One week…

Yesterday marked one week out from Knoxville.

Saturday I put my last track workout in the bag. Afterward I was filled with strength – enough to put this out there: I have never felt more ready.

Between the guidance from my coach, the astounding bodywork from Dr. Jay Leith,  and the heart procedure, I’ve never felt more ready to go out there Sunday and give it everything I have.

Not to mention the incredible help from the folks at TYR! This showed up in the mail Friday…

IMG_0903When I heard a TYR Hurricane was coming I was ecstatic. When I opened the package and found it to be the Hurricane Freak of Nature – I was freaking out. A huge thank you to those who helped make this happen. It is unbelievable.

I tested it out under bright sun in a freezing pond in our state forest…

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It is a remarkable piece of equipment.

I despise wetsuits, always finding they tug in weird ways and (the most FRUSTRATING part) alter your body  position in the water. I felt no difference in the Freak of Nature. None. That was the most shocking finding. Second to that, and not by much, was the flexibility and range of motion available to my arms!

You work so hard on your swim – the stroke technique, body position, timing – all of it – only to put on a wetsuit that restricts here and pulls there and alters your body mechanics… not the Freak of Nature. That suit is dialed. It also comes with a cleaning and patching kit to maintain the health and performance of this unique piece. Swim excitement and confidence is off the charts.

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All the pieces are in place.

So last night I drove to Plymouth beach, the beach I grew up on.  I think it’s important to go to spots that ground you because when all is said and done there is more to life than sport.

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IMG_0873I took deep breaths, tasting the fresh salty spring air and silently I gave thanks for this opportunity, for my health, my friends, and my family.

Tomorrow I fly to Knoxville.

-Rae

Two weeks out…

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Today was the “Run for Brenna 5k”. A very small race all in effort to support a family and their young daughter who is currently undergoing chemo. It was put on by the local Bourne fire fighters and the venu was beautiful.

IMG_0835We started infront of that bridge – an out and back on the very very windy Cape Cod Canal. The sunshine was epic despite the chilly temperature (45 F) and strong steady wind – but I think I can handle the cold now…

It was a small turn out, a little over 250. But there was a large portion of the group undoubtedly racing for Brenna – they were in jazzy pink tops with “For Brenna” written across the chests and backs. There were also many racing in tribute to those who experienced the unbelievable violence during the Boston Marathon.

Plymouth (where I live) is 45 minutes south of Boston. Though it’s not in the city, it is close enough to have felt strong reverberations from the attack. East Coast people are notoriously tough, and Bostonians (like many who live in large prominent cities) have a deep love and pride for their home and many who do not live in or even near the city have ties there and above all – have love for their fellow mankind.

I would like to take a moment to recognize and honor all those affected by the tragedy.
And, also take a moment to rejoice in the successful capture of the guilty and thank all those who risked their lives to do so.
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The Bourne Fier Fighters had our flag raised high today. It was quite a site against such a pristine blue sky.

As for racing – I was pleased. The numbers looked good. A PR in the 5k had me smiling but more than that it was how I performed mentally. I was locked in – focused. I’ve been practicing my mental strength and it showed today. I dug in and raced well.

Knoxville is only two weeks out and I’m very very excited.

I’m also excited because Plymouth is coming alive…

IMG_0818The cranberries are looking beautiful

IMG_0819The fields are getting tilled….

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we also planted potatoes…

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I want to try and grow the purple Okinawan sweet potato but those may be better left for Hawaii….

And to all my friends in Hawaii who are racing and supporting the Lanikai Triathlon today: CONGRATULATIONS!
I miss you dearly and am cheering from far away!!

Love,
Rae

Virginia

I love to race.
It’s been a while – since November.

This one was all about dusting off the cobwebs.

I went into it with little rest and no speed work but a lot of excitement!

It was also exciting to see Jenny – my coach. I stayed with her in Virginia and she is phenomenal. We hit some pretty hard bumps in the road during my stay. I’ll spare the details  and just say Jenny knows how to work a problem. It was inspiring and insightful to say the least.

Race morning we rose early to make the 3 hour drive to Smithfield. I kept watching the thermometer and was a little nervous when we arrived – it still read 44. But we had 2 hrs before the start and the sun was only getting brighter.

The race attracted a wide group of people…

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It was fun to be racing in a new place with new people. The swim, as mentioned last post, was snake style – up and down across six lanes of a 25 meter pool. Each swimmer spaced 15 seconds apart.

My swim was slow – I lost significant time on open turns. I could feel it each time I hit the wall to duck under the lines and knew it was costing me.

The bike was a BLAST. It’s funny how your race mind takes over, I didn’t even notice coming out of 80 degree water into the chilly air and wind (I’m not entirely sure what it had warmed to by the time we started). I had a slip up in T1 which produced an embarrassingly slow time but soon enough I was out on the road and MAN did it feel good to be racing. I dug in and enjoyed the course. 10 miles is short.

The run – I am so happy with my run. It was a significant PR and doubly happy to find it was a legitimate 5k course. Hard work and heart surgery pay off.

That my friends may have been the most amazing part of the race. My heart rate wasn’t sky rocketing before the start – it was certainly excited but it was nothing compared to what I’ve known before and I could breath on the run. It was a gift that didn’t completely sink in till I started to reflect…

All in all it was a great trip. Jenny brought 3 other athletes down 2 of which made the podium, count Jenny and myself and that makes 4 out of 5 on the podium – way to go WhiteLine Tri and Velo!

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If your interested in results check them out here!

The Sunday after I took myself for a long run to the memorials, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, … it was sunny, it was brisk, it was beautiful. I broke from my run to stop and read the powerful inscriptions and pay my respects to these powerful figures that have shaped our lives.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
(MLK)

– Rae

seas and peas..

March stormed in.
But it’s peacefully parting,
Giving way to splendid outdoor time…

IMG_0722 IMG_0721These are from my first ride outside! It was just a long cruise-ish ride but it was remarkable to feel pavement under my wheels. I found a route the rolled along the sea side. Faraway from the enchanting coasts of Hawaii – the east coast is picturesque in its beauty…

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It was high 40s that day. 40 is the new 70 don’t you know?

*Note: if ever you need good gear for riding in cold weather check out Gore Bike Gear – their windstopper series is exceptional.  I know this only because a stellar friend lent me some of his gear to try – the gloves are a must.*

The end of March also marks the beginning of the garden..

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I like the way my father gardens.
All things built by hand, all seeds sewn with passion.
He told me that peas can be planted early – that they will take root and sprout when the time is right…isn’t that a nice metaphoric filter to apply to life? 😉

By the way – the celery and peppers planted in February are sprouting..

IMG_0750Races are also starting to pop up. In fact – there is one next week. First triathlon of the season: Smithfield Sprint It will bring a lot of firsts:

First tri of the season
Frist tri with a pool swim (they call it a snake swim ??)
Frist tri in less than 70 degrees (anticipating high 50s low 60s)
First tri since the heart procedure

I will be far from fresh for this race. This has been a very challenging past 2 weeks.
I am looking forward to it nonetheless.
I love to race.

Sweet dreams,
Rae