4 In a Row

I just came off a 4 week stretch of races every Saturday.  It was a very stupid thing to do.  I had great races, but I'm so wiped out right now.

4/19:   Indiana Spring Triathlon at Ball State University

300m Pool Swim 6:33, T1 2:22, 9.6 Mile Bike 32:07, T2 1:43, 5K Run 32:17*
TOTAL 1:15:04*

This race was a last minute add on.  It was a super sprint, so it was really short, and since it was run by America Multi-Sport, I got to race for free.   I am the Community Coordinator for AMS here in Richmond, and so often I'll show up early and help with Registration or some other set up task and then participate in events.  It's a great perk, but I'm finding out the lure of free registrations doesn't mix well with a training plan.

I had a good race. I screwed up my watch (Garmin 910XT) so I didn't have all the data I wanted when I was done, but apparently I got a PR on my 5K.  Some Wayne County Tri/Richmond peeps were there too.  Tiffany placed 2nd overall, and Kim won her age group.

Richmond Peeps

Me, Tiffany and Kim

 4/25:  Earlham College Triathlon

1600m Pool Swim 40:00, T1 4:45, 19.2 Mile Bike 1:16:55, T2 2:40, 10K Run 1:11:50*
TOTAL 3:16:10

This is one of the 2 events I had originally planned for this month.  The times don't look all that impressive, but it was 5:04 faster than in 2014 AND it was raining and cold.  The rain started towards the end of my first loop of the bike route and had stopped for the most part by the time I ran, but it was still cold and windy.  One of those races where you as yourself WTF am I doing???  In T2, I had to pour water out of my bike shoes.  

Embracing the Suck!

This was a small race on familiar roads, so it shouldn't have been a big deal except for the fact that there are 2 demon hills on the bike route, and I had only made it up the worst of the hills once in practice this year, and that was on a dry day.  I did make it up the hill both times thanks to determination, witnesses and the little chain ring (which I had completely forgotten about on the previous attempts).  There were about 20 participants in 2 waves.  In 2014, about 4 people from the second wave passed me, and they had started about an hour later.  This year, not a one, although there were threats.

Keith, one of the guys in the race, yelled "I'm coming for you Kearns!!" as I was midway through the run.  I knew he meant it too.  I had one of those epiphanies where I realized I didn't have to "save" anything for the run and if he passed me and I still had the ability to walk and/or breathe...then I didn't work hard enough.  So I busted ass...as only a 11:30 avg pace back-of-the-packer can.  Ended up finishing the last 2 miles under 11 minutes each...and PR'd my 10K.  I waited around for him to finish and gave him a big hug.  

AND...I could still walk and breath.  I guess I could have gone faster.

5/2:  One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon (aka Indy Mini)

13.1 Mile Run:  2:35:56*  (My watch 2:34:11)

Another free registration at the last minute. My training plan had a 12 mile run, so I figured WTH? and took the bib.  Jan is a new friend who is testing out the Triathlon waters.  She went with me and we had a really fun morning.  I had been warned that the course was crowded, and it was.  As a person who does run/walk intervals, I am always careful about looking behind me before I stop to walk.  Also I try to stay to the side, out of the way of runners.  There were 25,000+ people racing.  I'm making a rough estimate that 40% of the people needed walk breaks...so about 10,000 run/walkers.  Of those 10,000 I would guess that there were maybe 3 people that were also looking around to make sure they didn't dramatically stop right in front of me.

The highlight of the race was being able to meet up with Chrisy, one of my friends from Illinois, and also one of the pair of friends that started this whole "road to Ironman" crap.  They convinced us to walk a 1/2 Marathon in 2011.  The next year, I did the run/walk thing at the same race.  Anyway...Chrisy does the Indy Mini every year, so I got to see her at the Expo and then again race morning.

The highlight of the highlight of this is the picture below on the left.  Clearly it is creative camera angles, but I don't care.  I've wanted an "after" picture for so long that I'm going to take it and run with it!  Official race photos show that the fat rolls and big ass are still there, but this picture made me cry.  Baby steps.  Lots and lots and lots and lots of baby steps PAY OFF!!

"After" Me and Chrisy May 2015
"Before" Me, Angie & Chrisy  October 2012
And I can't forget to show pics of Jan and of my quick stop on the yard of Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  (My inner NASCAR nerd required it...go 48!)

Jan and I before
Jan and I after

Brush with greatness!

Anyway, I finished almost 19 minutes faster than the last 1/2 marathon in 2012.  Another PR!

5/9:  Muncie May Sprint Triathlon

400m OW Swim  7:51, T1 4:01, 13 Mile Bike 43:45, T2 2:15, 5K Run 34:34
TOTAL 1:32:28*

This was supposed to be an Olympic Distance race, and it was the very FIRST thing I wrote on my calendar for 2015.  Yet after 3 races on 3 consecutive Saturdays, I didn't have it in me anymore.  I was given lots of advice by experienced Ironmen, and was told if I stuck with the Oly, to not race it but just use it for training.  I didn't figure I would be very fast anyway, so the thought of going even slower did not appeal to me...so I dropped down to the Sprint, and proceeded to beat myself up over it for the entire week leading up to the race.  

It was one of the best decisions I made, because I found out how much my training has paid off.  I knew I was doing good, but I had it in my head that my previous best time on this course was 1:35:00ish.  I wanted to try for under 1:30:00 but it was really hot out by the time I ran, and my legs were not likeing the hills, so I just kept pushing to do my best and be as far under 1:35 as I could get.

I am confident that one of the reasons I was doing so well was that I was wearing my new Team IMF kit that I just got in the mail last week.  (One of the perks of begging everyone I know for fundraising help).

My Pass/Be Passed Ratio was 7:3.  Finally a positive ratio!!

At this point in the run, I still couldn't feel my legs off the bike.  I'm sure that's why I was smiling

Anyway, I finished the race with an official time of 1:32:28.  Since the rest of my group was racing the Olympic, I had time to kill before I had to watch for them to come in off the bike, so I looked up last year's results of the same race:  1:48:23.  ONE hour, FORTY-EIGHT minutes and TWENTY-THREE seconds.  I took 15:55 off of the same race on the same course exactly 1 year ago.


So, after beating myself up for a week on "wimping out" of the Olympic race, I instead crushed my previous race time.  I'm not beating myself up anymore.  I knew I would have done poorly on the Oly because I had over done it in the last few weeks.  But taking that much time off in a year showed me that my hard work is paying off.

I won't be the best, I won't be the fastest, I won't be the strongest...but...

I'm better, faster and stronger than I was.  <insert some sort of victory chant, fists raised in the air, super hero pose here>

Oh...and I made it to the podium too.  3rd in my Age Group (45-49) AND there were 8 women in it this time :)

3rd in my Age Group.  The first place winner told me she'd see me in June.  Crap...another race?  So soon???

 4 in a Row (or what NOT to do while Ironman Training)

It was a fun month but a very tough month.  I won't do that many consecutive races again because it completely disrupted my training schedule.  Racing is a blast.  It's fun to hang out with people that you don't know well, and get to know them better (Jan).  It's fun to see people from your past (Chrisy).  It's great to race with a training partner and see all those O'Dark Thirty runs pay off (Kim).  It is amazing when you realize basic threats and heckling will improve your performance (Keith).  But even when you don't kill yourself in a race, they take up time, energy and lots of brain power.  Not to mention all the time posting pics and comments to facebook...geesh...

Some other thoughts...
  • I survived 4 races on 4 Saturdays in a row.  
  • I managed to get PRs of some sort in all 4 races.
  • I am now completely worn out and will NEVER create a race schedule like that again...regardless of how free the registration is.
  • I will NOT put off training in bad weather because it could be worse on race day...get used to it.
  • I will ALWAYS check behind me before I stop to walk, because when you don't you are a douche. 
  • I will remember to pull my kit shirt down to minimize the fat rolls in pictures whenever I see a camera.
  • I will TRY to not think the black part of the Team IMF bottoms looks like an apron
  • I will stop beating myself up over "lack of progress"
  • I will make it through the next six months.
  • I WILL be an Ironman.

On November 7th I'm racing in Ironman Florida 2015 on behalf of the Ironman Foundation.  Any donation big or small is appreciated!  Check out the "Donate" page above, or click on this link to contribute!  THANK YOU !


  1. You will be an Iron(wo)man!!! Great job, Steph! So proud of you!


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