About Me

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Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ironman Texas 70.3--A Little Recap

Caked in salt and smiles

I think I had a pivotal shift after the Ironman Texas 70.3 race in Galveston this past weekend. I hung around for much of the awards ceremony and was in awe of the podium finishers both young and old (a few were T3 teammates!). What made it interesting was that instead of wishing I was as young and fast as the young chicks, I found myself hoping to be as strong and beautiful and amazing as the women in the older age groups...(that I'm continually creeping closer to each year). These women don't get older. They just get more powerful and strong-willed and determined to be the best they can be regardless of age. THAT was inspiring and that was an incredibly important lesson I took away from this past weekend.

Lots of people have been talking about how hard the race was in Galveston. They're right. Was it the hardest race ever?? Nah...I'll reserve that one for St. George. It was tough certainly. It had its challenges. It's a Half-Ironman. It's supposed to be hard!! The swim was particularly difficult because of the direction of the wind. My age group started over an hour after the pros, so the wind gusts were even more mighty before my little butt jumped in the murky, brown, salt water of Galveston Bay...yummy. It wasn't a swim of technique or form. Every Masters workout I've attended was negated by the conditions. Truly, it was a swim of mental strength and perseverance. For the "long" stretch, it felt like every stroke was followed by a wave that seemed to lift me up and push me back about five feet. I never felt nervous or panicked. I just started to get mentally frustrated saying boogerish things like, "Can we just get this crap over with so I can get on my bike?" (You know it's bad when I'm looking forward to the bike).  I got blown off course slightly a few times, but nothing major... In a swim that would normally take 36-38 minutes for this Little Miss Mid-Pack, I exited the water after a laughable 44 minutes.

I actually do think I was laughing having just looked at my shiteous time. 

Best Part of the Day: The Wetsuit Strippers!!!

When you're on a hilly course, you want a flat course. When you're on a flat course, you want a hilly course...The grass is always greener, eh? The course truly is a pancake flat out-and-back right along the seawall of the Texas Gulf Coast. Road conditions were average with stretches of awesome pavement and not-so-awesome chip seal. I rode the first half very conservatively...on purpose. We were in a headwind. I spent the first half thinking, "I can't wait to turn around and coast this puppy back to transition with the tailwind."  I thought I'd easily be able to average 22-23 mph on the way back. WRONG.  True to what everyone else is moaning about, it really did seem like a headwind on the way back to town too. We'll call it even and just say it was a powerful crosswind. I did negative split the thing mainly because I was nowhere near the goal time I originally wanted (thinking I'd get that tailwind). So, yeah, I tried to kick it up a notch on the way back to town.   Form fatigue and wind exhaustion kicked in around mile 45. You'd see people standing up and coasting on their bikes just to change position. I, myself, came out of aero just to make sure my back and hip were still working. I was definitely feeling pinches of deep pain in my bad hip (almost 3 hours of time trialing will do that). I was also feeling general weakness in my hip flexors. Again, I think it was just form fatigue.   I got my overall average up to 19.4 before the last mile that slowed me down just a tad.  Not bad, but I was honestly positive I could go over 20mph. Damn cross winds!!

Kinda looking like a real cyclist

I turned the four mind-numbing loopty loops into a mental game of "I Spy." The T3 tent was positioned right out of transition so I was lifted by hi-fives and screams every loop from tons of those guys. You have no idea how much that can do for a mind that is bordering on apathy. I also got to the point where I knew where friends were stationed. Suzanne and George were in one spot. Chris Marquette and Coach Liz were on the back side. Michelle, Charles and Mo were wandering and full of positive affirmations. (Or just plain, "Keep Running, Bitch!") Plus, it was impossible to go more than a few hundred yards without seeing someone I knew. If I wasn't acknowledging them, they were acknowledging me. Caught a glimpse of Michelle Jones who was cheering on us lowly age groupers. I think I even said, "That's Not Fair" as she was standing under a shaded tree with a medal around her neck and a bottle of water in her hand. I still had 9 or so miles to go.

What can I say about the run? I tried to play it conservatively and hope for a huge kick on the last loop. It didn't happen, but I'm still incredibly proud and happy with my residual fitness. I ended up averaging 8:16s for the whole Half Marathon. I have to remember (and remind myself repeatedly) that I've done NO run specific training besides going out and running a few miles here and there. I've done NO track workouts since last Spring. I've done NO hill repeat workouts. I haven't even practiced my "fast finish" runs like I normally do. In fact, on most runs, I cool down the last mile so that my leg/hip won't lock up. While my hip was aching a bit, I was actually suffering more with an occasional quad or calf cramp that would kick in whenever I tried to speed up. I certainly felt like my nutrition included enough sodium (including about 10-12 salt tabs during the day.) I took three gels with extra sodium. I was even drinking Gatorade (ick). Still, though, I was in the very beginning stages of little cramps. You'll notice my splits were reflective of that little annoyance.

The best part of the weekend BY FAR was simply being in the presence of so many amazing friends and athletes. The whole race felt like a tidal wave of emotion as I ebbed and flowed throughout the entire 5 hours and 32 minutes. The energy surrounding these types of events is certainly contagious to those who are fortunate to witness them. I always get those "Yep--this is EXACTLY where I belong" feelings when I finish a race. Of course, I also have the "Why the hell am I doing this again?!" feelings before each race.  I found myself looking at the Texas Gulf Coast (as brown and murky as it was) and felt so blessed to be there. God knows I had enough time to reflect while riding. This year alone, I've been able to do two Half-Ironmans on the coastlines of two major oceans. I'm witness the wonders of the world, both in nature and in what my body is able to accomplish. For that, I am so utterly grateful and fulfilled and satisfied.

So here's the official breakdown... I ended up 15th out of 90ish people in my age group. Yep--pretty good for a chick who hasn't really trained. It really pumped me up for what is to come...I know it's there.

And here's just a sampling of what made it AWESOME!!

Now, it's on to St. George, Utah to cheer for Richard and others who are tackling what really will be THE HARDEST RACE EVER!  

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sweat much??

There was so much sweat and salt caked on me, I'm pretty sure my tri
kit could get up and walk away on its own after the race this weekend!

Overall time 5:32:00
15th out of 99 in age group

Race reflections coming soon. I'm still spitting out brown salt water
from Galveston Bay.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to Make Someone's Day

I saw my T3 teammate, Kelley, this morning before my last swim at
Barton Springs before this weekend's Half-Ironman.

When I went to leave, I found this note on my windshield. That, my
friends, is the kind of wonderful people this sport attracts.

Hey Kelley--you're pretty damn awesome yourself! Kick butt in Galveston!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Last "Race Week" for a While!

Let's make it a good one!

My hip scope surgery is one month from today...Yikes. It's still a bit unreal that I'll be going from Ironman to not being able to walk BY CHOICE! This has been a long time coming, though, as my family, friends and coaches will tell me...I've been battling the mysterious leg numbing, hip pain, back pain, piriformis stress, foot pain, hip joint stabbing, groin burning, physical therapy, foam rolling, and mind-altering mood swings for a year now.

I look forward to the day when I can do track workouts and hill repeats again (I know...psycho). I look forward to training for a marathon and qualifying for Boston again! The Boston Marathon was today and I was slightly inspired to run fast again!

In an odd way, I'm also looking forward to starting over from the beginning and training smarter...whatever that means...more strength building, flexibility, core work...building a better foundation. I get to play the newbie card again!!  I want Phase Two of this journey to be about The Journey.  Will I focus on time goals? Of course!  Will I focus intensely on getting faster? Naturally...I want to do it, though, as a student of the sport and not a trained robot who will decompress if I don't hit all of my training hours. (Ok--no promises, here). I guess I just want to feel like I've learned something from all of this. I've already learned that my long-term health is way more important than any short term goal. I've learned that there will always be another chance and another race. I've learned that there is just some pain that you can't push through. I've learned that setting goals is great, but setting SMART goals is even better. I've learned that rest and recovery is good...Damn good.

So, I'm heading into my race this weekend feeling so very grateful, nervous, excited and ready to lay it all out there on the course. Why?? Because in a month, I'll be laying it all out there on the couch!

Such a Wonderful Example of Joy

Just yesterday, Austin hosted a Kid's Triathlon and The Austin American Statesman featured this little boy as he completed the race in under 30 minutes!  All of the photos and the story are featured HERE.  It's certainly one of the most heartwarming and inspiring things I've seen in a while and serves as a much-needed reminder

1.) Even those with limitations have no limits.

2.) My little hip surgery means nothing. I am able-bodied and capable. 

3.) Finishing times and PRs are inconsequential. It's all about courage and determination to get to the start and finish lines. 

4.) Anything is possible and there really are no excuses.

Photo Credits: (Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reason Why Hubster and I Will Never Be Pro Athletes...

...and I'm o.k. with that as long as I never have to give up this...

Berkeley, San Francisco and Sonoma were, once again, amazing! In addition to copious amounts of vino and chocolate, we also indulged at some wonderful vegetarian restaurants including Gratitude Cafe, Herbivore, Seed, Plant and Ubuntu in Napa. Yes, I couldn't make up restaurants like, "Seed" and "Plant." The only places missing were "Berries" and "Twigs" apparently.

So many good wineries and so little time. We will be back...and it may or may not involve the Vineman 70.3 Half-Ironman. I'm actually thinking of creating "Wineman." It has a much better ring to it, don't you think?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Team Trakkers Pro Happy Hour

Team Trakkers Pro Team was in Austin and they kicked off their
training camp with a happy hour open to all! I, of course, took
advantage and brought along some Erin Baker's cookies to share. It's
official. Austin is full of a bunch of Tri Geeks and we love it!

With pro Amanda Lovato

Drew and Jack from Jack and Adam's Bike Shop

Michael Lovato (center) with Mark and Hugo

Vegan Breakfast Platter

Tofu scramble with soy mozzarella, fake bacon and a heaping mound of
basil pesto. Served with side of red potatoes, whole grain toast and
fake butter. Yum!!!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Just Me and my Bike

While I do love the encouraging atmosphere of group rides and races, I
also enjoy just getting out there by myself for so many reasons. First
of all, there's no pressure to keep up. So many times I've started a
ride too fast or too stressed because I feel like I have to be part of
the action. I don't want to be the one who gets dropped. (Invariably,
I get dropped anyways because I end up fatiguing myself!) Another
reason I like to ride by myself sometimes is to have quiet meditation,
focus and some good 'ol inner dialogue. If I'm having a good ride, I
can pick it up. If I'm having a poopy ride, I can ease back without
feeling the pressure of holding others back. I've found that it
literally takes me about an hour to settle in and get comfy on the
bike (or as comfy as I'm going to get).
This morning, I rode 60 miles on Parmer. Austinites know what a mind
game this long stretch of open road can be depending on the direction
of the wind (and there's ALWAYS wind). Today, the wind was at my back
heading west. Oh, what a glorious feeling it is to avg over 20 mph for
the first 30 miles without really pushing too hard. This is a great
course to simulate Galveston because there are long stretches of good
time trialing, but the long rolling hills keep you honest. And then,
of course, there is the wind.
The dreadful breeze was in my face during the jaunt back to town.
Instead of fighting it, I just slapped myself into a low gear and spun
through it. There were a few "I hate this" moments, but overall I was
having a good day. It's hard to be whiny when I'm fortunate enough to
be able to do this kinda stuff in the first place. Would I rather be
at my desk in an office or out riding on a sunny Friday morning?
Duh...I'll quit any kind of bitching now.
I ended the ride at just under 18mph average. Of course, that includes
slowing down for every darn stoplight coming back into town. What a
momentum buster that is!!
I got back to the car happy with how it felt today (minus my back
which is sore from yesterday's kick boxing class!). Stopped into
Firebowl Cafe for a little tofu stir fry/sodium refueling and struck
up a great conversation with a stranger named Susan. She obviously
noticed my geeked out cycling uniform and asked me about Ironman. I
was happy to chat her ear off (even though I was about to gnaw my arm
off from hunger.) She's training for the Full Iron Distance at Redman
this fall. We could've chatted for days, I'm sure. There's just
something about this stuff that brings out goodness in people (and an
insatiable appetite).

I'm glad I have this day to remember fondly as one of the reasons why...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Austin Duathlete's Protest Double Du

In my quest to squeeze in as many races as possible before surgery, I decided (on a whim) to race in the Austin Duathletes Protest Du last Saturday. They had a Sprint Du (2mi run/10mi bike/2mi run) and a Double Du (2mi run/10mi bike/2mi run/10mi bike/2mi run)!

In all of my craziness, I signed up for the Double! Oh, why the heck not, right?? Little did I know that I was only one of FIVE women who signed up for the Double. The run was relatively flat and each 10 mile bike had about 3 miles of hills. I was definitely struggling on the hills and think I was feeling the remnants of Oceanside 70.3 from the week before. (At least I'm hoping that's the case.) Can't someone give me a flat course?? Oh yeah--Galveston 70.3 is coming up soon and I signed up for that little booger as well! Be careful what you wish for. It's flat and windy.

I didn't really look at my watch during the race, but was surprised at how consistent I was on each leg of the duathlon. Honestly, I thought I'd be walking by the third run, but ended up getting stronger with each leg! (pun intended)

2 mile run #1 7:58, 7:52
10 mile bike #1 17.5 avg
2 mile run #2 8:02, 7:52
10 mile bike #2 17.7 avg
2 mile run #3 8:10, 7:34

I ended up coming in 2nd overall (out of 5!) and 1st in my age group. My age group award was a white chocolate Easter Bunny, which probably won't go on display with the other medals and awards. I'm afraid it will eventually be displayed in my belly!! (and, consequently, on my hips, thighs and scale).

Fellow T3 Teammates Phil and Bressie showing off the edible age-group hardware

A friend was asking if I'm cherishing all of these race moments before surgery puts me out for several months. Judging by this picture at the finish line, I think you know my answer.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Oceanside 70.3 Recap- (A.K.A. "Yay! I Finished a Major Race with a Smile on My Face!"

I can't believe I made it. No, seriously. I can't believe I made it to the start AND the finish line of this race. Since last Fall, I've had to bail out of the Redman Half-Ironman in September 2009, the California International Marathon in December 2009 and Ironman St. George next month. Three major races...Three "Do Not Starts." Too much hip pain and the ever-frustrating knowledge that even rest wasn't making it better. I needed this race for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I needed a goal and something to keep my mind and body active while I weighed the pros and cons of injections, surgery or a lifestyle change to knitting.  Second, I needed this race as a vacation and an example to my brother-in-law. He had signed up for this event--his second triathlon EVER last year. We signed up for our own benefit, of course, but it was also a family bonding thing. We wanted to be there to support him and race with him. Thirdly, I needed it for ego. Yep, I admit it. I wanted to feel relevant and capable. So many of my friends are out there training and I didn't want to be left behind to wither away on the couch. Sad, but true. Plus, we have all of these blingy toys like fancy bikes, wetsuits, sponsors and computrainers and I didn't want to watch them gather dust. (Now I know what it must be like being a washed-up pop star trying to remain relevant. I won't mention any names.)

So, just getting to Oceanside and feeling healthy going into the race was monumental for me. For the last month or so (pretty much when I decided to have surgery), my hip joint has been feeling decent. Ironically, the "healthy" hip and knee have been squeaking a little louder than usual. Can you say "over compensation?" When I have massages (like every week right now), I really have them focus on my psoas, illiacus, low back and hip flexors. Basically, they massage the muscles that make my legs move! This seems to have helped loosen things up a bit. I also think hitting yoga 3-4 times a week is helping as well because I'm working on strength and blood flow to the joints-not just a constant pounding and grinding from running and cycling. Regardless, life was good when our plane finally touched down in Orange County.

So, a few days prior to the race I outlined some feasible expectations based on...well...nothing, really. They were basically goals that I wanted to hit, but not sure if I could. I guess I was predicting them on a combination of what I've done in the past  (sometimes a mistake especially on an unknown course), my training levels and confidence (or lack thereof), and how I had been feeling lately. I feel like my training has been minimal the last several months. No "real" run workouts to speak of...No track, no hills, just running.  My cycling has been mostly indoor training rides with a couple of outdoor rides (and one small duathlon) thrown in to prove that I still knew how to switch gears. Basically, I had no idea what I was in for, but I'm certainly glad I chose this scenic backdrop.

First of all, the race site and location is phenomenal. I mean, seriously, right on the coast of the Pacific Ocean near San Diego. Both the bike and run had sweeping views of the ocean. Of course, the swim did too because we were IN the ocean...Actually, we were in the calm harbor which made it even better! No major waves to deal with, but still plenty of salt water to swallow.

Race conditions were great--cool morning, high in the mid 70s, sunshine...Let's do this. 

Water temps on race day?  OFFICIALLY 58 DEGREES! Yowsa. I ended up wearing wax in my ears and three swim caps. You know what?? It worked! The water didn't feel that bad--especially after I peed in my wetsuit while we were waiting for the gun to fire. Oh c'mon. You've done it too!  We swam out to a buoy and then treaded water until the gun went off. I kinda liked the deep water start, but that was the only time I got cold...the waiting...the countdown...and finally...THE AIRHORN! I guessed somewhere between 34-36 min as a goal and came in at 38:06...I'm cool with that because the swim is just so unpredictable depending on how many times I get kicked in the head, how strong the current is and how close I swim to the buoys or draft. As usual, I ended up swimming by myself for a while and losing the pack. I could see them when I would breathe, but I just seemed to be swimming in my own space. I ended up 33rd out of 88th in the swim, which is so much better than I used to be. Seriously, being in the Top 50% is where I always dreamed of being because I am so piss-poor at swimming. While I'm still just average (ok--a little better than average at this race), the important thing is that I feel good when I get out of the water. I'm not expending as much physical and mental energy as I used to trying to survive. I'm very calm and comfortable with breathing every 3-5 strokes once I get going. I used to have to breathe every other stroke just so I wouldn't die. So, for that, I'm happy to be where I am with swimming. I'm calm, comfortable and mediocre. 

Coming into transition on the run...Excuse the copyright watermark on the photo! The proofs were JUST emailed. Always a sense of relief and, "Let the real race begin!"

T1 4:38
It's a long run up to and through transition, which is huge. 2500 bikes that all pretty much look the same when your heart rate is sky high. Of course, my bike was somewhere in the middle of it all! No official wetsuit strippers, but plenty of volunteers in transition to help with whatever. I actually did have a volunteer rip off my wetsuit for me. Heck yeah, I did. I was pretty calm in transition and took time to actually put on a long sleeve pull-over and gloves since it was still pretty chilly that morning. Probably not necessary, but the 30 extra seconds gave me peace of mind...and a reason to throw the gloves away later.

Leaving for the bike portion in my winter-weather gear!

What an interesting course! I had practiced this course on the Comptrainer numerous times, but it's always so different when you are actually in the midst of it all! The Computrainer just basically makes you feel like the one dimensional mountain climber from the "Price is Right" game (cue music). Nothing can prepare you for the actual ocean views, twists, turns, breeze and eventual hills that come along with this 56-mile ride.

This is embarrassing to admit, but my best effort on the Computrainer was an average of 15 mph. So, going into the race, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to average 15mph or 20mph. Based on last year's results (I always look at other people's times), I didn't think 20 mph was feasible for me, so I just randomly said I'd like to average between 18-19mph.  Guess what? I ended up average 18.4 mph. Not bad, eh?  The course is challenging because the first 25 miles or so are relatively flat, but windy. The temptation is to fly, but you also are aware that 15 miles of hill climbs are coming once you enter Camp Pendleton. So, the challenge then becomes riding comfortably hard, but saving energy for the hills and the ride back to transition. I was averaging 20.0mph when I hit the hills. I could've gone faster, but at what cost? It was definitely an 80-85% effort.  I had no idea how much I would lose in the process of the climbs. Turns out, it was a fair amount. There are three pretty major climbs and one of them is laugh-out-loud steep. You see it coming from about 1/ 2 mile away. It's like knowing you're going to get hit. You see it coming and all you can do is say a silent prayer and brace yourself.  The great thing about going so slow on the Computrainer is that the hill climbs on the computer seemed endless. I had in my mind that I would be climbing this bastard of a hill for 10 minutes. In actuality, the climb was much faster. Thank goodness.  Grown men were walking their fancy $5,000 bikes in their aero helmets. I wanted to say HTFU, but I couldn't really breathe. This was the first test of my right leg. It felt weaker and more stiff than the left, but it didn't lock up on me.  As if the hills weren't bad enough, there was also a gusty wind blowing around. Grrr...wind AND hills. I will say this. The scenery was spectacular. We were on a very private Marine base on some of the most beautiful real estate in the country. Mountains, valleys, wildflowers, tanks, pistol ranges, helicopters, you name it. It was all there.   I left the "hill stage" averaging around 17.3. From 20 to 17.3 average. That's how slow some of the hills made me ride. 

Not sure where this was taken, but I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have been out of my saddle. Maybe I was doing it for photo effect of being a tough biker chick...Nah.

I've heard horror stories about the headwind on the last 10 miles, but Mother Mary had mercy on us because we had an awesome tailwind that I used as best I good to ride hard, fast and increase that average to where I wanted it to be. 

I said I wanted to finish around 3 hrs and I came in at 3:02, good for 26/88 in my age group. I passed a few beeotches in my age group and now it was time to see what my hip was going to do.

T2 3:12  Again, a long run into transition, but I could've sped it up a tad. I was just so damn happy to be off the bike!


Typical unflattering race photo that makes me look like an overweight dude. The white shorts aren't flattering either. At least I was passing people...and my Garmin looks like a PC on my arm!

Whoever said it was pancake flat kinda lied. It's more waffle-flat. On a normal run day, you wouldn't even feel the climbs. After 56 miles on the bike, you feel every step that takes you from beach level up to the neighborhoods. It was awesome seeing every type of person out on this gorgeous Saturday afternoon...spectators who were clearly there to enjoy the race, surfers who were too stoned to care, teenagers who just wanted to hang out in their bikinis and couldn't care less what we were doing, families on Spring Break, creepy guys with their bellies hanging out, drunk people watching from their balconies, kids running to and fro...It was a Saturday afternoon at the beach. What more can I say? My goal was to start between 8:15-8:30 pace and pick it up if and when I felt ready. Mile #1 7:42, Mile #2 7:45...I swear, it felt like I was running S-L-O-W. I very consciously was telling myself to ease off. It felt like I was, but I was still clocking sub 8:00s. By the half-way point, I was averaging around 7:48. I was starting to fade, but the hip was not locking up on me. I was just getting plain old tired.  Damn it. Just hang on. I looked at my watch and realized if I could continue to run sub 8:00s, I could break 5:30, which was not even on my radar prior to the race. Remember, I was just happy to strap on a race number at this point. Well, it didn't happen...The gas was running low and I was mentally giving myself permission to ease it in instead of pushing with all my might. Plus, I could feel a monster blister forming on the bottom of my foot. (see previous post for lovely pic) It was really starting to hurt to run at this point. The last few miles were in the 8:10-8:20 range, but how could I argue with a solid race performance?! (and a whopping 5 second PR).

I did the 13.1 miles in 1:44, which was 10th out of 88 in my age group. Take that, ladies. This gimpy old bag still has it. 

Finishing with a smile! The 6:22 time reflects when the pros started!

Mentally, it's probably the best race I've had in a long time. OK--so it's also the first long-course race I've had in a long time. A half-Ironman distance is so different than a full Ironman. The full Ironman is all about comfort, endurance and aerobic effort. The half for me is also about pushing those comfort zones. How long can I withstand the discomfort before my body says, "Enough." I have to say, I timed this one perfectly.

Official Time was 5:33:01 19th/88 in age group
See you in 2011 Oceanside!


As for Hubster and Bro-In-Law, they also both had great races! Shawn finished with a 6:27 (major PR for him) and Bro-In-Law finished and wasn't in last place :-)  At first he swore he would never do this again. By the next day, we were visiting local tri shops to get him on a proper tri bike. How quickly the mind can erase the pain!

Thanks Oceanside 70.3 for making me feel like an athlete again. I heard an interesting quote from someone on a triathlon podcast. He said something like, "I'm not a great swimmer, I'm not a great cyclist, and I'm not a great runner. However, when you put them all together, I'm a pretty decent triathlete."  I know what he means. We are the sum of our parts and I'm glad all my parts were working last weekend. 

They were working so good that I signed up for one more Half-Ironman before my May 19th surgery. Tempting fate?? You betcha.