Wednesday, May 27, 2009


That's how long it took me to complete the triathlon on Monday.

3 hours, 14 minutes and 47 seconds

I think I'm still in awe of myself a little bit. A month or so ago I'd set a goal for myself of 3 hours and 30 minutes, and look what I did! I think it helped that there weren't any clocks out on the course, and I wasn't wearing a watch, so I had no idea how well I was doing until I caught up with one of my fellow TNTers. We ran/walked most of the last loop of the run together. She was wearing a watch, clocking her time, and mentioned that she was going to crush her goal of finishing in 3 hours and 15 minutes. I was surprised and excited to hear that since my goal was 3.5 hours.

Anyway...let's get to a race recap.

My alarm went off at 4:15am so I could get dressed, eat something, and double check that I had everything in my bag. We all met in the lobby at 5am for body marking. Coach Danielle had the task of writing everyone's bib numbers on each arm and each thigh, and their age and swim wave on their right calf. From there, we headed over to the transition area. It was still dark out and the birds were cackling nonstop. Once we got to the transition area, we had about an hour to set up our area at our bike. I laid out my sneakers, my hat, food, water, etc. And then I had to wait around until my swim wave at 7:50am. Mom, Dad and Craig came down around 7:30am and hung out for a while and gave me one last wish of good luck. I wasn't feeling any nervousness until they called my swim wave. Then my stomach got all twisted up in knots, until I had to jump off the dock.

The water made all my nerves go away...probably because there was no turning back now. We had to tread water for a minute or two, and just wait for the gun to go off. The water was slightly warmer than when I swam in the Chesapeake a couple weeks ago, and thankfully the water was fairly still. There were plenty of kayakers, surfboard lifeguards, and police boats in the water to keep us on course and help us if we needed it. And as it turns out...I needed it. On the straightaway, I started to stray off course, swimming towards the wrong buoy. It took 2 different kayaks to get me back on course because the first time I didn't think they were talking to me. Nonetheless, I finished my swim in about 28 minutes. I couldn't believe it when my Mom told me that after the race. It had taken me 37 minutes to swim a mile in the pool, and I expected to take about that long to do the .9 mile swim during the race since I'd be in open water, surrounded by about 100 people.

Coming out of the water, I had a hard time unzipping my wetsuit, but I finally got it unzipped when I was halfway to the transition area. Once at my bike, I stripped off my wetsuit, tried to wipe the dirt off my feet so I could put my socks and shoes on, and I tried to eat part of an orange. I strapped on my helmet, grabbed my bike off the rack and was headed out of the transition area in about 4.5 minutes. We had to run with our bikes a short distance before we could actually mount them, and then we were off on 4 loops around the city. The course was fairly flat, minus the 2 hills near the Capital building, but at least I knew what was coming on the subsequent loops. The two u-turns were a bit tricky too. We also had to dodge water bottles that had fallen off people's bikes and potholes. My biggest fear going into the race was getting a flat tire because I wouldn't be able to change it. But fortunately, both of my tires stayed inflated and my bike served me well for the race. It took me just under 1.5 hours to complete all 4 loops. I almost lost count and had to remember how many times I'd passed Mom and Dad to make sure I didn't do too many or too few.

Since I don't have the fancy bike shoes that clip into my pedals, I didn't have to spend much time in transition. I reracked my bike, took my helmet off, sprayed myself in sunscreen, and ran out. The first mile took us past a Taco Bell and a McDonald's, which just seemed evil to me, but we did have a water station with a sprinkler that I ran through. Unfortunately, the run course didn't provide much shade, so I think I drank a cup of water and poured a cup on my head at each water station. The run course was fairly flat too, minus the run over the Congress Ave. bridge. My legs were shot at this point, and I ended up running and walking the 2 loops. As I started my 2nd and final loop of the run, I met up with Lisa, a fellow TNTer. We stuck together for most of that loop, running and walking and talking, just to keep our minds off what we were actually doing. As we reached the Congress Ave. bridge to cross back towards the finish, she took off so she could run the rest of the way. I planned on doing the same, but simultaneously, both of my quads cramped up. I was able to keep moving forward and I walked until my legs stopped cramping. So as I passed the final water station, I started jogging, and as I got closer to the finish line, I picked up the pace as much as I could, to finish the run in about an hour and 10 minutes.

There were moments during the bike ride where I almost started crying...I just couldn't believe that I was actually competing in a triathlon and doing fairly well. There were about 12 other TNT chapters from across the country that were participating as well, and their coaches and staff were spread out throughout the course. So no matter where I was in the race, there was someone cheering for me. Mom made a nice orange banner for me, so it was easy to spot her and Dad on the course. She wasn't always prepared with the camera, and at one point, I had to slow down during my run to make sure she could snap the picture. Craig had his bright green Red Sox hat on, so he was fairly easy to spot too. They truly helped push me through the triathlon, and I couldn't have beat my goal without them.

I have to get all the pictures together from the race and the weekend, but here are the pictures from the professional photographers that were present throughout the race. I placed 920th out of 1327 people...not too shabby for my first triathlon. I can't thank you all enough for your donations and support throughout the last 6 months. You helped me not only surpass my fundraising goal, but you also helped me accomplish my personal goal of completing a triathlon, and faster than I thought I could.


Sunday, May 24, 2009


That's my bib number for the race tomorrow. That's right...TOMORROW!!

I'll be up, bright and early, to meet the rest of my team at 5am. Hopefully we'll have some jumbo sharpies and we can take care of all of our body marking before heading over to the transition area. I'll have #1315 written all over me, my bike, my helmet...mostly so the photographers can recognize me, but it'll help my parents pick me out of the crowd too. So after the body marking, we'll walk a few blocks from our hotel to the transition area where our bikes are racked. We'll have until 6:30am to set up our small area...lay out our shoes, make sure we have food and drink on our bike, cover ourselves in body glide (so he can avoide chaffing), and build up more and more nervous energy. They close the area at 6:30am, so whatever we need for the swim has to be in our possession. And then I have to hang out for over an hour since my swim wave doesn't start until 7:50am. Then I'll finally get to jump in the water, chill out for a few minutes, and wait for them to sound the horn, signifying the start of MY race.

But enough about the race right now...I'll have much more to share once its over, I'm sure. We arrived in Austin yesterday afternoon, checked into the hotel, and had most of the afternoon to ourselves. My parents and Craig arrived in town around the same time, so we hit up Guero's Taco Bar for lunch. It was delicious! Freshly made corn tortillas, chips & salsa (that you helped yourself to from a salsa bar) and great mexican food! After lunch, I had to pick up my bike since it arrived on a truck, and then I had a little time to relax. Before dinner, Craig and I took a walk up to the Capital and checked out the famous 6th St. It's definitely the place to go in Austin for drinks, live music and tattoos. We met up with Mom & Dad at Stubb's for dinner, but there was a show that night and it was packed to the gills with almost a 2 hour wait. We opted not to wait, and decided we'd go there after the race tomorrow. So instead, we headed over to Hut's Hamburgers for some delicious hamburgers (who would've thought?) The burgers were huge and delicious, the fries were extra crispy and the onion rings were thickly cut and had peppercorns in the batter...a delicious touch. Yesterday's meals probably weren't the best choices for me, but I'm in a new city...I have to try out all the best restaurants! Craig and I walked back on 6th St. to do some more people watching since it was later in the evening and the bars were starting to fill up. There was an interesting mix of people, but there was something for everyone, from a heavy metal pizza joint to a bar with pool tables & shuffleboard to a music venue called, Emo's.

Today was all about prepping for the race. We picked up our participant packets that had our bib number and swim cap, and we got some swag. Not quite what the celebrities walk away with from their awards shows, but I'm content with a shirt, water bottle, and bag! We tried to go for a swim down at one of the parks, but it was closed due to thunder and lightning. So we just took our bikes over to the transition area. I had the mechanic take a last minute look at it, pumped up the tires, and racked it. Tonight was also the Inspiration Dinner. Basically, a giant pasta party for all the Team in Training chapters that are participating. There were 211 of us, and we raised over $780,000 this season! I can't say it enough, but a big THANK YOU for helping me contribute to that total. After the dinner, we headed over to the Congress Ave. bridge to watch the bats! Every night at dusk, hundreds of thousands of bats fly out from under the bridge in search of food. Its an awesome sight! You just see swarms of them flying all over the place...its pretty much organized chaos since they're so bad at flying.

But now, I'm getting ready to go to bed. I'm sure the alarm will go off sooner than I'd like it to, but this is what I've spent the last 6 months training for. I'm trying not to be nervous, and I'm trying to stay relaxed. But i'm sure once I get down to the transition area tomorrow, I'll be a nervous wreck! I don't know what to expect, but our coaches and captains have prepared us as much as they possibly could. I know there will be a big group of Team in Training people out on the course cheering us on. And all I have to remember, aside from what number loop I'm on for the bike and run, is to smile and have fun! That's why I signed up in the first place.

If you're interested, you can check out the course map. We have to do 4 loops on the bike and 2 loops on the run, so I'm hoping I don't lose count. The results will be posted online too. I think you'll be able to search by my name and/or my bib number. But I'll also post something tomorrow...after my nap!

So thanks again to everyone for your support...reading my blog, donating money, or just simply wishing me good luck. I'll be thinking of each and every one of you tomorrow!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Time to Pack!

That's right...race weekend is finally here! It's a bit scary, but at the same time, it's quite exciting.

Last weekend we had an open water swim out at Sandy Point State Park, near Annapolis. I got to test out my wetsuit and get a feel for open water. And let me tell ya' was cooooold! The water temperature was only in the lower 60's, plus it was windy, creating a bit of a current. The cold water took some getting used to, as did not being able to see the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay. Up until that point, I'd only swam in pools where I could see the bottom and easily swim in a straight line. So Saturday was good practice for swimming in my wetsuit, swimming in a straight line, and sighting, so I could stay on course. Swimming against the current made me feel like I was swimming in place, but fortunately, we shouldn't face much of a current in Austin.

This week I've just been trying to catch up on sleep, stay hydrated and prepare for the weekend. But like always, I've procrastinated, and will be doing all of my packing tonight. My bike is already on its way down there...shipped out on Monday, so I'll meet it there. I just need to get all my other gear in order; helmet...sneakers...wet suit...tri shorts...tri top...socks...etc.

I'm anxious to get to Austin and take in the whole race weekend atmosphere. We fly down tomorrow morning, and have a good amount of time on our own to explore the city and get situated. Sunday morning we're going to get a short workout in in the morning to get ourselves ready, and Sunday night is the Inspiration Dinner. Team in Training chapters from across the country will gather for a pasty party, as well as hear from honored teammates to remind us why we're all there. And Monday is race day! You can check the website,, Monday afternoon to see how I did. Just search my name in the results section. I'll do my best to post a few times while I'm down there.

Thanks again to everyone for following my triathlon training journey and supporting me and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. You have helped me surpass my fundraising goal and kept me going when I was feeling burnt out. I couldn't have made it these last 6 months without all of you!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Less Than 2 Weeks!

That's right! By this time in 2 weeks, I will have just completed my first triathlon and I'll be getting on a plane and heading back to DC. I'd like to say the time has flown by, and for the most part it has, but there was definitely a stretch in March and April where I was totally burnt out. But I pushed through and here I am...less than 2 weeks away from completing a triathlon.

My trip to Vietnam and Cambodia was amazing! I didn't get in nearly as many workouts as I would've liked, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime trip that I couldn't pass up. I returned last week and pciked up where I left off with the training. I tested out my wetsuit, and I was excited to learn how much easier it is to swim in the wetsuit. I don't have to worry about keeping my legs afloat anymore since the wetsuit does that for me. I just hope I don't fall on face trying to get out of the wetsuit when I'm transitioning to the bike portion. This Saturday's training is an open water swim, so I'm anxious to test out my wetsuit in the open water, as opposed to the pool we've been swimming in for the past 5 months.

I'm also excited to report that I've surpassed my fundraising goal with $5145!! That is a huge number and I thank each and every one of you for your generous donations and support throughout the last 5 months. When I first started training, the fundraising seemed like such a daunting task on top of the rigorous training schedule. But everyone has opened their hearts and their wallets and have made the fundraising the easiest part. I'm still accepting donations in case you'd still like to make a contribution. Please visit my fundraising site:

I can't wait to get down to Austin and soak up the race weekend atmosphere! All of my hard work and dedication to training will show itself on race day. As the days wind down and I'm becoming slightly less anxious and slightly more nervous. I suppose that's normal for any first-timer. We just have a few hard workouts left and then next week should be a little we can be well rested for race day. I plan on posting at least one more time before the race, so make sure you check back before Memorial Day!