The following are all Team Freeplay blog posts from all athletes. If you would like to read only the blog of a specific athlete please navigate to the athlete page of your choice.
No one wants to get injured. Yet it’s something we all experience at some point, whether it be something minor or some significant and serious injury. Last September, thankfully after my race season had ended, I had the unfortunate experience of breaking my elbow. It was an otherwise minor fall on the bike – going almost zero (no, I wasn’t trying to unclip). I landed squarely on what we know as the “funny” bone, and heard a crack. Off to Emergency, where an x-ray confirmed what was one piece was now two. Surgery would be required to wire it back together. As I sat in the Emergency room waiting for the bandaging and plaster splint, I faced my new state of immobility with a perspective of how things could be worse. My thoughts immediately went to that of my friend, whose husband – a competitive triathlete and cyclist less than four years earlier – was in the final, merciless stages of ALS. (Sadly, his strong battle ended in December.) I drove home (safely, with one arm), and once I was finally in bed, exhausted and uncomfortable, I wanted to cry. I shed about six tears, and that was it. I told myself that I could have that one cry, that one little pity party, and then it was done. I knew my injury was recoverable. It was a temporary situation with a fix done by many orthopedic surgeons these days. I WOULD RECOVER. As I’ve mentioned before, my Road I.D. bracelet includes the phrase, “Be Positive, Be Grateful.” It was definitely the time for that mantra. Being positive isn’t always the easiest thing to do (yes, I’m talking to you, last 20 miles of the bike Ironman Canada!), but at least for me is an ongoing goal – sometimes achievable, sometimes not. The weeks that followed would include a previously planned trip to Kona a few days later to watch the Ironman World Championships. If I had a dollar for every person that asked me if I’d injured my arm just before the race, my plane ticket would have been covered! Despite not being able to run, bike, swim or hike aggressively while there, I still relished the time on the island. Within hours of my return, I was in the operating room getting the hardware. I was extremely sedentary in the days following the surgery, but just over a week later got some sunshine with an easy walk on the bike trail. From there, it would be weeks of recovery, ultimately beginning physical therapy to bring flexibility and strength to the injured and atrophied arm. In December I was able to resume easy running, some spinning on the bike trainer, and easy, short swims. I was thrilled. On New Year’s Day, I did my first (very short!) outside ride. I was nervous with handling, but it felt great to get out on the bike trail and see the river. Now in March, I still “feel” my elbow every time I bend it, but I’m back to regular training, putting in the miles on the trails, roads, and in the pool. I feel like I’m right where I need to be with training, and I’m grateful for every spin, step, and stroke. While the title of this blog post...read more
Music from my alarm clock fires at 4:15. I stumble out of bed and shuffle down the hallway in time for my watch to holler its’ tune. My feet ache with the first few steps, my hips are tight and my legs are heavy. Lately I’ve had many conversations with myself about whether I’ve had enough of long course Ironman training. It’s not easy. That’s plain and simple. I train every day during the week for 2-3 hours and 4-8 hours on the weekends. I get anxious when my job requires I begin work earlier than expected because I know it will impact my training. My schedule (work, training, and family) is so packed that I can’t afford an extra 30 minutes of make-up anything. I don’t watch TV or read books unless I’m on vacation because I can’t afford to miss out on necessary sleep. Is life passing me by while I’m focused on chasing my dream of qualifying for Ironman Kona? I don’t want to miss out on anything. Not my daughter’s prom preparation, not a day trip to SF with family, and not even a special work event. Truth be told, I typically don’t miss out on these things…what I miss out on is sleep, recovery, and the little things. The little things can actually be the best things though. These are the casual conversations with friends without worry about having to get to the next task at hand, the spontaneous visits with my parents without having it scheduled a month in advance, or laughing with my husband before bed over a silly television program. So why then can’t I let go? I could train for sprint, olympic, or even half ironman distance and spend a fraction of the time. What is it about Ironman that keeps me coming back for more? Enough is enough…or is it? Kona is the “Big Show”. People who don’t know Ironman don’t know what it takes to get to Kona. “You’ve done Hawaii, right? I want to be able to say, “YES, I’ve done Hawaii, YES I qualified for WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS”! I’m not a lottery kind of gal, if I go to the show it’s because I earned a spot. Truth is, I’m more interested in simply qualifying for Kona than DOING Kona. I’m scared to death to experience Kona’s wrath but I figure I will deal with that when the time comes. I’m currently training for IM Santa Rosa but I have not registered, just can’t pull the trigger quite yet. My mind is not ready, I’m still debating if I’ve had enough. The little things seem bigger somehow. If I decide Ironman distance is too much for 2017, one thing is for sure, I will one day make it to the BIG SHOW. Keeping it real,...read more
I’ve had some fun races since ITU World’s Championship in Cozumel last September. I did Heart of Cool trail 10K on my birthday (came in first overall!). SF to Napa RAGNAR with 11 other amazing woman (200 mile relay), no sleep for 30 hours but an amazing time. We took first in the woman’s masters division! MandaRUN ½ marathon, my Freeplay teammate (and coach) Stephanie took overall female win with me coming in 2nd with a PR of 1:30!! Double Duathlon where I realized doing a flying mount after run-bike-run wasn’t easy… apparently my brain turned off. It would have been a fun close race for first but because of my fall I came in 2nd overall female (pic above was pre-fall!). This Saturday I will be doing something completely different, a 50K trail race. It’s a run but really the word run should be in quotes. It’s a hike/walk/traverse/scramble as much as a run. I just recently read the rules for the race and twice they mention no whining. So I have my work cut out for me. Here are some of the things I’ve observed and learned while training for this race… When I start feeling fatigued I need to eat even if I’m not hungry. It works like a charm. Ticks are gross. Had a couple recently and now do bug spray before I hit the trails… spray for me & my dog. I think I’d rather have a tick bite then a mountain lion bite. Just an observation. A dog makes a great trail running partner especially when it’s hard to coordinate a run with friends. And helps keep mountain lions away… right? I love listening to music when I run. But when I’m out on the trails I sometimes turn off all music and soak in the beauty & sounds of nature. I have gotten used to running in soaking wet shoes & socks. Because it has happened on every training run I’ve done. Every. Single. One. I am sometimes afraid there might be a mountain lion stalking me. Sometimes. The best way to dry out shoes is removing the liners and sticking shoes and liners on the heater vent at home. When the family asks what the smell is I just point to the dog. My body wants to be done running at mile 18. So doing 31 miles (without whining) should be interesting. My dog is afraid of Oscar the Grouch. Yes I learned that trail running. My longest training trail run has been 23 miles. So doing 31 miles (without whining) should be interesting. Trail runners are a FUN group! I’ve met some of the greatest people. Trail runners like beer. I’m going to have a hard time not whining. Here’s to finishing 31 miles! Cheers! Elise...read more
I can’t believe the season is over, gone, poof, there it goes… I’m happy and sad at the same time. My body needs a chance to recover from what I hope are minor injuries. I have been dealing with sciatic pain or piriformis syndrome for a few months, which really seems to worsen when I pick up my pace in either cycling or running but mostly running. I stopped running a week before Ironman Arizona in hopes I could reduce the inflammation and pain in my butt. My friend Kelly and I set out for the 11 hour drive to AZ on Thursday morning after I taught my 5:30 a.m. cycle class at JRRC. Thankfully another friend let me borrow a small inflatable pillow so my butt didn’t hurt so bad during the drive, that sitting can be brutal on the ‘ol tush! This would be my third Ironman distance race in Arizona. My first IM distance race was in AZ in 2011, I went 11:14 for 5th place. I raced IM AZ again in 2015 and had my all-time fastest IM at 10:39 and placed 4th. I had a really bad swim experience in 2011 so I spend too much energy worrying about not drowning on the swim. There was a major change in water temperature from AZ 70.3 in October to November, I couldn’t believe how much colder the water was when I got in on Saturday for the swim warm ups. The open water swim on Saturday was pretty awful, not only was the water cold, murky, and choppy but the athletes were super high strung and I could feel myself getting anxious. The 800 yard swim felt more like a mile… not sure what happened but my eye was stinging and got super red after the swim. I was worried that I got some sort of infection because my eye was red and swollen and tears continued to stream down my face for the next 24 hours. The AZ volunteers and IM staff are really awesome! Bike and gear check in was pretty fast on Saturday. I spent most of the day in my hotel room waiting for Jeff (my husband) and Nat (my youngest daughter) to arrive. We stayed at the host hotel, Mission Palms Inn because it’s the most convenient. After my usual pre-race meal of fish and rice I crawled into bed for the night around 9 p.m. I didn’t sleep well on Saturday but by now I know not to worry as I never sleep well the night before Ironman. After breakfast (rice cakes, bananas and peanut butter and a cup of coffee) I was off to the race start. I lined up with the 1:05-1:10 swimmers hoping I wouldn’t get swallowed up. My plan was to swim straight to the inside edge of the buoys because I don’t like to be smashed with swimmers on both sides of me. The gun went off with a huge BOOM and we slowly walked to the stairs and jumped in the water. Even though I was scared and feeling anxious, the sun was rising and the sky was the most beautiful red, orange and pink colors you could imagine. I could see people standing on the bridge and knowing Jeff and Nat were...read more
Highlights: – Getting my picture taking with Ironman Legend Scott Tinley – Finishing the race in one piece – both me and my bike – Seeing all my Xterra Race Friends Downsides: – The weather Lessons Learned: – Travel with mud tires (skinny ones) – Cleats on mtb shoes would be helpful To quote one of the announcers on race day “if it were easy they would call it an Ironman,” and I have to agree after finishing this year’s 21st Xterra World Championship Race and I can say this having completed a few of each distance race. Race morning started out with 6 – 8 foot swells at DT Fleming Beach in Kapalua Maui, pounding the shore and the swimmers who were trying to get out through them or back to the beach during the 1-mile swim. Several days of rain had turned the 20-mile bike course into a mud pit or slip and slide causing hundreds (several hundreds) of us to hike a bike for a good portion of the 3500 + foot climb, the run, well let’s just say hike a biking for hours followed by a 10 K run does not always make for a solid run, oh and did I mention the run climbs 1000+ feet. To start from the beginning, I arrived in Maui feeling excited and that my goal this year to break 4 hours was possible. My training had been going really well the past few months. I felt faster in the water, solid on my bike and had really been working on my run. I got up Thursday morning and headed out on my bike to pre ride the course. A lot of people were telling me to just ride the lower loop, the upper loop was a mud bath, but I was determined to ride the whole course and needed to see what the conditions were like this year for myself. As I started climbing up to the turnoff for the upper loop I was thinking this trail is in great shape, it can’t be that bad up top! I made it to the turn off and kept on climbing. Shortly thereafter the mud pit began, a very slip & slide descent – barely safe to try and walk down + a long slosh pit of crap that on race day no matter what I told myself I would have to run thru! It was over pretty quick and I was back peddling away and watched the miles fly by, there was the occasional mud spot but all ride-able and I ended the day feeling ok my goal is still achievable! What I did not count on was Mother Nature bringing nonstop rain Thursday afternoon, what seemed like all day Friday, on & off Saturday, oh and race day too! The day before the race when I normally put my feet up, relax and tell myself tomorrow is going to be great, I decided to go and cheer on my friends who were racing in the Xterra Trail run series. This took me down to the swim start (where the runners come out and head to the finish) and the waves! I was watching a few of my friends getting tossed and smashed in the water and decided what...read more