Thursday, September 26, 2013

Training & Racing with Macca - You can too!

Training for a 70.3 in the midst of a trans-atlantic move while trying to adapt to altitude...

Seem like a great idea eh?  Almost as brilliant as my marathon the week after Ironman, but once again, what the hell it will be an adventure.

First off the Race!  So I'm going to be racing Miami Man Triathlon, after a training camp with Chris "Macca" McCormack.  Always a blast meeting up with Macca at these races and downing a few beers afterwards.  Miami Man looks like a very cool course, with the run going through the Miami Zoo!  Now if only they let a few wild animals loose I would definitely PR.

Its weird being back into intense training again.  The last year has been a very much an aerobic focus with very little work around threshold and above.  Training specifically for a 70.3 means a 180 in training focus.  Hello pain cave!  Instead of the distance being the hard part, its now the intensity.  I forgot what it felt like to get my HR into the 190's and actually have my legs burning and screaming to stop!

You know what though?  It will be worth it...when I win Miami Man ;)  I'm going to race balls to the wall hard.  I haven't raced like that all year, everything has been held back a bit, in the sprints early in the year I didn't know what it meant to suffer on the bike so I didn't push as hard as I could, previous 70.3's I forgot how much I can hurt during a run and still make it to the end.  

I'm running some paces I never thought possible right now, but more important, I'm remember what it really means to suffer with intensity. The training has been even better mentally than physically for building up that strength.  Its the last race of the season, I want to find my limits, flirt with that red line. 

I absolutely cracked mentally on one of those runs yesterday, I used to run every run at that intensity when I was rolling with a group of runners much faster than me in Texas.  So need to keep working on that mental toughness,  remember that I can run like that and not explode, and not be afraid of paces. 

I'll need all the mental strength I can get because the physical stuff is going to be less than ideal.

Heres the breakdown of what makes this tricky: 

I'm moving from Scotland to Denver Colorado, USA.

Scotland is at Sea level, Denver is a mile high (about 5300ft) and goes up from there. High enough that training has to be significantly backed of in intensity and volume for 2-3 weeks to let my body adapt to the elevation or else I risk serious overtraining/adrenal fatigue all that fun stuff.  Which is not an ideal situation a month out from a race.

I have about a week and a half starting this weekend where I have to travel from Scotland, to Vancouver to visit the embassy, then on to Calgary to visit family and then to temporary living (still to be determined where) in Denver.  So I pretty much can't do anything but run during that time because bike will be boxed up for plane travel every 2nd day and pools will be hard to come by with no means of transportation.

Essentially I have the rest of the week to train hard, in the middle of packing and moving, then its a crap shoot up to race day.  I'm curious to see how elevation will affect my body, both going up there and then back down to sea level for the race.  You hear horror stories of coming down from elevation at the wrong time, and being completely powerless when you go up, it will be an experience for sure.  I hear carbs help at elevation...and they have some great IPA's over is carbs ;)

Ah well guess I'll be Embracing the Suck, should be fun ;)  I cant wait.

Another very cool part of this race I get the opportunity to meet a number of members from the MaccaX triathlon team.  Now this is a wild group, from all over the world, and already there is an agreement that what happens in Miami, stays in Miami!  

Read more about the team and how to get involved here if you want to meet up with "The Boss" Chris Macca McCormack - Train with Macca

Thats my rambling for now, time to escape the chaos of this house and try to get a swim in.  Wish me luck!

Feeding the ducks that hang out in our front yard for the last time :(
Good-bye house, Good-bye Scotland.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Directions - Moving to a new Country!

Life as always is going at a million miles per hour, at this point just trying to hang on for the ride!

As I'm typing this my house is being taken over by boxes, we are officially leaving Scotland!  It was such a short stay here, we have been here a year and 10 days.  It was very cool living overseas, exploring such a beautiful country with such a colourful history.  As well as having the opportunity to race around Europe, and sample European beers :)

I've been fortunate to travel a ton here, and have raced in Scotland, England, Spain, Sweden & Canada this year.

I am moving to..... *DRUMROLL* Denver, Colorado, USA!!

I cant express how excited I am for this move, it came along at the perfect time and is the right location.
Sea of Boxes!

Couple of major benefits:

1) Direct flight home to Calgary.  Visiting family once a year, having to travel almost a full day to get there makes it very tough.  Technology is an fantastic tool to stay in touch but not as good as quality time in person.
2) Close to Boulder ;)  With my recent triathlon obsession what better place to be living and training than at elevation with world champions training just a few miles away?
3) Mountains & Sunshine.  I love you Scotland, but seasons of Rain, colder rain, warmer rain, greyish fog I wont miss so much.  I've missed playing in the Rocky mountains (although the Canadian side before) and cant wait to explore them in a new way with running and biking.
4) Staying in one place!!! The plan is to stay in Denver for a number of years, instead of moving every 1-2 years like we have been doing.  4 moves in 4 years from Calgary, AB -> Grande Prairie, AB -> Texas -> Scotland I'm ready to buy a house and settle down for a while.

So I'm thrilled, and sad at the same time.  Its going to be a few months of chaos from heading to Canada to get work permits, to heading down to Denver living in temporary housing until we find a house to buy down there and start to normalise again.

Since triathlon is such a logistically easy sport to manage and train for (not!)....I decided to sign up for one last race a 70.3.  I was a little disappointed with the mechanical at Ironman and want to have one last hit out for the season.  More details to come in the next blog, but I'll be training and racing with Chris "Macca" McCormack

Tomorrow I'll update on my next race and attempt to train at altitude!  Until then some pictures of Scotland.

The view from my doorstep, I'm going to miss waking up to this!

The sea side, I loved living near the water, even if it was so cold I couldn't feel my fingers and toes after a few minutes

Downtown Aberdeen

Castles, real live castles everywhere!

Trail from my doorstep

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Challenge Penticton Part 2 - Race & Party with Legends!

Part 2!  Check out the past 2 weeks with Ironman Kalmar, and Challenge Penticton Part 1

On to Race Day

So goal for this marathon was to cruise through it, without destroying myself.  My last race of the season will be a marathon in about 6 weeks (if I happen to be in the right country at the time).  So I can’t annihilate myself here and have to take a ton of recovery time after this one. 

So up at 4:30am just like a typical race day…unlike a typical race day I have no idea when I will be starting!  So head down to Penticton, meet up with my team, and we watch the pro race start then its 2 hours until the relay team start.   My mom and grandma drove me down so I relaxed over coffee with them for a few hours, its very cool having family at a race, I’ve never raced in Canada before.

The day consisted of watching the pro’s come in and out of transition, Macca up front out of the water onto the bike, sun tanning and cheering.  It was fantastic to see the local guy Jeff Symonds come across the line to take the win covered in blood after crashing on his bike!  An inspirational performance.

(This racing stuff is hard :p Suntanning in the middle of a race)

Felt like a super star, walking into transition with Graeme I hear over the loud speaker “There goes team “Embrace the Suck” racing for Macca, their runner Jenna-Caer is here all the way from Scotland“ 

Then was the wait

Sitting in the relay hand off zone waiting for our biker to come in (who crushed it!).  All of the sudden he’s running into transition and my heart rate jumps, time to find out what these legs have left.

Now I ran for 15 minutes total the last week, I have zero idea what my legs will do, just have to stay steady.  My HR monitor wouldn’t connect so had to run it off feel, I’ve spent so much time running at MAF that was no problem, I knew it wouldn’t be MAF pace though because of the damage from Ironman.

I get out there and my legs feel ok…for about a mile.  I knew it couldn’t be that easy, so dialed it into low end of MAF effort and cruised.   I have never had so much fun at a race!  I must have high five’d hundreds of people, danced when they had music pumping, gave a couple bangs of the drums when they had drummers set up.  I cheered for people running around me, and yelled out thanks to aid stations and supporters on course, and gave about a million thumbs up.  I had it easy I was just doing the marathon, I remember that feeling during the marathon in Ironman and tried to pump up some people doing the full, at least make them smile.    

It was by no means easy its still 42.2 km my feet hurt, legs felt like I was running through mud at times, I could feel how Ironman broke me down.  The course was WAY hillier than I thought, you were rarely going flat it was up or down.  My Garmin said 2500ft of climbing, weather was just under 30 degrees & 1st half was straight out into a draining headwind. When I was training in Texas that would be no issue, but I don’t think its gotten over 18 here in Scotland! So my body doesn't love the heat like it used to.  However none of that mattered, I had a blast, took in the energy of the crowd and gave back everything I could.

(I don't think I've ever smiled so much at a race)
The Finish Line:

This was by far the coolest part, and I would definitely recommend Challenge Races for this aspect alone.  It felt fantastic to finish a race not feeling completely broken and could run strong across the finish line.  Challenge lets people cross the line with you so I met my teammates in the finishing shoot and we head across together.  Now Challenge makes you feel like a pro, for every finisher they draw the tape across the finishing arch so you get to break through it like the winners! 

One of these days I will break that tape because I won the race, but that wasn’t today so it was a cool feeling.

Felix was right in the finishing shoot and congratulates you as you cross the line, then they have volunteers guide you through to get finishing pic/medals/shirts/food.  Full service finish line!

(So happy to still be standing & smiling at the finish line!)

Team Embrace the Suck Results:

Overall – 10:46:12
Graeme – 1:27:02 – on a day most pro’s were over an hour!!
Kevin – 5:40:55 – crushed the heat and hills
Me – 3:35:35
Transition – 1:35, 1:06 - I need to get my transition times to these!

(Team Embrace the Suck)

I was happy with that time my marathon PR is 3:34 and I destroyed myself to hit that time 10 months ago, 8th fastest run not too shabby.

The After Party!

Have to prioritise recovery!  Met up with Macca, Scott (his awesome manager) and another legend Lothar Leder (first ever triathlete to go sub 8 hours!) and text the team to come down to the Casino bar.  It was great hearing about more of the European side of racing and early days when they did some crazy things. Couch surfing and living out of cars, travelling to countries they didn’t speak the language in just to hit another string of back to back races.  Its inspirational to see that attitude of either they will be the best and succeed or crash and burn, putting everything on the line to reach their dream.  Thats how greatness is achieved, that unwavering belief in yourself and willingness to fail completely for the chance of success.

(From Left to right Scott, Macca, Kevin, Graeme, Lothar, Me)

We then hit up the finish chute for a while so they could hand out medals and cheered on people coming across around 16 hours.  The mental strength to be out there that long is astonishing, and still there was a crowd cheering the finishers, the support from the town of Penticton was fantastic.  Another shot of recovery fluids, and an unforgettable day came to a close.

I couldn't eat much after the race, so ended up waking up at 5am starving!  Luckily I had inadvertently prepared for hotel was attached to a Denny's!! 24 hour diner with the best breakfast food, so enjoyed a Grand Slam with everything drowned in maple syrup (noticing a trend here?).

The next week was a blast of spending time with my family, and heading down to my hometown of Calgary to see some friends.  Zero working out, a few drinks and eating whatever I wanted, for a mental and physical break.  Starting to run again this week, things are feeling a little stiff and tight but I’m sure they will smooth out after a few runs.  Luckily I recover quickly and should be feeling good soon, I’m just happy to be running again.  I’ve been craving some solid workouts ;)

(Getting to spend some time with my sisters)

(Sometimes its fun to go fast with the help of an engine - Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder)

Until next time…Carpe Diem.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Challenge Penticton Part 1 - coffee with Mark Allen & Macca

Then adventure continues…read the first part of my week racing Ironman Kalmar here

Onto the next week which involved 24 hours at home, 50 hours of travel, 1 tattoo, 26.2 miles, 1 awesome relay team, meeting 3 legends - Chris “Macca” McCormack, Mark Allen & Lothar Leder. 

So I finish Ironman and straight into recovery mode because what sounds like a better idea than resting? A marathon at Challenge Penticton the weekend after!  First up recovery protocol, pay close attention because this is very scientific. 

Step 1: Chocolate…that’s all I wanted in the food tent, everything else the thought of made my stomach turn.  Luckily they had stocked it with a variety of quality chocolate for me to gorge myself on.  Mmm especially the hazelnut cream truffles.
Step 2: Beer.  A conveniently placed pub right by the finish line provided the recovery fluids I required, if I’ve learned anything from Macca its that plenty of post race hydration is important and beer is a great delivery system.
Step 3: Big juicy hamburger with fries.  I just crave this after races, and again one of the few things that don’t turn my stomach after a day of sports drink.

Recovery – Check.

As for the next 7 days before the Challenge Penticton Marathon, recovery and preparation involved one 15 minute run, 8 hours of travel back to Scotland, 1 tattoo, 23 hours of flights and lay overs to Canada, compression up to my eye balls, and wine.  I was taking this very seriously :p

So the question I get most often - why the hell would you do a marathon the week after your first Ironman?

Well Macca had set up a relay team for the first Challenge Penticton race to represent MaccaX.  Originally Macca was going to do the swim leg, until Ironman took over Copenhagen causing him to drop out and decide to do the full race at Penticton.  Things got shuffled around and then unfortunately their runner had to drop out which left them a leg short a couple weeks out from the race.  Knowing that my family is around there he asked if I would be able to jump in last minute to take over the run leg, how could I say no?  I was wondering how that conversation would go with my husband and my coach, so I know I’m doing my first Ironman in a few days…what do you think about a marathon the week after?  A few incredulous conversations and I had buy in from both...well maybe not buy in…more like a “You’re insane, but have fun” kind of response.

So I was in.  At the very least it will be a fun time, a great story, and this time I was determined to cross the finish line standing up.

Unpack, repack, and hit the airport. 

 (Given up packing nicely at this point)

The best part of this race was that there was zero stress, zero expectations so I could enjoy the pre race atmosphere.  Such a stark difference from the week before.

First up on Thursday hit the expo and get to meet my relay team!  It has been so cool going to races around the world and already knowing people at these races, but great to meet them in person.  So we head to the registration tent and….the team doesn’t exist.  What?  We are definitely not signed up for the race, ok send off a message to Macca hopefully they can get us signed up before race day!  After that we cruise around looking at all the goodies, barely containing whipping out the credit card at every tent.  Ohh and they had my Shiv there…by my Shiv I mean the one I’ve been drooling over and dreaming about replacing my entry level bike with, a bike that wont break on me!

(Kick ass team!)


Gotta love small towns, end up running into Macca at the end of his bike ride checking out the run course (which he neglected to tell me how hilly it was!) so let him know about the team and he said he would get it sorted out.  Next day we met him at registration and team “Embrace the Suck” was born.

(Macca & Team Embrace the Suck)

Then I got to meet one of the biggest legends of triathlon, Mark Allen.  He was around promoting Mark Allen online, and I was invited along when him and Macca went for coffee. I’m fascinated with this sport and want to learn as much as possible so this was entertaining just to hear about the old days and the politics of triathlon.
(Coffee with legend Mark Allen)

On to Race Day

…Tomorrow.  This has become so long I will have to break it up, so stay tuned tomorrow for part 2!  The race, and after party with Macca and Lothar Leder.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ironman Kalmar Race Report

This last two weeks has been an adventure that I'm struggling to put into words, from Ironman Kalmar in Sweden to Challenge Penticton in Canada a week later.  I'll break it out into 2 or 3 posts, so stay tuned for stories of a few pints with legends of Triathlon Mark Allen, Chris "Macca" McCormack and Lothar Leder.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away.....I Embraced the Suck

Jenna-Caer Seefried You ARE an Ironman 10:56

I craved hearing those words, I imagined them as those long rides and long runs piled up.  At the end of the day it wasn't those words that satisfied me it was a day of overcoming challenges to accomplish what I had worked so hard for that was the most fulfilling.  It was also crazy to be in a country that my mom's side is from, I remember as a girl my Grandma trying to teach me some Swedish...I wish I had paid more attention!

First off, the day didn't quite go to plan, but I've heard that planning Ironman is like trying to land a man on the moon - by remote control - blindfolded.  It took me a little bit to get over not racing to my physical capacity, to know that I should have been able to win my AG fairly comfortably.  But then I looked back on my expectations before the race, when I started this I thought it was crazy to believe I could come in under 13 hours.

2 Days before the race:

Ok I hadn't planned travel too well, getting to Kalmar involved driving 2 hours to Edinburgh, then a 2 hour flight to Copenhagen, followed by a 3.5 hour train ride to Kalmar.  Next time I wont cheap out on the travel.  The train was the stressful part.  Apparently only part of the train was going to Kalmar, trying to figure out if we were on the right train, finding a spot for the bike that didn't piss people off and which carriage we had to be in made it hectic and we arrived at 11:30pm.

Day before the race:

Still no nerves just waiting for race day.

It was 1.5 miles to the expo from the hotel, so kept my legs moving checking out the expo and registering.  Totally off topic...walking is tough!  I walked 3 miles and my feet were aching!  I can do a 22 mile long run and my feet feel fine, no soreness, but walking is a whole other story...speaks to specificity.

Back on track - I had missed the pre race athlete meeting the day before...hopefully I didn't miss anything important figure as long as I don't screw up the order and try to bike run swim I should be ok.  Kalmar was adorable, pastel painted houses, families riding around on bicycles and cobblestone roads, it was just what I pictured.

(There were barely any cars around, everyone cruised around on bicycles! You never see this in North America)

The special pre race dinner at the hotel was some cold pasta and spaghetti sauce.  Luckily I brought along some provisions, some oatmeal with peanut butter cinnamon and maple syrup...yummy my favourite.  I slept like a baby that night, still wasn't feeling nervous, I felt ready and knew the day would come faster if I slept.  So bed at 9pm and out like a light.

Race Day

3:30am Alarm goes off.  Breakfast at 4 am - I cant say I'm too strict on what I eat race morning, I have a general guideline but eat what looks appetising.  Luckily I seem to manage my stomach pretty well during races.  This mornings breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon, peanut butter and real Canadian maple syrup (all of which I brought from home), some cherry juice that looked good, pineapple, an egg, and the secret weapon a few cookies!  And coffee, oh the coffee...I didn't have any coffee race week so that I would be more sensitive to the caffeine and that hit of caffeine felt sooo good.  Especially since the Swede's make it high octane!

(I'm tellin ya its all about the cookies)

The Swim

(A bizarre two loops of a triangle like shape, followed by a half circle...I get lost in out and back swims!)

Ah there are those familiar butterflies, just in time the nerves have showed up, but luckily the butterflies waited until after I had digested my breakfast so stomach was feeling solid.

Wedging myself into wetsuit is always nerve wracking, whether in a race or practise I feel claustrophobic and know that an open water swim is to follow.  I struggle a little more than usual to put it on, hands shaking a little bit thinking about the day ahead, but take my time to make sure that I have extra room in the shoulders and everything is where it should be.

Getting into the water was surreal, I had seen so many videos about Ironman starts, trying to imagine what it will be like to have 2000 other athletes in the water with me, what the washing machine will feel like as that cannon goes off and we all start on our individual fight to conquer Ironman.  I warmed up again like I imagine the pro's do, head in the water blowing bubbles, trying not to hyperventilate.  Thats about as far as my swimming lessons went so anything after that is anybodies guess.  I just wanted to get on my bike.  The water was so dark that I had to ask myself if I was closing my eyes when I put my head in the water.

 I don't know that I even heard the cannon, all of the sudden the water was churning around me, so I followed suit.  I started in a moderately aggressive position hoping to catch feet as they went by.  My biggest goal was to get out of the swim without expending too much energy and not getting too off course.  The first I did, the latter I'm not too sure.  The swim course we were advised was 3.96km not that I needed the extra distance, but I'm sure I tacked some onto that.  It was craziness the whole time was just in a crush of people it was hard to move forwards or backwards, and I seemed to keep getting caught behind people doing the breastroke!  My plan to draft didn't go so well but amazingly stayed calm and no panic attack in the water, 2nd time in a race!  The wind had picked up and there was a lot of chop on the water, once again like Barcelona was swimming either up or down, made my limited sighting ability more obvious, as I took on water trying to sight at the bottom of a wave.

1:28:33 - I survived and was so damned happy to be out of the water.

The Bike 5:36:29

I took my time in transition trying to make sure I had everything on the bike.  Once my feet were clipped in and we were on the road I was ecstatic.  My stomach however...not so much.  I had swallowed a fair bit of water and the first hour of the bike couldn't take much in as it was threatening to come back up, stayed calm, sipped when I could and eventually it evened itself out.  I felt phenomenal on the bike, watts were coming easily, and without the brutal scottish roads, and not having to wear a rain jacket my speed was faster than in training and HR was right where it should be, low end of MAF.  I was just cruising, then we hit the Island, and the crosswinds began!  It was tiring fighting to keep the bike going in a straight line, the loop was a rectangle with crosswinds on the long edge, with wide open planes so nothing to shield you from it.  All I could do is continue to battle it and stay within myself, I did get a little boost in this section though!  I had a team mate recognise me and give a little motivation as he went by, that gave a mental boost.

I spent most of the bike ride just spot checking, how's my HR, can I take in more calories, am I pedalling efficiently, where is my power output.  At 110km I got this hit of energy and just felt on top of the world, I smiled at all the crowds on the bike course, gave thumbs up to eveyrone who cheered.  I learned that any energy you gave the the crowd you got back 10 fold.  It was feeling too easy everything was right on target...little did I know what was to come...

At this point I was averaging over 21mph, heart rate was low end of zone 2 so well within where I could sustain all day and run fresh.

Then my seat dropped, I hit a wicked bump and my seat dropped nearly to the bottom.  It wouldn't stay up.  This happened 30 miles from the finish, longest 30 miles of my life.  It went from feeling like a comfortable ride to hips burning when I tried to push the pedals.  I was using completely different muscles to push the pedals, ones I needed to run well, an they burned because they had never been asked to do this before.

It actually hurt riding my bike, I tried to alternate standing and sitting but it just burned, so backed the power and speed way off and just tried to limp into transition hoping to still run well.

The Run - 3:39

Pain.  In training I always feel fantastic off the bike, even on rides where I'm holding higher watts than what I race at, its easier to run than to stop running, I can hold 7:40 pace all day with HR at Zone 2.  So I had some high expectations for this run.

Unfortunately I stressed out some vital muscles in my new bike position specifically the hip flexors, I got off my bike and I was limping they hurt so much.  But pain I can run through.  So I took time in transition tried to stretch so I could run upright and got out there.  I was finishing this no matter what.

I stopped to stretch a few times, walked the aid stations and just tried to keep the pain in check.  It hurt but I could grit my teeth and keep going.  Around mile 13 the pain started to go away and I started to loosen up...little did I know I would wish the pain would come back, at least I could run with it.

On the bright side, energy and stomach were solid the whole race.  I took in more than planned on the bike because stomach felt good, and way more on the run, but both of those could be because of the lower intensity on the bike and run that I do in training.  2000 cal on the bike and about 700 on the run.

Enter the Leaning tower of Kalmar (as it was dubbed by a friend).  My right side seized up, it didn't hurt, the muscles just contracted and it took everything I had to try to stay upright, I was crunching my left abs and obliques trying to straighten up, but they started to fatigue and give in they couldn't fight the opposing muscles.  So I just ran.

(Cant straighten up because it hurts, but still upright)

(About 6 miles from the finish, the leaning has started, I'm fighting to stay upright)

(Abs and obliques on the left side have completely given in I can fight the lean so just trying to run without falling)

That last 7 miles were the longest of my life, I have run that distance so many times.  It was so hard my head was screaming at me to straighten up and run, but my muscles just wouldn't respond.  So frustrated because I still had energy, stomach was strong, head was in the right place but I couldn't fight the lean.  I lost that race in the last 7 miles.  The last mile took me over 11 minutes, I could see the finish line, but I kept falling over into the barriers, I was completely off balance, and could barely stay on my feet.  Apparently it looked like I bonked hard, but I still had plenty of fuel and energy.  I was caught a few times by the crowd and had to fight off assistance.  I could see that finish line.  I watched 1st & 2nd place run by me in those last 7 miles.  I should have been miles ahead.

I stumbled across that finish line and was told to stop and was put on a stretcher.  I couldn't even straighten up for my finish line photo.

Honestly I was upset at the finish line.  I had had harder training days physically and had a lot left in the tank energy wise, I knew what I was capable of and a mechanical made it a tough pill to swallow crossing the finish line much slower than I thought.  However it did feel so good to cross that finish line, and to have the confirmation that mentally I have what it takes for this race.  When my body was failing there wasn't any thought of stopping, just my head screaming at me to push harder.  I did blow away my original expectations of 13 hours, and it was an amazing experience to run with the crowds of Kalmar cheering along, I swear the whole country came out to cheer the crowds were so deep.  

But it was my First Ironman.  I will be back, if I wasn't hooked before this fired me up even more.  

I did get cheered up by the awards ceremony!  I've never won a trophy before, I wasn't into sports as a kid - I was the chubby kid that got picked last and had zero interest in moving unless I had to, and no hand eye coordination to speak of.  So this was a first, the crowd at the ceremony was unbelievable they cranked the music everyone on their feet clapping to the music and chanting it was such a rush to be called up to the stage!

(Rocking my MaccaX Embrace the Suck Shirt)

One hell of a day, and its been a journey I will never forget to reach that finish line.  I had so much support going into this race, I couldn't have done it myself.