Guess Who’s Back?

Well, it’s been quite the hiatus but I am back and ready to train.  The wrist is fully healed, my legs are nice and rested, and I am antsy for another go in the Hudson.  Consider this my formal promise – in writing, no less – that I will be swimming, biking, and running (crawling?) my way to another New York City Triathlon finish line in July.  And you all get first row seats to my training!  (Sorry – I’m not sure what contest you lost, but I’ve seen worse consolation prizes ūüėČ )

This year will be a little different.  While Team in Training remains an organization that is very near and dear to me, I will now be fundraising  for Farm Sanctuary.  As stated on their website: “We rescue, rehabilitate, and provide lifelong care for hundreds of animals who have been saved from stockyards, factory farms, and slaughterhouses. At our three shelters, rescued residents are given the care and love they need to recover from abuse and neglect. All of the animals enjoy nourishing food, clean barns, and green pastures each and every day.”

I mean, come on!  How could you not love this place??  I’ve visited their sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY and fell in love with all the animals – animals who are living the lives they are meant to be living.  Check out some of these beauties:

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What also makes Team Farm Sanctuary great is that we are a team of vegan athletes – proof that one can be healthy, strong, and competitive without eating meat or using and exploiting animals in the process.

Stay tuned!  We’re in for quite the ride together ūüôā

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NYC Tri, 2015 – Over Before It Began

I can’t believe I am writing this but here we go:

I had a little bike accident over the weekend and broke my left wrist in a pretty bad place (scaphoid) and fractured part of my right hand (trapezoid ridge).  Luckily the fracture in my right hand is too small to require immobilization but I have a cast on my left arm.  A giant purple cast.  Yup.

What can I say –¬†when I do something I do it big.¬† Can’t take that away from me!

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The bad news is (if you haven’t already guessed) I have¬†to watch the NYC Triathlon from the sidelines this¬†year.¬† That’s it.¬†To say I’m bummed is a gigantically huge understatement and it still hasn’t completely hit me yet. ¬†No Hudson River. No cheering crowds. No finish line glory.¬† No heart beating and out of breath sense of accomplishment.¬† Six months of training and it’s over – just like that.

My first reaction was that I had nothing to show for all the hard work I put into the last 6 months, and hearing the doctor tell me that the triathlon was out of the question hurt so much more than the actual injuries. But looking back, I really did learn a lot.  My swimming is so much better and more efficient.  My running is faster.  Biking seems to have gotten the best of me for now but lessons were learned there, too Рlessons that will stay with me and only help me after I get back on my feet.

Also, I had so much support from you all throughout training and, maybe most importantly, helped raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Р$3,590, in fact!  Thank you, I am so appreciative.

But part of the deal was that I do the training and hard work and you donate, right?¬† I am working with Team in Training (TNT) to transfer to another event.¬† Maybe the NYC Marathon?¬† Maybe the Nation’s Triathlon in DC? I don’t know yet, and that will depend on how fast I heal and can get back into the swing of things.¬† I’ll know more in 2 weeks when I get more X-rays and a CAT scan.¬† Worst case scenario: I defer my NYC Tri entry to next year.¬†If a donor feels a certain way about me not doing the tri this year, I can arrange for you to get your donation back –¬†but please remember the cause; LLS is fantastic and really doing some great things.¬† And I’ll still do an event.¬† Just not the one¬†in 2 weeks.

I guess that’s all for now, folks.¬† But stay tuned – you know what they say:

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I’m on it, and I’m coming back.¬† Today a spectator, tomorrow a finisher.¬† And in the meantime, TNT just got one more cheerleader.¬† I’ll be wearing my purple and cheering for my team!

Entering the Home Stretch!

17 days – thats it! In 17 days I will swim a mile in the Hudson River, ride 25 miles and run 6.2 in the NYC triathlon in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! And I am ready (for the most part- I do plan to get out on that bike a couple more times for some long rides. But THEN I’ll be ready!). Swimming isn’t nearly as concerning for me as it was last year; in fact, it might be my favorite event now. Yes, even before running! (I can’t believe I just said that.)

Yesterday was¬†the fundraising deadline and I am still a bit away from my goal. But the good news is that donations will still be accepted through July 8th so there is still some time if you haven’t already donated! Please click the link below and consider donating to such a great cause. Do it because everyone, in some way, is affected by cancer. Do it because swimming in the Hudson River is crazy and you support my insanity. Do it because it was just¬†payday, or because you are SO happy that this is the last time you will read a post from me begging for money. Do it to change someone’s world. Every penny counts!¬† Here is my fundraising page: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyctri15/Meredith

And also watch this super short¬†video of my experience from last year’s triathlon.¬†http://magis.to/eisiTEQHAgd6LnEBDmEwCXh7?l=vsm&o=i&c=m

Two things stand out in that video:

1. I had SO MUCH FUN.  Those smiles are so incredibly real and I plan on having even more fun this year!

2.¬† I need to actually purchase race photos so not all my pictures say “proof” across them.

Ok, want to hear more about training?

On Sunday I ran in the Achilles Hope and Possibilities run, which is probably the most inspiring race on the NY Road Runners calendar. Achilles International was founded by Dick Traum, the first above-the-knee amputee¬†to finish the NYC marathon! (actually, I think he was the first amputee, period.¬† Forget the above-the knee part!)¬†He refused to let his disability hold him back and wanted others to feel the same and so he founded the organization.¬† According to their website, “Able-bodied volunteers and disabled runners come together to train in an environment of support and community. Within this community, runners gain measurable physical strength and build confidence through their sense of accomplishment, which often transfers to other parts of their life.”¬† Awesome, right?¬† And Jon Stewart hosted!

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The race itself was fantastic. 5 miles through Central Park with 3,317 other runners of all different shapes and sizes and abilities. This is one race that really encourages you to give it your all; we ran with runners with prosthetic legs, blind runners who were being led by Achilles guides, wounded war veterans, and runners with other physical impairments. Everyone. Together.

photo 1 A before picture Рjust seconds away from the starting horn!

It was a cloudy and humid 64 degree morning, but the spirit of the event made everyone forget about the looming¬†thunderstorm that was threatening us and¬†everyone seemed excited and happy to be there.¬† I know I was¬†– and¬†I was even happier when I realized that¬†we wouldn’t be running Harlem Hill!¬†¬†God that’s a great feeling.¬† I was happy with my overall time.¬†¬†Here are my splits:

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And some obligatory after photos:

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Other than that, I’ve been running on my own and with Team in Training (TNT), swimming even more, and biking a bit – soon to be much more as we head into the home stretch. Despite having done TNT last year, I have learned so much during this year’s training. My coaches and teammates have had some invaluable advice and I am going into the triathlon with so much more knowledge and confidence than last year, plus the added advantage of having done it before.

I’m ready for you, Hudson River!!

No Guts, No Glory!

Someone once said that “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” Well, having had all three yesterday, I can tell you it is a true statement (though I prefer sweat and salt water).

Yesterday my NYC triathlon team and I took on Coney Island with a vengeance as we completed our first open water swim practice of the season.

7:30am, Coney Island, triathlete states of mind.

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(Picture stolen from TNT teammate C. Oh)

I had a new wetsuit to test out – Orca 5S, this year’s version of the fabulous one I had last year – and was excited to see how it compared.

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Just like last year, we got into the frigid water and acclimated ourselves to everything – the temperature, the waves, the murkiness, the flailing limbs around us – before we started actually swimming. And just like last year I had trouble putting my head into the water. WTF!? The amount of expletives going through my mind for the first 20ish mins was enough to make a sailor blush and I was at a total loss. I wasn’t panicking like last year, which was a plus, but I was frustrated, mad and confused as to why it was not as easy as I expected. So I swam with my head up.¬† Ugh.

Then it was time for a 30 minute continuous swim. Ok, I thought, do it like you know you can – like you’ve done it before – and get out of the water feeling good and confident, or continue being a scared little p**sy and this whole thing is for nothing and a waste of time. Up to you.

Good pep talk, right? But it worked and I tuned everything else out – the other people all around me (Boyfriend included because he was doing great and didn’t need me worrying about him), the waves, my foggy goggles, the sunburn that was inevitably going to be on half of my face because I am a left side only breather, all of it – and slowly but surly got my head in that ocean. And once I did, everything started working like it was supposed to. My body became horizontal which helped me to glide through the water better, my arms were calm, my legs didn’t kick in overdrive, my breath was rhythmic and natural, and I actually¬†felt fantastic. (And that new wetsuit did an awesome job!) I remembered key swimming techniques that I had recently learned and just focused on those. By the end of the 30 minutes my hands were numb from the cold water but I felt good – which was a huge improvement from this time last year!

Little victories.¬† I’ll take them anywhere I can get them.

And speaking of swimming, last week Boyfriend and I spent two days at Hungry Ghost Guest House in New Paltz. Known as a vegan “active retreat”, Hungry Ghost is owned and operated by athletes/super awesome couple, Mike and Petra Trunkes, who encourage swimming, biking, running, and a variety of other outdoor activities (which happen to be a few of our favorite things!) We took about 5 hours of Total Immersion (TI) swimming lessons with Mike. Because the lessons are taught in a small pool with a wave machine that makes a current to essentially keep you in one spot, TI focuses on mindful practice so that changes and corrections in swimming can be made immediately. There were also mirrors on the inside of the pool and cameras so that we could watch our technique and immediately see what needed to be tweaked. Seriously – it was fantastic, Mike was a great teacher and the two were the best hosts!! (Not to mention Petra’s chocolate chip and banana pancakes with apple compote were out of this world!) I have a strong feeling we’ll be back in New Paltz very soon for an open water swim or tune-up before the triathlon. While we were there, we also took advantage of being so close to the mountains and ran around Lake Minnewaska. Here are some highlights:

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Ok that’s it for now! Please keep me motivated by donating to my fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as I continue to train. Right now I am 59% of the way to my goal and need your help to keep the momentum going. Let’s do this together! http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyctri15/Meredith

Did you miss these?

Awwww yeah. It’s almost¬†that time again!¬†I woke up to this pretty little email yesterday:

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Ok, almost time to stop¬†slacking off.¬† Almost time to pick up where I ended in August.¬† Almost time to refocus and¬†get back into training mode.¬†It’s real again.¬†(Seriously – they charged my credit card for the entry fee yesterday.¬† If that doesn’t slap you in the face, make it real¬†and¬†force you to¬†feel that triathlete beast mode power¬†slowly return, then maybe nothing will!)¬† I’ll officially get back into the pool in January, and the rest will follow shortly after.

So what have I been up to since the last triathlon, you ask?  Oh, you know, just taking it easy.

10 miles here…

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A half marathon there…

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A few epic bike rides…

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Lots of Muay Thai…

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And some¬†hiking adventures to unknown corners of the world (ie: Vermont) ūüėČ

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Since I got into the triathlon through the lottery, I’m in – I don’t have to go through a charity like I did last year to get entry.¬† But that would be selfish, right?¬†That would be a waste of¬†doing what I can to help better the life of someone in need.¬† And so¬†I am going to team up with Team in Training again and, just like before, raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.¬†Last year I raised over $6,500 and am hoping to do the same in 2015.¬† Together,¬†my TNT triathlon¬†team¬†raised over $1 million for LLS and had an amazing time doing it.¬† Let’s see what 2015 has in store.

Stay tuned –¬†the ride is just beginning.