Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012...The Year of the Run

Happy New Year! This is it - this will be the year of the RUN.  I will be a runner. I even have Newton's to prove my runnerness. I don't promise to like it, enjoy it or even be fast but I will be able to run a full 10k without stopping and at the very least, a 10:00/mile pace.  Running 6.2 miles with an average pace of 10:00/mile is almost as difficult, for me, as walking on the moon.  With a small exception that running, any distance at any pace, is free and requires nothing but my very own lazy ass to run often.

One week from today is my first 10k (I've only done them in a triathlon but never alone).  Next Saturday will serve as my 10k benchmark of the year and I will only get faster from then on.

Happy New Year - Welcome to the Year of the Run.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Virtual Races

Today I signed up for 2 virtual races - I thought they meant I didn't have to actually do anything but much to my dismay, that's not what they meant.  The concept is pretty interesting - some people don't always have an actual race to get to so you can sign up for these and follow along with other athletes online.  I'm hoping that it keeps me motivated to continue training in these very dark, very cold days...want to join me?

First one is the New Years Virtual 5K

New Years Virtual 5k

Next one is a Virtural 70.3 over the course of 11 days:

Virtual 70.3

Saturday, December 10, 2011

97 days until THE race

Can I do it?  Can I earn this tri top?

There are exactly 97 days before this race in San Juan, Puerto Rico and it is a total of 70.3 miles.  The longest race, by a lot, I'll even attempt to complete.  It's a huge goal - something I'm not sure I can even complete but my NLLP and my coach seems to think I can do it.  All you need in life is someone to believe in you when you don't have enough belief in yourself.  So I'm going to give it a try.  On top of being a very difficult race, extremely hard to train for through a miserable North East winter - it's very expensive (feel free to donate here - just kidding!).  That means I need to overcome my craziness in all aspects of my life: belief in myself to complete the entire race in under 8 hours, the drive to train for the next 97 days and the will to save enough money to pay for the whole trip.  This will be big for me and an enormous accomplishment if I can make it happen.  The only problem is that, I'm the only one that can truly make it happen.  I much prefer asking someone else to do my hard work and/or blaming them when things don't work out...any volunteers?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Team Kennedy podiums!

The season was supposed to end last month at Danskin-Sandy Hook but Kevin and I wanted to do one last relay together before the racing season officially ended. Down to Bassman we went in Tuckerton, NJ in Bass River State Park. It's great to do a relay and if anyone out there thinks a full triathlon is too overwhelming you should give a relay a try. It was so fun to race with my sweet beloved Kevin but the truth is he's a speed demon on the bike so I knew we'd finish quickly with him in the middle leg of the race. The swim was far - I could swear they moved the bouys further than the stated .6 miles, either that or I don't train enough which is more likely the case. The air was so cold but the water was a lovely 70 degrees and while the sunrise is always a beautiful sight to see - it's not that pretty swimming directly into it. I couldn't see one single thing - not a bouy, not a swimmer, lifeguard, flag, sand, nothing. I just kept going in hopes to find the shore. I did eventually find a lifeguard and turned out I was going in the right direction. Since I wasn't cycling I figured I could run fast out of the water bc I'd have plenty of time to rest after - handed off the timing chip to Kevin and out he went. The hour break in between was so nice since it was sooo damn cold I was able to change into very dry clothes, comb my hair, stretch, chat with the other relay peeps and take a breath. Kevin came back very quickly and I had to go out on the run - I have tendinitis in my foot and it was hurting before I even started the run but it's the last race of the season it was time to move. My pace was slower than the last race but still not bad at 10:45/mile for 4.2 miles. We came in 2nd place for the relay teams! You'd have thought I won the Olympics - any podium spot (no matter how many in that group) is a huge victory and I'll take it everytime! It was awesome. Then our other teammate, Miss Jenni came in 3rd in her age group so the 2 hour drive home was great since we had THREE trophies in the car - one for each of us. Such a rockstar, ass-kicking, triathlon minivan zooming up the GSP!!! It was also my first race as a Kennedy - we got bibs with our names on them and I opted to wear Kevin's. I'm considering a legal name change so I can always race for Team Kennedy since it's an awesome name and he's the most awesome person on earth.
Now THIS was officially my last triathlon of the 2011 season (for real this time) but that doesn't mean it's rest time. Now is time to pull my act together, work really hard for 2012 season. Get my run faster and faster, get stronger and stronger and just keep getting better. My next race is March 2012 if the winter goes as well as I'd like it to will be a lot of hard work to prepare for such a long race in 6 months time. Anyone want to sign up with me to race in San Juan in March?? Or if you want to join us in PR and just do the 13.1 run for Kevin that would be great too!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lady in Green


Last Sunday was my last race of the season (for now). And because it was my last race, I pushed as hard as I could for the entire race and ended up having my best time of the season! On race morning while leaving my car, my Garmin strap broke and I had no watch which turned out to be pretty awesome (I highly recommend racing without any timing device!). It was great to not look at it, not wonder if I could go faster or be angry at myself for being so slow. I had no choice but to just race so I did it and vowed to have a great time doing it. Danskin is an all women's race which is AWESOME - no men, everyone is polite, kind and encouraging. The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold just a slight rain. The water was calm and turned out to be such a great swim. The bike was very, very windy as the entire course ran along the ocean. However, at the turn around the wind was less intense. The whole bike course was flat and so beautiful to see the ocean for the entire ride. Once on the run, I found a woman in front of me - The Lady in the Green Shirt. I never saw her bib #, never got her name, never even saw her face but she saved me. I've often heard people talk about having someone to pace them but I've never been able to find someone that runs as slow as I do. Once I saw her running, I vowed to stay with her for the whole 5K and I did just that. I told her that I was going to follow her and she said, "I don't run fast but I will not walk". It's the most I've ever run at one time, I walked once to grab some water but otherwise ran the entire 5K. I wish so much I had seen her number or at least asked her name so I could properly thank her for all she did for me. My run pace was 10:32 and for me that is simply phenomenal and I could not be more proud! On top of having a great and most important, FUN, race - all 3 of my kids were there for the first time. They've never seen me race and I was so excited that they got to see this race (and not The NYC Tri when I couldn't see anything but black spots at the end!). I made the boys come on to the run course with me to cross the finish line but some crabby race employee made them get off. Thankfully my personal photographer, Nate, captured some shots before they were tossed of the course!
I crossed the finish line with a huge smile (as seen above) and great pride. The 2011 season has had ups and downs but ended on an amazing note. If anyone from the Danskin race is reading this and knows who the Lady in Green is (she was also wearing a white LBI 13.1 hat) - please send her my email so I can personally thank her!
My precious Charlotte cheering on her mom wearing my very own GOTribal visor! I love that she gets to watch women reach for the stars!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

WARNING: This might piss you off

Yes this post may piss you off, be against what you believe and you may not like me anymore but since it's my blog there is no editor and no one to tell me I can't write what I want. So here it goes: I HATE 9/11. Not in the way everyone hates it - I really hate it, I hate the news coverage, I hate the saying of the names, the service at each site, the moments of silence, the bumper stickers tell me "Never Forget" (how the hell can I forget bc you keep reminding me). I hate that People magazine has a whole feature on it - aren't they supposed to keep me up to date on Kim & Khloe (on a side note - who the hell are those 2 and why are they even in People Magazine?)? I personally - again this is my blog so I get to say what I want - want to move on, keep going, celebrate life and stop crying. Last year I had the greatest idea, I left the country. Kevin and I went to Paris & Dublin for the first 2 weeks of September. It was awesome! No TVs, well no TV we could understand, we were knee deep in Cafe au Lait and croissants to worry about the news. No one was talking about it, again we didn't understand so we didn't know if they were. It was a beautiful, lovely day just another day on vacation in Paris.

This year I've decided to race on the 2nd Sunday in September. I have no tears left, I can no longer be devastatedly sad. Eric, Kenny and all 3000 others would never want anyone to sit around crying about them for 10 years. Everyone has their own story but my story is about a group of young people that were full of life and excitement and would want me to continue to also be full of life and excitement - so I am doing just that. I'll be in Sandy Hook, NJ next Sunday racing a race like any other race. I'm also racing to help young adults that LIVE with Cancer. I need to focus on the living and the good in the world. I will race in honor of my very dear friends that have survived cancer and are still here to enjoy life: Jennifer Falkenstern, Dianne Kennedy & Andy Rapuano. I'm sure the anniversary of 9/11 will be brought up everywhere - ribbons, bibs, the National Athem will be fancy I'm sure. But I'm going to race and keep Eric & Kenny in my thoughts the whole time - thoughts of them mocking me for not running faster or looking better in my kit and both laughing their asses off the entire time. I am done crying. I want to think of them and smile and laugh - that's all they would ever want. That's what I would want.

Feel free to help out:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

We Race because...

Jenni & Kate @ The Long Island Gold Coast Triathlon

Jenni & Deihdra @ The Long Island Gold Coast Triathlon

Charlotte & Deihdra getting ready for Soccer Season!

We race because our daughters are watching. The name of our Tribe is in honor of our little girls, Katelin & Charlotte. Yes we both have sons as well but there is something about empowering a little girl through sport that Jenni and I are passionate about. Now comes the fun part - we have started our own "Tribe" with GOTRIbal . This is a group for women, by women to come together to find like-minded endurance athletes. We will be swimming, biking and running around Bergen County getting ready for races this year as well as next year. No Cost - Just Fun! Feel free to join us on any training swim, runs or rides - we'll post them on the website or you'll just see us out on the street!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sisters...all a girl needs in life.

It's been 3 days since I crossed the finish line at the NYC Triathlon. As mentioned in the last post, I didn't feel ready for the race, I had a lot going on and hadn't trained very much to prepare for it. It certainly showed in my time and it's taken these 3 days to feel a little bit proud of just finishing. I feel like at this point in the game, "just finishing" isn't enough anymore. But time to move on from this race and only expect great results with great training which I didn't have this time.

The NYC Triathlon has more logistics than the average race or at least any race that I've done or been to. I went in on Friday to sit for the Athlete Briefing which was boring and pretty pointless. I didn't learn anything that wasn't in the athlete guide but I guess not everyone is a geek like me and reads the whole thing. Went back to the city on Saturday to check my bike only to get there and realize I didn't have my bib # on my bike and they would not let me in. Had to hike it back to Glen Rock to get the damn number and then go back into NYC. I was less than pleased by this annoying driving back and forth - not to mention it's $8 everytime you cross the GW Bridge!

Finally Race Morning - up at 3:00am, in transition by 4:15. On the way down the West Side Highway we saw a car flipped over with another car crashed into it and then that crash ended up delaying our swim start. The sky was dark and rain was on and off the whole night/morning. The rain stopped as we got into the water - the time trial start was interesting and way better than a mass start. There weren't a million people kicking you, it was quite calm, quick and empty. Everyone says this is an easy/fast swim - not sure who those people are but it was neither of those things. It was quite choppy, I kept getting hit with waves. Then at the 1000 meter mark I slammed my foot into a jetty. Who knew there were huge jetties in the freaking Hudson River?? I even stopped and stood on the damn thing. My foot is a little ripped up now but I did think it was bleeding pretty bad in the race but it wasn't. And just when I thought I'd seen it all I jumped back in and looked left to see a woman holding a hot pink pool noodle! I thought for sure I was hallucinating but when I looked again she was still holding the noodle. Kevin said he saw the lifeguard throw it to her which was good for her since they ended up pulling 28 people out of the water and 2 athletes died in the swim.

Out of the water and on to a very long trek to T1, bike shoes, helmet on and ready to go only to have to wait on line to get out of transition! There were way too many people in this race. Even out of transition it was hard to mount bc of all the people trying to get on their bike, then it was a long way to get to the highway and at one point we were forced to dismount and walk our bikes up the ramp. Finally got on the highway and were able to ride and then came the torrential downpour. I was fine with the rain - beats the heat but it was dangerous. There were flats everywhere and 3 crashes that required ambulances. Not pretty but I made it in less time than I had planned which is always good.

Finally on to the run, down 72nd street I saw Kevin and he told me Wendy was going to meet me on the run. I looked high and low for her, hit Mile 1 and still no sight of her. FINALLY I saw her and have never been so happy to see a sibling in my whole life!! She ran with me and I was doing well, still having a bit of fun. Mile 4 came and that's when the race fell apart. Never in my life have I had trouble breathing, it felt like someone was standing on my chest, my heart rate was over 170 and then over 180. It wans't pretty although she was happy as a clam! If she weren't there I'd probably have just sat on the side of the road and waiting for someone to come fetch me but she pushed me to finish. She jumped off about 100 yards from the finish line and it was an out of body experience to run across the finish line. I don't remember much, I did hear the announcer say my name but nothing else. Crossed the line and nearly fell down but just kept walking and hoping someone I knew would find me. It was so congested, they were yelling at us to keep moving, it was hard to get out. I was so happy to see Kevin but by then I was also seeing spots and slowly my peripherial vision got worse. In highsight, I should have gone to the Medical Tent. It took a solid 2 hours for me to even be able to really see again. The end of the race, the walk to brunch, brunch, the ride home - is a large blur. Even yesterday is a little blury as well. Today was another day of resting and trying to get the feeling back into my body.

This race was tough for me - tougher than any other race. Not bc of the distance, weather or logistics - it was just hard. I guess we all need one of those every once in awhile to remind ourselves that life is sometimes hard and it's all about how you handle adversity. Thankfully I have a strong sister (I have a few but this time just the one was physically there!) that was able to push me - physically and mentally - to the finish line. Thanks Bunz...even at 37 I need my big sister.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

To Race or Not To Race...That is the question.

Kevin's cracked helmet after his bike crash.

This past week has been pretty stressful on my personal life and more importantly, on my training life. The week before this week I wasn't all that motivated to train either and had already been slacking quite a bit. A week ago today, my Sweet Kev crashed his bike in a bike race and broke his collar bone as well as figured out how to collapse his lung. He had to stay in the hospital over night for observation and is in terrible pain pretty much all day. Thankfully, he does not need surgery for his collar bone or lung and just has to wait to heal...nothing to do but wait and let the bones reset themselves. On top of his accident, my daughter thought it would be a fun idea to catch a fever and keep it over the course of 2 days. AND camp for the boys ended last week so it's been a great, fun-filled week around here of medicated partners, feverish child and bored boys annoying the crap out of me.

Oh and the most fun part of this whole race is that there is raw sewage in the Hudson where I get to jump into and swim and swallow some water as well. My hope is to get some sort of tapeworm where I lose about 30lbs without trying (my other option is swallowing a used condom - I'm trying to find a silver lining in this story). The universe seems stacked against me for this race but yesterday I got on my bike and felt good. So I'm IN - I'm going to show up on race morning and give it a try. If I fall apart during the race, you all now know why. If I win my AG, well then you know someone swapped out my chip by mistake but I'll be happy to take the credit. My goal is to finish in under 4:00 - not sure that's possible bc the run is difficult and my pace is about 13:00/mile on a flat surface. Not sure how slow it will be running up a large hill but we'll see.

Tomorrow is the Expo and packet pick up (oh did I forget to mention I lost my wallet and don't have a photo ID to show them. I need to dig out my passport from somewhere in order to even check in). I'm excited to do my own body marking so I'm not at the mercy of a sloppy teenager writing my numbers - I hate when they do it sloppy. Maybe I can get my sister to do some calligraphy numbers for me...

As they say in the NYC Triathlon: See You in The Hudson.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Something Old, Something New

Nope wasn't at a wedding this weekend, finally, but I did have a race on Sunday. They say at every race you learn something new. Sunday was my 6th triathlon and I thought I'd seen it all. But so far "they" are right - I've learned something new once again (maybe not learned but witnessed). This past race I actually saw 2 things I've never seen before in a race.

For the first time and hopefully for the last time - I saw an athlete get pulled out of the water by a lifeguard. Suddenly, I saw the athletes on the shore running into the water to get the swimmer that signaled that he was in distress. Everyone hurried to get him but the lifeguard on the jet ski was there first and pulled him to shore. It wasn't all that scary bc the guy just floated in the water only about 50 yards into the swim and waiting for someone to help him. It wasn't overly dramatic however, it pushed my start time back another 25 minutes. Which was also something else I wasn't used to. I was standing in my long-sleeved wetsuit sweating and having to pee but yet again, was unable to pee in the damn thing.

The swim was somewhat difficult in that the water was ice cold. So cold it was hard to put my face in so for the first few minutes I swam with my face out of the water. Once I got going with a full stroke I was surrounded by other swimmer as they moved the bouys and I thought I was on the outside of the swim. Only to find out i was now on the inside - got a nice, hard kick to the chest and was then pushed up against the rope holding the buoy out in the ocean. Once I got around the buoy everyone was able to spread out again and got back to swimming.

Bike was a nice, flat course but had a lot of turns in it which slowed down my time but nothing terrible. My philosophy on the bike is that I hammer as hard as I can since I can't run anyway might as well make up as much time as possible on the bike. Only to find out my coach does NOT like that thinking and I will now have to change it.

Again, since my run sucks I figured now would be a good time to pee. If only I could learn to pee in my wetsuit I'd be able to take 3 - 4 minutes off my run time! Finally out on the run is where I witnessed my second new thing for a race. A tall, very thin, young woman with long blond hair was running past me. While running she was talking to a couple walking near the beach (not in the race) - I then realized the woman walking didn't speak English. The athlete is pointing and pointing at something in the woman's hand so the woman hands her the Diet Coke she's holding. The athlete shakes her head and then proceeds to rip the hair tie off her wrist, tie up her hair and kept running! I asked her if she knew that woman and she said, "no but it's too damn hot and I forgot to put my hair up". I wish I could find the woman that was walking and ask her what she was thinking - I'd imagine she was in complete shock and has never had an athlete in the middle of a race steal her hair tie off her body!

I was having some shin pain while running so pretty much walked the first 1.5 miles. Then this guy came up to me and asked if I was ok, I told him just lack of training. He was a pretty big guy and said it he could do it, so could I. He and I ran in to the finish line the rest of the way - so thanks to my stranger friend, Dave, for getting me over the finish line. As well as sweet Kev. His race was over before I got to T2 and he met me on the run course with my water bottle. He ran with me for a little while and I made it across yet another finish line!!! Another race complete. Although this one didn't give out medals which I think should be against any USAT rules. I wanted to keep my timing chip since I wasn't getting a medal - isn't the bling really the only point in actually putting in the effort to complete a race???

Three weeks to the NYC Tri...yikes, need to get training for that one!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fun or Insane

This is the question I just asked Jenny when asking her advice about adding another race...her response: "Is there really a difference?". I guess when it comes to endurance/multi sport athletes insanity and fun are one in the same. When did the day come that I'm excited about a "vacation" to Sandusky, OH instead of the Four Seasons in West Palm Beach?? A road trip vacation, no less. But I AM excited - cannot wait!

Recently someone asked me for which charity I raise money. Translation: there must be a better reason for racing than just to do it - you must do it for some greater good. But nope, I only race for me but it did get me thinking that maybe I should race for something bigger than myself. I now have my first races under my belt, I know I can finish a race and while the finish isn't all that pretty or at the top, I do it and love crossing the finish line. I've now decided to race for a cause and try to raise some money (Yes, Pamela called me out - the kit is really cute and after all it's all about the clothes!). Be on the lookout for a donation email to come your way - be ready to be very charitable!

Monday, May 16, 2011

South of the Mason-Dixon Line

Sophie & Leo helping me cross the finish line!

Never did I dream that a 12 hour drive to Knoxville, TN would change my outlook on myself as a triathlete. Months ago Kevin and I thought it would be a good idea to go to Rev3 Knoxville for a triathlon - he had done Rev3 in CT last year and it was a great race. They put on a great show and coincidentally, I have a friend that lives in Knoxville - just seemed like a perfect match so we registered. Ever since the day Kevin registered us I've been extremely nervous. I've never done a race that long and the 3 sprints I've already done were really hard for me. My coach, Justin, Kevin and all involved were convinced I could do it...everyone but me.

We left on Thursday for the long drive to TN - I was fairly certain my car would implode when passing the Mason-Dixon line but alas I'm still alive to talk about it. I was surprised by how nice Knoxville was and we had the BEST hosts people could ever have. J, How, Soph & Little Leo were so excited to have us and made us feel so at home we did not want to leave. We went straight to the Expo it is always greatly uplifting and gets you in the mood to race - I love nothing more than shopping and shopping for Tri gear puts me in doubly happy mood! At the Expo we met Matty Reed and I was over the moon to meet him in person. I was also so happy to buy a "Finisher" shirt that I could wear the following day when I actually finished.

Race morning - up early, had my usual oatmeal, buttered bagel and tea for breakfast. We got all 4 billion water bottles ready and were off to the Knoxville World's Fair Park for the start. Kevin's swim start was 30 minutes before mine so he got all suited up and out he went into the water (the not-so-lovely Tennessee River). That left me for 30 minutes standing on the dock in my wetsuit to think about the race but I vowed not to let one negative thought into my head for this race. I was going to give it all that I had - leave it all out there on the road. And I did just that - not one negative thought (ok 1 during the run but that was it!).

Finally it was my turn to jump into the water and I had to pee so bad and figured I could just pee in my wetsuit while treading water waiting for the gun to go off. It turns out that peeing in your wetsuit is an acquired skill and I was unable to master it or even accomplish it at all. The swim went on forever. The guy the day before told me that we swim against current for 200 meters and then with the current for the remaning 1300 meters - yeah, that guy lied. Right to my face. We swam against the damn current both ways. At the 300 meter mark I looked at my watch and saw 10:00 and knew then I was in for a LONG haul of a swim. But the saving grace was it was all straight, no turns, not a lot of sighting was needed - put my head down and just kept at it. At the end of the swim there were no steps to get out - just had to pull myself up onto the dock but at that point realized I couldn't feel my arms. I got out sort of like a beached whale and just threw all my body weight onto the dock. Got out and had to go quite a ways to get to T1. While in T1 I could hear the announcer calling the race - the damn pro men were crossing the finish line!!! That's just not fair - I wasn't even out of my damn wetsuit yet (but they did start 1:50 before me!).

Bike was great - tons of hills but nothing I haven't done before, nothing I couldn't do. Many people were walking their bikes up the hills but I refused to get off my bike to walk it. This course was great bc as many uphills there were even better downhills. Still need to work on climbing and get my average speed up much, much higher but I gave it my all and felt great the entire bike ride!

The run is always my weakness and a weak, weak, weakness at that. Still never peed from the swim so I had to make a quick Porta-Potty stop on the way out. Figured the 2 minutes it took me to pee wouldn't hurt my run time. I was able to start running and then came the pains - I had the worst stomach pains - the exact same pains as contractions (but not quite that bad nor that long) but still severe enough to stop my in my tracks everytime to have to wait for it to pass. I thought I could try to stop at a bathroom but figured I might as well just finish the damn thing and deal with it after. So the run sucked but I did it and it wasn't terrible. I wasn't last and I had a GREAT time!

I was running to the finish line under the huge blow up REV3 sign and I saw Janice and the kids - they ran through the shoot with me and I was sooo happy to see someone I knew! Then I saw Kevin with the camera at the other side as well - I could not stop smiling and was over the moon. Great, Great, Great race, great city, amazing friends & hosts. Cannot wait until next year when I take off at least 30 minutes from this year's time.

Best part of the entire race, I believe now I can do it. I finally feel like an athlete and that I can do better. Up until this point I've been just trying to finish each race - just cross the finish line. Now I'm determined to work on my technique, form, nutrition (OK maybe not nutrition!) and really work on getting better and faster.

Thank you Pollock Family!!! If only ever city had a family like you for us to stay with and to cross the finish line with me!