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.
 lisa_nia   parade1 
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!

Coach3  Coach 

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.

IMG_7128                 IMG_7132IMG_7136

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!

_K3R5115   _K3R5116

_K3R5117   _K3R5118

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!



Race Report: 2015 Paris Marathon

25645445Paris in Spring!


One of the most beautiful cities in the world…why not run there. It would be exhilarating and beautiful. So, when I entered the lottery for an entry and got accepted, I HAD to go! Coming off a neuroma in my left foot and a bike crash, I knew I needed help to get me to the finish line. Of course, I signed up for another season of coaching with RipIt Coaching and a plan was formed.


Being a tad OCD, I read the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon Rules inside and out. This is all I had to work with: “Participants will have a maximum time of 6 hours to complete the course to the finish line. After passing the limit vehicle, competitors must comply with traffic rules - rules of the road.”


I told my coach the time limit and Duzy put me through the paces to complete the race somewhere between 5:30/5:45. Through one of the coldest winters, I pushed through 10 milers in 10 degrees – BRRRRRRR – , speed work, intervals and 16 mile treadmill runs to meet the goal.


Despite all that, It wasn't meant to be for me. The race book/rules said you had 6 hours to finish before the race closed. I was under or hit every pace mark set...until the half. Why? What the race rules didn't tell you was it really was only for people who would finish in 4:30hrs or less - every one else was I their own. At mile 8 (from pictures below looks like it was really at the 10k), they started tearing down everything including the timing strips and opened the course to traffic. By mile 10, we all had to get up on the sidewalk. After 3 miles of dodging traffic, pedestrians and bikes and stopping for lights to cross the street, I knew I would not make the cutoff. I called it at mile 14, when it was just way too much to navigate traffic and the only way to know where to go was follow the trash.


This is the only picture I have that kinda shows what I was talking about. I didn’t really even notice that this water station was empty and they were folding up the tables. I was just happy I was hitting my paces and was feeling good. Hind sight…there was nobody there, just trash and people packing up. I snapped this picture and ran on as I had on me all the nutrition I needed – push on.


I was so disappointed, but I had a great Half. I ran one of my best half marathons in years…in fact, I PR’d every single mark along the way (fastest mile, 5K, 10K, 15K) and I had a BLAST in Paris.


What were my thoughts when I got to Mile 14 where my Mom, daughter and BFF were? I was crying. I was demoralized. I spent from mile 11-13.1 sprinting from block to block hoping I would have the lights in my favor but more often than not, I had to wait for the light to cross traffic. I kept losing time. I have never felt more alone – even with other runners struggling along with me – we were all silent in our thoughts. You could see it on our faces – the frustration, the mental juggling, the fighting off tears that would surly fall if we spoke out loud about this debacle.


                                   Team USA at the 5k Breakfast Run


My BFF, Val, was the first to call it for me with, “You said you do all this because you love it and it’s fun, right?”


“Yes”, I wail, slipping into hysteria.


“Nothing that you love and is fun should make you cry. We are done. Let’s find the metro and get some wine!”


Erin pulls out her iPad and gets the FireMarshall on FaceTime. She pans the area showing the traffic and debris and the man who made this journey possible was like “OH HELL NO! We are not running in a foreign country in traffic. You are done, now go and enjoy the rest of the trip.”


As we walked to the Metro, I was not the only one who called it, as there were many others on the platform and on the train. Alas…



If I had known that the course would shut down like that, I would have finagled my way into an earlier corral, like a few others did (and finished in 6:30) so I would have a closed course to run on and still make the finish.


Would I do it again? Probably not. Would I recommend the race? Yes. It’s beautiful, relatively fast/flat course – long gradual up hill, but it is a long gradual down hill too. However, take heed of what happened to me. If you are in the hare class – have at it. If you are in the turtle class, get yourself into an earlier corral (which means you have to “fudge” what time you plan on finishing or play dumb when you get there and sneak into an earlier corral – SIGH).


IMG_6790                  Champagne at the summit with the best support team ever!


What did I learn from this experience?

- This journey is MINE! As long as I’m having fun and achieving MY goals, I’ll keep on keeping on.

- Stop comparing myself to everyone else, their achievements and their milestones. It’s THEIRS. Mine are just as awesome!

- Do the things, distances, races that I want & love. Get better at those, move the goal post, PR & master those events before setting my sights on that sparkly bigger event just cause everyone around me is doing it. DO ME! FOR ME!


What’s up next…

Sunday – Columbia Half Marathon! (Race Ambassador in DA HOUSE!)

May 17 – Columbia Traithlon


Disney Glass Slipper Challenge 2015

770667_1014_0024First up on The TravelDiva’s race schedule was the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge – February 21-23.


WE HAD A BLAST! 19.3 leisurely miles over 2 days! Anytime MsPattey and I get together it is a raging, gut busting, hilarious, grown women gone wild adventure and this weekend was no exception.


Can’t you tell? Who else would dress up looking like a highlighter with a tiara on top when you were supposed to look like Princess Tiana, run half marathon after running a 10k the day before and still be all grins and giggles. Well, me and about 24 THOUSAND of my bestest friends.


This is the second year in a row that MsPattey and I have done this race. Last year we only did the Princess Half, but when we saw the people with 3 medals from the Glass Slipper challenge we HAD to do it! It’s all about the BLING! Nothing like looking for your car after the race clicking and clanging with all that BLINGAGE!





As for the races…Well, If you want to be all competitive, run for a time, PR or BQ then you best get in the 1st couple of corrals and not stop to take narry one pic or it ain’t gonna happen for you. NERP, NOPE, NOT A CHANCE. For the 10k, I tried to pause my watch every time I stopped to get an “accurate” running time. I did my best and may have been off only 2-3min. 10K was 1:29. I was happy with that. I wasn’t trying to do anything major and was enjoying the scenery, talking to people and having a good time. As for the half-marathon, I forgot to pause my watch ever. Just let it run because I was fixated with playing with my new GO PRO HERO 4 (which I accidently deleted all the video doing a software update – Live & Learn). I estimated, based on looking at the splits that we killed 30 min piddling around, taking pictures and having a great time. Watch 3:40, 3:10 is what I was expecting. GO ME!

                    770947_1195_0012 770958_1012_0021

So, what’s next for the dynamic duo…well, Disney announced that there will be the Inaugural Disney Paris Half Marathon and perhaps a Continent to Continent Medal in 2016. Sounds like just one of many MUST DO’s/MUST HAVE ALL THE BLING kinda thing to do for my 50th Birthday Year.


I put together another video slide show of the weekend. Enjoy.


REGISTRATION OPEN! Columbia Half Marathon & 5K










Rip It Events, LLC, a sports event management company, announces the launch of the 2015 Columbia Half Marathon & 5K. This race will be staged in Columbia, MD and will replace the void left from the cancellation of the spring IronGirl Columbia Half Marathon. The official charity for this event is Athletes Serving Athletes.


Basic RGB AthletesServingAthletes2

The inaugural Columbia Half Marathon will be on Sunday, April 26, 2015 and will use the same race route as the 2014 IronGirl Columbia Half Marathon. This race will be open to both men and women. A 5K race will follow after the start of the half marathon. Online registration for this race will open on Monday, February 2, 2015. A special low registration fee will be available for 48 hours.


Half Marathon Registration Fee - MedalIMage

$55.00 2/2 - 2/4 only

$70.00 2/5 through 3/31

$80.00 through 4/22

participants receive shirt & medal

5K Registration Fee -

$25.00 2/2 - 2/4 only

$30.00 2/5 through 3/31

$35.00 4/1 through 4/22

participants receive a shirt



"We are excited to offer this race continuing the tradition of a Howard County spring half marathon event. By adding a men's division, we hope to provide a racing opportunity for all endurance runners in the Howard County region."

- Danny Serpico, Rip It Events Owner


For more information about this event AND to register, visit: 



I plan on being there and getting in on that awesome low registration fee ~ how about you! Look for the victory arm raise. Who will be there with me?!!


GIVEAWAY: Reebok Spartan Race 2015

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Spartan Race now introduces a level for everyone beginning with the entry level Spartan Sprint, intermediate level Super Spartan, the advanced Spartan Beast, and the ‘99.9% need not apply’ extreme level Death Race. Whatever your level, Spartan Race will test your strength, stamina, and sense of humor.

Sound interesting. Looking for a new challenge? WAIT…THERE IS MORE!!!

The 2015 Season Pass is now ready for you to join! ANY RACE. ANYWHERE. ANY TIME. True Spartans don’t have limits. Join now for unlimited racing, special travel discounts and more. A no-brainer for those training for a TRIFECTA in 2015.

The 2015 World Championship Spartan Race will take place in Lake Tahoe, California in October 2015 with over $500,000 in cash and prizes to be awarded.

You can Cruise to the Course in March 2015. Sand, surf and obstacles await you on this one of a kind Spartan adventure. Join fellow Spartans March 6-9, 2015 when you'll be taken on a cruise liner from the Port of Miami to Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas for a first of it's kind Spartan Sprint! Can you say, "Best. Vacation. EVER!?" Don't Miss the Boat - Cabins are SellingFast!

SOOOOO!! Are you ready? Looking for that new challenge? How about a Spartan Race?
To learn more, check out http://www.spartan.com/ and #CHALLENGEACCEPTED
a Rafflecopter giveaway


ADDITIONALLYJoe’s podcast, “Spartan Up!” went live a few days ago and there is a launch contest running with tons of prizes  - http://www.spartanuppodcast.com/launch-contest/ 
They also just released a 50% off code for the Spartan cruise if you use the code Cruise50 
 And just for checking out the Spartan Races, I am giving away one free entry to ANY open heat in any 2015 Spartan Race in the continental US.