My 2013 Season has been amazing.  I stopped blogging for a little while,  but I’m training for another Ironman IMMT 2014 and would like to document that process and journey again, like I did for IMFL and a little bit for IMWI.  I want to share the journey as I love reading other’s stories and learn a lot about myself as well through documenting the process.

2013 in Summary:

One big impact was that I re-hired my coach from Endorphin Fitness and the guy knows me as an athlete better than nearly anyone and he is really knowledgeable, motivating and fun for me to work with as well, so that has been great.  Best decision to hire him back after a season off!  This team of coaches/trainers (and even some athletes) are the people that took me from a back of the pack completely nervous newbie to a contender for some of the local podiums so I of course really wanted to see what else we could accomplish.  Its been really good to be back to working with my coach again.

Some of my Endorphin Fitness Team Mates.

 I joined the RVS Cycling Team as well.  So, my tri team was Endorphin and I’d race bikes for RVS which worked out perfectly as both groups were totally fine with this.  Many of the women on the team were racing tri with their triathlon group/team and racing bikes together.  This really added to the comraderie of RVA endurance world and expanded our “social training” circles so that was really cool.  I think everyone improved a lot this year on the women’s side and our team was all over the VA podiums!   RVS  is just full of strong, fast, good natured women (and men…of course…but this season’s women’s team was really special).  I got to meet all kinds of women from VA who are pure cyclists as well as triathletes who, like me, were looking to expand their experiences to help improve cycling for multisport.   I learned a lot in this area.

RVS Team!

Cool Down!

My season started with some momentum with a goal race of crushing the inaugural Rev3 Williamsburg Half Iron.  I recovered from the torn labrum with out needing surgery and hired a strength coach at EF to help me with my functional strength and keep me strong and durable.

Season Recap.  I wish I could do longer race reports but I can’t overwhelm you all at once!, I wish I had done this all season with more consistency, but I’ll blame my training, social calendar, broken foot (more to follow) beg for mercy and give a brief report:

Shamrock Half Marathon:  Matched my PR and had dyed my hair BLONDE pre-race as part of a bet, so I was running as a blondie in green checkered shorts, crazy pink socks and my pink Endorphin run top I made special for this event!

The PERFECT Shamrock Outfit!  Living Red for Endorphin Fitness all while wearing pink and GREEN!

All chill at the start line… Kelly Squared

The best part was the post race party and meeting up with all the athletes from RVA who like to celebrate our accomplishments.  Dancing in the tent on the beach, cannot be beat!  My first half marathon a few years ago was a little over 2:04 so I am still floored by my times and what consistent training one year to the next can do in the big picture.

Marv and Kelly trying to switch signature expressions. Marv with a smile and Kelly all serious?  Only at ShamROCK.
Post race celebration at Shamrock with some of my favorite RVA triathlete women!

Smithfield:  I qualified for Age Group Nationals.  This was my second time ever making the cut in my 5 years in triathlon, so I was really proud!  I placed 2nd in my AG and even though I lost power and HR data, I still kept it together and raced strong.  This was another “blondie” race as I still hadn’t gone back to brunette.   I loved the girls on the podium with me, all high fiving and hugging.  A ton of great sportsmanship at this race.  Afterward, it was a bit cold but I got to spend time with EF juniors and getting to know these hard working, crazy fast teenagers was really encouraging and inspiring.  They are such good natured and disciplined young people.

Monument Avenue 10K:  My first ever endurance event was on the course.  I recall crying tears of joy the first time I ran 5 miles with out stopping during training in 2007.  I have shaved time off from my PR every time I’ve raced and only missed last year (plantar fascia drama).  I had another 10K PR on this course, so I was excited.  My first 10K was 57 minutes and this year I did it in 44 and change.  I have never had a mega breakthrough season, but have gradually taken time off each year with consistent training.  I was so focused on this run, I apparently had my buddy Jeff running next to me for a bout a mile and he said I didn’t even notice him…good thing he’s got thick skin, and we are still friends, ha!   Of course, they allow earbuds so I was rocking out and in the zone!

My Endorphin Fitness Teammates and Ironman Wisconsin Training Pals celebrating post race!

Wintergreen Ascent:  I did this with my RVS cycle team women.  We warmed up together, pinned each other’s bibs on, shared encouragement and then climbed up the mountain.  It is a 7 mile ascent getting as steep as 20% in at least 3 places.  I think the average grade is 8% but 6 of the miles is just super steep as the first mile isn’t that steep.  This course is a challenge.  At points, the only reason I didn’t listen to my legs and stop was because I was going so slow I would tip over if I stopped pushing the pedals.  I wound up 3rd in Cat 4 and was shocked to be on the podium at the state hill climb championship and even more proud to share it with my RVS friends.  We celebrated at the bottom of the mountain Devils Backbone Brew Pub where the awards were held.

Richmond Tri Club, the best triathlon club in the country (I might be slightly biased seeing as I’ve been a member for years, ha!) put on our annual fundraiser sprint tri/club championship.  This temporary blondie wound up taking home the 30-34 age group champion title, and I got to race amongst some of the strongest, kindest, fun triathletes I’ve ever known.  We all really raced hard and yet encouraged and supported one another out on the course.  I love being an RVA triathlete!  This race had a giant pool large enough for a pool swim with an open water feel.  It was so innovative.  We had wave starts and turned around buoys rather than flip turning under lane lanes.  It was mini wave mass starts.  We had the United Athletics
teams of athletes kick off the race too and seeing them out there was completely inpsiring.  They are our local heros in Richmond.  I actually got teary eyed watching them all go through the swim.  It was amazing and my favorite race of the season.

United Athletics athlete teams kicking off the mock open water indoor pool swim

Sharing the AG podium with stellar woman…as a blonde.

With all that momentum…I headed off to the Columbia Tri for the 2nd year in a row with the goal of qualifying for Hy-Vee 5150 championships.   This one will be a race calendar staple for me.  I love the hills.  Hills bring out the best and the worst in us and really make us learn who we are.  Columbia is full of them.  I did crash as it was pouring rain and I tried to do my bike dismount too fast.  I thought the volunteer with the flag WAS the dismount line.  I really scraped up my foot and it wound up infected later..but I still managed to finish strong.  Hubby and my EF teammates Samone and Brian decided to give this course a shot. Samone was racing her first elite race and had a blast and Brian got a PR for the distance despite the hills.  His season has been incredible since joining EF.  I’ve never seen so much progress so fast.   I wound up with an 8 minute PR and I placed 3rd in my AG.  The field was so competitive that I had no idea I had placed.  I was standing around waiting for the results to be posted and did not go to the awards ceremony (never imagining I would have been in contention at such a big race)…but all my training with Coach Michael must have done something because I found out I had placed 3rd in my AG.  Luckily I was able to have my award mailed to me.  This is amazing for a former “back of the packer.”

But then.. on June 1st… I slipped and fell in my hallway and broke my foot.  Of all the “risky” things I do running, open water swimming and cycling… this time my very own hallway took me down, of course!   A dancers fracture is a graceful sounding name for such a klutzy move.  You twist your ankle hard enough and the 5th metatarsal comes chipping straight off the bone.  The avulsion fracture is the fancy name for the most common fracture site in the human body.  So, I did not see Rev3 Williamsburg start line.

 My heart was broken.  Not again..another injury…just when I felt everything was clicking.   I cried buckets… I couldn’t even wait until I was in the car.  I asked the doctor in disbelief if maybe he had my xray mixed up with some other athlete…as I cried and cried.   I thought he was being “mean” when he said nothing, not even swimming for 2 weeks.   I would lose a lot of fitness.  I was so sad, but it was temporary.

 I did pull it together though.  Through the emotional roller coaster of recovery, I swam with a pull buoy and no flip turns.  When allowed, I water jogged.   I felt support from friends, family and team mates and I supported others in their race endeavors with all the extra time.  I swam with a pull buoy. I cycled with my boot tied to a flat pedal on the trainer when allowed.  I went to see my AMAZING PT at Tidewater 3 times a week once I was cleared by Dr McMahon (Best podiatrist on the PLANET) to do so.

I rocked zebra stripe crutch covers.   I realized I have some of the best friends in triathlon who were very supportive.  I had lingering soft tissue issues in my other foot from being on the crutches 7 weeks and the boot for weeks thereafter and wasn’t running for 4 months.  I had help from Rob at Active Chiropractic doing his MAGIC “active release technique” miracle working out the adhesions.  I had help from Doctor “Moose” with an MRI.  It took A LOT of people to get me better.  I learned a lot about the anatomy of the foot.  I discovered I had strained my “digiti minime” which is the muscle that moves your pinky from side to side.  It was extremely inflamed and then my podiatrist ultimately gave me a cortisone shot and found that I also had a “bursa” between my cuboid and 5th metatarsal.  I reached some low points when the recovery from my fracture was on track but the “other”foot game me trouble.  Yet, I put my head down and worked through it.   I did all the stretches and silly feet/toe exercises too.  Seriously, those tennis/golf balls and marbles and towel toe curls were my regimen.  I babied the feet.  I still do.   I worked on my strength and did everything I could and I came back!   I learned a lot through this that will carry me into next season.

Cat was distraught and could not warm up to the boot. 
Injury STYLE!
Keep doing what you LOVE!
Wine Tour in STYLE…matching compression socks to crutches is so KEY!  

I use these injury set backs to fuel my drive when I am back.   I just did my last race of the season, Tri Rock in Clearwater with an AG win and an olympic distance PR so I am thrilled.  Despite another season with a broken bone and mega season shake up, I’m back.  Every set back is an opportunity for a stronger comeback.

Sharing podium with a super awesome lady from GA!  

I WISH I has spent more time blogging rather than the long pause… but I am back and I want to share the journey to IMMT 2014….  So let the adventure begin!  : )