Monday, September 24, 2012

a little off topic...

i'm writing this as i am procrastinating doing my laundry. 

maple syrup
when Pandora plays an old favorite I haven't heard in years
reading (too much!) before bed
the Big Island
guys with shaved legs
orange squashes (pumpkin, butternut, etc)
clean bicycles
lotion with a teensy tiny touch of shimmer
quiet alone time
beach hair

hot shower after a cold swim
Sauvignon Blanc
sitting on an airplane with nothing to do but relax
running places
carrot cake

modern beach cottage

long, gradual climbs
arriving "just in time"
the sound of Zipp hubs
going to Target
matching cycle kits
the front desk lady at the y who is sweet to me every morning at 5:45 am.
that cheesy Demi Lovato song
cyclists and joggers who wave
finish lines
getting in bed before 9
people with opinions
good coffee

expensive wheelsets, somponents, powermeters, etc...
taking control of your life

expensive logoed handbags
bad coffee
leaving chapstick in my Jersey and washing it
dowloading training data or logging workouts
café legs (that feeling in your legswhen you stop during and bike ride to refill, etc and then get moving again)
bicycle maintenance
chicken wings (ew chicken skin)
people who flake on training plans
walking places
cleaning anything
my ability to lose anything and everything
steep descents
hairy legs
being too early anywhere
going to the mall
black shorts / colored cycle jersey combo
people who squak at race volunteers or don't say "thank you"
blaming others or circumstances instead of looking inside
people who try to push their opinions on others
how quickly time flies between waking up and diving in the pool
when they run out of tofu at the Whole Foods salad bar

got any to add?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ironman Wisconsin Race Report

Hello from the other side of the finish line in Wisconsin! I want to make this short (ish) and readable, so I'm skipping the pre-race hoo ha.

I made it to transition in plenty of time thanks to college roomie Heather (the only time we've seen 5am together after actually going to bed). And then of course I proceeded to waste time doing nothing, be the last pro in the water and almost miss the start. good one.

Once again, my friend Linsey Corbin really helped with my race execution yesterday. She sent me a thoughtful note the night before the race which somehow REALLY stuck with me throughout the entire day. I kept replaying her lines in my head (especially the "Stay positive" and "be stubborn" parts. Here is a piece of it:
"Be smart early on. Don't hammer over those hills. Fuel fuel fuel. Stay positive. Pick it up in the back half of the bike and take some risks on the bike. Do your thing on the run. Be stubborn and keep your head in it."

Swim: 1:01 -2.4 miles
Well, I wanted to break an hour, but the swim went so poorly that I was actually relived to see only 1:01 on the clock. I got a great start (usual), went out way too hard (usual), and then couldn't stick on any of the feet that passed by me. Ended up swimming the vast majority alone, but had a little time dangling on Whitney Garcia's feet before she too dropped me. The swim course was one big loop and the long back 1750 meter stretch seemed straight upcurrent into some chop. Nothing else to say other than I've never been so excited for a swim to be over! I was 7th of 10 pro women but just a minute behind 3 of the girls.

T1 - 4:51
Did you know IM Wisconsin is worth it simply for the transitions? Holy moly. You run up "The Helix" which is just a fancy name for a corkscrew parking garage ramp (albeit designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) . The Helix (and most of the course for that matter) is LINED with screaming fans 4 deep. Tour De France style. So awesome. Both transitions are also really long and you run through buildings and conference rooms, so you can save time by keeping your foot on the gas. I T-1d well and passed a girl in transition.

Bike: 112 miles (5:30 - 20.35mph)
Ok, the bike is hard! My SRM showed just shy of 4,000 feet of climbing and it's all up and down rollercoaster for both loops of the "lollipop" shaped 2-loop course.
Bike by Ali Engin
On the longer climbs, again, the spectators are INSANE! Costumed up, drinking beers and hollering like hell. Made me totally look forward to the hardest sections which is a bonus. I rode more or less alone for the whole ride. Whitney, Charisa & I traded positions a couple of times, but we were rarely even in sight of each other as we all went through our own high and low patches. I made sure to keep it "rolling buffet" style and crammed in at least 300 calories an hour. I used my SRM (power meter) to help me keep my watts up and for this, for me, its invaluable. I KNOW when I'm slacking and just need to focus to pick up the pace. For me, I never used it to reign myself in as that is certainly not what I need on the bike.  The landscape is so beautiful it can be distracting. Like a giant portrait of Americana, I kept looking around thinking what great Instagram photos I could take. I had predicted I would ride 5:30 and that's exactly what I did. Actually had a solid ride (for me) just a couple minutes slower than some solid pro women. It was pretty windy yesterday and I'm told it was one of the windier years. Nothing scary, but long stretches of stiff headwind can do a number on your speed and menality. I knew I was in 6th on the bike about 14 minutes back from first. A long way, but I forced myself to stay positive, knowing that I could eat into that lead a bit if I ran my race.
T2- 1:56...nailed it ;)

Run- 26.2 miles - 2:59:54  (6:51/mile pace)
How the heck did that happen? I'm still not quite sure! I started out running and my Garmin was all fritzy, so I just spent the first two miles settling in (which was probably 6:20 pace oops!). Then on a short out and back, I saw that 5th, 4th, and 3rd place were just minutes ahead. I caught up to Charisa and we ran into 3rd & 4th positions as a mini team.
Me & Charisa- doin' work
The other girls were running well, but we were blazing. Our split for the first 6 miles was 6:31 average. We chatted with each other and were both feeling good. Neither of us was breathing hard, so we just went with it and told each other we could push ourselves up to the podium with some good team work. The splits coming back to us had us taking a couple of minutes out of first every few miles we passed. First I was 14 mintues back, then 9, then 6, then 4...Oh crap we were doing this! When I was weak, Charisa ran strong and I followed her heels keeping her in sight. When she struggled, I took the lead and kept us moving. We were charging. It was crazy. Not to mention, we had the same Zoot kit on and looked twinny so we got great support from the crowd as they noticed us with the 3rd place bike escort. Somehow (foggy here), mile 14ish, I got a little gap which extended, but we both continued to chase down Cathleen and passed her by maybe mile 17? Word had that the new leader, Elizabeth Lyles, was running fast and seeing her in the opposite direction confirmed that. I had moved into 2nd and it took every ounce of suffering, mental, and physical toughness I had to not give up those last 8 miles. They were simply brutal. The first 18 miles, I had chatted, and smiled and soaked it all it. The last 8 miles was purely head down, in the zone, get it over with- I knew Charisa was just behind and had the power to close strong. I've never hurt so bad yet kept my head in the game so well. Kind of helps when you're not off the back I think.  I ran into the finish chute, absorbed the moment for once and fist pumped at the line for my girlfriends as its my standing cheesy "move" now and a wink to them as I know they follow along at home.

Thank you to all of the volunteers, the Madison community and especially my homestay Joann. This has been the most amazing Ironman experience and I hope that people from all over the world can come here and appreciate the best America has to offer. A truly American experience and finishing in downtown Madison in front of the capital building tops it off right.

total cheese, but it's tradition. and Wisconsin, where cheese is appropriate

So, ended up with a new IM PR on a challenging course (9:38), 2nd place woman overall- my first IM podium, and a sub 3 IM marathon. Was the first time women have broken 3 on the course (I think) and Elizabeth Lyles, the champ did as well, running a 2:59 as well. Only 3 men broke 3 hours running yesterday, including Ben Hoffman who set a course record (8:32) and ran 2:56. Girl power! Triathlete mag article of how the race played out here
TGIO (O for Over, of course)
Post-Race, we went back to State Street to eat some food, have a beer, and watch the late night competitors on the run course
The boot...Earned it! 

Always fun to be reunited with The Biscuit (Hillary Biscay)
Thank you also to my friends and family who have supported me, trained with me, and keep me motivated to pursue my dreams. Winning one of these one day is now on the bucket list! Thank you to James, as I owe half of my progress to him, for supporting me (and literally dragging me along) the thousands of miles of literal and figurative road we traveled together. It is bittersweet being here without him.

And to my sponsors:

Thank you to Zoot for taking on the local girl and supplying the best gear & shoes out there. My Ultra TT 5.0s carried me to sub 3 IM Marathon- couldn't do it without the shoes. seriosuly. Cannondale- my Slice is the perfect ride decked in SRAM, & Race Day Wheels  and my new SRM powermeter.. Thanks to Nytro for keeping it all in working, blinging' order and Studeo DNA for my bike fit & so much more. 
*Thank you to  Dan SelstadRehab United, & MRM for helping me build my chassis, recover quickly and stay healthy-.I use so many MRM products, but I couldn't function without my Hydration Factor & Reload. Rehab United- functional strength 2x/ week, ART with Selstad every other week...the secret sauce! Thank you also to TriBike Transport for making my travelling FAR easier and taking the stress out of travelling with a bike. 
*Many gracias also to ISM saddlesBetty Designs, & Beaker Concepts  for making sure I'm comfortable, stylish & fast. I never race without my Adamo racing 2, my betty designs wrist band or my Beaker Concepts Blaze. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

party at the Wisco Disco tomorrow....

First, thank you to all the notes of support and encouragement this week after reading my last post. I was truly amazed by how many people out there care enough to drop a line and tell me it will all be okay...One day soon, I'll write back to each and every one. But not today...or tomorrow...

Because tomorrow I'm racing Ironman Wisconsin! Whoa. Talk about a crazy week. But I'm here, I'm healthy, and hopefully ready to lay it down in cheese town at 6:50 a.m. tomorrow
Downtown finish at the capital
It's almost time to eat dinner and do some final race prep, but a quick update on the day...Ran around like crazy, filled up some bags with Ironman junk, quick ride & jog, drove the bike course, checked in bike & Ironman junk bags, ate some food and now here we are...The course is beautiful and screams Americana with cows, corn, silos and red barns everywhere. The terrain is like a never-ending rollercoaster of constant up and downs but nothing super it. I was hoping for a hot & humid sufferfest, but looks like it'll top out at 68 degrees with colder temps in the morning so I'm bringing my arm warmers. Ok, even I'm getting bored, so, moving on...
Roller Derby at the Disco

Madison has been amazing so far and I'm staying with the sweetest homestay ever. Joann is hilarious, cool, and already feels like an old friend. Not to mention, she is the most hospitable person I have ever met in my life. I just barely mentioned that I eat gluten free before a race and I came home to loaves of GF bread, special scones, and cookies.

All that AND my college roomie Heather came up from Chicago to help me out and spectate the race. It means a lot and there's nothing quite as good as the company of an old dear friend.

That's all I've got from Ironman-eve. Feel free to track the party at - i'll be thinking of you at every timing mat!

Monday, September 3, 2012


I don't even know how to start writing this post but, I've always tried to keep this little piece of internet real estate honest. And omission eventually gets old and is pretty easy to see through.
Although I've worked to keep my current personal situation on the down low, I must admit I have been touched by a few perceptive readers that have reached out to ask, "Is something going on with you and James?". The lack of mentions, his absence at most of my races this year, it all adds up a bit.

Truth is, yes. Something is up. We didn't make it. We tried long and hard and fought to make it work for the last five months. James poured his soul into fixing us and I did my best but it wasn't good enough. On Saturday, I moved out to my own tiny place by the beach.

So...What happened? In the interest of protecting James and a relationship that both of us will always hold as an incredibly special time in our lives, I'm going to keep it short. At the end of the day, I believe we are two very fundamentally different people who happen to share the same outer interests, likes/dislikes, and hobbies. At a certain point, we felt as though we were bringing out the worst in each other, when a healthy marriage should (usually) do the opposite. I know I drove him crazy with my ridiculous schedule, lack of attention to detail and domesticity, my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants attitude and seemingly haphazard way of doing just about everything. On the other side, I had trouble fitting myself into what I thought he wanted me to be. And maybe he didn't even want that, but the more I felt pressure to be that perfect (for him) person, the more I withdrew to my opposite self.

Did triathlon tear us apart? The short answer is heck no, it did the opposite. But the long answer is that "its complicated". Yes, we thrived on training and racing together (I dare you to find a better husband/wife bike training duo that hasn't fought on the bike in over a year despite riding at least 100 miles together weekly). And James was my #1 supporter of all things triathlon. I still don't know how I am possibly going to take care of my bikes or make it to the airport on time. Although in so many ways triathlon brought us together, I know that my focus on it has put a strain on our relationship. When my priority after work was finishing my workout instead of paying attention to my husband, I know I failed there quite frequently. I also know that although this was a problem in our relationship, I know deep in my heart that it was just one of many problems. It was the kind of problem that didn't cause the breakdown and was never at the root of things, but sure, it exacerbated it.

So where we at? Well, we're both trying to pick up the pieces and move on. We are both losing a best friend. We are both still protective of each other, respect each other, and hope to make it easy on our friends and family. We both want the best for each other. James is a freaking amazing person and husband it just turns out the he is more suited to be freaking amazing for someone else. I wish his happiness just as much as I wish my own and although it will sting, I can't wait to see where he's at in 5 years because I have no doubt it will be with the life I always imagined I wanted but just didn't fit into.

Thank you all for reading and for being a part of what he & I both consider to be (in his words) "an epic 5 years". I started this blog the week before I met James before I had ever done a triathlon. It turned out to be bumpy with a crash landing, but wow, what a ride.

So, to James...
Or in your case, STAY awesome. 

(I disabled the comments on this one post. I just wanted to breathe this out and keep it real, but am not looking for too much to take in. Its already been a week with a lot to digest. I respect everyone's opinion on the matter and feel horribly that I failed at "marriage". This may be the first thing I have failed in my life. If you have something you'd like to say, you can feel free to email me at bethgerdes1atgmaildotcom .)