Wednesday, December 4, 2013

And so we had some turkey

I figured I should write a blog post about my absolute stupidity over Thanksgiving weekend. As most of you all know, I have bipolar disorder and was diagnosed about 5 years ago now. Part of treatment is obviously the meds and I promptly forgot to bring them with me on my travels over the weekend. Absolute genius. The thing about being stable and medicated, is that I forget I am bipolar. I still have symptoms, but I am able to recognize what is happening and am able to calm myself, plus the symptoms are more "dull." This week was a great reminder that I actually do have BP and that it effing sucks.

Every so often I will miss a day of pills, but that is not really a big deal. Now a week is another story. We got to Vegas Wednesday night and I realized I had forgotten all my prescriptions and supplements. FAIL. Ok, no big deal, I can call CVS and have my prescriptions transferred to the one near my sister's house. Wrong. The pharmacy was closed on Thanksgiving. Well Friday then? Wrong again - I guess there is a hold on refills until Dec 7th. CRAP! I knew I was not only going to have to deal with BP symptoms, but with the prescription withdrawal as well.

I didn't actually start feeling anything until Saturday when I started to get slightly cranky and it progressed through Sunday. Then Monday - ah Monday - I was pretty damn emotional. I broke out in random tears, which made for an interesting drive back to Santa Fe, and my thoughts were just racing. For those that are familiar with BP, you know that the racing thoughts are no fun. I actually find them to be the worst because you can't turn the mind off and I spent most of Monday night awake. This made for a zombie-like Tuesday and an overemotional chemist. I am pretty sure I cried five times for no reason whatsoever. The other thing that was annoying thing was that I was exhibiting the physical side-effects too. I had quite the issue with coordination on Monday night into Tuesday, felt very light-headed, and my lips, hands, and feet kept going numb. So the point is, I had a realization that I actually do have this disease and that I have no clue how I coped before diagnosis. I guess I didn't cope very well since I am doing so much better now. Today was a much better day, since I have at least two days meds in me and seem to not be so prone to random tears :)

I did, however, have a really great weekend with my sister and brother-in-law and my niece. I am looking forward to having the whole family there for Christmas and NOT forgetting anything.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Off season and other odds and ends

I have been thinking about ways to write this blog. A lot of things happened this past tri season - I did my first half ironman, started working with a coach, my first -almost-century, and I got engaged. This was also the first season I have actually done serious training. It was hard to adjust to the regimen, seeing as I just winged in grad school and I was slower than I have been previously, but that is probably due to my body adjusting to a higher training volume. Now I am really enjoying the scaled back workload, but I am pretty psyched to get ready for my Ironman next May!

I guess I will start with summarizing the proposal. Fact is, I knew it was coming since I picked the ring. I am a control freak and had a very specific design in mind. Anyway, it was delivered during Monday night football, on our 4th anniversary (perfect timing). So basically, it was pretty low key, but we did celebrate with some wine. Anyway, we are super excited for our wedding (Oct 25, 2014 - save the date) and having our family and friends in Santa Fe. Even though I knew we would get to this point, I can't believe I am actually in the planning process - I am serious when I say I have been dreaming about the dress since I was 5.
                                                     So shiny!!

Next up is the horrendous century ride I did last weekend. It wasn't horrible in terms of physical fitness, as I was in shape for it, it was horrible because of the mechanical issues I had with my road bike. That bike is cursed. Every time I ride it, some unexpected issue comes up. Seriously, I hate that bike and I think it knows it. I think we were around 25 miles in, when a car ran over a glass bottle and I didn't have the time to avoid the glass. My tire got shredded and obviously was flat. So we patched the tire and changed the tube and as we were putting it back on the bike, the friggin tube blew. The next tube we put in didn't pop, so I continued on to make the ten miles to the next aid station. When we stopped, the tire was bulging where it was patched, so we called the support team to see if they had an extra tire, and luckily they did. So the tire was replaced and my bike was good to go. Unfortunately, I think we at least waste 90 min total on mechanicals. For the next 30 miles all was good, but as we were coming down the very last big climb, my front tire flatted. At this point my mood was pretty shot, but we fixed that flat and decided to just head back to the finish since it was getting pretty late. It was a good decision, since at that point my chain was slipping from all the messing around with the back wheel and I was pretty cranky. We still got 87 miles in, not the 100 miles, but it was the longest ride I have done to date. I was not upset about it though, since I will have plenty of time to make it up in Ironman training.

Although I didn't go as fast as I wanted to this season, I am pretty excited for the opportunities I have next season, not to mention my wedding! I have a lot of work to do and I am scared to death of 140.6 miles, but I can't wait to say I finished!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon

You know that feeling when suck at running and think running a half marathon at altitude will make you feel like you don't suck? Bad idea in general. This morning I ran the Buffalo Thunder half marathon. While I did very well (a new PR at altitude! - I credit coach Liz for kicking my ass with run workouts), it was a VERY painful race. When I signed up for this race I figured it would be "easier" because it is mostly downhill. WRONG! The course starts in Santa Fe at an elevation of 7000 ft, then for 2 miles you ascend to 7300, and over the last 11 miles it is downhill until you reach 6000 ft in Pojoaque (see course profile below). Not so bad right?

Elevation Profile

I spent most of the week feeling super crappy, so I was surprised I actually felt very strong during the first two miles. I just tried to ease into the race and not blow legs in the first half hour. The fun part was that I passed (gasp!) quite a few people going up (guess those hill repeats are good for something). I was so excited when the downhill started! It is actually a pretty "steep" hill and my friend had warned me that this part will just hurt your legs. Sure enough around mile 7 I started to feel my quads tightening up, but I was still holding under goal pace, so I continued at that pace. I was pretty stubborn and did not want to ease up. The trouble came in the last 3-4 miles, when the course is rolling. Holy crap, just trying to get my legs to move up those little hills took everything out of me. They were deceptive assholes. My quads were rubber bands at this point and I was basically in survival mode. I knew I was close to a PR, so I just kept pushing (Coach Liz told me to gut it out, and I almost literally gutted it out) even though my pace falling off the last 3 miles. I am honestly shocked I didn't fall over, because I am pretty sure my legs were tight enough that I looked like a robot running. I counted down each tenth of a mile and just wanted that PR so bad. When the finish area came into view it was like it was taunting me - I saw the clock ticking and felt my legs failing. Awesome. Somehow, I managed to find some kind of second wind and was able to cross that line a minute under my previous PR. Although I didn't go the goal time I wanted to go, I knew I gave all I had and had nothing left when I finished. Mission accomplished, another half in the books.

Random things I learned about this race:
1. I actually raced according to my race plan. Finally, I am learning how to run.
2. I am actually improving in running
3. I absolutely hate when someone starts talking to you during a race. I can barely breathe when I run, so talking to you makes it worse. (I had to take my inhaler twice over the course of the run - the air is rare up here)
4. I hate when people are super loud coughing up crap next to you. Seriously bro?
5. The course was absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend it just for the views. Also, there were some great world class runners at this half - the guy who won held 4:46 pace. Gross.

Friday, August 2, 2013

A celebration for Kari

As quite a few of you know, this past week (July 31st) was the one year anniversary of my sister Kari's Chiari malformation decompression surgery. This was only the first of 5 surgeries and 4 months in and out of the hospital for Kari. So how did she get to this point? Well the story is a culmination of misdiagnoses and multiple surgeries and goes a little like this...

Kari Seaman Weninger was born on June 10, 1986 in Patuxent River, MD... ok kidding. In all seriousness, it started with severe migraines and body pains around the age of 13. She had migraines so bad, she ended up in the ER for most every single one of them. In fact, prior to going to prom one year, she was in the hospital with an IV stuck in her before she went to the dance! In the early years, doctors diagnosed her with Fibromyalgia. However, as time went by, her symptoms started to get worse, but they could not pinpoint an issue. People said she made it up. Seriously?! Kari would never make it up! We are talking about a girl who had a spinal tap the day before our swimming league finals and WON the 100 backstroke. She had to have people pull her out of the pool after because she could not move her legs. But still, no one had answers. So she moved on.

Then, while she was in college, she started seeing a neurosurgeon who was doing experimental research with implanted neurostimulaters. He thought that she had damaged some nerves in the base of her skull/top of the spinal column (close but not quite!) and because of the damage, the nerves misfired and caused a whole host of issues. So, she had the neurostimulater implanted (see pictures below) and for awhile the symptoms got better, but soon they began to worsen again. She was hospitalized for a week due to reasons they couldn't figure out, she had an episode at work where she collapsed because her legs wouldn't move and had vertigo. Additionally, funding for the experimental project was cut (go figure) and they had to remove the neurostimulator.

So with the neurostimulator removed, she saw yet another neurosurgeon, but this one saw something none of the others saw. What he found in her MRI was evidence for Chiari Malformation. Chiari is a very rare disorder where, in basic terms, where the spinal cord and skull meet is too small for the brain, causing the protrusion of the brain. As you can imagine, this can cause a variety of symptoms and complications from the added pressure on the brain. While Chiari can never be cured, decompression surgery can alleviate the symptoms. Decompression surgery is risky and is known to be one of the most painful brain surgeries you can have in the neuro world, but she had found one of the worlds leading experts to do the surgery. So on July 31st, 2012, Kari underwent surgery to remove part of her skull, brain, and top cervical vertebrae (example video below). Although the surgery was a success, she suffered from several of the complications from a surgery of this type (swelling, leaking of cranial fluids) and had to undergo 4 more surgeries before she was finally able to stay at home. Amazingly, once everything was "in place" and more or less "healed" she was able to go day to day without Chiari related pain! She even did a 5K 6 months after! In true Kari fashion, she and I will be celebrating the date of her last surgery by doing the Slam the Dam open water swims in Vegas, which is monumental if you think about it. A year ago she couldn't walk and was then in a wheelchair for several months! So I ask all my friends and family to give a little cheer to Kari this week - here's to the strongest girl we know!

More info on Chiari:


Pictures and stuff (some not for the feint of heart):

Implanting the neurostimulater!

Right after the first surgery in the neuro ICU - yes there is a tube coming out of her neck

Surgery site.  Chiarians are known as "zipperheads" for obvious reasons

 Kari doesn't remember taking this picture with me.

 A 5K after not being out of the hospital six months? Sure, why not!

 Surgery is always better with a Worrible friend.

At the Chiari Awareness walk.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A tale of 3 miles

On Sunday I participated in a sprint triathlon near Santa Fe. I figured it would be a good race to do after Buffalo Springs to get back into the racing mode. However, this course is not for going "fast" or PRs, its more of a torturous slog for survival. Just to point out how hard it is, the top finisher's 5K time was only 26 min and avg bike speed was 17 mph. Ouch.

The night before a race is always hard, but this one in particular. I could sleep at all! I think I only slept 3 hours total and could not sleep past 330. So I ended up just giving up and getting ready to go. I left around 445 and was at the turnoff for the lake when I realized I had forgotten my wetsuit. Damn damn damn! I don't like swimming in wetsuits, but they are faster and I need every advantage I can get (there a reason the title of this post is "a tale of 3 miles"). I made the decision not to turn back for it because I didn't wanted to be rushed - transition closed early at this one and I wanted to be able to get a good warm up in. Once I got there, I set up my area. Unfortunately, we were racked downwind from the lake restrooms. It smelled so horrendous! It was even worse coming through transition later! Basically, I set up quickly, grabbed my swim stuff, got marked, and headed the swim beach, which was a 20 min walk (hike) away.

I had to wait 40 min from the Olympic starts until my wave so I got nice and warmed up and even helped some people who saw me swimming who wanted swimming advice :) The swim was actually a little rough. It started into the current and wind with the sun in your face. Awesome. Finally, we were lined up and I made sure to get into the front. Next to me wast a girl in an FSII, and I immediately I knew she was a swimmer. I knew I had to beat her! The swim felt awful! This was the first tri where I actually felt tired during the swim, but I knew I did not want that girl to beat me. It really is a point of pride. I started to distance myself at the 400m mark and just built the last 400m. I came out first, 8 seconds ahead of her.

Since I had no wetsuit, I got through transition fast, but so did the other swimmer. Now, like I said before this course is slow and painful. Right out of transition you head up the boat launch road which is pretty steep (it was actually terrifying coming back down). I knew I did not want to waste a huge amount of energy going up that hill since there were still 11 more miles with more hills to bike after it. She shot out of transition and up that hill and I noted she was in the hot pink helmet. After I got up that ascent, I turned on to the road on top of the dam, which is full of gravel and plants sprouting through along with metal grates. Wonderful. I kept pink helmet in site and kept building my pace. Once I hit the turn around in the loop, I realized I was gaining on pink helmet. I really started to hammer the pace and hit the last hill fast. I entered transition not too long after pink helmet and told myself that she was a swimmer and she probably sucks at running too - maybe I can catch her!

Sweet! ONWARD- let's catch this b****! The run course followed the same as the bike for awhile and we had to go up that same very nasty hill. The first quarter of the hill I was catching her, but then I started to feel nauseous and ended up tossing my cookies on the side of the road (sorry spectators!). Ugh. Instead of doing the smart thing and holding my mental game together, I started to panic. Panicking while running uphill makes it very hard to breathe, so I had to slow down to take my inhaler. Great. So on went this first mile of wheezing, puking, and thinking I couldn't do it. I spent the second mile of the race feeling sorry for myself - I told myself I didn't belong in the race, that I would never be good at running, and that I should just give up since I was going to get passed anyway. Great attitude right? Sure enough, I got passed by a couple more girls. Again I got more frustrated, but then I saw another girl catching me coming up on the last mile and I got mad. I got my s*** together and started to RUN. She didn't catch me. I ran the last mile in 8:30 (still not my best, but for this course and all my self-loathing it was great). I finished hard and I sicked up once more after I was done, but I was happy I finished with nothing left. I regret that I had not just pushed through those first two miles, but I think that is something everyone goes through. It took me years not to be self-defeating in swimming, so I am still learning not to be my own worst enemy in triathlons. I still managed an ok race, even with my horrendous run, but like I said, I was the one who failed the run. Not my training, not my muscles, just me. Regardless, I still got to stand on the podium and enjoy some post race bbq and meet some local triathletes in the area. Additionally, this race marked my 2 year anniversary of my very first triathlon, so it was very fitting to race over the weekend!

                                                    Charm necklace awards? That is new to me!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I have absolutely no idea how to fix a bike.

This the second time since I have moved to Santa Fe that I have gotten myself stranded in the middle of nowhere on ride. Both times due to flat tires. The first time was because I had gotten a flat earlier in the ride and flatted again soon after and had no tubes left, the second, well it could have been easily prevented for reasons to be discussed.  This was my first big ride since BLST 70.3, so I was actually looking forward to it. I was about 40 minutes into the scheduled 3 hours when I noticed my back tire was riding low. No big deal, I ride with a lot of extra tubes and CO2, so flats aren't an issue anymore. I stop at a place where the shoulder was wider and got ready to change what I thought was a standard flat tire. As I was removing the back wheel, my back derailleur fell off and was no longer attached to the bike. My first reaction was "uhhhh I don't think that is supposed to do that" then "insert expletives" and finally hysterics. I called Logan in tears because once again I was stranded and I couldn't fix my bike - this of course backfired in my face because he couldn't figure out what the hell I was talking about since the extent of my bike terminology consists of "well I had a flat and then I tried to fix it, but then the derailleur thingy fell off the thing that is attached to the bike  -I think there are supposed to be screws in the thing but they aren't there." This, as you can imagine, explained the problem perfectly. Of course, Logan did not see it my way and asked me to send him a picture, which I apparently am not good at either, because after two tries he said he could not see what I was trying to say. Luckily, I was rescued by a mountain biker who was on his way back from the trails and on is way to the bike shop. Diagnosis on bike = two screws that hold the derailleur on had fallen out (I actually knew something!), an easily prevented problem had I been taking care of weekly maintenance and looked for anomalies (insert face palm from both my Dad and Logan here). So now my bike is getting fixed up AND getting a badly needed tune-up. Moral of the story: I will make an effort to maintain my bikes (I will take that bike stand now Dad). I guess the benefit of my ride getting cut short (besides standing on the side of the road for an hour) is that I will be more rested for my run test tomorrow morning...

Monday, July 1, 2013

BLST 70.3 Race Report!

There have been very few times in my life where I have been ok with not winning. This race was one of those times. As most of you know I participated in my first half ironman over the weekend. I had two goals for the race: 1. finish the race and 2. finish under six hours, which I did (5:55 was my overall time - even with a sub par run). Today I have been reflecting on the race and I still can't believe I actually finished and I think the adrenaline is still going! I think the last time I felt this accomplished was winning the mile in college (ok maybe a little when I got my PhD). Moving on to the details:

I can't even convey how nervous I was for this. I didn't want people to think I was slow, I was worried about not finishing, and scared of how bad it was going to hurt. Surprisingly, I was able to sleep the night before, despite the racing thoughts, and I woke up with a more positive attitude. I was told that the way into the lake gets backed up, so I got to the race site early (430 am!). I walked down the hill (the same one we had to bike out of transition), got marked, and set up all my stuff. I started to feel a bit better when I was talking to the girls around me about how this was their first 70.3 too. My parents and Logan got there around 610, so I got to see them before my wave went off at 642. I got nervous again at this point and nearly started crying in front of my mom! Regardless, I got down to the water and started to warm up and get ready to go.

The swim course at this race is awesome! Nice, calm water, warm temperature (74 degrees!), and a current in your favor once you loop back to transition. I lined myself up in the front, so I wouldn't have to deal with most of the scramble and once I heard the word "go" I sprinted my way to the front and settled into a rhythm. Normally I get a sizable lead, but I actually had a girl stay with me. Since this was a big race I did expect it, and I really enjoyed having someone to draft off of. We were together the entire swim and even caught the first wave of men! I am pretty sure I edged her out coming into transition and I split 24:30 which was 2 and half minutes faster than my goal time. I ran up the ramp feeling pretty good and got myself set up for the bike.

First, I will start by saying the bike course was rough. They weren't kidding when they said it was challenging and this isn't the best half for first timers. However, I actually really enjoyed the course. Coming out of transition, you immediately hit your first big hill. Seriously, it was evil and brutal. Right after that one is another big hill. Seriously??!! I just kept telling myself that you have some nice flats coming up before the next canyon. The other part that is annoying, is that you have the men you passed on the swim flying by you on the bike. Eventually, I stopped focusing on who was passing me and settling into my OWN race. Once I did that the time flew by. There were some more big hills to get through, but training here in Santa Fe really helped with those, since all my rides consist of hills, hills, and more hills. I was also focused on staying hydrated and eating regularly, which really helped set me up for the run. I finished in 3:02, which was right on my goal of 3 hours.

Coming into transition was great. My parents and Logan were standing right there getting pictures and I was still feeling good and smiling! I grabbed my run food, salt, and was off for an adventurous half marathon. The first and last 3 miles of this course are awesome. Nice rollers and flats. I started off at my goal 9:30 pace, but it started to creep up. I didn't feel like I was dying, it was more like my muscles just wouldn't go any faster. I stuck to my nutrition plan and began the ascent out of the lake area. Hills. More f-ing hills. Not just steep hills, 9% grade hills. Ugh. I just kept looking forward to miles 5-8 since it was flat, but it was also the hottest part of the course. I knew I was tough enough to get through it, but I was upset that my pace was still off. I started to count down the miles and once I got to the half way point I knew I was going to finish. It definitely helped my attitude and gave me a second wind. I knew I was still on pace to be under six, so I just started counting down. At mile 9, I had to go back up that damn hill, but then you begin your descent back into the park. The downhills were steep enough that I may not have a big toenail soon - I have some very bruised toes and swollen feet. It was hard not to focus on that, but with 2 miles left I heard the announcer from the race site. I could not wait to cross that finish line. Those last 2 miles were the hardest to get through, but just as you want to stop, the finish line comes into view! I saw Logan and my parents again taking pictures and I am sure I look great at that point, but what a thrill it was to cross that line! My run time was 20 minutes off my two hour goal, but hey, I had just finished a half ironman and I was under 6!

Sweet baby jesus, I did it! And now I circle back to my opening lines; I finished 7th in my age group, which is not my best, but I gave what I had on the course and I really don't care where I finished. Now that I have the first one out of the way, I can work towards getting better. Today I am sore and sun burnt (I need to get better sunscreen), and may lose my toenail, but I seriously feel like I am on cloud 9. Additionally, it was really cool to see my friend Liz get her Vegas 70.3 worlds slot. I am also looking forward to cheering on/ironstalking my friends from Santa Barbara who are doing their first half at Vineman in two weeks (get ready for the pain guys!).

                                          My sweet finisher medal!

                                                    Nail polish removed to show the damage. Ouch!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Altitude, Attitude, and Acceptance

Part 1. Altitude:

Altitude sucks. Seriously, I never thought there would be that much difference up here from Santa Barbara, but I feel like I am breathing through a straw on a daily basis, and I take my inhaler way more than I ever had to before. My times and paces for swimming, running, and biking are all way slower and it is so insanely intimidating when I am biking back into Santa Fe and the city limit sign says 7000 ft and I know I still have more to climb. Additionally, there are no flats around here, you have hills and rollers. Every "easy" workout I do turns into more of a don't die scenario. Crazy fact: when I visited Santa Barbara a few weeks ago, I went on a long run and my pace PER mile was 2 min faster!

Part 2. Attitude:

Clearly, I need an attitude adjustment. Its funny, I have been an athlete for so long, so one would think I would know how to keep a good attitude, but I am constantly having to take a few steps back and reevaluate my situations. Since I have moved here, I haven't had much confidence in myself going into workouts. Usually what runs through my head are "This is going to suck," "it hurts so bad," and "I am so (insert choice of expletive here) slow!" Apparently I haven't figured out that the adjustment doesn't happen overnight. So this week I approached my workouts differently. I always feel guilty if I miss a workout from being sick, or just life getting in the way. Stuff happens and I need to TRUST my training. This morning I was not having a particular good run and was having some negative thoughts so I stopped (gasp!) at 60 min in and gathered my thoughts. I stopped looking at my Garmin and just ran the last 50 minutes according to feel and just enjoyed being outside. Fact: I did way better. It wasn't fast, but it FELT better.

Part 3. Acceptance:

And on to the final part of this story. I am finally learning that I won't  be as fast up here and things will not happen overnight. I need to enjoy the moment. In two weeks at BLST 70.3 I am going to enjoy the moment. The fact of the matter is, I don't know what is going to happen and I have to accept that. Will I make it under six hours? I don't know, but I am going to try my best. One thing I learned from swimming is that it is ok to fail, once you accept that, anything is possible. Will I make Vegas worlds on my first try? Probably not, but its always in the back of my mind and I won't limit myself. What if I have to walk on the run? Well sh*t happens and I will accept that. Moral of the story friends - I need to accept the ugly with the good, and I won't always be perfect!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Nutrition and training - learning how to fuel

Today was a half IM nutrition practice day. I had a 3:15 hour bike and a 20 min run on the schedule and my new coach (shout out to Liz!) suggested some things to try for fueling. I typically stick to water, salt tabs, gus, and chomps, but I added in an electrolyte drink to see how my stomach would handle it. I decided to try the reverse of my normal bike route because the reverse is mostly uphill and into a headwind, which is good practice for Buffalo Springs. I even had some company with a guy who was riding the same loop with me, so the kept me motivated to power those hills! We stopped at a gas station to refill on water around mile 37 and were on our way. Now, I remind you I haven't ever really drank my electrolytes, not while I was swimming or even now. So after we got back on the road, I definitely sicked up! I ended up making it home, but was very nauseous and its always awesome getting sick on the side of a busy rode haha! I have never been so glad for a ride to be over! I think next time I am going to dilute it with more water. Right now I am using Powerbar perform - does anybody have any other suggestions on this? Hopefully, I find a good combo for Buffalo Springs in 3 weeks!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

An introduction!

I am starting this blog for two reasons:

1. To document my journey to becoming a better triathlete
2. To post my insightful comments and share them with the world (in case you didn't catch it - there is sarcasm there)

So a few things to know about my reasoning for starting triathlon. I was once a collegiate swimmer, but then I went to grad school to get my Ph. D. in chemistry. In the first two years I gained 30 pounds (!) and was miserable. I also found myself missing competition and racing, so I decided to start training for triathlons. So here I am four years later doing my best to lose the last 10-15 pounds and learning the ins and outs of triathlon.

Over this past weekend I participated in the Deuces Wild Olympic triathlon, but it didn't exactly go as planned. We had near perfect conditions for racing and I was super psyched to see what I could do. Clearly, the swim is my best leg so I always try to get as big of a lead as I can. The water was chilly, but it was not the worst I have raced in. Once the swim started, I was having trouble settling in. My wetsuit felt constricting and I was having a lot of trouble breathing, so I backed off a bit and tried to keep my heart rate consistent. I came out with some other girls, which is unusual since I have never not been first out of the water in a race. I was pretty frustrated going into transition and my heart rate was spiking, so I was having even more trouble breathing. Regardless, I hopped on my bike and got into a pretty good rhythm, and got my heart rate constant. All was going well until I followed a guy in front of me off-course. I lost about 5 minutes there, but I tried not to let it bother me and continued on. And then disaster. Around mile 12, I hit some gravel and fell off my bike. Typically, I keep my cleats really loose so that when that does happen my feet come out, minimizing the damage. However, my right foot did not unclip, so my knee went one way and my body the other. A couple people asked if I was ok and I did the typical "I'm fine" and hopped back on my bike. At that point my race plan had changed to just finishing. As I continued on, the course became hillier and my knee started to swell. I ended up backing of even more and in tears the last 5 miles of it. Finally, I got to transition with a really fat knee and a bruised ego and asked for the medics. They came and checked it out and said it was swollen (obviously) and it looked like I sprained it. As pissed as I was about not finishing the race, I was reminded why I fell in love with this sport in the first place. Two other triathletes (who I believe were waiting for there relay team), helped me to cross the timing line to get my split (even though I don't even want to know what it was) and put my bike in transition for me. People in this sport are constantly cheering you on and supportive! Anywho, the medics put me in the cart, while Logan got my gear out of transition, and we headed to the car so I could get back to the hotel to recover.

Luckily, the swelling in my knee has decreased greatly and I was able to do a very short and very easy run yesterday. There is still a little bit in the muscle that was pulled/strained, but I think it will be back to full speed shortly. I am proud of myself for finishing that bike even though it hurt like hell and I am trying not to let bother me that I couldn't finish. I guess the lesson learned here is that crap happens and I just have to accept it. So I will continue training and move on to the next, which just happens to be my first 70.3!