I’m making it blog post official

Okay, here I go – here’s my big announcement.  I’m quite terrified of saying this out loud (or in this case, typing it online) but I want to make it real and put it out there.  Once it’s in the universe – it’s out there!

I have a goal.  And my goal is to work my way up to doing Ironman in 2021!

YIKES!  There it is… I said it!

Three years seems like a long time from now, yet it feels like it’s right around the corner.  I have a lot to do in 3 little years.  I have to learn to swim 2.4 miles.  As of now, the longest I’ve swam is .5 miles and I cried uncontrollably before doing that.   And let’s not forget I just learned how to swim in June and I’m still afraid of water!

I have to learn to bike 112 miles.  Right now the longest I’ve ridden is 25 miles.  Besides learning to go the distance I have to learn to do hills.  And a lot of hills.  And I have to learn to bike in a straight line and not crash.  I do not want a repeat of the Great Poison Ivy Outbreak of 2017!

And I have to get back into running.  Ever since my ultra in 2015, I’ve struggled with my running motivation.  I need to get back to marathon distance.  All I’ve done the past two years are half marathons and I’ve struggled with training for those because I had no desire to lace up my shoes.

And on top of all of this, I have to find a way to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles faster than I ever have before.  As of now, I wouldn’t make the swim cutoff for Ironman.  And if I do somehow manage to make the swim cutoff, I wouldn’t make the bike cutoff.  I’m not going to go through Ironman training only to be stopped in transition because I didn’t make the cutoff time.

But why make my declaration now in 2018 if I don’t plan on competing until 2021?  Well, because I need the motivation to train that much harder.  To make that extra sacrifice and to be held accountable.  I figure I can get through 2018 without changing my lifestyle and making too many sacrifices.  But once 2019 rolls around, and if I do a Half Iron next year, it’s game on.  I’ll be making a lot of sacrifices to get to that end goal in 2021 and I will need my family and friends to understand why I’m making these sacrifices.

So there you have it, I made it Blog Post Official (not to be confused with making it “Facebook Official”).  And while a lot can happen in the next 3 years, if you know me at all – you know that once I make my mind up – I’m too stubborn to quit!

So join me on this crazy adventure – won’t you!?  Because if nothing else, I’m sure training will make for some interesting blog posts.

Until next time,

Gotta run!


Do something new every year

Every year I like to do something new.  I want to make sure I “do” something special and not just “go” someplace special.  Don’t get me wrong, if money were endless, I’d go everywhere and see everything.  But sadly it’s not, so instead of getting hung up on going places, I want to make sure I experience life, do things and don’t just view things.

When it comes to doing things it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s something I haven’t done before.  It could be fun, athletic or entertaining.  In the past some of my new “things” have been trying my hand at stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and mountain biking.  I’ve also done a skydiving simulator, ran various distances and did obstacle races as well as a stair climb.

My new thing for 2017 was doing my very first triathlon.  And more importantly my new thing was learning to swim.  As I’m reflecting on that journey, I’m truly amazed I did it.  The depth of my fear of swimming was a deep one.  It was many decades long, was completely irrational but completely real.  Crying uncontrollably at the sight of the water at the start of my tri should help you gauge the level of my fear and discomfort.

When people talk about getting outside of your comfort zone, learning to swim was definitely outside of my comfort zone.  It was so far away from my comfort zone that you would have needed NASA to track and find it’s location.  And not that all of my new things have to be this big and scary, it just so happened that 2017’s was big and was scary.  And honestly, I couldn’t be more proud of myself.  It’s hard to say that, but it’s true. I am proud of myself!

I truly cannot believe I learned how to swim.  I started my journey to learn how to swim in November of 2016 and couldn’t swim until June 2017 and my tri was in August of 2017.  Nine months of emotionally putting myself in some of the most uncomfortable situations I’ve ever been in.  This took some serious dedication as well as a lot of stubbornness.  And while training and running an ultra wasn’t easy and it was also emotionally draining, I never thought I would die, which I did often as I tried to learn to swim.  And I didn’t have a fear with running as I did with swimming.

And also let’s not forget that while I was trying to learn to swim, I also had to master biking.  Which I did ONLY after crashing and getting the worst case of poison ivy AND hives humanly possible.  But did I quit, no.  Even though it would have been really easy to do so at this time.  Instead I waited until my poison ivy stopped oozing and then I got back in the pool.

After learning to swim in the pool, I headed out to the open water.  Which brought its own set of challenges.  Sighting – or in my case – not being able to sight, swells and other swimmers all made open water swimming extra tough.  But did I quit?  No.  Did I cry?  Well of course!

Yes, many of my new things have made me cry.  I’ve cried on the side of the road during some horrible training runs.  And I have cried while standing in water not wanting to put my face in it.  In my case it’s not… “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”; instead it’s “what makes you cry will make you stronger”.  And stronger I am.  Not physically but definitely emotionally.  All thanks to my “new” thing in 2017.

I’m not sure what 2018’s new thing will be.  I am doing an Olympic distance tri next year, that will be new.  But besides that… what new thing will I do?  I have no idea, but I anxiously look forward to figuring it out.  This time I just hope there’s not as much crying involved!

Until next time and until next year,

Gotta run


I’m just naturally not-gifted!

I got back in the pool yesterday.  My goal is to get in the pool at least once a week during the winter months.  I swam 1150 yards, which is the most I’ve ever swam!  For reference, as I was training for my tri in summer, I was swimming 900 yards.  It’s not a lot more yards, but it is 5 more laps.  It’s a big deal for me.  A really big deal!

I looked back at the blog post I wrote last year on 12/7/16 and I couldn’t breathe in the water, had a hard time even blowing bubbles, could only “move” in the water with a kick board and in general, my future looked bleak.  So the fact that one year later I’m swimming MORE THAN a half mile is HUGE!  FRICKEN HUGE.

But I still can’t breathe to my left.  And truthfully I haven’t been putting in a lot of time on this.  First, I just need to get back in the pool and put some time in and get some good laps under my belt before I try to tackle bi-lateral breathing.  I have done a few laps while holding onto the kick board and tried breathing to my left and it didn’t go well.  Last night I tried just doing one stroke repeats while breathing to my left and that too did not go well.  Why, oh why, does it have to be so hard?

A friend asked me why I am trying to learn to breathe to my left and I said it was for two reasons.  1, I feel I need to be able to breathe AWAY from waves and swells if necessary.  And 2, I feel if I can breathe to the left it will make me faster.  I don’t know if this is true, but I figured it can’t hurt.

And let’s just say I need all the help I can in getting faster.  I actually amaze myself at how slow I am.  And when I say I’m slow, I am slow at EVERYTHING I do.  I’m a slow runner, I’m a slow biker and now I’m a slow swimmer.  Do you know people who are just gifted athletes and no matter what they try, they are good at it?  I have some friends like that.  They are good, they are fast, they win things.  I don’t win things!  EVER!

And not only do I not win, I’m always at the back.  Always.  I had one friend who was a back of the pack runner but when she took up biking she kicked ass.  She could hang with some really fast bikers and was outperforming most of the guys.  I was secretly hoping that would happen to me, that I would get on my bike or get in the pool and discover I was a natural at it.  Nope, that did not happen.

How can that be?  At some point I need to be good at something, right?  It’s only fair.  And I’m not even asking to be fast or to win stuff, I just don’t want to miss the fricken cutoffs in an event.  Right now, with all things being equal, if I were to compete in a Half Iron, I would come in under the swim cutoff time by about 5 minutes.  5 MINUTES!  That’s not a lot.  THAT IS TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT!  And this is based on my time that’s me swimming in a lap pool, by myself with nobody swimming into me, no one bumping me, no waves or swells causing me to panic.  And let’s not forget about the fact that I can’t sight and can’t swim in a straight line, which means I would need more than 5 minutes to compensate for all of this!

Basically I would train my butt off for a Half Iron only to get stopped after the first event.  That would be brutal.

Why am I so slow?  At everything?  I know I’m not athletic, but why does that make me slow?
Why don’t my body parts turnover as quickly as other people’s do?  I tried SO HARD yesterday in the pool to go fast.  I thought my arms were coming out of the water as fast as possible.  I thought I was rocking it.  That is until I saw the old gentleman who got into the pool a few lanes away blow past me in the water like I was anchored in place.

So to all you fast, gifted athletes out there, what’s your secret?  Is it all genetics?  I do admit that I got screwed in the athletic genetic department, so is all hope lost?  I can do drills and put more time in the pool but how much will I really improve?  This goes for biking too, what do I need to do to get faster?  (I’m not even going to ask about how to become a faster runner because now I’m just trying to stop the downward spiral this has become my pace, which gets slower and slower every time I head out the door).  And how much can a really slow person truly improve?  How much can I improve upon my times?

Any and all tips and pointers are welcome at this point.

Until next time,

Gotta run



Just like riding a bike

I got back in the pool yesterday, the first time since the Tri in August.  I figured I couldn’t delay the inevitable any longer.

You know the saying, “it’s just like riding a bike”?  Well, it was like that.  And remember, when I started riding my bike, I crashed and got a wicked case of poison ivy and hives?!?!!

Yep, just like that!


Have I said lately how bad I am at swimming and how it is not easy or natural?!?!

And I haven’t even tried to learn to bi-lateral breathe yet?  THAT.  WILL.  BE. INTERESTING.

Until next time,

Gotta run!




1 done, 2 sports to go

Part Two of My Triathlon Debut:

As I got out of the water I was a mix of emotions.  Part of me said it’s no big deal… I’ve actually swam 1/2 mile before so it’s not like swimming the distance was a big deal.  But what was a big deal was going from crying uncontrollably earlier in the morning to getting out of the water, unscathed.  I did it and I did it without drama.  And by that I mean, no gasping for breath, no getting knocked around by other swimmers, no hanging on to lifeguard boats.


What’s weird about tris – but it’s the nature of the sport – is that you can’t celebrate mini accomplishments along the way.  I would have loved to have been able to chill and relish the fact that I didn’t die in Lake Michigan, but I couldn’t.  I had to get to transition to get on my bike.  I actually found this “must-keep-going-must-do-the-next-sport” feeling really odd.  I hadn’t thought much about it – I had thought about transition and the logistics of making it all work – but I never thought about how I’d feel.  I was a bit let down by the fact that to me – the hardest part was over with, yet I didn’t get to truly enjoy it because I had to keep going.  On the other hand, I also remember being aware of the fact that “this is what tris are all about” – I had to suck it up buttercup and get going.

I ran the 1/4 mile to transition and once inside the barricades, I stepped off to the side on a patch of grass to take off my wet-suit.  I got it off relatively easy and then I picked up my stuff and ran to my rack and bike.  Thankfully I had no problems getting to my rack or my bike, I had a pretty good visual cue – a pine tree – to help with my sighting.

I tossed my wet-suit over the rack, put on my socks and shoes, grabbed my race belt and threw that on too.  Brian had told me not to put my belt on until the run, but I chose to put it on during the bike because I was worried I’d forget it otherwise.  I don’t clip into my pedals so I don’t have to change shoes, which is where a lot of people keep their race belt so they remember to put it on before the run.  But all I had to do was take off my helmet and throw on my hat, so I didn’t trust myself to remember it, being a newbie and all.  So I put my race belt on, buckled my helmet and threw my glasses on top of my helmet and I was off.  I thought I did okay in transition for being a rookie.  I didn’t break any speed barriers, but I didn’t dilly dally either.

As I mounted my bike I heard people shouting something.  I wasn’t sure what they were shouting or to whom.  Eventually I figured out they were shouting at me telling me my glasses were on my helmet – which I knew and is where I wanted them.  The sun wasn’t too bad at this time so I didn’t want them on, but I wanted to have them with me in case I needed them.  But as they were all so persistent in their shouting, I figured it must have been against regulations to have anything “loose” that could fly off while on the bike.  So I grabbed my glasses and put them on.  I later asked Brian about this and he said there is no such rule.  He thinks the people were just trying to be helpful by telling me my glasses were on my helmet – in case I had forgotten them there.  While I appreciate the sentiment behind their shouting, it all kind of freaked me out.  When participating in a tri for the first time, getting shouted at by strangers is not very comfortable.

But you know what was comfortable?  Climbing the first hill – right after mounting my bike.  The course takes riders up the on-ramp and it’s basically right after we mount our bikes, so no time to get warmed up or to get in a low gear.  BUT thanks to all the times I accompanied Brian to his mandatory course talks in the past, I remembered the tip that they gave to make sure your bike is in a low gear in order to make that first climb.  The course lecture we attended this year, didn’t mention that little tip and I think the folks around me paid for it.  I passed probably 4-5 people in the first 50 yards and it was awesome.  And it was just the start of the fun that was about to happen for the next 15 miles.

I had never biked with a group before.  And I’ve only actually biked with one other person a handful of times and it was usually Brian and he’d ride behind me as not to freak me out by being alongside of me.  I was more than a bit anxious to ride with hundreds, maybe even thousands of other riders.  I was scared to get too close to anyone and I was definitely worried about the drafting rules in triathlons.  I figured it would be just my luck to get a penalty or get DQ’d for something as stupid as drafting, especially since I don’t really even get what it entails. And yes, I know what drafting is in theory – but do I know what it looks like in practice and could I guarantee I wouldn’t do it – nope!?  So if I drafted it would have been by accident.

So the only sure-fire way to not get penalized for drafting was to just pass everyone.  Simple enough.

I was peddling along and anytime I got even remotely close to someone I figured I needed to hurry up and pass so I didn’t have to worry about drafting.


It didn’t take long to realize that passing people was fun!  I spent the first few miles zooming by people and I was loving it.  But I figured it wouldn’t last long.  In my mind I figured I was passing all of the slow folks and eventually I’d catch up to the people way faster than me and then the fun would be done.  But that wasn’t the case.  A few more miles and many more people passed.  And in full transparency, I was passing a lot of people on mountain bikes.  But still… I was passing and that’s all that counts.  Plus I was passing a lot of relay people or people way younger than me – so mountain bike or not – they had the upper hand.

I was wearing my Garmin, so I was able to glance at my mile splits and when I saw how fast I was biking, I was pretty excited.  It was about a minute per mile faster than any of my training rides.  But I didn’t get too excited because the bike course is an out-and-back and the wind was at my bike on the way out.  I figured once I hit the turn around my times would skyrocket.  But they stayed pretty low.  I did increase my times, but I was still doing much better than I had on my training rides.


But it’s not like I didn’t get past.  It was around mile 10ish when I really noticed I started getting passed by some people kicking ass.  I wasn’t passed by my fellow back of the packers, instead it was by the triathletes that did the “triple”.  Doing a “triple” is when a person competes in the super sprint on Saturday, then they did the Olympic distance event first thing Sunday morning and when they were done with that, they got back in the water and did it all over again in the Sprint distance.  And contrary to what people may think, this didn’t make them super tired.  No, they were super competitive.  Anyone good enough to do a triple is good enough to catch me and pass me even though they were 5 waves behind me.  I knew they were triples because they were the ones riding $7,000 bikes and were zooming past me as if I was standing still.  I actually heard most of them coming before I even saw them.  Most of them had disk tires and they make a distinct sound in the wind.

And even though I was now getting past by people who started 5 waves later than me, I wasn’t upset.  It was actually fun to watch them bike past.  They bike so effortlessly, unlike my biking, you have to give them all the respect and props they deserve.  Also at this point, I was just enjoying myself too much to care.

And yes, I was actually enjoying myself.  I was biking better than I could have imagined, I was passing people, I wasn’t losing control of my bike while in aero position and I was able to enjoy my surroundings. I made a conscious effort to soak it all in and enjoy the experience.  I saw the ferris wheel on Navy Pier, I saw the skyline, I saw both the Hancock and the Sears Tower (no I will not call it the Willis) in the distance.  It was a beautiful day for a bike ride and I was enjoying it.  And then it started raining.  Not heavy, but enough to notice.  And much to my surprise, I didn’t freak out, I actually thought about how lucky I was that it was going to be raining for my run.  I LOVE running in the rain and I thought the triathlon gods had finally thrown me a bone and given me some favorable conditions.  Unfortunately the rain didn’t stick around for my run, but it was fun while it did last.

After completing my 15 miles on the bike, I got back to transition, did my dismount – and yes the mounting and dismounting were a concern of mine – and I think I did okay.  I didn’t fall or get in anyone else’s way, so I consider that a victory.

Back in transition I racked my bike, took off my helmet, threw my hair into a running hat, sucked down an energy gel and I was off to the run course.

Holy balls, two out of the three are done.  Just one short 5k and I’d be crossing the finish line.  I can do 3.1 miles in my sleep.  This will be a cake walk.

Or so I thought.

When you don’t actually do any runs longer than 1 mile leading up to the tri and when you push your legs too hard on the bike because you’re passing people and it’s fun… you have no juice left in your legs for the run.

Running, the one sport I could do, was going to be a struggle. That just figures!

Run, run, run.

Man my legs feel like concrete.

This sucks.

Oh yes it did.  I had a bit of the typical “lead” feeling that all triathletes have after getting off of the bike.  But that wasn’t my main concern, it was the fact that my legs were just so damn tired from biking.


But just keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s only 3.1 miles for gods sake – even in pain, I can do that.

So on I went.

I thought it was a simple out and back run course so I thought we’d be turning around at the 1.5 mile mark.  This was not the case.  Instead we turned around closer to the 2 mile mark.  And we all know how well I do when I don’t know where I am?!?!  Anxiety about not turning around started to set in and even though I tried to tell myself that it was no big deal and that the longer I run “out” the shorter the run back “in” would be.  But I still wasn’t a happy camper.  I was completely thrilled when I hit the turn around mark.

I didn’t think about much while on the run.  Other than how crappy my legs felt of course!  Like on the bike, I tried to take it all in.  I tried to appreciate the scenery and all the people.  I also tried to appreciate the fact that it was only a 5K and nothing more!


As I made the last turn and was about to enter the finisher’s shoot, I could see the finish line in the distance.  I was just moments away from crossing the finish line and from crossing off a MAJOR item off of my bucket list?



What would I feel as I crossed the finish line?  What do I feel now after having over a week to reflect on my accomplishment?  And what’s next?  Well, you’ll have to stay tuned to find out.

Until next time,

Gotta run (or bike and swim)




I can sum up my feelings prior to the start of my first-ever tri in two words: irrational fear.

Are the three sports in a triathlon -1.  getting sick, 2. crying and 3. running away?  Because that’s what it felt like leading up to my first triathlon.

Let me fill you in.  But where do I begin?

As most of you know I was SO freaking nervous leading up to race weekend.  And man, let’s just say my nerves did not subside once I got to Chicago.  Actually they escalated and were at an all time high.  They were so bad that I was physically making myself sick.  My anxiety was compounded every time I saw the water.

Let me walk you through the nerves and the tears.  Yes, there were tears.  Many, many tears.

We got to downtown Chicago late Saturday morning.  We checked into our hotel, had a quick-lunch and then headed to the expo and the mandatory course talk.  It’s at the course talk the first tears emerged.  Just seeing photos of the water and thinking ahead to the race were troublesome for me.  I few tears escaped.  I tried to be cool and brush away the stray tears before anyone noticed, but I’m guessing Jolene and Brian noticed.

After we left the expo Brian and I went to rack our bikes in transition and walking along the water to and from transition sent me over the edge for the first time that weekend.  The water was so choppy – I was not expecting it to be so rough.  Brian had been assuring me for months that because we were swimming in a harbor that the water would be calm.  The water was not calm and neither was I.

OMG!  What was I going to do?  I couldn’t swim in that water!  This seemed like just as good of a time as any to cry once again!

The afternoon slowly slid into the evening and my nerves slid into an uncomfortable bout of nausea.  Yep, I was making myself ill.  Literally.

By the end of the night I was truly sick to my stomach.  I just wanted to lie in the fetal position until the waters of Lake Michigan turned into the calm waters of the YMCA pool.  But knowing that was extremely unlikely, I decided to take some Pepto and go to bed.

And then the next thing you know it’s Race Day!

Oh lord I was sick to my stomach.

I was trying to compare my feelings on this particular day to the morning of my ultra and while I was nervous and anxious for both, the feelings and worries were completely different.  Before my ultra I was overwhelmed at the magnitude of having to run 50 miles.  I had never run that far and I didn’t know if I could complete the task.  I was worried about the physical aspect of the adventure – how I’d feel, if there would  be pain, etc.  But before the tri, I didn’t have those type of worries and concerns.  It was not a concern for the physical act of swimming, it was fear.  Athentic and irrational fear.  Keyword is irrational.  I knew it wasn’t rational, yet I couldn’t do anything about it.  I just had to go with it.

As I stared out my hotel window and looked at Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park and Lake Michigan I willed both my nerves and the waters to be calm.

2017-08-27 05.35.07

Race Morning. Willing myself and the waters of Lake Michigan to be calm.

We left the hotel to start our day.  As we were walking I was doing “okay”, and “okay” can be left up to interpretation at this point.  We headed to transition to finish getting ready before it closed.  It wasn’t until we left transition – when I saw the sailboats in the marina rocking back and forth – that I panicked.  And no, Brian saying it wasn’t too bad and that the wind will be at my back did nothing to ease my mind.  I was now officially “in my head” and I wasn’t leaving anytime soon.  And prior to a race, being in my head is NEVER a good place to be.

As we left transition, we walked along the water to meet up with my sister Jolene.  We were going to meet up and then we’d find a place to chill and wait for our waves.  At this point I had over an hour and a half before my start time and Brian had about an hour.  As we walked along the water, I got more and more sick.  And the tears came.  At first there were two or three stray tears that rolled down my cheek.  And then those two or three turned to twenty or thirty.  I was trying to keep it together, but it wasn’t working.  As I walked, I brushed more and more tears aside.

And then I saw Jolene and my friend Jody – who I wasn’t expecting to see – and who was in costume and really rockin’ “Race Day”.  Literally.  They were literally rocking out – they were channeling their inner Run DMC – with Jody in costume and all, they had a blow up boom box, gold chains and were playing “It’s Tricky” for me (It’s Tricky was my 2017 inaugural triathlon theme).

When I saw them, I could no longer hold it together.  I lost it.  I cried uncontrollably and I couldn’t stop.  I wanted to.  But I couldn’t.

I was crying for so many reasons I understood and for many that I didn’t.  I was completely taken off guard by my crying and more shockingly, by my lack of ability to stop crying!  Eventually I brought my cry down to a more manageable slow stream of tears.  Once my crying slowed to a trickle, I was finally able to say hi to Jody and appreciate her and Jolene’s efforts to rock Race Day for me! It was impressive.

But as impressive as it was, I still couldn’t find “happy”.  I was stuck smack dab in the middle of fear and happy was nowhere to be found.


Notice the uncomfortable and forced smile? I had just stopped crying and was not very happy.

We found a place to pop a squat and we watched more waves go off.  And as we watched, much to my horror, I saw many people get pulled out of the water.  Out of all the years I’ve been heading to Chicago for this event to watch Brian, NEVER ONCE have we seen anyone get pulled out of the water.  This day we saw the jet ski zoom in to help many swimmers, we saw lifeguards jump in from the break wall to help swimmers and we saw others swimmers flagging down help for their fellow participants.

What.  The.  Fuck.

Seriously, what the fuck?  Really, of all the days to have this happen, it was happening right before I had to get in the water???!! That’s not good timing!

As I watched other people swim I was filled with so much dread and fear.  I was also pissed.  I was pissed that I had worked so hard to learn how to swim a 1/2 mile and I was going to have to get into crappy, swell-filled water and I was going to have a horrible swim.  I didn’t want to panic, stop, gasp for breath but I knew it was going to be inevitable.  And that pissed me off.


It came time for Brian to head into his corral.  Once Brian left I decided to start putting my wet-suit on and get ready.  I had plenty of time, but I also had plenty of nervous energy and just sitting and waiting wasn’t cutting it any longer, I needed to do something – so putting on my wet-suit was a good distraction.

2017-08-27 09.32.05

Once I got my wet-suit on, I was able to see Brian for a few seconds as he swam past.  It wasn’t long after he was out of sight, that I decided to go and get into my corral.  Again, I had nothing else to do but be nervous, so I figured the act of getting ready and getting in the corral was another good distraction.


As I was standing in my corral I was still watching the other swimmers go off in their waves and I was watching more swimmers struggle.  While I could have looked elsewhere, I found myself drawn to the water.  I felt a strong attraction – I had to watch.  I was a bit transfixed by it.  I felt as if looking away would cause me to be less prepared for what was about to happen.

While I was in the corral and moving closer and closer to my start time, I wasn’t as sick as I had been earlier in the day and I was no longer crying.  I wasn’t calm and I wasn’t freaked.  I was numb.  There was no turning back and backing out, so the only way to get through this was to get in the water and swim.  So that was what I was prepared to do.

It was just about go time.

Move forward.

Wave 48 is next up.

Now it’s our time.

Wave 48 enters the water.

I was among the last in the water.

Treading water.

Looking at the swim out – 1/2 mile ahead of me.

Treading water.


It’s about to happen.

Treading water.


Horn blows.

Everyone starts to swim.

Everyone except for me.

I didn’t freeze or panic, it was a strategic decision to hold back and let everyone get ahead of me.  My coach told me to count to 10 and then start swimming.








I didn’t make it to 10, I was too anxious and had to start swimming.

As I started swimming, I was just thinking about moving.  Moving forward.  Just do what I’ve trained for… stroke, kick and breathe.

Move forward.

Oh oh.

My heart rate was starting to accelerate.

My breathing was labored.

Oh shit, panic… here we come.

At this point I started having a hard and forceful conversation… with myself!  I kid you not, I had a major internal dialogue – actually it was more like an internal fight -happening.

“Don’t fucking panic.  Just calm down”.  ~Me

“Fuck you, you know telling me to calm down doesn’t work, it actually has the exact opposite effect, so thank you for fucking with me and making things worse.” ~Also Me

“Well, you better get control or do something because you’ve gone about 10 yards and it’s going to be a really long and difficult fucking swim if you can’t settle your ass down.” ~Me

“Seriously, shut the fuck up, I’m trying.” ~Also me

“You’re doing fine, so just fucking settle down.  Just swim.  Don’t think.  Just swim.” ~Me

“Good lord, shut the fuck up, I beg of you.” ~Also Me

“Not until you calm down.” ~Me

“Fine, I’m calm.  I’m swimming.  Are you happy?” ~Also Me

“Well, well, well…. look who’s stopped panicking.  You’re welcome!” ~Me

“Holy crap, I am swimming.  Oh.  My.  God.  I’m swimming.” ~Also Me

“I think I deserve a thank you for calming you down.” ~Me

“Fuck off and go away, I’ve got me some swimming to do!” ~Also Me

So much to my surprise, I had managed to calm down and swim.  I wouldn’t say it was easy, but I was doing it.  Stroke, stroke, breathe.  Repeat.



Just swim.

I sighted about every 8 strokes.  How do I know it was every 8 strokes?  Because I counted.  I needed the distraction.  And I also started running through my rather large and extended family and started naming my aunts and cousins.  I needed to think of something to keep my mind occupied.  I tried to do this between counting my strokes.  I couldn’t give up on counting because I desperately needed to stop and sight more often than not, as I typically swim off course.  And this race was no exception.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Sight

Alice, Bernice, Corrine, Donnie Sight

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Sight

Linda, Barb, Jeff, Kathy Sight

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Sight

At some point, I think it was after the half way mark, and may even have been closer to the 2/3 mark when I realized I was doing it and I was surviving.  I was swimming.  Holy shit I was swimming.

Whenever I stopped to sight (and yes, I know I’m not actually supposed to stop and sight, but I haven’t mastered moving and sighting at the same time!) and brought my head out of the water I could hear Jolene and Jody as they were following along on shore. It was just after I realized, “holy shit – I’m swimming”, that I heard them so I knew they were near.  This is when I lifted my head out of the water, I looked to shore and I yelled… “I’M SWIMMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I hadn’t planned on shouting the obvious for all to hear.  It was spontaneous and authentic.  At that moment my fear had turned to glee and I wanted to scream it from the rooftops.  Or at least shout it from sea level!


Jolene told me later that at that moment, a weight was lifted from her shoulders.  She knew I’d be fine and I’d get out of the water and finish my swim.

And finish I did.

I got out of the water with a sense of relief.  I was so happy, yet I felt like I couldn’t truly enjoy my accomplishment because I had 2 more sports to do before I could really enjoy my achievement.

out2017-08-27 10.12.38out2

Crap…. no time to celebrate – time to get to transition and figure out how the hell to ride on Lake Shore Drive with thousands of other bikers.

Until next time,

Gotta Run (and swim and bike)

**Stay Tuned for Part 2 of my Chicago Triathlon Recap








I didn’t die

I know some of you are anxiously awaiting my Chicago Triathlon recap, but it will most likely take a few days to write it – so stay tuned.

But for those of you that are curious – just know that I finished and I did well! I’ll just say it was a HUGE rollercoaster of emotions.  I was fighting against my internal demons and had to deal with a handful of physical ailments I manifested because of my emotions.  It was a long and crazy couple of days.

Here are a few photos to leave you with until I have time to recap all the craziness – and by craziness I mean my bouts of crying or near vomiting!































Until next time,

Gotta run (or swim and bike – just because I can)