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Triathlon (2 of 5): Swim

Monday, June 11, 2012

After deep but short sleep, its time. The alarm found both me and my sister waiting in anticipation. I had laid out my clothes the night before. So I sling them on, my sister applied my tattoo numbers, we brush teeth and hit the door.

The transition area is a hive of activity. Some good advice the night before said I only needed to arrive one hour before. So we didn't dawdle setting up my stall.

Remember I said mornings were cold? I'm wearing 2 shirts.

We hit the catering for a light breakfast. There are some that can do this type of race on just coffee, but I've found that a little something makes AM exercise a lot more pleasant for me. Half a bagel with PB and Apple Butter, a handful of grapes and some more water and I'm ready to go.

About 20 minutes before the gun, I put on my wetsuit. I was able to have one practice session on my own. The trick is to peeling it *on* to me.

The Race Director gathered us for some final words and reviewed the course one last time.

I am wearing a black wetsuit and a yellow swim cap. Can you see me?

(That was irony.)

Then its down to the water for the start! The paved walkway is hard on my feet. I hear the Ironman's words in my head “walk, dont run to the transition after swim.” Its not going to be a problem!

I position myself in the middle of the pack. I dont want to get run over or feel like I'm being left behind. The first wave, all men, plunge in and 3 minutes later we go!

The water is not that cold. I would call it “fresh.” The adrenalin of the moment makes me swim at first with my head out of the water. Then I realized what I was doing, and start doing my proper freestyle/ crawl like in practice. But what I didnt anticipate was the mild anxiety attack that I had facing down into the black waters. I flipped onto my back and backstroke, catching my breath. I take about 3.5 seconds to make my peace with backstroking the course and make my way around the 2 buoys into shore. As I am headed into shore on the last leg, I felt the last of my anxiety leave me. I can do this!

Up the hill to the transition area. My stall is one in from the rail so my sister can support & photograph me peeling off the wetsuit and putting on my clothes. The day is overcast and it has spat a few drops of rain, but I choose sunglasses anyway. Helmet, trot to the door and exit. I'm off on my bike.

Up next: The tough get going .. up a hill.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNBEE 6/14/2012 10:56AM

    You looked right at home in your wetsuit. Way to go!

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HEALTHYOTTER 6/12/2012 8:27PM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the chronicle and the pictures. It's helping me SO much to try to picture what's coming up in a few more weeks! Thanks to your sister, too!

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    I'm soooooooooooooooo proud of you!!

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YDAVIS23 6/12/2012 5:09AM

    Yippee :) Off to part 3...

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MISSIFISH 6/12/2012 1:31AM

    First, WOW! Second, WAOOOOW!! You look great in a wetsuit, and I am so impressed that you did all this! Amazing!

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    Oh my goodness! You are making this a very exciting read with your whole installment idea. Nice thinking! And nice job on the swim. You look great and I'm impressed by the way you were able to get your anxiety under control.

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GODIVADSG 6/11/2012 5:00PM

    Way to go!! I had that exact anxiety feeling my first Tri in open water. The darkness was something I did not anticipate. You did great! Way to problem solve with back stroke! And way to finish that swim!! You rock!! emoticon emoticon emoticon Was that a HITS Tri?

Comment edited on: 6/11/2012 5:01:42 PM

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DOGLADY13 6/11/2012 2:39PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Did I miss any?

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DOGLADY13 6/11/2012 2:37PM

    I am so encouraged by your swim experience. You know that is freaking me out for the tri I'm doing in September. I'm still glad I won't have to deal with a wet suit.

How did you stay on track doing the back stroke? If I didn't have lane markers, I'd be all over the pool. I couldn't imagine in open water. Unless having other swimmers around you keeps you on the right path.

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LDRICHEL 6/11/2012 1:45PM

    Said it before and I'll say it again. Swimming is SO HARD! Ugh!!! Good job, lady.

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LESLIELENORE 6/11/2012 1:09PM

    I am breathlessly awaiting the next installment! I am sooo impressed!

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BIGPAWSUP 6/11/2012 12:51PM

    wow! that was awesome. so you where in the middle of the pack after the swim! how cool for you!

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NAKIOMA 6/11/2012 12:51PM

    Wow = I am so truly impressed. What you did was fantastic and you looked dynamic. Gotta tell me how you ever managed to put on a dry wet suit without getting friction burns - I was a professional diver and never did figure that out...............Naki

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Triathlon (1 of 5): Prologue

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Triathlon (1 of 5): Prologue

To say I was nervous before this weekend was an understatement. Unsettled, anxious, jumpy, frayed are also words that spring to mind.

I made a list and checked it twice. I spent 2 days packing. Worried about what to do and what to eat, I tapered and carbo-loaded, neither with tremendous success. I was going to only do a 2 day taper, but crap weather all week made it difficult to even get out for any type of exercise. After a full week of inactivity, I broke down on Friday morning and ran around the block twice (only 0.6 miles, but there is a mondo hill) which was enough to take the edge off. When did I turn into an exercise junkie?

Finally realized: This is like Opening Night Jitters. My family are all gigantic Theatre Nerds. We've all been to multiple shows, my sister has a degree in Music: Vocal Performance, my father was in a community theater group when I was younger, I directed plays in college...you get the pictures. So I know what Opening Night feels like. Once I understood it was the same emotion, I was actually able to harness the energy and channel in a productive manner. I will not be ruled by Stage Fright.

This was my packing list:
Swim: Wetsuit, swimsuit, Goggles
Bike: Bike, Helmet, Shorts, Tshirt, bike bottle, socks, sneakers
Run: Hmm. No special equip, here
Etc: Big towel*, Small towel*, Dishpan, Big waterbottle, gatorade, racing belt, Bra, camera, parking pass, Chair for my sister/support team, hairbands.

My sister/ support team decided to stay locally the night before, so I also need personal items: toiletries, pjs, etc.

*Optimist, she's such a hoopy frood, she always knows where her towel is.

What I should have brought: Sweatshirt. Mornings are cold.

It doesnt sound like much, but I had 2 additional lists, following the Tri was a Saturday night birthday party at a relative's house so I need additional clothing for myself and Child. Logistics and planning were key for getting through this weekend.

Friday night was the Athlete's Dinner and Meeting. The event is much smaller and lower key than anticipated. I mindfully consume lasagna, vegetables and salad.

The Race Director welcomed all the triathletes (about 60 of us there) and asked for a show of hands for 1st timers. About half the crowd, which makes me feel better. He reviews the course and we toddle off to go look at the transition area and the lake. I dipped a toe in, it doesnt feel too bad.

I love this man; he was carefully removing all goose poop from the beach.

I dont mean to scare you, but I will. That orange pillow was our starting point. See the little blotch WAAAY in the distance? That's 250 meters. It *looks* really far, but as you read in the next chapter, is not as far as you think.

We got back to the B&B by 8:30 and relax with some drinks on the patio. Seltzer for me, beer for sister. Bed by 9:30 and lights out at 10. The alarm is set for 5.

I *could* still chicken out...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNBEE 6/14/2012 10:53AM

    I agree with Leslielenore beats TV hands down!

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    Glad you always know where your towel is! Very good to be a hoopy frood!

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    Wow! To me, it would be very intimidating that there were only 60 of you. I find comfort in bigger groups because I feel like it's more likely that I won't get lost or be miles behind the ability of the others. You are brave!

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LDRICHEL 6/11/2012 11:10AM

    Awesome!!!! Next one next one. lol

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BIGPAWSUP 6/11/2012 9:59AM

    Ok, this is great and you've got me sucked in. This is great!


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YDAVIS23 6/11/2012 4:48AM

    Ok, I too am on the edge of my seat... Can we get just a sneak peek finish line pic? Something to assure us of your amazing success!?! Or will we have to wait...

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DOGLADY13 6/11/2012 2:55AM

    Woo hoo for pooper scooper volunteers! I can barely contain my excitement to read the rest.

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MISSIFISH 6/11/2012 1:26AM

    It is great that you are doing this in installments. I'm on the edge of my seat! The area for the race looks lovely.

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LESLIELENORE 6/10/2012 10:20PM

    I can hardly wait for the next installment! This is WAY better than any TV show...

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I'm Number One!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I am the #1 finisher for the HITS Hunter Mtn Sprint Triathlon in the Athena 39 and under!

Does it count if there was nobody else in the category?!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNBEE 6/14/2012 10:49AM


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    It ABSOLUTELY counts!!

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MISSG180 6/11/2012 11:14AM

    Darned tootin' it counts! For one thing, the word "finisher" is in there!

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LDRICHEL 6/11/2012 11:08AM

    Haha. SO AWESOME!!! So that wet suit worked out for ya, did it? :)

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DOGLADY13 6/10/2012 6:15PM

    Outstanding! This is a story for the grandchilren!

When you are going to stop torturing us and fill us in on the details! I'm dying to know EVERYTHING!

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LESLIELENORE 6/10/2012 5:34PM


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BIGPAWSUP 6/10/2012 5:34PM

    Of course it counts! You did it. How awesome.

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The accidental vegetarian

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

I was going to title this "High Carbing and Feeling Gross" but that is a sad title dont you think? This one is much more optimistic.

Normally, I keep to a higher protein diet with lower carb numbers than the tracker says. (Its constantly yelling at me.) It just seems to work better for me. However given my pending date with Hunter Mountain and what I have been reading about carbo loading, it seems to make sense to beef up the carbs at this time.

This morning: waffles with cottage cheese & blueberry, tabbouleh made with barley for lunch (I may never go back to bulgher wheat) an icecream with the child after mini-golf, and some barley & beans for dinner. After I entered all the food I realized: I was a vegetarian today. Ok, my protein is low and my fat is wicked high from the icecream, but I didnt eat any meat.

Unfortunetly, while I'd like to celebrate this, I feel really bloated and disgusting. I dont know if its the carbs or the richness from the icecream or an aftereffect of yesterday's lunch Denny's run: I had the Cheese burger Flatbread and blew my calories out of the water - almost blogged about it too, but I decided my SP friends dont need another self-flogging blog.


Tomorrow, more tabbouleh, more beans but perhaps eggs for breakfast instead. Thursday is PASTA!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNBEE 6/14/2012 10:49AM

    Could be the sugar? I always feel gross after I eat too much sugar.

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MISSIFISH 6/7/2012 5:50PM

    Vegetarian eating is what I do always, but yes, it is possible to feel bloated even when being a veggie person! I hope you feel better soon! No flogging needed - some days are just weird food days.

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DOGLADY13 6/7/2012 6:53AM

    I know I feel gross after I eat ice cream. Soda is another one.

As the wife of a vegetarian who occasionally eats fish, I know it is very hard to keep the carbs in line and still get enough protein. I'm allergic to eggs, so there goes one major protein source. It seems to me that if I eat Greek yogurt, I get pretty close to hitting the low end of the protein range. Also a handful of almonds or peanuts helps, too, but they are high in calories. But you are training pretty hard, so you are probably OK on the calorie thing.

Lots of rambling here... you'll figure it out and frankly, after your tri on Saturday, you'll be back to the routine.

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    Hmmm.... that all sounds delicious, and unless it was a crazy amount of ice cream, I don't really see why it would leave you feeling like that. I hope you feel better today!

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SCIFIMOM 6/6/2012 11:15AM

  I know that whenever I get greasy food, I feel bloated and slowed down. It seems that the more I stay away from all that fat, the worse it hits me when the fat level climbs.

Also, there's a lot of hidden salt in everything you named. I've learned that for me, salt and its resulting water bloat really make for a sad day.

You'll find what works best for you, and that's always the bottom line.

See ya, Claudia

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YDAVIS23 6/6/2012 5:37AM

    Yay for vegetarianism! I, too, had a veggie day. Maybe add some greek yogurt? String cheese? They'll both give you a punch. What kinds of beans? Yesterday I had veggie hotdogs, which I LOVE. 45 cals = 8g of protein.

I'm so excited for your weekend adventure!!!

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    Great title alteration!! Keep it positive!

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LESLIELENORE 6/5/2012 10:47PM

    Finding the right balance for your needs is an ongoing experiment. I had way to much fat and sodium yesterday, which made me feel pretty gross today, but I just learn from the experience. At least you have a reason for increasing your carbs... I just stuffed my face for no good reason! lol

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JPONCIN 6/5/2012 9:44PM

    I love your optimism! When you exercise, you absolutely need more carbs. I think you're doing a great thing. :)

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DREAVG 6/5/2012 8:46PM

    You will find your optimal balance. I have faith in you.


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An Optimist and an Ironman walk into a pond....

Friday, June 01, 2012

Or, My Adventure Getting a Wetsuit

or How I Spent $40 for a 1.5 hour 1-1 Coaching Session with a real Ironman and got this wetsuit for free!

-Hi. I'm going to be doing your triathlon on June 9th and I read on your website that the pond is 60 something degrees. Do I need a wet suit?
- Well, its not required, but we recommend it and most people wear them.

So began my search for a wetsuit. I dont own one, I dont know anyone who owns one. Purchasing seemed silly since this is a specialized activity. I'm not taking up scuba diving here. Fortunetly I found Catskill Mountain Outfitters in Kingston NY.

- Hi, this is going to sound a bit odd, but I'm doing my very first triathlon in 2 weeks. They recommended a wet suit. But here's my problem: I've never worn one before. I have no idea what I'm doing here. Normal rentals are Friday to Sunday, which is fine for most people.
- I've done 11 Ironmans and I can tell you a wetsuit is really useful for bouyancy. It will make you faster in the water. We have a little pond here on the property. Why dont you make an appointment, come up and we'll get you in one to try it out.

Yesterday, I drove an hour to meet with Donald Roth aka The Ironman.

Getting there was a comedy of errors. I packed a bunch of toys for Child so he would be entertained. I grabbed his bathing suit & a towel in case he decided to get in the water. I grabbed water. I loaded my bike onto the rack in case I was able to practice my transition. But in the packing - I forgot MY bathing suit. We got 15 minutes away and I had to turn around in order to go get it. And I still forgot my goggles.

Its a good thing we had GPS, because the store was in the middle of NOWHERE. It was a converted barn in the middle of a Manufactured Housing development. 15 minutes from Destination, Child Falls Asleep. This turned out to be a good thing. I just opened the windows and let him snooze while we did some preliminary fitting.

Putting on a wetsuit is like trying to put the sausage back into a casing. Its supposed to be tight like a second skin. By the time I got it halfway up my knees, the sweat was rolling of my head. I think it should be a cardio event all on its own. Ironman decided that this is the right fit. "Stop trying to put it on here and lets take it down to the pond, you should have an easier time once its wet."

Ironman turns out to be on "guy terms" with the 14 yr old neighbor who hitches a ride to the pond. Child wakes up as I'm pulling out of the driveway. (Good, he missed the boring stuff and will play in the water)

So I start pulling the thing on, and even with assistance from the Body Glide, I'm still trying to stuff myself back into the Sausage Casing. Ironman is assuring me that I;m doing really well for my first time. When I get it up to my thighs, we end up going to the water to scoop water into the suit and "float" it into place.

The good news, once you get it on, its surprisingly comfortable (except for the neck). The bad news, it took an hour.

Lesson #1 from the Ironman, getting on the wetsuit. This is one of the reasons you get to the area 2 hours before your wave time.

So now the Ironman says he wants to see me swim. Off I head to the end of the pond. I was surprisingly buoyant - about the same lift you get from a single pool noodle, but all over my body instead of in one place. But it changes how your arms feel on the rotation. We had talked a little about my training (solo) on the phone. So he gives me a few hand position pointers. How to sight so you swim in a straight line. How to draft on someone so you dont have to sight.

Lesson #2 If you get into a pond with an Ironman, listen and be prepared to work. You will NOT come out unscathed.

All in, we did about 3 loops of the pond, which he estimated was about 600 meters. I was exhausted at the end. He swore to me that I did much better than expected, but I was still a little embarrassed that I can do 800 m in the pool, but in open water, I was really struggling.

But thanks to the wetsuit, I know I won't drown!

Finally we are out of the pond and he gives me some pointers on transitions (no practice, just food for thought) - The hardest part is racing against yourself and not other people. My goals are different from other peoples. Then he tried to talk me into doing a mini SOS (Survival of the Schwangunks - an Ironman-Class Event). Yeah, not going to happen (this year).

Lesson #3 Ironmen have a sense of humor.

Neighbor boy kept Child entertained. Child was the last one out of the pond. Getting myself out of the wetsuit turned out to be easier than getting it on. Just turn it inside out.

We get back to the shop. Ironman has made arrangements for me to borrow the wetsuit (at no extra cost!) from NOW until after the event. So awesome. I'll be able to get at least 1, hopefully 2 sessions of open water in the Hudson River before the event to practice all of the things I learned.

Furthermore, Catskill Mountain Multisport is doing Race Support for my Triathlon, so he's going to look for me and introduce me to some real athletes closer to home who can help with the camaraderie aspect that he felt was really lacking in my training. ("You need other girls to talk to.") He'll have my Bib number and rack location.

Lesson #4, Angels look like Ironmen.

Child and I ended up going out to dinner at the Kingston Waterfront and I felt totally justified in my glass of wine and dessert flan. Well half, Child ate the other. Today is normally Brick Day, but I was so exhausted, I took a 20 minute walk, was still tired, so I took a nap the rest of the time instead. I also spent the first half of the day being a bottomless pit into which I could not shove enough food. Although whether this was due to the calorie burn from "Keeping Up with the Ironman" or hunger hormones that dont know when to turn off because you're tired. I did feel better after my nap.

I brought my camera to take pictures of all this, but in the excitement, I totally forgot. Sorry, you'll have to picture it SHRINKINGLULU style.

So if you need any Triathlon stuff, please order it from Catskill Mountain. Nice people who know what they are selling.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNBEE 6/14/2012 10:46AM

    Loved your blog. Good for you for squeezing into the wetsuit. Ironman is one of my favourite superheroes emoticon

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    I LOVE it when people are so kind and helpful! It sounds like you definitely called the right place about the wetsuit. It's nice that you recommended them on here. Hopefully lots of people will see it and the place will get some extra business.

And kudos to you for trying something new. I've told people before that I have no interest in doing a triathlon - partially because of the wetsuit and partially because I'm a little bit afraid of biking in a group. Anyway... I hope your triathlon ends up being an awesome experience!

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JTAYLOR2011 6/4/2012 4:34AM

    emoticon Rock on!

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RAINA413 6/3/2012 10:29AM

    I can't tell you how hard I laughed picturing all of this in action! I love the concept of Wetsuit Cardio!! You could put out your own workout DVD.

I am so thrilled you got to borrow the wetsuit! I am sure it will be helpful to practice with it prior to the event since I am sure it takes a little getting used to since you will be wearing a "full body noodle".

I am so proud of you for doing this Tri!! You have come such a long way and you are such an inspiration! We are already cheering for you down here in TN even though you don't race for a couple more days!

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MISSIFISH 6/2/2012 9:23PM

    Your description of getting the wetsuit on cracked me up! I can absolutely picture it. Congrats on swimming like you did, and I can't wait to hear about your success at the tri!!

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KBSPARKY 6/2/2012 10:50AM

    this was really fun to read. I am impressed with your efforts. I don't know anything about tri's - in what order are the three events? Swim first then rip off the wet suit and hit the bike and then run?

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    This sounds like a wonderful experience!! Enjoy your triathlon!

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ON2VICTORY 6/2/2012 7:05AM

    Wow. This was really heartwarming. Just down to earth people helping you reach your goal. So cool!.

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LDRICHEL 6/2/2012 6:48AM

    Now THIS was a great blog! Iron Men/Women are ridiculously amazing and, I've found, surprisingly generous and down-to-earth. They are all-around champions.

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DOGLADY13 6/1/2012 10:31PM

    OK. I'm feeling better about my decision to completely bail on you and do a tri that will take place in September and in water that will be in much warmer. I'm a selfish pig. What can I say?

You, however, are amazing. I can only imagine how hysterical and humiliating putting on the wetsuit must have been. I'm not sure I could have done it, especially since I imagine Ironman being totally hot and I'd be wishing my middle-aged body looked like my college-age body.

Have you considered writing romance novels along the lines of Nora Roberts. I could totally see that scene playing out in a Nora Roberts novel where Our Girl gets totally pissed off and attracted to Ironman all at once as he falls completely in love with her sparky attitude and wild chestnut hair as she struggles with the wetsuit.

I wish I could be in Haines Falls to watch you compete next weekend. Can your wonderful husband record every step of the way so you can post it and we can watch and cheer you on?

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SNOWANGELDIVA 6/1/2012 10:10PM

Well, the wetsuit lesson...uncomfortable, BUT, overall WAY COOL!
Triathalon training, woman, that is hardcore cuz, 60 degree water...ya, emoticon
emoticon emoticon

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IGSBETH 6/1/2012 9:51PM

    Wow, what a great experience!

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