Tuesday, December 15, 2015

6 Day Training Week

I’ve had questions about how my 6-day training week looks like, especially since the day off is Sunday, which is typically people’s long run days. Since switching coaches my schedule has changed so I will talk about how my schedule use to look and how it looks now. A quick summery would be I used to do my long run on Monday and long ride Saturday and now I do my long run Wednesday and long ride on Saturday.

Like my coach said we don't try to fit a 7 day training schedule into 6. My coach in college was national coach of the year a couple times and was asked once what made BYU cross-country such a great team. He replied without hesitation, "We take Sundays off." Having one day off a week, whatever that day may be for you, is important to physically, mentally, and emotionally rejuvenate from training. David Tilbury-Davis has said it's an important to give time to your support team since they are the ones that sacrifice on the other days of the week.

Old schedule: These are examples of workouts that I would do. Obviously it was not exactly like this.

Monday (long run day)
  • Long run (13-20miles) Z2 negative split
  • Easy swim- continuous 1 hr
  • Hard bike ride (2hrs) Warm up, 20 min Z3, long hills Z4 2-3 min recovery between, 15 min Z3, cool down
  • Hard swim- warm up, 20X50, cool down
  • Hard Swim- Warm up, 6X500 at IM goal pace, cool down
  • Run- 1.5hr hilly run working the up hills
  • Hard Bike-1 hr warm up, 10X6 min efforts high Z3/low Z4, 2 min recovery between, 30 min cool down
  • Run- Devils ladder-400,800,1200,1600,1200,800,400
  • Swim- 45 minute recovery swim
  • Long ride- 100 mile bike IM pace efforts throughout (practice nutrition)
  • Swim- Warm up, 20 min IM pace, 10 min easy, 10 min half IM pace, 10 min easy
  • Church!

New coach schedule:

  • Hard Swim (1 hr)
  • Tempo Run (1hr)
  • Core
  • Hard bike (1.5hrs)
  • Swim medium (1hr)
  • Weight Training with Eric Oliver
Wednesday (Long run day)
  • Two runs or just one long run (2-2.5hrs)
  • Easy Swim(30min)
  • Yoga
  • Hard swim (1 hr)
  • Easy bike (1.5 hrs)
  • Hard run (1 hr)
  • Weights
  • Hard bike (1.5hr)
  • Hard swim (1hr)
  • Endurance Run (1hr)
Saturday (Long ride day)
  • Easy Swim (30min)
  • Long Bike (3-5hrs)
  • Short run (30min)
  • Yoga
  • Church!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Ironman Malaysia Race?

Ironman Malaysia
As always with these crazy long reports the length and depth and details are for me to reflect so I have my bullet points of details and things I learned as usual at the beginning and then if you dare you can continue!

What I learned and will do differently/what worked:
  • Always double check your bags before you hand them in
  • I will be putting my salt, bar, and jellybeans in my bento on my bike the morning of the race
  • Look at the numbers of the women I should swim with AND faces
  • Always check my brakes as the last thing
  • Learn more about bike mechanics
  • Write out a plan for everything and go through it several times the week leading up to the race
  • Back up liquid breakfast
  • Always look at the customs clearance for the country you are going to. Sometimes its easier to bring food that you know will work then having to rely on things there. Malaysia has the most lax customs and the don't ask about bringing any food/produce in.
  • I paid for a flight into and out of Kuala Lumpur and stayed the night there. I then got an AirAsia ticket to Langkawi the next day. This was a couple hundred dollars cheaper for me even with the addition of the hotel.
         Summary of the "Race"
  • Started super dehydrated from a night of being sick
  • Couldn't eat much breakfast because of being sick
  • Swim still went well with a PR IM swim 58:42 (non wetsuit)
  • Right where I needed to be out of the swim
  • Bike mechanic issues, break issues, flat, and med tent
  • DNF'd at the end of the bike and med team want to take me the hospital
  • First DNF in any race, ever
  • Leaning, growing, and progressing- onward and upward

I don’t feel like I can call this a race report since there wasn’t a RACE for me to report on. Maybe it’s a ½ race report :). No worries it will probably be longer than my actual race reports. Scott said that this race report should start the week before the race, but it may even need to start before that. When we decided I should do IMMalaysia I looked at tickets to the Philippines as well. It ended up being cheaper to fly Cincinnati->Malaysia->Philippines->Cincinnati than Cincinnati->Malaysia round trip. So it was decided to go to the Philippines. We have made these races a vacation as well many times with much success.

Three weeks before the race our ticket to Boracacy, Philippines was canceled because of the APEC summit (Obama attending) happening in the Philippines. No problem, we just booked a different flight on the same day and asked for a refund. Then this one was canceled on us as just 4-5 days before the race with no other options to get to Boracay. VERY long story short we argued with them for countless hours and listened to their hold music, which consisted of ONE horrendous theme song of AirAsia, which repeated “AirAsia is wonderful.” I think they were trying to brain wash us into giving up. We ended up changing our flight from Langkawi to KL and also KL to Manila to be able to get into Manila a day earlier so we could catch an ealier flight to Boracay so we could actually use the nonrefundable BnB that we had booked. Even though all of this change was because of them canceling the flight TWICE on us, we still got the pleasure of paying change fees that were more than the cost of our original tickets, by double. (I guess I needed that little vent there)

Rewind to a little earlier. I was supposed to leave on Saturday before the race. I tried to check in on Friday night and couldn’t. I spent time on the phone with both American Express travel and American Airlines. We ended up coming to the conclusion that I would most likely not be able to get on the flight Saturday morning because my passport was to expire in less than 6 months from the date of return. We went Saturday morning anyway and I couldn’t get on the flight. So I got to spend 3 hours on the phone with American Express to change my flight to Tuesday morning from Detroit, MI so I could get my passport renewed on Monday in Detroit at the passport agency. Too much time and WAY too much money later, we got it sorted out. 
EMI wanted to brush my hair to get ready for the passport picture.

I got a couple more days family time, but knew that it would be vital to adjust to the time zone ASAP when I got to Malaysia. We took a mini family “vacation” to Detroit On Monday morning we got my passport renewed without ANY issues! Things were looking up! Monday night I had looked up 2 different places to eat out that were gluten-free/Celiac friendly. The first one we got to was closed Mondays so I double checked the other one and we drove the additional 15 minutes to get there.  It was closed as well! We ended up at a chain restaurant that messed up my order.

Emi's bed at the hotel. She actually loved it and it will make for a great story when she's older.

We got my Passport!!!!

Tuesday morning went well though! I was headed to the race! I even didn’t have anyone in the middle seat on my 17.5 hour flight! So many answers to prayers! The only problem was that the airline some how did not get my request for a gluten-free selection for the meals, no meals for me. Not a problem though because I had prepared for that and brought 3 homemade meals just incase. I never had great sleep on flights and despite taking melatonin this trip was no different. I got into Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday night and stayed in a hotel there (5 hours of sleep). Made my final trek to Langkawi on Thursday morning. Checked in and found a “grocery” store. I did bring a lot of food with me. I’m used to having to pack a lot of food because of having to eat gluten-free and dairy-free due to health conditions. Something to note for anyone else traveling is that they really don’t have a customs. I had produce in my bag and they didn’t ask about it or care what I had. As long as it’s not illicit drugs… that’s punishable by death by hanging apparently. 
Dallas, TX- connection, I just love that Texas flag :)

"EMI go with daddy?"

This was the first time I didn’t go to the welcome dinner. I wanted to get as much sleep as I could and I also wanted to get ready for the race: unpack my bike, layout my gear bags and special needs bags, and go over my race plan more. I was determined to make things work. I had been blessed to be able to make it to the race and I was going to make it count!

Waiting for the Taxi in Kuala Lumpur. 

They had a whole shopping mall at the airport which included a grocery store.

Check in done!

Friday Scott came in and so we reunited and then went to Balazs’ hotel to get a swim in. I biked to the swim start to drop off my bike and make sure all was in working order. After a little power meter trouble shoot with Meredith, I got it working and all was well! Went to the pro meeting where Scott was able to attend for the first time! Nothing exciting really out of that meeting other than that “one person” who asks A LOT of questions that were answered in the meeting itself was Natasha Badman. She was very polite and super nice, but it was interesting to hear her questions: where is the dismount line for the bike? How far back do you have to be from the other bike? How many seconds do you have to pass? How long do you have to drop back? Where is special needs? Scott later made the point that she has probably raced so many races in so many different countries she realizes that rules are very different from country to country and race to race even though they all may be the same brand and they are supposed to have the same rules. I also learned by stalking her online that she has a daughter a couple years OLDER than me! Amazing!

One of my many motivating water bottles. (Goals-Kona, Family and Team, Smart and strong, Feed the speed, Pain into power, you have fought, sweated and busted your BUM for this moment)

Scott's one replacement shirt for his lost bag.

We finished dropping my bags off and headed home for lunch and a little rest. Scott’s bag didn’t come in and the airlines gave him $34 to buy some new ones! So we went to the expo to find someone to ask about getting some clothes. After 4 volunteers telling us to buy in the merchandise area we found someone who told us the closest shop was 30 minutes away! I didn’t want to sit in the car for an hour so we got a shirt at the Brooks booth at the expo and headed home again.    

My interesting concoction, it really wasn't too bad.

I then realized that my prerace meal was in Scott’s bag in Canada. Fortunately I had some rice and eggs and made an interesting but edible concoction out of that. I was so tired that I went to bed around 7:30pm! Unfortunately I woke up at 9:00 and tired to go back to sleep and then started having bathroom issues. I finally got Scott up and asked him to just come scratch my back while I laid in bed to try to just get me back to sleep and not on the toilet. I eventually got back to sleep just in time to squeeze in an hour before we had to wake up to get to the race start! Not going to let it faze me! The sleep the night before the race isn’t going to make or break the race. 

Day before the race. I rode to T1 and everything was in working order.

I tried to eat my race day breakfast but couldn’t stomach it. My insides weren’t yet happy with me still. Every time I took one bike it took all I had to keep it from coming back up. I ate some jellybeans since I could stomach those down ok. All I really wanted was a smoothie! We got to the swim start before transition even opened! Allison would be so proud! On Friday when I dropped my bike bag I double checked everything in it and noticed that my salt had opened up and my salt was all over the bottom of my bag. I was grateful to see that then instead of finding out later. So I brought more to put on my bike.

Small race compared to US standards, just under 1,000 vs just over 2,500.

Just thought it was funny. The only place you will see more men's restrooms than women's!

I started checking everything on my bike. I pumped my tires and checked to make sure my brakes weren’t rubbing. I have had too many races where that has happened! This is the first race I had a power meter so spun my crank to wake it up so I could calibrate it then did one mistake, I clamped my back brakes down to stop my back wheel from spinning. Dropped my other bags off and sat down to relax for a bit before I went to warm up. I love these foreign races since there are fewer people, port-a-potty lines are only 5 minutes long!

Bag drop the day before the race. Little did I know I would not be crossing under this "run out" sign.
Just a side note, this race used those backpack stile track backpack bags. DO NOT tighten the bag or it's really hard to open when you are trying to go fast. Also, make sure that the volunteers do not later tighten it. 

My awesome new Kiwami trisuit!

Right before I started my warmup.

Went down to the water to warm up. Coach David told me to warm up for 10 minutes and do some pick-ups. I ended up only warming up for 7.5 minutes before they called us out to chat. Coach and I had chatted about who to line up with, one being Diana Reiser who has a blue speed suit so very easy to spot. I lined up right next to her so I could just draft off her the whole time. One of my biggest worries about this race was the type of swim start and “Aussie swim.” Looking back now it was silly! We lined up on a rope in the sand that was held down by people standing on either end of it. They had a count down and at about 4 the right half of the line started running to the water. I ended up catching up with them by the time we hit the water though. I swam next to Diana for a while until we went past the first turn and I tucked in behind her. After the first couple strokes I got punched in the eye by Diana, luckily it didn’t let in too much water into my goggles (especially since it was salt water). I was prepared for a fast pace for the first little while but it wasn’t letting up that much. I kept telling myself “just stay behind Diana, if you can get out with her then you can legal draft with her on the bike.” I fought for my spot on her feet several times, which I hate doing and feel like it uses, excess energy, but I didn’t want to loose her. I got tired of fighting the other girl for Diana’s feet so I tucked in behind her. We made our final turn for the first lap and we were still holding a ridiculous pace. As we were swimming down the final lap I kept thinking just stay on her feet, stay on her feet, you’ve worked so hard for this, calm and controlled, work with the water, think of your family, think of all the others cheering. I thought of all the people in the states that were tracking me. I especially thought of all the hard work I had put into this race and I knew I could have my fastest swim yet. Something that my coach had told me before the race is “it is the suffering that will fulfill you and enable success.” I ended up loosing her feet and got into my own rhythm of swimming. After 100-200m we were still the same distance apart so I put in a little surge and caught back up with feet. It was Diana, someone, and then me. Scott said he saw us come by as a huge pack with me at the back, just like IMTX. Our first lap was 28 minutes. 

The calm before the madness.

The second lap slowed way down after the first turn. There were points were I thought it might be better to go around, but I figured I was getting more savings sitting behind her than I would gain in benefit if I went around her and got 30sec-1min lead with much more work. So the second lap was pretty uneventful other than swimming through a whole bunch of age groupers, some nicer to pass than others, but unfortunately as a woman in IM races, I am used to having to swim through people (IM world championship age group start is 10 minutes back from the men, which means there are some pretty aggressive men you have to swim through, and all of my other races I have caught up to the back of the pack male pros.). Kicked my feet harder as I started seeing the exit. Diana turned right (the wrong way) and the other girl went into the finish. We both exited the water pointing to Diana and a kayaker sped away toward her. I saw Scott and he yelled that I was 8th out of the water. Not bad! Right were I wanted to be with Diana right behind me (good my transitions usually stink). I am very happy with my swim. I stayed focused each stroke.   

Off to transition! There was a 500m run along the beach into transition area. Grabbed my bag and ran into the change tent. There were only 5 volunteer girls and two of them stood at the entrance and three of them helped the other girl. This was the first transition I did without a volunteer’s help! I was so thirsty (started that way half way through the first lap I STOPPED at the aid station after the change tent and downed 5 cups of water and ran with two more while drinking them. Grabbed my bike and was on my way. My sister even commented that my T1 was pretty good!  :) 

You can barley see my head right next to the blue suit on the right side.

Got on my bike and thought it was a lot harder to pedal than I thought it should be. I made sure I wasn’t in the hardest gear when I racked the bike I thought! Changed some gears and started going. Wow, this hill must be a lot bigger than it looks! (Sometimes when you are riding a bike there can be “false flats” or hills that look deceptively smaller than they are). Then I was passed by two girls one almost on top of the other (BLANTENTLY drafting!). The person in front asked me what my place was… REALLY?!?! You think I’m going to tell you that! I just stared at her. One of my goals was to not get passed on the bike by any women. My heart rate was super high and so I decided not to go with them. I felt like I was a little girl on a tricycle getting passed by them. I thought, maybe they are just pushing the pace a little too much these first couple km, they will come back to me. My power meter was not working right. It kept saying random numbers like 50, 95, then 0. I knew I was not just pushing 50 watts going up a hill! So I started ignoring that and looking at HR instead. There goes Diana Riesier! Stink! I just got passed like I was standing still!

Then the “fun” really started to happen. If being dehydrated wasn’t enough… My chain dropped. Bryan Krabbe has shown me that you can get you chain back on without having to stop, so I tried that for a second. Well, I’ve had it work before but this time not so much. I had to stop and pull over. No problem, it will be a quick fix. I pulled at the chain, nothing. I yanked harder, nothing. I turned my bike upside down and kept pulling and doing everything I could think of to fix the chain. It had been more than 7 minutes and I thought “This is really how this race is going to end! Par for this trip!” A scooter with two guys pulled up. They were EFS racing team people and didn’t have the official “bicycle tech” jersey on, but at this point I couldn’t get my bike working on my own so it was either accept the help of these people or keep trying myself. In the pro meeting they also said that they wouldn’t do any bike work or carry any extra tubes or CO2. They got my chain out and then noticed that my derailleur (shifting mechanism for the back gears) was off. They emptied a massive bag of tools and went to work on that. I don’t know what made him decide to try to spin my back wheel, but he did and it didn’t move. I’ve had my brakes rub before, this was not rubbing, this was brakes clamped down. He had to use a ton of pressure to move the wheel. OH! That is why I was getting passed like a girl on her tricycle! It took them a little while to do all this. More than 7 more minutes had passed since they started helping me with my bike. I had to start up hill so one of the guys pushed my saddle as I started pedaling. It was SO much easier to ride now! I should know my bike and my abilities better than that, but hopefully that will come with time. I didn’t pay attention to anyone passing me while I was stopped since I was so focused on my bike. I saw people already coming back down from this out and back section, but didn’t know where I was standing now. There were so many age group men out there since the age-groupers started just 5 minutes after the pro women and then I was stuck on the side of the road for so long.

I saw Scott and he asked me what happened. I was only able to shout out chain and brakes. I wasn’t feeling great and then the stop and being so far behind already was mentally crushing. I had to stop and adjust my brakes every time I used my back brakes. Near the end of the second loop I actually stopped when I saw Scott since I had to check/adjust my brakes. Even though I wasn’t in a good place, this is one of the first times I felt I could acknowledge the bad feelings I was having and deal with them. I contribute that to Coach David’s scorecard that I filled out before the race and went over several times before the race. I had addressed things that could go wrong and how to deal with them. The last part of the loop is really hilly and every time I used my back brakes they would start rubbing on my tire again. I got a flat around the same place I had my first mechanical. Now there were several mechanics roaming/sitting under the shade so I actually had a little help changing it, which was nice. By this point I was 30 minutes behind the leader.

The view from behind the house in Malaysia. It was really pretty there, but I don't think we were able to fully acknowledge the beauty. 

I kept trying to be positive but I started having blurry vision. I couldn’t see very well and I still hadn’t peed this whole race. I usually have to go the first hour into the bike, halfway through, and again at the end. I felt like I was going to pass out and decided to stop at the med tent. I stopped there and almost fell off my bike. The med staff had me lay down and did some measurements and told me they wanted to take me to the hospital. After working in a hospital, I never want to go to one, nevertheless a foreign hospital. At this point I knew my race was over and just wanted to get to Scott and be done. I thought he might be at the same place he was the first loop so after 20 minutes in the med tent I got back on my bike and continued down the road. Scott wasn’t at the spot he was last time (heart crushed) so I just kept going slowly. I figured I would just have to get to the end of the bike and be done.

I got to dismount and saw him. I stood on the side and talked to him for 8 minutes and then went into the med tent, gave them my chip and they checked me a bit and again wanted to take me to the hospital. I told them my husband was right outside transition and he could take me later if I needed to go.

Yes, this is a two-way "road" they had all over Langkawi. 

I’ve never DNF’d a race. It was hard and sad, but I feel like I made the right call. Even though I know I made the right call, I am still heartbroken over how the race went. I am frustrated and heartbroken about everything leading up to the race and during the race. Even though my coach told me not to over analyze I keep thinking about the race and analyzing everything and thinking about getting sick and my mechanic issues. I need to stop because I just get myself into a black spiral thinking about the race and being sad about the outcome. I need to refocus on the process for my next race and so I can hopefully have a good outcome there. 


I feel I have yet to perform to my same potential and ability level that I preformed at Kona 2014. I’ve thought long and hard about this and mind set ect. I feel as thought my mind set for races in 2014 and 2013 was more of a racing mindset. There was a little half ironman in 2013 that I was more than 11 minutes back from the lead woman getting off the bike. I put my head down and went to work. I ended up winning by more than 5 minutes. I’m accustom to races where I can literally see my competition and then chase them down.

I want to use, and know that I can use my x-country and track and field background to my advantage. Right now I see it as a disadvantage since I wish I could race more frequently so I would have that same familiarity with racing. I also wish I could see my competition and know exactly where they are. Instead of seeing everything to my advantage these last couple races, I’ve seen things that are beyond my control. I use to say that it is so fun to be a good runner because I get to chase people down. Now after Michelle Jones said it wasn’t better because it’s easier to run “scared” I questioned it. Instead of seeing “X minutes down starting the run” as a challenge and fun to try to make up, I see it as insurmountable time because these are PRO triathletes.

All that being said, I am finding my place within this community and becoming more confident. I knew that I could ride with those women in Malaysia and I’m so sad it didn’t work out that way. I kept saying "That's why they have tournaments, so you can see who is better. They don't award medals based on what you won before."- Ronda Rousey. I was overcoming these insecurities and then with this one race they all came crashing down again. 

BUT no worries, I’ve had three weeks to ponder all of this and figure out a plan for next year and a plan to help overcome these mind games. I have written out a plan how to accomplish the outcome goals that I have for 2016 and beyond. As Ronda Rousey (who ended up loosing her first fight the same day as IMMalaysia) said, “Everything in the world is information. The information you choose to acknowledge and the information you choose to ignore is up to you. You can let outside factors beyond your control throw off your focus. You can let aching muscles hold you back. You can let silence make you feel uncomfortable. By choosing to focus only on the information that is necessary, you can tune out every distraction, and achieve far more.”

Someone has to be the best in the World. Why not you?- Ronda Rousey

Thank you to all my sponsors: Blueseventy, RaceDayWheels, BuckeyeRunning Company, Beyond Exercise, LLC, AudioFlood WaterproofiPod, Bonk Breaker, TriggerPoint, Impact HealthCenters, Reser BicycleOutfitters, and Gamble-NippertYMCA. These goals and dreams I have for now and the future would not be possible without you!

I also wouldn't be where I am today without my coach, mentor, and now friend David Tilbury-Davis. Thank you for your mastermind plans and chats!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fairy Tale Week

The Fairy Tale Week

I never made an official announcement so here it is… I hired David Tilbury-Davis as a Triathlon coach. We started together in August and I wanted to meet him before my next race in Malaysia in November. He recommended coming out the end of September since there would be other pros in the Woodlands training for Kona.

I kept waffling back and forth on if I was going to go or not but then found a deal for a $30 ticket! I jumped on it! Even if I didn’t use it, it was only $30! My bike was $150 round trip… seems quite backwards. I'm so glad I went and it was worth every penny and minute of the trip! 

The Thursday before I left my back decided to lock up. I looked like a robot because of my limited mobility in my back. I was in so much pain I couldn’t swim, I wanted to cry on the bike, and I ended up actually crying on my run. This couldn’t be happening at a less opportune time! I was leaving in five days to go through a rought week of hard training. I needed to be as close to 100% as I could so I pulled out all the stops I could. I saw my chiropractor almost everyday, I saw a massage therapist twice and I saw my physical therapist! I’m so incredibly blessed to have this team to help me be the best I can be! On Monday I wasn’t crying on the run anymore and on Tuesday I ended up doing a 2K swim, which was very slow and painful, but I was able to do it!

Since I didn't take any pictures on my trip (I know, stupid!), here are the pictures I got from home! Thanks to my friends who let her come over an play while I was gone!

I arrived in Texas late Wednesday night and ended up getting a massage on Thursday morning to continue to calm my back down. Right after the massage I met up with Coach David and Matt Hansen (North American Ironman Regional Champion). We had a 1.5 hr ride where I got to babysit Matt’s back wheel. I don’t think you could have wiped my goofy smile off my face the entire ride. I was in heaven! Coach David drove sag for us and took some slow motion video to look at my position on the bike. We all caught some lunch together and then grocery and home to prepare for my run.

Went to the store with daddy!

The run was some 1K repeats in some nasty weather. I had been running in 55 degrees and it was around 90.  They went alright and it was back home to eat and get ready for a recovery swim that evening with Magnoia Masters and Tim Floyd.  I got some amazing stroke changing tips that I am continuing to incorporate into my swimming mechanics.

Blanket fort snuggles with her bear.

Friday started with a 6am swim (I was looking forward to sleeping in without my daughter!). I could tell I had lost the feel of the water after being out of it for a week! That swim is not very nice to you if you don’t give it the time it deserves! After the swim, Coach David, Coach Tim and I went to grab some breakfast. Coach David and I had a nice long chat with topics ranging from goals and schedule for the year to sponsors and beyond. By the time I got home it was time to go out for my almost 2 hr run which I ended up doing at the gym along with my core work routine. Lunch/dinner when I got home followed up but giving my bike some much needed TLC. Embarrassingly enough I hadn’t cleaned it since IMTX (May 16th) and it needed a lot of help. I was able to just work on Ironman stuff that night, liker where to stay for my next race and developing a new website (hopefully to be launching soon!).

Pool noodle pit at home, so much better than a ball pit!

I already have issues with sleep but then throw me into a different environment and it’s usually disaster! After about 6 hours of sleep, I was up and off to swim practice at 6:30. Nice hard swim where I felt like I was getting my swimming arms back. Then it was a fun 4-hour ride on Cody Beals’ and Matt Hanson’s wheel. Drafting off of them was like swimming with fins in the pool. Everything feels so fast and effortless! Half way through the ride I looked at my garmin and we were averging over 25mph! That was with the wind, but still! It was awesome!

After the ride I drove straight to College Station to see my parents. We sat around and just chatted for a while and then my sister came in and we went out for some earnds and grocery shopping. Yep, Gardners love to hang out in the grocery store! My parents used to call going to the grocery store “date night,” actually, I’m pretty sure they still do!

Scott had gone in the other room for a sec and she had put one of her dress up dresses on by herself. 

Sunday I was able to go to church with my old congregation. There were a couple people that I still knew and it was fun to see after so many years! It’s always nice to hear updates on peoples lives and know they still care about you. Drove back down to the Woodlands on Sunday night.

My homestay has a business called The Woodlands Fascial Stretch, which helps work pain out of the body. Dutch worked on me for an hour and it was so fascinating to learn about! There were several times where a muscle that had been tight for the last couple weeks finally relaxed! It was instant! I wouldn’t have believed it unless I experienced it myself. I’m excited to be able to go back in January and do more with him! When I got home my PT commented on how my back was more "cleared up" than it had been before. 

Burnt her finger while cooking an egg for breakfast. 

Monday morning was obviously another swim and then I was able to go on a run with another fellow female pro. Probably one of the worst runs I’ve ever done! I hadn’t eaten breakfast and then did a hard swim… bad news! Got another massage to continue to help my back and then headed back to the house to pack up some of my things. David got me together with Steve at VRcycling Studio to use a computrainer. It was AMAZING! I wish we had a studio like this in Cincinnati or even that I had a fan like the ones there! Everything you would ever need was there at the studio, all the courses, fans, screens, towels, showering facilities with everything in them! The Woodlands spoils triathletes! Right after my ride I headed to dinner with David and some pros he coaches. It was so fun to be able to just sit and chat. I honestly can’t remember the last time I went out with some friends with out my daughter!

A glimpse into VR Cycling Studio. I'm wishing I were there now!

That night I slept horribly! I finally got to sleep sometime after 11 and then woke up at 2 and couldn’t get back to sleep till 5! Well, for probably the second time in my life I slept past my alarm and was an hour late to swim practice! So what was supposed to be a hard swim became a recovery swim.

Soon after Coach David and I went to get my bike fit done at Bicycle Speed Shop. Brian does an amazing job with bike fits there! He does a retül fit and really increased my comfort and power on the bike. (Yay free power!) He recommended doing custom insoles as well because of the way I ride. So we did those as well which have made it so I don’t have any more numbness or discomfort in my feet! It’s amazing what changing a couple mm/degrees here and there can do for power and comfort.  Thanks Brian!

Coach David and I grabbed some lunch and went and packed up my bike and all my stuff. Learned some better ways to pack my bike and took pictures when I got home so I can actually do it myself J.  I had a run on the schedule but since the bike fit went long and I had to get to Dallas on time, I just drove straight to Dallas to catch my flight. I ended up at the gate 2 hours early (could have done that run L), but right next to my gate was a yoga studio! I forgot to do my yoga the day before so I went over to the little airport yoga “studio” and did 40 minutes of yoga.

My private little yoga paradise.

Leaving was so bitter sweet! I was very excited to be able to see Scott and Emi again and be home in my own bed after having a summer very full of traveling, but it was so fun to be able to train with other pros who are chasing the same dream I am. It makes me mentally tough to do these training sessions by myself but it's nice to know I'm going to have company a couple times throughout the year!