Question Authority

question authorityI grew up in a small, sheltered town on Long Island, where families went to church, and had large gatherings around BBQ’s, pools, and at beaches. Kids rode bikes wherever they wanted, and I routinely stayed out after dark, without any fear. Our unincorporated village was “idyllic”, like most you see in old fashioned post cards, or in those corny black and white television shows from the 1950′ and ’60’s.

My family was Catholic. Some of my friends were “Public”. That’s how I saw it. The Publics were mostly Jewish and Protestant, but to me they were “Public” because they didn’t go to our church or school, and went to “Public” school. Oh, the simplicity of life and labels.

We were taught to respect authority. Authority was the teacher, parent, a nun, the policeman (we didn’t have any police women at that time) the priest, your boss, the store owner, etc. We said please and thank you, and never smart mouthed an adult. Sure, we got into trouble, and pushed boundaries once we got to a certain age, but that’s just called “growing up”.

If memory serves me right, there were only about 3 or 4 police officers employed by the village. I remember one of them, an attractive, dark haired guy, who used to patrol on foot up and down Main St. He flirted with me and my friends. Sometimes the flirtations made us uncomfortable. We were 13 or 14 years old. But, we were taught to respect our elders, so we never thought to complain about him.

There was another cop that sold pot to kids at the McDonald’s parking lot, just outside of the village, when I was in high school. Again, we wouldn’t have thought to report that to anyone.

I had a male teacher when I was in 7th grade, and all the girls fell in love with him. He was fresh out of college. While nothing ever happened in school, he did show up 4 years later, at the beach where I was a life guard, and ask me out. I went out with him twice, and wasn’t interested, but also felt like it was a little creepy that he wanted to date a girl that he taught when she was 13.

I was involved in a near fatal head on collision on Christmas Eve, my senior year of High School. I spent 2 weeks in the hospital with a serious head injury, in and out of consciousness. I remember being examined one time, but the Neurosurgeon, and he lifted my shirt, and fondled my breasts. There was no one else in the room. He was the doctor. He was supposed to know what he was doing. The authority. I didn’t report him. I told my parents that I didn’t like him  but didn’t go into details.

During college, I took some drama classes and managed to get the lead role in the Spring play. I poured myself into the role, and got several rave reviews from the college paper as well as the local town paper. The production was to count for a huge part of our grade, and I was confident that I would do well. I enjoyed the class, and got along with everyone, including the professor. When grades came out and I was given a “C” in the class, I was stunned. I went to the professor’s private office, to find out what had happened, and he told me in no uncertain terms, how I could get my grade up to an “A”. I could have done that right then, in his office. In the blink of an eye. I kept the “C”, and it forever affected my GPA. He was an authority figure. I was supposed to respect him. I didn’t report him. I hadn’t found my voice yet.

So many more experiences…some I don’t care to face, even in my own mind. Years have passed and I have stuffed those memories away in a safe place. Physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.

When my kids were in grade school, the priest scandal was exposed. I was sickened. Disgusted. Hurt. I found out that my Diocese assigned our then-Pastor to the Parish, after it was known that he was a child mollester. I finally found my voice and sent a scathing letter to the Archdiocese. He was removed, but I’m sure my letter had nothing to do with it. Those scandals continue. Men in authority, preying on innocents that are too afraid to speak. Like me.

Now this


Authority figures. Police. Respect them?

I don’t pretend to know all of the exact details in every case of these all-too-common altercations that are plastered all over the news and social media. I can’t fathom the intensity of the situations surrounding some of the incidents, and the “in the moment” decisions that forever change the lives of those involved. I am NOT the person to give judgement or advice, but I am the person who now has a voice.

I weep for the dead. I weep for the families on both sides. I weep for America, where it’s assumed that if you support ONE cause, you HATE another. I am angered that the color of your skin determines how you are treated. I hate that an innocent man, obeying the “rules” at a simple traffic stop, is shot at point blank range and dies in front of his girlfriend and a child, for simply reaching for his wallet. I hate that our black community has to  walk on eggshells and even when they do, they risk getting SHOT AT BY OUR WHITE COPS! Can I say that any louder?

To the black community: Please hear me. I am with you. Will you accept my support, even though I am what is considered to be a “Privileged white”?

To police officers everywhere: Please be careful. Please be well trained. Please be smart. Please DON’T BE RASIST! Please be the authority we can all respect, once again.

I am enraged that white police around the country are now targets for the mere fact that they are wearing a uniform. The police in Dallas had NOTHING to do with the events in Minnesota and Louisiana. The only thing they shared was a badge. And now 5 are dead. This is all wrong. WRONG! We live in America and for God’s sake, this is 2016! Why all the hate? Why all the racism? Why all the fear? STOP IT! You can’t justify ANY killing as retaliation for another.

I am sickened to my core that the world is full of hate and mistrust, and that people can’t walk safely down the streets of our cities, without the imminent threat of violence. I hate that people feel the need to carry guns on their bodies, to protect themselves. I hate that when I enter a building, I make sure to know where every possible exit is, in case some crazed person with a gun starts shooting. I hate that every time I enter a public place where there is a crowd, I fear that something terrible might happen.

How does this end? I don’t know. I can’t fix this. YOU can’t fix this. Authorities can’t fix this. I naively want to return to that corny post card time, and ride my bike wherever I want, without fear. Don’t you?



Well, What Are Ya Gonna Do?

My dogs look at me with distain every time I walk out the door without them. The huge (almost) floor to ceiling living room window frames them as they stare me down. It’s so pathetic, and while I love the living crap out of them, when they do this, I just think they are assholes. Trust me, they get lot’s of love, and lot’s of exercise.

This week, my workout gear, bike, and running shoes are harassing me even more than my dogs. There are 3 bikes in my house and every time I pass one, it hisses at me. My Cervelo may never speak to me again. I don’t even charge my Garmin anymore!

On Monday, June 27th, I had Endoscopic Sinus Surgery  and a Septoplasty. After years of of debilitating sinus issues, and way too many round of antibiotics, I sought expert help to find a solution. It was only a few weeks ago that I got word that my septum was deviated, and my sinuses were anatomically deficient. Well ain’t life grand?

After the diagnosis, and consultation, I decided on the recommended surgery, but because of my Ironman Arizona training schedule, I either had to do it NOW, or wait until after November. Luckily, there was an opening and I grabbed it. Now, I may seem like a badass and all, but the idea of surgery up my schnoz, close to my BRAIN, didn’t give me giggles. At my pre-op consultation 3 days before the procedure, my doctor asked me if I was ready. “No. I will NEVER be ready.” was my answer. He cocked his head, a little surprised, and asked, “What will it take for you to be ready?” My exact answer was, “I will only show up if you can guarantee me that the minute I am admitted, they will hook me up to an IV, and give me some kind of happy juice.” He laughed, and said he would make sure.

Not exactly an Ironman bracelet

Not exactly an Ironman bracelet

LIAR!!!! I checked into the hospital at the scheduled time, and after an hour delay, which I spent chewing off and spitting every fingernail , I was finally called in. They tell you not to wear lotion or deodorant before surgery. They may have regretted those instructions, once I polluted their sanitized air with my anxiety sweat stink.

My legs were shaking so hard, I had to hold them down.

My legs were shaking so hard, I had to hold them down.

I asked the nurse for my cocktail, and she looked at me like I belonged in the Psyche Ward. When she said there was no order for a sedative, I began shaking, screamed profanities, threw rubber gloves at her, and kicked the intern in the head. “PAGE DR SMITH NOW.” I took my gown and wrapped it around my head, climbed up on top of the computer table, and threatened to hang myself until they produced and anesthesiologist!

The page was sent, and my nurse, who undoubtedly had years of experience was so unsettled by my unearthly transformation, that she couldn’t get the IV in my arm, despite two tries. THAT’S TWO TRIES. Poking and twisting around inside my arm, while I held my non-sedated breath and called upon all that is holy to calm me down. I finally threw my shoes at her and bellowed, “I HAVE AN ANXIETY DISORDER!” She promptly left the room and sent in an older male nurse who most likely served on the front lines under General Patton. This guy zero’d in on my feral eyes, grabbed my other arm and said, “How about this arm?” With my best Lagertha Lothbrok stare, I told him, “Get it done.” Fearing for his life, he shoved that needle into the back of my hand, set the IV, and disappeared in seconds. A third attendee arrived and pushed the sweet “Mother’s Milk” into the tubing, and finally, the puffy, soft clouds and winged fairies floated into the room.

Who doesn't like a nifty accessory?

Who doesn’t like a nifty accessory?

The surgery went according to plan, and within a few hours, I was home, babbling non stop about everything and nothing, (a side effect of general anesthesia) and my darling friend Lauren settled me in and quietly escaped. I was so hopped up on whatever the hell they gave me, that I wandered around the house for several hours, slowly picking up stuff, doing laundry, and cleaning the bathrooms. Mind you, I was supposed to go to bed right away. Yeah, sure, like that was going to happen.

The first few nights I “slept” on the couch. There really wasn’t much sleep involved, because my head was so stuffed up, I couldn’t breathe through my nose.

I had the best nurses to tuck me in for naps

I had the best nurses to tuck me in for naps

I discovered this the day after surgery, when I took a shower.

A parting gift! I discovered this the day after surgery, when I took a shower.

Post op instructions called for complete rest for a few days, no lifting, or exertion for 7, and no working out at all for at least 14 days. Here’s how it went:

Day 1: Cleaned house, did yard work. (VERY slowly, mind you, with no bending over!)

Day 2: Met clients and gave keys to their new house. Went shopping at 4 different discount stores, and Home Depot, to buy stuff for the back yard and garden. Napped.

Day 3: More shopping, a walk, several hours working in the back yard. Showered with the dogs. Stopped in at the running store’s Thursday night beer run, to support the cause. Napped.

Day 4: A 2 mile walk to my office with the dogs, an hour or so of work, and another 2 mile walk home.

I have no pain, only discomfort. I’m not allowed to blow my nose and sneezing has taken on a whole new meaning. I am keeping my heart rate down as best as I can, and following the antibiotic and sinus rinse prescription. I refused to take the Prednisone they gave me, so that was a waste of money.

The fact that I am only on day 4 of a 14 day work out restriction gives me cause to panic. I am seriously not cut out for the sedentary life. When the Hell did that happen? My mind has the energy of a 10 year old with hypertension, and my body needs the rest, or at least a short nap. I crave a run in the forest.

For now, I have to feed the beast with small household projects and blogging. Well, rehabbing from an injury is why I started this blog, back in 2013. I guess this is just one more episode of life getting in the way. If you see me around town this next week, with wild eyes, and bad hair, clenching my teeth, you’ll know I am once again, runninginmuck!

I love that you chose to visit here and read my posts. I hope you can tell the difference between truth and fiction. HA!

What a Panic

Do you remember as a kid saying things like, “That was a panic!” Or, “What a panic!” when you and your friends had a crazy, fun, spaztastic time? I’m talking about those times when you laughed so hard, snot came out your nose, and maybe you accidentally peed your pants?  I’m not sure of the origin of this expression, and I don’t recall how old I was when I stopped using it. It came to mind recently, though, for reasons that weren’t too funny.

If you are familiar with my blog, you know that I started writing when I was rehabbing from a nasty foot injury, caused by (ignorantly) overtraining for my first marathon. (Read about that here.) You would have learned about my  injuries, diseases, allergies, asthma, and other obstacles that I regularly deal with in my life and in my athletic training.  I have dedicated countless hours to learning how to overcome these challenges, by  studying the science of exercise, nutrition, training, hypnosis, and meditation, all in an effort to not only help MYSELF, but to arm myself with the tools I needed to coach others in the running and triathlon community.

Very proud to have earned this certification

Very proud to have earned this certification

Lots of my friends and fans believe I have it all together. Flattering, but come on,  do you really believe that anybody  has it ALL together? No way; some of us simply master the skills of making it look that way.

Training for any athletic competition takes dedication, time, discipline, and perseverance. Throw obstacles in the way, and there are ALWAYS obstacles, and the athlete has to find a way to overcome them. For me, the three main obstacles I am faced  with  are: allergies, asthma, and blisters on my right foot. OK, no biggie- there are things I can use to treat these, right? Well, not so simple. Regular use of most allergy medicines has been linked to early onset Dementia and Alzheimers. Flonase is linked to Cataracts- and I have the start of one in my left eye from long term use! Blisters? Well, I continue to try just about everything out there….

During my Ironman training in 2015, I suffered from severe seasonal allergy symptoms, which put a serious strain on my running training. I found myself getting asthma attacks while training out doors all Spring and into mid Summer. I’m talking stop-in-my-tracks-bent-over-gasping-for-air-to-the-point-of-almost-passing-out attacks. Consequently, my long distance running abilities suffered. After long training bike rides, I would often end up with my eyes swollen , red, and itchy, and three times wound up with sinus infections.  (That’s another story that is unfolding as we speak)

Bound and determined NOT to suffer the same ill fated training season this year, I decided to get a complete physical, and bring my entire list of complaints to my doctor and see what she recommended.  While I do have allergies, and exercise induced asthma, it turns out that the biggest surprise diagnosis is PANIC ATTACKS. What? Yeah, those ATTACKS I kept having where I start wheezing, gasping for air,  getting hysterical, and nearly fainting? Panic attacks. They start out like asthma symptoms, but quickly morph into the most terrifying, heart palpitating, can’t breath, throat closed, “fear of imminent death” panic attacks. I can’t describe the absolute all encompassing primal terror that I experience during these attacks. They can last for minutes or hours, and the severity of them can bring me to my knees. Both my boyfriend and my coach have witnessed the episodes, while we ran together, and now we know what is actually happening.

I have had these attacks a few times in my past. I remember having one  on an airplane flying home from China. It was like the plane was closing in and suffocating me, and I was completely helpless to survive another minute. I hyperventilated, and death-gripped the  tray table in front of me, all the while struggling to suppress a guttural scream. Another time was in an elevator in Denver,  and a few times while driving in Portland. The driving one’s prompted me to seek medical attention immediately, fearing I was having a heart attack. BUT, these were all years ago and so much in my life has  changed since then. I am healthier, happier, and stronger. So what the heck???

This past weekend, it happened again, and it came out of nowhere, at a time that I never would have guessed. It started in the swim portion of the Pine Hollow Triathlon, after warming up for several minutes in the crystal clear, comfortable water, in the most peaceful, serene setting.

Pine Valley

I started swimming competitively in Kindergarten. In open water in the Long Island Sound. With jelly fish, and seaweed. I am not afraid of swimming in open water, like many people. So, after my first few strokes that morning, when I started hyperventilating, and wheezing, I was caught completely off guard. The intense panic set in suddenly, and in less than a minute after the start, I rolled over onto my back, and briefly thought about quitting. I was terrified, gasping for air, and confused-desperate, more like, and frantically tried to find relief. I did a few breast strokes to try and keep myself afloat, and summoned every ounce of my will to move forward and continue the swim. I know how to swim; I know how to make myself relax in the water. I know ALL the tricks. Nothing worked. I swam, trying to breath every stroke, all the while fearing that I couldn’t get enough air. I sighted the red buoy that marked the turn around point, and it never seemed to get any closer. I felt my wetsuit crushing my neck, my chest, and my shoulders. The breaths I took sounded like screams. I prayed that it would end. 850 yards. Just under 16 minutes. No relief. When I exited the water, I was dizzy from hyperventilating, and in an agitated state. I don’t remember much of the run-or walk, I should say, to my bike. I got out of the wetsuit, got my shoes, glasses and helmet on, and took off. The bike course was hilly and I never caught my breath. This  aepisode lasted until the 9th mile, when it fizzled. The rest of the race was more brutal because it was 91 degrees with no shade, and the 4 mile run, was on a technical trail with lots of gravel, steep hills, downed trees to climb over, and my body was spent. Here’s the funny part. In all my hysteria, I managed to be the 2nd overall female finisher, and 1st in my age group.

2nd place finisher

2nd place finisher

There you go. I couldn’t believe it.

SO! I am learning to identify the warning signs. I have started to take proactive actions when my body starts spiraling. I now have medication for the times when it comes on suddenly, and I need the help. Thankfully, I do NOT need daily medication, as many people with anxiety disorders require. (Been there, done that, thank you very much) I also have a new app on my phone called Calm that reminds me every day when to meditate, and guides me through a 5-10 minute relaxing meditation.

Strangely enough, I am more excited about this diagnosis, that you would think. Up until now, I thought that I was powerless to the negative effects my seasonal allergies had on me, and doubted the benefit of my Albuterol Inhaler. I felt doomed to suffer and fight through every Spring and Summer. Now, however, I know there is something I can do to fight this thing and hopefully become equipped to defeat it! I am not powerless to this challenge anymore! This past weekend gave me the chance to test it, and once again, I was able to power through.

IF you suffer from anxiety disorders, please get help. Talk to your doctor. Meditate. Do yoga. Equip yourself with tools to get you through it.  I have a lot to learn, and hope to beat this.




A Weekend in Phoenix (With a Health Scare)

If you have followed my blog, you know that I planned to compete in  Ironman Arizona 2016.  IMAZ registration, like many IM races usually sells out within minutes of  opening, but if you volunteer, you get a guaranteed spot at early registration. I signed up to volunteer this year. Jeff was doing THIS year’s race, and I wanted to be there to support him. Phoenix is  where Jeff’s business partner, and my  coach lives, so we all planned on spending time together. I was scheduled to fly in Saturday, volunteer Sunday, register Monday morning, and fly out that night. Jeff would be there for a week, to also conduct some business.

I arrived  excited about the race, but also excited about visiting my alma mater, ASU. The hotel where we stayed was just a few blocks from campus. Jeff and I met at the hotel, walked down to the athlete’s village,  enjoyed seeing people we knew, and checked out the vendors. Then we went back to the hotel so he could rest and make final preparations for his race. It was fun NOT competing, and watching someone else stress out for a change. Pre race jitters are normal!

We had a nice dinner with  team mate Jerry and went to bed early, after setting the alarm for 4am. Jeff woke up at 3:30 and quietly got  ready. We left the hotel around 5am. It was chilly-in the low 50’s and the water temperature promised to be in the low 60’s. The forecast was for mid 60’s and possibly a shower or two starting around 7pm. Perfect racing weather! Jeff checked in and put on his timing chip.

Ready to go

Ready to go

Before we knew it, they called for the athletes to line up. 2600+ wetsuit clad people headed for the swim start, and we said our final “good luck’s” and exchanged  hugs and kisses.

Seconds before the start and ready to crush it.

Seconds before the start and ready to crush it.

Once Jeff got in the water, SheriAnne, two of her kids, Jerry, and I went to the hospitality tent for some breakfast. Jeff hoped to complete the swim in 1:40. At about 1:15, we all walked over to the bike area, where we could watch cyclists start their 112 miles, AND see swimmers enter the transition area. It was colder  now, a little windy, and threatened to rain. We cheered on the cyclists and chatted happily, waiting to see Jeff running to transition. Once his “planned” finish time past, we started getting nervous. Ironman allows 2:20 to complete the swim or you get your timing chip taken from you, and you are listed as a DNF. (Did not finish) I couldn’t believe we hadn’t seen Jeff at the 2:00 mark. By 2:10, I ran to see if his bike was still in the transition area, thinking we might have missed him. Sadly, it was still there. My heart sank. How was this possible? A few more minutes and the cut off time passed. Jeff didn’t make it. Now I was worried. We all were. We went over to the swim exit in time to hear his name called as being one of the last to exit the water. He looked horrible. SheriAnne said he was pissed, but I saw something else. His face had a grayish black pallor. When he met up with us outside of transition, he explained what happened.

Upon entering the lake, and feeling fine, he swam out to the open water and started swimming steadily. 800 yards later, his heart rate suddenly spiked and he couldn’t breath. His chest felt constricted. He flipped over onto his back to rest for several minutes, and try to calm things down. He settled finally and tried swimming again,   and made it to the turn around with plenty of time to finish. When he had 300 yards to go, it happened again. Vertigo, nausea, difficulty breathing. He had to stop again, and get under control. Finally, he was able to finish and exit the water. He was more angry than I’ve ever seen, and “humiliated” in his words.

After a few minutes of rest, he started feeling horrible again. He managed to get to a trash can before spilling the contents of his stomach. His dizziness continued and we stayed in the park for several more minutes. Once he felt well enough to stand, we went back to the hotel, he showered, and decided to try and eat. After lunch, he mentioned that he still felt dizzy, his chest was tight, and he had tingling in both arms. I text my daughters, (both nurses) and they recommended that he return to the medical tent to get checked out. Once in the tent, after taking Jeff’s history (which included his current stage 4 Prostate cancer) they determined he needed to go straight to the hospital.

Getting checked out by the medical volunteers

Getting checked out by the medical volunteers

Off to the hospital

Off to the hospital with a thumbs up from SheriAnne

He wouldn’t let me come with him and insisted that I go ahead and do my 5 hours of volunteering. SheriAnne followed in her car and promised updates.

By the time I got to my station-the run “Special Needs” area, the rain was coming down in sheets.

We wore black lawn and leaf bags for most of the day.

We wore black lawn and leaf bags for most of the day.

I spent the next several hours texting with SheriAnne as I helped runners try not to freeze to death. The rain was relentless and I saw numerous cases of hypothermia. Those poor people!

Jeff was tested for arterial blockage and the levels of Troponin were significant enough to require him to stay overnight for further observation. I called the airline and changed my flight.

Bright and early Monday morning, after ZERO sleep the night before, I arrived at the registration tent and paid the $740 to register for 2016!

Oh boy, here I go again

Oh boy, here I go again


While waiting for the new tests, I needed to burn off some steam, so I went for a run around ASU. Wow, it sure has changed in 35 years.


I hardly recognized anything!

I hardly recognized anything!

I did, however find the apartment building that my cousin and I lived in while we were there. Oh, the memories!

3rd floor balcony.

3rd floor balcony.

By mid day, SheriAnne picked me up and we went to see how Jeff was doing. He had just been taken in to have an Echocardiogram, and an Angiogram. After several excruciating hours, they came out and told us that he had 2 arterial blockages, but not so badly blocked  to require a stent. He would go on medication and need to follow up with a Cardiologist when we got home. WHEW! They released him at 7pm, with instructions to rest for a few days and follow whatever the Cardiologist prescribed.



We had separate flights but both were home safe and sound by 6pm. We were exhausted, cold, and needed to decompress significantly. Jeff was sore from the wrist to the shoulder, due to the Angiogram, and that lasted 2 days. He is waiting to find a Cardiologist that will accept him as a patient.

The lesson here is, once again, it doesn’t matter who you are, how healthy a lifestyle you live, you are still at risk for illness. We don’t exactly know whether Jeff had a real heart attack or not. What we do know is that he did have subtle symptoms in the past few months. Some shortness of breath. (“Of course I’m winded, I’m running uphill.”) Some unexplained coughing at night (“It’s just a left over cough from my cold.”) Some stiffness in the neck (“Body aches are part of my Cancer medicine side effects.”) Some dizziness (“Again, I’m working out hard! I’m Ironman training.”) Simple, subtle symptoms that most athletes have at one time or another. Even the doctors don’t give us stress tests, because they don’t work.

My advice is to be aware of ANY changes you experience in your health. No matter what your age, you can have latent issues just waiting to surface at any time. Please get regular check ups. Tell your doctor EVERYTHING, no matter how insignificant you think it might be.

I’ll be riding Jeff’s back until he has a follow up and a plan in place with a Cardiologist. I can be very persuasive.

Be healthy. Train smart. Have fun. Thanks for following my journey.


Epilogue to Ironman

Are you tired of hearing about my Ironman experience yet? No worries! We’re almost done.

People ask me  questions like: WHY I did it, WHAT  I learned, How did I feel the next day, and,  Now what? That’s the most popular one.

Before I tackle those questions, I want to tell you a secret about what happened after the race. That big, glorious smile I sported while crossing the finish line and posing for pictures with my family didn’t last very long.

One more finish photo, with Jeff. He got to place my medal around my neck.

One more finish photo, with Jeff. He got to place my medal around my neck.

Immediately after crossing the finish line, I found myself extremely thirsty, and had to keep moving. Standing still made the nausea and dizziness worse. So I paced, and laughed, and tried to burp and make myself feel better. Jeff, my kids, and SheriAnne all surrounded me and we celebrated. Mostly, I just kept repeating, “I can’t believe I did it.” After a half hour or so, we decided to round up my bike and transition bags and go back to the hotel to relax. On the walk over to the bike, it hit me. I HAD to sit down. Dede and Jeff went to get my bike, while I sat, more or less, on the sidewalk and faded…

The security is fantastic at Ironman, and I am thankful for that, and they won’t let anyone without the proper ID remove bikes from the corral. When they wouldn’t release it to Dede,  she came and helped me walk. We got the bike and started off toward the car. I couldn’t do it. I had nothing left in me, and had to sit down, and down I went-right on the concrete. I was oblivious to the throngs of people walking around me. Dede helped me over to a huge cement block and sat me on it, so I could put my head between my knees, and feel better. A volunteer tried to get me to go to the medical tent, but the concept that I would walk back there was laughable at this point. Dede is a nurse, so I figured she would know what to do. At one point, I caved and asked her to go get a wheelchair so I could get back to the medical tent, and she took off. A few minutes later, Jeff came back and said that he would help me to the car, and take care of me. I tried to stand up, and that’s when it happened.

Puke. Puke shot everywhere. Violent, wrenching, LOUD puke. (Oh, how I didn’t want to get it on my nice white running shoes.) Puke with the force that curled my toe nails. All the while, Jeff just stood there waiting for it to stop. His kind, loving words: “What did you eat that was SOLID?” LOL. What a guy.

FRITOS! That’s what did it. Fritos corn chips at mile 56 on the bike. Ice tea, too. What was I thinking? This stuff had stayed in my stomach for 60 miles on the bike, and 26.2 miles running. Not anymore!

Once I finished, Jeff helped to to the car, where Mike and Audrey had already loaded my bike and gear. THANK YOU! They asked me if I wanted to be alone and just meet up in the morning, but I didn’t want to miss any time with them.  Jeff and I got to the hotel first, and I crawled through the lobby, looking like a dying crack head. On my way to the shower, my body decided it wasn’t finished emptying itself, so I enjoyed another round of deep dry heaves. Lovely. I showered and got in my jammies, and my kids arrived with SOUP AND PEDIALYTE!!! Glorious recovery magic. After sipping both, I came back to life within minutes, and we ended the night celebrating until almost 2am.

4 hours later, I was up and getting ready to go back to the Expo to enjoy shopping at the Ironman finisher’s tent.

Yay, cool finisher's jacket.

Yay, cool finisher’s jacket.

Later that day, while Jeff worked, the kids and I went to lunch.

Oh, is that a DIFFERENT finisher's jacket?

Oh, is that a DIFFERENT finisher’s jacket?

What a weekend. I felt great. Ready for another day of fun!

I didn’t go on this Ironman journey just for fun. I had teamed up with Zero to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer research. My boyfriend Jeff, is currently battling this disease. I had no idea that one in 6 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime. 33,000 will die this year in the US alone. Did you know that a simple blood test is all you need to determine if you have the disease? If caught early, it has a 100% chance of being cured. BUT, if caught late, there is no know cure. MEN: get tested!!! If you would like to make a donation of any amount, and help fight this horrific disease, please do so here: Zero the End of Prostate Cancer.

One more thing about Jeff. His cancer medication has side effects, one of which is a weakening of the bones. Recently, Jeff found out that he has a fracture in his pelvis. He has what he calls “Episodes”. These can come on slowly, and last up to 2 days, or quickly and last several hours. The pain can be overwhelming. He manages to survive these episodes and come out fighting.  He still kept training for this Ironman. He had a stellar swim and bike, but the run became too painful, and he made the decision to stop after the first 13 mile loop, and wait for me at the finish line. What a guy. I can’t say enough about his strong will to beat this disease. I know he will. Oh, and he’s doing another Ironman in Arizona in November! I’ll be there, volunteering, and cheering him on….which lead me to…

I’m signing up to do Ironman Arizona next November. YES! I HAVE to do this again. Now you know the answer to “What’s next?” Oh, I’m sure I’ll have moments of doubt again, but they won’t last, because I know I can do this, and I now know how much fun it can be.

I won’t bore you with the “What I learned about myself…” subject, because I’m still learning, and most of what I learned is for me alone to know.

I am ever grateful to my kids for surprising me. I am in awe over Jeff, for keeping the secret. I’m thrilled that my coach SheriAnne was present to see the fruits of her coaching. And in the end, I’m proud of my accomplishment….and my bravery, or stupidity, for doing this:

Yes I did

Yes I did

As always, thanks for joining me on my journeys. I love your feedback and comments. Did you know you can subscribe to my blog?




Ironman. It Happened. Part 4

After grabbing my transition bag and running into the tent, I told myself that I had to take my time here, and not rush. Never mind that I had just completed a 116 mile bike ride, that was the PAST. Now it was time to carefully, expeditiously prepare for the marathon, and  earn my new, coveted title, IRONMAN.

So there I was, entering the tent to change into my running gear, suck on my Albuterol inhaler, and carefully prepare my feet and toes with moleskin, so that I could not only endure, but ENJOY the final 26.2 miles of this incredible day.

Dump out the bag, take off bike helmet, shoes and socks, take off all my clothes, put on new, dry clothes, dry my feet, apply 3 strips of moleskin, change my socks, put on running shoes, visor, sunglasses, and down a bottle of GenUcan. THEN run outside and use the porta potties. This took FOREVER! 9:13 and I was off. Just outside of the tent, before I hit the course, I saw my kids, waving and yelling my name. I ran over to them, and gave them all a huge hug and kiss. I was surging with adrenaline. I ran out the exit, down the path, turned around and started running the course…UPHILL. Yep, the mean people at Ironman love to throw hills at you when you least expect it. Just then, I saw Mike (my son) running down the grass, encouraging me, and smiling ear to ear. Nothing could have made me feel better! I knew I was in for a long afternoon, so I relaxed and just started running, with no stress on how fast I was going.

My “loose” plan, was to run to an aid station (one at every mile), walk through the station, then run to the next. The first few stations came and went more quickly than I imagined. Within what seemed like minutes, I was at the 3rd one. My body felt great, but my right foot didn’t. The blisters were already roaring at me. Knowing I had 22+ miles to go, I played it safe and stopped, took my shoes off, and inspected my feet. Sure enough, there were three ugly ones’s already forming. I asked a volunteer for some tissues so I could pop them quickly, clean them and get on with my run. I got up and headed out. I managed to rally for a while and enjoy the scenery.

Feeling great early on.

Feeling great early on.

I continued my plan of running to the next aid station, and started partaking in the “water, no ice” offerings. I had my nutrition loaded into my back pockets, so I never accepted any of the Gatorade, Gu’s, potato chips, fruit, coke or chicken broth, although I did have a few grapes along the way.

Coming up on mile 8 or 9, I had to stop again, to adjust my socks, and try to calm down my feet. It was starting to warm up considerably, so I also grabbed 2 ice-soaked sponges at each aid station-one to  tuck in the front of my shirt, and one to tuck in the back. These sponges were absolute life savers.

A few other things started happening about this time. I got my first wave of Nausea. Since I had my Base Salt vile tucked into the leg of my tri shorts, I started taking some, and this quelled the nausea. I also started to walk more often, since the running jostled my stomach too much. My spirits were still high, though and I never let a negative thought enter my head.

The scenery along the river was SWEET

The scenery along the river was SWEET

While crossing over the river to the hilly side of the course, I saw my coach, SheriAnne, on a bike. She rode next to me for a while and we talked about how I was doing so far. I told her about the blisters, and nausea, and that, despite these things, I still felt great and was enthusiastic about finishing strong. I think she was not prepared to hear that, based on some of my recent race challenges!

The miles on the other side, are pretty brutal. Up, down, long slow up, short down, rollers, and then Up up up, down, and across the river, to pass by the finish, and start the second loop all over again. They positioned the “Bike Special Needs” aid station just after you start the second loop. By now, I wasn’t feeling so great, so I only ate a small portion of the Fritos, and took some sips of GenUcan. I was a little unsteady on my feet at this point, and the volunteer cheerfully held me up, while I paced in circles around him.

Off I went for round 2. By now, the nausea was taking it’s toll. I tried to use the salts regularly, and it helped stave off the inevitable.

Where is that Salt vile?

Where is that Salt vile?

Oh there it is!

Oh there it is!

Walk, jog, walk, jog…just keep going. Faster. Take a break. Ask for band aids, drink water, walk, jog….at the second bridge crossing, I saw my kids again, and I was running! Seeing them motivated me to keep going! They repeatedly told me how proud they were, and that was enough to shove the pain back into the recesses of my head. Once I got into the hills again, I conserved my energy, and did a lot of power walking. I kept looking at my watch, however, because, while I had no reference point for really setting a hard time goal, I did hope to finish in under 14 hours.  I stopped at an aid station around mile 22 and asked for some mole skin. A runner shouted, “I have some!”, and gave me whatever I wanted. By now, I knew it was only a short time before I would hear my name at the finish.

I’d like to say that I rallied and ran my heart out at the end, but at mile 25, I was toast. I actually accepted a cup of coke, hoping to stop the desire to throw up all over the place. One sip told me that was not a good idea, so I just kept going. By this time in the race, I no longer had the energy, or ability to smile, thank people, or be in any way jovial. I stopped looking volunteers in the eye. A nod and a “thumbs up” was all I could muster. Heading across the last bridge was quite the experience of torture.

Ohm, it's getting ugly now

Oh, it’s getting ugly now

My emotions all surfaced on this bridge and I started crying. Spectators yelled my name, told me how awesome I was, called me “Ironman”, told me how strong I looked, and basically carried me the entire distance. I knew they had been out here for HOURS, doing the same for every athlete that passed. You have no idea how that felt. I still get chills!

Within minutes, I was rounding the last turn, and heading towards the finisher’s chute. Me, 56, late-blooming athlete, novice triathlete, a nobody, with asthma, bunions, GI issues, and a lot of self doubt, finishing an Ironman. 144.3 miles, to be exact! I can still hear the crowd. I can still see the blinding lights. I can still hear SheriAnne and my kids screaming my name,and I can still see Jeff standing at the finish line, waiting for me. Most of all, I can still remember hearing, “PATTY BROCKMAN, YOU. ARE, AN. IRONMAN”,

I can see the finish line

I can see the finish line



My official time 13:37:55. 15th in my Age Group

My official time 13:37:55. 15th in my Age Group

Jeff  me my medal and  my kids and SheriAnn showed up and gave me all the love and happiness I could handle. what a day. What an experience. What an accomplishment. Pinch me.


There are no words. There will never be words enough. However, there is more to the story, if you care to check back.

Thank you for taking this journey with me.


Ironman. It happened. Part 3

To convey what went through my mind as I ran my bike out of transition, is as easy as it would be to  describe how someone would drink an ocean. One sip at a time? There was an urgency, yet there wasn’t. This was going to take HOURS, so how would I manage that urgency? For reasons mentioned in previous blogs, and more, I hadn’t ridden more than 75 miles in my training cycle. On my new bike, only 30. I didn’t know what was to come, other than the distance. Ironman bike distance is 112 miles. Chattanooga Ironman is 116. Maybe that makes this an “Ultra-Ironman”.

After mounting my bike, I hit the button on my Garmin, and it should have switched to the cycling mode, but it didn’t. I’m so OCD that it drove me crazy to think it wouldn’t track correctly, so for the first mile, I screwed around with the damned thing, ultimately deciding to close down the “triathlon” mode and switch to the “bike” mode. Sure, I lost some time, but at least I got it to work, and then I forgot about it. I put my head down and pedaled on. The first part of the race consisted of a few hills, and several turns, as we made our way out of the neighborhood, and out onto the open road. My bike felt good, and I settled in for a day of sight seeing. Several people gave me advice before I attempted this, my FIRST Ironman. Most of the advice went like this: “Relax and enjoy the experience. Take in every sight and sound, and don’t stress on your time. Just stay in the moment…” I thought I would do that exact thing…..until about mile 5. It was at that time that I sensed the “other Patty” come to life. You might know her. Fiercely competitive. Wickedly insane when she races. Is commonly seen yelling and singing at the top of her lungs while racing. Yeah, that’s the one.  “Sister, if you don’t leave it all out here, you will be ashamed of yourself, and beat yourself up for the rest of your life! Get your ass MOVING.” So I did. I didn’t give a crap if I dropped dead.



The course is  11 miles out, a 47 mile loop that you ride twice, and then 11 miles back into town. There is a 4400′ total elevation gain. My first 50 miles, I averaged 18.41 Mph. the first 30 were mostly uphill. I don’t know how I held that pace up some of those hills, but I did, and I was maniacally happy. I played leap frog with a few cyclists and got frustrated with a few more. At one point, I called out to a guy blocking the passing lane, and I think I scared him. I never saw him again.  I hated seeing people in front of me! The second half of the loop is all rollers. When I say rollers, I mean steep, out of your seat on the way up, and short not so steep on the way down. The downhills were never long enough to give you a good recovery. Her’s what it looked like:


Oh sure, the hills look small when spread out like this.

I remember as I  struggled up a long, relentless hill,  thinking, “Oh God, this is gonna suck the next time around.” I’m pretty sure I shouted that out to a few people as I powered passed them on the way up. I stuck with my nutrition plan, alternating between GenUcan and Cliff Bar Organic Energy food packets. I also had Base Performance Salt in a vial that I tucked into my cycling shorts, and took hits off of that periodically. I took in an average of 110 calories per hour. Everything worked like a charm.

The on-course support was over the top. Volunteers and spectators kept our spirits up, and while I didn’t partake in anything from the aid stations, I made sure to smile and thank everyone as I sped by.

The Special Needs stop was at around mile 56 in the historic town of  Chickamauga. People were EVERYWHERE, cheering us on. The efficiency of the volunteers, with calling out our numbers, and directing us to our bags, stunned me. Within seconds after entering the area, a volunteer handed me my bag. I had a brilliant idea of filling it with Fritos Corn Chips and ice tea. The crunch of the salty chips was Heavenly after only consuming liquid and gel-like food all day. The ice tea gave me a nice caffeine boost. I shoved as much as I could handle down my throat and tried not to stop for too long. In minutes I was off again, fueled and ready for another lap. As it turns out, I made a second stop at the next aid station, to use the porta potties. As much as I don’t object to peeing on the bike, I just didn’t want to and quite frankly, felt the need to get off the bike and stretch the legs a bit. There was a line, so I lost some time here. The athlete tracker shows that between mile 50 and 75, I had slowed to 14.86 mph. Stopping does make a difference! I got a little tired at this point too, as the hills were starting to hurt.

OK, this might just suck right about now.

OK, this might just suck right about now.


Why are you taking my picture?

I got a second wind and between miles 75 and 97, I averaged 20.12 mph. I did the second loop and never even noticed that big hill I was worried about! At mile 100, I started experiencing pain in my left knee. Deep, sharp pain. It came out of nowhere, but it had happened at Lake Stevens 70.3, and I was not looking forward to the next 16 miles. I made sure to press my knees in tight to the bike, to take pressure off of the IT band. “One more hour” I kept repeating to myself. OUCH! Oh man, at mile 110 the knee AND foot were now in terrible pain. I had to stop using the muscles in my left leg, and only pedal with my right leg several times, just to give it a break. “Where did this wind come from? Oh God, it’s hot. For Heaven’s sake, I don’t remember this road being so long on the way out!!! WHERE is the freaking finish?” I wasn’t really discouraged though, because I knew I was near the end of the course, and the pain would stop as soon as I got off the bike.

Coming into transition, I dismounted and handed my bike off to a volunteer. Let me tell you, there really is no sane reason to sit on a bike for 116 miles! Time 6:46:22.

As I ran through the transition area, I saw my kids!!! They were yelling and smiling, and jumping up and down. I was on top of the world again.

Heading into the tent to change for the run.

Heading into the tent to change for the run.

I only had a marathon to run, to earn the title “Ironman”, and nothing would stop me from doing that today!

To be continued…

Ironman. It Happened. Part 2

Dede arrived at 4:20 am to drive us to the event. I don’t remember anything about the ride, except the part where we missed the exit and had to back track. I was numb; shell shocked to put it bluntly. As we approached the check in, the pre-dawn darkness couldn’t cloak the energy pulsating from the excitable crowd of athletes, spectators, and volunteers. I couldn’t see a thing, but managed to give my “Special needs” bags to the right volunteer, and then made my way over to my bike to make last minute inspections, and place my water bottles in the cages.


Where's my bike?

Where’s my bike?

Another stop to add a few items to my T1 and T2 bags, and there was nothing left to do but wait for the start.

I got in the porta potty line to “unload” some of my stress, and then headed to the shuttle buses. The buses took everybody up river to the swim start, 2.4 miles away. While most people excitedly chatted, I sat in my seat, looking out into the dark morning, and quietly wept. I was afraid. I was afraid of failing, of disappointing myself, my kids, my coach, my team, Jeff, and all of the people that follow and support me. Could I do this? By the time we arrived and entered the long line of competitors waiting for the swim start, I had calmed down a LOT. There was no turning back now.

I look a tad bit freaked out

I look a tad bit freaked out

Waiting sucked. I started to get impatient, and didn’t like standing around long. Once the race officially started, the line began to move. We were way in the back, so we started almost 30 minutes after the first people hit the water. As I was pulling up my wet suit approaching the dock, I broke out of my haze, and started really breathing for the first time all morning. I took a few quick pulls on my asthma inhaler, tucked it in the front of my suit, and moved forward. All of a sudden, I found myself walking down a plank and realized, “Holy shit, we have started!” Jeff and I smiled at each other one more time and then SPLASH- in we went. The water felt unbelievably perfect. All week long the current was the topic of conversation. This day the current wasn’t strong at all, but it was a down stream swim, so we definitely got some help. I had been worried about the swim all Summer. I never swam 2.4 miles before the race. This day, though, I had the most perfect swim of my life. Sure, some typical swim things happened-I got kicked by a breast stroker, got my goggles knocked off once, had to dodge a few zig zagging swimmers, and such, but I smiled the whole time. I swam most of the distance with only one eye open because my left goggle kept filling with water.  In no time at all, I was nearing the exit, and I never tired once. All systems a go!1155_006647


After I exited the water, I ran across some grass, where  there were volunteer “Wet suit strippers”. It’s hilarious. You run up to a stranger, throw yourself on the ground, and they pull your wet suit off of you. Royal treatment. Next I ran to grab my T1 bag and head into the women’s changing tent.

Wet suit in hand. On to the bike.

Wet suit in hand. On to the bike.

This is where things got gooey. Inside the bag was all of my bike needs: shoes, socks, cycling shorts, top, sunglasses, helmet, saddle cream, and my nutrition for the first half of the bike ride. I had 2 packets of Justin’s Nut Butters sitting inside my helmet. I dumped everything out of the bag, pulled off my wet clothes and got into my cycling clothes, put on my socks, and shoes, and then noticed something on the top of my shoe. It looked like  poop. WTH? I let it go. Then I grabbed my sunglasses and helmet and just before I put the helmet on, I always double check to make sure I don’t put it on backwards. (Yes, I have seen it happen) I looked inside it and was convinced someone had taken a dump in there! WHAT IS GOING ON?

It was then that I remembered that I had cut open a small slit in the nut butter packets, to make it easier to eat it on the bike-without having to bite it open while riding. Well, the chocolate hazelnut one somehow had exploded all over the place. There was no way I was going to put that oozing mess on my head and ride for 116 miles. Thankfully, the wonderful volunteers had a table with some baby wipes on it. A gracious lady grabbed the helmet from me and cleaned it out as quickly as she could, while she and I laughed our butts off. All of this took some time, and I had a very slow transition of over 12 minutes. I am sure my kids all thought I must be taking a nap or something.

Leaving the tent, I had to run to get my bike and then take it to the exit before mounting. I had had a stellar swim, and now I was off to ride 116 miles of Tennesee countryside and I had no idea what to expect. I heard there were some rollers…..

To be continued.


Ironman. It Happened. Part 1

If you have been following my blog, you know that I have had some interesting hiccups leading up to Ironman Chattanooga. (Catch up here) The jinx continued as we prepared to ship our bikes. We contacted FedEx and made arrangements to have them pick up our boxes at the house in Montauk the day before we flew to Tennesee. We used my dad’s account number for convenience. When the driver hadn’t shown up in the given time frame, I got worried. Then my dad called and said he arrived at home, IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, to find a note from FedEx on his door, telling him that they had come by for a pick up. Oh boy! Now we were left with figuring out how to get the bikes shipped, and we were supposed to head into the city that night to stay with my daughter before going to LaGuardia early the next day. SCRAMBLE!!!

At the same time, I contacted the Jitney, to make reservations for an evening ride into Manhattan. I was told that there were no seats left on ANY of the buses that day. WHAT? Are you kidding me? Another reason to send me over the edge. The short answer to how we solved this last flurry of “oops’s” was this: We rescheduled FedEx, skipped the visit to my daughter’s, and reserved seats on the 4:15 am Jitney for the next morning. Oh, yeah, and there was a car that I also had to take to the local shop for repair to deal with as well. The day turned into a blur, but we managed to make it to the airport the next morning, with several hours to spare.


I found these at the airport. Thought about buying it for the race.

I found these at the airport. Thought about buying it for the race.

Arriving in Chattanooga, I was struck by how small the airport is. We quickly got our bags, and walked up to the Hertz counter, where the most delightful woman set us up with an SUV, gave up a free upgrade, and threw in a few other perks. The process was quick and easy, and we were on our way to the hotel. Jeff got us a room at a Residence Inn, so we could have a full kitchen. Eating the way you are used to is VERY important before a race, and we wanted to have full control over this detail. My bike was waiting for me when we arrived, and we piled everything into the room, and headed off to the Expo.

How much crap does one need?

How much crap does one need?

Athlete check in was quick because the bulk of racers hadn’t arrived yet. We got some great swag too.

This is really going to happen!

This is really going to happen!

My coach, SheriAnn was there, working a booth for NormaTech,, and I got to try the boots out for the first time. PURE HEAVEN. After checking out the vendors, we headed to the grocery store and then back to the hotel to unpack and settle in.

If you EVER get a chance to try these out, you will love them.

If you EVER get a chance to try these out, you will love them.

Friday we went back to the expo and it was raining. It was a soggy mess. Later we brought my bike to a shop to have them put it together and make sure everything was ready for the race. Jeff picked up the bike he was borrowing from a friend there, as well. Naturally, there had to be another “Uh oh”, as we discovered that the wedge that holds the bike seat in place was missing. As I got back in the car to drive back to the hotel, I was stunned. Kind of in a daze, actually, trying not to cry. Trying not to throw up. I hoped and prayed the entire drive that the wedge was somewhere in the bike box. To my extreme relief, it was. So, BACK to the shop I went, and within minutes, we wheeled our bikes out, and headed back to the hotel.

Saturday morning, the rain was pouring down, and while we intended to try out the river before Sunday’s race, I was not interested in doing so in the cool, crappy weather. I opted for a swim in the indoor hotel pool. We then drove to the Expo and checked our bikes and transition bags in,triple bagged because it was still raining. Mid day, we went to meet with the other athletes that also had partnered with Zero, the Prostate Cancer charity. We had a yummy lunch and shared our excitement and nerves, about the next day’s adventure. The rain had started to subside as we headed back to the hotel for the final preparations, and to rest.

It was inspiring to meet other athletes that raised money for the cause.

It was inspiring to meet other athletes that raised money for the cause.

Within seconds of entering our room, Jeff said, “There’s a knock at the door.” I didn’t hear it, but went to the door anyway. I opened it, and nobody was there. I think I was about to tell him he was hearing things, when the knock came again. So I opened the door, and to my absolute and complete shock, my son Mike was standing at the door. All 6’5″, 200+ pounds of him: grinning from ear to ear. Behind him, were BOTH of my daughters, Dede and Audrey, all sporting huge smiles. I can’t tell you how surprised and completely happy that moment was for me. they had flown in from Minnesota, New York, and California! THIS was the best and most precious moment. Of course, I cried, and laughed, and hugged them tightly. WOW, they came to support me. I was over the moon. Once the shock wore off, we hung out and had fun, just being together.

THIS is how I still see them sometimes...

THIS is how I still see them sometimes…

The "Kids" done growed up!

The “Kids” done growed up!

After the kids left, (LOL, kids. All adults, over 5’10”, with careers, and their own lives, and I still call them kids) we put the rest of our race nutrition together, and talked about our hopes for the next day. Mostly, I hoped it wouldn’t rain-at least until the run. When I went to bed that night, I felt nervous, scared, excited, and vulnerable, but most of all, I felt loved. We set the alarm for 3:15 and tried to get some sleep. Let’s just say that we didn’t need the alarm. Ironman Chattanooga, Patty’s coming to get you…..

Less Than One Week Until Ironman

The past 9 months have come and gone. The work has been done. I am ready. That’s what my coach tells me. If you know me well, you won’t be surprised that I have moments where I doubt everything that I have done thus far to prepare for my first Ironman Triathlon. Every missed workout. (There haven’t been many) Every time I didn’t complete the entire planned workout as scheduled. (There HAVE been several) Every glass of wine, margarita, candy bar, bowl of ice cream, extra pat of butter…..I obsess just a bit over details. Me thinks I “overthink”.

What I AM celebrating, however, are the countless hours that I DID do the workouts. Since early this year, I have completed up to 12 workouts per week, sometimes exceeding 16 hours total. I’ve managed to  do this while still maintaining my business, my health, and my sanity, although those close to me might disagree on the sanity part. I can recall many a time where, when working, I fell asleep at my desk, and nodded off during continuing education classes.I barely make it to 8PM every night without sneaking off to bed.

I am sure some of my real estate clients wondered why I sported dark circles under my eyes( from my goggles), and reak of chlorine. None of them ever asked me why I often didn’t accompany them up or down stairs in the homes I showed them, or why I would loudly groan if I dropped keys on the ground-(after a particularly long training ride or run.) I hope they understood.

I have never eaten the mounds of food that I am currently eating.You could  not possibly fathom how much and how often I shovel food.   I am terrified that these habits will continue and I will blow up like a tick once this race is over. (There I go overthinking again.) I joke that I eat like a high school football player. The thing is, I have a son that was a high school football player, and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t the human vacuum cleaner that his mother has become. Oink Oink.

Case in point-today's lunch

Case in point-today’s lunch

My plan was to come to Montauk, NY for 2 weeks prior to Chattanooga, train there on the hills and in the Long Island Sound, relax on vacation, and arrive in Tennessee free of stress, and feeling well rested.

Reality went something like this: We boxed up our bikes and Fed Exed them to Montauk. They arrived on time and 2 days afterwards, we set out for a 70 mile bike ride. Jeff’s bike  had a broken shifter, so he couldn’t change into the small ring. My bike made a funny noise, and 3 miles after we started, I felt a big CLUNK, and my whole bike seized. I was just starting up a hill, and luckily I was able to unclip my feet before tipping over. Turns out, my bike frame broke, my derailleur snapped, and the bike was totaled. No long ride for us.

This frame is toast

This frame is toast

So there I was, 16 days from Ironman, and I was without a bike. Since the carbon frame in all one piece, there was no way to fix this problem. We immediately took to social media and looked for a solution. To my amazement, team mates and friends from all over the country and in Canada offered to ship me their bikes! I was astounded! I had offers from people I had never even met. The triathlon community blew me away. We started communicated with the bike manufacturer too, to see about a warranty. Over the course of the next week, we exhausted every option, weighing the pro’s and con’s until we decided to buy a new Cervelo P2 at Sunrise Tri Shop, in West Babylon.

Getting a custom fit

Getting a custom fit

I can’t say enough about the service Frank gave me at the tri shop. No wonder people fly from all over the world to buy and get fit on specialty bikes from him.

The running in Montauk is scenic and offers a mix of rolling hill roads and an abundance of trails, through woodsy forests and along ocean view cliffs. There are miles and miles of them! In all the years I’ve been coming to town, I had never explored the trails, and now I can’t wait to come back to them.IMG_4471


Got a little lost on this trail. Found the mosquitoes though.

Got a little lost on this trail. Found the mosquitoes though.

My last long run of my training was a 3:15 on a Sunday morning. It was HOT and 82% humidity. I managed to get 17.29 miles in, and let me tell you, the last 4 miles were CRANKY! Run, shuffle, walk, curse, limp, whine about my blisters, my knees, and my sunburn, bla, bla, bla….typical long run for me. I imagine Chattanooga will have some moments like this, so in the end, who cares? I’ll get it done.

When I went to pick up my new bike, we decided to stay in Centerport at my friend Kathy’s house because it was much closer to the bike shop. The other bonus was that the Cow Harbor 10K Race was taking place. This nationally ranked race is in my home town of Northport and I have run it the past 2 years. Jeff and I signed up and ran the race, in CRAZY hot and humid temperatures, and had a blast. I ended up not only with a personal best but a course PR of over 10 minutes. I couldn’t have done it without his help pacing me along the difficult course.


Official time 52:24

Official time 52:24

We had many visitors during the trip, too. My parents, daughter Dede and her husband Evan, cousin Jill, sister Terie, nephew Richie, and his dad Rich, plus we spent time with a local Montauk friend, Kathy. What a whirlwind.


Best parents in the world

Best parents in the world

There's ALWAYS time for Dom Perignon

There’s ALWAYS time for Dom Perignon

I got to ride my new bike for a few hours and it felt better than any other bike I’ve ridden. We got a good swim in at the YMCA of Easthampton, and today we are getting pampered with massage at Gurney’s Inn.

The “hay is in the barn”, so to speak. The pit in my stomach isn’t as big as it was several months ago, but make no mistake; it’s still there. I suppose that’s a good thing. I’m a few days away from completing the most difficult physical race/challenge of my life. Send me some good vibes, will you?

One last thing. I’m doing Ironman Chattanooga for a charity, to raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer. Would you consider making a donation? The men in your life will appreciate it.

Donate here

See you on the other side of Chat!