Training Week 22 & The Mental Hurdle


This week was a weird week.

I was stressed at work with looming deadlines and meetings on top of meetings. Of course I was still training and trying to get in my last big mileage week before I begin to taper. This weekend was jam packed too and we just had a ton of stuff going on. I was scraping the bottom of the barrel a few times. I wasn’t really feeling like myself all week. Even my husband pointed out that I wasn’t being the positive, optimistic person I normally am. Something was off. My attitude was different, I was super irritable and I was stuck in my own head. Suddenly I felt hesitant in my abilities. I was questioning everything I had done these past 23 weeks…

I can trace it all back to one minor, tiny (and stupid) thing that happened. [And I will preface everything by saying that I am NOT the type of person to get butt hurt over social media comments. I’ve seen fights go on in comments before and I’ve thought to myself that those people need to get a life.] With that being said I was really taken back by the comments I received after posting a question to my local triathlon club Facebook page this past week.

The image below was my question:

facebook-questionTo my complete shock and surprise the majority of comments I received back from this question were rude. (And they were from my own “teammates“.) The comments crept into my head and made me question everything. I asked an innocent question and was shot down with judgemental questions and comments from people who were supposed to be there for me (since we belong in the same triathlon club). I had never even met many of them before. I would cringe when I got a notification because I didn’t want it to be another rude person commenting on it and talking down to me. Has anyone ever felt like this before? It’s a terrible feeling. Half of me wanted to delete my question, but half of me kept thinking “What is wrong with these people? What is so wrong with my question?!”

I will admit I couldn’t even fall asleep one night last week because my mind was buzzing with the negative comments and thoughts I received. I know I’m probably being overly sensitive here, but I’m a 26-year-old girl who has been working my butt off over the past 23 weeks to get to the starting line of a big race. I am a young triathlete who hasn’t been in the sport that long and I reached out seeking advice and insight from veteran athletes who know more than me — exactly what I was supposed to do. In return I was talked down to, called weak, sent pictures of water snakes, was called a newbie and told I needed to swim more and asked if I was going to drop out several times. Finally after a few days went by and I was feeling smaller and smaller, I went through and deleted the really negative comments. I’m not afraid of a little tough love when it’s needed, but this got out of control and it turned into a bashing fest. There were two nice and helpful comments though. These people told me what typically happens and gave me a few things to be concerned about – i.e. overheating, my body temperature skyrocketing, etc. Stuff that was actually helpful and it was the advice I was looking for. But for every nice and supportive comment came another idiot asking me if I was going to drop out and hinting that I must not be prepared enough. It was really

I couldn’t believe that a sport and a group that is supposed to be positive and is supposed to be about conquering your fears and pushing yourself was doing just the opposite…shooting me down, instilling me with doubt and trying to scare me. (I still can’t even believe people were posting pictures of water snakes in the comments. Honestly — what on earth is wrong with those people?!)

I’ve been racing for three years now. I’ve done over a handful of sprint and Olympic distance races, but I have never completed a 70.3 race before. This is my longest distance to date. I’ve also never been to a race where a wet suit has been “illegal” either. I know nothing about how it works. I even mentioned it in my post last week that I was debating and thinking about what I’d do. I reached out seeking advice and guidance and just the opposite happened.

I’ve been looking back at my training log these past few months and have been telling myself that I am well-trained. And before last week and all those rude comments I really felt like it. I have worked really, really hard and have gotten out of my comfort zone. I’ve gone to group training, clinics and workshops. I’ve done everything right. I can’t and I won’t let rude people’s comments make me question my hard work. I’m mad at myself for spending 4 straight days questioning myself and my abilities. Even my husband got a little heated with me for being so down on myself “Why are you listening to internet trolls!? Why are you letting them win!?” He asked me one morning before I set out for a run and I was telling him how down on myself I had been feeling. “They say stuff like that because they want to look like bad ass’s, but really they are just insecure and feel better about themselves by putting people down. You know better than to listen to them.”

rudenessAnd I do. I do know better than to listen to them. I am just starting to feel better today about everything, although I received another notification last night for another comment basically saying that I should have swam more and hinting at the fact that I wasn’t ready if I’m concerned about not using a wet suit. Last time I checked most people liked using their wet suit and last time I checked it wasn’t public ridicule to ask what happens when something happens in a race. It’s called mentally preparing myself and expecting the unexpected. Shame on those people. This is such a stupid issue to even be concerned about and I wish I didn’t let it get to me. Life is bigger than asking a question about a stupid wet suit and being called weak. Again shame on those people and a little shame on me for letting it get to me.

To all those people hiding behind a keyboard and judging me and making me feel so small — I will prove you wrong and I will make sure I never make anyone else feel like that in this sport. Triathlon is a sport that teaches us to push ourselves, conquer our fears and get out of our comfort zone. I have done all of these things over the last 3 years and especially over the last 23 weeks. I’ll be damned if I let rude comments make me question my journey and get in my head. I know I let this get to my more than I should have, but I also know those people were out of line too. I never want to make someone else feel how I felt reading those comments. I’m not a triathlon rookie and I’ll probably never consider myself a triathlon veteran either, but I will never make someone feel so stupid and small when talking about the sport. I will raise everyone up and encourage the journey. I will be supportive when people don’t know what to expect and are reaching out for help. I will not let this stop me. It may have slowed me down this past week, but I refuse to let the negativity win. Negativity is like a poison. It effected how I felt about everything last week and I’m putting an end to it this week. I will get out there at my race and crush it — with or without a wet suit.

prove-them-wrongI have two more weeks of training and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. I’m not going to dwell on negativity and question myself any longer. Despite the hurdle last week I manager 88 miles. It was a great week and included a 15-mile run and I felt strong during and afterwards. I am completely ready and I cannot wait for the big race.

T-minus 13 days!


Training Week 21 Recap — August Has Arrived!!


It’s August 1st. Wow!

I’m generally not one of those people who say “I can’t believe it’s already [insert month or holiday here]!” Because I always want to say to those people “Really? You can’t believe it? Where have you been then?” I feel like those types of people have a hard time living in the moment, which is something I feel I do a decent job at doing (most of the time that is).

august1I’m pretty self aware and often will find myself looking around and trying to “take in the moment” whether it’s driving to work and seeing the sunrise or looking around at a best friend’s wedding and really trying to be fully present. With that said I am stoked it’s August!! I’m not “surprised” like it snuck up on me, but generally SO excited that it’s here! August is by far my favorite month of the year. There’s something so bitter sweet about it. It’s an exciting time with summer starting to wrap up, kid’s going back to school and everyone starting a new season in life.

august2Last summer was all about getting married on August 29. This year we are most definitely looking forward to August 29 (again) for our one year anniversary, but also the past six months of my life have been preparing for Ironman 70.3 Ohio on August 21. Not only is that going to be an amazing date in August history — but we leave on August 26 for a 10-day vacation in Italy!! Talk about setting the bar high for future Augusts  🙂

I’m so excited for everything! Soon all my hard work will pay off. I’m feeling cool and confident going into the last 3 weeks of training. I did my longest brick EVER on Saturday (almost 6 hours) spent on a 40-mile bike ride and a 10-mile run. I just barely escaped the thunderstorm and rain! I even ran into my best friend up on the trail! She is training for her first half marathon and seriously kicking butt!

I managed to get in a very decent week mileage wise, totally 91 miles in just under 10 hours.

Week-21I realized a few weeks ago that it’s go-time on Akron Marathon training. I’m in great shape now, so basically all I have to do is throw in a few long runs between now and the end of September. This weekend I have 15 miles on the schedule and am psychotically looking forward to it. I have to keep in mind though that I will lose two training weekends in Italy between now and the race.

This week’s training looks promising, with great weather and lots of sunshine. I’m riding my bike to work tomorrow and it’s supposed to be gorgeous out. Yesterday (Sunday) I was thinking of going for an active recovery 5K, but decided I didn’t really want to pound the pavement. Instead the hubs and I went for a beautiful hike — until we suddenly got poured on about half way through! (This seems to be a common theme in my life!)

hiking-togetherThe only issue I am facing going into week 22 is trying to prepare for the race being wet suit legal vs. illegal. I haven’t not swam in a wet suit in probably two years. It’s comforting to know that I cannot sink while wearing a wet suit, so I’m really debating what to do. I think I will probably be OK without one, but I don’t want to take any chances. I’m sure the majority of people won’t wear one. I’m even debating getting a Zoot swim skin, but I don’t really want to drop the cash on it when I have a perfectly good wet suit. I’m still debating and more to come!

Other than that life is so, so good. I can’t even believe it! I love this time of year, I love training and I love the fact that we’ve been married almost a year and get to celebrate our anniversary in Italy!

Here’s to kicking butt the next three weeks! I do have some BIG news for a later date and time — no we aren’t having a baby  🙂 but I want to focus on one big thing at a time and will save discussing for another post!

Happy week 22! AH!!


70.3 Training Week 20 {Recap}


Ironman 70.3Training week 20-recapWeek 20 was a good training week. Good vibes, great weather (well sorta) and enjoyable workouts. Week 20 ended up tallying 113 miles — my all time record miles so far on this 24-week journey!

I’m proud of my training this week and I feel like I am in a really good mental state. I also feel like I’ve hit a new level with biking, which is really exciting to see and feel. I’ve cleaned up my diet too and I have laser focus these last few weeks. We are really in the home stretch now!

This week’s mileage was a combination of biking to work, a half marathon distance run and an epic 50-mile ride. (Of course I threw in a couple gym sessions and shorter runs too!)

ironman-training-week-20-recapThis past weekend I road the annual Sweet Corn Challenge with a few new friends. We did the 50-mile distance and it was a great route. This ride is known for its hills and it definitely didn’t disappoint! I felt strong on the hills and also throughout the ride. I felt like I could have kept going and it was an enjoyable morning. We made it to the finish within 10 minutes of a torrential downpour and lightening storm. We still got drenched of course, but I was happy to not have been out riding in the rain. I passed a lot of the 100-mile riders on my drive back home and my heart went out to them.

sweet-corn-challenge-1sweet-corn-challenge-groupOn Saturday I set out to run 13.1 miles. I meant to head out earlier, but I gave myself an extra hour of sleeping in (it was much needed). By the time I got out to the trail it was nearing 85 degrees. Needless to say it was a slooooow trot to 13.1 miles. I felt decent afterwards, but was sore the rest of the day.

On Tuesday during the week I rode to and from work — a nice little 30 miles. I had a giant breakthrough on that ride though and FINALLY made it up the massive hill on Gates Mills Blvd! I have been trying to climb this hill for almost THREE years now!! I’ve only made it up half way and then had to walk, but this past week I finally did it. I was “woo-hooing” to myself as I got to the top…it was 7AM, FYI. Like I’ve said before I am the queen of talking to myself during training and races. I probably look like a lunatic to the average eye, but hey whatever gets me across that finish line  🙂

I am feeling so good about training and have been reading about mentally preparing for the race and ways to calm nerves. Ironman has released start times and my age group is the second to last group — which I don’t really understand and it stinks a little bit, but I can’t really do anything about it I guess. It’s getting so close!!

participant-list-70.3ironman70.3-wave-timesI am getting SO excited. It feels great to be excited and believe in yourself vs. doubting yourself after a few tough workouts and rough patches. Training has been a roller coaster of emotions. High highs and low lows and everything in between. I’m excited to see this through until the end!

Here’s to week 21 of training! T-minus 27 days ’til race day!


70.3 Training – Week 19 {Recap}


Ironman Ohio Training Week 19 RecapTraining this week felt enjoyable, but was pretty uneventful. After a much needed three days off, I hit the ground running on Thursday with new-found motivation. This was my goal and I was happy to be back.

I wrote last week about a three-day juice cleanse I was doing on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Day one and two were fine, with little to no problems. I felt decently full except for a dull (but manageable) headache. Then on Wednesday morning I woke up with a splitting headache! I chugged water and green tea and drank all my juices, but I never managed to get rid of the headache. I woke up on Thursday and ate solid food and instantly my headache lifted. My body was definitely trying to tell me to eat something! Despite the third day, the juice cleanse was overall pretty simple. I really did feel detoxed afterwards and I felt like I hit restart on my system. So far I still haven’t had any “bad” food since ending the juice cleanse and I feel great. I weighted myself on Thursday morning and I had lost 5lbs while doing the cleanse. (Of course I took this as a grain of salt because it was just all water weight!) Still – I felt good! If you are looking for a clean and simple way to jump start your system and clean-up your diet, I recommend a raw juice cleanse.

Soooo despite missing out on three days of training this past week, I still managed 59 miles in just over 7 hours. This is the first week in six weeks that my weekly mileage hasn’t been over 70. I think I can cut myself some slack  🙂

week-19On Saturday morning I got up early to head to the pool for a swim (because I tried to go Thursday before work, but the pool was closed!! Let me tell you how much that sucked at 6AM!) After my swim I ran 10.6 miles and I felt awesome. My body is getting used to some distance and I was excited to feel so good during the run.

Sunday I got up early again and headed out for a 32-mile bike ride. I rode through Willoughby, Willoughby Hills, Gates Mill and Hunting Valley. It was such a gorgeous morning. I was in heaven! The sun was shining and there were so many other riders and runners out. I found myself thanking God for the chance to be out there and being able to ride and train.

bike-ride-trainingpic-riding-parkThis week’s training is looking pretty full. I swam this morning and am riding to work tomorrow (30-miles total). I will do a CTC brick on Wednesday, a long run on Thursday and an indoor brick at the gym on Friday. Not sure what the plans are for this weekend yet. We were supposed to go to Put-N-Bay, but the weather is looking iffy. If we don’t end up going I may do the Sweet Corn Challenge on Sunday (50 miles), but we’ll see!

I honestly cannot believe we are in week 20 of training. Only 4 more weeks until race day!

Stay safe – happy training!

70.3 Training Week 18


Thank God for the Miltonman Olympic triathlon this past weekend! After a terrible, no good, very bad day of training last week, my confidence was shattered and I was questioning my 18 weeks of training. I was super nervous going into the race because it was a crucial step in proving to myself that I was ready and where I needed to be.

no-negative-thoughtsThe rain held off and it was a beautiful Saturday morning to race. I stayed in Friday night to get everything ready and I got a good night of sleep. I woke up early the next day and was out the door by 5:45AM. I arrived at the venue at 6:55AM and the race began at 8AM. I had plenty of time so I told myself to relax and take it easy.

transition-2-milton-lakeI listened to music as I got everything ready. Usually I am too nervous to do this, but I decided to give it a shot to see if it would help my nerves. I even watched my favorite Ironman YouTube video to help motivate and inspire me. I made small talk with a few athletes around me, but I kept telling myself to just focus on me. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you’re not constantly looking around and watching every other athlete and comparing yourself to them. I was there to run MY race and to prove to MYSELF and I think deep down I understood that so I stopped caring what the other athletes were doing.

transition-milton-lakeThe swim was a dock start so we all lined up and got to jump into the water one-by-one. Everything happened so fast that I barely had time to think about it, which I was thankful for. I did notice that I had the same feelings as the last Olympic I did — I was slightly nervous, but more excited than anything. The water was warm when I dove in and I told myself to just relax and do my own thing. The sun was shining and the lake had beautiful surroundings. I found myself just thanking God for the opportunity to be out there for most of the swim.

dock-start-2-JPGI didn’t have one freak out! I never even had to flip over on my back to backstroke! I treaded water to adjust my goggles twice, but even then I was calm and efficient. Toward the last straight away to shore, I realized I had to pee pretty bad. I tried my best to continue swimming and to pee at the same time, but it just wasn’t working LOL. I knew I had to go before I got on the bike though, so I ran to the restrooms as soon as I had my wet suit off. (Thankfully the bathrooms were right next to transition.)fearless-milton-lake

Now onto the bike. Ah yes, the bike. The “most fun” of all three sports to me. Now a few days ago I realized I had a back flat tire. Thankfully it wasn’t during a ride. My husband and I tried to change it ourselves, but after realizing I only had one tube (which was for a flat on the road) I decided just to take it to our local bike shop. We watched a few YouTube videos on how to take off and put back on the tire and after fiddling with it, we got the back tire back on. Now this is where my own stupid behavior comes in. I didn’t think to test ride it at all until the actual race. The bike pedals seemed fine when we picked it up and gave it a few spins, but I never actually rode it until I hopped on it to start the bike leg of the race…

Instantly I could feel something wrong. It wasn’t really pedaling and when it was it was really hard and sounded like the gears were breaking. I jumped off and spent about 5 minutes trying to tighten and move things around. I couldn’t actually figure out what was wrong with it though. My face was red and I didn’t look up. I just kept trying to figure it out, which I honestly had no idea what I was doing! I had watched a few YouTube videos, but I couldn’t remember anything at that point. Then suddenly a nice man came up “Can I give you a hand with this?” He asked. I wanted to scream “YES please help me please fix it!!”. He took a look and adjusted a few things and then it seemed like it was OK. I thanked him and was off. But then seriously 3 minutes later, just as I fully exited out of transition and pedaled only a few feet, I heard weird clicking and breaking sounds and I knew something was wrong with it again. I pulled off onto the grass and practically threw my bike. Now I was alone on the course and no athletes were going to stop and help me (and I don’t blame them). Thoughts of just walking my bike back to my car and going home flashed through my head. Why was this happening?! I spent another 5 minutes working on it and managed to get my entire back wheel off. Great. Now I had no back wheel and was stranded. Suddenly a car pulled up and the same nice guy who had helped me earlier ran up to me. I started to explain what I was seeing and after a few adjustments he said “Your back axle is on backwards”. He adjusted it, then he said he loosened my breaks. I hopped back on and FINALLY it felt normal. I saw the car he was in ride past me on the course and realized he was “bike support” for the race. I silently thanked him over and over again in my head.

Despite losing about 10 minutes on bike technical difficulties, my time was pretty average at 1:33. I felt like I was really hammering to make up time though and I arrived back in transition breathless, but way less flustered than I was when I started the leg. My T2 was quick and efficient and before I knew it I was out on the run course.

lake-milton-bridgeI must say though – it was the best triathlon run I’ve ever had! I didn’t walk one time, which may sound pathetic to others, but the past two Olympic triathlons I’ve done the run has felt like pure torture and I have had mental fights just to keep going. This run felt good and I really enjoyed the scenery. My legs weren’t screaming at me to stop and I didn’t feel that mental “despair” out of pure tiredness. Once again I found myself talking to God and thanking him for the summer, the weather and the chance to be out there competing in a triathlon. I finished on a good note and was happy and proud.

I ran into the guy who had helped me with my bike and I thanked him profusely. Not sure what I would have done without him! Lesson learned  🙂

I am still on a high from the race. I love the Olympic distance and I love competing on beautiful, sunny summer days. It really makes you appreciate everything you have and are able to do. I want to chase that feeling for the rest of my life.

On Sunday I got up early to get in a solid 11 miles, bringing my weekly total up to 82 miles. Needless to say my legs are shot and I am a good sore and tired this morning.


For the next three days I will be on a juice cleanse by Juice From The Raw. I’ve had this planned for about three weeks now. Basically when I started questioning my training and when I had a “why am I doing this” week, I knew my mind and body were begging me for a little break. A few co-workers have done juice cleanses recently and I’ve been curious about them. I found a coupon and ordered it and have planned THREE total rest days in a row. I’m so excited. Three glorious days to not think about training and to allow my tired legs a good break. I have a massage planned for tonight, a facial planned for tomorrow night and on Wednesday night I’m going to go sit in the hot tube and sauna at my gym. The next three days will be all about detoxing, resting and restarting my body and system.

juicesThis morning I weighed myself for the first time in nearly four months and was pleasantly surprised to see I was down 5lbs. I’m not trying to lose weight, but I’m also not really watching what I eat either. Yes I eat a good amount of salads and veggies and take certain supplements, but I have not restricted myself all summer. We’ve gone on plenty of trips and there have been many nights at the bar filled with pizza and beer to say the least. All I’ve really focused on is making sure my training was on point and making sure I ate decently around my bigger training days or races. I’m excited to try to focus on nutrition now. (I realize this probably should have played a bigger role earlier on in my 70.3 training, but who wants to diet or watch what they eat during the summer?!) Workouts and training are easy and fun — it’s what you put in your mouth that is the real challenge. I’m really going to start being more conscious of it.

Here’s to the next three days! I feel positive and happy and I’m thankful for where I am in my training and in my life. I know that with taking three days off I am automatically going to have a lower mileage number this week, but that is OK. Three days off won’t hinder my fitness. If anything it will help recharge my motivation and I’m excited to see how I feel both physically and mentally.

Happy training week 19! (WOW 19!!)


Week 17 + New York City


Ya’all I am burned out.

Not so much physically, but mentally. I am growing tired of doing the same things day in and day out and constantly worrying about and checking my weekly mileage. I definitely put the pressure on myself, but I HAVE to be at 70+ miles every week. If I’m not I freak out and instantly start thinking that I’m “under trained”. I know…. I’m ridiculous.

Who knows maybe I’m supposed to have a “melt down” during my 24-weeks of training. Maybe I’m supposed to burn out to get to a better mental place afterwards. Who knows?! All I do know is that I’m mentally exhausted and that I’m at a low point in my training after a rough day last Friday…

wavesI decided to do Emeraldman, which is a full day of Ironman training for Cleveland Triathlon Club. It takes place the Friday before 4th of July weekend and I was really looking forward to it because I was going to be able to train with other people. I do most of my training alone, so anytime I get to train with CTC I am happy.

The training started with a swim at Columbia Beach Park and then everyone headed over to the Rocky River Reservation afterwards for the bike and run. It was an out and back course so whenever you wanted to turn around you could. I was so pumped for the day! I couldn’t wait to take the day off from work to train with other triathletes. I set everything up like a race the night before and I was both nervous and excited when I pulled into the parking lot. I didn’t technically know anyone, but that was OK. The Club is super welcoming and everyone is always very nice.

I got to the beach and put my wet suit on. I made small talk with a few people around me and felt pretty good. The sun was rising and it was warm, but not too hot. Half of the group went out to do a 1.8-mile swim while a smaller group stayed parallel with the shore, which I opted to do. I wanted to swim about a mile.

Some of the group pre-swim

Some of the group pre-swim

The group of swimmers I was with were faster than me, but I didn’t mind. I just swam along behind them doing my thing… Then about five minutes into the swim I suddenly found that I couldn’t take a deep breath in. My wet suit seemed too tight and my lungs were irritated. I began to cough. (Mind you — I have sports-induced asthma, which I think is a load of crap, but that’s another story for anther day. The point is when I start to cough it lingers because of my asthma.) Despite my cough, I kept swimming and tried my best to ignore it, but it just kept getting worse. I couldn’t find any sort of rhythm in my stroke and I found that I could only go a few moments without having to stop to cough. I tried blowing bubbles into the water and I flipped over onto my back to try to gather myself repeatedly. I did backstroke for a few moments and then a giant rush of water went up my noise, causing me to spit and start coughing even harder. I continued to cough very hard the remainder of the swim and I was trailing pretty far behind everyone by now. The thing is I didn’t even mind that I was last, but I was MISERABLE. I couldn’t stop coughing or catch my breath and I freaked out every time I put my face in the water. What was wrong with me?!

The rest of the swimmers were going to swim one more time across the shore, but I announced I was heading in. I was panicking just to touch the sand again and as soon as I did I ripped off my wet suit and fought back tears. What was wrong with me?! Why had I just acted as if that was the first open water swim in my life?! I was making rookie mistakes like allowing my panic to skyrocket to the point where I couldn’t bring it back. My breath was short and harsh and my arms and legs thrashed through the water like a lunatic. All of these things do NOTHING to stop open water anxiety and I KNEW this, yet I kept doing it. Even now, days later I still get a pit in my stomach thinking about that swim. What was my problem? Am I even ready? I have an Olympic distance triathlon this Saturday and I have been dreading it because of my performance at Emeraldman.

dissapointmentTo make the Emeraldman training day even more terrible for me – I coughed for the next several hours and never really felt like I could take a deep breathe in (even with my rescue inhaler). Then it started to pour as soon as we were about to get on our bikes… And I’m talking tsunami level pouring rain. I was like a wet cat. Riding my bike completely miserable and hating everything triathlon related. I had to convince myself not to turn around instantly. I went back and forth in my head over when was a decent time to turn around and I decided 15 would do. That way I could get in a solid 30-miles, but my original plan and hope was that I could get in 56 (the full 70.3 bike distance.) Of course this was another bitter disappointment of the day for me. I honestly couldn’t wait to get off the bike, sit down in my car and just be by myself. I was miserable, cold, wet, disappointed, mad, and still coughing up a lung.

Emeraldman has haunted me all week and even this morning in the pool, I felt slight twinges of panic in the water because of my awful experience last Friday. I was able to contact my doctor and get a refill for a steroid inhaler, which should help with the lung irritation I have been feeling. I am still beyond nervous for my race this weekend. I don’t get why I was so freaked out. Maybe I didn’t warm up enough or maybe my wet suit wasn’t on right. Maybe I just didn’t mentally prepare myself enough for the OWS. Whatever it was, I need to do 300 times better on Saturday. It stinks because it shattered my confidence in swimming and of course it happened the week before a race. I can’t let this get me down though. I have to keep fighting and pushing through and believe that I can do the swim correctly and strong.

Despite how awful Emeraldman was for me (and honestly it was a great event, I just had a terrible, lousy performance), I still had a decent week of training. I managed to get in 81 miles while also traveling to New York City for the long weekend. I used the immaculate hotel gym and also got to bike through Central Park.

Week-17It was an awesome trip and it was out first time in NYC. What an amazing city! Now it’s time to buckle down and get mentally tough for my race. Triathlon is a mental mind game, especially the open water swim. It’s all in what you tell yourself and how cool, calm and collected you stay in the water.


Ironman 70.3 Training {Week 16}


This week was a pretty uneventful week in my little training world.

The entire city had Cav’s fever and I chose to sleep in not once, not twice, but THREE days this week after being out late celebrating the nights before. My consequence was having to train after work and just being totally exhausted. I still managed to keep some of the training magic alive, despite feeling very tired and distracted.

Here’s how the week panned out:

week-1675 total miles and just over 10 hours of training. I didn’t take a rest day this week, but on Wednesday and Sunday I did a short 5K run both days and kept having to tell myself that it was OK. I used to think running anything under 4 miles wasn’t even a workout and that it was a complete waste of time. I think I came up with this idea somewhere in my full marathon training, but it’s time to get rid of that notion. It’s great active recovery and it was amazing to be done training for the day after just 30 minutes!

I was really looking forward to Saturday because my mom and I were doing a 30-mile ride with Lake Metroparks along the Lake Erie Harbor. It turned out to be beautiful weather and the sights were as promised. It was nice to cruise along in the sun while watching the lake as your view.

mom-me-bike-rideI took the world’s dumbest spill while out riding on Saturday though. I was going pretty fast, but we were off a deadend street so thankfully there were no cars around. I turned over a huge pile of gravel — like the kind you fill your driveway with — and my bike completely slid out from underneath me. I had no defense whatsoever and my feet were still clicked into my pedals. I caught myself on my left elbow and scraped it up. It looked worse than it was, but it’s still pretty tender a few days later. Note to self – be very, very careful on gravel.

arm-woundI thought it was ironically appropriate that someone posted on the Cleveland Triathlon Club Facebook page about having a “Why am I doing this” type of week. I felt similar and was just so tired. I’ve mentioned before that I am following a free 70.3 training plan from pro-triathlete, AJ Baucco. He commented on the Facebook post and I thought it was worth repeating here:

“It’s all about balance and living “in the sport”. That’s the kind of stuff that fosters long term development. If you don’t train for a week, it’s just a week. 7 days out of thousands and thousands of days in your athletic career. The goal should always be to remain happy with the sport and eager to remain active.”

Let me reiterate that last part to anyone reading and needing a boost (myself included): “The goal should always be to remain happy with the sport and eager to remain active.”

I often wonder to myself “What am I going to do after the Ironman?” or “Do I think I will ever do another long distance race again?” or even “Will I keep doing triathlons after this summer?” …and I have no idea how to answer any of these questions and it can be overwhelming at times. I start panicking that I will stop working out altogether after the race and lose all my fitness and drive and just become boring. But when I read “…you should be eager to remain active.” That hit me hard. That’s what I want. That’s what I should aim for.

Even if I stop doing races or if I never compete in triathlons ever again — I still want to be active. I still want to keep swimming, biking and running because I love it and because it’s fun and because it’s good for me. I still want to go paddle boarding and rock climbing and zip lining. I feel better when I’m active. It makes me feel good and I always want to have that in my life. I don’t know what’s next after Ironman 70.3, but I do know that I want to be eager to remain active. That’s the bigger picture I should be chasing!

Let’s head into week 17!

Happy training friends!

Training Week 15 {& The Championship Title}


First and foremost — GO CAVS!!! The city of Cleveland is on fire! The drought is finally over! After 52 years, Cleveland has a reason to celebrate!

My training this week wasn’t nearly as exciting as the Cavs game last night, but it still went well. I totaled 76.11 miles this week in 10 hours and 27 minutes.

Week-15I went to an outdoor bootcamp on Tuesday and absolutely destroyed my legs with lunges and squats. The next day I rode 20-miles with Cleveland Triathlon Club and was SO slow because I was SO sore. My quads and glutes were shaking with every hill we climbed. Then on Thursday I killed an hour swim workout and my body was beat for the rest of the day. On Friday morning I set out to run 5-miles before work, but the morning was so beautiful and nice that I couldn’t stop! I ended up doing 8.3 miles and then had to speed to work (ha ha!). It was a tough, but good week of training and I enjoyed the challenges.

Saturday I got up super early to get in a long ride and run. We had a wedding at 2PM and I knew it was going to be a race against the clock. I road 35 miles and then did a 10K run. Overall it took me about 3.5 hours and we just barely made it on time to the ceremony. The rest of the day I was hobbling around on tired, sore legs but I loved the workout I got in and it was at my favorite park. I had a blast jamming to music on the run and just enjoyed being outside in the sun. Everything FINALLY feels like summer and I can’t believe it’s happening!!

sat-bike-ridesat-runSunday we slept in — you know after putting back a few glasses of wine at the wedding the night before 🙂

See I can wear something other than bike shorts and tennis shoes :)

See I can wear something other than bike shorts and tennis shoes 🙂

The weather was beautiful on Sunday and we headed to Fairport Harbor to go paddle boarding. I love paddle boarding! Something about being out in the middle of the lake and going at your own pace — plus it’s a great workout. If you haven’t tried it yet check it out! The rental price is very decent too. I brought my swim stuff with me since there is a lap lane in the harbor, but I just wasn’t feeling it afterwards. We headed over to our friend’s pool after the beach, but the water was freezing cold so we just sat on the deck and chatted.

Then we headed home and another friend picked us up shortly after to head to a bar to watch the big Cavs game. What a fun time! We had a group of 10 people and we all went wild when we won. Fireworks blasted in the background and we hugged random strangers. It really felt like summer as we celebrated out on the back patio and it was awesome to be experiencing the win for Cleveland. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but so SO fun!

sun-cavs-winWe are thinking of taking Wednesday off work this week to head downtown for the Cavs homecoming parade, so that should be an experience! I’m also excited for this weekend because my mom is coming up from Cincinnati and we are doing a 30-mile ride together in the Metroparks. It’s a great time for Cleveland and I’m really proud to call this city home!

We Defended The Land!! Happy Training Week 16!

(And happy “official” first day of summer!)


70.3 Training Week 14 & The Great Western Reserve Triathlon 2016


Week 14 was race week! I managed to get in 75 miles and I’m happy with the number, my effort and how the race went.

week-14-trainingIt was my first triathlon of the season and I was nervously excited. I was actually relieved that I felt more excited than nervous, but the nerves were definitely still there too! I loved that they changed the race to Saturday this year. I am a huge fan of Saturday races vs. Sunday races because I feel like I have more time for the weekend and other activities and also I like relaxing on Sunday mornings (who doesn’t?!).

The closer it got to Saturday the more excited I got. Of course I was still nervous for the swim – particularly swimming and remaining calm in my tight wet suit, but I couldn’t wait to see where I was in terms of training and preparation. This race was my second Olympic distance and my sixth overall triathlon.

I felt like I had an easy time putting together my race bag the night before. Everything fit into an Under Armor book bag (except I carried my wet suit). This is a huge improvement considering I used to bring a giant plastic grocery bag and a book bag with me to races. (I’m not sure what I even brought with me to fill all that in past years!!)

post-race-setupEverything (thankfully) went pretty smooth on race day. I did get the wrong bib and ankle timer at first and luckily I happened to look down and see that my name wasn’t “Travis Holloway”. I was able to run up and exchange it for “Cassandra Holloway” fairly quickly before heading down to the beach for the swim.

Normally I go to triathlons alone. Sometimes I drag my husband with me if I’m feeling super self conscience, but I don’t have any “good friends” who are also triathletes. Of course I know some people and I say hi, but it’s not like I’m hanging out with my best friends during these events. I normally tinker around by myself on race morning and am very timid. On Saturday though I somehow, somewhere flipped a switched. I was there to race and to get the job done. I felt confident and for the first time in my three years of triathlon I felt like I actually knew what I was doing and like I wasn’t a fish out of water. I knew how everything worked and like I said before I was more excited than nervous. I saw people I knew and I happily chatted. Because of all this I started the race feeling strong, confident and relaxed. I set everything up perfectly and took the time to mentally go through the race. I even warmed up in the water! Normally I am WAY to nervous and I just stand there like a bump on a log about to pee myself. This time I was practically doing handstands in the water and chatting with people around me before we had to go line up on the beach for the start. The water felt refreshing and the sun was shining. I felt good!

racked-and-readyThe great thing about being part of Cleveland Triathlon Club and buying a team race kit is that you basically have “built in” friends while doing local races. I saw probably 10 other people racing in the exact same kit as me and we cheered and shouted encouragement when we saw each other out on the course. This makes a BIG difference and I was practically patting myself on the back for stepping out of my comfort zone and joining CTC and getting involved. It’s not easy to start something new by yourself, but I’ve always said that I’m not the type of person to NOT do something because I’m afraid of going or doing it alone.

In general the race was excellent. I stayed calm (for the most part) during the swim and I drafted successfully for half the swim next to another swimmer. There was a point when my fingers and toes grazed seaweed and I instantly felt my panic mode increase. I had to literately shout to myself “IT’S ALRIGHT!!” like a lunatic, but it got my thoughts in order and I pressed on. I am pretty much the queen of talking to myself during races though. I didn’t even care how crazy I sounded during some moments. I was dreading a hill on the bike course (since it was a 2-lap course) and I told myself that it would be over in 10 seconds and to just count out loud during it. I was practically screaming and counting, but it got me through it! Then on the run course (which was the hardest part of the whole race) I was really struggling the first few miles. It was very hot and the sun was beating down, but talking to myself (more like whispering encouragements to myself when I’d pass people) helped me press on. It was actually hilarious and I was laughing out loud at myself afterwards. Hey – whatever gets me to the finish line!!

"Fearless" is my power word. It's always my motto when things get tough or when I get nervous or if I'm questioning myself

“Fearless” is my power word. It’s always my motto when things get tough or when I get nervous or if I’m questioning myself. I write this on my hand during every triathlon as a reminder.

The race was awesome and I’m very happy with how it turned out. I think I need to focus on faster transitions times, being more aggressive in the water (maybe starting up more towards the front) and feeling strong on the run. I know the beginning of the triathlon run is always the hardest, so I need to either get better/stronger at running off the bike and/or get better/stronger mentally to get over the hard part. Once I found my groove on the run I was doing decent, but I had a couple dark moments in the beginning where I didn’t think I could continue another step.

After this weekend’s race, I think I’ll be around 7 hours for Ironman 70.3 Ohio. I did some research on average times and I think I’ll be around: 1 hour for the swim, 3 to 3.5 hours for the bike and just under 3 hours for the half marathon. Honestly my main goal for 70.3 is to just finish. I can think about PR’s after I know I can survive! 🙂

average-half-iron-timesSunday was a good day because I knew I had worked hard all week and I was still riding the high of the race on Saturday. We went to a cookout Saturday night and it felt good to relax and drink beer with friends. On Sunday I was up early to clean the house and then the hubby and I left to go have lunch on the beach and then went zip-lining. It was an awesome day and I highly recommend Go Ape Zip-lining in Strongsville. It’s not just straight zip lines the whole time either – it has tons of amazing and hilarious obstacles. I wish it was closer to our house because I feel like we’d be there all the time! It’s a little pricey, but if you’re looking for a great outdoor adventure for an afternoon this is the right place.

Happy week 15! Let’s go get ’em!


Training Week 10 {When It Got Real}


I have survived 10 weeks of training for my first Ironman 70.3. THAT is crazy. But the weirder thing is I still have 14 more weeks to go. This makes me a little happy and relieved… and also pretty anxious if I’m being honest.

training-week-10-overviewThis week I hit a new mileage and time training max and I feel like I really put in an enormous effort to hit them both. It’s hard to imagine putting in even MORE time and MORE miles in the upcoming weeks. (But I know it’s coming.)

It’s hard work racing the clock almost every single morning before work (even if I do get up at 4:30AM). It’s also tough to head to the gym after a long day of work knowing I have another 2 hours of workouts ahead of me and I have 20 other things I need to do that night. AND along those lines it’s also REALLY tough to make the responsible decision and have one glass of wine on a Friday night because you have to be up early the next morning for your long weekend workout. (Anyone else with me on this struggle???) I guess my point is that it’s already super tough balancing life, relationships and work with training for an Ironman. It’s hard work, it’s time management and it’s sacrifice. It’s going to get even tougher in the upcoming weeks, but I’m all in. Here’s to even earlier wake up calls and only seeing my husband for about 1 hour every night LOL. (How do people train for full Ironmans with kids? God bless them.)

life-is-goneHere’s a break down of training week 10:

Total Miles: 84
Total Time Spent Training: Eight hours, twenty eight minutes

week-10This weekend was my first weekend home in three weeks, so I had big plans for Saturday morning, even though the weather was terrible. (Apparently it snowed in some places in Ohio on Sunday, luckily we didn’t see it where we were though.) Despite the crappy weather I got in 30 miles on the spin bike and then 6.5 outside running. I was happy to switch gears and get outside after being on the bike for 2 hours. Overall I felt OK and still felt like I had some gas left in the tank at the end. I plan on doing this workout fairly often because it’s a good distance (and it’s also basically the Olympic distance). It was just under 4 hours after everything was said and done.

Saturday's Ride

Saturday’s Ride

View from the pain cave

View from the pain cave

I’m taking my bike in for a post-winter hibernation tune up this week and I’m hoping to be able to ride it to work this Friday for National Bike To Work Day. (I’m really looking forward to getting off the spin bike!!)

Last night I slept really crappy and decided to train after work today instead of this morning. I just couldn’t mentally race the clock again and I didn’t feel like rushing around. It’s all good though! I’m headed in for a 5 mile run and then a swim today after work. It’s all about being flexible and moving your training around to fit your life. {Listen to your body – both mentally and physically.}

Happy training week 11!!