Sunday, January 11, 2015

Its 2015!!! Big Plans for the Year!

I've been quiet lately here on the blog.  I will go back and do recaps for a few of my missing races, especially because the 2014 Columbus Marathon was PRETTY major for me, finishing with a 3:34:10, my second fastest marathon ever, and getting me a BQ +5 for 2016!  Then I snuck in the half at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, more just for fun and because I had a free bib, and then went up to northern MI for the Iceman Cometh mountain bike race from Kalkaska to Traverse City.  It was crazy muddy and one of the hardest things I think I've ever done.  It was mudman with rain, sleet, and some snow to fully live up to the Iceman Cometh name.  And then I chilled for a bit, and STILL got crazy sick!  I called it the plague of 2014 #plagueof2014, but it clearly lasted until 2015.  I've essentially been sick and entire month.  I started running a legit fever on 12/13/14 and couldn't do my 13 mile run that I had planned to remember the awesome day.  I am still taking prednisone and a new antibiotic for the next two days (getting me to 1/13/15).  As a result, I am a wee bit behind on training for the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon on April 25, 2015, but I'll manage.  The official training program doesn't start until this weekend, but since I don't consider myself a beginner anymore, I'd like to be on a harder plan than that.

Enough of a catch up!  The big news (that has been on facebook and twitter for a month now too), is that I am back representing Coeur Sports for 2015!  I am so excited to stay with this fabulous company.  I encourage you to check them out.  They not only have great gear but I love that they are all about racing your heart out, and being encouraging to other women.  The 2015 line isn't on their web page yet, but you can get some sneak peaks over on their facebook page.

Seeing this image online made my day!

I have a few other plans for 2015.  First, I am teaching barre pilates at the YMCA for the next few months.  I've been trying to break into teaching classes, and I really enjoy the barre classes.  One of the instructors is going on maternity leave, and I am taking her Monday night class.  Monday night is not ideal for me, but during the school year it works.  I won't be able to work my regular Monday morning shift and teach on days when school is out.  Its just too hard on the kids.  I'm going to worry about that later.  I think I'd rather drop the wellness shift and teach, except for the fall gets crazy with the kids after school schedules.  The kids come first in terms of my work schedule, so I'll sort it out once they have decided what they want to do.  I'd really like to pick up Patti's Friday morning class, because I don't usually work Fridays, so it won't conflict with anything, and is just a better time in general, but I'll take what I can get as I break into teaching. 

Running Plans:

I'm an ambassador for the KDF Marathon, so I'm running that as well as participating in their Norton Healthcare Training program to some degree.  Mostly I'll be coaching the Y's Triple Crown of Running training program, which builds distances and includes a 5K, 10K, and 10mile race.  Then many people will go on and run the KDF Mini Marathon (13.1miles).  Both of these programs kick off this weekend.  The Norton program is free, and there is a fee for the Y program.  One of the nice perks of the Y program is that transportation is provided to the races, and since all three of those races are HUGE, parking and getting there can sometimes be a challenge.  Plus you get me for the Y program!!!  I'll still be available for the Norton program, but I'll be at more of the Y group runs. 

Now, I am not doing the whole triple crown.  I'm doing the 10 miler plus a new race for me this year, the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon in Lexington.  Run the Bluegrass has a partnership with KDF and they are offering a "Half Classic", where you run both, and you get an extra medal and special post party after the KDF race.  You can do the half or full at KDF, and the half at RTB to get the Half Classic designation.  Its a hilly race and calls itself the "prettiest half marathon" from a course standpoint.  I loved running the Iron Horse in Midway, KY, and it isn't far from there, so I'm expecting similar breathtaking horse farm views.

Cycling/Tri Plans:
I've got to get signed up for Iceman again, because last year was too awful to end that way!!! 
Horsey Hundred is also another must, because it is just such a well done event.  I've done it every year we've been here.  Its a nice tradition.
June T Rex tri (Triceratops).  I am hoping to get some dental work done in MI this summer, and time it with at least the first in the series, if not get 2 of them done. We'll see. 
This is where everything gets fuzzy.  Initially, I had wanted to do the Challenge New Albany Race, in Ohio, except that there isn't any information on it anywhere.  So I might do Muncie.  Again.  Its becoming a tradition too.  Everything came together so well last year though that I sort of feel "done" with this course.  I'd really like to do Ironman Louisville this year.  Its in October now, so there is more time to train with the kids in school, and that helps.  Plus I do well in cooler temps, so I'm not really afraid of it being silly cold or crazy hot.   So I'm also looking at Challenge Cedar Point as an option to lead up to it, but it would be more of an expensive training day since it is closer to IM than Muncie was in the past. 
I might try to get up to MI for the Beat the Heat ride, but Ryan doesn't have any friends interested.  If I can make it a girls weekend, them maybe.

The biggest downside to IM in October is that it kills the fall running.(and is a crap load of training)  I guess last summer I was really struggling to train for my fall race, due to the heat and was telling myself never again do a fall marathon, except race day was so awesome, that to miss out on that is a bit of a bummer.  Plus IM is close to Black Mountain Madness, Bourbon Chase, and all the other fall marathons in Columbus, Detroit, and here.  IMM is the same weekend as Iceman this year (as it is most years).

Finally, for 2015, I think I will be retiring the jogging strollers!  So sad!  The kids are just big enough that they can run or bike with us now, so that is great, but it is totally the end of an era.  I'm not sure what I want to do with the title of the blog.  I plan to keep the URL, but I might rename it.  I don't know. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

2014 Black Mountain Madness Ride to the Summit

Ryan and I were excited to return to the eastern side of KY, to coal country, to ride the Black Mountain Madness Ride to the Summit.  It starts and finishes in the town of Cumberland, KY.  We were bummed we couldn't get any of our close friends to commit to it, but after having such a great time last year, we decided we had to go back.  Plus, with the date change of Ironman Louisville for 2015 from August to October, if I am going to really do it, I won't have the opportunity to do this ride (or ride to the summit anyway) next year because of the dates being too close together.  New for this year was the option to ride down the Virgina side and come back up.  I was going to stick with the same route as last year.  Ryan was on the fence.

We made a hotel reservation at the Benham Schoolhouse Inn, which is where we stayed last year.  It is in the town just east of Cumberland and was a school that was a coal camp public school, and my parents were able to come down and watch the kids.

Last year, this ride was one of the hardest rides that I have ever done.  As a result, I vowed to be better prepared this time around, both from having my bike in better working order and by doing more mileage.  With both kids at the same school, this boded well for my training, plus I am training for the Columbus Marathon with lots and lots of running fitness.  My theory was that I only had to be able to do 58 miles, rather than 70, since the ride back down would be mostly coasting with a little pedaling on the last 5-6 miles through Lynch and Benham into Cumberland.  I did two 44 mile rides from my house on the Ironman loop out to Sligo, once with Elise and Forrest, and once on my own, with the second time breaking 18mph.  I also did a ride in the "knobs" of Indiana with Elise, Forrest, and Ron.  This ride had two huge climbs that weren't nearly as long as Black Mountain, but were still big long climbs.  I replaced a bad shifter on my rear derailleur that caused major issues on my MMM Beat the Heat Ride, so I had my shifting in good order.  Much better than last year.  I did have a little scare after the knobs ride, when I unpacked my bike and heard a "boing" noise the Tuesday before the ride.  It was a broken spoke!  Ack!  I ride 650cc wheels, so I was really freaking out over it being fixed in time.  Thankfully, the guys and gals at VO2 Multisport were able to come through and fix my wheel on Thursday so I could be good to go. 

On Friday morning, I got packed up, bringing about everything I owned.  The weather had really cooled down, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to wear.  Ryan took a half day so that we could drive to Cumberland and get registered the night before.   It is about 4 hours from our house, and we got on the road just in time to arrive a few minutes before 5pm, when the registration closed for the day.  After picking up our packets, we headed over to the School House to get checked in.  We had a much nicer room this year.  It still had the hardwood floors and had a huge window that looked out to the back of the building, towards the mountain.  For the most part, the hotel looked the same as it did last year, however, the reading room looked like it was turned into and office, and was locked with one of the bookcases in the hallway instead of the room.  Our room (below)

 Reading Room turned office
 Don't feed the bears sign outside our hotel
Benham Tigers Spirit
 Books are inside this locker.  The guest rooms are numbered after the graduating classes.

We drove up Pine Mountain, on our way to dinner in Whitesburg, KY.  It is really beautiful.  We stopped at a couple overlooks for some pictures.

We enjoyed our dinner at the Pine Mountain Grill.  We ate here last year.  I told Ryan how last year I was so nervous!  We had a maple blondie for dessert that was excellent.  Normally I wouldn't get a big dessert before a big event, but it worked last year so we got it again this year.  Then it was back to the hotel and off to bed.

Saturday morning arrived, and it was in the low 40s.  I decided that I would wear my thick under armor top under my Coeur Sports Chevron Jersey and my under armor tights over my Coeur Sports little black tri shorts.  I wore socks with my shoes, my headband, and I had my full mountain bike gloves, but not my really heavy gloves.  We had a little delay at the start because there was a group that arrived late, and it was then that I realized that lots of people had booties on, and Ryan had on toe covers.  I was really torn if I should put my booties on.  I had never worn them with tri shoes before, so I wasn't sure if they would work with the cleats or not, and with such short time, I just figured I would stay how I was.  I also had my heavy winter mountain bike gloves in the car as well, thinking I would be ok with what I had.  Here are a couple pictures from the start:

On the ride out to Loyall, my hands were cold for a long time, as well as my feet.  I was really wishing I had my heavier gloves and booties.  I stayed with Ryan for a little bit, but he asked to go ahead and that was fine.  It is rolling downhill towards Loyall, and I rode with a few different people, but mostly on my own.  The SAG stop was moved to a church this year, and it was nice to be able to go inside and warm up.  Everyone there was so nice and happy to see us.  I had packed four sleeves of Clif shot blocks and three bonk breakers with me.  I had a half a sleeve of blocks and one bonk breaker bar at the stop, refilled my water, and chatted with a group of guys that remembered me from last year, with my bike problems on the climb.  Once I was warmed up, I headed back to Cumberland.  I was mostly by myself on the way back.  It was a really pretty ride back.  Since I was on my own I was able to focus more on the turning leaves than on the bikes around me.  I stopped briefly at the SAG stop at mile 35 to refill water and ate a few more cubes.  I was pleased because I was right around two hours for the ride so far.  Its funny because being at the halfway point of the ride didn't really feel like the halfway point, since the climb to the summit is so long.  I made it to Cumberland and it was really windy at the stop.  I refilled my water again, and had one more bonk breaker, and more cubes.  A few people opted to ride back to their cars before stopping, and I was really wondering if I should switch up my clothing.  I was comfortable on the ride towards Cumberland because I was working hard enough to be warm.  I knew it would be cold on the top of the mountain, but I also knew I would be riding very hard to get there.  I took a few pictures with the bears at the stop, plus I love fall, so I had to sit with the pumpkins! The quilted bear had been repainted I think from last year.  At this point, I had gone 47 miles.

Then I was on my way, but got stopped at a traffic light, so I took a couple pictures with this bear.  I had remembered the handprints on it from last year and didn't get a picture.  Since I was stopped already, I figured I might as well get a few pictures.

At this point, it became a pretty gradual uphill as I went through Benham and towards Lynch.  I stopped quickly at the Lamp House coffee shop quickly to mentally prepare for the climb ahead.  It would be about 6 miles to the top.  I thanked the staff their for their help and said I couldn't get a hot chocolate now, because milk before the big climb would be bad, but I thought it would be a great idea on the way back down.  Then I was off.  I saw a couple other people out there but was by myself for the majority of the climb.  It was really pretty going up, but I really really didn't want to stop this time around.  Last year, I pretty much had to because I couldn't get my bike to stay in my 28 on the rear, but this year, the bike was in the proper gear and it was just a matter of gutting it out.  I kept looking at my garmin, and as usual, I was tired enough that basic math was challenging.  I'm not sure why I thought 47 plus 12 equaled 58, other than the fact that last year I was at 58miles at the top, but I got to mile 58 and was not done.  I was going faster this time than last year.  It felt like it took me an hour to get to the top last time, because every time I looked at my watch, I was going only around 6 miles an hour.  This year, I was in the 6-8mph range.  I was going at a rate that I would typically go if I was running on flat ground, so I tried to make the time pass the same way it would as if I was struggling to run up the hill on the bypass by my house.  It seemed to work, and I was so excited to get to the top.  Ryan was up there waiting for me.  He had opted to stick with the same route as last year.  Here are a few pictures.  Some are mine and some were taken from the Black Mountain Madness facebook page.   This is Ryan at the summit.
Here I am finally at the top!

Tim rode over the other side of the mountain and back up.  Here he is on the way back up from the VA side.
 Tim at the top.
 This is looking out towards Virginia.  Last year we took several pictures over here.  Today it was just cold so we didn't do more pictures.
 Ryan and I at the top.
Ryan and I with Tim and Bryan from Team Louisville

We didn't stay long at the top, because it was cold up there.  The ride down was so cold.  I was not ready for that.  It was much harder than I expected.  I really wished that I had worn my booties and heavier gloves at this point.  I think I could have dealt with hot hands and feet better than I dealt with freezing hand and feet.  Ryan passed me on the way down, and by the time Tim passed me, I was totally freezing, and told him I was topping for hot chocolate for sure.  I was in the wrong gear to try to spin down the hill, so I was mostly coasting until I got back to the Lamp House Coffee.  That was the best hot chocolate ever!  I really was good because it was made with Ghirardelli chocolate and steamed milk.  Plus it helped me regain feeling in my hands.  Once I finished it and left, I was able to stay warm because I was moving more to finish up the last few miles into town.  I rode in with three others, and had to do an extra tenth of a mile past the library to get to 71.0 miles.  I couldn't stop at 70.9. 

We had a warm pasta and pizza lunch waiting for us, plus POP, and homemade fudge.  Its funny how grateful I am for a Coke or Dr. Pepper after a long ride.  We each got a medal for finishing the ride, and that is probably one of my hardest earned medals.  We chatted with other riders we met from Team Louisville before getting changed and loaded back up for our ride home.   It felt great to get into comfy clothes.  However, before we got on the road, we stopped into the Coal Museum to buy a Christmas Ornament.  We didn't have time to tour the museum, but it would be fun to come back to do this tour as well as the Portal 31, which is a tour of a coal mine. 

Overall, this was another excellent experience.  I felt a lot better prepared, with the exception of my hands and feet being cold.  I now know that if Ryan has on toe covers, I should be wearing booties.  Also, if in doubt, wear warmer gloves.  Thinner gloves are small and I should have just tucked them in a pocket and started in the warmer gloves so I could have the option to swap them on the fly.  Since its a small ride, I had planned to bring my own bars and cubes, and rely on the stops for water, which was fine.  Lately, my rides have been pretty unsupported, going as far as 40 miles without stopping at a store for more water, so I figured I would just go with what I knew worked.  It was a good plan.  I probably would have been fine with the PB&J sandwiches at the stop, because I love those too for riding.  I also appreciated the amateur radio operators that volunteered to keep a good track of us on the ride.  Since its a small ride, they kept track of us individually.  I love that even though it is a small ride, it still happens.  I hope that this ride continues to grow, but I do like the small intimate setting of it. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

OC Grand Slam 5K Series 2014, all 4 races, race recap

As usual, I'm way behind on race recaps.  The OC Grand Slam 5K is a 4 race series of 5Ks in different locations in Oldham County, each having a different beneficiary.  Last year, I was a pretty solid second place for the overall series award, a Louisville Slugger bat.  This year, it was a much tighter race.  Also, I am usually more concerned with getting a specific time than winning races, but this series really brought out the competitor in me because it was so close.

Race #1, Crestwood Baptist 5K

This is a fun race because it is right by my house.  CBC is in front of my neighborhood, so I can walk to it.  Noelle was doing the whole series, and Terri was doing all but 1, and Courtney and her daughters planned to do the entire series.

It was warm, and I had an OK race.  Being that it is on my "home turf " so to speak, I was a little disappointed with my race.  I felt pretty good for most of the race, and was behind Grace and another woman for a lot of the race.  On the uphill coming out of Kenwood, I passed Grace, but she passed me again on the way up a hill in the CBC parking lot.  Initially, I wasn't stressed about it, because I knew she wasn't in my age group (she is 11 I think?).  I was a big chunk behind Tracy, who was the winner.  I took first in my AG, and was third overall, about 15 seconds behind Grace.  After the race, I realized how poor a decision it was for me to not try harder to beat her because she could get me in the series!!! My time was over 23 minutes, so I was a bit bummed about that too.  I think last year's time was faster.  I wasn't very speedy today.

Race #2, Oldham County YMCA 5K

This is a Friday evening race, and it was a ton cooler this time around than last year.  It was like running in an inferno last year, and the course is 1.5 miles downhill, and then pretty much 1.5 uphill.  So it was nasty last year.  This year, it was rainy, and perfect temps for running.  Tracy, who won the first race, was not there!  Wow!  Maybe I had a shot at an overall win here today.  However, Roberta Meyer was here, and she won the series last year.  She was coming off an injury, which is why she wasn't at the previous race.  I ran a strong race.  I flew downhill, passed Grace and Roberta, but there was another woman who won the race that was not at the first race.  I was faster than my time last year, with a 22:07.  So close to being under 22!  I haven't been under 22 in a long time.  I was 2nd OA and first in my AG.

Race #3, Fastline 5K

This race is on Saturday, and goes through a neighborhood.  Becca was here today, and unfortunately, Courtney had a childcare issue, and opted to not run.  I felt super bad because she could have been an overall contender because she wasn't far behind me or Grace, and my Ryan could have totally watched her kids for her at our house.  Also, Becca's husband was there and watched their kids at the race.  They actually rode around on bikes cheering for everyone.  I finished just before it started raining.  Tracy was back at this race, so she took 1st, and I was second, with a smaller margin over Grace this time, who was third. Becca was super excited to win her AG too!  I squeaked in just barely under 22, with a 21:55.

Race #4, Apple Patch 5K

This was the final race.  I was getting really nervous and excited about this race.  Ryan had been invited to go to MI for a UM game, so I had to ask Courtney if her Ryan would watch my kids too.  Thankfully, he was able to, because the whole reason I didn't go to MI (and miss out on a fall trip with cider and donuts and farms and fun) was to attempt to win the series.  I was in the lead because Tracy missed the one race, and I had built up a bit of a cushion over Grace.  I didn't have to beat her to win the series, but I really wanted an overall win.  It seemed a bit lame to me to win the series without winning an overall race, but attending and racing all 4 is the point of the series award.  The course is a bit challenging (as they all are in the OC, its not flat anywhere), and Grace and I were neck and neck behind Tracy the entire time.  She'd get a little ahead and then I'd get ahead and we went back and forth.  I had been reading Iron War, and I kept thinking that this must have been similar.  On the final turn, Grace almost missed it and swung really wide, and I made up a little bit of ground on her, but she surged ahead.  Then I saw the finish line and sprinted in, with a 1 second lead over Grace on our watches, and a 21:31, so close to my PR of 21:22 from 2011.  I had done it!  I had won the series!!!!  I had my opportunity and I took it.

Here's the article in the Oldham Era, from 10/2/2014 (see, I had to wait until now to post this because I needed the picture!!!)

Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 Ironman 70.3 Muncie Race Recap! *WARNING!! SUPER LONG*

Its been a while since I've done a formal race recap.  Since Boston, I completed the 76mi route of the Horsey Hundred, the Triceratops Tri, and the first leg of the Oldham County Grand Slam 5K series.  I'll get those updates done and put in the right order (hopefully soon).  Thanks to facebook and twitter, I've been photo documenting (as always) my training and racing, but I need to go back and put all the thoughts and photos together into nice recaps.  With Muncie being this past Saturday, I wanted to jump on it and get everything out while it is fresh in my mind.

Muncie and I have a history.  It is creeping up there as one of the most repeated races of mine.  Crazy because it is one of the longest races that I do, and it just blows my mind that this is the FOURTH time I have done it.  2011 was magical because it was my first Ironman brand event AND my first trip away from my kids overnight by myself, and it was back before smartphones and navigational systems in the cars so I had a whole slew of new things to stress about.  Like just getting there- with a huge pile of printed google map directions.  2012 was a huge disappointment.  It was the hot year where it was shortened and then I got pneumonia days later.  2013 was initially supposed to go so well, but then I crashed in May, and racing and finishing was a victory in itself.  So, 2014 was going to be my year, right?  Third time's a charm (for the 70.3 distance).  I have wanted to go sub 6 in the half iron distance for pretty much as long as I have been doing this, and I have gotten pretty close.  2011 was 6:06:50, and only my second 70.3, then last year after my crash, I still managed to come away with a 6:08:54, two minutes off my PR and that was with all the issues I had with my crash.  I've gone under 2 hours on the run at Racing for Recovery, but that was it, and it usually came down to needing a sub 2 on the run to make it since my swim isn't so good.  I really didn't think I would come back to Muncie this year, but then when some of my friends got to talking about it, and Ryan's good cycling friend Austin signed up for IM Wisconsin and decided to do Muncie as a warm up, everyone jumped on the bandwagon and we signed up before Christmas to take advantage of the early bird pricing.  I had a good crew of friends from MI that came down.  Valerie, Austin, Bill, Eric, Christine (not Cristina), and Dicron (Chad's dad) were all racing.  Maria and Mindy had both entered and did not race, Maria due to injury and Mindy due to a crazy hard adventure race next weekend.  Plus, there was a huge crew of Landsharks that raced.  I found Elise, who I have been riding with, plus Linden, Nick, and Geri all before the start.  Plus I met Lindsay, who is a Betty Designs ambassador and good friend of Valerie's and everyone from MI. 

The whole family drove up to Muncie on Friday.  We took the tour of rural Indiana route, which I took last year.  Its not too bad, and it avoids all the construction traffic on 65N and the cities.  Thankfully we didn't get stuck behind too many slow moving trucks. 

When we finally got onto more of a civilized road, we ended up passing Elise and her husband!  We texted back and forth during most of the remainder of the drive and arrived at the expo together.  They moved the expo from the Horizon Convention Center to the reservoir, and thankfully our GPS had the coordinates in it from previous years.  Google maps just plopped you in the middle of the water, so Elise was thankful she had us to follow.  Elise and I got a couple pictures after check in near the finish line.

We checked our bikes the night before at the option bike check in.  I hadn't ever done it before because in previous years, I didn't go out to the reservoir because its a little drive from the city of Muncie with all the food and hotels.  Valerie was driving me to the start so Ryan and the kids could stay in the hotel longer, so it was best that the bikes were already taken care of.  We found Valerie, who introduced us to Lindsay, and the three of us attended the 5pm athlete briefing together before dinner at Noodles (my favorite prerace place).

That evening, back at the hotel I got everything situated.  I wrote my name in my new swim skin with permanent marker so that it wouldn't get mixed up in transition.  I wasn't too worried about my wetsuit getting mixed up, but I went over my name again in permanent marker  just in case.  The swim last year was wetsuit legal, so I was hopeful it would be again this year, but prepared for either case.  Before bed, I shaved my arms (which I have only done before IMLou and as a child playing with a razor).

We got up CRAZY early.  Initially, Valerie thought I was crazy when I said I wanted to leave the hotel at 4:30, but then I got a text from her before bed saying to meet at 4:00 to get loaded and roll out at 4:15ish.  They had also bought a reserved parking spot on a homeowners lawn to be ensured a close parking spot.  Lindsay rode with us too so her husband and kids didn't have to wake up so early.  The bike check the night before made it easy to fit everyone.

We arrived and as soon as I went to set up my gear, I realized that I didn't have my helmet sticker.  Ugh.  At my last tri I had forgotten my bike sticker, so I thankfully I knew it wouldn't be that big of a deal.  We just needed to find someway to label it non-permanently.  A staff member grabbed a marker and walked me over to a huge pile of blank number sticker sheets and we made a new one.  Boom, problem solved.  I also got a pin for my chip strap that I also forgot, and got everything else set up.  They announced that it was indeed wetsuit legal, so my arms and swim skin prep was for naught.  There will be another race I'm sure where I will use it.  I was racked next to my Coeur teammate, Nicole.  This was her 10th race this distance, and hanging out with her instantly put me at ease.  We got a picture by a banner.

Coeur also had 3 pros racing and 2 other ambassadors (than me).  We were able to get this group shot right before the pro start (note this picture is out of order because it is clearly very light out).  Beth Shutt was the only one missing.  There was also a great preview on the Coeur blog here
Me, Kate Bevilaqua, Jacqueline, Nicole, Malaika Homo right before the start

Then, it was time to track down the rest of my crew and wait for the start.  I found everyone after the national anthem.  (these are all out of order because they loaded by file name)
 Bill, Austin, Maria
 Christine and I
 Eric and I
 Geri and I
 Me and Austin.
 Me and Elise
 Me and Linden
 Me and Mindy
Nick and I.
Valerie, Christine, Lori, Me, Adam, Mindy, Eric
Valerie and Kent

I had Nicole, Christine, and Lori (also with Level) in my wave for the swim.  While I get stressed about swimming, it isn't like I used to.  I felt very relaxed the whole time and didn't have too much traffic.  I got hit in the head a couple times, but nothing terrible.  It was overcast so sighting was a TON easier.  I thought I would have a faster swim time than ever, but no, it was an average swim for me.  I really need to work on my swimming more!!!  I would have liked to have a bit more cushion here for the rest of the race to go under 6!!!

Swim: 49:14

I saw my friend Kathy right as I exited the water.  She was there supporting Greg, who is a physically challenged athlete who does not have the use of his legs.  There were wetsuit strippers to pull of the wetsuits, and then I ran into T1.  They have carpet to cover the rocks and I passed several people on the carpet from the water to the bikes.  I got situated and headed out for the bike.

T1: 3:32

The bike course was so much better than last year, except I would describe the first few miles as "technical" because of the pot holes.  They were mostly marked and to be honest, they weren't anything worse that what I am used to riding on here in KY after this winter (or MI all the time), so it really didn't bother me at all.  It was still so much better than last year's rough section.  It was a bit crowded on the way out, but I figured it would thin out before the end when I would hit these again.  I figured I should try to average between 18-19mph and it wouldn't be too difficult to run but still be fast enough to allow enough time for it.  The first loop was quicker.  I was entirely self sufficient from a nutrition standpoint on the first loop, and had 2 gels and 2 water bottles.  At the halfway point I ate a bonk breaker bar and 3 clif blocks.  My water was getting low so I stopped to get a new bottle 2 times.  I had thought about refilling all my waters at 1 stop, but figured it wouldn't really make that big of a difference in the long run.  I also had another 3 clif blocks on the bike.  I debated having 3 more right as I was finishing, but with the roads not being as smooth and me getting somewhat sick of being on the bike, I figured I was more coordinated to eat clif blocks while running than biking, and waiting 5 minutes wasn't going to be deal breaker here.  I made sure everything I wanted from my bento box made it into my pockets.  With the bike being a set of two out and backs (for 2 loops), you get to see friends a lot, which makes it nice.  I never felt like I was completely alone.  A few times I felt like I struggled to pass people in a timely manner.  For a while there was a lady in my age group that would pass me almost every time I passed her.  I was finally able to pass her for good in the last couple miles of the bike that were on the rougher roads and more uphill.  I was just tough because we were fairly evenly paced.  Then, as I finished the bike course, I saw Ryan and the kids.  Yay!  I wasn't sure how early they had planned to get there.  However, we knew that Austin, Bill, and Eric would rock it out and finish quickly, and he wanted to see them finish too.  I hoped they wouldn't get too bored waiting for me to finish the run.

Bike: 3:03:20

Hoping off the bike and getting into T2, I wanted to walk quickly but didn't quite feel ready to run yet.  However, as soon as I was ready to run, there were slow dudes in front of me with their bikes.  I politely asked to pass them and was able to get around.  While I was in the process of switching my gear from bike to run, I realized that a woman named Shannon, who is a friend of Erika, was there.  She had told me to say hi to her if I saw her, so I took this opportunity to say a quick "hi" and was off.  I think I popped my final 3 clif blocks in my mouth as I was running out of transition.

T2: 2:43

The run.  Oh boy.  I looked at my timex that I had started at the beginning of the race.  I was just barely under 4 hours at the start of the run.  I didn't need a sub 2 hour run to get the sub 6, but I could try for both.  It was actually not super hot.  Today is my day.  I just kept telling myself that.  I had a couple really nasty longish training runs where I had wanted to stop the whole time due to humidity and heat (and fatigue), and I didn't, so I just told myself to be careful, pace myself, and no walking unless I was drinking at an aid station.  I was NOT going to fall apart this year.  This was MY day.  I was extremely focused on not going out to hard, and making sure it felt easy in the beginning.  I walked a few steps at every aid station and just tried to keep track of my pace.  Not too fast, but not too slow.  I enjoyed watching the pros and other fast people on their way in.  I saw Eric and Lindsay on my way out, plus a few other people.  I was just trying to keep everything nice and easy and stay focused.  Push a bit on the uphills but not too hard, and relax and loosen up on the downhills.  The course profile is more downhill on the way out and more uphill on the way back.  I got to the turnaround in less than an hour and there is an extra aid station there so I took a few seconds to walk/drink again and then got running.  There was actually a cool breeze.  It was amazing.  I caught a few of my friends that I saw running ahead of me on the way back.  When I had 5 miles to go, I was still staying confident, but I felt like it was too soon to say that my sub 2 run/sub 6 day was going to happen.  But when I got to 4 miles left, with 40 minutes, I knew I could do it.  I just keep checking my time each mile and even each half mile.  With 2 miles left and 20 minutes, I felt a burst of energy and confidence.  I knew I could do it, I just had to keep going and be careful on the uphills so I didn't cramp up, but just keep going.  I could visualize where I was at home and know how much time it would take.  I did start worrying about Greg. He was super worried about making the bike cut off because swimming and handcycling for him is a lot slower than your average able bodied athlete, but the pushrim wheelchair is a LOT faster than a runner.  I think I had gotten to mile 12 before I saw him, and that was a huge relief to me.  That last mile I felt like I really pushed myself.  There is a big uphill and then I sprinted to the finish.  I couldn't believe I had finally gotten my goal of under 6!!!

Run: 1:58:14

Total 5:57:03!!  Huge PR!  Almost 10 minutes and both goals obtained!  Yay!!!

I nearly fell down when I crossed the line and stopped.  I probably should have just gone to medical right then and there, but my MOM was there!  I had called her earlier in the week to see if she wanted to just drive over from Ohio for the day, but she never got back to me.  I got my chip taken off and hobbled over to the Level Multisport tent where Eric, Kent, Mindy, and Adam were.  Ryan met me there and Soren melted down because it started to rain.  I felt really awful and laid down.  After several minutes of still feeling awful, Maria decided that I should go to medical for an IV.  Eric had already gotten one and was good as new.  I had Maria bring me over there and it took them a little while to decide to give me one.  They stretched me out, brought me a banana, but my stomach felt horrible.  Then they gave me an IV.  I felt a lot better after that and was able to move around again.  Maria had gotten Ryan so she, Austin, and Bill could head out.  We said our goodbyes and Ryan walked me back to the Level tent so we could find Valerie, who had finished with a huge PR too!

We got a few post race pictures, and then it was time to head home! 
 Austin, Valerie, Bill
 Eric, Christine, Me, Valerie
 The family!  Me, Ryan, Keira, and Soren
 Me and my mom!
 Me and Valerie
 Ryan and Austin
Support Crew!  (I really hope my mom was with the kids at this point.  Ha!)
It was so awesome to have so much support at this race.  Had I not had so many friends here, it would not have worked for Ryan and the kids to come because there is no way we could have had the kids at the race that early.  This is actually only the second time he was able to see me finish a 70.3 because of the logistics.  Having my mom come out was a fabulous surprise.  I'm sure it made it a lot easier on Ryan too for her to be there.  Plus, it is just so much fun to race when friends are racing.  Really, if it wasn't fun, I wouldn't be doing it.  Having so many friends there just makes it way more fun!

Its funny, I told Maria while in medical, that last year, I thought I was done with Muncie, and now that I have finally hit my time goal, that maybe this time FOR REAL I am done with Muncie and will pick another race to try (or focus on running more instead).  Now, two days later, I am not sure.  I looked up all my other race times and realized that while I had PR overall, none of the 3 disciplines on their own was a PR.  It was just a matter of having a decent day all around, and not ruining one discipline with another being overdone.  It also makes me think that I should be able to do even better than what I did, right?  Seriously, I have GOT to work on my swim.  I keep saying that I should be able to take 10 minutes off of that alone, and have yet to do it. 
The medal.