Monday, March 4, 2013


Four years. Only four years. How much can you change when you haven't seen your best friend in four years? Knowing you'll never see them again. Only in memories. Only in dreams. Only when you pay attention to the little signs the universe shows you they are still around. Only.

Some of you who know me now never met her. You might see pictures I post or hear a story I'll tell. But those of you who did know her, who got a chance to meet her, well, you know how much I loved her.

I was not a triathlete four years ago. I was not an Ironman two times over. I was not a coach. She was with me though. In my first sprint, I saw the signs at my first half Ironman and we ran together in Lake Placid - my first Ironman. Every time I cross a finish line I send her a kiss. Triathlon and reading were my ways was of coping with her absence. Now triathlon is a way of life.

Four years. Only four years. She knew how much I loved her too. You see she told me. She showed me. In her last days, she showed me...

I had to carry her up and down the stairs each day for her walks. I was used to it though because the stairs had become difficult in her old age so carrying her became part of the daily routine.  Except in these last days she was dead weight. Sixty pounds of dead weight is heavy but it didn't matter. My discomfort was secondary to her.

I carried her up the stairs from our walk outside, heading straight to the living room because my sister and friend were coming over to say goodbye. I set her down on the floor, "I'll be right back with your food and water". We looked at each other - her eyes cloudy with age, mine full of tears. I smiled bravely but my heart was breaking.
I backed out and ran into my room to get some tissue because I could feel myself starting to choke on my tears. I wanted to be brave for her. For every time she was there when I needed her. Fifteen years was quickly coming to an end.
I walked back into the kitchen stopping in my tracks. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. She was struggling to get her balance as she hoisted herself up from the floor. She looked at me and walked into the kitchen on wobbly legs. My legs were cemented to the floor. She made her way to her dishes and ate out of her bowl. She hadn't walked or eaten on her own in three days. She ate the entire dish then turned and looked at me as if to say "See? I'm okay. I'll be okay". I walked over to her, tears spilling down my face faster than I could swipe them away, dropping to my knees I hugged her. "Thank you" I whispered into her velvet ears.
Four years. Only four years. It's a long time and yet it feels like that memory happened last night. It's been awhile since I saw a sign of her being near. But maybe that's because lately she hasn't strayed far from my thoughts.

Only in memories.
Only in dreams.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Why am I doing this?

Here's the deal...I have an Ironman on November 25th in Cozumel Mexico (I know can it get any sweeter?!) so my training is at it's crunch time now - I have 6 weeks. Just as everyone's tri season is at an end mine is at it's peak. The bright side is that most of my friends are training for marathons so I can at least get them to meet up for weekend runs. Even if we're not the same pace agreeing to meet them commits me and gets me out the door and this is great riding weather for cycling so I'm grateful to have cycling buddies still on the road.

For the last few months I have been struggling, really struggling with wanting to train. I took the entire June/July off of swimming (something I love to do), I barely ran (bane of my existence) but I did keep up with cycling (my true love). At a truly low point I questioned if I really wanted to do this IM (Ironman). I was constantly asking myself what was my purpose in training for a second IM? Because let me tell you, there is a difference between training for your first, your second and I'm going to take a gander and say any other IM repeat. 

In my first IM I was trying to prove to myself that I can do this hard as hell feat. And I did, I proved to myself and everyone that I could become an Ironman athlete. However, the second is a different story. I've already proven I can do it, so why do I have to do another? Why do I want to do another? What's my motivation? Where does my drive come from? Hard questions indeed. Jordan Rapp said in one of his blogs "But getting to the starting line is often just as - if not more - difficult than getting to the finish line". No truer words could have been written for me this year.

In mid August I went to IM Mont Tremblant for the weekend to train and support my good friend Seb. Being surrounded by the IM buzz and excitement made me realize I wasn't ready to give up the IM journey. I'm not a quitter and if I were to stop...well...I know others would understand but I would feel like I gave up on myself. 
Two weeks after IM Mont Tremblant I went to Boise Idaho to train and decompress at my coaches house (yes him and his wife are that awesome). I had a solid 8 days of swimming and running that first week in September. It was the perfect jump start I needed in order to get back into the training groove. I had not been consistent so to get my endorphins every day, to sweat and stretch, to sleep. It was heaven. I truly enjoyed myself and was ready to get back home to train.

Now that I'm back in the thick of it all, it feels good to have a routine and structure. WHY do I ever stop?!?

Have I discovered what motivates me? Where my drive comes from? Why I feel the need to sign up for IM distance? I think I'm starting to get a clue. I know I have consistency issues and I can (and DO) fall off the training wagon...that is a constant thing I'm trying to work on, maybe I always will. Training for an event of this magnitude requires a lot of planning and making deals with myself (I must have been a lawyer in my past life), figuring out who I can get to go with me for workouts or swim classes. Because let's face it, it's a hell of a lot more fun to be in pain with friends then flying solo. I like going long, that's why I'm interested in half iron or iron distance triathlons. In my quest to figure out the why - I am realizing it's not just triathlon I'm interested in going long with. I want to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim, I want to swim a 3-6 mi open water swim (OWS). I want to do a marathon trail race. Going long. Pushing myself mentally beyond what I think possible. Yes, I'm an endurance junkie.
Chris Macca on ITU vs IM distance Triathlete magazine

Despite completing an Ironman last year I am still very new to the triathlon world and the consistent training that it involves. The biggest thing I'm learning on this IM journey is that I need to make sure I'm doing it (Ironman) for the right reasons. That I never feel like it's "work", because I'm not getting paid to do this. I'm paying to do it! It's okay to take breaks from training but not too long. It's okay to still be trying to figure out what kind of athlete I am and where my strengths are within each discipline. It doesn't happen overnight (as much as I want it to), and the process is painfully long...but so is the race. What I am 100% sure of is crossing the finish line makes all this hemming and hawing seem trivial and inconsequential. Crossing the finish line makes you appreciate the magic in the world. The race is physical of course but it's mostly mental.

I guess I am learning a few things on this journey.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Can't Forget...

Her boys
Me and my sis Aurie!
I just came back from some R&R and training in Boise. My flight was supposed to land at 11:40pm on September 10th. I chose my return trip home on the 10th so I wouldn't have to fly in or out of NYC on 9-11. Things don't always go as planned do they? I had a delay in departure and my original two and a half layover turned into four and a half hours. I didn't mind because I got to spend time with my older sister and nephews who live in Utah. It was and is the best way to spend a layover.

However, as my plane touched ground and I was able to turn my phone on to (of course) check Facebook and see what happened in the hours since disconnection; my iPhone was flooded with images and messages of 9-11 remembrance. Being on the plane, coming out of the airport with the clear early morning (2am) night skies, crescent moon shining and the tower at the airport shining red,white and blue stripes. Reminders.

I'm lucky because I didn't know anyone who died because of the attack. I'm grateful because of it. And yet...I am always deeply saddened by this day. I have never been able to watch the movies and documentaries that have been made regarding that day. I try to block it. I feel a little guilty for saying that but I do. I don't want to think about the loss. The devastation. How things changed.

So many lives around the world were affected by it.

On the day it occurred I was home sleeping (did I not have a job or something?) My mom had just gotten back from dropping my sister Crystal off at school. In Manhattan. At the time we were living in Red Hook Brooklyn. You could see the city skyline and the towers from just a few blocks away. My mom ran into my room and told me to turn the TV on, that a plane had crashed into the towers. I thought it was a joke or that it was yet another movie scene being filmed in NYC. But no, it was real. I could smell the smoke in my bedroom.

My sister wound up having to walk home over the Brooklyn Bridge but she was ok. And while she was doing that my mom and I were watching the second tower collapse before our eyes on-screen. Tears streaming down our faces.

Photo at the top of the Twin Towers
I was in shock. I couldn't believe it. Didn't want to believe it. The night before I had gone with my girlfriend and my dog Val to Coffey pier to look at the towers, smoke some pot (yup I did that then) and share some laughs. It was a beautiful night. I used to go to that Pier a few times a week with Val. I always made it a point to look to my left at the Verrazano Bridge, straight ahead to the Statue of Liberty and I always saved the best for last...looking to my right at the Twin Towers. I remembered as a kid I went to the top of the tower with my sisters and my dad. I still have that picture on my dresser - both the towers and my dad are no longer part of this world.

Never again would I see them. You take things for granted. I know I did. I know I do.  But I'm glad I was able to share the night before lives were forever altered, by recognizing the simple beauty of the city skyline with my girlfriend and my dog.

I'm glad no one I know died.

I have friends who have served in the military. I have friends who are currently serving in the military. Friends in the NYPD and the FDNY and...I forget. It took a new friendship I came across through a writing class to remind me what it's like for families in the military. To remind me that yeah I DO know people overseas. I can't even try to imagine what it's like to have that be your job. I have no concept. It scares the shit out of me. Whoever signs up to be part of any form of military or state government has a lot of balls.

So, with my rambling where does this leave me? Yes September 11th makes me sad, but it also makes me appreciate my military friends who are currently active and who have served in the past. My friends and family who are part of the NYPD and FDNY. NYC and myself were forever changed on 9-11 and as much as I've tried in the past to block it, well, living here you can't. There are reminders everyday; so instead of trying to block it I'll try understanding and appreciating a little more.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jump, Climb, Crawl

It's scary. You try not to panic. Try not to overwhelm yourself with the fear. You feel your throat closing in and at the same time it feels as though someone has a piece of fabric around your neck tightening from behind. Slowly.

Take a couple of deep breaths but you have to use your shoulders and kinda lift your whole upper body to do it. Take two puffs. There that should make it better. Please make it work. Wait a few minutes...shit. It's not working.

Don't panic. Two more puffs. That doesn't work? Go to plan B. Ahh the sweet relief. Those puffs of white air never looked so good. Damn asthma attacks.

Don't think about having to deal with this and the betes. It's ok. You'll learn to manage. That's the only thing you can do. Learn to manage and jump, climb, crawl over these obstacles that seem to always want to get in your way.

Diabetes. Stress fractures. Life. Asthma. Who the fuck cares. I'm not a quitter and that's all that matters. 16:55:09

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak. ~Thomas Carlyle

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Touching the stars

Death Valley salt flat
The year is quickly coming to an end but I could not let it pass without expressing my deep gratitude to all of you for helping me through the few lows and sharing the joy of the many highs this year brought. My two greatest achievements this year: First, after 1 1/2yrs of planning and training I reached for the stars by completing my first Ironman in July, you can read all about it here. Second, after completing my first JDRF Ride to Cure event six years ago I wished upon a star and imagined one day riding as a coach.  This year I did it all.

Death Valley seemed a little daunting but who doesn't like a challenge like desert heat and the word "death" thrown in there? I wanted to take it on especially if I could do it as an Ironman. Like Rocky Balboa climbing the top of the stairs, I envisioned battling the desert heat an Ironman champion. After July's success I knew I would be going to the desert an Ironman, things were starting to fall into place. I studied for my Level 3 USA Cycling test and passed (yay!), our team went on a (mentally reassuring) final ride before our bikes were shipped and a week later we were desert bound! I was excited and nervous because I was going as a coach with 10 other teammates who were looking up to me to guide them to their goal. No pressure. No pressure at all.

Death Valley was absolutely amazing. Beauty that I can't describe. Silence like you've never heard before, it was deafening and humbling by its greatness. Oh and let's not forget about that heat. Normally temperatures in October are in the 80's - 90's, this weekend proved to be record setting with temperatures over 90 and reaching 100 degrees. Forget about what people say, dry heat is still quite hot especially when its 100 degrees.

My team made me speechless by their support of me as their coach and for becoming an Ironman, I knew I could not fail them. Ride morning brought a change of course due to the extreme temperatures, though the course was flat we were battling the elements and our mental fortitude. Two of the biggest obstacles an athlete can face. Despite that my team and the other 300+ riders were smiling with determined faces ready to take on the challenge.

The day unfolded successfully despite temperatures hitting a scorching 112 degrees. I rode with
Our 100 mile route
many first time riders swapping life and diabetes stories, training advice, received some coaching advice from the veteran coaches and I gave a mother some perspective on her sons diabetes management, her heartfelt thank you brought a smile to my soul. Last but certainly not least I was able to witness my team achieve their goals. I was so proud to help lead two of them to their goal of riding their first 100 miles.  As I write this I get chills thinking about it. I finally understood my coaches and how they used to tell me my success was their's. The pride I felt towards my team was nothing I'd ever felt before. I was grateful to have been part of their milestone weekend.

After I crossed the finish line, my mentor and dear friend stopped to tell me how proud he was of me, that I still had to learn a few things but most of all he reminded me how far I had come in such a short time and I should be proud of myself. Not sure if he knew it but his words meant the world to me.

JDRF Ride to Cure is my family an extension of myself, I hope you know how much your support each year means to us and that by default you are part of the family.

The year has been full of successful adventures and I'm looking forward (as I hope you are) to many more future adventures. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for helping me reach my wishes upon a star.

Happy new year!

All smiles post 100 miles

Me and the girls their 1st JDRF wknd!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Conquering Death Valley & Diabetes

Hello friends and family!

Much has happened since last we spoke. Though off to a rough start the year has transformed into something spectacular. I turned 30, I traveled to the northwest and fell in love with a little state called Idaho and most of all I trained like you couldn't imagine and made a dream of mine become a reality. I covered 140.6 miles consisting of a 2.4mi swim; 112mi bike and 26.2mi run in 16hrs 55min 9sec and became an IRONMAN!! As if that's not enough I had another HUGE goal this year. I wanted to conquer the desert as an Ironman and with YOUR help I will.

On Saturday October 15th I will take part in my 6th JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes and ride 100 miles in Death Valley California. Death Valley is a place for extremes and is one of the hottest, driest and lowest points in North America with the lowest point being 282 feet below sea level and average temperatures being 115 degrees. Talk about extremes! However, that seems to be the thing I'm into these days, pushing myself physically and mentally to the edge all while managing diabetes. But WHY am I doing this? WHY do I ride for JDRF each year? Because I believe in them. The monies I raise each year will eventually lead to a cure, it funds more type 1 diabetes research than any other charity worldwide and it's making progress along many promising paths toward better treatments and a cure. That being said, the most tangible thing JDRF and The Ride to Cure program delivers is getting you involved within the diabetic community. It is an essential part of good management.

I've been living with type 1 for 16 years and until I became involved in JDRF Ride to Cure 6 years ago I didn't know what it meant to have friends with diabetes. Once you get involved you realize the diabetic community is huge and so supportive of one another because we are showing ourselves and the world that even though we have this disease that is with us 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year WE CAN. You can think of diabetes as an endurance sport. Some days are good. Some days just suck. But you put a smile on your face and keep plugging along, practice what works and change what doesn't. You keep moving forward. One pedal stroke at a time. That's what I'm doing. One scientific advancement at a time. That's what JDRF is doing.

My goal is to raise $4,000 before October 15th, all monies donated are tax deductible and anything you can send will help me in achieving my goal. I'm an endurance athlete, a lover of the sport and diabetes doesn't stop me; but we need to stop diabetes together. THANK YOU for helping not just me but EVERYONE affected by diabetes!!

You can make donations by clicking here.

All my love,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Taper Tales

I know many of you have done this before but I thought you'd get a nice laugh, lesson and smile out of my little taper tale. It is inspired by all my friends racing within the next two weeks at Timberman 70.3 and Ironman Canada. I will start off by simply saying:

I'm a newbie that's my defense! :)

And so the story goes...

I come off a great big 10 day training block before Ironman Lake Placid, about 3wks until race day. I have a recovery week followed by 2week taper, where my training starts to slow down and my legs start to feel super pressurized. I think you could have taken a pin and stuck them and I would have deflated. Swollen, heavy, pressurized legs. Did I mention I'm tired? "Oh lord why is this happening to me 2 weeks before my BIG day, the ONLY race on my calendar?!"

Mr. Paranoia and Mrs. Doubts start knocking on my door and of course I answer. I mean, how could I not right?

I continue to swim, bike and run but I feel like crap. I'm just going through the motions. My legs could explode at any moment.

Mr. Paranoia and Mrs. Doubts have a neighbor they wanted me to meet, her name? Why let me introduce to you Miss Panic (last name) Mode.

Miss Panic Mode and I made a few calls, sent a few emails, checked to make sure I had a pulse in my legs and then proceeded to go to the doctor to get blood work because, well, their HAD to be some chemical imbalance. Their HAD to be some reason as to why I was fine training the most I'd ever done and felt great each day to going the extreme opposite within a matter of days that felt like an eternity. Right? My friends who had much more experience than me said it was all part of the taper. Really? REALLY?!

After about 8 days of torture I went for my last hard run before race day (same day as blood work). Guess what? That run felt awesome. Hot as hell but awesome. Next morning I wake up and I thought maybe the pressurized cannonballs aka my legs were starting to feel a little better.

Off to work I go and I get a phone call from docs office telling me everything came back normal. Of course it did. Miss Panic mode had to leave, she had someone else to go visit. I email with my closest friend Mr. Google and he shared with me a taper article by famous World Champion Mark Allen after reading that article, I think I started to feel better.

Later that night I talk to my coach and express how Miss Panic mode came to visit but he explained everything to me and told me when I'd feel 100% better. Guess when? 2 days before the race. Yup you read that right. 2 days. Oh lord. I still had a week to go. Hanging up with my coach I felt 10x better. The weights on my shoulders were slowly being lifted.

But wait! There's a knock at the door. I'm not sure I want anymore visitors. It's Mr. Paranoia and Mrs. Doubts and of course I answer. I mean, how could I not right? They had a card and a gift for me, it was my reward for passing (though barely) the unwritten test. I had to wait until 2 days before the race to read the card but I could open the gift now (yippeee!) What they gave me was a blanket, one of those big comfy blankets it had all of my favorite colors; yellows, oranges, blues and greens. Kind of like a rainbow. As soon as I saw it I smiled. I wrapped it around me and it lifted my spirits I just KNEW everything would be ok. My race would be ok. I finally believed what everyone had been telling me. I was fine, it was just part of the taper.

The next day I still had my blanket wrapped around me but no one could see it. It reminded me of Harry Potters invisible cloak. I knew it was there. I could FEEL it. But no one else could. I named my blanket Magic. I know it sounds crazy right? MAGIC? Come on. I believed in magic. I knew everything would be great, not just for me but for my friends who were racing with me. I could FEEL it.

Two days before the race I opened the card (did you really think I'd forget?) it read:

The unwritten test is called the taper. Many will think the hardest part is answering to the physical ailments. While a major component in the taper, it is not the hardest part. The hardest part in the taper test cannot be held or touched. It is a feeling. It is learning to push past all the doubts that will surface, and the many fears that will start jumping out. It is believing and trusting in yourself. Your coach. Your training and all your hard work (well so long as you DID the work). You must rest (sleep/easier less stressful days) especially the week leading up to the race (I know you've heard it/read it a thousand times).  The taper teaches you how to adapt to stress both physically and mentally like that on race day. Successful completion of the taper results in the magic coming forth in whatever shape for each person. Successful taper means your chomping at the bit and feel fully rested come race day. It is your day. Reap the rewards and smile the entire way!!! Smiling makes all the pain go away and helps others around you.

Rest easy my friends, tapers almost over and the magic is all around!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What now?

Two weeks ago today I was racing my first Ironman in Lake Placid, but now that it's over what happens now? I've heard and read about "post Ironman blues" but I'm pretty sure I don't have it. I mean how could I possibly be "blue" when I'm still riding the high of my race? Yes, I am STILL wearing my athlete wristband despite my number rubbing off. However, the words IRONMAN still display prominently. I'll take it off today since I feel 2 weeks is long enough (well not really but...). Back to my original question, what happens now? What have I been doing in these last 2 weeks?

Remembering that day...and smiling...a lot :)
Watching movies
Eating lots of popcorn (with extra butter in the middle AND on top)
Staying up late
Sleeping late
Catching up with friends/family
Reflecting on what I did and how I can change things to improve for the next race
Planning for next years races
Thinking about my next IM and where I'll do it

The list can go on and on but I think the last half are what's helping me to not get the dreaded "Ironman blues". I've got other stuff to look forward to. To be quite honest I knew before I raced LP that I'd be doing another. I love going long and I love training. Two key ingredients in the Ironman recipe.

My coach told me he wouldn't give me a schedule for 2 weeks after the race. Normally he'll give his athletes a month off, they can do whatever they want. One week after Ironman I emailed him begging for a schedule. I felt like a drug addict begging for a fix. I had to wait another week. I swam one time in the last two weeks. That's it. I feel like a fat bastard. I need some structure in my life! Left to my own devices I WILL do nothing and the further away I get from training daily the harder it is to get back in the groove.

I have two events planned within the next two months then I'm done until next year.

  1. September 25 my 1st trail race (10miles) in Mohonk Preserve.
  2. October 15th my annual JDRF 100 mile charity ride in Death Valley CA (stay tuned for my donation letter/email/video). I'm SO excited for this event!!!! Taking part in these rides is SPECTACULAR!!
I'm looking forward to the next few months of learning how to trail run and also building on my bike base. Oh how I love to ride!

Happy training and reading folks!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ironman Lake Placid Swim

3am my alarm goes off and I snooze it for about 10min before waking up to the biggest day of my life. Ironman Lake Placid. I chose to wake up early so that I could eat my breakfast and give a normal insulin dose without having any insulin on board by race start. Upon waking my BS was 144. Perfect. It goes great with my small breakfast of Banana, 1 slice of bread with PB and 1 1/2c of coffee with cream. Total bolus was 4.50units (.50 for BS correction). I was feeling rested despite only getting 5hrs of sleep; I knew all week I had made my 8hr per night sleeps so I WAS rested. I felt very emotional and was starting to get nervous when we were all getting ready to leave. I couldn’t relax and my heart rate was at 100bpm, I felt like I couldn’t catch a deep breath. Yes, I was FREAKING out. I couldn’t quite grasp that this day had finally come after 2 years of planning. After a hug and a short cry with my dear friend Danni we were off to the race!
First thing was to drop our special needs bags off at their designated spots, then double checking everything was in my bike/run bags before continuing on to where our bikes were racked. It was very early so we didn’t have to worry about the crowds just yet. After pumping my tires, putting some lube on Starlite’s chain and wiping her down (it had poured the night before) I was good to go get body marked. I felt a little off with my BS so I checked and I was 75. That’s a very low number and I felt like I was still dropping. I was grateful I remembered to pack an extra GU just in case. As we were leaving the bike area the line of athletes entering the arena was very long. Again I was happy I got there early to alleviate the stress. I was happy to see my two teammates Miriam and Len and wish them luck as they were entering the arena. I felt so cool getting body marked. It’s a really nice feeling and it was simply COOL to have my race number written on my arms and legs and my age on the back of my calves. Off to the swim start!

heading over to change into wetsuit IMLP
 As Danni and I were heading to the swim start and looking for our other friends I wasn’t feeling good so I checked again and I was now 65 at 6am. I had to eat that GU. I didn’t understand why I was low when I gave the correct amount of insulin for my small meal a few hours earlier. It was frustrating to say the least; I just needed to bring it up. We were able to talk to a TT1 (Team Type 1) athlete for a few minutes and then go hang out with my other group of friends who were racing. I was very happy to be able to see my old bike coach and good friend Danny as he was walking with his athletes. He gave me a hug and told me how proud he was of me. It’s a comforting feeling to have your coach give you a hug even if he’s no longer coaching you. When you think about it, any of your coaches throughout your life will ALWAYS be your coach. Doesn’t matter where you are or who your current coach is. I was ok mentally at this point. I mean THIS WAS IT! Put on our wetsuit, check my BS one more time, set pump to 50% temp basal and head to the water at 6:45am. My final BS before getting in the water was 145. Perfect! I had another GU before I got in the water. This was my original plan, 1 GU before I start and 1 at the 1.2-mile mark. I’ve raced this way before and trained this way. It should work.
All smiles
Water temp was 77 degrees and wetsuit optional, of course I was wearing mine, I needed any help I could get! There were about 2500 athletes in the water. My friends and I gave each other one final group hug and kiss in the water before we swam to the middle of the start. It was game time and I was focused. I was here in the water, about to embark on the hardest physical challenge of my life. I was ready.

Gun goes off and it’s pure chaos. Swimmers were swimming over your legs, arms were getting tangled, you were getting elbowed, kicked, I just tried to keep going forward, stroke, kick, sight, repeat. A couple of times I thought I’d be at the bottom of the lake because I was getting sucked under. My goggles got knocked off my face and one of my earplugs got loose but I corrected it all. All I could think was “geez are ALL IM swims like this?!” I decided I wanted to get to the line. I knew if I got to the yellow cable that runs across the lake I’d be ok. It’s a security blanket. So I started swimming to my extreme left, it was crazy but I made it to the cable about halfway before the turn point. There were a lot of swimmers on the line but I could keep my own and I didn’t feel as though it were so bad. I felt comfortable in the water, and could definitely feel the draft. As you get closer to shore you could hear the cheers and Mike Reilly announcing us coming out of the water. It was awesome, I felt good coming out of the water but decided to check my BS. As soon as I came out of the water I sucked down a GU and checked my BS. Making this stop cost me time, almost 2min. I had gotten out of the water at about 40min and by the time I got back in it was 42min. BS was high. I was 240. Shit. WHY didn’t I wait to have that GU??!! Run back in the water and I go straight for the line. I did not pick my head back up until I was coming out of the water again. I was hoping my BS had come down. I was also hoping I had a negative split but wasn’t sure. Best of all I was done with the 1st leg of the race. WHOOOOOHOOOO! Yes these were things that were running through my head. I got to see my friends and teammates cheering for me on the sidelines as I was running to T1. I felt great. The crowds were amazing!

Final swim time: 2.4 miles 1:25:07 2:14/100m


3:30am BS 144
Breakfast: banana, 1 slice of bread with PB, coffee with cream
4.50units of insulin (.50 for BS correction)

3 GU’s
1 @ 6am for low BS of 65
1 right before start at 6:45am I also started my temp basal of 50% reduction at 6:30am
1 @ 1.2mi mark

Ironman Lake Placid Bike

After running through the swim chute and the cheering crowds I made it to my bike bag and headed to the women’s changing tent where a wonderful volunteer helped me with everything. I checked my BS first. 308. Damn. I finish dressing and cancel the temp basal I had going for the swim so during the ride I’m at normal basal. I punch my combo bolus into my pump for the foods I was going to eat on the bike. I was supposed to give myself 30units over 7hours; I was thinking I would be done with bike within 7hrs 45min. So rather than give 30 units to avoid a low later in the bike I gave myself 25units over 7hrs with 5% upfront and 95% over the 7hrs. I run across the field to Starlite and then head out. Right as I was getting on my bike I saw Danny again and he was telling me to take it easy, don’t worry, take it slow at the beginning. Again, he was the calm comforting voice I needed to hear.

I knew I needed to spin my legs and drink my Nuun water in the first 10 miles. Don’t push it. The first 7miles are uphill followed by the 7mile descent. I had my Dexcom CGM hooked up and it was alarming with arrows going up and my BS saying 300. I pull over to check at around mile 5 at 9:15am and I’m 331. “What to do, what to do”. I decide to give myself 1.2 units of a correction because I’m still climbing and the only active insulin on board is for the food I haven’t yet started to eat. And I needed to eat. Remember what my coach Tom said: eat as much of my solid foods at the beginning of the bike because later in the day my stomach wouldn’t be able to tolerate it. I cross the timing mat around mile 30 and feel really good, I had checked my BS right before that point and I was 179 but with arrows now coming straight down. I didn’t realize this then but I had dropped 150 points within an hour. That’s way too much too fast a drop. I finish the first loop very strong and my legs felt great, I was able to keep my cadence up around 90rpm’s for the entire loop dropping down to 85 on climbs. I was so happy I had changed my rear cassette to an 11-28. Climbing up the last hills in the first loop I could see all the written words of encouragement written by spectators; one of the funniest things written on that final hill was: “Remember…you PAID to do this” I thought that was hilarious. I was all smiles seeing my friends at the top of the hill; my friends Seb and Sarah were there to greet me, Sarah started running alongside me cheering that I was doing great. I was stellar. Felt strong. I could do another loop no problem.

I stop at the special needs bags to switch bottles and get more nutrition, I started to ride away and had to go back because I FORGOT my bars. The whole reason I needed to stop in the first place. Back on track I start the second loop same way I started the first, spinning my legs and cheering my fellow racers. We were halfway through the bike! I see a fellow Tri Latino athlete and start talking to him. He had forgotten his salt pills at special needs. I offered him 6 of my pills since I knew I had more than I would need. He thanked me and said the Karma would come back tenfold; I had just saved his race. I was happy I could help and we part ways. I pull over to check my BS and I’m 120 at 11:55am with an arrow still coming down but now it seemed it was starting to slow down so I have a GU and continue to eat my Powerbar. Right before I start the downhill I check my BS one more time, I was concerned with being low on the descent, I check and I’m 148. Perfect. Get through the descent and start riding towards Jay and Upper Jay. This is a nice stretch of flat but I don’t feel ok. I start to feel a little wobbly on the bike and realize I must pull over my CGM is alarming and it says I’m low 50. I think it must be wrong. I see a race support vehicle and decide to stop near him. I check my BS and I’m 47. Crap. I checked my pump to see how far along my combo bolus was and I still had 5 more units to be delivered. I had 2.65 IOB (insulin on board). I cancelled the combo bolus. I thought I was going to die of hypoglycemia if I kept it going. This isn’t good. I have zero energy. No power. I suck down a GU, drink some of my EFS, and eat a banana the race support guy had given me. I saved the trail mix he gave me in case I needed it for later. I realized I was now at mile 75-80 and I couldn’t just wait until my BS went up. Even if I was going slower I needed to keep moving. Time was getting away from me.

Mile 110 speeding to the bike finish IMLP
The next 2 ½ hours were a major struggle. I knew I had no power because I couldn’t bring my cadence up above 80. I was fighting the battle of low BS. I kept on eating my powerbars but they were starting to make me nauseous. I didn’t know if this was from heat, low BS or the race itself. I started to eat my PB crackers instead and it helped immensely. I also was eating bananas from the aid stations. I still had no energy though. My BS went up to 102, then dropped back to 76, and then 82. I couldn’t bring it up. While those numbers are normal numbers they are not good numbers to be riding in for me. I need to be above 100. It’s physically draining to battle lows. Once I finished the last out and back I had about 13more miles til the bike was over. I stopped at a rest stop and the volunteers were amazing. I was so hot and the guy asked if I wanted water poured on my head. He saved me with that water and bananas. I left feeling restored. Best of all I could FEEL that my blood sugar had finally broken 100. I was riding at 115BS with a steady arrow on the CGM. It was crazy how one minute I wasn’t ok and I was battling it out with my BS but then I won! My energy came back, just in time too because the last 12 miles are hilly with Whiteface mountain my nemesis. I checked the time and knew I had to keep moving quickly because it was now 3:45pm. I was riding stronger, and coaxing my fellow racers to keep moving because we didn’t have that much time left. We couldn’t remember if the cut off time was 5:20 or 5:30. In my head I put it as 5:15 better to be safe than sorry. Climbing those final hills I was making each mile faster than the last. I finally get up the bears and see that funny inscription on the ground. No one is at the hill. I felt like I was flying on Northwood Rd. As I approach the house I rented I could see my group of friends and I could hear them: “is that her? It’s her!!” I flew past them shaking my head and rounding the corner into the last mile and a half of the bike. I had lost almost 30min dealing with those lows. It was close. No way did I come this far to fail and not make it to the run. I was making that bike cut off.

T1: 14:25

Final Bike Time: 112 miles 8:27:34 13.24avg mph

Bike Split 1 30mi: 30mi 1:52:50 15.9mph
Bike Split 2 86mi: 56mi 4:13:06 13.28mph
Bike Split 3 112mi: 26mi 2:21:29 11.03mph

BS Info: Full basal and a combo bolus of 20.65 units 5%:95% (had put in 25u but cancelled 5units due to low)

8:50am 308
9:15am 331
10:10am 340
11:05am 179
11:55am 120
12:50pm 148
1:45pm 47
2:20pm 102
2:50pm 76
3:05pm 82
3:45pm 115

Nutrition: 2760 calories

4 bottles of EFS = 3 scoops for 3 bottles and 2.5 for one bottle = 275g carbs
3-4 bottles of Nuun water
1 bottle plain water
2 bananas = 40g carbs
5 Powerbars = 225g carbs
1pkg of PB crackers = 25g carbs
5 GU’s = 125g carbs
2 salt pills (just for good measure hehe)