a Half Iron distance race or maybe two and some shorter distance races for fun.  I am just trying to decide if I am going back to Musselman to do the half for redemption or not. Last year the heat and hills on the run course beat me so I have to decide how much I want a do over. I am doing Barrelman on Sept 18th and the Cornwall tri Olympic distance unless it ends up as the same weekend as IMMT.  I want to go back and volunteer again this year, I love the race and I want to give back to all the awesome volunteers who where there for me this year.

Today Neale and I are getting some photos taken since we never did get any photos together after IMMT.  I would like just one photo of us in our finisher t shirts, with our medals where I do not look like death warmed up.  I am so lucky to have an Ironman/marathoner spouse who gets me and understands why I do these crazy things.  He has crazy plans of his own for the next few years and I can not wait to support him as he supports me in my crazy ideas, like suicide week but more to come on that later :-)

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Blast off to Space

It's blast off to Space Coast marathon training after a delay of a few weeks, well maybe more then a few.  My last post was Sept 5th and I was about to head off to Quebec City for a 5 day holiday with my hubby. We had planned on being in Peru but could not get passes for the Inca trail so we put it on hold until 2016 and booked Quebec City instead.  On day 4 we got word my MIL was not doing well and we headed home to get our work up to date in case we needed to go to New Zealand.  On Sept 14 we flew to NZ for her funeral and I only managed 4 run in the next 2 weeks.  It was cold and rainy most of the time we were in NZ but on the last few day we manged some better weather and did a bit of sightseeing.  It was a long trip for few weeks in NZ but I am glad I went and saw Neale's family, it had been about 15 years for some of them.

Back home in Ottawa I tried to get back to my training but all my runs were a struggle and my legs really hurt.  I managed a 23k and a 28k long run but after that I really hurt and went to see my massage therapist.  My IT bands were tight, probably due to the flying and she sorted me out and helped my back pain as well.  It was Thursday before I managed to get out for a run and when I did I was flying, 10k at 5:47 pace and it felt great.  Yesterday I did 32k in the sunshine with a few other runners and for the first time my long run felt amazing.
Lucie, Vince and Lori who ran with me yesterday

I also started swimming again this week, it was fun to be back in the pool.  I hope to work on my swimming this year to improve my speed and stroke so I can gain some time in my tri's in the future.  I think my winter training will revolve around the 3 S's, swimming, strength and speed.  First I have one more marathon to do Nov 29th and a hilly half marathon Oct 31.  I have been doing hill repeats and running hilly routes in preparation of the Oct 31 race but the marathon is fairly flat so I can ease back in Nov.  I did prepare a schedule for myself now that I am coach-less and I more or less following it, work is busy and if I need to drop anything spinning gets the chop in favor of running but I will try to balance this up in the winter months.  

I have spent a lot of time thinking about my Ironman and I am ready to put it to bed, it happened, I did the best I could that day, it was not the race I wanted but I finished...I am an Ironman.  It is time to stop beating myself up about it, wondering and replaying the what ifs in my mind and letting go of the regret.  I think it comes from being a goal orientated person, I am not satisfied with less then achieving my goal.  I had to remember my goal was to become and Ironman and I accomplished it, I said I would be happy with a time under 16:59:59 and I got that so it is time to look forward and not look back.  I finally went to look at my photos and there is one of me finishing and you see Mike Reilly calling me an Ironman and I think I am going to buy it, I look terrible but it is what it is and I want to remember that moment. I am proud to be the last to cross the finish line before midnight and this photo will help me remember that every time I look at it.  It is also time to get my tattoo so over the Christmas break from swimming I will, I just need to decide what I want.  People keep asking me if I will do another one...maybe.  I have set several goals that need to happen before I think about it and if I hit them and I get the itch again then maybe, we will see but I have learned to never say never.  


Saturday, 5 September 2015

With a Little Help From my Friends

So I am slowly getting back into training, slowly being the key word.  I know it will take a while to be back to full training and I am OK with that, my body and mind need time to get over Ironman and I have until the end of September to have some fun and find my motivation again.  I have a marathon at the end of November so I am still doing my long slow runs, I did 20k yesterday and will keep adding weekly and adding more weekday workouts as I feel like it.  My friends are checking in on me, offering to run or talk or both as I find my way back and it helps so much that they are there.

One thing I have been doing is sharing my story with others, this week I had the chance to speak to the 5k and 10k clinic at the Running Room. Someone asked me when I became a motivational speaker and that surprised me, I don't think I am. I am not a great public speaker, I am getting better but I am still not comfortable doing it and I am not sure my story is that special. What I do know is that a lot of people helped me along the way and if I can repay that now my inspiring others to try something new, to put themselves first or leave their comfort zone,  I am happy.  I get so much back from other runners, they inspire me daily, I have learned about the courage and heartbreak from a mother whose son committed suicide and how she copes and honors him through triathlon, others who have serious illnesses and keep training to prove that it does not control them, they control their lives.  I have meet men and women who have been told their whole life they are not athletic, they are too slow, too fat, too lazy to do anything but they do it anyway.

What I have learned is that we are all capable of so much and we are all capable of inspiring others around us, we are all motivational speakers.  Our stories do not need to be heroic or full of struggles but they need to come from our heart and we need to share them generously with others.  We all need a little help from our friends at one time or another, friends we have known for a long time, new friends we just met or friends we have not met yet but they will come into our lives just when we need them too. I have friends on Facebook that I have never met and they have helped me, inspired me, motivated me so much and my life is richer because of it.  I believe that as runners and triathletes we honor, support and inspire others because it is our way of inspiring ourselves and we all need some inspiration now and again.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Ironman Lesson and What's Next

So it's been a week, almost and I am ready to move on and put this Ironman to bed.  It was an amazing experience and I am so proud of myself for finishing it.  I figured the best way to end this week of blog posts was to figure out what I learned on Sunday and a few final thoughts.  Here goes...

Sunday was not idea weather conditions, it was really hot and there was a wind, not a cool refreshing wind but a hot wind that added to the furnace feeling on the highway.  I did not account for how the heat would affect my performance on the bike and I did not start cooling myself earlier enough.  I waited until I was already overheating and I could not recover.  Next race when the temperatures are hot I will start using ice and dousing myself with water sooner.

Next race I will wear my watch and my Garmin, I could have saved myself a lot of worrying if I knew what the time was the whole day.  It seems obvious but I spent the day worried I would miss a cut off and I made most with 20 mins to spare.  All that worrying while you are trying to swim, bike or run takes energy away from doing what you are meant to be doing.

I need to be more focused in my training for my needs.  I trusted my training plan even though I knew it was not giving me what I needed. My biggest worry was making the bike cut-off and it turns out I was right.  I need to focus on my cycling this winter to become faster and stronger and more consistent.  I also want to focus on my swimming, again speeding up and swimming straighter.  I swam 400m more than I needed too and it cost me 10 extra minutes, minutes I could have used on the run at the end of the night.

This was a crazy big goal and one I probably had no business setting, I am not fast in any of the parts of a triathlon.  I needed to set this goal, to prove to myself I  was an athlete.  It might sound silly but when you start from where I started, you constantly push yourself to see how far you can go until you break.  Well I almost broke on Sunday and it was a scary day.  I can't say I enjoyed myself all day, I was chasing cut-offs, worrying about stuff and I was so hot.  I saw a clip on the Ironman coverage from Sunday that explains why we do it, it spoke to me.

With the support of my friends and with midnight looming I managed to run my last 5k as my fastest of the whole marathon.  After 16 hours and 15 mins of swimming, biking and running I found the ability to push my body faster then I thought was possible.  I keep saying 2 mins before is better the 2 mins after and just keep moving, over and over and over.  I was not going to stop until I had it done, I wanted too, a lot but I know the pain of missing the cut off would be far worse then the pain I was in at that moment.  I had planned on wearing a t-shirt given to me by Ray Zahab for the finish, I wore it tied around my waist the whole second loop.  In the end I did not have time to put it on but his most famous quote applied to that last 5k and it is one I will remember forever.

When I signed up last August I had no idea that my day would unfold as it did.  If I did would I have still signed up, sure because I was there to prove something to myself and I did.  I proved that I am tougher then I thought, more determined then I give myself credit for sometimes and that the fear of failure is still so powerful and that I will push myself to the extreme not to feel it.

So now I am training for a marathon in November, Space Coast marathon in Coco Beach.  I am there running with Kate for her first marathon and I think I have my work cut out for me, she is an awesome runner.  I have a few races in September and October that I will treat as training runs, running them with friends for fun is the goal for these races.

People are already asking me if I will do another Ironman and the answer is maybe.  I need to get faster first and over the winter I will focus on my swimming and biking.  I will have a few running races in the Spring and then a few triathlons in the summer, I am still figuring that part out.  We will volunteer at IMMT next year and if I feel like I have improved enough I might consider a do-over for 2017 but I am not sure.  Becoming and Ironman was the hardest thing I have ever done and just like after child birth I need time for the pain to become a foggy memory before I decide to do it again.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Ironman Recap Part 3

OK, I made the bike cut off and now I just had to run a marathon…yes JUST run a marathon…right.  I raced into transition, grabbed my bag and went to change.  I had 10 mins to get onto the course, 5:40 was my cut off and I was going to make it.  I decided not to change everything, just my shorts and socks, put on my shoes, hat, race belt and empty water belt and ran out of transition, I was out of transition in 3:38 and it was so fast I forgot to take off my cycling gloves, duh.   

Kory was there again giving me advice and support, her parting advice was to drink the soup, it was the best advice ever.  I did not take time to fill up my water bottles in transition so I stopped at the first aid station to fill up and walked up the first hill.  My plan was to run 5 mins and walk one min and I tried, I really tried but I could not run.  I had played Ironman math before the race so I knew what paces I needed to make but let me tell you, even a numbers person has problem doing math at this stage, especially in the heat.  I ran when I could and walked when I needed too and tried to keep an 8:45 pace.  I was hot, really hot and I kept putting ice in my top and using sponges to cool down.  I knew I needed to stay hydrated and keep up my salt and electrolytes so I kept drinking and fueling, I even had the Cola on the course for instance sugar.

The first part of the run is hilly and I was suffering but I was still moving forward.  I saw most of my friends on the run and I saw Neale.  I was happy to see him as I had not seen him since before noon.  I did not know that he was having a bad run, he looked happy.  Neale is a great runner and cyclist and I knew once he finished the swim he would be great.  He had a fabulous bike leg but was suffering on run, he was having knee issues and a wrong clothing choice was causing him problems.   I kept going, running when I could on my way to see Barbara at aid station 10, Barbara, Ken and Reid where volunteering and I was looking forward to seeing them.  I was feeling a bit better by the time I got there and I chatted with them and headed for the turnaround point.  I have to say, a lot of the run is still a blur, I just kept going as I knew I had another cut off looming, I had to be done my first loop by 9pm.  I played leap frog with Kory’s friend Diane and her guide Cheryl for a while, she was so happy and it was inspiring to be around her.  Eventually I was running more than walking but I was still slow but I managed to drop my pace to 8:40 until I had to make a bathroom stop.  I saw Anita and I asked her what side of midnight was I on, the Ironman Athletes tracker gives a predicted finish time and I wanted to know if I was on pace to finish.  Like I said, don’t do math during an Ironman, it is hard,  I was happy she said I had time in the bank, as it turned out I would need it.

I made it to the run special needs (20K) at 8:30, I had made another cut off and once again Kory was there to help me and offer advice and support.  I picked up more fuel and Cytomax, tied my long sleeve t-shirt around my waist and headed off again, I had less than 3 ½ hours to do my last half marathon.  By this time I was really tired and I could not run at all.  I had walked a half marathon in 3:15 before but that was on fresh legs, I knew this would be tight.  I saw Neale heading back in on his final loop and I told him I did not think I would be able to finish in time.  It was the first time I voiced that thought on the run, I was really scared of not finishing in time.  I kept walking and I kept getting more tired and I was slowing down, slower then I needed to make the cut off.  I could not make myself go faster, my thoughts were confused and I felt like I was in a fog. I probably looked like it as well as Medical kept asking me how I was feeling at each aid station and I kept smiling and saying I am fine while thinking walk fast so they don’t stop you.  I saw Barbara and another FB friend Cathy at aid station 10 again and I told her I was afraid I would miss the midnight cut off.  I had another cut off I needed to make first, I had to be at the turn around by 10:30 but I was worried about midnight more.  I kept walking and halfway to  the turnaround  I saw Kristine walking back, she told me I would finish in time (or something like that) and I said I did not think I would make it and she should keep going and be an Ironman for both of us. 

Again I was at the bottom of that dark pit and I kept trying to climb out, it was dark, I was alone and I was so tired.  I kept saying only I had the power to do this and if I wanted this enough I would have to run.  I made the turnaround off by 20 mins, I sense a theme here, and kept on walking. I was not giving up yet, I was going to walk as fast as I could and keep trying.  It was really dark on the path between the flood lights and all of a sudden this man was beside me, it was Ken who came out to find me.  He wanted to see what I would need at the aid station so they could have it ready for me.  Just before the aid station Barbara joined us and we talked a bit.  I know I was really tired and probably not making a lot of sense but they kept talking and I kept walking.  After the aid station Ken stayed with me, talking, keeping me moving, running when I could and just being there, I was no longer alone.  Barbara joined us and said they would stay with me and keep me on pace, they were doing the Ironman math I could not do and I kept moving forward.  I started to have trouble with my left shoe again, the insole started to move again like at Musselman and I knew I did not have time to stop and keep fixing it.  We tried to fix it and eventually Barbara just said take it out, it was not helping me (why did I not think of that) and I kept on walking.  That 5k was my slowest and for the first time I was on the wrong side of the midnight cut, Barbara and Ken tried to stay positive, I was struggling and the though came to me I would be a few minutes before or a few minutes after midnight, it would be close. 

Around the 37k point my friend Stephane appeared, he had come out to find me and make sure I finished.   He was there to apply tough love and I needed it, he said I needed to run and I needed to run now if I wanted to make it.  Ken, Barbara and Stephane ran and I followed behind, I walked up some hills, I did not want to run and every time I said that they were there to remind me I had to.  Stephane said it might have been his fault I was there (see Part 1 for that reference) but it would not he his fault I did not finish (or something like that) and that if I did not make the cut off I would have to be in line the next day to register for 2016, yeah right.  Neale had come out on the course to find me and was surprised to see me running, he knew I was in good hands and took a ride to the finish line to wait for me.

 Everything is a bit of a blur at this point, I was tired, I was hot and I was running, as fast as I could because finishing a few minutes after midnight was not an option. I remember passing the Angels and they did not join us, Ken said even they knew I would make the cut off because they only run with the last place person.  There are 2 hills at the end of the course and they were so hard, I walked up them quickly, the volunteers on the course cheering for me all the way and everyone encouraged me to finish. I could not have gotten through the last 5k without Barbara, Ken and Stephane, they are the reason I made the cut off in time, they pushed, they supported, they encouraged and they stayed with me all the way to the finishers chute.   Suddenly I was there, the finishers chute was in front of me and I could not stop to until I reached the end because if I did I might not be able to start again.  My final 5k was my fastest of the whole run, I had dug deep and I had nothing left, I gave everything I had and more to finish.

I had dreamed of crossing the finish line for so long and now here I was and I don’t really remember it.  I heard Mike call me an Ironman, I ran across the finish line, Kory, Pedro and Sylvie where there to catch me as my legs gave out and I was swept into Medical before I knew what was happening.   Quickly I was hooked up to a heart rate monitor, a blood pressure cuff; I had my blood sugar taken, my temperature taken and ice applied.  I asked for Kory to come in and asked her to tell Neale I was OK, I did not want him to worry.  Medical was asking me all kinds of questions and all I could think was I did it, I was an Ironman.  I kept looking at my medal, I could not believe I did it; it was so close to going the other way. Finally Medical released me and I went to find my family and friends, everyone was there, crying and of course I started as well.  They were all so worried I would miss the cut off and then worried when Medical scooped me up.


We had done it, Neale and I had become Ironman finishers together, well he was several hours before me but I am use to that.  I finished 3 minutes and 33 seconds before midnight, my final time was 16:56:27 and was the last person to cross the finish line before midnight. I had cut it close but that was OK, as I always said I would be happy with anything under 16:59:59.  

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Ironman Recap Part 2

So where were we, oh yes, the swim be prepared this is a long post.  I was going to post this tomorrow but a few friends are waiting so here goes, part 3 will be tomorrow. 

I love swimming and I was comfortable as I entered the water.  I had a plan to do 2:30 per 100m or just over 1:30 for the swim.  It was foggy on the lake and cool but I knew that would soon change but I was going to enjoy it while I could.  I was in the last wave starting at 7am and it was a large wave.  I stuck to my plan and thought I was having a good swim, not too much pushing or being kicking in the water and I was sighting well (my Garmin map says I was as well).  At one point I saw another swimmer struggling with her goggles and I pointed out a nearby kayak for her, I told her to keep moving forward and thanked a nearby volunteer for being there, I was having fun.  I was very surprised to see my Garmin said I swam almost 4.2k, almost 400m over the distance and my swim time was 1:43, about 11 mins over my goal time; I had the pace I wanted, I just swam long?, this is not usually the case.  I saw my friend Sylvie at the exit and gave her a hug, we had stood there last year cheering on the swimmers and there I was this year, it was surreal.  I started running to transition and my thoughts turned to Neale, was he still in the water?  I saw Stephane, my friend who I was watching 3 years ago doing this race when I decided to do it.  I gave him a quick hug and told him this was all his fault and ran on.  I saw Anita who told me Neale was still swimming (he started 6 mins before me) but she would wait for him and I ran the long red carpet to the change tent.  It is hard to change into dry clothes quickly and to make sure you did not forget anything.  Helmet, gloves, shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen and onto the bike, one of the last ones left in transition.
I think I am asking Anita about Neale as she took this photo
I saw Anita as I left bike transition and she told me Neale was out of the water just behind me so I could relax and focus on my bike.  I felt good, it was still foggy and I did what I trained to do, ride easy on Monte Ryan, high cadence and not to push my gears. I turned onto the highway and there is a few small hills and then the big descend at Lac Conception, I love that hill, well the way down anyway.  As I was flying down there was a lot of cyclists going up and I knew I had to go that soon but I was enjoying myself now.  On the highway I started to eat and to make sure I was drinking, fuel and hydration would be key today.  It was windy on the highway and I tried to stay in aero as much as possible except when eating and I felt good.  It was starting to get hot but I was enjoying my day.  As I headed back onto Monte Ryan I started getting a cramp in my left foot, it was painful but I just kept flexing it in my shoe and I hoped for the best.  I headed up Duplessis, the hardest part of the course and by then it was noon and really hot.  I saw Anita and Andre on their long run and Neale on his way back down the road.  He was doing great and looked happy.  I finally made it to the turn around and my time was slow, over 4 hours and I was not happy.  I knew I could do this 90k loop in 3:30-3:40, I had done it in training several times and it was worse than the 70.3 race last year.  I saw my Mom and Stephen at the turn around and I think I said that this was F’ing hard and headed to special needs. 

My Mom took this one, I was moving fast at the turn around
I got to special need to restock my fuel and I had a chance to stretch my foot properly.  I also had a cramp in my right side and it was really uncomfortable.  At this point my head started to get very dark and all the negative thoughts started to enter, what was I thinking, I could not do this, I had not improved at all, I was hopeless.  I fought with myself down Monte Ryan, I could do this, I had time, I knew I had worked hard and improved, it was not a fun time to be in my head.  As I turned onto the highway I had to stop again for water and to stretch my foot out, I have a high pain threshold and it had me in tears.  By this time it was really hot on the highway, it was hitting you from all directions and felt like an oven.  I knew it was now about chasing cut off times and I could not remember what the cut off time was at LaBelle.  As I reached the cut off I asked what the time was and I made the cut off by 20 mins, on to the next one. 

At the next aid station I stopped again for water and ice and to stretch my foot, I was so hot and so dejected.  I don’t think I can describe how I felt, I was happy I made the cut off but so hot and unsure if I could make the next one.  My wrist and fingers had started to swell as well and I was worried I might be doing myself some harm being out there.  I decide to go from aid station to aid station and assess how I felt as I went and try to make the cut offs.  As we left another cyclist either lost her concentration or momentarily blacked out and veered to the left and almost was hit by a police car on the far shoulder.  I knew I was no longer thinking straight and felt like I might overheat; the only thing that kept me going was fear of missing the next cut off.   I climbed the La Conception hill and stopped at the aid station at the top.  By this time I was at the bottom of a black pit of despair, I would not make the next cut off and I might be violating the #1 rule of not die.  I saw a medic who cut off my wristband as my wrist was so swollen and I took another bag of ice.  I asked him how long to the cut off and he said 90 mins and I knew I could not do the last 36k in that amount of time and I did not want to do Duplessis again for nothing, I was done, I was going to quit, I was so upset.

Another cyclist was also there and told me we had 2 more hours and we could make it. At that moment I decided I would not give up, I wanted this so much and I would keep going until they pulled me from the course or I fell over.  I clipped back onto my bike and rode as fast as I could.  By this time there were few cyclists left on the course but the volunteers were there cheering me on and that helped a lot. Slowly I was able to push the negative thoughts out of my head and focus on moving forward as fast as I could.  I had asked friends to post positive messages for the run course on Facebook and my blog and I started to remember these words as I rode, so many people were rooting for me; I felt every bit of it.  I thought of my family and everything they went through to help  me get here, my business partners and team at MediaStyle and how they believed in me and I though how I would feel if I had to tell everyone I gave up, I did not want to give up, I had done that before in life and I knew it would stay with me for a long time and undo all the hard work I had done the last 6 years. 

As I turned onto Duplessis for the final time, having made the cut off once again by about 20 mins, I knew I had to keep going, as fast as I could.  I had to walk up the final hill but I reached the turnaround with 20 mins ish to spare, I had a chance, a small chance but I would take that.  I knew this part was a lot faster than the up and I pedaled with everything I had.  No point in saving my legs for the run if I missed the cut off, that last 5k was my second fastest leg of the bike, I was giving it everything I had.  There are 2 hills on this last section, one done and an official said I had 18 mins and I could not stop.  On the second hill another cyclist fell over just in front of me and I had to quickly unclip to avoid hitting her or falling myself.  I walked around her as officials asked her if she wanted to continue and I quickly got on my bike, I had a cut off to chase.  I had to make a sharp right hand turn at the bottom of Duplessis to get to transition, I knew I had to slow down but I could not afford to slow down too much.  I hung on, feather my brakes and hoped I would not hit rocks or dirt and made the turn and pedaled with everything I had.  I made it to transition before the cut off, the last person in, later I found out it was by 47 seconds.  I saw Stephen, who looked relieved, dismounted my bike and gave it to someone and ran.  Suddenly Kory was there again telling me I could do this, I could run a tough marathon and I believed her. 

Ironman Recap - Part 1

So I did it, I am an Ironman!  It was a close call but I sneaked in under the wire with a time of 16:56:27.  I always said I would be happy with anything under 16:59:59 but I sure cut it close and next time I hope the Universe does not take me quite so literally.

We drove up to Tremblant on Thursday and proceeded to Athlete Check in.  It is a well-oiled machine and we quickly signed our waivers, got weighted and got our stuff.  We went to the Expo to get our backpacks and each bought a top from the race.  I wanted the tri top and Neale got the cycle jersey and I got IM stickers for the car (premature?, I hoped not). 

Friday we went to the pro panel at noon and then a quick swim to get the feel of the water.  The lake was cool without a wetsuit but I knew I would be fine with my sleeveless the next day.  It was a cool cloudy day and I so wanted that weather to hold.  Looking at the forecast for Sunday was nerve racking as it seemed to be getting hotter and windier each time we looked.   I was really happy to meet Kristine from Red Deer who I had been talking too online for months.   She and I have a lot in common and I enjoyed being on this Ironman journey with her.  The highlight for me was meeting  Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman.  I have dreamed of him calling me an Ironman for years and there he was.  He was so nice and took photos with us and said he would be waiting for us at the finish.

Later that day we went back for the Athletes dinner, it was so inspiring.  They featured Lionel Saunders who went from drug addict to pro triathlete in a few years.  They also featured Diane, a blind triathlete who was attempting her first Ironman.  My friend Kory would be her handler for the day and I was excited to have her in my age group.  It is hard to feel sorry for yourself when you see inspiring people like that accomplish so much.  We went to the concert and fireworks and I ran into another Facebook friend Kate who was doing her second Ironman.  I was feeling great, excited and not too nervous.  I had my freak out a few weeks before and logically I knew there was nothing else I could do now and worrying was not going to help anything.

Saturday we did a quick bike and run and headed back to rack our bikes and drop off our transition bags.  So when we checked in they gave us 5 bags, bike transition, bike special needs, run transition, run special needs and morning clothes bag.  Let me tell you Ironman is as much a logistic exercise as a physical one.  Trying to figure out what you might possible need in each bag is tough, would I want more food, a change of socks, a different top, would I be cold, hot, dehydrated, what would I need.  I know I packed too much but I wanted to be covered.   It was a hot day, a taste of what we would be getting for race day and I was not looking forward to the heat and humidity.  

We had a nice dinner with my Mom and Roger, Anita and Andre and Stephen and an early ish night.  Having my Mom there was important; she was at my first half marathon, first triathlon and started me swimming at a young age.  I wanted Stephen to be there so he could see the result of all our hard work, we had been training most of his senior year of high school and I know a lot of cooking and cleaning fell onto him.  It was important to me that he saw the day; he saw the other triathletes and all the hard work of the day.  Anita and Andre have done a lot of training with us; Anita was always up to bike or run with me even though she was not training for an event.  She just started Triathlons and is doing the half Ironman next June and I can’t wait to go to Tremblant to cheer for her this time. 

We got up at 3:30 on Sunday morning and were out the door at 4:15, it was an early start and the nerves started a bit but I was focusing on what I needed to do.  Body marking, adding a few last things to my transition bags, dropping off my special needs bags, pumping tires and stuff kept us busy and then we walked to the beach.   I was dropping Neale’s day bag in the truck when I saw my friend Kory and I started to cry, I was doing so well up to that point and then I just lost it.  She knew just what to say, this three time Ironman finisher, and I struggled into my wetsuit for my warm up swim.  I saw Anita on my way into the corral and my parting word where, “I am terrified”, boy little did I know what the day was about to bring.  

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Road to Ironman

So this will be my last post before Ironman Mont Tremblant.  I have dreamed of this moment for years and now that it is finally here I wish I had more time, a few more months, or weeks to be ready. I have swum, biked and ran 1000's of km in the last 2 years to prepare for this day, I have run 4 marathons and completed 4-70.3 Triathlons to prepare, I could not have done more, I know that but I still wonder.  My bib number is 2584 and I start at 7am EST.  I hope to finish around 10pm and you can track me on the Ironman site and watch me finish on the live feed.  The one thing I have learned is that races never turn out as planned and you need a plan A, a plan B, C, D and maybe all the way to Z.  As long as I make all the cut off times I will be happy but ideally this is my plan, swim 1:30, bike 7:30 and run 6:00 and 15 mins in transitions.  This would put me at 10:15pm finishing time and I have time before midnight in case I need it.  I have said from day one that as long as I finish before 16:59:59 I would be happy and that still holds.  I asked for one thing for my birthday, to have Mike Reilly call me an Ironman and I plan on collecting my gift on Sunday.

Someone on a FB group asked what song would say represented your Triathlon journey and after a few minutes I realized it has not changed since the start, the Climb by Miley Cyrus has been and always will be my song. I wrote about this in a June 20, 2012 blog post The Climb and it still holds true. I have had a dream for 3 years and along the way obstacles have come and gone, I have become the person who can do this and I realize it is about the climb.  Yes the view from the top is beautiful but it is what you accomplish to get there that matters the most.  So yes, the time is now, I have done enough, I have dreamed enough and it is time to climb.

The Climb
I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never make it"

Every step I am taking
Every move I am make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna to make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I am going to have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Why I Tri

So I belong to a Facebook group called Women For Tri and all summer they have been asking this question, why do you tri?  I have not been able to answer the question, why DO I tri, what keeps me interested in this really difficult sport, I am not sure I have a good answer.

I was not an athletic kid, I was never good in sports and I was always one of the last picked in gym class. I always remember swimming, I remember swimming lessons from a young age and eventually ended up on a swim team as a teenager.  I love swimming, I feel at peace in the water, I grew up near the ocean and as a Pisces the water is my home.  I swam until I was 15 and then I stopped, suddenly  and I never really started again until I started triathlons.

My first experience with Triathlon was the 2000 Sydney Olympics and watching Simon Whitfield win the gold medal for Canada. I was enthralled with the sport and decided on the spot that one day I would do one of those triathlon things.  Here was the problem with that, I was overweight, unfit and financially stretched to the point that there was no money to start.  I was in full Mommy mode, I had a 7 year old and a 4 year old, no job and no money to start.

Fast forward to 2009 when I fit rock bottom, I was really overweight, really unhealthy and really unhappy.  The kids were older, I had a business and I had to make a change, NOW!  I spent a year losing weight and getting fitter and at the end of the year, I walked a half marathon.  I quickly realized losing the weight was one thing, keeping it off was something else.  In Sept 2010 I started to run through our local Running Room with the 5K clinic.  My goal was to eventually run 10K, the distance I needed to complete that Olympic distance triathlon.

Little did I know I was about to start on a journey that would take me far past my 10K goal, way outside my comfort zone and to a happier, healthy lifestyle. I spent a year doing 5k's, then a year doing 10k's and then my thoughts turned to triathlons.  I bought a road bike and started cycling and I started swimming again, I really enjoyed the training. In 2012 I attempted my first sprint triathlon, it ended in a DNF (did not finish) but I was hooked and I signed up for a try-a-tri 4 weeks later, I was determined to finish this one.  Between those 2 events I decided to do an Ironman triathlon for my 50th birthday in 2015.

Wait a minute here, the self described nonathletic person, definitely not a runner and still not a triathlete was setting a goal to do THE HARDEST RACE, an Ironman...what the heck was I thinking and what did you do with the old Allyson.  What I saw that day was people who looked like me, not 0% body fat or who looked like super athletes doing this race.  They were smiling and happy and confident and I am not sure what it was but I knew in that moment that I could do this one day, not today but one day.  I told my husband and I am sure he thought I had finally gone crazy and I wrote it in my blog because once you write it down and make it public you can't back down. I am an Ironman wannabe

 So now the day is almost here, IMMT is in a week and I am that person, the person who can do this, this happy, healthy, smiling person.  I am not 0% body fat, far from it, I have junk in the trunk and a jelly belly that rolls in a less then flattering way over my water belt but I am doing it.  I have done 4 half iron distance or Ironman 70.3 races and 4 marathons, 11 half marathons and countless 5 and 10K races.  I now call myself a runner and triathlete, even an athlete at times and I believe it.

So back to that question, why do I tri
- I tri to stay healthy and fit;
- I tri because it makes me happy
- I tri because it allows me get outside my comfort zone and push myself further then I ever thought possible

Triathlon and running have given me my life back, I am happier and healthier then I have ever been. I love sharing my love of triathlon and running with others, to inspire others to believe that anything is possible and that they can  do it as well. Maybe next Sunday someone will be watching me set out on my second bike loop and realize that they too can do this one day.  That is why I tri!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

And that is a Wrap

Well that's a wrap, my final long training weekend for IMMT is done! Time to taper and get crazy! The weekend did not go exactly as planned but I am happy with the results and feel much better about my upcoming race.  I trained as hard as I could, I have not been perfect but who is but I know I did everything I could and on race day I will line up knowing I can do it.  It will not be easy, it will be incredible hard but I am ready.

This was a funny weekend, on Facebook you get an update with your memories and my memories reminded me that 3 years ago this weekend I did my first triathlon ever.  I trained hard but I got a DNF that day due to 2 flat tires.  I did not know how to change a flat tire at the time and after the second flat I called it a day, racked my bike and did the run anyway for experience.  Instead of giving up, I did something crazy, 2 weeks later while watching a friend do the Ironman at Mont Tremblant, I decided I would do that race as my 50th birthday challenge.  Now it is here, what was I thinking.

Friday we did a beach to beach swim, 3.8k non stop.  It was raining while we swam and at one part the waves were quite rough. It was a great experience, I did it slow and steady and I love my new sleeveless wetsuit.  We finished in 1:45, well under the time limit for IMMT so I have confidence in the bank for that part at least.  On Saturday we drove to Tremblant to bike for the day.  I wanted to do 160k in under 8 hours, I figure if I can do 160 today in that time I could probably do 180k on race day in the same time.  The first loop was great, 82K in 3:30, a bit slower then I wanted but it was windy and I was trying not to push too hard.  After a quick pit stop to restock my food I set out on my second loop.  Once I entered the highway portion I knew something was wrong with my back tire, it felt like it had a flat spot and every rotation I heard a noise.  Before I got too far out on the highway I decided to take a look and I found this beauty in my tire.

At least now I know how to change my tire

That meant my ride was done since I did not have spare tire, I could change the tube but I knew it would not hold with a hole in my tire.  I left the tack where it was and hoped I could make it back to the car before it went totally flat.  Thankfully it did and I racked my bike and changed for my run.  It was hot when I did my 5K run and I got back to the car just as Neale was heading out for his run.  As he left I watched the weather change and before I knew it we were in the middle of a thunder storm and downpour.  If I had stuck to my planned 160k ride, I would have been out in that and that could have been dangerous.  Instead of being annoyed that my ride was cut short, I was feeling lucky the Universe was looking out for me once again.  Neale finished his run and we headed home but we will be back in 2 weeks!

Today I did a run, I was suppose to do 20k but managed 18.5k.  I realized at about 14k I was not feeling well, it was hot and I was not properly fueled for the run.  I had missed my first gel and I could not catch up on my nutrition.  As well it is hard to eat enough after my long ride days to make up my calorie deficit and set me up for a good long run.  I knew there was nothing to be gained by pushing through and I was not the only one who felt that way, Neale Erica and Melissa also cut today's planned run short.  

One thing I have learned on this journey is to do the best I can with each training session and let it go, it is done and nothing I do will change it.  I learn what I need to for another day and move on. I have a lot of lessons in my bank to pull out on race day, my music free marathon, my DNF tri, lots of training sessions that sucked but also the ones that were fabulous.  I will also take the great workouts with me to remind me I can do this, I have trained enough and I am worthy.  

I would like to take one more thing with me on Aug 16th, a part of all of you who have followed me on this journey.  Please leave in the comments your best motivational quote so I can type them up and put them in my special needs bag to pull out as needed on the long run.  Don't make me cry I will need the energy and water for the run but give me a glimmer of light to cling too when times get tough.  I will put some in Neale's bag as well so if you have a message for him, please leave it as well.  Thanks you for motivating me on this journey, there will be many more but this one is the biggest so far.