Unfinished Business: Florida, Arizona, Colorado

Sometimes I don’t finish things and it weighs on me. But now I have a plan. 

Ironman Florida

In 2017 I DNF’d. I was feeling dizzy throughout the run and didn’t want to fall down in the dark on the second loop. I should’ve just walked it but my brain said stop. I need to talk myself out of stopping. Now, I’ll be racing/finishing Ironman Florida on Nov 6. No Matter What. I have 6 more training weeks to get strong on the swim, get the miles in on the bike and be ready to run a marathon. 

Colossal Vail, Arizona

In 2014 I dropped out of the Colossal Vail 55K. It was my second 50K and I felt like I was ready. I had some injuries leading up and I kept stubbing my big toe in training runs prior and during the race. I wish I had just kept walking and didn’t stop. Now, I’m waiting for the race director to approve the race and register me. They didn’t want to take payment this year and have to refund it if the race didn’t happen. Hopefully I will know and be able to book my flight to Tucson. I can’t wait to be in Tucson in December and see my friend Kassandra and her family. I miss the desert (when it’s cold in New Hampshire only). December in the desert is awesome. 

Leadville, Colorado

Leadville – how I want to finish this race and get my buckle. After DNF’ing in 2019 and thinking about it for two years, this week I hired a coach. I will be back on the course next August. I’m ready to work my butt off to make it to the finish line in 30 hours. I have 11 months to prepare. I’m ready for hills, speed work, weights, yoga and whatever else my coach plans for me. No excuses. All reward. 

Wallis Sands Sprint Triathlon Race Report

This weekend was back to back races. Aqua Bike Saturday and Wallis Sands Sprint Triathlon on Sunday. 

Race morning started early. My mom was my support team and we got to the Wallis Sands at 6am just in time for packet pick up. The shirts are awesome this year; soft cotton. I raced this event two or three years ago and it seemed like there were more people this year.

The sun was rising as I headed to the water to test the temperature, it was going to be a great day. 

Photo by My Mom.

Then, I ran into JD again. He’s announcing this race too! 

The waves were big due to the hurricane out at sea. It is a short swim so I was ready for anything. As I headed into the water I tried to figure out how to swim while not being able to catch my breath every time I tried to put my head in the water. The waves were so big I felt like the best course of action was backstroke until I got my bearings. As I approached the first turn I was able to start swimming and rounded the buoy to calmer water. After the next turn buoy, swimming was easier and was pushed to land by the waves.  

The bike course was awesome! Flat and Fast. I just pushed it the entire time. My dad was waiting on Wallis Road and cheered me on. I loved riding through Rye and going past houses of friends from my youth. There was a bit of a headwind as I turned north on 1A. The parking lot at North Hampton State Park was packed with cars. It’s going to be a good day for surfers.

Back in transition I realized that I forgot to pack a hat but the run is so quick it didn’t matter. Running along the ocean in Rye is so beautiful. I haven’t been to the ocean since the spring, and on this beautiful day it was just amazing to be there. Crossing the finish line, JD called me out saying this was my second tri this weekend and said some nice things about me…. Ahhh. He mentioned that he knew me from our Sunday River days….. He’s the best! 

It was a great race course and I was so happy to be there. I feel so lucky to be healthy, racing and going to amazing places to swim, bike and run, with family and friends.

Capital Well Sunapee Aqua Bike Race Report

On Saturday I swam/biked the Capital Well Sunapee Aqua Bike. Last year it was my one triathlon and I reconnected with my high school friend, Kristin. This year my friend Sonja wanted to train and race an Aqua Bike race. We searched for one and this event worked for both our schedules. 

We have been training on Long Pond and biking from her house. I think that worked well. We rented a house in Goshen on Friday night and had dinner at Salt Hill Pub. Then on Saturday morning it was just a short drive to Sunapee State Park. Logistics and parking were easy. The water was calm and relatively  warm. I opted for a wetsuit because I really need to get used to it for IM Florida in 6 weeks. 

As I was heading into the start area I ran into JD who was announcing the race. He’s so awesome at it and made the event really fun when we were all a bit nervous. 

The bike was the same course and my time was a bit faster from last year. However, I felt like I was in better shape and didn’t die so quickly from the hills. 

It’s all about the bike. Photo by Jay

It was great racing this event with friends and it’s such a great venue. I loved the post-race beers and how they showed results throughout the day. 

I’m pretty sure this will be an annual triathlon whether as an individual or a relay. Sonja and Jay are talking relay next year with Sonja swimming, Jay biking and me running.

Millennium Running does a great job at running and triathlon events. My one criticism of the Aqua Bike is that you end the race in transition, no finish line. For me, I don’t really care, but for first timers or people who really just love the swim / bike portion it’s not really fair. I hope they  figure out how Aqua Bike participants can go through a finish line.

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Photo by Jay

Ironman Timberman 2021 Race Report

Kristin and I attended the race meeting after Packet Pickup. We were really only concerned about where to park and how we could leave her car in Laconia overnight. All the racing logistics seemed normal and nothing to worry about. I didn’t study the courses; I never do, and this was a mistake.

Saturday was busy with driving and figuring out food and last minute packing for the race. I think I don’t spend a few days packing for race day because then I will really think about the race and I don’t want to. I want to race in the moment – I think this is a mistake in retrospect. Even after training and racing Ironman for 12 years I’m still learning and still fine-tuning my training and racing skills. I don’t ever want to go through the motions of training; I want to live every moment and be in the moment. I’m not sure this is a great strategy but it keeps me wanting more even if race results aren’t what I’d like to see. I still just love the sport. I love swimming. I love biking and I sometimes love running. Put them all together and that is just pure joy.

Here’s my race report. 

Swim – I opted to go without a wetsuit. I’ve been so hot the last few days and overheated in my wetsuit at Coeur d’Alene. I love just swimming in a lake. I realized that I was kicking more than normal and that might be problematic later, but I felt somewhat fast swimming. I didn’t accidentally swallow a ton of water. I didn’t get kicked in the face or gut. Win! I looked at my watch as I got out of the water: 50 minutes. Darn. I thought it would be faster and then jogged to transition. 

Bike – The first 25 miles I knew what to expect. Kristin and I biked most of it a few weeks ago. Some long ascents and descents. As I turned off the main road into (I think it was the town of Loudon or Canterbury) my saddle bag fell off. I stopped as soon as I heard it hit my tire, and I skidded a bit as it got stuck in my spokes. Crazy. I got off my bike and it took a few minutes to get it back on. That could’ve been really bad. I was now just hoping to finish safely. 

The last 25 miles were brutal. Steep climbs and crappy roads. The weather was perfect, though which got me through it. It was cloud cover all during the bike and somewhat cool. Climb after climb I was watching the miles and couldn’t wait to see 50. Then finally, the last climb and downhill on nice roads back into Laconia. I just wanted to be aero and go as fast as I could. 

Run – The run was my favorite part. I got to see parts of Laconia I’ve never seen and it was beautiful running around Lake Opechee and seeing Winnisquam from another angle. People sat on their porches cheering and it was just awesome! The rain started on my run and kept me cool. Aid stations were great and the volunteers simply amazing. As I got to the second loop I was excited for another look at the lake. The course was relatively flat with gentle uphills and downhills. I really loved the run into downtown. 

Kristin finished before me and we got our photo taken at the finish line. It was a good day! 

Athlete Bag – I love the Timberman athlete bag. It had the Timberman logo and it’s a very useful bag. I wasn’t crazy about the IM Coeur d’Alene generic Ironman bag. 

Post Race – We walked back to transition and ate food. Great post-race food: burger and potato salad. I bought a shirt and mug and we headed back to the car. 

Post Race shot of our bikes with Opechee in the background.

The Hurricane that wasn’t – I’m glad the race wasn’t canceled and we got to finish. The storm didn’t hit as hard as anyone thought. 

On Monday, the next day, I wasn’t sore but I was fatigued. It took a day to get back to normal. Now I’m back at it – training hard for Ironman Florida, just 10 weeks away. I’m ready to ramp it up and get faster and finish. 70.3 is the perfect distance. I just love the challenge of 140.6. I have a few races before Florida and it will be good practice to race the shorter distances before the super long one.

Mount Chocorua in August with Jason, Charlie

On Wednesday I hiked Mount Chocorua with my brother and his son. Jason wanted to hike this mountain with his son like we hiked it in September 1988.

I had marked the hike we did in my White Mountain Guide. I discovered that we hiked Liberty Trail and Brook Trail “9/88 with JL”. Wow, that was a long time ago. I was 17 and Jason was 14.

This time we are 50 and 47, and his son is 15. 

I didn’t remember the forest road to the trailhead nor did I remember much of that hike in 1988. However, the Liberty Trail is a perfect hike which starts out fairly flat and after a mile you start to climb. In about a mile from the peak we would catch a glimpse of the summit and couldn’t believe it was a mile away – it seemed much farther. 

Then the granite slabs started and a bit of scrambling. This is a tough hike! Just below the summit there is a section that seems a bit sketchy but we got up it and saw 360 degree views. While Washington was in the clouds we could clearly see Passaconnaway and Whiteface, and the peaks off the Kanc. 

Jason and Charlie

We ate lunch and then headed down Brook Trail. This counter clockwise loop is clearly the best because we kept looking back to see if we could see the summit and there aren’t clearnings where you can see where you are going. After a half a mile or so of rocks and butt sliding, it is a nice, gentle hike back to the car. We spotted a beautiful waterfall. 

The trail is in great shape – thank you trail maintainers. Hiking is always a great way to get to know someone and just talk, talk, talk. It was nice to catch up with my brother and his son on a humid, no-wind day in the mountains.