Spring in my Step.

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Where to start…

December 2013, was one of the hardest and most amazing months of my life.  While I had developed the most debilitating injury of my athletic career, I also embarked on a trip of a life time with the family to South Africa.  Bad and good.  Sometimes those world’s collide. In my case it was like a head on collision with the Acela Train!

Fast forward to April, 2014.  I’m trying to find the silver lining in this injury that has dropped me to my knees, left me in tears, and has changed me. I’ve withdrawn from races, the biggest one being Galveston 70.3 which takes place this Sunday and is one of my absolute favorites! Lemons to lemonade as my dear friend, Leslie said she did last year (and it obviously worked because this gal crushed IM 70.3 Oceanside this past weekend winning 45-49 and crushing all the 40-44 gals in the process)!  

So, Leslie wasn’t a cyclist (albeit she has Kona qualified a ton of times and raced 70.3 World’s too – so she obviously can ride).  She spent the last nine months surrounding herself with the top women cyclists out there in Cali (namely Julie Dunkle).  What she did was transform her cycling, Leslie became a cyclist and an amazing one at that.  So my achilles heal (no pun intended Leslie) is I am not a runner.  BUT RUNNING DOESN’T HURT!!  I can ride but I can only ride on the trainer (great power numbers too), but I am forced to stare at the ground because of the disc(s) injury in my neck (I need to see where I am going).  Swimming is also difficult due to the ridiculous amount of atrophy in my left shoulder, back and arm.  I can swim and am swimming, it’s just really slow.  So right now I work on form and consistency (2km three times a week seems to be about what I can handle).

BUT RUNNING DOESN’T HURT!! 

So JRM (coach extraordinaire) and I had a long conversation this week about a change of focus.  I have four solid years of Ironman training under my belt, two, sometimes even three IMs a year in the process, so I can step away from the bike for a little while and work on my running.  I’ve always, whimped out when I am racing the running part of triathlon.  Fear?  Who knows, but I want it and I want it really bad now.  I want to be a runner!

Take a look at just a few days of intense focus!

Tuesday, I did an EASY 6 mile run….I am listening to coach and running easy when I am told!

Wednesday, was a progressive run (no looking at the watch for pacing). The instructions were…Perceived Exertion but progress through the run…..SPOT ON!

Thursday, was 15 minutes off a very hard two hour stare at the ground ride which included 30, 20, 15, and 10 minute sets at 70.3 pacing….trust me the 15 minute run was easy, if I broke 9 minute miles that would be amazing, needless to say I am pretty confident I did not run more than 1.6 miles in that 15 minutes.  But coach said easy, so easy it was….and that prepared me for today’s track.

Friday….OH MY GOSH! Main set was 3×2 miles at 10K pacing (200m), threshold pacing (200m) repeat….I haven’t run like this ever, especially this early in the season.

ImageI took complete ownership of this place that has scared me time and time again.  I got in my car after the session and just smiled.  Even before looking at the file I knew I won!  

Lemons to Lemonade.

On another note, I’ve been listening to lots of new music.  I was in a Eric Church, Luke Byran, Miranda Lambert rut, and I am exploring stuff my girls are shocked I am listening to!  Take a listen to the teenage phenom Lourde, 17 years old seriously??

Finding new music can make you happy and help you see beauty in things you may have missed before.  I want to stop and smell the roses, I think I have been forgetting to do that lately.  But, with my new found love in my running, I have a SPRING IN MY STEP.

Lemons to Lemonade.

 

 

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My amazing journey in California

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What should have been a homecoming to this….

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has unfortunately turned into this….

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Late nights and celebrations are too much for this New Englander homebody, and I am paying for it now. Ahh, the dreaded FLU.  On the bright side, I am back to Kona weight…..hmmm, probably not such a great thing.

This adventure was multifaceted in so many ways, it combined visiting and networking with friends, sponsors, and business partners all while allowing me to play, train, relax, celebrate, drink wonderful wine and eat delicious food in beautiful Southern California.  My first stop, was an annual trip to the wonderful home of Leslie and Geoff Weathersby.  Leslie is the owner of Foodsense Now; and a bada$$ triathlete making her comeback this year, after a tough second half of 2013. Watch out ladies racing 45-49, she is a FORCE to be reckoned with (I’m secretly happy we aren’t racing together this year)!

While visiting with Les, I got the chance to visit with my friend and Mama Betty (one of our teammates christened her that), Kristin Mayer of Betty Designs.  Over drinks and dinner, Kristin shared with me the exciting new designs for early Spring (ok, February, but seriously, that’s spring in SoCal). And, let me tell you….I will be broke.  The collection is amazing.  You will not be disappointed…..here’s a sneak peak.  Can you say OMG???  If you like what you see PM me for savings details.

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Ok fast forward….food, drink, long runs (yes, almost 16 miles one day and some even in the sand), my longest swim since injury (1200 meters whoot whoot), great conversation, an open house tour (yep, 3.1 million over looking a canyon or something), a masters swim party (topic of conversation: “you look cool with pants on”), meet Beth Walsh in person (finally, what a radiating doll), and great food and wine (I think I said that twice)….and back to the freeway I go.

Onward to LA.

My first ever Triathlon Business International Conference!  I am so excited, because this is where it is at!  And, once again, I get to use my somewhat overused phrase, LITTLE FISH BIG POND.  That’s how I feel when I am in the Tri World in California.  This is the mecca. The birthplace. I become one big giant sponge when I am there.  I border on ADHD because there is so much to take in.  This year, however, I have some grounding individuals around me.  Katelyn who has now joined the medical team at Pumpkinman, Jennifer from IMAthlete (a long time friend), Mark Walter the owner of SunMultisports, and Brian Hughes owner of Fast Splits Multisport are all there to keep me from sensory overload.

The conference itself is engaging to say the least.  Travis Tygart synonymous for the ultimate Lance demise was one of the keynote speakers (I sat front and center, and was on the edge of my seat listening – absolutely fascinating to hear him – albeit I knew just about everything he said).  His address, led many to tweet (including me) about his commentary….which infuriated LA.  So much that, he tweeted and requested to come to the conference YIKES!  But after much hoopla and rearranging and unrearranging his lawyers and team suggested it best he not show!  Honestly, I did want him to come. It would have been maybe his last chance to ever have an audience of industry leaders and professionals in one room. I wanted to see what he would say.  Mike Reilly was the MC for the entire weekend, and he tweeted this (ironically in response to ME!)….

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ok….enough about the conference….let’s get to the TBI Active Awards Conference.

You may remember my HUGE PR, Facebook and Twitter Campaign to get  Pumpkinman nominated for some of the awards….well we did.  We were nominated and made the top five for:  Best Small Race, Best Race for Beginners, Best Swag and Bucket List Race.

We took home awards in:  Best Race for Beginners and Best Swag (check out some of the other players)!  This was no joke!!

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Mike Reilly and myself (taken at like midnight – which was 4am EST time hence the way I look BLAH)!

The rest of the Conference was a blur, as I wandered around like Meryl Streep after winning her 5000th award…or was it more like Taylor Swift after she won the first time….who knows, but I felt like Belle of the Ball.

Katelyn and I got the chance to play tourist in the afternoon after the conference wound up and we found ourselves on Venice Beach.  What a freak show!  We took lots of silly photographs and had lots of laughs and it was a great way to wrap up a very successful conference!

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And, then, Tuesday night this appeared at the hotel door…..

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So I packed her in my suitcase, and headed home.

The End.

Where’s Waldo? I mean Kat? Part 1

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I last checked in on December 16, life was in a flux state, as I was dealing with what I consider the worst injury in all my years and preparing for a half way around the world trip of a life time with the family.

I received my epidural steroid injection (mental note…costly and ineffective, but I won’t go there right now) on the 17th, and left for London, England/Cape Town, South Africa on the 19th.

As Thursday approached, I was getting some relief, not from the shot; but from the multitude of drugs (bad choice) I was taking. I was actually really excited to fly Richard Branson’s airline, Virgin Atlantic.  Unfortunately, it started like this….

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I have to say, in all my years of travel, I have never sat next to the toilet for 7 hours.  I never ever will again.  I have a wonderful family, who made sure, they had their earplugs and eye masks securely fastened so they didn’t have to hear and see me moan and groan about:  

  1. the neck, shoulder and arm pain
  2. the constant stream of visitors to said toilet

We arrived in London for a whirlwind 12 hour stop, to dine, do some tourist things and visit Will and Kate (but the doors were locked).

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London is a beautiful albeit expensive city.  I am looking forward to going back and taking in all the sights over the course of a few days and not just twelve hours.  Jeff secured a day hotel for us to shower (get in pjs) and prepare for the 12+ hour flight to Cape Town. Back on VA, with a much better (more leg room) seat and far away from the rest room, we settled in for a long evening ahead.  I actually slept thanks to the medical advice from my nurse friends….how many painkillers and glasses of wine will knock you out, but won’t kill you required precise mathematical skills (or so they said).  All I know is I woke to the smell of coffee, which meant, breakfast was being served and we would be landing in a couple of hours.

Up next….Cape Town South Africa!

 

Defying Age

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As a woman, and a woman in the latter half of her forties, I find my self trying very hard to defy age.  Is it human nature? Or is it my nature?  Today at lunch, Jeff asked me how I stay motivated…..I should probably rewind for a moment.

Today, I woke up at 4:10am, and rather than fluff my pillow and roll over for another hour, I stumbled quietly out of bed, grabbed my “daylight” machine and went into the kitchen to begin my morning routine.  By 6am, I was already on my bike mashing out the watts, dripping wet with sweat, and downing Scratch to Eric Church’s new album.  By 8:15, I was done with my 75 minute bike session and 6 mile run, and wondering which part of my schedule I would accomplish first.

By 11:30, I was ready for lunch, Jeff had called and we met up at our favorite lunch spot The Street.  Our lunch conversation turned to motivation and what propels us? Me?

My knee jerk response was, “what else am I going to do?”

But on the drive home I started to think about what drives me? What motivates me? Why do I do what I do for countless hours, many of which are lonely.  I was alway active after college, I never really fell into the mom only mode, I had to be doing something.  I owned every apparatus one could to stay active with the girls. I had the baby jogger, the Kelty back back, then the double baby jogger. There were hikes, runs (aka jogging – silent J) and power walks with the girls; but it wasn’t until Jeff signed up to do a duathlon in 2001 in Rye, NH, that I took the “chance” and signed up to do the 5K.

It’s funny when you are competitive by nature, and you are given the small taste of “glory” it can spark a lifetime of change.  I received a small medal that day in June 2001, and it prompted me to sign up for many more 5ks over the years…and in 2004 I did my first triathlon, at the Danskin All Women’s Tri.  Wow, have I transformed.

So back to defying age.  I look at the image I try to maintain. I eat healthy, take copious amounts of supplements, get the proper rest and recovery, and try to be a role model not only for my girls but for the many women in our community and beyond, who too, will take that “chance” and sign up for a 5k.  Am I defying age, absolutely.  But age is only a number on a calendar, it doesn’t reflect how we feel about ourselves and our environment.  There are days when I feel ridiculously old, when I have to hold the cell phone so far from my face to read the text message my daughter just sent me about staying after school. Then there are days when I feel like an absolute teenager, riding my bike down a crazy steep hill and doing it with confidence!  It also helps when two of your best friends are 28 years old.

But as I look at how I transformed my body since 2001, almost 14 years later, I know I have defied age. I’ve added years to my life by the choices I have made to be healthy and strong, both physically and mentally.  And while I don’t always agree with the face staring back at me in the mirror, I respect and treasure every line there is….each one holds a story.

So here you have my defying age moment from this past weekend….

*2001  38   2/10   F3034   24:45   7:58 KATHLEEN DONATELLO      32 F YORK            ME   
*2013  26   1/15   F4049   21:31   6:56 KAT DONATELLO           45 F ELIOT           ME