Race Report: 33rd Transamerica Chicago Triathlon


I collected another piece of awesome bling at the 33rd Transamerica Chicago Triathlon know to be one of the largest triathlon’s in the world. Over 7000 competitors over 2 days of racing. It was an amazing experience made mo’ awesome by my son hanging with me and earning his “Spectathlete Badge” and hanging with 40+ members of Black Triathlete Association.


Summary – Best Triathlete Weekend EVA, one of my worst swims, best bike and run in an OLY EVER! Overall, one of my best overall performances. A Happy Camper All Around.


The FireMarshall drove Ms Diva to Chicago and go me there with enough time so that I could make the Friday Morning OWS Practice with #BTA.


That water was the coldest I have EVER swam in. OMG! I was so glad I bought a cold water swim cap and booties. It simply took your breath away.  I only did about 300 and got out. I decided I needed to get some ear plugs and maybe some arm sleeves just to make it more bearable. I found the earplugs but no arm sleeves. I was glad that I brought my PearlZumi Shrug that is fitted, so I decided to wear that on my arms.


Later, Friday evening, Ovetta organized a Pre-Race Dinner at another #BTA members house (FrankW) and it was a blast to meet so many of the people I interact with daily on the Black Triathletes Facebook Page. Just awesome people …at all different levels in the Triathlete journey. Good Times!

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Saturday, I just hung out with The FireMarshall and Trooper Steptoe. I had breakfast with a friend I hadn’t see in YEARS – KimT – and got to see her all grown up kids. I took the FM & TS to the expo and collected some freebies (yeah, they don’t want to haul that stuff home) and then went to lunch. I had the Trooper help me put on my race tattoo’s – he is a pro – and then decided to rack my bike the night before to claim my space and walk the transition area because it looked HUGE and transitions is not a strong suit of mine.

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That evening we went over to my West Point classmate, Walter Cunningham’s house for dinner. Another awesome time! Back to the hotel and I had no trouble getting to sleep. Up in the morning, ‘fo day…I don’t like it…no way. I pulled it together and started the approximately mile long walk from the hotel to transition. A quarter of the way there, I realized that I had forgotten my Garmin – meltdown – called The FireMarshall and had him meet me in front of hotel with it. I got back to transition with 7 mins left to get it all set up before they closed transition. Not a problem since laying it out ain’t the problem. It’s getting in an out  at T1/T2 and not piddling around – that’s pathetic.


SWIM: 1500m - 51:15
Now that was just AWFUL! Just like at when I started. I got in that water- FREEZING-the gun went off and I lost it. I just couldn’t get my breath. I started panting and was going nowhere slowly. To add insult to my misery, I could hear and see Ron and Jordan following along  - Jordan was encouraging (You got this, Mom!), Ron was about to shut the damn race down and have me pulled out. I spent about 400-500 doing some form of front stroke/doggie paddle/side stroke thing…and then something just clicked. I was treading water and I said to myself, “Get busy swimming or get busy quitting.” I’ve NEVER quit anything so I said, “Give me 5 stokes at a time.” Then I upped it to 10. Then I was in a grove and that last 1000 to the finish was just like in the pool.
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I was out of the water!!! It was over. Nothing I could do to change what had happened. I had overcome a bad start, adapted and overcame…now it was time to drop the hammer and see what I could do with the rest of the race. It was 450m from Swim Out to T1. I got nothing but a WOW! It took me damn near 10 min to get from the Swim Out to the Bike Out.


BIKE: 25 miles – 1:36:10 – avg 15:51mph
WOO HOO!!! Go Me! This is fastest bike average I have EVER done in a race. The course was fast and NOT as flat as everyone said. Lake Shore Drive had a few lumps, but compared to the Hills of Howard County, HUMPH. Piece of cake. It was great to see my family, Walter & Eric as I went under the 11th Street Pedestrian Bridge. Before I knew it, I was back at Transition and it was time to run!!
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RUN: 6.2 miles – 1:32:31 – 14:56 pace
You may think that is slow as frozen molasses, but for me – WINNING! Fastest 10k after swim/bike in a race EVER! I plodded along with the first 3 miles under 14min and the last 3 miles not so much. I felt great, pushed and knew I was doing well – FOR ME! I was ecstatic. When you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands and smile pretty for the camera!
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I came across the finish line feeling VICTORIOUS!! I had overcome in the water and left it out there on the bike & run. YES I CAN and YES I DID!! My finish was 4:17:08 and 17 of that was a pathetic transitions. I was 8/13 in Athena 40+ and if you put all the Athena’s together in one group I would have been 16/26. I am happy with that!
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I may not be as fast as most – yet; I may, for now, still be hugging the bottom of my age group; but I sure do make this Tri business LOOK DAMN GOOD!!!


Race Report: 26th Annual West Point Triathlon

I registered for this race at the last minute so I could attend the Acceptance Day Parade at West Point for the New Cadets – particularly “my” new cadets Nia & Kelsey, Class of 2019. I was originally scheduled to do the 10th Annual Columbia Iron Girl, but seeing my cadets was more important. Besides, Nia’s mom, Danielle, AND Nia were racing so – PERFECT!
My faithful Spectathlete, The FireMarshall, drove me up to West Point and we stayed with our classmate &  Nia’s Sponsor Mom, KarenW’s place. Let me just say that Karen is badass – she signed up to do the Tri as well for grins and giggles. Just Wow!
We had a full day on Saturday of Parade, Diversity & Inclusion Picnic, Packet Pickup and whatnot.
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The whatnot turned out to be allegedly a short easy ride from Karen’s house on post and back – about 8 – 10 miles; however, I didn’t bring my ID with me so we couldn’t get on post. Karen was all like well we will just ride out to Garrison and back. I shrug…okay…sounds good to me (not knowing what that really means). What that meant was riding down 9W, across Bear Mountain Bridge, and up 9D to Garrison. Now, I have ridden on roads with traffic – like an occasional couple of cars on my country roads on the Hills of Howard County – but not like interstate highway kind of traffic. Karen was rolling along, jumping her bike over obstacles & potholes as if there wasn’t a care in the world. I’m trying to keep up with her; shrieking constantly as I tried to not lose control as cars & trucks blew past me and trying so hard not to just break down and cry. Finally, she felt pity for me as we stopped at her friends house. I wanted to kiss the ground when I got off the bike, but I wouldn’t have looked like the badass I thought I was – AT ALL.
newkitsThe FireMarshall was summoned and we went to dinner at a wonderful restaurant called Riverside for our Pre-race dinner. It took two beers to get my nerves settled.
Sunday – Race Day
Here is the race crew with the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, LTG Robert Caslen (Yes! He raced as well). We got all set up in transition and then waited around for the swim waves to kick off.
SWIM 800m – (28:03) –
I stood on the beach area of the lake looking at all the people in the purple caps of my swim wave and realized that they grouped the Athena’s with the children – like the 18-21 youngsters. All the fluffy chicks – 6 of us – gathered round cause we stood out in this wave like bowling balls next to the pins. It gave me a chance to peruse the Athena’s all at once and I decided right then and there that I was going to stay ahead of 3 of them and that was gonna be that!

The swim itself was uneventful in itself, I felt good and was cruising along but I lost significant time on the return as we were swimming into the sun and even with my tinted goggles, I couldn’t see a damn thing. It was so bright AND the sun was reflecting off the water. Finally, I just decided to follow in the middle of the pack and sight way more often than I usually do. Then there was the lakeweeds…ewwwwaaaahhh. Just keep moving…and I was out!
Now…I screwed up a little and got lost in transition trying to find my bike. See…usually, my bike is like one of the only ones still in transition so – yeah – count the number of racks from swim in and there it is. Ummm…see I rolled into transition and there was a gazillion bikes still there. I found my rack but then ran up and down cause I couldn’t see my bike. I just wasn’t accustomed to having bikes around – UNPREPARED for that I was. Found it and moved out. T1 – a #pathetic 3:23

BIKE – 14 miles (1:01:39) -
I forgot how long the climbs are and how many of them there are on13627340_3 this course…but the downhills though! I knocked 7 mins off my bike time from 2 years ago. WINNING! I knew 2 of the Athena’s were still back in the water or transition and one got out right before me, but I chased her down on the bike. When I passed her, she screamed NOOOOOOOO!!!! I said something encouraging and then it became my mission to put as much distance between me and her on the bike so there was no way that, even if I walked the damn run, she (or the other two still behind me) could catch and pass. I knew that 3rd place was in the bag as long as I didn’t let up.

RUN – 3.1 miles (47:16) -
Tough hilly run, but I was determined. I just kept it moving and I didn’t see the last 3 Athena’s until I had about one mile left and they were just starting out. There is a joy; an elation that I can’t describe when you KNOW, that you are going to get to stand on the podium for the first time in years of racing. I felt empowered…so I ran.



It couldn’t have happened at a better place or a better race for me. At my Alma Mater! I was home and I conquered! Four years of racing – and for those that have followed me all these years – four years of fear, doubt, uncertainty, drama, injury. Still, there was four years of perseverance, dedication and overcoming…then culminated in a perfect day.

Will it always turn out like this for me? A podium finish. Maybe, maybe not. What it will always turn out be is JOY and ACCOMPLISHMENT in a job well done.



Race Report: 2015 Maryland Olympic Duathlon




…and I knew it was going to be an awesome race for me after I crested the first big double climb at the 3 mile mark, powering over the top; passing 2 ladies.


I didn’t stop grinning the rest of the race.

If your happy and you know it, up your cadence.

If you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it
If you're happy and you know it, up your cadence!

I tend to always #RaceHappy, but Sunday was exhilarating for me!

So, here is what I’m all giddy about…I knocked 20 minutes off of last years time. 20 MINUTES!!! (10 on the bike, 10 on the second run). GTFOOH!!!

                  Run              T1      Bike                    T2         Run                     Total

2015     26:18 (13:09)    2:44    2:03:48 (12.6)    3:45      1:02:42 (15:41)     3:39:19

2014     26:08 (13:04)    2:26    2:14:43 (11.6)    3:49      1:12:07 (18:02)     3:59:15

2013     25:52 (12:56)    2:25    2:18:31 (11.3)    3:43      1:16:09 (19:02)     4:06:42


I also think it would have be 25-30 min improvement, if the RT97 portion of the course had been paved. I wasn’t taking any chances of blowing a tire – again – so, I took it real slow on this portion. And (SHUT IT) I would gain another 5 min if I didn’t piddle around in transition. Whatever…I’m still not going to suddenly podium by cutting out a pee or snack break. Jill caught me watering the grass in transition…when you gotta go, you gotta go. You can see that I wasn’t about to be like 1st or anything.


RUN: 2 miles 26:18

I set the metronome on my Garmin 920XT to 165bpm and tried to keep up. That pace was comfortable, maybe RPE 3, and I knew I could hold it. The volunteers were awesome and I came into transition ready to go (bathroom and bike) IJS. See pic above – I’m not having a damn sandwich, folks.


BIKE: 26 miles 2:03:48


Thank you, Roy, for taking this picture.


The Duathlon course is challenging. Steep hills, rolling hills, gradual climbs – not a lot of straight runs. You gonna WERK! and do it twice (2 loops). Plus, this year, about 3/4 of a mile is unpaved and scraped to lay down new surface. It rattled your teeth if you went to fast.


Once I was off the rough patch, I took off. After I passed one racer, it was on and poppin then. I set a goal to start picking whomever I could off one by one. One the first look, I over took 4 and on the second loop, I took out 5…and never looked back. 4 years of cycling and I have NEVER passed someone and held it. EVER. Cheshire Cat Grin. I thought for sure I could get it done under 2 hours, but that last 2 mile climb to transition just didn’t cut it for me. I was trying to spin it out and get the legs ready to run 4 instead of mash it out, so it didn’t happen, but damn! 10 minutes off last year. Yeah. I’ll take it!


RUN: 4 miles 1:02:42

It just didn’t matter. I was on cloud nine! I felt good. The metronome was back at it but I also…shhhh…had my “Run to Cadence” mix this time and…C140 rolling down the strip, airborne daddy gonna take a little trip. Left right on your left right left. IT WORKS. I was moving out with a quickness…in my mind. Then there was KimS at the water station with her crew of military volunteers who hung with me up and down that big hill (in my mind it was a mountain). LIFE GIVING. There was ShawnC with his GoPro making sure I get it done. There was the legion of racers that has already finished but waited and cheered as I came in to the finish. EXHILARATING!



…and then there was my Coach, Suzy. She was there at the finish…with the BIG A HUG!

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I don’t know  if the day could have gotten any mo betta!


What did I learn?

- Improvements take time (health, no injuries) and WORK!

- Breakthroughs can and will happen. Enjoy the moment. Capitalize on it.

- You ARE enough and awesome at whatever speed.


#RaceHappy My Friends


Race Report: Escape The Cape Triathlon




This had to be one of the most fun races I have done is a long time right up until… I’ll get to that part in a minute.


What’s so fun about it? You get to JUMP off a ferry and swim a mile to shore, bike 25 essentially flat & fast miles and then run through Dante’s Inferno of immolation level heat and sand dunes. Exhilarating.



The weekend started off a tad shaky. I pack to the gills my little Hyundai Elantra with all my gear and beach stuff so my Spectathletes & Paparazzi, The Queen Mum and Princess Cara, could had some fun at the beach while I off gallivanting around doing  a swim preview, racking my bike, attending a race meeting & helping set up the MMTC tent. We leave the house around 1pm on Friday and only hit bad traffic when we are about 20 miles out from the hotel. (Traffic was waaaay worse on the way home). We arrive at the hotel and they are like, ummm, when did you make your reservation. GTFOOHWTBS. I ain’t got time for this and…*cue meltdown* – WHY CAN’T I EVER HAVE A DRAMA FREE TRI!!!


See, I made the reservation ON @EXPEDIA the same day I registered for the race (Oct 1, 2014) because – hey, bonus money, better spend it on Tri shyt while it’s burning a hole in my pocket. I got confirmations, blah, blah, blah. but apparently, @Expedia did not send my booking on the the hotel – just kept sending me notices that everything was okay and I did not have to contact hotel (I’ll never do that again). Everything was NOT okay. No reservations, no vacancies at the hotel. WTF. Well, the hotel called down to another hotel they are friends with and got me the same type room at same price. @Expedia tried to rebook me at hotel in their system, but when we googled it, there was a bed bug warning. UMMMM NO! You know what I got from @Expedia for my trouble…”Sorry.” Mmmmkay. Well, we had new lodging and we were off. We unpacked, Cara went to the pool then we went to Wildwood boardwalk to walk around and have dinner.



I waited for TriBecca to show up and then we gathered our things and headed over to packet pickup. We got there just in time for the “Swim Preview” which we thought was just talking about the swim, but you actually got to practice as well. We did not practice cause we didn’t bring any gear. Just watched and listened.

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Afterward, we went to packet pickup, visited all the vendor booths, went to the race meeting, racked our bikes, put up the MMTC tent and went back to the hotel where we maxed and relaxed. Went to the beach for a little while and then ordered out pizza & pasta as we piddled with our gear for Sunday!



We woke up around 3am to get the car packed and to the race when the heavens opened up with a downpour accompanied by thunder and lightning. I just stood on the balcony, stared for a while, mumbled something about getting wet anyway and “If it ain’t raining, you ain’t training” Army bullshyt as Rebecca gave me the hard side eye as she mumbled something about “maybe they will cancel the swim” *insert glee clap*.


We get to transition and all of us unprepared for a torrential downpour are looking around like lost children trying to figure out how to keep our shoes from getting soaked. (TIP: ALWAYS – ALWAYS – keep at least two trash bags in your tri bag, one for you, one for your clueless rack mate. Just pay it forward…it will come back to you). I ended up putting my empty tri bag on top of my running shoes and it worked out fine.


After we were thrown out of transition, we went to hunker down under the MMTC tent until it was time to board the ferry. I can’t believe we all stood there looking like sad boo boo kitties and didn’t take not ONE picture of the club. AGGGGGGGGHHHHHH! And I brought the Paparazzi!.


We board the ferry and end up waiting an additional 30-45 min until the weather cleared before we pulled out to start the race.


Time to….JUMP!!!


SWIM: 1 mile 36:13 (Garmin says I zig zagged for 1.2 miles)

I didn’t even really think too much on it. I marched up to the line and well, as you can see from my pics, I executed a very dull and uneventful jump. Next time, I go for the FLASH!

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Next thing I knew I was in the water and time to swim. It didn’t seem like a fast current to me, but must have been because that was the fastest 1 – 1.2 mile swim I have EVER done in ANY race. GO ME!



When I cam out of the water, I don’t really remember what I was thinking. I know I was trying to decide whether or not to take my wetsuit off right then or wait till I got back to transition. I kept it on for the half mile trek from the beach to transition cause I didn’t want any sand all on me – Everywhere, All around – as I went out on the bike.


The other thing that struck me as I watched people come out of the water and dead sprint through sand dunes and two parking lots as I kinda wogged, was that, yeah, I don’t take transition very seriously (I KNOW it’s part of the race so let it go). I’ll get there when I get there. I do try to move out with a purpose and be quick about- get in, get it on, go (especially when there isn’t a road march to get there), but, yeah, no. I ain’t  gonna win the transition. I’ll work on it. Promise.


BIKE: 25 miles 1:40:23 14.9mph – Second fastest 25 miles in a race


Here is what I know. I can do at 15mph+ if the course is relatively flat. Throw some hills in there and I’m slower than cold molasses. I watched my MMTC buddies beast up the one bridge with ease and I’m like the Wicked Witch madly peddling while not having a lung collapse.


A LOT of people ended up with flats (some with 2). I was really worried that I would blow a tire (like I did when I crashed last October) so I ended up slowing down a lot on the turns and when the road was rough. The 1st loop was pretty crowded, but of course, it thinned out as us slow pokes wrapped up the second loop.


I know what I need to work on. HILLS. Nevertheless, I felt I had a great ride and even got to say “on your left” several times – which was exhilarating. Those of you that don’t know the suffering of being slow, there is that moment after the 700th “on your left” is shouted at you that you just want to kick out and say “on your left THAT”. I would NEVER do such a thing, but I admit that evil thoughts occasionally enter my noggin.


N.E.WAY – I’m back in transition where, DAMN, it fuggin HOT!


RUN: 5 miles 1:33:31 The WORST RUN OF MY EXISTANCE!

I’ve got nothing more to add to that. It WAS THE MOST GAWD FORSAKEN RUN ever. Had it not been for some of the good people of Lower Township bestowing upon us the blessing of the divine hose, I would have immolated out there on that course. It was like running into the deepest, hottest level of Hell and then Satan added thick loose beach sand and dunes for grins and giggles. I slogged, shuffled, cursed, and leaned in for 5 of the hottest, slowest miles on earth. When I saw the flags for the finish chute – all I thought was – YES, SWEET BABY JESUS! And then I saw my family and my MMTC family cheering & high fiving me. GLORIOUS!



                                                    I ESCAPED!!!!


Would I do it again?! YOU BETCHA! For once I wasn’t last! I beat some demons and bested some other times. I may never podium. I may never get off the bottom of the pack. What I did do was - I went up against me and won!  That was a blast!