Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What is Ironman?

Ironman Triathlon is the ultimate endurance event. I won’t bore you with the history but if you’re interested, you can read all about it on Wikipedia.

To give my non-triathlete friends and idea of what this race means, I came up with a description that I think paints a picture of how far and how long we’ll be going:

Imagine that you go to the pool and swim 160 laps (i.e., 2.4 miles).

Then you get on your bike and bike from DC to Baltimore and back (112 miles).

Afterwards you run a marathon, or the equivalent of running from DC to Herndon (26.2 miles).

Sound like a long day?

(Next time you see a 140.6 sticker, you'll know what it means.)

Obviously some people will finish faster than others. Imagine that you get up one morning, and go for a walk at 7 am. And you walk, and walk, and walk, and you don’t stop walking until 10:30 p.m.

Yes, that is how long I will be racing.

And I won’t just be walking.

Okay, now I am freaking myself out again…

Finally, it occurred to me over the weekend that if I were to drive to the race in Panama City, Florida, I could possibly do so in less time than it would take me to actually complete the Ironman. [The 993-mile car trip, according to Google Maps, would take around 15 hours. I expect/hope to finish IM between 15 and 16 hours.]


Now I have to go to bed. I need my sleep.

New day (and race report)


It is a new day and the shock of yesterday has settled. I knew it wasn't good when I got the call which began "Hey Catharine, did your bike have wheels on it?"

Thanks to my wonderful Team Z teammates, it looks like this is all going to work out okay and cost me a lot less than it could have.

Special thanks to J.R., whom I had never met before yesterday. He drove over to my building last night with perfect wheels for me to borrow until I get a new wheelset. He even helped me put them on.

Unfortunately we didn’t have all of the necessary parts, and somehow managed to blow the tube when inflating it. Surprisingly it didn't seem to startle the cats (Earl and Pepper). I’m hoping that after a trip to the bike shop tonight I'll be all set. It is a shame that this happens to be the week that my gym is closed for renovations. I have a good excuse not to bike or spin today :)

I really appreciate all of the sympathy and empathy. I am definitely keeping this all in perspective. Even though it could be a lot worse, I think I was entitled to a little pity party. I’m done with that now.

Race report

This will be a short one. Sunday I raced the Montclair Triathlon. Strange distances. A 1k (.6 mile) swim, 30k (18.6 mile) bike, and 8k (4.8 mile) run. For whatever reason I was super laid back going into this race. No plan, no expectations. I was really thinking of it as a training day.

It was a nice race with odd logistics. Because it took place in a neighborhood, the only official parking was at a school 2 miles away. Fortunately I have the cool USAT backpack I got for my efforts back at the Richmond Duathlon. I threw all of my gear in there and biked from the lot to the transition area. It was quite strange riding like that when it was just barely sunrise.

Before the race

My transition setup

Ms. Piggy before she was pillaged

The swim was in the 80-degree lake, so wetsuits were not legal. I actually enjoyed the water. My form for the swim stunk, but I did okay. I wasn't fast, but I wasn't last.

Thanks to Ben for this great shot of me coming out of the water

Although I hadn’t really set goals for myself, I did write down my expectations beforehand (and then promptly forgot what I wrote). When I got to work Monday I saw that I had gotten within 30 seconds of what I predicted. Ha!

The bike course was three moderately hilly loops. I got passed quite a bit, but towards the end I actually passed a few people myself. I was very unfocused on the ride. I am not sure what the issue was. Part of the problem is that my HR monitor wasn’t registering for the first half. I think I could have gone faster. Oh well.

The last ever picture of Miss Piggy with her wheels

The run is usually my strength and it is nice to always have that part last. I know how to run. It is so much simpler than swimming or biking. Yes, there is some technique involved and I am working on my form. I usually enjoy the run because I do a lot more passing than being passed. Sunday was no exception. The course was a bit on the hilly side. It was a two loop course, with a strange jaunt through the woods as the second loop began. Weird. Anyhow, it went well and I left it all out on the course.

Happy Runner Cat

I don’t feel like sharing them so I’m not gonna.

Thanks again to all of my generous friends who have supported me by donating to Doorways. I am just shy of 20 percent of my goal. I know we can do better. Would you please make a small contribution? Click here to help out. Thanks.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thieves suck!

Just a quick vent to express my sadness/anger/frustration. Many of you know about the bike theft in my building two weeks ago. Well, they struck again. This time I had a U-lock on my frame and a cable lock on my frame and front wheel.

He cut the cable, took my wheels, put them on another frame and ran away. Someone in the building tried to catch him, but was unsuccessful.

Booo! I guess I'm not going to ride tomorrow.

More about yesterday's race when I'm feeling better.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pretty, pretty please!

Hello, my friends…

I truly appreciate all of the generous donations I have received on behalf of the Ironman Community Fund and Doorways for Women and Families. I am delighted to report that I met my goal of raising $775 for the Ironman Community Fund and have begun raising money for Doorways. I am so touched by your generosity.

It has been a few weeks since I set up my new fundraising site, and I am asking for your help. Yes, YOU, right there in front of the computer screen.

I have set the modest goal of raising $1000 for Doorways (of course, it would be awesome if I could exceed this). Suffice it say that in addition to feeling personally connected to this organization because of the time I spent volunteering with them, the cause is one that is near and dear to my heart.

Please help me if you can. Yes, YOU. $5, $10, $20, or even $100. If you can spare it, I know that Doorways will put it to good use.

Please take a moment to visit my donation site. It is quick and easy, and you will get a receipt for tax deduction purposes. So don’t just sit there. Click away. Please! Pretty please with ice cream on top. And a cherry. [When I was a kid, my sister and I would add endless "toppings" and additions to this phrase to try to convince mom of whatever we wanted. I will spare you from this...for now.]
Thank you!

My favorite sundae - do they have Friendly's in Panama City, Florida? This would be an awesome post-race treat. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Parental Concern

Parents worry. Yes, I get that. It is their job. But Mom, I promise you, I am taking good care of myself.

If you’re my friend on Facebook, you’ve seen my status message asking you to email my mom and tell her I’m fine. It is partially in jest, but partially serious. She has a great sense of humor and I think she be amused if she received dozens of messages from friends saying they’re looking out for me and making sure I am well taken care of.

If you’re not a facebook friend, then either I don’t personally know you or you are resisting the facebook craze. I understand. I resisted, too. But trust me, you don’t want to fight it. Facebook is fabulous. It is a great way of keeping up with everyone, sharing pictures and it is just all around good fun. Join now. Okay?

So, go check my facebook page and get my mom’s email address. Send her a note and tell her that regardless of whether you think I am crazy or not, I am training smart and that I have lots of wonderful people looking out for me.

(If you’ve been in this boat before, trying to convince your far-away family that you really are okay despite the insane commitment you’ve made, drop me a line.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Beach Weekend Report

Yes, I did go to the beach. No, I didn’t actually GO to the beach. I will explain.

Early Saturday morning Beth and made the trip to Sarah’s family’s beach house in Rehoboth. Nice easy trip, with one pit stop for gas during which I noticed that Erin’s bike (which I was transporting so she could ride with me Sunday) was trying to escape. Darn bike rack. I had tightly bound it in, bungeed it, locked it with my chain lock, and still it came loose. Some nice hillbillies, I mean gentlemen, helped me secure it again.

We arrived at the house around 11 am just as the rain started. Boo! We hung out with the girls and Sarah’s awesome parents for a little while and then decided to get out in the rain for our 8-miler. It was actually pretty great. The rain kept us cool and we got to explore the town. Rehoboth is such a different place than it was when I was last there about 10 years ago.

As we approached the house during the last 10 minutes of the run the sun appeared. Boy was it hot and muggy! I am actually glad we had the weather we did. Of course, the sunshine didn't last long. Maybe 30 minutes at the most.

Fast forward to the evening. We had a wonderful dinner at the Cultured Pearl – a contemporary Japanese restaurant where we enjoyed tons of yummy sushi. I highly recommend it. The girls headed out on the town afterwards and I went back to the house to go to bed. An Ironwoman-in-training needs her sleep! I felt like a party pooper, but everyone understood. Such is my life.

Sunday morning Erin accompanied me on my 40-mile ride. Another crappy weather day, though I think this time around I would have preferred the heat. We rode south from Rehoboth to Fenwick Island.

For the first half we were cruising along at around 20-22 mph. I was pretty impressed with myself, since this is much faster than my typical average. Actually, first I was convinced that my bike computer was off. I thought maybe the settings got reprogrammed. Then as we turned onto a side street to make the turnaround to head back I posited that perhaps my increased speed was due to the bike fit. I knew that being properly fitted can impact your speed. Before my fit I was saying I didn’t care so much about speed – I just wanted to stop hurting on the bike. I had a little moment of celebration with myself and started calculating how quickly I could get 112 miles (the IM bike leg distance) accomplished at that rate. And then……

Wooosh! Holy cr*p! As we turned back onto Route 1 to head north it felt like a hurricane. I am only slightly exaggerating. Not only was it windy, but the precipitation might have actually been hail. It was hitting us hard and stinging. Geez. We pushed through…at an average pace of speedy 11 mph. Good training but not fun. Not fun at all. Erin was such a trooper!

We arrived home, got cleaned up, and then hit the road to come home. And that was the beach weekend. I did get to see the sand, as part of my trip up Route 1 had a view of the beach. Sigh.

In the end, though, it was a great weekend. Lots of fun time with the girls, training accomplished, and a nice weekend away. I can’t explain how much it meant to me that Beth and Erin joined me for my workouts. It went from being a source of anxiety to something really fun.

One of the many lessons here is that we (those of us in training) should give those around us a chance to become involved. My friends are very supportive of my endeavor, and this weekend they showed that in a new way.

Another lesson is that it is fun to work out with people who are not your usual training partners. So what that my ride was all in zone 1? It was a nice change of pace for me and I think that my girlfriends may have a little more appreciation for what this whole training thing is all about now. For one thing, Erin pointed out at the end of our ride that it was only one-third of the distance I will do for IM. Good point.

Finally, I am glad that I didn’t let training and team activities prevent me from having a life outside of the sport. I can’t say I’ll be able to do this much over the next 4+ months, but I am so glad I did it now.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Feed me!

Tough but good week so far. So far I’ve done all of the scheduled workouts. Not unusual for me, but still. The Conte’s ride went well Tuesday. I was SO tempted to ride easy and skip the crit all together and just ride Military with the “C” group. But I didn’t. Partly because I blogged that I would do it, partly because I knew it was good for me.

I did it 4 times. It hurt, but I would have to admit that it might have hurt just a little less than last time. I think my heart rate was a tad lower this week, too.

Wednesday morning I opted for a solo, 60-min, zone 2 run and I really enjoyed it. Grooved to my music, took a new, different route, and appreciated the absolutely gorgeous weather. Funny thing – riding the elevator back to my condo I saw a neighbor and commented what a great day it was for a run. I told him the weather was about 62 and breezy. When I turned on the TV I was impressed that I guessed the temperature exactly right. How ‘bout that?

Wednesday afternoon I lifted. For a couple of months I’ve been following the “ME” (Muscual Endurance) workout. It basically called for lighter weights, 12-25 reps. I never before did such high reps (25!), but I trusted the plan and did it. It was a nice change of pace.

Yesterday’s workout was “AA” (Anatomical Adaptation – no, I don’t really know what that means). Same exercises as ME (squats/leg press, lat pull, seated leg curl, chest press, calf raise, seated row) but higher weights and 3 sets of 10 reps.

I went back up to my old weight for squats (what I lifted when I regularly did 10-12 reps). Ummm, yeah. Not too smart. I was hurting by the end of the first set. For whatever reason, I decided that since I was already hurting, I would just go for it and keep going hard. Pretty sure that was not what the plan intended. In fact, I am pretty certain that somewhere in there it talks about amount of effort, and I recall something about it not being 100%. Oops. Oh well.

I had a great workout. Needless to say, I felt it afterwards. I could barely bend down to pick up my water bottle. It must have been a sight to see. I hurt today - but I hurt so good. I love this kind of pain. The kind that says, “yeah, I worked hard, I’m building muscles.” [Don’t worry Mom, I’m just sore – I didn’t injure myself.]

If you’re keeping track, you see that there’s been a lot of exercise this week. A little more than usual thanks to the 90-minute swim on Tuesday. My nutrition apparently needs a little work. I thought I was eating enough, but my body declared loudly yesterday and last night that I am not. Ugh.

Basic rundown of yesterday’s nutrition:

--Pre-run: Bowl of shredded wheat with soy milk
--Post-run: Glass of OJ, and bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with honey [yes, I see that there was no protein here]
--Mid-morning: Cup of chocolate soy milk with scoop of protein powder
--Lunch: Whole wheat spaghetti with kale and roasted potatoes; Banana with peanut butter; Hershey miniature (special dark – yummm)
--Post-workout: Cup of skim milk with protein powder; Salad with kidney beans, feta, kalamata olives and flaxseed oil; Pineapple
--Dinner: Chicken/tofu/broccoli stir fry with brown rice
--Dessert: Snackwell cookie (1) (random find in the pantry), 2 Hershey miniatures

Sounds good, huh? Well, I thought so. That is, until I woke up -- only an hour after going to bed -- hungry. I drank some water. Just an hour later I woke up again -- starving. I got out of bed, ate, and spent the next hour trying to fall back asleep.

I guess I just need to eat more. I wasn’t hungry when I went to bed, but I pretty much felt hungry the entire day. So does this mean I am officially training for Ironman?

Someone please send me a pizza! Or if anyone wants to cook for me or take me out for a meal, please…. * I feel like I can’t keep up with my nutritional needs these days. Maybe I’ll just start eating lots of chocolate. And cupcakes.

Anyhow, this morning I made it to swim practice. I told Holly I would be there, and I didn’t want to be a liar. Swam well for 45 minutes and then my boo-boo happened. I hit my leg on the rough bricks on the swim ladder and cut my foot. It is really minor, but for fear of bleeding up the pool, I called it quits. Such a wuss!

Just one more workout to squeeze in before it is *finally* a rest day. Since I have dinner plans with the girls tonight at Brabo, I will spin at lunch time instead of going to the team workout at Hains Point. The training plan calls for 60’ zone 2 on the bike. Boring! I can do it, though. I am sooo ready for the break.

* Note that all meals must be carefully scheduled around sleeping hours, workouts, and this little thing called a JOB.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I haven’t quite figured out the deal with exactly how Coach Ed puts together the training schedule. I guess I could read the Traithlete’s Training Bible, where I know it is explained. [Yes, I have a copy, and yes, one day, I promise I will return it to you, Joe, along with the two swimming books you loaned me when you first talked me into this. One day I might actually read them.]

Anyhow, it seems that there are generally 2-3 “build” weeks followed by a “recovery” week. During the build you – um – build. You gradually increase your volume. There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the basic idea.

I am in the first build week (the schedule says calls it “Base 1”) of my 140.6 plan. Woo-hoo. And building, I am. Monday morning boot camp kicked my butt. Literally. Dare I call it fun.

Monday afternoon I did a nice zone 2 run around the tidal basin. I took the long way around so I could get in 40 minutes.

This morning was my first “long” swim. Instead of the usual 60 minutes, in the weeks leading up to an Ironman (IM) race, the team rents the pool for longer periods so that the IMers can swim longer. Although my IM is not until November, now is as good a time as any to work on my endurance. Plus, with my first half-IM coming up in less than 5 weeks, I figure I should start actually swimming the distance of the race.

I did it. I swam for 90 minutes. It was great! I felt so good in the water. There was a little bit of clock watching, but not much. Mostly I was just trying to follow the workout (Coach Ed writes a plan for us that includes different length sets with drills, speedwork, etc.) and keep track of my laps.

When all was said and done, I estimate I swam about 2600 yards. Google tells me that is 1.61 miles. Way further than I ever swam before. The distance for the half is 1.2 miles, and the full is – you guessed it – 2.4 miles. I am well on my way, and am full of a lot more confidence going into the half.

A few other notes about the swim. I felt slow. Not unusual. I was comfortably swimming along at an easy pace. At one point I had a couple of teammates on my toes and I decided to speed up and get out of their way. Surprisingly, it didn’t make me feel exhausted. I tried going faster for a few more laps and I was fine. How funny would it be if the reason I am so slow was simply because I am just not trying to go faster? I need to work on this and see if I can truly sustain the faster pace.

The other point I’d like to note is that I felt really good coming out of the water. Maybe I should stick to my slow, leisurely pace. I could have kept swimming. Or, more importantly, I could have gone for a nice bike ride…and, I don’t know, then maybe a little run.

I feel like such a swimmer today. Like all of my work on form, and concentrating on the million different tweaks to my stroke might be paying off. It feels great!

Tonight is the famed Conte’s ride. Last time at the ride I did the crit a record 4 times (versus the 3 times I had done it at most previous rides).

What’s the crit? Well, you might call it hell, pain, or torture. Some really like it. I dread it. It is a .8 loop through a neighborhood in North Arlington. At the end of the loop is a quarter-mile stretch that is straight up hill. Really. UP HILL. 18% grade incline to be exact.

Ouch. The strong guys fly up it. The rest of us grind our way up. I usually get my heart rate near my lactate threshold (max) by the end. It hurts. But I know it makes me a stronger cyclist in the long run.

My friend T inspired me a few weeks ago when she told me that she had done the crit 5 times. So impressed! I decided to work towards that. Perhaps by the end of the season…

The plan is to do 4 loops tonight. By the way, after we do the crit, we head out Military Road for a couple of hilly miles (aka Military Misery). All told, the workout is 11-12 miles and is one of the hardest parts of my training regimen.

Tomorrow morning is a 40-60 minute zone 2 run. I am debating showing up at track practice since I could save a little time by doing this one on my own (since I won’t have to drive to the track) and I don’t really need the track for this. It is fun to be with the group, but then again, if I am on my own I can listen to music and when I go to the track I sometimes wind up running alone anyhow. Choices, choices, choices.


If you’re a triathlete, or an athlete of any kind, you can probably relate to what is on my mind. Heck, if you have any hobby or activity about which you’re passionate, you will understand.

I train.

A lot.

If you’ve been reading, you know that a typical week has me doing 9-10 workouts, getting up before the crack of dawn most mornings, and spending most of my weekend days doing something triathlon-related.

And I love it.

I really do.

Well, I have bad days sometimes, but overall, I really enjoy it.

I love the challenge, I love the feeling of accomplishment, and I love being part of the sport of triathlon.

I also LOVE my team.

When I stepped onto the track yesterday morning at 6 am and jogged among my teammates as we warmed up for boot camp, I smiled. They’re my family.

Believe it or not, I do have friends who are not triathletes. And I love them, too. But as I expected when I signed up for Ironman, my time with them over the past few months has been limited, at best.

For some reason, not everyone goes to bed between 8 and 9 on weeknights. I guess they aren’t waking up at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning. Slackers :)

Lately I’ve just been feeling all kinds of bad about not being able to participate in social activities. The fact is that if everyone is getting together at 8, I’m just not going to make it. Sometimes my friends have been able to meet me for an early for dinner, or I have been able to stay out later because it was a recovery week. Generally, though, I am rushing home to try to get to bed in time to get a full night’s sleep.

About a month ago my neighborfriends (the awesome gals that live in my building) proposed a beach weekend for June 20-21. Awesome! I looked at the calendar. All clear. …Of course that’s because the June schedule for the team hadn’t come out yet.

Soooo… as June gets closer Coach Ed sounds out a message talking about the “all hands” workout weekend planned for – guess what – June 20-21. It invovles a HUGE barbecue and FIESTA. Great.

Some excerpts from Coach’s message:

Hey folks – for many of you the weekend of June 21 is after your big races… It is also the weekend of the 120 mile ride (last long ride) for our IM USA [Lake Placid] people. Susan and I have planned for another “All Hands” ride that weekend and would really like to see a “sick” turnout… We have reserved a pavilion which can hold up to 250 people, obtained county permits to leverage the facility and ABC permits for those who’d like to enjoy some beer or wine. I’ll have bocci ball and horseshoes there, there are also volleyball courts and things like that. We’ll try to spice up our menu for the day a little bit.
Plan to hang out in the country for the afternoon and cheer for/support our Ironman USA people who will be finishing one hell of a hard weekend of training.
…We’ve gone an extra distance with the shelter to ensure that we have a fun day regardless of rain or shine. If you come out you can ride as far or short as you like, enjoy some grub and fun and then if the mood hits maybe run out and set up a Team Z aid station somewhere on the lonely roads of the 120 milers. You have no idea what a piece of chocolate can do for a person at mile 84 of a 120 mile day.

So, I’m a little torn now. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Go for a ride in the country, have an awesome lunch, then go out and support our teammates who are doing their final big training weekend before Ironman USA.

But wait, that’s not all.

This weekend is also the weekend of DC’s first ITU race. Many professional triathletes will be in town competing in this race, and there is also an amateur division in which some of my DC Tri Club friends will be participating. There are opportunities to watch or volunteer.

Plus, earlier this week I got an invite to attend the VIP party the night before the race. I. Want. To. Go.

But I also want to spend time with the girls at the beach. It is like, dare I say, a vacation. And a great chance to spend time with friends I haven’t gotten to see much lately.

I know I need to make time for friends and maintain those relationships. But I feel totally left out of all of the team events and tri stuff happening while I’m away.

Add to that the fact that I still need to do my training and it makes me a little grumpy. Fortunately my training schedule is kind of light this weekend. Saturday morning when I arrive at the beach I will head out for an 8-mile run. I’ve tried to convince the girls to join me, but while they are all very fit, I guess doing 8-miles seems a little excessive to them. Maybe they’ll do part of it with me.

Then on Sunday morning I will do 40 miles on the bike. I’m excited that E is planning to join me for this. I will drive her bike up with me on Saturday.

I want to do it all. But I can’t.

Monday morning is boot camp (at 6 am). It rocks. And I want to be there.

So do I drive home Sunday afternoon and battle beach traffic to get home in time? Do I drive home late Sunday and avoid traffic, but then shorten my sleep? Or do I just skip it and know that there will be plenty of boot camps in my future?

I AM truly excited for the beach weekend. Really. I know I’ll have fun, as I always do when I get together with these awesome ladies. I am just having a hard time preventing triathlon from taking over my life completely.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Race for the Cure

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early (like most weekend days, I’m afraid) to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. What a morning!

I ran this race as a show of support for the cause, but more significantly, to support my friend and fellow Junior Leaguer, K. She has been working hard this year to get herself in better shape, and I am so impressed by her efforts.

Over lunch recently I tried to convince her to join me for the Bright Beginnings 5k. I didn’t exactly succeed, but I was thrilled when she contacted me and said that she’d like to try the Race for the Cure.

It was so fun helping her get ready for her first ever race. I told her that any question she might have been thinking probably bounced around my brain at some point or another, so she should ask away.

And yes, I remember wondering whether there would be water and bathrooms at the start, and whether I should wear my race number in front or in the back.

We arrived at the start with time to spare, and then some. After waiting around and listening to speeches for 30 minutes after the stated start time, we were off. It was a fun day! We loved that the course was marked with kilometer markers, which meant we broke it down into fifths.

As with most races, towards the end things got even more challenging. That’s when you start to hurt and wonder if you’re going to make it. But K held strong, and at my urging (okay, insistence) even jogged across the finish line. Woo-hoo!

I will never forget the look of joy on her face as she completed her first 5k. I am honored to have been part of this race, and this day. Way to go, my friend!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Latest

Hi readers! Just checking in. I am excited to report that as of Monday, June 1st I am officially following Team Z’s 140.6 Training Schedule. (140.6 is the Ironman training plan – it is the number of miles of the race). Up ‘til now I was on the 70.3 plan (half Ironman – get it?).

As of this weekend, I will be 5 months away from race day. That is way too soon and way too far away. Wow.

The bod is feeling a bit rested after having two whole weekends that didn’t involve racing in some way or another. This is a good thing. I had started to notice how difficult is was becoming to walk up the metro escalators. Fortunately, backing off just a little from training/racing was helpful and I feel like I am ready to build volume again.

This weekend I went for a long, easy 50-mile ride on the W&OD. It was really nice. I went solo because I spent the morning watching my friend Erin kick butt in her first ever sprint tri. [She rocked and I was so proud!]

I enjoyed being out on the trail for the first time in a while. While I did miss the company a little, I really liked that I wasn’t trying to catch up with anyone and no one was waiting for me. That was, until the water stop… [Insert foreboding music here]

The Fall
Around mile 42, I saw a sign for a trailside park with water fountains. It was time for a refill so I veered off the trail and into the park.


Next thing I know, Piggy is off to the right of the path, and I’m off to the left. It scared the bejeezers out of me.

I fell. Hard! I hit a small patch of mud, but that shouldn’t have derailed me. I still have no idea what happened.

My legs were really banged up….cut and bloody. My hand wasn’t doing too great either.

Mostly, I was freaked out. It all happened so fast. I had these sort of waves of crying/panic as I laid on the ground for several minutes. Much to my surprise, none of the picnickers in the park came over to see if I was okay. Maybe they were scared, too.

After calming myself down, I returned to the path to ride back to my car. It was pretty uncomfortable, but I made it. I told myself that if it were a race, I would have to push through. Thanks to a sympathetic biker on the trail who offered me some sympathy (and his phone) when he saw my bloody leg. Just a little compassion goes a long way.

I am really pleased that after only three days I am healing nicely. My whole left calf is black and blue (and green, yellow and purple) along with some nasty cuts. My right shin got banged up, but the bruising is minimal. My hand was initially pretty swollen with a hematoma right above my wrist, but it is almost totally back to normal now. My left arm, which I didn’t even realize was hurt until Monday morning, is sore but much better.

I am just so glad that the damage wasn’t worse. I’d be really upset if this affected my training. Piggy is doing okay, except for the torn saddle. I frankly despise the saddle, so this is probably a good excuse for a new one.

Bike Fit
Monday night I went for a bike fit at Spokes in Alexandria. I put out a request to the team for bike fitters and got a ton of recommendations. Mark at Spokes came highly recommended, and his price was right.

The whole process took about an hour and a half. He started off by taking measurements (of me and Miss Piggy) and then he tweaked my bike. He lowered the seat a bit, tilted the handlebars up, and adjusted the aero bars.

Last night I hit the Conte’s ride, and from the moment I got on the bike I knew there was a huge improvement. I didn’t realize how uncomfortable I had been until I wasn’t. Wow! Money well spent!

If you’re a cyclist and you haven’t had a bike fit, DO IT! Now.

I have read that it is the best investment you can make as a triathlete. I am actually looking forward to getting back on the bike now. I can’t wait to see how I feel after a long ride. I’ll keep you posted.