Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Motivation to get to the gym..

...because it feels SO good to cross that finish line (and it would feel even better if I were faster)!

The training plan...

It's officially up in the office... Here we go.

Monday, June 25, 2012

1/3rd of the way to my goal!


Thank you to EVERYONE who has donated to my The Pink Agenda fundraiser for the New York City Marathon! As of today I am a little over 1/3rd of the way to my fundraising goal! I am so grateful for the generous donations of my friends and family.

If you haven't already, please consider donating to this amazing cause. Breast Cancer impacts us all- let's all work to find a cure!


5 Mile Pride Run

This weekend I headed back out to Central Park for another NYRR race, the Front Runners Pride Run.

It was a LOT of fun because there was a great energy and lots of enthusiastic and brightly dressed runners. It covered my least favorite section of Central Park- the dreaded North- with Harlem Hill featured in the first two miles.

My only goal was this race was to conquer my fear of Harlem Hill, which has been my weak spot in many a races and rides. And I am pleased to report that I ran up every step of that damn thing. It was not what anyone would consider speedy- but I am glad I made it to the top with out my usual walk/bitch&moan breaks. I was also thrilled that there were none of my usual nerves and tummy troubles. Finally, after 4+ years of running races I may have gotten over my pre-race nerves! Thank goodness!

As I crossed the finish line I tried to imagine doing 21 more miles... and while it didn't sound fun, it didn't seem impossible! The "real" running program for the Marathon starts in July and I am looking forward to getting started in earnest.

Long Branch Triathlon

So I survived my second triathlon- and had a lot of fun doing it! It was my first ocean swim (ever!) and I was pretty happy with how it all turned out. I usually get such bad nerves on race day that doing little low key local races like this are super useful for me in building confidence and gaining familiarity with racing. My husband and mother-in-law came to cheer me on- it was awesome to have my own race photographer and cheering section!

Serious "I hope I don't drown face"

Getting ready to get in the water...

I am sure I am thinking- "this seemed like such a good idea when I signed up for it.."

The ocean swim wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be. It was very short- only 300 meters, and I think they may have made it even shorter because the ocean was very very choppy.  The best surprise was that the water was not nearly as cold as I thought it would be- thank god for wetsuits and global warming! 

I made it! (And there are even people behind me- score!)

The first transition was great- compared to the crazy uphill distance we had to run in Las Vegas, it was a downright treat for transition to be so close to the beach and the start of the bike leg. I trotted (bike shoes are so awful to run in) off to the road determined to make up some time on the bike. 

Getting on my bike...

Those clipless pedals are tricky! 

Off to catch up with some ladies (and men!) and pass them. 

The bike went very well. It was more-or-less a straight out-and-back race, and very flat- which was ideal for my first race on the new bike. I even got out on the tri bars a bit and realized how much faster it makes you to use them! I did my fair share of passing, including some men who were in the previous heat, and only got passed near the end of the race by some very intense guys who I imagine were doing the long course triathlon. My only problem was that I missed the turn off back to transition and ended up riding a full extra mile before I got back on course. I certainly lost some time there- but oh well. Wish those High School girl volunteers had been more interested in the race than their chatting! 
 Getting the bike back on the rack in T2. 

And off to finish strong with the run. 

I wasn't too happy at this point, but it was way more about being frustrated by missing the turn off on the bike and losing time than it was about the run. My legs felt surprisingly un-brike-like, which was a nice change.
Almost there! Big smile for the camera. 

I didn't have a great run- but it was totally my fault. You cannot wear headphones during triathlons (or atleast you are not supposed to- I saw plenty of people with them!) which is really rough for me since I love to run with music and find a well thought out playlist to be an important part of my race. With out music I get a little bored and am much more likely to take a walk break. This race was pretty small, and I was not in the front of the pack, so a lot of the run was pretty lonely and I didn't run in to very many people. It was lovely on the boadwalk so I tried to enjoy that, but I mainly wanted the race to be over and to take a shower! 

It was great to see my husband as I came up to the finish line, I love when he comes out to cheer for me and take pictures! Over all my time was not awesome, but was a real improvement from last time, especially on the bike and it was a good learning experience. I was horribly nervous in Las Vegas- I mean crazy, shaking, sick to my stomach nervous, and this race I was pretty calm. The more time I can practice race day conditions, the easier I think it will be for me on the important races. I still have a lot of work to do, but I was very pleased with my performance and thrilled to get another tri under my belt! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Tomorrow is my 29th birthday.... and it is only 150 days away from the 2012 NYC Marathon!

(For some reason, when you say it is "over 4 months away" it seems so much further in the distance than 150 days! My training program needs to get a lot more serious!)

Want to get me a birthday present? Donate to my The Pink Agenda fundraiser for the Marathon!

Mom and Me Flashbacks... Part 1

The 80's were awesome. 

(what makes this picture more awesome is that I totally have the belt my Mom is wearing, and may or may not have had occasion to wear it in the last year...long live the 80's!)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My bike is here!

The most exciting box showed up the other day- MY NEW BIKE! It was so much fun to take it to the bike store, get it put together and finally get it out on the road!

First step, put it on the car and get it to Bradley!
The Escape looks GREAT with bikes on top cruising through the streets of the Big Apple. Getting them in the Thule rack is going to take some practice...we may or may not have already broken one...but I am sure we will get there! 
Team Curtiss, cruising down to the Shore...

No pictures of me actually riding the bike yet, its a work in progress. I did go for three nice (short) rides this weekend though. I am not yet able to ride on the aero bars yet, which has the side effect of me not being able to shift gears very efficiently. So I went for a nearly 60 minute ride in the same gear! Tonight I was able to shift the back a bit with one hand, but it wasn't very smooth and I have no ability to shift the front! 

On the way home today there was a little rain in the forecast, so I did a quick fix with some grocery bags to cover my saddle and handlebars. Took a little picture through the sunroof! It did pour down on the drive, so I was glad I did it! 

Hopefully I will get this bike figured out and have some pictures of me looking very cool on my bike very soon! 

Wall Street Run

The lack of posts sadly correlates to the lack of training....opps. Work has been a little crazy and my training hasn't been so great for the month of May, but I have plenty of time left (or so I tell myself!) before my big races, so I am not taking it too hard.

I did however fit in a fun little 3 mile race this past week- the American Heart Association Wall Street Heart Run.

I dashed out of a meeting at work, ran to the Husband's office to change clothes and jetted downtown to Wall Street to run this little guy. I have mixed views on the race- it was in an amazing location in the heart of lower Manhattan and so much fun to run on the streets when the NYRR races are usually in Central Park. On the other hand, the race started over 30 minutes late which was frustrating after I had made such a big point of running out of work early, it was SUPER crowded through out the whole race resulting in a lot of pushing and shoving and I am fairly sure the race ended up being longer than 3 miles. My Garmin hit 3 miles a good 3-400 meters before finish line. My Garmin is not always right, but I tend to believe it this time. 

If my Garmin is to be believed, I ran a 29.17, which, given the crowding issues, isn't too bad. If NYRR is to be believed, I ran a 31.29, which puts me at 10.36/mile. Not exactly breaking world records here. My goal for the summer is to start consistently running sub 9.00 miles. I actually think I do run sub 9 most of the time- but the occasional stopping for water or otherwise really throws the average... 

My first mile went fantastic, about 8:30/mile. My second and third miles got slower- it was a bit warm and I hadn't had anything real to eat in a while and was perhaps a little distracted by the crowds and the sights. Heading in to the finish they routed us onto a very narrow sidewalk, which created a very crowded and slow situation. 

All in all it was a fun event- and should serve as good inspiration to get back to running since my results were not all that inspired. I love the atmosphere of races, even when they don't go as planned, so I am always excited to get to run with a few thousand of my closest friends! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Athleta Power to the She

Check out this awesome Athleta award I was honored to receive at the Iron Girl triathlon:

It was so nice of Athleta to celebrate my Mom's fight against breast cancer this year and my journey to my first tri and I was very excited to be selected for their award! The Athleta team at Lake Las Vegas was so sweet- it was great to meet them! Looking forward to spending my present on some lovely Athleta clothes in the near future!

Thanks, Athleta! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Wheels!

I decided that I liked triathlons so much that I was going to go a little crazy sign up for 5 more of them this summer, and because I signed up for so many, I was going to need upgraded wheels to get me across all those finish lines. And upgrade I did. 

I went from this...
My first road bike! 

To this......
My first tri bike!

Like many of the things I do in life, I decided to go after triathlons full force..I hired a professional coach (she is awesome, more on that later I am sure!), started a training plan (compliments of the awesome coach),bought an indoor bike trainer (don't want to miss a work out), multiple books on triathlons...so buying a sexy tri bike was the obvious next step. 

So meet my Specialized Shiv Comp with Zip 404 race wheels. We need to spend a little more time together before she is officially named, but I have one in the works. 

I have to say that I was SUPER intimidated about the bike buying experience. When the Husband and I bought our first road bikes last summer we more or less walked in to a store, said we wanted bikes, and came out with, you guessed it, bikes. There was minimal research involved. We didn't know our carbon forks from our cassettes and certainly didn't know the different between Sram and Shimano. And it turned out just fine and we have loved our bikes this past year. But for this bike, I wanted to make a very educated decision. So I attacked the internet and read everything I could about tri bikes. Honestly, I am not sure what I would do with out youtube and google?!? 

So much internet-ing later, I found myself at the coolest bike store in the world, ready to make a big purchase.
All hail Pelton- Specialized mecca. 

Seriously, Peleton is the coolest bike store I have ever been in. It is gigantic, the people are nice and it is full of really incredible Specialized bikes- nothing not to love. I will spare you the details of the love affair I have with my salesperson and bike fitter, but they were unbelievably nice and amazingly helpful! 

Once the Shiv was picked out, it was time for a Body Geometry fit. 
Do I look aero? 

Yes, I know I know it looks like a teeny tiny clown bike but I am assured that they are supposed to be compact and my short torso and long legs means my bike has to be little so I can reach the aerobars! 

Multiple hours on the bike later, it was fit to me like a glove and I got to take it for a spin around the block before they boxed it up and got ready to send it to New York. The first ride was....terrifying! Having a bike this nice, and one with aerobars (you want me to shift the gears where?)  is a totally new experience and I nearly fell off on at the first intersection. But  my new friends at the bike store assured me that it will get easier and I will not always look like a complete idiot riding this thing. Crossing my fingers!!!

Sadly she is now in pieces, in a box, in route to New York- but hopefully she will arrive next week and we will start spending a LOT of time together. I am sure there are going to be some stellar stories about the tri-bike learning curve so stay tuned for the inevitable tales of my tri-bike related mishaps. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

NEW Crowdrise Page...

Well there was a little mix up with our dear friends at Crowdrise and they have switched my fundraising page to the following address:

Erin's NEW Team Pink Agenda Crowdrise Page

Apologies for any confusion- and THANK YOU so much for all of the amazing donations- I am blown away by what wonderful friends I have =)

Monday, May 14, 2012

New Wheels...

Since I will be spending countless hours on a bike this summer training for the Augusta Half Ironman, I decided it was time for some upgraded wheels.

Meet my new Specialized Shiv Comp. She still lives at Peleton Cycles in Fort Collins for now, but we have a fitting date on Thursday and then she will be headed back to NYC. Hope she is comfortable because I am going to be spending a LOT of time with her. 

Happy Mother's Day (Belated)

Well Mother's Day for the family got a little sidetracked with yet another medical emergency that had us spending our day in the ICU with my Aunt- but things are looking up- and it is never too late to celebrate the amazing Moms in our lives. And always important to remember that a little humor can get you through the rough patches.

But really, I am so thankful to have such an amazing Mom, she is the best. And because I am really lucky, I also have been blessed with an awesome Grandma, Aunt, Mother-in-Law and Aunts-in-Law as well!

And to celebrate Mom, the Husband will be busy today installing her new HD TiVo. Nothing says I love you like on demand Netflix and the ability to record hundreds of episodes of "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding."

Love you Mom!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Erin Runs New York for The Pink Agenda

Today is the official kick off of my campaign to raise money for The Pink Agenda!!!!

Thanks for stopping my to check out my blog! Over the next few months I hope to update it with stories about my training (encouragement is always welcome!), information on breast cancer and the story of my Mom's journey with this disease this year. 

What's my story? 
My Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer earlier this year. I have spent much of the last 4 months traveling back and forth from New York to Colorado to be by my Mom's side during her surgeries and chemotherapy sessions. It has been a rough few months- but she is doing GREAT and Wednesday was her LAST chemotherapy session. She still has five weeks of radiation to push through- but I am so proud of her brave fight so far and so lucky to have such a strong woman as my Mom. 

Why am I running with The Pink Agenda
It has been a long time goal of mine to run the NYC Marathon and I decided that THIS is the year. I wanted to run with a charity that I believed in and I needed to look no further than The Pink Agenda. The Pink Agenda is a  is a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization committed to raising money for breast cancer care and research and awareness of the disease among young professionals. 

How can you help? 
If you would like to donate to help me with my fundraising goal please visit my crowdrise page at Erin Runs New York- Crowdrise Page or by clicking on the "Want to Donate?" link on the left side of the page. I am also so looking forward to seeing some smiling faces on the sidelines on November 4th- so I hope some of you can come out for the race! 

Call me crazy...

I signed up for my first Half Ironman race.... in 142 days! Eeeeek! But I am so so so excited! 

Vegas, baby. The Run.

Running, normally one of my favorite activities, becomes torture when it is a) totally uphill, b) in a 10000 degree desert and c) completed after a swim and a bike.

Me (pre-race): 5K is NO big deal, I run 5K for breakfast. Totally going to be my best leg.

Me (during race): What sadistic bastard decided that a beginners triathlon should feature a run that is straight up hill!?! And while we are at it, who knew that Vegas was hilly? I thought deserts were FLAT!?!

Let's just say that I didn't break any records during the run. In fact, I am not proud to admit that there was some walking. But I cannot tell you how disheartening it was to run out of transition (uphill, of course) only to realize that the first mile of the race was a never ending incline. Hills are my worst enemy in the average race- but after a hilly bike, they were just too much. On the bright side, I had plenty of company in the shuffle-along pace, so I got to chat/commiserate with the lovely ladies running the race.


Only salient memory from the race-again seeing B. coming downhill while I was going up. But this time, I knew she was far enough ahead that she stood a good chance of getting an award! So I yelled at her. "B. YOU. ARE. WINNING..... RUN FASTER." And with a look of total shock, she sprinted away!

And...she finished in  first in our age group! Un-be-lievable! I was SO so so happy for her!

Due to a little penalty (boooo!), she ended up getting 2nd place in our division- but it was still awesome- and it goes down in my book as a W.

The breakdown:
Well, most of the run was pretty ugly.

But.... coming across that finish line was pretty fantastic!

All the training, all the planning, all the nervous chats with B. about this event- all culminated in an amazing day. I was honestly a more than a little sad that it was all over! I couldn't have asked for a better race with a better friend....cannot wait for the next one!


Vegas, baby. The Bike

As I sprint (OK- it was more of a jog/shuffle) towards T1, I am thinking to myself "Bike! I can bike! I know how to bike! Thank god that swim is over." Found my transition spot, no problem. Kicked off the wetsuit, no problem. Looked like a maniac while sprinting in bike shoes with my bike, no problem. Actually getting on my bike and clipped in...we have a problem. Luckily it was quickly resolved...and with out expletives (they penalize you for that!)... and I was on to the ride.

I wish I had more exciting stories from the ride- but I don't remember much! I know it was hilllllly. And windy. And that I actually passed people- which was pretty exciting. And that I apparently have a much higher tolerance for downhill speed than most people- but after those crazy slow climbs- I knew if I didn't pedal through the downhills and build some speed, I was never going to finish! I learned an important lesson that I really need to work on climbing because my snail pace uphill really cost me some time. But I know just the hill in Central Park that is going to help with that particular goal.

My favorite bike moment (and only salient moment!) came when I saw B. coming the opposite direction about 1/2 way though. I saw the leader come down the hill on a crazy nice bike, in aero position, aero helmet- full professional set up. Then I saw a few more people similarly geared up coming streaking down the hill. And the next person I saw? B.- on a rental bike, normal helmet- just killing it! 
And then just like that- it was over! Back to transition, and on to the run....

The breakdown:
The good:
Seeing B. in the leader pack- totally gave me a boost to keep on pushing. 
Flying downhill. Breaks are for quitters. 
Passing a very fit lady on a very nice tri bike. Watch out for my rental bike- on. your. left. =) 

The bad:
Getting passed on a climb by an older woman in a swimsuit on a mountain bike. Don't worry, I got her back on the next downhill. 

The ugly:
Nearly wiping out trying to mount my bike/risking getting a penalty because the first word that came to mind was only four letters. 

Vegas, baby: The Swim

After two months of training, 800m in the pool didn't exactly seem "easy" but it certainly seemed "do-able." But it turns out that 800m in a big green lake looks "really really far."

The day before the race B. and I went down to the lake to check out the course. The buoy's seemed to be very far apart...suspicious. But perhaps you didn't have to go around ALL of them- maaaaybe we only had to go around some of them...

No such luck since on race day morning the buoy's seemed to have stretched even farther apart! Cue Erin totally freaking out and visualizing being the only person to get DQ'd in an 800m race while wearing a fully buoyant wetsuit. It was also super comforting that the ladies next to us in line at the start were discussing previous maladies that have befallen them in lake swims. "Yea, my wetsuit totally rubbed the side of my neck last time in Lake X, and the day after the race I had a horrible infection in the open wound from the dirty lake water! Had to go to the Doctor and get antibiotics- it was gross..." Very comforting indeed. 

B., the consummate competitor, had her game face on and didn't let the war-stories freak her out...meanwhile I am now struggling to breath OUT of the water and fairly sure that unless I can doggie paddle the whole thing, this is going to be an unmitigated disaster.  

And then, just like that- we were sprinting in to the water, and that is the last I saw of B. for quite some time! Let's just say the first 200-300m didn't treat me all that well (so much kicking and splashing, such green smelly water!)- but somewhere I around the first turn I realized that I was going to need to get my shit together and swim or I was going to be in this lake for the rest of my life. Eventually I put the pieces together, put my head down and made it back to shore. 

That's me in the back, wasting no time getting out of that wetsuit. 

Still working on that zipper! 

My race "strategy" going in to this, my first triathlon, was "survive the swim, them race like hell." I knew my swim time was slooooowwwww, but I also knew there was no point in worrying about it at this point, so I trudged uphill (yes, uphill!) to T1, and onwards to the bike. 

The breakdown
The good: 
Managed to successfully enter and exit my wetsuit- was particularly impressed with my ability to strip the wetsuit while running barefoot uphill. Fist pump! 
I didn't drown or have to ask for any help
I was very much not the last one out of the water

The bad:
Apparently my directional abilities are fairly limited since there were multiple occasions when I looked up only to realize that I was not actually headed towards the next buoy. 
Near the end I managed to get totally sandwiched between two swimmers, who both looked at me like it was my fault. 

The ugly:
In my panic to get in the water at the start, there may or may not have been a bit of a belly flop which looked a lot more like a graceful dive in my head. Ouch. 

Vegas, baby.

Who doesn't want to spend a long weekend in Las Vegas with your best friend?

What if it also involves swimming 800m, biking 13 miles and then topping it all of with a 5k....no big deal right? Just a small inconvenience on the way to the casino =). 

My best friend B. and I decided we both needed a good challenge and, as we have lived on opposite sides of the country from each other for 8+ years, we missed each other and needed a good girl's weekend to catch up! So nothing seemed less normal in the world than to sign up for a triathlon- despite the fact that neither of us knew how to swim and B. didn't even own a bike! We quickly realized we needed help and coaches were hired, bikes-swimsuits-goggles-swim caps, etc. were purchased and we were off...we were going to be triathletes (and then, we were going straight to a poolside cabana)! 

I will not bore you with the details of my two months of training- but we both went from thinking we were going to die after 50m to feeling pretty confident we were not going to drown during the swim. Actually, B. turned out to be a fantastic swimmer! 

And then all of a sudden....it was race day....!
B. in transition at an ungodly time in the morning. 

Transition mats all set up. 
All ready to go!

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


When hearing about triathlons in the past few years I often thought to myself, "what kind of crazy person would voluntarily do such a thing!?!"
...but as it turns out...I am that kind of crazy....and it was AWESOME! 

Full race report to come.. =)