Some Random Thursday Purr Purr Chomp Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:37:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. Tue, 14 Nov 2017 14:45:27 +0000 Read more ]]> Baby steps.  That’s where I’m at.  Huge big goals for 2017 led to huge big disappointments (no Ironman Florida and pretty much stalling at developing any type of meaningful fitness).  I’ve learned that lesson.  While 2017 sucked, it has taught me lessons — that Squish throws a monkey wrench into almost every attempt at scheduling and that just because I feel like I can pull everything together six months before an event, it doesn’t necessarily mean I can. Training and racing takes a back seat to the demands of the Squish (as an aside, I totally feel Gwen Jorgenson’s decision to race marathons, figuring out how to make things work post-baby is hard).

Squish 1

Ryan swims and Squish and I work on getting her comfortable in the water.

As Ryan and I both tried to get in a swim last weekend, I came to the conclusion that we have a fair bit going against us when it comes to training.  Neither of us have family in the area.  I’m more than a little jealous of people who are able to use grandparents or other relatives for a quick hour long drop off, to help pick up from day care on crazy days or to provide emergency childcare when a little one is sick.   I never realized how valuable my mother was for helping in these types of situations until she moved to Florida.  In so many ways Ryan and I are so incredibly privileged, I know and understand that.  Despite our privilege, we still struggle, especially when it comes to schedules and scheduling.  We’re getting better at asking for and accepting help (thank you Kim for watching Squish last week) but we still struggle to navigate our lives as adults and our lives as Squish’s parents.  We’re getting there.  Baby steps.

squish 2

Squish loves the running stroller. Hooray!

Squish’s internal clock is also tough.  I’m a morning person.  Ryan is a morning person.  So is Squish.  She wakes up somewhere between 5 and 5:30 a.m. most mornings (I am told there are babies that sleep past 7 a.m., some day I would like to meet one of these miracle children).  In an ideal world, Ryan and I would get up and train before she wakes up.  Unfortunately that would require us to be up at 3:30 a.m. or so.  As devoted as I want to be, that’s not going to happen.  Sleep is important.  Instead I wake up with Squish, nurse her, we feed her breakfast and most mornings I bundle her up and head out to run (yes, I’ve been running, and running fairly consistently, just not long or fast).  Trying to get a swim or bike in during the morning is pretty much impossible at this point.  Ryan has to leave for work before me making a trip to the pool hard.  Squish gets into all sorts of trouble if I try to get on the trainer (she now knows how to climb both up and down stairs).  Trying to train after work can be equally problematic.  I’m a morning person.  Doing things at night is, well, not my thing.  I have gotten better at swimming at night.  I’ve started hosting a short, hard swim workout two nights a week and its been really good at getting me to the pool and really good for pushing my athletes to swim hard.  I’m still working on the bike.  I’m going to try night time trainer rides this week.  I’m hoping that Moana coupled with some new downstairs toys might buy me 45 minutes of intervals. Or it might not.  Baby steps.

squish 3

Some mornings Squish gets up WAY too early and needs a morning nap, killing any workout plans.

Since I’ve gotten a little more consistent, I’ve also begun to seriously think about racing and goals (and re-framing goals):

  • In 2016 I ran a Thanksgiving 5K in Redding, CT pushing Squish in the stroller.  My time?  37:09.  I’m going to beat that this year even though Squish is 10 or so pounds heavier than she was last year.
  • Last April I ran a 5K in 29:34.  That stands as my post-baby 5K PR.  I’m going to beat that as well. On January 1st there’s a 5K in Orange.  I’d like to start 2018 with a new post baby PR.
  • Next month I’m swimming at New England SCM Championships in Worcester, MA.  I’m going to swim the 1500 in less than 40 minutes (ok, that’s not a real goal, real goal is a 26:XX or so, but I have to post a sub-40 minute time in order to qualify and race in the Casco Bay Islands Swim Run).
  • I’d also like to post-baby PR in the 100 Free, 400 Free, 100 Back and 50 Back.

I know that in the grand scheme of things these aren’t huge goals or super fast times, but I need incentives where I am today, not where I hope to be in 3, 6 or 9 months.  Baby steps.

squish 4

Hooray, we’re training buddies for 2018!

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Brain Drain Mon, 13 Nov 2017 18:00:22 +0000 Read more ]]> The initial impact seems innocuous enough. Just another bump. Nothing you haven’t done a hundred times before. You’ll shake it off.

Then the fog starts to set in. It comes in fast, like a gale off the water, to envelope the entire harbor that is your thought process. Everything gets harder. You can feel the thought process trying to happen. You have to hear the words that you want to come out of your mouth before you can say them. Your vision becomes blurry, distorted. There’s a reason why they refer to this as punch-drunk. Ten tequila shots just hit your bloodstream without the joy of imbibing them or the celebratory lime afterwards. Walking is more than just a chore. Trying to figure out which direction is vertical is near impossible.

This is what your “average” Grade 2 concussion feels like 10 seconds after impact. The actual headache won’t set in for another 15 minutes or so. The light sensitivity will start to replace some of the blurred vision, but not all of it. You’re still trying to scramble to figure out which way is upright. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, but the world’s starting to spin a little bit because of the combination of light sensitivity and blurred vision.


Before the hit to the head at the Quassy open water swim.

Let’s throw one more variable into the mix: you’re in the middle of a lake. This is the situation I found myself in a few weeks back, during the course of an open-water swim race at the Quassy Sailing Center. I took the combination of a swift kick to the jaw and an elbow to the top of the head and have found myself back on the post-concussion syndrome struggle bus.

This is my fifth documented concussion. My first one was in the fifth grade: I fell backwards from about seven feet off of an open area on the playground onto the woodchips below. I had luckily managed to get my feet under me, but smacked the back of my head on the ground afterwards. My second one came playing pick-up football in high school; the third from pick-up football in college (you’d think I’d have learned better).

The fourth one came during the course of my bike crash in 2014. All of the other ones were relatively minor. This one was anything but. The first sign of a Grade 3 concussion is being knocked unconscious. We know that I was out for at least 30 seconds in full – the guys who stabilized my spine when they found me in the road were about a quarter-mile behind me when I crashed. The next sign – I couldn’t lift my head for the life of me without debilitating nausea or a migraine.

Following my first (and to date, only) trip in the ambulance, the first concern was orthopedic and pain management. Obviously, the torodol and other drugs helped in that regard. The emergency room folks weren’t all that concerned with neurological function – I could speak, I knew people in the room, and I knew where I was supposed to be. That was the extent of my neuro work-up. That being said, the hospital also only found one of the three fractures in my spine and discharged me without stabilizing me…so I don’t exactly consider the care I received immediately after my crash as “stellar.”

I was out of work for a while post-accident. Between the spine brace I was in, and the inability to look at a screen for so long, I couldn’t work as a digital marketer. I spent a lot of time trying to do puzzles, although that was difficult in its own right. I was trapped, unable to exercise my mind or body without debilitating pain. Depression and anxiety set in pretty quickly. So did usage of my painkillers – I couldn’t go four hours without them. Weaning off of them was an exercise in willpower – I had pretty clearly become addicted to them. I luckily was able to break off them.

I returned to work in September. For those who aren’t well learned in the digital marketing space, the job involves a whole lot of Excel – from reports to keyword and copy review, you’re using Excel frequently across multiple monitors. The Google native platforms also are cell-divided, as is Facebook’s Ads Manager/Power Editor. To put it mildly, you rely on concentration and focus heavily to stay within the cells. These are things that have traditionally been strengths of mine. Instead, it was exhausting and infuriating. I also had to rely more on pen-paper to-do lists in order to be able make sure everything got done.

Through the course of rehabilitation for my back, we did some post-concussion syndrome related rehabilitation protocol. However, we never really addressed any of the cognitive aspects of it – instead, we primarily focused on motion and getting me back into exercise. To their credit, it’s why I was able to race at all in 2015. But certain symptoms still lingered – word recall was a bit of a chore, and short-term memory remained a loop. And to say it was exacerbated when Owen died qualifies as “Understatement of the Year.”

Fast-forward to just after Lake Placid, and the fatigue also set off a series of associated memory symptoms. It was clear something needed to change. In late August there happened to be a 5K XC race near our house. I, naturally, blew up. Gaylord Hospital’s physical therapy unit was on site, and I was happy to get some ART treatment post-race. The conversation with the head of the unit went something like this:

“So, this all locked up in a 5K? You must have had some underlying issues in your back.”
“Yeah, three years ago I broke my back cycling – thoracic spine anterior body.”
“Whoa, OK, that explains it. So, how’s your head?”
“Yeah, we know. We see it all the time. We can help.”

I was starting to explore the rehab process with Gaylord when I got concussion #5. A couple of referrals later and I was suddenly in the Center for Concussion Care’s arms. After a two hour long meeting with the head of the program, we had a rehabilitation protocol in place to start addressing all of the associated issues in place – from the cognitive function issues (speech/memory), vestibular therapy (addressing underlying vertigo/balance issues), and the physical (lack of thoracic spine mobility resulting in shoulder/neck/running injuries).

It’s good to finally have a plan in place, and to finally feel like there’s some progress. I can feel flashes of when memory is sticking more frequently than it has over the past couple of years, and I can also feel when speech pattern is starting to move in a different direction. Slowly but surely it is progressing – and for that, I am truly grateful.

Furry Otter

This is a pretty good reason to get my concussion related issues under control.

]]> 0 Cold Weather Clean Out Sat, 28 Oct 2017 14:48:28 +0000 Read more ]]> We’ve started working on cleaning out all the cold weather gear (I.  Have.  Too. Much.  Stuff).  So I’ll be paying it forward again and giving away  the lots of cold weather accessories (mostly Lululemon) pictured below.  Everything is is good to excellent condition.  If you would like a lot please follow these directions:

  1. Comment on this blog with the lot number you would like (comments on Facebook, Twitter and emails to me don’t count — the comment needs to be on this blog).  First come, first served.  
  2. If you are the first person to claim a lot, I’ll respond to your comment letting you know its yours.
  3. If you win the lot please send me $5 via PayPal Friends and Family to cover shipping.  My PayPal address is kaburns1214@gmailcom.  Make sure to include your lot number and mailing address in the note.  
  4. I’ll mail you your lot early next week.  You should have it within a few days.  Easy peasy.  

Lot 1: 


Lululemon hat and mitten in mint green.

Lot 2:


Lululemon hat and reflective gloves.

Lot 3:


Headsweats hat and Oiselle arm warmers.

Lot 4:


Headsweats hat and Lululemon gloves with reflective detail.

Lot 5: 


Pearl Izumi under helmet head band and cool weather biking gloves (size small / medium).

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2018 Race Series Mon, 23 Oct 2017 16:50:13 +0000 Read more ]]> hogsback6

Mario taking the win at the Hogsback Half Marathon.


Registration for the 2018 race series (The Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon, Retro Run 5K, Solstice Sprint 5K and Hogsback Half Marathon) open on November 1, 2017 at 12:01 a.m.  We’re trying a few new things this year.  Here’s what you need to know:

1.  Early Bird Registration.  The most inexpensive way to register is to take advantage of early bird registration from November 1st through November 7th.  During early bird registration Quarter Marathon is $30, Retro Run and Solstice are $20 and Hogsback is $40.

2.  Race Pass.  If you plan on running all four races, register using the Race Series PassFor $100 you get entry into all four races and a really cool race series hat from Boco Gear.

quarter 4

A snowy start to the 2017 Quarter Marathon.

3.  Hartford Track Club Members.  If you are a member of the Hartford Track Club you get an additional discount on race entries (the amount varies by race) and is taken off automatically at checkout.

4.  2017 Deferrals.  If you have a deferral from 2017, please email me at kelly [at] and I’ll send you a registration code.  All codes must be used by November 30, 2017.

Quarter 3

Eric looking oh so pleased to be running.

5.  No transfer or deferrals in 2018.  Unfortunately, due to abuses of our previous policy, we are no longer able to offer refunds, transfers or deferrals.  All proceeds from the races benefit charitable organizations.  If you are unable to run the race, we are happy to provide you with a receipt for a charitable donation in the amount of your race registration fee.

6.  2018 Charities.  In 2018 proceeds from Quarter Marathon will benefit the Blazeman Foundation, proceeds from Retro Run will benefit the Morris Parks and Recreation Department, proceeds from Solstice Sprint will benefit the Connecticut Legal Rights Project and proceeds from Hogsback will benefit Running for Rescues.

morris 1

Welcome to Morris!

7.  Race prize purses.  Each of the races will have a prize purse.  For Quarter Marathon there will be a $250 prize for the first male runner under 37:30 and the first female runner under 40:00.  For Retro Run and Solstice  there will be a $100 prize for the first male runner under 16:00 and the first female runner under 18:30.  For Hogsback there will be a $250 prize for the first male runner under 1:15:00 and the first female runner under 1:24:00. 

8.  Discount Codes.  If you represent a group of more than 10 runners, contact me and I’ll be happy to set up a discount code for your organization.  Just remember discount codes will not be available until after early bird pricing has ended.

morris 13

The view of the lake on the Morris course.

9.  Pacers.  We will have pacers for the Hogsback Half Marathon.  We are thinking about adding pacers to our other racers.  If you feel strongly about this (that is if having pacers is something you would really like) please let me know.

10. Volunteering.  We can always use volunteers.  We’ll have the volunteer websites up shortly if you would like to help out in 2018.


Janet, Solstice race volunteer extraordinaire.

11.  Anything else.  If there’s something you’d like to see, or there’s something we can do to help make the race experience better for you, please let me know.  We’re always looking to improve and feed


Ivy learning the ropes of race directing. 

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2017 Sucked Fri, 20 Oct 2017 19:00:35 +0000 Read more ]]> Its only October, but I feel that I can say with definiteness that 2017 sucked.

Alright, maybe that statement is a tad over dramatic.  In all seriousness, there were lots of good things about 2017 (so far).  Ivy is freaking adorable and funny and opinionated and ridiculous.  All the things an almost 14 month old should be.  Ryan and I raised almost $12,000 for the Adirondack Medical Center and Ryan had a really good race at Ironman Lake Placid.  We put on four successful races (Quarter, Retro Run, Solstice and Hogsback) and are gearing up for another solid series in 2018.  I helped several athletes reach some amazing goals this year  including long fought PRs and first time Ironman finishers.  All good things.   Even with all the good things, its always the stuff that doesn’t work that sticks with me.  I want to be better and to do better and its not always possible.


In 2017 training and racing sucked.  Really sucked.  I was never able to get into a rhythm.  Some of it was bad luck including not one, but two partial tears of my MCL and a nasty series of respiratory infections this fall.  Some of it was scheduling.  Nursing and caring for a little one coupled with a full time job didn’t always leave enough hours in the day.  Some of it was inertia.  When I did have time the idea of training just wasn’t appealing at all.  I feel like a sloth or a quokka or maybe a spiny anteater.  While it was nice to go out and complete the Cranberry Triathlon, I don’t really want to race without being prepared and I know that for me being the best possible athlete involves drinking from a fire house of volume (damn you people who respond well to high intensity).

As Ironman Florida approaches, I have such mixed feelings.  I’m sad but also relieved that I’m not going to be on the starting line.   Most of all, however, I’m disappointed in myself that I couldn’t get my shit together enough to be a position to race.  Cranberry reminded me how much I love racing and how much I want to be out there.  Training and racing is not something I want to give up on, it gives me way too much joy.  I want to believe I’m going to do better in 2018 (side note:  I now have “the village believes . . .“from Moana in my head). I really do.   I’ve signed up for way too many races to let 2018 suck too, but I think I’ve learned my lesson and there are no 140.6s on the calendar for me.


In 2017 my weight sucked too.  Ivy was born with both a tongue tie and lip tie.  For the first month of her life she didn’t gain any weight because she wasn’t stimulating me to produce enough milk.  Once we figured out what was going one we started to supplement Ivy with formula and we had the tongue and lip tie fixed.  Unfortunately the window on increasing my milk supply had closed and I was put on domperidone (motilium) to increase my milk supply.  As far as milk supply goes, domperidone is a wonder drug.  Because of it, Ivy is almost 14 months old and still nursing.  Unfortunately one of the side effects of domperidone is weight gain / inability to lose weight (another side effect is skin issues and I’ve been struggling with eczema since I’ve been on it).  I’ve always struggled with my weight but 14 months post-partum I still weigh what I did when Ivy was 6 weeks old.   I am officially obese (I’m also officially jealous beyond belief of everyone who is able to lose weight post baby).  Part of my struggle with training and racing is that I just feel like I’m too fat to do anything.  Mentally its a horrible vicious cycle (I feel too fat to get my butt out the door but also feel that I’m fat because I’m not getting my butt out the door enough).

Now that Ivy is over a year old, I’ve finally made the decision to wean off of the domperidone (a patch of eczema on my forehead was the final straw) and I’m hoping that once its out of my system the weight will be able to come off.  While I’m looking forward to having my body back, I’m also sad that it likely means the end of nursing Ivy.  Nursing is my special time with Ivy, its something no one else can do for her.  I’m emotional about it ending.  I’m also worried about what will happen once the domperidone is out of my system.  What if I still can’t lose weight?  I’m having a really hard time accepting that this might be my body, rather than just the temporary inflated body I’m living in for the moment.  I’m hoping 2018 will be bring positive changes in my weight, but I can’t know for sure.


Finally in 2017 I sucked at showing myself some grace.  Being kind to myself is so incredibly hard.  I still can’t wrap my head around why its so easy for me to encourage others while ripping myself to pieces.  Negative self talk comes to me so very quickly.  I would never dream of thinking or saying the things I say to myself (you’re fat, you’re lazy, you’re disgusting, you’re useless) to others but I repeat these things to myself on a daily basis.  While I “know” many of these thoughts are untrue, my conscious self and my unconscious impulses don’t always agree.   I need to (and I will) continue to work on showing myself grace.  Some days are easier than others, all I can work towards is more graceful days in 2018.  Maybe come October of 2018, I won’t be making that statement “2018 sucked.”


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Hogsback Half Marathon – Race Directing Report Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:23:38 +0000 Read more ]]> hogback5

Another Hogsback Half Marathon in the books.

This is my 12th year of race directing and its never been easy.  Recently I feel like race directing is getting harder — I don’t know if its rising expenses, more demanding athletes or the fact that I’m just getting older.  Probably its a little bit of all three, although at times I feel like I’m an old lady screaming from my porch while shaking my cane.  Every year about a week before the race I end of having a bit of a mental breakdown and I decide two things:  (1) that I hate everyone; and (2) that I’m never going to race direct again.  Fortunately those feelings pass and inevitably as the runners start to pour across the finish line, I recommit for another year.  2017 was no different, pre-race I was frustrated out of my mind but by the time the gun goes off I know that this is something I love doing.



While I do get frustrated (especially this year with our issue with race deferrals) there are lots of really positive things about the race:

  • We raised $7,405 for Running for Rescues and $500 for Austin Pets Alive!.  That’s a lot of money, which will help a lot of animals in need.
  • We had a TON of fantastic volunteers.  Every year out volunteers get better and better.  We are so lucky in this respect.  Special thanks go out to Running for Rescues for manning our aid station, the Colebrook Lions Club for providing traffic control, Run 169 for providing tons of registration volunteers, Shaun Gallagher for coordinating parking, Rachel Tambling for taking care of our fantastic pacers, Emily Gianquinto for leading registration and my mom for manning our post-race food.
  • We had a fast race, with some really great performances.  In particular we were able to pay out $250 to Brianna Demers for finishing in under 1:24:00 on the clock (she went on to place 5th at Hartford Marathon last weekend).
  • Even though it rained (Quarter had miserable weather this year as well, we’re due for some good weather in 2018), I think the runners had a really fantastic experience.  Our pacers were all on-point.  We had tons of bike course marshals to support everyone, the aid stations and the finish line were all super well stocked, the race pictures turned out gorgeous and we were still able to give away tons of raffle prizes even with the rain.



There were lots of positives about the race, but there were also some things that I would like to fix or improve on for 2018:

  • We’re changing the transfer / deferral policy for 2018.  It sucks, but too many runners abused our generous policy so we’re not going to offer deferrals or transfers in 2018.  We work really had to control costs (everyone except for the timing company is a volunteer) and we can’t carry a $3,000 – $4,000 liability from year to year.  If you register for Hogsback during early bird registration the price is $40.  I don’t think there are many half marathons (especially half marathons with fully supported course, really nice shirts, finisher medals, a post race feast and top notch awards) that only cost $40.  I feel really bad about this, the policy caused way too many problems.
  • The early start is amazing.  It gives runners and walkers who need a little more time the opportunity to finish in the fat part of the bell curve and lets us have race without cut off times; we can wait for everyone to finish.  Like the transfer / deferral policy, people abuse the early start as well.  All runners in the early start are expected to take 2:30 or longer to finish the half marathon.  We need them to take 2:30 or longer to ensure that the winner of the race breaks the tape (and not an early start runner) and to make sure that no runners hit major intersections before the time on our permits.  When a runner signs up for the early start, we do a search for their previous race results to confirm that the early start is appropriate.  Its a lot of work.  This year we had two runners come in well below 2:30 and based on our post-race emails to them about what happened, we had to disqualify on of those runners.  It sucked.  We don’t want to disqualify anyone.  I’m not sure what we can do to better polcie this policy in the future, but it remains a struggle.  



Even though I’ve been doing this for 12 years, every year, every race, and from every runner I learn something new.  So my questions to you dear readers (if you’ve made it this far) are:

  • If you’ve run Hogsback what would you like to see improved?  How can we make the race better for you?
  • If you haven’t run Hogsback but have run a half marathon, what things do you like to see at half marathons?  What has made a previous half marathon super special for you?
  • If you’ve never run a half marathon, what can we as a race do to convince you to run with us?


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A Crowd Sourcing Question – Race Deferrals Mon, 18 Sep 2017 14:19:22 +0000 Read more ]]> f

Ryan and I race direct a series of running races in Connecticut — the Greater Hartford 1/4 Marathon, Retro Run 5K, Solstice Sprint 5K and Hogsback Half Marathon.  We’re both volunteers and while we feel like we produce quality races there is no paid race director or paid race production company.  Since we started directing race almost 12 years ago, we’ve always allowed runners who can’t race for whatever reason to defer their entry to the next year or to transfer into another race at no cost and no questions asked.  Here’s what our current policy reads:

Can I defer my registration / transfer my registration to another runner?

We do not permit transfers to another runner but we do allow transfers and deferrals to another race (the 2018 Quarter Marathon, the 2018 Solstice Sprint 5K, the 2018 Retro Run 5K or the 2018 Hogsback Half Marathon). Requests for transfers / deferrals must be received by September 23, 2017 (you can request a transfer deferral by email, please don’t send a Facebook message, comment on a post or tweet). No exceptions.

Runners may not realize it but transfers and deferrals cost the race money.  If you email me today saying you need a deferral to 2018 I’ve already have a bib with your name printed on it, ordered a shirt in the exact size you requested, allocated a finisher’s medal to you and included you in our counts for food, water and port a potties.  When you enter the race for free next year, the race will need to pay for all those things again.  Generally speaking, that’s the cost of doing business.  By offering such a policy, we gain goodwill from runners and our donation takes a slight hit in hopes of creating a repeat customer and good word of mouth.


The problem is that in recent years we’re getting more and more requests for deferrals (for example for this year’s Hogsback Half Marathon we have 60 runners who paid $0 to enter the race, some of those of free entries we donated but most of those are deferrals and transfers from previous years).  We begun to notice a few things about the deferrals / transfers: (1) people are deferring / transferring year after year. For example we current have a deferral that goes back to 2014, that’s a long time for the race to carry a liability; (2) people are deferring / transferring and then registering for another race.  People will register early for one of our races but then another race ends up being scheduled for the same day, they then request a transfer / deferral from us and attend a different event; and (3) more people generally are transferring / deferring.  For whatever reason more people are requesting transfers / deferrals than they have in past years.  The problem with this is that the races are carrying huge liabilities from year to year and the administration of these deferrals has become a bit of a nightmare.


In trying to come up with solution, we’re at a bit of a loss, here are some of our ideas.  We’d love to know what you think and to hear your ideas as well:

  • Eliminate all transfers and deferrals.  Our races are really reasonably priced (if you registered early for our half marathon it was $35) and runners have to assume the risk.
  • Eliminate deferrals for people who use a free registration code.
  • Require a form to be filled out / doctor’s note for all transfer / deferral requests (I’m not crazy about this because I don’t want to be policing what’s a medical necessity and what’s not).
  • Allow runners to purchase the option to transfer / defer as an add – on at registration.
  • Change the date for requests to 1-2 months before race day.
  • Others?  Thoughts?


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Happy Birthday Ivy Tue, 22 Aug 2017 11:03:32 +0000 Happy First Birthday Squish!!!  We can’t say enough about the past year with our funny, mischievous, curious little girl.  Here’s to another year of cuddles, messes, exploring and growing.  We love you so much.


August 22, 2016.


1 day old.


Big yawns at one month old.


“Call me president” — two months old.


Bolstered, padded and strapped in at three months old.


Wrapping paper is delicious (four months old).


I love my binks – five months old.


Six months old and wrenching bikes with Daddy.


On vacation in North Carolina at seven months old.


White Flower Farm at eights months old.


Nine months old and mad at Momma.


Owen, Opheira and ten month old Ivy.


Eleven months old and such a pretty girl.

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Cranberry Trifest Race Report Mon, 21 Aug 2017 15:33:54 +0000 Read more ]]> Ivy turns one tomorrow.

I had so many plans and goals for Ivy’s first year — getting back into shape, losing all the baby weight, running a marathon, qualifying for USAT age group national nationals, racing a half, training for Ironman Florida — and I failed at all of them.  I should be clear, while I’ve dealt with a lot of athletic failures this year as a person and as a family we had tons of successes; Ivy is a happy, healthy almost one year and that counts as success number one.  After deciding earlier this summer that there was no way I was going to be able to properly train for Ironman Florida, I’ve been in a triathlon funk.  Its tough to train just for the sake of training with no goals or races on the horizon.  By mid July I was just running. Ivy and life in general make it hard to find the time and effort to swim or bike.  I had resigned myself to not racing at all this year.  That changed last week.  I had several athletes racing the Cranberry Trifest Olympic and in texting my athletes about the race one of them asked me what my excuse was for not racing.  I went through all of them — I haven’t raced in over two years, I wasn’t trained, I hadn’t been biking or swimming recently, nursing and pumping would be a pain in the ass on race morning, I didn’t want to embarrass myself, my bike needed work, I was more useful cheering and volunteering and on and on.  When I got to the end of the list, he told me, now that you’ve run through your excuses its time to race.  That was the kick in the ass I needed (Thanks, Eric).


Pre-race with Amy and Jocelyn.

Once I had decided to race, the first thing I did was email Michele Landry at Smashfest Queen (Michele designed the new Sonic Endurance kits and they are amazing).  While I have tri kits that kind of fit, none of them fit well (hooray still nursing boobs and a post c-section joey pouch).  Michele assured me that she could get a kit to me in time to race, so I ordered a RFA tri top and seven inch tri shorts.  The kit arrived Friday afternoon, I was all set on the having something to wear front (as an aside the kit was amazing and warrants a full review).  Next up was making sure my bike actually worked.  I called Shaun and begged him to come over on Saturday to play with my bike, make sure that my wheels matched and that I could actually shift.  The Argon E-118 and HED 3 wheels are way too much fire power for my current fitness level but at least they looked good.  Finally there was the pre-race packing for both me and Ivy.  After sherpaing all day at Placid, Cranberry was going to be easy peasy for Ivy, but I still wanted to make sure Ryan was prepared (unlike Placid where we forgot to pack diapers in her race day bag).


Ivy is the best sherpa around.

Race morning Ryan I were up at 3:30 a.m.  Ryan did all the last minute loading into the car while I nursed Ivy.  We got her safely into the car and back to sleep and we were off by just before 4 a.m.  We made great time and arrived at the race just after 6 a.m.  Ryan put my bike together and carried over all the gear while I took Ivy to registration and body marking.  After meeting back up wit Ryan, Ivy was being fussy so I wore her into transition and she “helped” me set up.  The nice thing about being totally unprepared for a race is that I had zero expectations and zero pre-race angst.  After a few trips to the port-a-potties and lots of time chatting with other athletes, it was time to head to the swim start.

The swim start at Cranberry is a rolling time trial by wave.  I made the mistake of being at the back of line for my wave and having lots of people to swim through.  The pond itself is shallow and the swim course goes around the perimeter of the pond.  Within a few hundred yards from the start several men in the wave in front of me decided to walk.  Because the bottom is really soft, they kicked up a ton of dirt and debris and it was like swimming through mud.  I took a minor detour towards the center of the pond just to avoid the super silty water.  Other than avoiding rouge swimmers from the wave in front of me and trying to stay out of the mud, the swim felt good.  I realize how lucky I am to have a swim background and be able to jump in with little to no training. Finishing up the swim I looked down at my watch and realized the course was SUPER short.  Probably 400-500 yards short.  Even with my detours, my watch only showed 1500 yards of swimming.


Thanks to Eric, I actually started the race.

The run to T1 involved stone stairs (which I have fallen on in previous years) so I took my time walking up the stairs, found Ryan and Ivy and gave them a hug and then trotted into transition.  I like to keep things simple so all I needed were shoes, a helmet and glasses and I hopped on my bike.  As I started riding out all I could think about was how sore my sit bones were going to be.  I settled into a comfortable pace and let the race pass me.  I know I have no bike legs right now and I tried to pick out a few bikers that I could keep pace with from a distance.  I would guess that over the course of the bike 100+ people passed me and I passed maybe 5 or 6 people.  I got lots of “pretty kit” and “way to goes,” which was nice.  For the most part the bike felt good and I found myself smiling throughout the ride.  While I don’t have fitness, I can still ride smart and make the most of gearing and managing the rolling hills.  The Cranberry course is gorgeous and rewards the rider who is smart and aggressive with the terrain.  When I hit mile 24 I remembered that the bike course is long (I guess that makes up for the short swim) and started cursing the last 2+ miles of biking (which also involved a nasty head wind).  Finally I made the turn into transition and again found Ryan and Ivy waiting for me.

Heading out to the run my lower back was not happy and I realized that I hadn’t exercised continuously for this long in over two years.  The first mile was shuffle.  I figured I’d give it a mile or two of suffering.  Either my legs would come to me or I’d start walking.  Thankfully my legs came to me.  By the second mile I was feeling good.  Slow, but good.  I realized running is a lot easier without a 55 lb stroller.  While a steady stream of athletes passed me on the run, I was able to pass a dozen or so.  At mile 4 or so Jocelyn passed me (so excited she had an awesome run) and by mile 5 I realized that I would be able to be my run time goal of 1:15.  As I turned into the park to finish I again spotted Ryan and Ivy.  I confirmed with Ryan that I could take Ivy across the finish line with me as she jumped into my arms.  Ivy and I strolled the last 50 yards together and I threw her into the air as we crossed the line.

I wasn’t fast.  The race wasn’t pretty.  I am, however, glad I started and finished.  In the wake of my post-race euphoria and optimism I keep thinking maybe this is the spark I needed to get started again.


Post-race with the SQUISH!

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#PregnancyPenalty — Perhaps a Solution? Mon, 31 Jul 2017 17:55:26 +0000 Read more ]]> When WTC modified the KPR system (the system that professional triathletes use to qualify for Kona — you can read more about it here and here) back in 2013, I wrote a post about how there was likely going to be a “Pregnancy Penalty” for female professional triathletes.  Four years later that potential penalty now has a name and face in the form of Rachel Joyce.  


Rachel in 2015 at Ironman Texas.

In 2015 Rachel placed second at the Ironman World Championships, racking up 7,200 KPR points (essentially enough points to auto qualify for Kona in 2016).  In January of 2016 she raced the Pucon 70.3 and then learned she was pregnant.  Rachel gave birth to Archie in September of 2016 and returned to training in the late fall of 2016, a pretty quick bounce back.  Despite her stellar performance at Kona in 2015, Rachel started 2017 with a grand total of ZERO KPR points.   Rachel returned to racing in April of 2017 at Oceanside 70.3, raced again at the St. George 70.3 in May and then won Ironman Boulder in June (for a full review of Rachel’s returns to racing check out this article by Thorsten Radde).

With all of this racing Rachel had 3,140 points –  a sizable amount, but short of the projected cutoff of 4,300 points for a July Kona slot.  In order to make up the point shortfall, Rachel raced Ironman Whistler this past weekend.  She needed at least a third place finish to secure enough points to qualify for Kona, but came up just short, finishing fourth (lets pause and note that a new mother with a child under a year old was able to competitively race two 70.3s and two 140.6s within four months — that’s ridiculously impressive).  

Given Rachel’s prior record of podiuming in Kona and her near miss in 2017, the buzz on social media has been to give her a “wild card” to Kona.  My issue with the wild card is that wild cards should only be given for unforeseeable situations that aren’t likely to be repeated — Rachel’s situation was not only predictable, its also likely going to be repeated again and again.  So, in the process of getting Rachel to Kona this year – why not fix the rules?  Here’s my solution: Ironman, are you listening?

If a professional triathlete experiences a season ending medical condition that professional triathlete can roll their accumulated KPR points to the next qualifying year if they meet the following criteria:

  1. Submit a medical certification confirming their medical condition by March 1st.  
  2. Refrain from participating in any sanctioned events for the remainder of the qualifying year after they submit (and receive approval for) their medical certification.  
  3. Competitively complete at least one 140.6 event in the next qualifying year in order to “activate” their rolled over points.  

This solution protects pros (both male and female) and the points they’ve acquired if they run into a season ending medical condition whether an accident, a surgery, a pregnancy or other medical condition.  It eliminates the calls for wild cards, protects the work that pro did prior to the medical condition and entails that the best and brightest get to Kona.  Seems like a win-win for both pros and WTC.

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