Week 27: Ironman Mont Tremblant 

I’m currently sitting in the Air Canada lounge in Montreal, because when I changed my flight to go to New York after the race it was cheaper to end up with a business class ticket than to pay the change fee. Turns out the thing the rich people never told us is with all the free food and drinks you basically end up ahead. Money makes more money and all that.

Ironman Mont Tremblant happened on Sunday. I finished in 10:02:something, and that’s totally good and fine. It’s a PR and I’m proud of how I rallied on the day.

Continue reading “Week 27: Ironman Mont Tremblant “

Getting 2nd at Ironman Wisconsin Was the Most Fun Ever

The short summary is that I was the second woman overall yesterday, in 10:21:57 (and my dad thinks is hilarious I keep saying 10:21 and not 10:22, but you do not round that shit up). It was possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever done. In fact, I’m slightly worried I’ve peaked now. Yeah, it hurt and it sucked at parts and I’m in a lot of pain today, but hitting your super-secret-if-everything-goes-right-maybe-I-can-do-this A goal while huge crowds cheer for you is pretty epic.

Because there was no pro race at Wisconsin this year, I was actually the straight-up second woman period. Which was weird and crazy. I got a bike escort. And my name was on the front of my bib, so all these people kept yelling, “Come on Kelly!” over and over. That’s just insane. Basically, if you ever get an opportunity to have thousands of people screaming for you as you run down the middle of the street achieving something you’ve been working really hard for, well, I highly recommend it.

You can kind of see how much I was enjoying myself in the recap video from the awards ceremony. And that’s after I’d already been high-fiving small children and trying not to cry/laugh for the last mile. (Also, no I was not the 25-29 champion, even though that’s what it says. Whatever.)

Race Report: Couples Relay

The Couples Relay is a fun, small relay (duh) where one woman runs two miles and then hands off to her male partner, who runs two miles. I’ve been in charge of it for the last three years and this year Steve and I finally actually ran it. I’m pretty sure he was only convinced to run it after talking shit about trying to beat Pete and Ilyce, but then Ilyce got the flu and we still ended up running it.

It rained a lot this weekend and, since we’re in the middle of a drought, no one was totally prepared for it. If you don’t live in Northern California, then let me give you an idea of what it was like from Thursday to yesterday night. It was like this:

You’re going to get soaking wet. Why not run a race?

I was really stressed about this for some reason. Even though the race is about 100-150 people usually and was even fewer this year because of the rain, I was still totally anxious. Two miles just sounded infinitely worse than both one mile (which would be done by the time it started to hurt) and a 5K (which would be slower and not as painful). The women went first, so I started with a few high school girls and a bunch of fast women.

For a mile, it was no problem. I tucked in right behind the four high school kids and it didn’t feel easy but it didn’t feel hard either. Every time I started to fall back or it started to suck they’d slow down or I’d bridge back up or it’d pass. We ran straight through puddles and my Garmin said we hit the first mile in 5:58, so I was pretty much ready to call it then. There was no way I was going to do better than that.

Then, on the second lap — each lap was one mile-ish, another woman caught up to me and passed me and I all of a sudden remembered there were other people in the race behind me too. She went by me and passed a couple of the high school girls, who were slowing down. I followed, but slipped farther behind her. And, then, for two or three minutes, it sucked. A lot. The woman who went by me and the front high school girl were battling it out and pulling away. I was dying. It hurt so bad. Actually, I have no recollection of the pain; it’s interesting how those things are wiped from our memory. I remember that it did hurt, but not the hurt itself. I was in the middle of the longest two mile in history. And, then a (fast) 50-year-old woman caught me.

I told myself Steve was going to give me hella shit if I got beat by this many people before I handed off to him, so I forced myself to go with her. We were almost done by then, trying to pump my arms and plow through the increasingly heavier rain. The GPS said we hit the second mile in 6:07. And, then there were still seven more seconds before I reached the hand-off. WTF, race director, get it together.

Steve held our position and we finished in fourth, behind two high school teams and one adult team. And, then, everyone got awards, because we always have awesome prizes for the Couples Relay and then we spent another two hours picking everything up after the race. And, this is what our house looks like because all the wet clothes and shoes are drying everywhere and the rains have taken over:


But, still, totally worth it to run two almost six minute miles. I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to do that. And, since I am the race director for the Couples Relay, I give the entire race an A+ for effort.

Not Even Showing Up to the Start Line

Yesterday, I was supposed to run the Pacific Association cross-country championship race in Golden Gate Park. And, by “supposed to” I mean that I hadn’t exactly signed up yet, just that it was on my training schedule and I fully intended to go.

But, I didn’t go.

It’s not that I dislike the PA XC Champs race. It’s terrible fun and I’ve done it most years. And, usually, it falls the day after the high school cross-country sectional race, so I’m all invigorated to go out there and run some crazy stuff over logs and up hills and through sand. This year, though, I just wasn’t.

I was worn out and tired and things hurt. The combination of a few days of TRX, Crossfit and my last/only 20-mile run left my body pretty beaten up this weekend and running around the high school meet didn’t do much to help. In fact, it hurt my toe more, with all the sprinting back and forth across the field in random shoes without the orthodic, etc. So, when I woke up at 7 a.m. yesterday to eat breakfast and head to Golden Gate, instead, I just didn’t get up.

This isn’t exactly a strategy I would advise and it’s left me with more than a few doubts going into CIM, which we’re just going to not talk about, and a little sad I missed the terrible fun. But, when you know it’s going to be a hard race and you know you’re going to spend a lot of the race questioning why you care about coming in 43rd or 39th, you kind of have to be all in at the start and not asking those questions beforehand — or it just isn’t going to go well. (And, the last thing I need right now is another shitty race.)

So, instead, I slept until 10 a.m. and went for a mountain bike ride. Hoping that was the right decision, right coach?

The Making of Champions

The pennant.
The pennant.

Yesterday, my high school boys won the conference championship race. It was very exciting and I yelled a bunch at them during the race, things like “you need to pass him” and “come up, close that gap” — all very original and brilliant coaching. (I also am hoping none of their parents get mad that there’s a picture of them on the internet here, since there are also pictures of them on the local newspaper’s website.)

The day before the race the newspaper wrote a preview of it. In it they said the boys’ title was locked up, guaranteed, no surprises, it was going to be won by a school that wasn’t us. Which was weird, because the rest of us thought it was up in the air between three teams. I’m pretty sure that article did nothing except motivate our boys to show everyone.

But, it made me think about how we respond to obstacles and expectations. Why do we decide sometimes to say ‘screw you, I’ll show you’ and sometimes ‘oh well, I guess I’m not that good?’ Why do some people fall apart under expectations and some people rise to them?

As soon as I figure this out, I’ll let you know.

Training Week: Sept. 30 – Oct. 6

I really don’t have time to blog much, which is sort of lame because sort of lame people always say that (and also it kills my traffic). But, things just are busy and tired and busy and lots of big plans in my head. That also means I don’t have a ton of time to train. So the planned light week got very light and that just is what it is.

I’m sort of down about it, but I guess that’s not going to help.


Swam 1300y easy, recovery from Santa Cruz. Tired. So tired.


7 miles running easy (hilly – but easy) with high school kids


9 miles with 5 x 5′ at slightly faster than marathon pace with 1′ jog between each. I ended up doing these NOT at marathon pace — or, rather, if that IS my marathon pace then well, shit! (As in: that would be awesome.) Instead, ran 7:00, 6:44 (oops), 6:54 (actually the hardest because there was a hill in the middle), 6:46, 6:49. It felt fine, but I was wiped out the rest of the day. About 10-15′ of core after.


Biked 14 miles easy on my way home.


Weird day. Got up early to swim before going into work in the afternoon. But, I woke up all dizzy and freezing and feeling like I was getting sick. I never warmed up while swimming, so I cut it short to just 1000y. But, still didn’t warm up. Was so cold, I dressed crazy warm and then it was super hot all day. Ridiculous.


Pacific Association Cross-Country Race. They’re all sort of the same. They’re all sort of hard. I really, really wasn’t feeling it and could tell it wasn’t my day from the first long uphill stretch in sand. There was also a big fire and lots of smoke on Friday, so I had been worried about breathing. By Saturday, it wasn’t that smoky, but it wasn’t good either. In the end, I felt awful and I did basically the same time as last year. Not sure what that means.


Spontaneous rest day. Got Biggie the Cat — which isn’t turning out well. Everyone keeps saying to keep Biggie and Tupac separate, but we just don’t have that much space or that many rooms with doors. So, it’s been rough.

TOTAL: 5:45. OOPS!

Sigh. Double sigh.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Race?

Usually, it takes a few days for me to feel recovered. Like three. And, then I’m fine. I have always been fine racing back to back weekends, though that usually takes being smart — cooling down, not eating an entire pouch of bite-sized Kit-Kats every day in “celebration.” Once, I did like five Olympic-distance triathlons in seven weeks. The last one was the best one.

This week, I’m not recovering well. I swam a grand total of 3500y from Sunday until Wednesday afternoon. Nothing else. Wednesday I planned to run easy — test out my foot — and then go to Nate’s Crossfit class in the evening.

Side note: For this reason (plus, I’d get to sleep in like 30′) I decided to drive to KQED Wednesday morning. I then hit shitty traffic that made me 25′ late to work, got a parking ticket for $70 and was rear-ended when I stopped to avoid hitting one of the people who wanders into the middle of the street in San Francisco. This is why you shouldn’t drive.

During the easy 22′ run I checked my watch more times than I did the entire race last weekend. I felt Terrible. And, my maybe-sort-of-broken toe hurt when I ran. A lot. Last time this broken toe thing happened, I definitely raced the weekend after and it was fine. This weekend, I don’t think that’d be possible. Crossfit was rough on my legs, then. It was all rough and ugly and rough.

Of course there's an eCard about it.
Of course there’s an eCard about it.


Thursday, I was going to bike and then do a hard run. Halfway through my ride, I realized I had locked myself out of my house, so I had to go break into Steve’s parents and get the spare key. When I got started again, I still planned on running. But, suddenly, I changed my mind. No run. And, the relief was so overwhelming that I figured I made the right choice.

Then, this morning, I planned to get up early and swim before coming into work. I packed up all my stuff last night. I went to bed early(ish). But, my alarm went off at 5:37 a.m. and I didn’t even think about it. I just reset it for an hour later and went back to sleep. I never do that. I mean I DO sleep in all the time, but only if I know I can rearrange my schedule and get my workout in later. If I have to get up and get something done, then I get up. (That’s also my secret to not pressing the snooze: just set your alarm for the latest you could possibly get up, then there’ll be no negotiation, because you’ll have to get up. If there’s negotiation, you won’t.) Today, though, I can’t swim later. I’m going to the Oddball Comedy show this evening, so if I didn’t swim this morning, then I didn’t swim today. I didn’t swim.

And, I’m still wandering around like I forgot how to be a human being. I don’t know why. My only guess is for some reason some times recovery takes longer. I think I really trashed myself at Pacific Grove; I don’t think my body was physically ready for that. (Steve said, in response to this: Congratulations. So, you know, go me for being able to bury myself!)

I kind of want to just do this with Tupac:

You can't see that his butt is hanging off the couch. But, that didn't seem to bother him.
You can’t see that his butt is hanging off the couch. But, that didn’t seem to bother him.

Race Report: Pacific Grove Triathlon

Short version: I killed it. Probably thanks to a fast (for this race) swim, I was only a bit over a minute slower than the fastest I’ve gone here. And, I won — even though the results say otherwise. Now, I can’t walk because my right little toe may basically be broken.

Long version: We rolled up at like 8:00 for my 8:45 start. While I was trying to pump up my wheel (with disc cover) and screw the screws back in, because they have to be somewhat unscrewed to pull back the cover to get the pump in, this woman walks by and says, “You girls are late.” Yes, gee, thanks.

I was totally the last girl on the beach pulling my wetsuit on with 7′ to go (and at least some small part of me thought: I’m sure they’ll hold the wave for me — which they totally wouldn’t). But, seriously, if this was a running race or a cycling race, I basically would have been early. Stupid triathletes. I even warmed up for 6′ running + 5′ in the water. So there.

The swim is brutal. It looks like this:

Not me. From Slowtwitch
Not me. From Slowtwitch

It was cold, but not knock-the-breath-out cold. And, it was a fast start, but not knock-the-breath-out fast. Pretty quickly it was four or five of us swimming hard at the front and then one girl just pulled away, all easy, like she suddenly decided she was done messing around with us. I sort of followed, as best I could, which meant I was pretty quickly out in second by myself. At some point, I got stuck in some kelp and had to stop to unwind it from my arm. A girl caught up to me then, which was just as well, since it motivated me and I sprinted to catch up with her. She got caught in some other kelp, I somehow took a cleaner line, and by the end of the first lap I had about 10″. Then, I put my head down and just swam hard all by myself. Every time there was clean water I swam as hard and as fast as I could. Every time I hit kelp, I took shallow strokes and just got through it. Still, it felt like the stuff was reaching out and trying to drown me, even pulled my goggles off.

When you swim, you have no idea how fast you’re going or what kind of time make sense, so I was prepared for the clock to read 26′ or 27′. I was surprised, then, when the announcer said, “Next wave, you’re just coming up on 5′ to go.” That meant I swam under 25′!!!

That was so exciting, I almost didn’t care about the rest of the race. Almost.

I transitioned fast and was on my bike with one goal: catch the girl ahead of me. About halfway through the first lap, I passed two girls biking kind of slowly in running shoes. I didn’t think they were the girl ahead of me — I wasn’t even sure they were in the race — but we were the first women’s wave, so who knows how they got there. At the beginning of the second lap, I caught the first girl and realized she was 14 years old.

The rest of the four bike laps (really out, U-turn, back, U-turn, etc) went by. I passed lots and lots of men and some women. I sang the same five lines of Taylor Swift and Rihanna over and over, because it’s a way to think without thinking. It hurt a lot, but I broke it up into sections. I didn’t have a power tap, so I just tried to do each out and back section in a bit over 8′. I don’t think I actually did a single section in 8′, but I didn’t slow down either. The fastest I’ve ever gone on this bike course is 1:07, but that’s really hard to do and it seemed unlikely I’d have the bike fitness for it. When I realized I was going to bike a 1:09 I was pretty happy with that. Expectations are a funny thing, because the other year I biked a 1:09 here I was pretty upset about it.

I got off the bike as the first woman. But, when I went to pull my bike shoes off, I couldn’t get them off. I couldn’t feel my feet; they were frozen. This didn’t bode well.

I tried to pull my running shoes on and couldn’t. I sat down and worked them on, bit by bit. But, the same thing happened that happened in 2008: I couldn’t feel my toes, so I couldn’t get them into my shoes right. My toes were all bent under and I started to run, but when you’re running with your own toe wedged under your foot, it’s pretty painful. I stopped again and tried to pull my shoes off and back on. I could see a bump sticking out all weirdly in my shoe, which I presume was my toe, but I couldn’t move it. Finally, I decided too much time had been wasted on this already (my T2 was slower than my T1!) and I just needed to run.

It was painful.

I told myself it wasn’t going to hurt less if I slowed down, so I might as well finish as soon as possible. I told myself I just needed to run under 42′ and I could do that. Just run 6:40s, I thought, you can do that in your sleep. Apparently, I can’t do it after swimming and biking, though. Yet. It’s been a long time since I’ve done an age-group race like this. I forgot how much of a superstar you feel like as you blow through all the men’s waves ahead of you. When every. single. man. started before you started, you do nothing but pass people the entire race. On the run, my pace seemed blistering compared to the people I was passing, who cheered for me and yelled. At the end of the first lap, I realized I was not running as fast as I hoped I was, but close. 6:50s. My math got fuzzy, though, and hard to do. I just sang in my head and kept my cadence high, pushing as much as I could.

I knew the girls behind me (including the 14-year-old!) were about 5-6′ back and not closing. I passed two other girls, who were jogging/walking, on the first lap of the run. Which was weird. Because I was the first woman and in the first women’s wave, so I don’t totally know how they got there. There was also a girl about 5′ behind me, who I lapped on the bike, so I don’t know how she was then 5′ back. It was all very confusing. But, I knew I had it. I was killing it. I just wanted to put as much time in as possible, figuring some of the 34-year-olds in the wave behind me would be fast. Then, with 3/4 of a mile to go, a 27-year-old passed me, running 6:20s or so. I hadn’t been passed the entire race. I was so confused, I had no idea she was there, but I couldn’t match her pace. She went by and I couldn’t believe I’d gotten run down. I was so discouraged. In about 15″ I went from killing it to convinced I was doing terrible. Then, I remembered I still was about to do a far faster time than I could have hoped for and I finished.

But, at the finish, the girl wasn’t anywhere. I wanted to congratulate her; I looked all around. It wasn’t until after I changed clothes that I saw her still racing, still on the run course. She’d been on her first lap?

I ran a 42:30 (ok) and went 2:20:58. I knew that might be fast enough to win the overall on this not particularly fast course, but I couldn’t tell. The results at the finish were all messed up (and clearly some people were confused). It now seems like I did win, but the results have a girl listed in front of me who pretty clearly must have only done 3 bike laps and 2 run laps. And, also, if a 24-year-old in my wave really ran a 31′, I would have noticed. So. I can’t quite decide if I want to be that person who emails in and flags the result. I mean, on one hand: does it matter? On the other: I probably am that person, right?

Now, my feet are pretty messed up. I think my right little toe might be sort of broken. I can’t really walk on it: