Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Since my last post I've poured everything I have into preparing for my next Ironman. Los Cabos gave me the mental fortitude to forge ahead believing this is exactly where I should be and what I should be doing. It's only human to allow bits of that endless mind chatter, often full of self doubt, to creep in when battling through injury.  While Ironman Los Cabos answered many of the questions I had about my future in the sport, it left some unanswered. Driven by hope and unfulfilled aspirations a new  optimism and excitement took over.
It was hard for me to sit down and write race reports about all the races I've done since Los Cabos.  I live for racing! However the past few months each race was simply a building block towards the fitness we were building for late season racing. Well....here we are. 1.5 weeks away from an Ironman that captured my heart last year.  There is something special about this race. Something deep inside my body and mind that has fueled me for the past year.  12 sleeps!! I can't wait to unleash once the cannon blows.
Lost of history at this race!
Love ya Molina!
Here is a quick recap of what I've been up to in my lead up to Ironman Louisville:

Wildflower Triathlon is a race I haven't done in years. I absolutely adore the Cal Tri organization and was excited to get out there and race again after Cabo. Tim tried to prepare me mentally for what would unfold on the race course. Despite his efforts and daily doses of honesty  I wasn't prepared for what ensued.  I was devastated after this race. I wanted to improve upon the past! Tim on the other hand figured this is exactly how things would go. Now that I look back I could care less - I mean what can you really expect when race prep included a stop at the gym, before driving down to the race site, to complete a strength session that included leg pressing 400+ lbs.
Photo Credit: Paige Dunn, Fuel Media Collective
Next up was a bucket list race: Escape from Alcatraz.  If someone wanted to put together a race requiring me to tackle my biggest race weaknesses this would be it. Top two on that list: 1) short race distance, 2) cold (I don't know that I can even prioritize these. They might tie for #1). Shockingly neither of these prevented me from actually enjoying the race experience. It really is a race like none other, and to compete amongst the stacked pro field was an honor.

Somehow we all got a clean start despite diving in on top of
each other.  Red arrow points towards me.
I have a lot of development to go if I ever dream of racing this distance...thankfully I don't. Bucket list race - check.

Next, it was off to Texas for Buffalo Springs70.3. I have a lot of great memories from this race, but it's been 7 years since I last raced there. WOW how time flies! The race still holds onto the grass roots feeling that few Ironman branded races have anymore. Mike and Marty (race directors) put on quite a show once again! The conditions made for a tough battle. Temps soared while the wind howled and threw all of us around. I've never had windy conditions affect a run like it did here. Overall I was surprised that my race didn't go better.  I swam ok, biked horrendously awful, and left quite a bit to be desired out on the run course. I returned home very discouraged and in search of answers.
Photo Credit: Paige Dunn, Fuel Media Collective
There wasn't time to dwell on the past. I immediately got back to work putting in a strong training block before Vineman70.3, two weeks later. I can't tell you how many texts, calls and emails I sent to Tim telling him that I didn't want to race Vineman.  Talk about "out of the ordinary!" I always want to race.  Tim has really kept the reigns tight and limited my travel and racing this year.  I just wanted to keep training hard and skip this one, but he demanded I shut up and put up. Off to Vineman I went.
Once there I put on a smile and was instantly reminded why this is one of my all time favorite races. Much to my surprise I put together a decent day and certainly improved upon where the chips fell just 2 weeks prior. I picked an unfortunate line for the swim, and could feel my arms burning from the beginning. One too many 6k training sessions in the weeks prior perhaps? I rode the bike blind, going by feel only. Things seemed to be clicking better than they had in Texas. Then, I finally had a strong run, and with it my confidence and spark were back.
A post race interview with Freeplay Magazine here. (Thanks guys for chatting with me and continuing to support me through the ups and downs).
While Vineman was by no means magical, it was a step in the right direction. This was all I longed for as my journey towards the next Ironman drew a bit closer.
With one giant training block still to go I decided to go visit my brother in his beautiful new home up in Bend, OR. Not to let the secret out of the bag, but this was hands down the best place I've ever trained! I can't thank you enough Matthew for playing host as I swam, biked and ran myself silly. While I struggle to forgive him for leaving me in San Francisco, I can't deny the beauty of Bend!
Enjoying a nice escort for my ROKA open water swims. 

Mental thought when I snapped this pic: gratitude! 

What a difference a clean, smooth operating
machine makes! Matthew, you're hired!

The amount of Clif nutrition I went through was astonishing! 
The aftermath of my QT2 Ironman overload training block. 
There you have it. That is where I've been, and what I've been up to. Ironman is a race that demands absolute heart, grit and determination.  The training is relentless, and nothing happens over night. It's been 4.5 months since my last Ironman. I can't wait to get to Louisville next week and take in the inspiring race course crowds and support. Despite an epically trying day there last year I the IM community pushed me to the finish line. It left a profound mark on my spirit, so hopefully this year I can actually give 'em a something cheer about.
It's all about the journey...

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