Tag Archives: triathlon

Where am I? Why am I here?

Someone asked me what they should do about nerves for their upcoming first NYC Triathlon this weekend. Should they have a drink? Is there a magic pill they can take before the race? It made me think about what helps me when I get nervous before a race. It reminded me to listen to my own advice!

Here’s what I told him:

This is really where the mental aspect of triathlon and all endurance sports comes into play. Yes a drink or a supplement can help calm us down but what it really comes down to is finding a place of calm within ourselves. Especially amongst the external noises and distractions. Whether it’s by taking 5-10 deep breaths, by reminding ourselves “I can do this”, or visualizing a positive race experience.

You go through a kaleidoscope of emotions the days leading up to race day and of course the hours and minutes leading up to the start of the race. And I’m sure you are familiar with this already. The fear and the nerves are healthy and provide you with an extra burst of energy. But it’s also helpful to divert your mind away from the nerves. Imagine the crowds, the course, the feelings you will encounter along the way. It might feel like the hardest thing in the world at certain parts and at other times you will feel elated.

The first year I did NYC Tri was my first year doing triathlons and I was terrified of the swim. I had a moment of panic in the water but then got my mind on track  thinking about “Where am I? Why am I here?” That year it was my uncle who passed away from cancer that brought me there. So think about your personal reasons. What inspires you? What motivates you to do this?

This is your day. Your experience. And you are going to rock it.

I wasn’t expecting an answer to my questions but here is what he got back to me with, and I think it’s perfect:

Thank you. All my teammates are inspirational to me.

We lift each other up, people!! Sending all the best to my friends and teammates who will be racing NYC Triathlon this weekend.

97707-1956-012f

Tagged , , , , ,

So THIS is why I needed to do the Quassy Half!

I went into my Quassy Half race weekend after an outpouring of donations. Oh boy did I ever need (and appreciate!!) all that love and uplifting for quite the challenging course. And this is why I needed to finish the Rev3 Quassy Half…

You'd never know it, but I'm actually terrified.

You’d never know it, but I’m actually terrified.

Ever since I registered for Ironman Lake Placid back in October, anyone who has ever done Ironman strongly advised that I first complete the Rev3 Quassy Half triathlon. Why? Well everybody claimed the course, while half the distance of a full Ironman, was technically harder than IMLP with hills, hills, and MORE HILLS. Admittedly I thought at first that this was just a way to throw down a humble brag. But as race day for the Quassy Half drew closer, I started to wonder: what if everyone is right? 

To make a long story short: everyone was right. To give you an idea just how right everyone was:

The Swim – 1.2 Miles

The swim was all downhill. Get it??!! Triathlete joke, sorry, had to slip it in. But really, for the first time in Maggie’s Triathlon History I LOVED THE SWIM! I came out with a big smile on my face, saw Brett waiting for me when he shouted “Almost less than 40 minutes! Great job Maggie!” Little did he know I would return to that positive encouragement throughout my day when the hills got HARD…

The Bike – 56 Miles

As I made my way out of transition and onto the bike course feeling pretty good about myself. And then it went like this: climbclimbclimbclimbclimb … DESCEND! YAY! RECOVER! Immediately proceeded by climbclimbclimbclimbclimb … DESCEND! YAY! RECOVER! Yeah, it was a lot of that. At mile 50 the amazing Brett found me (he was on his bike) and secretly coached me through the final miles. I kept telling him the bike course was hilarious, that they kept putting in all these long hills!

The Run – 13.1 Miles

Brett said that I looked peppy when I transitioned from the bike to the run. Why is that? Because it meant I had NO MORE HILLS TO CLIMB. Or so I thought … the first few miles of the run were hot and in direct sun but pretty flat, if anything downhill. And then the hills, ohhhhh the hills. They came back AGAIN. This time with a vengeance because I had to run up them and as I approached each hill I saw groups of people just walking. If you’ve ever done a running race or triathlon you know that this does NOT help morale and only makes you think “they are walking, it’s ok for me to walk too!” I really had to fight this (I ended up walking up 1 hill for 1 minute) – and I started singing little mantras to myself like “I love hills! I love hills!” The last 5 miles were a gift, mostly flat and downhill. I passed Coach Bob around mile 9 and he asked how I was feeling, I smiled and yelled “Better now!”

The Finish 

Me and my bling

Me and my bling

What’s to say? It’s always an amazing feeling to see the finish shoot and cross the finish line. Immediately after finishing, I had a few moments alone where I put my head in my hands and had a moment of happy tears and laughter. I was SO damn happy to be done and knew I was that much closer to Ironman Lake Placid on July 28.The race was humbling to say the least. But I had an amazing support crew there. Brett gave up his entire day to drive me up and cheer me on at every single spectator spot. My Mom and Dad made it just in time to see me finish – my Dad’s second time to see my do a 70.3 race and my Mom’s first. And then Coach Bob called me the day before as a surprise that he too would be there! I even met my first official Twitter friend – miss Kara – who is also doing Ironman for the first time this year in Lake Placid. I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that I had these people there as well as other members of my new triathlon family. Not only that but throughout the whole race I knew everyone had my back. Every friend or family member that I’ve talked to about this, every blast from the past who has surfaced and made a donation on my fundraising page, and even every spectator or volunteer out on the course. I couldn’t have felt more support and it makes me even more excited to see what Ironman Lake Placid holds.

I am currently $810 away from reaching my fundraising goal of $5,000. I am constantly moved by the support everyone has shown not only for me but for Children’s Tumor Foundation. These kids and their families are beyond appreciative of the help you can provide and every dollar counts. Really it does. I work there. I would know. :) I’ve got about 40 days to reach my goal and of course I’d love to get beyond! To make a donation you can simply click here. There is no amount too large or too small!  Thank you guys for your continuing kindness and especially your patience when I insist on talking about how my training is going.

THANKS COACH!

Thanks Coach!

Brett's colorful outfit kept me going through the day.

Brett’s colorful outfit kept me going through the day.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m doing an Ironman, and here’s why…

This note went out to many friends and family, but I wanted to share it here as well…

Here’s My Story … 

I’m doing an Ironman this year and it’s going to be in Lake Placid, NY and it’s on July 28. The distances are a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run. If you’re one of my friends who live in New York, it’s quite likely that I’ve turned down a dinner (or two) because of a late swim or an early run the next morning. And I can only hope that one day you will forgive me for this. But maybe you can relate.

Have you ever wanted something so bad it gave you chills any time you thought about it? Have you ever set a goal or made a promise to yourself that you would accomplish something? An item on your bucket list if you will. Ironman is one of those things to me. In 2010, after a summer of getting my first taste of triathlons, I was a spectator at my first Ironman in Louisville, KY. I remember just watching Ironman was exhausting, I couldn’t possibly imagine how the participants felt. But something about that day and the way people just kept going forward moved me and I made a promise to myself that I would complete Ironman Lake Placid before turning 30 (at the time I was 26 so 30 felt like it was eons away). Well, in case you didn’t know, I’m turning 30 this year and to CELEBRATE I will be doing Ironman Lake Placid.

If you’d prefer to watch a video, click here and you can skip the rest of my story. Otherwise, read on!

Triathlons have taught me a lot about what I’m physically and mentally capable of. I’ve come a long way from the days in middle school where I absolutely dreaded running the mile, to the point where I would fake sick. Not only that but I’ve met some pretty great people along the way and formed friendships that began when we were literally at our worst and sweatiest.

I draw strength to get through workouts and races from the people in my life who have shown me how to accomplish their impossible – these people are YOU – whether it’s having the guts to submit a work of art to a prestigious museum, taking several years to live and work in a foreign country, running Boston Marathon, fighting a terminal illness, or watching and supporting a loved one as they fight an illness – all of these things are meaningful and seemingly impossible but we get through them some how, we dig down deep.

After going through one of those typical “really bad break-ups” last winter, I gave up on triathlons for a while. It was in April 2012 that my friend Sarah asked if I wanted to do NYC Triathlon again with a non-profit called Children’s Tumor Foundation. They raised money for research for Neurofibromatosis, also known as NF – a genetic disease in children that causes the growth of tumors for which there is no cure. I was reminded that there were people out there fighting a tough fight, and these were not not just any people but they were children. If these kids and their parents could deal with all the complications associated with NF, I could certainly pick myself up and get through a triathlon.

So I did just that and to make a really long story a little less long, I knew then that I would be racing Ironman Lake Placid in 2013 with CTF. All of the pieces came together and here I am on the road to my first Ironman. This is one of my IMPOSSIBLES that I can only get through with your support. Just being able to talk to you about my fears, my excitement, my anticipations makes me feel that much closer to getting there. And so for that I thank you. (And for bearing with me when I bow out of social plans so that I can stick to my training schedule.)

And I of course have a huge thank you to my hero, Clara, who you can learn more about on my page and in my video but she’s 4 years old and fights NF like a true champ. Clara also rides her bike, wants to be a teacher, a mermaid, and an eye doctor when she grows up and I can only hope to one day be as strong as she is.

My Road to Ironman Video
My CTF Endurance fundraising page

With many thanks and much love,
Maggie

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

What’s your “impossible”?

Is there something that you’ve always really wanted to do but never thought it would be possible?

This may come as no surprise, but here is one of mine that I’m hoping to add to my possible list on July 28!

Ironman Lake Placid transition area

Ironman Lake Placid transition area

Tagged , , ,

What makes for a successful fundraiser?

What makes for a successful fundraiser? My original goal was to raise my first $1,000 and I had my sights set on that.  However, I quickly realized on Friday that there is something else that makes for a successful fundraiser.  I know this is going to sound majorly cheesy but … it’s good people. I found myself surrounded by incredible people on Friday night who made the trek to Williamsburg (or down the street for the local folks) on a cold February night to support me. I’m sure the talented DJs, free PBR, and incredible raffle prizes were also a major draw – ahem, you can’t say no to a signed copy of “Sexy Librarian”!

I have to give some major thank you’s to…

  • Passenger Bar for letting me host the event there
  • DJ AnjO – or Angelica Olstad, creator of PopUp Yoga NYC
  • DJ Pumpkin Patch – or Michael Saltsman
  • PBR for their generous donation for our open bar
  • My friends who were so kind to donate items and services for the raffle
  • Sarah Coulam and Suzanne Canon of CTF’s NF Endurance team, without whom I would not be doing an Ironman nor would I have sold as many raffle tickets

Thank you everyone! I have said this before but … So. Much. Gratitude.

fundraisermagsarah

Thanks Sarah for encouraging the crazy

Winner of Maggie's one on one yoga

Winner of Maggie’s one on one yoga

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Show Your Teeth!

Today was my 2nd indoor ride at Asphalt Green: a 75 min Strength and Cadence ride with Coach Neil. And I just have to say that despite the aching quads and beads of sweat dripping down my face, I loved every second of it.

A few reasons why today’s workout rocked my socks:

  • Coach Neil presented each and every one of us with a detailed print out of the workout. I thought this was absolutely adorable. (The poor guy sitting next to me forgot to pick up a towel so by the end of the workout, his sheet was a sweaty mess.)
  • Coach Neil never stopped smiling. Not once. And through the entire workout kept reminding us to “Show your teeth!” – or, smile!
  • After about 4 indoor riding/spinning sessions, I feel like I’m quickly getting back into cycling shape and am even more looking forward to the day when I can get on Nancy (my bike) and ride outside!
Gear

preparing the essentials

IndoorRide

Show Your Teeth!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Swimming and Breathing

Post-swim NYC Tri, 2012 – thrilled to be out of the water!

While discussing my upcoming 2013 race (Ironman Lake Placid – gulp) with my friend last week, we were going over the various distances (as people often inquire) of each leg:

swim 2.4 miles

bike 112 miles

run 26.2 miles

The numbers blew his mind, but his biggest concern was “What do you think about during the swim??” My immediate response: “Nothing … or at least that’s my goal.” And it’s absolutely true. While I have never done a 2.4 mile swim, my longest has been 1.2 miles for a half-Ironman, and for any open water swim I know myself and where my mind has the potential to go. If I let my mind wander I will a) start swimming off course, b) start psyching myself out, and, worst of all, c) panic.

An open water swim can be a pretty frightening and intense experience. You look through your goggles and on occasion you can see what is beneath you, however it’s not rare to hardly be able to see your hand in front of you. Adding to that people swimming by you, pawing at your feet or, worse, kicking you in the face (knock on wood I’ve never suffered any injury from this). I will never forget my very first open water swim: Seaside Sprint, Bridgeport, CT 2010. As soon as I looked in the water and saw nothing but darkness, I panicked.  I started feeling short of breath, my wetsuit immediately felt like it had shrunk 2 sizes. I tried floating on my back, keeping my head above water while doing breast-stroke, and distancing myself as much as possible from the other swimmers.

Long story short, I finally made it to the half-way point and got myself together. The one thing that took me through that final 1/2 mile was monitoring my breath. That and starting to hear a cheering crowd.

So, back to the original question “What do you think about during the swim?”

The swim portion of a triathlon can be a very lonely experience. You don’t have any crowds cheering for you and you can’t even make conversation with your fellow racers – one of the delights during the bike and run of a triathlon.

When I did NYC Triathlon in 2010, my first olympic-distance race, I was racing for American Cancer Society in memory of my uncle who had passed away from cancer. The first moment I started hating the swim, I looked up at the sky while taking a breath in, and thought of him. I thought of the hardships he went through and how through all of that, he still had so much love for his family and so much humor. If he could get through that, I could certainly get through a swim in the Hudson River. This brought me back to the present moment and, most importantly, my breath. Breathing is obviously an important part of swimming and each time I jump in the water, the first few minutes are always a little scary. But once I settle into the rhythm of my breath, the fear and trepidation of what’s to come and all the “what if’s” of race day start to melt away. Sometimes I will count my breathing, or even hum along to the rhythm I am creating. Don’t get me wrong, following your breath while swimming in open water is HARD work – in the same way that sitting still and meditating for an hour is hard – but if it prevents me from the panic and helps propel me forward into race day, I’m all for it!

Use your breath as a tool

How can you apply this to you? Well, think of any difficult or trying situation you have experienced or may experience in the future. This encompasses any situation where we find ourselves overwhelmed by stress or anxiety: starting a new job, having a difficult conversation with a loved one, or even spending time with certain relatives we may find hard to deal with around the holidays! Next time you find yourself in a tough spot, try taking a few deep breaths, and really LISTEN to your breath. Not to get all yogic on you but try to notice the quality of your breath – is it hard to breathe in deep? Does it feel a little restrained? Stay with it and see it you notice any difference in the way that you are able to approach the given situation. Oh, and let me know how you do.

Tagged , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 85 other followers