Monday, August 17, 2015

Race Report: Lake Logan Half

Wow I can't believe a week has already gone by since racing at Lake Logan!  I gotta do a quick race recap before I forget how it all went down...

I made the excellent decision to drive to Asheville with Jack & Erica and they were a constant source of entertainment on the trip!  THANK YOU guys SO much for being such awesome and fun travel buddies!  It was a super quick trip - we drove down on Friday, raced Saturday, and then drove straight home.  Exhausting really.  But still tons of fun.  A big non-race-related highlight for me was eating at The Laughing Seed in downtown Asheville.  It is an awesome vegetarian/vegan restaurant and 100% delicious.  I highly recommend the Harmony Bowl (brown rice, black beans, tons of veggies, & an Asian peanut sauce).  We ate outside and an added bonus was that right across the street was a climbing wall.  There was a girl climbing it with only one leg; Erica and I made a mental note to remember that if when we started getting tired in the race.

Race morning came early.  We thought we were ahead of the game cause there were very few cars going up the mountain to T1.  Unfortunately when we got to the top, we realized why - everyone else was already there!

We were probably the farthest car parked from the transition area.  This resulted in a slight rush to get everything situated and use the porta potties.  I had to choose between doing a swim warm up or using the bathroom a 3rd time; I chose the latter.  Here's a quick porta potty side story for ya:

Poor Erica had been waiting in line forever to use the lone porta john that was located in the parking lot.  When she finally got to the front of the line a guy came out and said to her, "Be careful in there; a lady who was in there earlier had an accident."
Erica was like, "WTF do you mean an accident?!  What's going on in there?!"
He said, "Let's just say she missed the hole."
"Oh pee on the seat, I'm a PA, that's NBD."
"It's worse than that."
"Ummmm, how the hell does that happen!?!?"
"Apparently it was dark and she didn't have a head lamp or phone light."
"Yeah, but who the f*ck hovers to do a #2?!?!"
She was then faced with doing some risky business or walking all the way to the transition area and getting in the very back of that porta potty line.  And if you've ever raced before, then you know that when one gets to the the front of the porta potty line, one cannot simply go to the back of the porta potty line ... it's not physiologically possible.  Haha, so poor Erica gets in there, rolls her sleeves up, and a lot of toilet paper, hand sanitizer , & f-bombs later, finally gets to build her own nest and do what she went in there to do.
Erica - I still don't know how these things happen to you, but I'm sorry that was the first thing you had to deal with before starting a half iron!  Not ideal, haha!  And, for the record, I'm a little insulted that you almost didn't tell me this story cause you were worried that the woman who had the accident was me!!!!

OK, so on to the race....

The Swim - 1.2 miles - 30:01 (1:25/100 yds)
I hadn't been in the pool once since my accident, so basically for 2 weeks prior to this race.  My elbow was still not fully healed and so I decided to wear a sleeveless wetsuit to prevent having something super tight around my arm.  This worked out perfectly cause the water temp was 74.  I stayed to the back right of the open field because the last thing I wanted was someone to kick my elbow.  I found a good pair of feet to draft off of and essentially did that the entire time.  It was a pretty pleasant swim & was over quickly.

T1 - 2:52
There was a decent run on grass from the swim exit to T1.  I was moving slowly and took my time putting on a cycling jersey for the ride.  In hindsight, I wish I had tried to go faster here.

The Bike - 56 mi - 2:56:31 (19 mph)
The start of the bike scared me to death.  It's about a 5 mile descent down a windy hill and the roads were still damp.  It was the second time I had been out on the road since my accident and the first time riding my road bike in 6 months.  (I took the road bike b/c I didn't want to put pressure on my hurt elbow in the aero pads of my tri bike).  People were flying by me and I was worried that I'd take a wide turn and someone would crash into me while in an aerodynamic blaze of glory.  Thankfully that didn't happen and I made it down without wiping out.  I was pretty tentative at the beginning of the race, but my legs felt good going up the hills.  Both of those things changed as the race went on.  I felt more and more comfortable bombing down some hills on the bike (and actually I could have used another gear cause everyone was passing me on the down hills - my road bike came with an 11-23 and prior to this race TrySports Charlie let me borrow his 12-28 so I could have some climbing ability).  At the same time, I got more and more tired as the race went on.  I saw some drafting which really pissed me off, but I couldn't catch up to say anything to her (pink Wattie Ink).  There was a very large incline around mile 40 or 45 that felt like it went on FOREVER.  I was definitely doing about 6 mph up that thing!  I was successful in doing a water bottle handoff, but that bottle was unsuccessful in staying put in my cages.  It came halfway out at one point and I had to toss it with 10 miles to go cause I didn't want it to get stuck under my wheel or someone else's.  By the end of the bike I was so tired that my brain started telling myself that I felt bad due to residual effects of the crash.  But I had to be realistic and tell myself that that wasn't the case and I was just tired and being a baby.  Remember the one legged wall climbing woman!?

T2 - 1:43
Another stroll through the transition area.

The Run - 13.1 mi - 1:34:20 (7:12/mi)
I was not looking forward to the run, but conversely to how the bike was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, the run was a lot easier than I thought it was gonna be.  The run is essentially 3 miles up a hill, 3 miles down, 3 miles up the same hill, and 3 miles back down.  I remembered this hill being pretty steep, although this time the gradient seemed milder.  It felt like running into the wind in Wilmington and wasn't steep enough to tear up my quads on the way down.  I was in 10th place off the bike and was quite a ways back.  But I was holding around 7:30 up the hill and 6:50 downhill and could tell I was gaining on people.  I passed quite a few people and was enjoying the shadiness of the route.  I wish there had been a few more aid stations because it seemed like the volunteers got a little overwhelmed at times and I got a coke once when I asked for water - it went down easy though and made me laugh cause Erica had told me a hilarious story about a time when she was so bloated on the bike that she couldn't even take a single sip of water without getting reflux.  She was unable to see her own feet over the profile of her midsection while on the run and it was by taking one sip of coke at a time that she could visibly see her belly deflate and was able to fit comfortably into the waistband of her running shorts for the second half of a marathon in a 140.6.  If you get the chance, ask her for the details on that one - you'll laugh so hard you might pee your pants!  So I ended up passing 5 women on the run, including the drafter who stopped for water at mile 12 and I was like "see ya" like when Macca  passed Raelert FTW at Kona 2010 as described in "I'm Here To Win."

Total Time - 5:05:25 (5th woman)
Overall I'm pretty happy with how this race went.  It was a good confidence builder coming back off of injury.  It's kind of annoying that I was only 5 minutes from 1st place and you look back and think, "geeze I'm sure I could have cut 5 minutes out of somewhere over the course of 70.3 miles!" BUT I'm still happy with this and I beat my White Lake time by 30 seconds and I know that was a much easier course.  Next up ... Chattanooga 140.6!!!!!

Congrats to all racers, we had such a beautiful day and beautiful scenery to be out there!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2015

What It Feels Like To Be Hit By A Car

I didn't realize that my last blog "Training Peaks & Valleys" was perhaps a foreshadow to what happened to me yesterday...  As I wrote in that blog, we all go through ups and downs in our training and sometimes we have no control over whether we find ourselves in a peak or in a valley.  This past week my training was going awesome!  I did a swim/bike brick on Tuesday, a hard 10-mile track workout on Wednesday, swam and did a solo century on Thursday, ran 20 miles with 3 fast finish miles on Friday, took a day off on Saturday, and then yesterday headed out on the group ride for another 100-mile dose of cycling.

The ride itself went great!  There were so many smiling faces and it felt SO much better to ride 100 in a group vs. alone.  Plus, the miles ticked by a LOT faster (thanks Ren, Mike, Shay, Sami, Shay, Ken, JR, Walker, Doug, & Lawrence!)  At the end of the ride I said g'day and started riding home since I had ridden to the ride start.

I was 1.2 miles from my place when I entered a roundabout.  I'm circling around and an SUV pulls up to another entrance to the roundabout and does not stop, slow down, or yield at all to moi, who was already the "traffic" in the traffic circle.  I yelled at the car but her window was up and clearly she didn't hear me.  I didn't have any time to react and next thing I knew the left driver's side of her vehicle was colliding with the right side of my body.  The force of the impact didn't really hurt, but it knocked me down onto the ground and that hurt a lot.  My right foot came unclipped, my left foot remained clipped in, and I skidded across the ground, almost out of my intended exit from the roundabout.  I was laying there, moaning in pain, too shell shocked to move or get up.  I saw another car coming into the roundabout and I thought "please oh please don't run over me!!!"  Thankfully he stopped, as did the lady who hit me, and a few other bystanders as well.  I don't think anyone knew exactly what to do, if they should just leave me there or help me up.  The woman who hit me was freaking out and asking me if I needed anything (um yes, I needed you to look to your left before entering the traffic circle and yield to the oncoming bike).  I couldn't help but notice when she opened up the back of her van that there were about 5-6 cases of beer in there and it was approximately 12:30 in the afternoon!  One person called 911 and being that I was literally less than 100 meters from a fire station, the firefighters arrived on the scene first.  I sat up and unclipped and someone took my bike off of me; I couldn't help but worry about whether or not the frame was cracked.  At this point, pain was starting to sink in a little bit and I got up and sat down on the side of the road in the shade, feeling a little headachy and dizzy.  The firefighters performed some preliminary first aid and surveyed my road rash - I didn't like that I could hear them talking about how bad it looked.  I gave my dad a phone call that no parent wants to receive, "Dad, I got hit by a car (but I'm ok)" and he was there within a few minutes.  EMS arrived and ushered me into the ambulance.  They checked my vitals, asked how I was feeling, looked at my wounds, and recommended that I allow them to transport me to the hospital for further inspection.  At first I didn't want to go, but they said it'd be a good idea to x-ray my elbow, which had taken the brunt of the impact of the fall, to make sure it wasn't broken.  They also wanted to be sure I didn't have any head injuries, as there were a few pretty large cracks in my Giro.

I arrived at the ER and it was fantastic b/c there was literally zero wait time.  As I was sitting there on the cot, I started to realize how much the right side of my body (neck, shoulder, elbow, side, & back) were hurting from getting all scraped up.  The nurses cleaned everything out, I got an x-ray on my arm, and they gave me a bunch of pain killers.  They told me that things were going to get stiffer and more sore over the next 24-48 hours and, boy, they weren't kidding about that.  Everything is so stiff, especially my neck, this morning and it kind of hurts to move.  I feel like I've been hit by a car.  Oh wait, I was hit by a car!  Damn it!

The bright side of this situation is that I am not seriously injured.  X-ray came back ok and it doesn't look like I have anything other than road rash & some seriously bruised muscles.  I know I got really lucky to come out of that with just some scrapes!  I'm so thankful that it wasn't worse.  And I'm so thankful for all the kind people who helped me on the scene, in the ambulance, and at the hospital!  Thanks for being there for me Dad!

From a preliminary inspection, my bike looks ok.  The carbon fiber base bar is chewed up on the right side and pedals are scratched, but I think my body took the brunt of the impact and actually protected the bike!  I won't know for sure though until TrySports Charlie looks over the entire thing from head to toe.  This will most likely affect my training for the next few days.  The doctor didn't give me any restrictions to working out, so I'm assuming it's to be done as tolerated by pain.  So, this accident has transported me from a training peak to a training valley, though hopefully this valley is just a small one ;)

Cyclists, as always, please be careful out there.  And to drivers, please please please be on the lookout for cyclists and other pedestrians.  It's not worth running someone over to get to your destination 30 seconds faster!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Training Peaks (and valleys)

It's hard to believe that Ironman Chattanooga is less than 10 weeks away!!!  It's scary actually cause I don't feel ready.  After Over The Mountain my training sort of took a nose dive down to around 10 or fewer hours/week.  I kept skipping workouts, was sick for a week where I basically did nothing, did some traveling for work, and couldn't string together any consistency.  There was a 2-week stretch where I didn't swim at all!  This left me feeling unfit and also bummed because prior to OTM things were starting to come together again and I was feeling especially good on my long runs.

Well, I'm happy to say I've turned the training train around and have had a few solid back to back 17-hour weeks again.  I'm feeling fit, though I know I don't have too much time left to get to the point that I had originally hoped to when I signed up for IM CHOO.  That's ok though because I've been immensely enjoying training and am so thankful to be able to be out there doing what I'm doing :)  Here's a quick SBR breakdown of where I'm at:

The Swim
As before, I am still not putting a huge emphasis on the swim since the race is supposed to have a decent current.  Now I've heard rumors that the powers at be are not going to open the dam as much as they did last year - damn it - so my strategy could ultimately backfire.  I usually swim 2-3 times per week around 3000 yds per swim.  I've been swimming in various outdoor pools, which have all been about 85+ degrees, making it more difficult than it needs to be.  I've been too scared to swim in the channel after all the shark attacks on the NC coast this summer, but most of the outdoor pools I've been swimming in don't have lane ropes so that's similar to open water swimming right?!  Thankfully, the YMCA just opened again today so I'll start going there next week :)

The Bike
I have REALLY enjoyed the weekend group rides leaving from Poplar Grove.  It's so awesome to see 20+ Wilmington triathletes showing up for these 6 am rides and it always makes me smile.  I've had the good fortune of being able to ride with some really fast ladies & sick fast dudes which I believe is making yours truly faster!  Plus, I love being able to knock out 80 miles in under 4 hours!  That being said, I know I'm not going to have all these great cyclists to draft off of in my race so today I did a solo century and it took me 5 hours 20 min.  Definitely not where I'd like to be, but it's improvement so I can't complain.  I'm feeling super duper comfortable on my IA and I can't say enough great things about that bike.  *LOVE* it!  My saddle situation is under control thank GOD.  I've also gotten very comfortable riding in the wind, which used to be my nemesis.  Hopefully I can continue to increase my endurance on the bike over the next 2 months and pick up a few mph!

The Run
The run has been rough lately.  Prior to my training hiatus, I was going out on 20-22 mile runs and feeling great.  I'd run for 3 hours and feel like I could keep going forever.  More recently I've been having trouble going the distance.  I keep getting these side cramps under my ribs, which makes it hard to take deep breaths.  Maybe this is due to the heat a little bit or maybe it's due to me running out of my PowerGels and using other gels to get by until my next shipment comes in.  At this point I've worked my long run back up to 21 miles.  I was supposed to do some pickups in my last long run, but it was a victory to just get the mileage in.  In contrast to the long runs, my track workouts are going great!  I keep hitting my paces and have had some good training partners out there which always makes it 1000 times better!  I've got a 20 miler tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes - I'm sure my legs will feel fresh after riding 100 today...

Next up for me is Lake Logan Half, which should be interesting.  There are about 20 open women & masters open women signed up for this race which is going to make it really exciting!!  I haven't raced a half since White Lake back in May.  I'd like to beat my time from then, but then again I recall Lake Logan being a really hilly course.  I'm uncertain how I"ll perform in the hills, but I'm certain that It'll be a good pretest for Chattanooga!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Race Report: 3rd Annual SetUp Celebration Time Trial

This race was over a month ago, but it still deserves a write up because it was really cool!  Every year SetUp Events holds a FREE celebration time trial to thank their race participants.  It starts at the Coast Guard Station and goes straight down Banks Channel w/ an incoming tide and finishes at the sandy beach on the channel side of the The Blockade Runner.  

I figured this would be a great workout, plus any triathlete who's a triathlete in Wilmington does this race.  Logistically it's simple; you park at the finish and they shuttle you to the start.  I loaded into the trollies with a few buddies :)  

 The race started with the national anthem and then the oldest swimmer had the honors of being the first one over the timing mats.  From there it's up to you where you'd like to start.  They give you a timing chip so you can start at the front, at the back, with friends, wherever you want!  I started in the middle cause I didn't want to get swum over top of by the real swimmers in the bunch.  I got into a good rhythm early on and just held race pace the entire time.  I drafted a little bit, but nothing too appreciable.  I made the bad decision towards the end of the swim to veer into the center of the channel, which was a dumb idea b/c it only added yardage to the route.  The fastest course would have been to stay as close as possible to the docks.  Here's my route:

At the end of the swim you run up the little beach area and through a mini finish line!  It was pretty fun!  There was also free food from Epic Food Company, which is one of my all time favorite places ot eat in Wilmington!  Yum!

I ended up coming in 10th out of the females and 4th in my age group of 30-39.  However, I actually felt pretty good about that b/c my age group was stacked with Kristen Smith & Jenny 2.0, so 1st & 2nd place were basically predetermined before the race started lol!  As per my Garmin watch, total distance was 2,447 yds and total time was 32:05 (1:19/100 yds).

It was a great way to start the day and I highly recommend this race to anyone!  How often is it that you get to do a FREE timed and supported open water swim with free food, music, & all of your friends!?!?   Thanks SetUp :)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Surfberry Organic Cold Pressed Juice Cleanse

A few weeks ago I was looking for a way to reboot my system and get back on track to super healthy whole foods plant-based eating.  I came across Surferry's organic cold pressed juice cleanse and decided to give it a whirl!  For those of you who live in the Wilmington area and haven't been to Surfberry yet - what are you waiting for?!?  They are located at Wrightsville Beach and I've been going there for a while to get their awesome smoothies & acai bowls.  What I really like about this place is that they are all about clean, fresh, organic, natural, whole, healthy foods.  There aren't any additives, syrups, or extra sugars that go into their smoothies or bowls - instead they are made with real fruit, fruit juices, and almond or soy milk.  Basically, the same ingredients that I would use if I were making a smoothie at home in my Vitamix.

I gotta mention the acai bowls for a sec cause I'm kind of addicted to these things.  My understanding is that they originated in the surfing community as a way to refuel and replenish after long days out on the water.  Acai berries are a superfruit found in South America and they contain beaucoup d'antioxidants.  Acai bowls are made by blending frozen acai puree with almond or peanut butter and soy or almond milk.  Then they're topped with granola, shredded coconut, fresh fruit, & a drizzle of honey!  Sooo delicious!  I sometimes eat these instead of cooking a meal :)

Ok, so back to my juice cleanse.  I had been feeling the effects of toxic hunger.  Don't know what toxic hunger is?  Then this article is a MUST-read!  I wanted to get back on the quick track to healthy eating and feeling fantastic.  Surfberry offers 1-, 3-, and 5-day juice cleanses.  Each day consists of six, 17-ounce bottles of cold pressed, fresh, organic juice:

*3 Green:  kale, spinach, cucumber, romaine, parsley, ginger, green apple
*1 Root Veggie:  carrot, beet, orange
*1 Citrus:  lemon, cayenne pepper, filtered water, maple syrup
*1 Almond Milk:  raw almonds, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup

There are 1145 total calories in the six bottles of juice, so if you are an athlete, you need to time the cleanse with a day that you don't have a big workout and/or supplement with additional bottles of cold-pressed juice.  I waited a couple days after Over The Mountain b/c I wanted to recover a little bit before doing the cleanse.  The recommended schedule for drinking the juice is every 2 hours, starting at 9 am.  This actually worked out perfectly because it seemed like after 2 hours I would start to get a little bit hungry and it was time to drink another juice. I never felt like I was deprived or hangry.

The taste of the juice was very refreshing!  The green juice tasted like Mean Green juice that I have made in my Jack Lalanne juicer at home.  I learned about Mean Green juice from the movie Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, in which a trucker is sick and tired of being sick and tired.  He installs a juicer in his cab and only drinks the juice of fresh produce from stands along the routes of his trips. He ended up losing a boatload of weight and reversing just about every one of his chronic diseases.

I also liked the flavor of the root veggie juice because of course y'all know how much I like my beet juice :)  The almond milk was the perfect juice to end the day with because it tasted like a dessert!  However, my favorite juice of the day was the citrus!  The combo of the tartness of the lemon combined with the peppery cayenne has me stopping by Surfberry from time to time just to purchase this juice by itself!

The purported benefits of juicing include:
*More energy
*Improved sleep
*More balanced moods
*Clearer skin & brighter eyes
*Better digestion
*Weight loss
*Less belly bloat
*A clearer mind

For me, I experienced no stomach issues and I'd say I had a lot of energy during the day and clearer thinking.  I also lost a few pounds, though I suspect this was from consuming fewer calories than normal and having lower glycogen stores ;)  My favorite thing about doing this juice fast is that it got me ramped up to eat clean again.  After doing a day of the juicing and only putting healthy nutrients into my body there was no way I was going to ruin it the next day by eating vegan junk food!  It got my system running cleanly and I've been eating A LOT better ever since!  I'd be happy doing this monthly and trying a longer cleanse next time.

Happy 4th of July to everyone and if you need a way to re-boot your system after eating and drinking too much this weekend, it might be perfect timing for you to try Surfberry's juice cleanse!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

DubSmash This

Just in case you need one more app to help you waste time, you should really check out DubSmash!  It'll give you lots of laughs and ensure that you don't get too far up on the productivity scale.  Here's how it works:

1.  Download the app.
2.  Select one of the thousands of 10-second clips from movies, songs, tv shows, political speeches, etc.  (Or upload your own sound bite.)
3.  Use the app to video yourself dubbing the clip.
4.  Immediately share with friends via text, Facebook, Twitter, or email!

If you still don't know why you would want this app, here's some motivation for you to go back to the App Store (like you need it).

At the very least I hope this gave you a few laughs :)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Race Report: Over The Mountain 2015

Sometimes things just go right.  And that's what happened this weekend.  I started having a good feeling about racing at Over The Mountain about 1-2 weeks ago....a feeling like I knew I was going to do well and I believed that if I had a good day I could win the race.  I've always loved racing at OTM and it is definitely my favorite course of the NCTS series.  The bike course is beautiful, challenging, and just pure fun!  The day before we left, I was tuning up my bike and grabbed a rag to get some of the grease off my chain.  As I was almost done I turned the rag right-side-out and noticed that I had just so happened to be using the 2013 OTM t-shirt!  I felt like this was definitely a sign and a good omen since I won the race back in 2013 :)

On the way to Kings Mountain I felt nervous but it wasn't because of the race.  The awesome folks at Beet Performer had arranged for me to do a live TV interview with WBtv in Charlotte on Friday evening to talk about fueling for triathlons.  I have done a few interviews but they've always been with a reporter who has his/her own camera and we've been able to do multiple takes if need be.  I've never done a live interview and I had no idea what questions they were going to ask me.  When we got to the tv studio I got even more nervous because everything looked so legit like you see on tv!

Despite my nerves the interview went really well!  The anchor & I had good rapport and I even got him to taste beet juice on air!  Thanks to Kurt for coming with me because when I was talking to the anchor and I looked over and saw Kurt smiling it made me feel relaxed and a lot more comfortable on camera - thanks for your support Kurt!!!  Here's a link to the video clip!  After the interview was over it was later than I'd have liked, but I felt calm because now all I had to do was race!

Race morning came early and because OTM is a point to point race there are a few more logistics involved than a typical triathlon.  We picked up packets at swim finish and oh hello!  My bib number was #1.  That's never happened before and I felt like it was another sign that I was going to come in first :)  Swim finish/T1 is on the other side of the lake than swim start and T2 is down town.  So after you set up both transitions you hop on a bus and they take you to swim start.  It sounds complicated, but this race has been going on for so long, it's all really smooth and easy.  On the way to the start, Kurt & I reminisced about the race - OTM was our first triathlon that we ever did back in 2008!

OTM Swim Start 2008
OTM Swim Start 2015

The Swim - 1500m - 26:40 (1:38/100 yds)
Every year that I've done this race it's been wetsuit legal.  But there's always a first time for everything and this year the water temp was 82 or 83.  No wetsuits!  Thankfully, on a whim I had tossed my speed suit into my bag so I decided to wear that over my tri kit.  The swim is in in-water start and as we were waiting for the gun to go off someone said, "So who's going to lead this swim?  Who are the fast swimmers?"  No one responded.  I knew I wouldn't be leading the swim and tried to line up behind a couple people so I could get some draft.  The swim started out well, but early on I found myself with no one to draft off of :(  I later realized that a few women were drafting off of me! Overall I felt good during this swim, but was a little bummed when my watch beeped for the 3rd time signaling I had swam 1500m and I was still in the water.  My Garmin said I did about 1634 yds so I guess I could stand to swim a little straighter next time, though the graph on Garmin connect didn't look terrible!

T1 - 2:14
I almost fell over getting out of the water because the surface was  little bumpy, but swim exit was pretty cool and exciting because there were 4 or 5 of us women who all got out of the water, ran up that GINORMOUS hill, and into T1 at the same time!  It felt like we were in an ITU race!  We all got out on the bikes and you could see everyone spaced out but together on the course.

The Bike - 1:26:46 (19.3 mph)
The bike is why you should do this race!  I can't say enough about how beautiful it is and how much fun it is to ride through Kings Mountain State Park!  This was the first time this year I've felt like I've been in a race on the bike.  The 4 or 5 of us kept passing and re-passing each other throughout the first half of the course.  Unfortunately, at the beginning I felt like I was getting passed more than I was passing other people.  But then, the climbs started to hit and my legs felt good.  I was spinning up them and felt like all that riding into the wind in Wilmington was paying off.  On the descents I dropped it into my hardest gear and pedaled down.  A few times I felt a little nervous because I got up to 40 mph, but I reminded myself of how many times I've ridden this course and all the descending I used to do in Greensboro.  As the course went on I got more and more confident.  I passed the lead woman at about 20 miles into the bike, though I thought at the time there was still one woman ahead of me.

T2 - ?
When I came into T2 they said I was in the lead for the women!  I still wasn't sure that there wasn't one more lady in front of me though.

The Run - 42:45 (6:53 min/mi)
The run starts off down hill and my first mile was 6:35.  I felt decent and I wanted to catch up to the woman ahead of me.  However, people on course kept cheering me on saying I was in first!  I finally believed it when I hit the turnaround without having seen any other ladies ahead of me.  I felt excited to be in the lead, but I also lost a little motivation to keep running as hard as I was.  Two years ago I got my 10K PR (39:21) on this course because I was chasing someone down and didn't pass her until the final miles.   It's hard to believe I ran that fast on this course because it was a lot hillier than I remembered.  But that probably has to do with the fact that I used to live in Greensboro which is hilly, I trained about 10 hours more per week, and I was a dedicated fruitarian.  Anyhow, on the way back I started feeling really fatigued and it was getting more than a little toasty out.  I just kept it moving and tried to keep it under 7:00 miles.  I ran up the finish chute and they announced my name as the female winner and I was stoked to be done and stoked to clench the victory!!

Total Time - 2:38:24 (1st female)
It feels good to win a triathlon again :)  I feel like everything came together on race day and it couldn't have gone much better!  I met up with Kurt at the finish area and turns out he had finished 2nd place in the Aquabike division!  Way to go Kurt!!!  We chowed down on some delicious local watermelon & cantaloupe.  And of course they had the traditional smoked BBQ chicken for all the meat eaters.  Seriously, the town of Kings Mountain goes all out for this race and that is part of what makes this such a special race!

So now I have about 2 months before I do another race.  I don't really like the thought of waiting that long to race again.  I've got a training camp planned with my coach in Greensboro early June and I can't wait to get back to the hills.  Then in August I've got Lake Logan Half, which will be a real good test to see where I'm at before IM Chattanooga.  So for now, it's time to put all the excuses away and put in some consistent training.  In other words it's time to #GTWD.