2017 has been quite the year; I have a lot to be thankful for and some experiences and memories I will treasure forever.
Much of January, February, and March was spent in the mountains working towards my goal of becoming a Adirondack 46er. On March 18 at 7:13 am – after 3 months, 46 summits, 296 miles, 85,367 vertical feet climbed – surrounded by my dad and many friends, I watched the sunrise over the Adirondack Mountains from the highest point in New York State, Mount Marcy, becoming climber #10174 and completing my Single Season Winter 46. This journey was one that brought me many new friends and memories. It was one that helped with healing and built strength, dedication, and determination. It is an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Within this journey, I was fortunate enough to meet someone who quickly became a great friend, Stef Bishop. Stef was on a quest to become the first woman to complete a consecutive hike of all 46 peaks in winter. Although the mission was unsuccessful, we created many memories in the mountains, including hiking through a blizzard that dropped 50 inches of snow on the Adirondacks in just 12 hours.
April brought the beginning of racing season – Ironman 70.3 Texas. Admittedly, I felt a slight bit unprepared for this race having spent every Saturday and Sunday from December 21 – March 21 in the mountains. However, I quickly realized all the miles spent hiking paid off when I started running. Galveston welcomed Team BlueLine with horrible storm warnings, threats of torrential downpours, hail, and awful wind, but we ended up having a beautiful day racing. In Texas, I was fortunate enough to meet some really amazing people, teammates at Team BlueLine, who quickly became family. It was this weekend that showed me what this team is all about. Texas proved that my season was off to a great start; although I didn’t get a PR, I earned a Ironman 70.3 World Championship qualification spot!
Ironman 70.3 Texas – 5:30.45 | 32.01 S 2:58.23 B 1:52.35 R | 3rd Place AG, Worlds Qualifier
While in Texas, we were also fortunate enough to take a trip to TIRR Memorial Hermann where we got to meet Nick and hang out with him for a little bit. Team BlueLine is a Non-Profit Foundation with the goal of raising money to help the families of law enforcement officers who have selflessly given their lives in the line of duty. One of the ways we raise money is through Team BlueLine Racing. Members of our Racing Team participate in triathlons, cycling races, road races, and trail runs across the United States. We race in place of the officers who are no longer able, because their lives were taken too soon. We honor the fallen by finishing each race with a blue flag that represents the premature loss of a law enforcement officer. When an officer dies in the line of duty, the family is left with a shattered world that they must try to rebuild. We, at Team BlueLine, want to help these families and loved ones rebuild their lives by providing financial provisions to aid their pain. Team BlueLine desires to love and care for the families left behind. Please consider giving to this cause. This season we fundraised for East Baton Rouge Sheriff Deputy Nick Tullier. On July 17, 2016 Nick was shot in an ambush laving him in critical condition. Nick is nothing but an inspiration to us here at Team BlueLine; he has a story that can be an inspiration to us all and it needs to be shared.
April also brought what I thought was a little week long training trip to visit my good friend Josh in Colorado. Little did I know, this one week would set me up to make one of the biggest decisions of my life. Fast forward to May and I was offered an art teaching position at Tozer Primary School in Windsor, Colorado. A little excited, but mostly nervous, I decided it was time to make changes that would allow me to focus more on my goals in triathlon while also supporting myself with an “adult job” and I accepted the position. If you live your entire life in comfort, you’ll never discover your true potential, right? May also brought to me my companion and future adventure buddy, my little fur baby Rinny Rae (yes, named after pro triathlete Mirinda Carfrae). We have developed quite the bond and I could not imagine my life without her.
With June came the end of the school year, saying goodbye to so many people who became such great friends, and the most amazing students that made my first year teaching such a blessing. June also brought Ironman 70.3 Syracuse, a race I still make sour faces at with its mentioning. Unlike Galveston, Syracuse delivered the windiest bike course I have ever completed and temperatures that rivaled the heat in Kona. Not my best race, and certainly one I’m not the most proud of, but I pedaled on and put one foot in front of the other and finished.
Ironman 70.3 Syracuse – 6:24.56 | 34.05 S 3:36.15 B 2:05.58 R | 4th Place AG
July is my favorite month of the entire year, Ironman Lake Placid month. At this point, training was in full swing and I was packing up my life to move across the country. Ironman Lake Placid, as with any Ironman, was a day full of magic. The weather was perfect and the plan couldn’t have been executed any better. I crossed the finish line in under 12 hours, second in my age group, and earned my spot to Kona. I was so excited I didn’t even realize until the next morning when looking at photos that Andy Potts placed my medal around my neck. In this moment, I had realized the dreams I had spent many nights dreaming were now a reality, I was headed to Hawaii.
Ironman Lake Placid – 11:42.53 | 1:01.39 S 6:15.53 B 4:14.24 R | 2nd Place AG, Kona Qualifier
July also brought the biggest move of my life. 12 hours after finishing Ironman Lake Placid, my dad and I packed up the car and dog and set out for Denver, Colorado. Although I can think of 100 other things I would rather do than spend 30 hours in a car after finishing an Ironman, I was excited to start this new chapter of my life.
August was filled with more training, making new friends, and exploring my new home. I started my new job and met a whole new group of students that made me fall even more in love with my job.
September came a lot quicker than anticipated, the month of Ironman 70.3 World Championships! Ironman threw down one hell of a race course for this event, by far the toughest course I’ve ever raced, but all in all it was a great weekend. The feelings of racing at a World Championship event among the best of the best in sport are simply amazing! This was just a preview of what was to come in October :]
Ironman 70.3 World Championships Chattanooga, TN – 6:02.42 | 31.52 S 3:21.59 B 2:02.45 R
The remainder of September was spent getting ready for Kona and trying to conserve what little energy I had left in me for Hawaii. Turns out, 50 weeks of training and racing is a lot more tiring than anticipated!
October is the month that I have dedicated my entire 2017 season to, racing at Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. I’m not going to go into a ton of detail from this event to save space since I have an entire blog post dedicated to it, but I will say this – There’s something quite magical about the feelings you experience as you’re living through dreams becoming reality, but first you must set goals to experience these feelings. Set goals that you can’t stop thinking about. Set goals that challenge you. Set goals that make you work hard. Set goals that will force you to do everything in your power to be successful. But most importantly, just set goals, because I promise you the payout in the end will be that much more rewarding. Hawaii was everything I could have hoped for and more, and I can’t wait to be back there racing in the future.
Ironman World Championships Kailua-Kona, Hawaii – 12:34.26 | 1:05.40 S 6:47.39 B 4:29.21 R
The remainder of the year has been dedicated to some serious R&R. I’ve done some casual biking, a little 5k focus run training, and a bit of skiing. I’m looking forward to kicking off the New Year with a new training plan, working with a coach, and seeing where 2018 can take me. I’ll be back for the 20th anniversary at Ironman Lake Placid, with a few 70.3s and some Olys mixed in there. Here’s to a new year, new goals, and many more great experiences and memories (and hopefully my first 14er).