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B*REAL Virtual Triathlon, part 2

by | Sep 21, 2021 | Uncategorized

This is part 2 of my Race Report from the B*REAL Triathlon. You can read part 1 HERE (

The Olympic distance started first. Ready – Set – Go!

I ran to the water and I started my watch. A couple of hurdle steps and then dove right towards the first buoy. I felt like a kid back in Cliffwood Lake. The water was calm and comfortable. My goal was to keep a long smooth stroke with a tight body. As I headed down the line of buoys I saw Evelyn and Meghan start the sprint.

I quickly noticed that I was wheezing a bit. I kept monitoring it and decided at each turn around I would do breaststroke to catch my breath. 2 Complete laps around the buoys and just under 1500 yards so I continued back to one buoy and then to shore. I tried slowing my legs to pee, but it just didn’t happen. My hand touched the ground and I stood up to get out of the water.

Meghan and Evelyn were still in transition. Meghan was ready to go but wondering if she should wait for us. Nope – go get it! Evelyn had finished her swim quicker than expected and was waiting for her husband to come back with her bike gear. She didn’t mind the rest.

I cleaned my feet, dried off and got my bike gear ready. I grabbed my windbreaker so I wouldn’t be cold on the bike in just my wet trisuit. I may have deliberately paused here and there for some photo ops. I love candids, but also like to have some fun with the camera.

I was familiar with the course, but loaded it on my Garmin so I didn’t need to think about it or miss any turns. I started out feeling great. Breathing was easier out of the water. The first stretch was along the lake where I could just settle into my aerobars and pedal. I felt strong cranking out 17-18 mph pretty easily on the flats with an overall goal of 15-16mph avg. I caught up to Meghan about 5 miles in. A quick hello and some encouragement and I was on my way. I realized I forgot my biofreeze for transition so it would be imperative not to push too hard on the bike. The first loop was spent paying attention to my pace and  concentrating on good nutrition. About half way through I was getting warm so the windbreaker sleeves came off. Coming into the end of the first loop, I began to wonder if I’d need to reset my bike computer or if it would take me around again. Passed the beach at about 47 minutes – right on target! And the Garmin picked the route up again.

The second loop was very strange. I started to feel a little tired, but still breathing OK. I definitely wasn’t drinking and eating enough. It was harder than usual to get my nutrition in, likely as a result of the cold. That was all fine and normal race stuff. The strange part was what was happening in my head. I was all alone on my bike and began some deep reflection. Cold or no cold, I do not have the fitness I used to have and it comes down to nutrition and excuses. It was time for some tough love which turned into me practically yelling at myself on the bike. I have put on 20 pounds that I worked so hard to lose and keep off. I rationalized it by saying I’m inspiring all the overweight athletes and being a good example for body positivity. But that is just an excuse. The barrage of emotions around my son going off to college is an excuse. Perimenopause is an excuse. Growing a business is an excuse. Feeling lonely is an excuse. All of these things are part of my life. And even if they go away some other life stress will appear. That’s how it works. I cannot allow myself to use food as comfort or therapy. I cannot dream of completing another Ironman when my workout clothes don’t fit right anymore. Kindness and grace just isn’t working for me. It’s time to get serious. It’s time to make those hard choices. It’s time to commit to myself again. I know what to do and it’s time to do it. No more excuses.

Right then and there I decided to make 2 big changes. First, start working with my coach again. Having her manage my training will allow me to focus on nutrition. Next, invest in a 1×1 business strategist to help streamline my business plan so I have more time to do what I love – coaching. Having this starting point figured out was so liberating and invigorating. Before I knew it loop 2 was almost over and I would be getting off the bike soon. I finished off my clif bar and drank some water and Hydrate before the last push back to the beach.

I rode in surprised to see that Joe was still there. I never asked how long he would stick around, but I was really happy he did. I’m pretty lucky to have good friends like this who give up their Saturday morning to support me. I hopped off my bike just under 1:35 for a 15.8 mph avg. One of my fastest rides this year so I have to be proud of that. Quick gear change – new shoes, visor and handheld water bottle. I was still wet so my bib ripped and fell off as soon as I put my race belt on. Oh well – not taking that with me.

I saw Allison come in on the bike and wanted to get a head start since she’s a faster runner than I am. So I took off and almost tripped on my own feet, but managed to stay upright. The first mile felt fabulous. I saw Evelyn and Meghan heading back for their first finish line and was overjoyed! The coach in me really wanted to be there to hug them, but I knew they had fans waiting. Allison passed me within that first mile, but I was on top of the world.

And then I hit the wall. That second mile was brutal. Breathing was tough and I couldn’t find a good rhythm. I abandoned my run 6 walk 1 plan and just listened to my body. Run when I can, rest if needed. By mile 3 I was settling in and then my right quad started to cramp up. I took time to walk and stretch, banging the sore spot with my fist to wake up the muscle like Joy taught me. It was about then I got a text from Lori. I didn’t stop to read it, but just knowing she was cheering for me gave me a boost. I focused on my music and did a lot of math calculating different intervals and times to estimate my run finish. Around mile 4 I really had to pee so I found a spot in the woods and felt much better after that.

Coming up to the beach Allison was heading in for her finish. Only 1.6 left to go for me. I’ve got this. More math, more music. I was signing out loud by now even though breathing was still not 100%. The light breeze felt really good. Time to hand pick the music – Don’t Stop me Now (for obvious reasons) and Stars & Moon a favorite of my teammate and running inspiration Kim. When I turned into the beach parking lot I got that finish line feeling. I headed down the bike path where the others were waiting for me. Their cheering lifted me right across that finish line and of course I had saved just enough energy to pose for the pictures.

I stopped at exactly 6.2 miles. Total time: 3:35:36. Pretty close to what I expected for my current fitness level, despite that pesky cold.

I was the last finisher of the day – DFL (dead f*&king last). At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many people raced, where I finished what my time could have been under other circumstances. What counts is the DGU (Don’t Give Up) – I showed up and did the best I could today.

DFL beats DNF (Did Not Finish) every day. And for the record, DNF still beats DNS (Did Not Start) and DNT (Did Not Try). So get your DGU and keep moving forward.




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