You know how you continue to procrastinate certain things in your life, saying “oh, I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I would rather watch Netflix than come home from working on a computer all day to continue typing”? Hopefully you don’t know this feeling, but I’ve basically found excuses to not write a blog post for almost 365 days. Oops!
During that time I have thought of countless topics to write about. In fact I have written about 20 blog posts in my head while running...they just never made it into Google Docs after the run. This blog post is not one of those 20 though. This post is about fear and how I am working on not being paralyzed by legitimate fears.
*Life update* Since my last post I have raced a few more XTERRA’s, started a new job in UT and moved to Page, AZ for said job, and started running a lot...for fun.
Page, AZ is a hot tourist destination and a hub for people visiting parks like the Grand Canyon, Zion, Antelope Canyon, etc. It is gorgeous in its own way but very desolate in the winter. Verrrryyyyy desolate. It was quite a change from Boulder, CO where it almost feels like everyone you meet exercises excessively :).
Here we begin with Fear #1: Being a female runner alone in the dark with no cell phone service and no idea who you may encounter. Two-legged creatures frequently frighten me more than four-legged ones. Early morning runs alone with my headlamp on extensive BLM land with no cell service made me feel so exposed - everyone could see me, but I could only see the small radius illuminated in front of me.
There was one instance where I stumbled upon someone’s camp in the middle of the desert. The man was standing outside of his truck, arms crossed and staring me down as I ran by only feet away from him. I tried to acknowledge his presence (I read somewhere that was a good tactic if someone is following you??), by saying “Hi, good morning!” The only response was his piercing eyes staring me down. I thought maybe he didn’t hear me?? I tried again, “how’s it going?” and still no response, just a dagger of a stare while his dog was barking like a wild animal in the truck. I SPRINTED AWAY. I felt lucky to get out unscathed but I was nervous in my own home for days...what if he had followed me? Does he know where I live?
These are some of the precautions I became more diligent about taking:
Moving on to Fear #2: 4-legged and 0-legged creatures, aka, mountain lions and rattlesnakes. While riding on the Arizona Trail last weekend I climbed up to about 7000 ft and it felt so nice to be surrounded by Colorado-esque scenery again. But, once I entered the forest foliage I suddenly felt like I was also entering mountain lion territory. Cougars are terrifying to me. I mean, they stalk you and then you might not even know one is around until it is already pouncing. The thought of cougars were only magnified by the lack of other humans, I didn’t see a single person in 2.5 hours of riding, and the lack of cell phone service (common theme out here).
The day before, I had wanted to conquer one of the summits in the Grand Canyon but turned around from what would have been an epic adventure because I was so scared of rattlesnakes! I have already seen a couple snakes while running and knowing that you have limited time to seek medical attention if bitten is alarming when you are stuck inside a gigantic canyon.
I hate feeling like these fears are holding me back from exploring my backyard! So step one of overcoming these fears was to learn more about the attacks that occur and about the animals themselves. Then, learn precautions I can take. Google and some of my adventure guide friends at work helped me on both fronts.
Learning about the animals has made me a *bit* less afraid. My adventure guide friends have never seen a mountain lion out here and said rattlesnakes really shouldn’t be an issue if I am keeping an eye out for them. I will also add that Tony and I purchased a satellite phone and tracker since I generally don’t have reliable service here. Regardless, I will not be riding this particular section of the AZT without Tony anymore. I hope this helps you in your adventures! My best advice is to learn more about what you are afraid of to feel more prepared and informed.
WOWZA! What a first half of the season, eh? (Just practicing for my upcoming trip to Canada next week ;))
My season kicked off in March at XTERRA Chile and Argentina. Chile was my first pro XTERRA race and I managed to win in front of one of my best friends, Maca Salazar, and her family! I had no idea what to expect, especially when toeing the line with former Olympians. I legitimately was bawling during my pre ride of the course two days before the race and crashed on one of the descents. Talk about a blow to one’s confidence!
Somehow I pulled it together on race day and was able to break the tape, making it my first ever pro victory! It also helped to have a gigantic glass of beer waiting for me at the finish (alcohol-free though, dangit!).
XTERRA Argentina was quite the adventure. I learned that I still have a lot of work ahead with my mountain bike skills. It was a beautiful venue though, almost like you were riding along the moon. I also befriended an adorable stray puppy and fed him granola bars #winning. I really struggled at this race but was able to eek out a podium finish in third.
After a better start to the season than I could have imagined, I flew back to Boulder and began preparing for a wild month of May with three back to back races in Uruguay, Brazil, and Alabama. I bought my flights, arranged housing, etc. and was stoked to travel back to South America until………
I found myself sitting in the back of a police car speeding down the highway to Saint Anthony’s Hospital. WHY???
Julie and I were on a fantastic mountain bike ride outside of Golden, CO shredding a flowy downhill when I suddenly found myself pinned down by my bike on the ground. I’m still not 100% sure how that happened. I am 100% sure it was my own fault but I like to blame it on a lack of a dropper seatpost. I brushed off the dirt and went to untangle myself from my bike when I saw it. The inside of my leg facing outside. “Hm that’s interesting. JULIE JULIEEE JULIEEEEEEEEE!!!!”
Julie was already out of earshot down the trail (she’s like crazy strong and fast #goals). I wasn’t crying at all, probably just in shock. I got up and hopped back on my bike because I mean we were somewhere in the trails with civilization still a 25 minute ride away. I found Julie, she turned white when she saw the innards of my leg, and I said we should probably go get a bandaid somewhere.
We rode the rest of the way down the trail then smashed down the road to the police station. Long story short, the police freaked a little when they saw my leg and since I was refusing an ambulance (“no worries guys, I’m fine, we’ll just take the car”), they insisted they drive me to the hospital. Shoutout to the Morrison PD for taking awesome care of me!
In the end I was lucky...in the sense that there was no muscle or bone damage. But it also meant that 26 stitches later, I would not be racing in May….or June for that matter.
So here we are on June 25th and I have a flight booked to XTERRA Victoria next week. I have no idea where I am fitness-wise at this point or how the race will go but I’m just excited to race again! The hardest part has been trying to push the memories of the accident out of my mind while riding and even running. I’m getting better but I think it will also take time...and knee pads.
How is January nearly over already?! I am about 24 days late with a “New Year, New Me” kind of post, but hey, I’m still sneaking it in before February!
So much has changed within the past month. New year, new coach, new goals, new sponsors, new job… basically, lots of “new.” In the latter part of 2017 I was losing motivation to train...for many reasons. I was frustrated by how long it was taking to regain fitness coming back from my knee injury, I kept eating too many cookies rationalizing that it was “the holidays,” and I honestly didn’t know what inspired me to wake up early and train anymore. Sleeping in was becoming habitual, and without direction (or fitness) in training, I was more and more discouraged to do anything.
Just before the New Year I met with Julie Dibens. I brought her some of my Grandma’s cookies in a ploy to potentially ask her to be my coach. I had spoken with some some other truly incredible and intelligent coaches during my hunt, but something about Julie just gave me this feeling like she was the right match for me. She was willing to take me on as an athlete and help me get back on track!
January 1st rolled around and Day 1 of training began. It hurt. Like, a lot. In fact, the first two weeks of training were a struggle. I felt slow in every sport. I started using power again on the bike. During my first ride with power I nearly got off the trainer and cried as my 4-minute intervals were SO HARD...at what used to be 50 watts less than my FTP (read: "power you can sustain for 1 hour all-out time trial").
However, the most important thing was that Julie gave me a reason to keep getting up every morning and doing the work. I was back on track, just focused on taking each day at a time. Now, after a few weeks of consistent training, everything is hurting less and I’m going faster. I’m motivated and back into the grind. I have a race schedule lined up that I am actually excited about! Sometimes all it takes is suffering through those first few weeks back to training knowing that everything will come around soon enough and also a goal you are driven to chase!
What will the first event of the year be you ask?
Tony and I will be racing the Fat Bike World Championships this weekend in Crested Butte, CO! I am fighting off a bit of a cold at the moment but I can't wait to go play in the snow on my Fatback Corvus Bike!!
I hope everyone's 2018 is off to a wonderful start! I wish you all the best this year, whether that means in sport, work, family, etc :)
Chocolate. It’s my kryptonite. I’m generally a purist when it comes to chocolate, unless there is peanut butter or nutella involved, they can mix with my chocolate. But mint? Ew. Caramel? Never. Fruits? I think that would turn my dessert into a healthy snack.
But I love it too much. That, or I am lacking fats or sugars in my diet (doubtful). Instead, I think it was a mental switch in the way I saw chocolate during sophomore year of college. In fact, before college I never even thought twice about what I was eating. I ate healthy most of the time, sparing the weekend ice cream treats or pumpkin bread that friends would bring to school. And when I ate sweets, I generally ate a lot of them. But my weight never really changed and I never had issues with it affecting my running.
Then college happened. The stakes of NCAA D1 running were much higher than in high school, just to be selected for the cross country team is a race in itself. There are only 7 spots, and a team of 30 fast women who all want to race the national championship. Especially when your team is expected to win the national title.
I red-shirted (did not compete for the school team in races and kept an extra year of eligibility) my freshman year, partied too much, and went too heavy on the buffet-style athlete cafeteria. The “freshman 15” (or 20?) was a thing for me. My running suffered and by the end of the year I was so fed up and disgusted with myself. Oh, and our cross country team won the national championship that year (2008). While I was technically on the team, I felt more like an outsider. I wanted to be one of those 7 girls on the national championship squad, and to do that, things needed to change. The fire was lit.
I was home in New Jersey for the summer reading books on nutrition for runners, taking notes, and eager to begin my summer training regimen. I started weighing myself every morning and recording the number, in addition to what I ate and how my training went for the day in a log book. I decided to stop eating carbs, aside from vegetables, and give myself one cheat day a week (this will be key to my explanation of my chocolate problem today). I gradually increased my running mileage, as per my training plan, to 90-95 miles per week. Then it was time to head back to Seattle for cross country pre-season.
While I could always find areas to lose more weight, I thought I was looking prettier in photos. It was almost addictive to record the daily numbers in my log, everyday lower than the one before. I had lost all of the weight I had put on during freshman year...and more. I guess that’s what happens when you run 90 miles a week fueled by carrots, some mixed nuts, and chicken. Obsessively I would complete my weekly running mileage to the .0, nothing less, if anything, more. I wasn’t particularly a much faster runner compared to the rest of the team in training, but races were what mattered.
I devoured plate after plate of pasta the night before the race. My body had been craving it for months and finally my glycogen stores were being repleted. I raced the next morning and was solidly in the top 7 women on the team, helping our team to victory. Positive reinforcement of my training and nutrition. My mind told me to continue, keep losing weight, get faster, make the team.
Remember those cheat days I allowed myself once per week? On a cheat day I would allow myself to eat as much ice cream, chocolate, cake, etc. as I wanted to. But once midnight hit, the bell rang and I was back to my minimalist sustenance. Putting so much anticipation and excitement into these cheat days changed chocolate from a delectable treat into cocaine for my mind. Imagine starving yourself of sugar and carbs for a week and then suddenly your system becomes flooded with what you had been craving most. Not eating - Chocolate - Dopamine - Mind wants more - Not eating - Chocolate - on and on.
Sometimes I would indulge on a non-cheat day. I would hate myself for it and generally try to make myself throw up all of the cake or ice cream I had just consumed. If I couldn't make myself throw up, I would Google ways that I could. Other days I would go without eating all together to punish myself. It was terrible and now hard for me to admit.
I started to estrange friends. I didn’t want to go out. Ever. Running was now my life. Going to a restaurant was the unknown. What was in the foods? Could I restrain myself to a plain salad? People would judge me? I kept recording my metrics religiously. Scolding myself when my weight fluctuated. Praising myself when it went down. Classes became foggy, my brain couldn’t focus on learning. I would become faint walking up stairs. But I would walk every where. Miles and miles each day to burn more calories and distract myself from eating.
The athletic department ordered me to get a bone scan. I had osteopenia, the beginning stages of osteoporosis...at 19 years old! My body was literally eating away at my bones for energy! The sad part was I didn't care AT ALL.
To me it was worth it. Carrying only 109 pounds on my 5’8” frame, I was running fast and that was my singular focus.
In the end my plan worked...until it didn’t. I did achieve my goal of racing on the cross country team at the national championship. We placed third. I was so happy, but also secretly dealing with an achilles injury that would bar me from competing in track for the rest of the year. People started telling me I was too skinny and eventually I was forced to go to see the sports nutritionist. She told me to eat carbs *gasp*, and I told her what she wanted to hear. Every week I was required to go weigh in with her. I would drink as much water as I could just before the weigh in. I thought I was clever, but I’m sure she knew what I was doing.
For the next two years I battled achilles problems and a stress fracture. I was so sick of pool running and indoor cycling. I knew something needed to change. Mentally I had become so tired of constantly monitoring what I ate, especially when I couldn’t burn nearly as many calories as during my 90 miles per week running. I would constantly count calories in my head when sitting down to eat or try to not eat for the entire day if I knew I was going to go out to dinner one night. It was exhausting. How could my view of food change so much in one year?
My senior year I was done. I couldn’t take it anymore.
I decided to quit the running team and focus on my school work. I took a break from running and ate a little too much. Once I realized I was putting on weight, I started to run again but on no one else’s schedule but my own. I would set off each morning with no mileage or speed plan in mind. I would just run, for 15 minutes or 4 hours, however long my legs wanted to go and however much I wanted to feel them burn. I felt free and was more motivated than ever just to be fit. I started eating healthy and including carbs in my diet. I started running faster. And longer. The week of my birthday I decided to hop in my first marathon...three days later. Without specific marathon training, I posted a 2:48, more importantly I proved to myself I was able to run fast at a healthy weight.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK!
It’s easy to focus on the negatives. Not just after a disappointing race, but in day to day life as well.
Growing up, our family dinner conversations would begin each night with every family member noting their “highlights of the day.” It was a nightly ritual enforced by my mom and, many nights, felt like more of a begrudging chore. But let’s be honest, I was a spunky teenager and was more concerned about making it to the movies on time to meet my friends than trying to come up with my daily highlights when all I did was go to school.
While I undoubtedly did not appreciate conjuring up my highlights at the time, I am 100% sure that it made me a much more optimistic and positive person. Today I am so grateful that my mom continued to insist on “highlights of the day” participation each night.
My race at Xiamen 70.3 in China this past weekend was not the performance that I travelled halfway across the world for. Instead of explaining what went wrong (that has already been recounted in a book-long text message to coach Siri), let me list my “highlights of the day” instead:
1. I met and raced with a stellar group of women. I am so thankful to have met all of the inspiring women that I stood on the start line with. They were fierce competitors but even better people.
2. I had the opportunity to gain more race experience during what I chalked up to as a very hard “training” session (thank you to Haley Chura for the post-race chat and pointing these ones out!).
3. I experienced another country and culture. One of the best parts of the trip was handing out finisher medals to children in the Ironkids race with the other pro athletes. The kids were beaming from ear to ear from the joy of racing (or it could have been the sparkly medals they got for finishing, but who’s to say). It’s always quite amazing how gestures, like a high-five, transcend cultural and linguistic boundaries! We must have given out over 1,000 enthusiastic high fives.
Every day presents us with opportunities to learn and there are always things to be grateful for, even if they are as simple as your dog clamoring over furniture to greet you after a long day of work! Some days it is easy to focus only the negatives, but if we are willing to search for our “highlights of the day” it will enable us to grow and continue to improve ourselves. As Winston Churchill said,
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm!"
September was quite the month! A few notable activities?
Let’s start from the top!
After my first two runs back following my injury, I hopped into a local XTERRA race in Fruita, CO, and gave it a go. Siri allowed me to race under one condition - I had to stop and walk every 5 minutes during the run.
The race was in a beautiful state park in the desert of western Colorado. I camped on my own the night before and got to watch a gorgeous sunset over the swim venue while munching on some Z-bars (dinner of champions? Probably not, I suppose I could have planned that better...).
The race was a blast! I had a good swim, tried super hard to keep up on the bike - though it was apparent that my technical skills leave much to be desired at the moment - and smiled during the entire run. The walking breaks on the run were incredibly frustrating, yet I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear running on the trails twisting in and out of the cliffs surrounding the lake. I ended up as the second elite female and drove four hours back home with some sunburn and a strong desire to race more XTERRA’s in 2018!
Racing is great and I loved every second of it. However, the most incredible part of this month...heck, of the year...actually of my life, was marrying my truest friend who stole my heart, Mr. Tony Baca.
Tony is one of the most optimistic people I have ever met, you almost can't help but smile when you're around him. He is able to make being sidelined by broken knee caps bearable, ordinary tasks magical, and he has the ability to bring out the best in me each and every day. Many people have asked me how "married life" is going. Do you want to know the truth? It gets better every single day. Even with challenges and uncertainty ahead, we remind ourselves that we are a team and we will confront obstacles and chase our dreams al cien juntos. To say that I am the "luckiest girl in the world," would be quite the understatement.
Every time that I imagined walking down the aisle before our wedding day I would tear up with happiness and excitement to marry Tony. Actually walking down the aisle on our wedding day was more wonderful than any imagination, any movie scene, and any of the million Pinterest photos I pinned to my "Wedding Ideas" board. I had the most perfect man standing there waiting for me. I probably would have run down the aisle had my dress not been so long (another face plant this year would not have suited me well!).
The wedding planning was one of the most stressful weeks of my life. The weeks before our wedding went something like this:
Week 1: We decided to get married. I found my dress!
Week 2: We didn’t know how a wedding worked, let alone how to plan a wedding. However, we did have a venue for the ceremony and lots of string lights to decorate with.
Week 3 (week of the wedding): 90% of the planning, 100% of decorating!
Thankfully, with the help of family and friends, it all came together perfectly and we had a gorgeous backyard wedding reception in Austin, TX. I am so grateful to be a part of, now two, truly incredible families who made our big day a very special one to remember.
How did we plan a wedding in a week within a tight budget? A post on that will be coming soon!
Until next time, hasta luego amigos!
Allison Baca ;)
Massive thank you to Preston Glace and Paulo Hernandez for the photos.
Current photos here are via Preston, check out the rest of the album and his other shots here: http://pgphotography.zenfolio.com/f169072920
I walked into the doctor’s office yesterday sure that I would convince him it was time for me to start easy jogging. I mean, I don’t need to bend my knee that much to trot along! I was shuffled off for x-rays while telling the nurse about how I knew it was time to start running again, my voice filled with the enthusiasm of a 10-year-old on their first day of middle school (mostly excited with an awkward tweak of nerves).
They snapped some glamour shots of the inside of my knee and I happily scurried back to my room without the hindrance of that stifling knee-immobilizer brace. I hopped up onto the exam table and patiently awaited the doctor while I watched the bustling of the office through the open door.
The doctor arrived and I greeted him with the widest, most enthusiastic smile while immediately telling him I was ready to start running. I’m pretty sure he thought I was insane. He told me that the bone was healing really well as he went through the physical exam again (I earned a solid A). I probably sounded like one of those stuffed animals with like three pre-recorded sayings because basically all I said was:
Once he was tired of me pestering him about riding and running he went to confer with the supervising doctor about my case. He closed the door this time so I couldn’t observe the conversation. It was probably best as I would have been yelling across the office adding in my two cents in the whole time, you know, with my professional medical background and all ;).
Finally I heard his footsteps pace back around the office and the door handle twist open as he stepped through the door.
I immediately saw his body language and my mind started racing:
“Why isn’t he looking at me?? He did this last time with bad news too. I have to be able to run at least. Maybe riding was too much of an ask right now? Can I hike? Can I at least kick in the pool? LOOK AT ME DAMNIT!”
He finally looked at me. The answer to all of my questions was a firm, “No, no, nope.” I struggled to hold the lump down that was quickly rising through my throat as my vision started blurring due to the tears welling up in the best puppy-dog eyes I could muster. I couldn’t see it (literally and figuratively) at the time but he did give me some good news:
I left the office sans brace, cried on my phone to my mom outside of Whole Foods, spent $20 in Whole Foods on like two granola bars (delicious ones I might add), and then went and bought some new running clothes (retail therapy?!) that I can look at in my closet for three more weeks until I can start running again!
Thankfully there are a lot of great things in my life right now and after a good night’s sleep in my new place here in Boulder, I’m ready for day 31 of my recovery, jam packed with swimming, PT, hiking, and decorating my new room!
P.S. - Thank you all for the blog suggestions you gave me on social media!! Please feel free to shoot more my way if you think of them, I really appreciate it!
“You need to make sure you tell them that you came in with an open patella fracture. We normally send these to the operating room but yours we used a [fancy suction machine] on to clean and stitch in the ER.”
That’s the info that the ER tech told me I needed to relay to the orthopedic doctor whilst getting my stitches out. I’ll spare you the gory photos and details, but basically my knee was wide open and the cut was so deep that my broken knee cap was exposed in addition to some internals of my knee leaking out. Gross.
Two weeks and 13 stitches later, I’m sitting here writing this blog post that I never intended to write, about how a stupid accident has sidelined me for, what the first doctor said would be 8 weeks. Obviously I don’t believe that doctor and am still convinced it will be 4, which my new doctor yesterday agreed with (victory!).
Injuries suck. Whether it is two weeks or two years of recovery, they are never a pleasant experience. They keep you from doing what you love, ruin your race plans at the most inopportune times, and currently have resulted in me wearing a bulky brace that chafes my leg in 100F heat in the middle of the summer. Yet, as my mom would say, “everything happens for a reason.”
What are my reasons?
First, a slap in the face, or knee I suppose, and a hard way to for me to realize that I am not invincible. Fun summer activities you have literally done thousands of times can still be dangerous. Don’t be stupid and take unnecessary risks six days before two big races. Just don’t. #BubbleWrapLife
Second, I’ve been given an opportunity to really improve my pull buoy-band swimming. I am THE WORST in our training group at pulling. I have no explanation as to why since I can keep up when I’m allowed to kick and swim like normal. But alas, kicking is out of the question for at least the next four weeks so I will become great friends with my pull buoy and band (hello arm and shoulder muscles).
As I briefly mentioned before, I don’t always believe the doctors. I listen to what they say and do what I am told because I want to heal as quickly as humanly possible, but I always take their recovery time estimates and spin them in my mind to be more optimistic. When the first doctor told me 8 weeks in a knee-immobilizer brace, I sent my X-ray photos to every doctor I knew asking for second, third, seventh opinions, just looking for any response that was less than that. In my head I told myself it would be 4 weeks (which was generally the average response I got from the other opinions). I mean my bones will heal faster than everyone else’s, right?! That’s what I believe at least!
Who knows if it is the power of positive thinking, an overestimate by the original doctor, or all of the Spirulina/hemp seeds/hydrolyzed collagen I shelled out money for at Whole Foods, but when I went to the doctor yesterday he told me I only had 2 more weeks in the brace (that will be 4 in total)! Every day I wake up focused on what I CAN do that day. Obviously I am concerned about getting back to racing ASAP but I am also looking at this time as an opportunity to pursue activities in other parts of my life, most notably studying for my license to sell insurance -- let me know if you need health or life insurance in CO in a few weeks ;).
As much as injuries suck, don’t let yourself fall down that dark hole, focusing your energy on the things you can’t do. Of course, I’m human and have cried every time I have gone to the doctor (“what do you mean I can’t run NOW?!”). But push that out of your mind and figure out what you are able to do now. What can you do now that will make you a better athlete in the future, even if it doesn’t involve physical training? There will be more races regardless of your attitude, but I promise you will come back stronger and faster with a positive one!
If you need some cheering up or general inspiration, just go check out my “Things for my Wall” board on Pinterest - it has most recently been filled with motivational quotes about comebacks :). Also, I will be posting on Instagram stories about my recovery process if you want to follow along!
Goal: Give you a rundown of my past three races in 100 words or less each.
Ironman 70.3 Monterrey - 7th Place
SO CLOSE! That’s how it felt at least. I came out of the swim in 13th and moved up to 3rd on the bike posting the fastest bike split of the day (I went DEEP but that’s how I like to race!). Then the run...well, it started off okay. I finished the first lap in 5th but felt my stomach turning against me, literally and figuratively. On lap two I had to...umm, make a pit stop?...and barely hung onto 7th place. I wasn’t happy with my finish but it did give me some confidence!
Driveway Series Crit Race - Austin, TX
Who doesn’t love a good crit race four days after they destroy themselves in a 70.3 and haven’t been on a road bike in like six months?! *Raises hand*
This race was a blast though! What an epic cycling scene in Austin - everyone was so welcoming. Plus, how could you not love a Thursday night crit followed by beers at a gas station? I raced the men’s P/1/2 race and only missed the podium by about 40 spots ;) then tried to double back in the women’s race (five minutes after the men’s finish) and won a coffee prime #priorities.
Ironman 70.3 Raleigh
It was just bad, like I was so sick I had to actually stop on the bike kind of bad. I’m still not sure why, though I have a list of potential reasons which include things such as “drinking too much murky lake water in the swim” or “running up a mountain on an ‘easy run’ the week of the race.” I’m definitely still learning from my mistakes, and boy did I learn a lot this weekend! But in the end I still made my way across that finish line and am already looking forward to the next one…
...What is the next one you ask??
XTERRA Beaver Creek!! Yes, I’m racing an off-road triathlon in a month. No, I have not been on a mountain bike in over a year. But, Chris Frederick helped to get me all set up on a BMC Teamelite 02 XT (photos will be on the ‘Gram soon), and I can’t wait to get out there and hit the trails.
My BIGGEST news lately is qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September! This was one of my goals for the year and being able to knock that one out in the first round of the selection process is quite a relief. Now it’s time to put the head down and wind back up the training in preparation for September 9th!
Oh, and in case you were wondering...the word count goal was ACCOMPLISHED! You can word count yourself if you don’t believe me, hashtags don’t count :)
It’s official! I moved out to Boulder, CO and will be living in the “Bubble” indefinitely!
I had always imagined myself living here and felt an incredible urge to do so, but sometimes life is sticky. It’s hard to just get up and go with so many strings tying you to one place. I felt tied to Miami for many different reasons. There are so many things that I love about the city, most of all my friends and “family” there, but I had this strong urge to do something else. It is hard to imagine what happens when you leave “home” for a city where you may feel like you have nothing other than a bed to sleep.
One week ago, my mom and I finished our 31 hour drive from Miami to Boulder. We powered straight through only stopping for snacks and gas. Mentally driving 31 hours straight was a struggle, to say the least. I even thought to myself multiple times during the drive how I would rather be doing back-to-back Ironmans than sitting in a car driving for that long.
I wish I had some great insights on how driving through the open plains of Kansas revealed some deeper life meaning or how a wrong turn through Georgia (tacking an hour onto our journey) taught me about perseverance, but I have nothing for you in that respect.
What I can tell you is that 29 hours of my Chainsmokers Pandora station was clutch, as was the last two hours of my Hunter Hayes station. I can tell you that 31 hours is a long time, but worth every second if it moves you closer to your goals. And I can tell you that doing something for yourself, like moving to a place where you have always dreamed of living, is freeing and absolutely worth it no matter how intimidating it may seem.
This past week has been particularly devastating with the passing of one of the first friends I ever made in Miami and of 21-year-old Chad Young after a terrible crash in a cycling race last weekend. Life is fickle and fleeting, make sure you are making the most of the one that you have. Honestly ask yourself if you are happy with the life you’re living, if not, change something now, don’t get stuck. There is no time to waste so chase your dreams and wake up every day ready to live.
Professional cyclist turned professional triathlete living in Boulder, CO.