Friday, December 30, 2011

Paying Homage to The Great One

It's Margie's birthday and for this one day all year, I'm asking myself: What can I do for The Great One today?

At the very least, I am suppressing the urge to discuss my training, the condition of my body, and the myriad details of my personal life that find their way into her inbox. I hope she enjoys the 1-day reprieve.

Margie is an owner of =PR= so I'll head to the Cleveland Park store to pick out gear and help put food on her table (also appropriate since I'll be eating that food off her table tonight).

I can serve as a training partner for her to CRUSH. That smile of hers changes when she gets on the bike.

Yeah beeeatch!! Happy Birthday!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Romance Camp

We advertise in our About Us: This blog is a placeholder for us to share our race reports, attempts to balance full time jobs and training, moods, comparisons between East and West coast living, love lives (or at least Lindsey's as Lauren is married and off the market) and random bits of enlightened thinking.

INDEED, the time has come for me (Lindsey) to touch on the topic of romance. With a season full of training, travel, working, and gchatting LAHP to cause early onset of carpal tunnel syndrome, there was no time for boys. Although, I bumped into someone who is proving to be sherpa material. Perhaps one day he will be tested by the @expertsherpa himself? I can only hope... Anyway, we plan to rendezvous in DC this January, but that was proving FAR TOO LONG without seeing each other, so I boarded a plane for a 112 hr date which we called Romance Camp.

The guiding principles of Romance Camp--it's a judgment free zone (#JFZ). Always.

A lesson learned: it is better to give than to receive.

I used every trick in the book to equalize the playing field at the pool.

We even went to this GEOGRAPHIC destination:

And since the conclusion of my 5-day Romance Camp (where I shed off-season weight from excessive training, napping and pre-napping), I have been engaged in the activities printed on this post-it note:

Now we press on, awaiting Romance Camp Deux...

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Salting of America and other LAHP Musings

Life is happening again in the Pataky household and that is how I like it. Matt is making progress in his recovery and we are learning how to live with the necessary changes. I’m slowly relinquishing my temporary claim on the most sexy of tasks – dog-walking, front yard dog crap clean up, trash take-out, and designated driving. I really have no stories to relate or bits of wisdom to impart to others, so I’ll leave you with my list of random thoughts compiled over the past few weeks of pondering life, making changes, and indoor training:

- Salt (the compound, not the Angelina Jolie movie which I highly recommend, by the way) has invaded America. This substance is quite pervasive. Morton’s probably even salts its own freaking salt. SERIOUSLY. Matt is on strict orders to eat low sodium as he continues to heal, and me, being the chef that I am, thought it would be easy to avoid salt. This is not easy. One Chipotle chicken bowl with no salsa or cheese crap or rice has over 1000 mg of sodium. Innocent - looking cottage cheese has over 500 mg of sodium per serving. Our favorite pre-cooked Trader Joe lentils are bathed in salt! Most gluten-free food in a box is also quite salty. To solve this problem, we’ve had to resort to cooking that which we find at the farmer’s market and throwing in a bunch of rogue spices. Imagine that.

THIS salt

NOT this salt

- Team Pataky competitiveness knows no bounds. We are competitive meat shoppers and recently beat out all the other organic, earth-lovers at the hormone free, grass fed, better than NIMAN Ranch pork and lamb sale at our local farm. Oh yeah.

- I suck at driving. Especially when Matt is in the car and judging me. Especially when he is not allowed to drive.

- Dogs generate a ton of crap.....and do it to spite me...and only do it when I’m the one in charge of cleaning up.

- CAFFEINE should be a regulated drug. This substance is in everything and I've recently learned that it is not necessarily the best thing to overdose on while participating in endurance events. I calculated that in a normal Ironman I probably consume upwards of ONE THOUSAND milligrams of caffeine in a less than 10 hour period of time. PERHAPS THIS IS WHY I HAVE HEART PALPITATIONS FOR WEEKS AFTER AN IRONMAN? "They" don’t tell you this in Living 101, though. Anyway, if I happened to have some latent heart condition, this caffeine consumption could become extremely problematic. I'll lay off the 2x caffeine gels at my next race and supplement with some vanilla.

- Being in the not on but not off season is mentally taxing – a physical purgatory of sorts, but one that I shall overcome.

- The internet is a wealth of information on heart health but all of the research seems to contradict. Endurance sports cause heart issues yet sitting on one’s ass and eating Chik-fil-A (what corporate person chose that spelling?) causes heart issues. Cholesterol is bad. Cholesterol is really not so bad. Eat no fat. Eat all fat. Eat low fat. Avoid grain. Eat lots of grain..especially Cheerios because it has the heart healthy label on it. Avoid sugar (you know, the main ingredient in said Cheerios). Eat a small baby wolf at each full moon to ward off heart issues. WTF is a person to do?

- Have you taken your CPR course yet? Mine will be the first weekend of 2012.

- Mountain biking alone while the Sherpa is down is quite possibly the scariest thing possible. I think the local mountain lions know something is up and that I’m temporarily flying solo. This has increased my speed considerably.

- When you have little time for training due to life circumstances beyond your control, I have found that doing all your swim and run training in Zone 4 does wonders for your fitness.

- Similarly - training without a powermeter for 3 months has been quite liberating. I finally strapped on ye old SRM the other day in all its wired glory, mentally preparing myself to see some abysmal numbers. To my surprise, my HOUR OF POWER cycling training plan has yielded good results. If you are worried about losing cycling fitness, I recommend riding zone zillion intervals or just "all out" whenever you have the time to ride. This is also a great way to eliminate stress. (Note: I am not a coach, even though I do read Slowtwitch. Don’t follow my advice.)

- Before making decisions on where to go clubbing (because we are such huge clubbers), we must consider Matt's ICD (defibrillator). I think it almost went off at the club where his holiday party was hosted, due to the "approaching shuttle launch level" decibels being thrown from the speakers.

- Being able to ride one's bike is a beautiful beautiful thing. Matt's first ride back:

- Breaking Dawn Part I is really awful.

I think I've pretty much captured all the safe for public consumption musings in my head.

What would a blog post be without dog photos and the ubiquitous Princeton sweatshirt?

The ULTIMATE in dog gifts - combine my obsession with dogs and mtn lions.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Team Pataky has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Matt's heart stopped last Thursday and after a million pieces falling into place, he survived and is now on the road to recovery at home with a bonus piece of equipment in his chest to prevent any other potential episodes of cardiac arrest.

We were planning to fly to London last Thursday night and decided to do a hard swim set that morning before work at the club pool across from our house. After he kicked my butt (as usual) we were talking at the shallow end of the pool when he mentioned he felt like he was going to black out and then dropped below the surface of the water. I thought he was joking and pulled him up, but immediately noticed he was unresponsive and making a whimpering sound - the most horrific thing I have ever heard. I screamed for help and the only other woman in the pool complex ran to call 911. I unsuccessfully attempted to pull him out of the water and after many cries for help, an amazing club employee ran to the pool and together we got him out of the water and onto the pool deck. I started what I assumed and hoped was CPR and kept yelling at Matt to stay with me and that he was not yet done living and that he better survive. I think at this point I started yelling at God as well.

After what seemed like hours, but was probably more like 7 minutes, the EMTs arrived; and after 2 shocks he returned to a normal sinus rhythm. Tuesday, after three stents and one ICD (personal defibrillator) installation, he was discharged from the hospital and is now recovering at home with my family, dogs, and friends.

As I mentioned to some friends and family in an email the night it happened, I have never been so scared in my entire life. To see the most important person in my life lying blue and lifeless on a cold pool deck is pretty much the worst thing imaginable. I only remember bits and pieces of what transpired but clearly remember telling myself that there were no second chances in this "do overs" if I was not able to get him the help he needed. I typically rely upon "sherpa" Matt for so much and to have the tables turned in such a way was quite surreal.

We do not know why this occurred, beyond the fact that Matt's heart is a genetic disaster. We could sit around and complain about how it is not fair for someone who takes such great care of his body, for someone who is so passionate about pushing himself to the max to have such a condition. However, we accept that life is really just not freaking fair. People do not get cancer or brain tumors because they are "bad" or "good." In the same way, we cannot necessarily ward off something like a bad heart. What we can do is be vigilant about the situation and do everything in our power to minimize the risks. Most importantly, we can use this second chance in life to truly LIVE. I have found myself consumed with the most ridiculous issues in life....whether I look "fat," why the Kona points ranking system is unfair, or why so and so does or does not follow me on twitter. In reality, though, none of this crap matters. What matters is the relationships I have with my friends and family. I would give up anything to spend an extra day with Matt on this earth and I will live each future day cherishing him.

Thanks to all of our family and friends, both local and far away, who reached out to help us via hospital visits, prayers, emails, expert cardiology advice (karen :) ) and phone calls. We are both touched by your support for us. I am also so thankful for all the emergency medical professionals who save lives every single day. We both have much to process, physically and mentally, but are so fortunate to have a network of support upon which we can rely.

Happy Thanksgiving and please go sign up for a CPR class. :)

Matt's hospital view for almost a week - not too shabby.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guatape ITU World Cup Race Report

Following up with the altitude tent post, my race report version of "Sleeping my Way to the Top" can be found on DC It features tales of mudslides, garbage bag rain coats and over-fried fish. Check it out. And to avoid accusations of cross-posting, I will include bonus material for loyal slog fans. Some blogs have give-aways... I present you with low-resolution pictures.

Here are the elite men lining up on the pontoon. There were 60 of them, and earlier on in the morning, 50 women started the race.

The moto leads the way around the bike course:

Andy Potts got a flat tire and ran around like a mad man for a replacement wheel to finish the race. Slam dunk!
The men exiting the second transition--from the bike to the run.

I think he was in a scavenger hunt and gathering as many signatures as possible.

A view while ascending El Peñón de Guatapé. I'm aware the font changed...
Euros scaling the stairs.
Bird's eye view of the hotel.

View from the top.
Attending church, kind of.
Clowns. Yes, it's as fun as it looks.

Flora outside my hotel room. The bars over the windows helped me feel right at home--just like my old apartment on U St.
A minor lapse in judgment at the Medellin airport led to this.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sleeping My Way to the Top

To read a scintillating account of my 2 week stint in an altitude tent before the Guatape ITU World Cup, check out the guest post I wrote for endurance sports technology guru, Ray of

The comments contain some good insight from my coach, too.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Tip from Malcolm X: Reach for the Clean Glass

I finished reading the bestselling book, The Help, which centers on racial relations in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960's, so The Autobiography of Malcolm X was my natural next choice when browsing my roommate's book shelf. Before reading his autobiography, my knowledge of Malcolm X was limited to a few lines of text from a history book as being the most aggressive voice in the African American civil rights movement. But, who knew... Malcolm X was buds with Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) and lead the prayer before Clay defeated Sonny Liston for the WORLD heavyweight champion title. Factoid du jour.

Malcolm X's life story is powerful. He left 8th grade after being discouraged from pursuing... anything, and then hustled on the streets of Harlem and Boston. At age 20 he was caught for burglary and imprisoned 6 years. He made the most of his time in the big house by homeschooling himself. He copied by hand the ENTIRE dictionary, read extensively and developed his verbal skills in debate groups. He said, "the ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive," and that "months passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned. In fact, up to then, I never had been so truly free in my life." He sounds like a person of flow (the concept created by one of my favorite psychologists, to read and pronounce, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).

Malcolm X publicly demonized white Americans for oppressing the black man for 400 years, and with this in mind, I pick his favorite lesson from his mentor, Elijah Muhammad--add another tally mark to the "irony of life" list.

One day, I remember, a dirty glass of water was on a counter and Mr. Muhammad put a clean glass of water beside it. "You want to know how to spread my teaching?" he said, and he pointed to the glasses of water. "Don't condemn if you see a person has a dirty glass of water," he said, "just show them the clean glass of water that you have. When they inspect it, you won't have to say that yours is better."

I discussed this gem with the great Margie and recognize that this is her approach in teaching me about triathlon and life. She provides me with unconditional acceptance, fostering an environment where I am truly free to fail. I either get it right, or am closer to figuring it out. I can't recall ANY instance when I have been condemned or gotten in trouble about a decision or action I made. I am responsible for my performance as an individual and the person I answer to at the end of the day is MYSELF, who is a hard enough critic. Being encouraged to think for myself, whatever the outcome, is what gives me the freedom to find my clean glass of water.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bouncing Back from Buffalo

2 weeks ago I went down in a bike crash at Elite Nationals in Buffalo and experienced my first DNF (boo). The silver lining--I made it out in better shape than my bike with only a smattering of wounds. Margie told me it was OK to be upset but that I just can't let it consume me, as this happens.
I moved on and yesterday in tropical Myrtle Beach, cheered on by a supportive DC Tri Club contingent, I secured third place and my second podium (in as many finishes) in ITU continental cups this year. YAHTZEE.
Don't you love that woman peering around the finish sign?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

LJ's Kelowna ITU Report - 3rd, I got Finlay'd

Thanks to my devoted homestay, I have more pictures in my race report than ever before seen at The Slog... for DC Rainmaker fans, this amounts to the number of shots Ray includes of product packaging.

I ventured to beautiful British Columbia, Canada for my first international race, the ITU Continental Cup in Kelowna--also Canadian Nationals. Leading up to the race I was stoked to see Paula Findlay's name in the start list as she is among the top women in the world in ITU racing. It's good to race the greats as they can pull you up to their level faster. Plus, I wanted to use the term Finlay'd in my race report.

For my homestay in Kelowna, I matched with a couple, Susanne and Frank. They made me feel like part of their family and I did my best to fulfill Susanne's wishes of making myself at home in their house. Both of them attended the race on Sunday to cheer on me and the Puerto Rican Rios twins who stayed with Susanne's sister, Denise. Next time I'm in Kelowna I will take them up on their offers to go sailing, blueberry picking and wine-tasting.

Immediately before the race starts, each athlete is announced in order of ranking and picks a spot on the pontoon or, in this case, a starting mat thing on the banks of Lake Okanagan:

I was ranked 22nd in the field of ~30 women, however, I was a few minutes late to the race briefing and got booted to the back of the line. I knew I wouldn't get a spot next to the higher ranked athletes anyway, but in a small field such as this, it wasn't a big deal.

As we waited for the starter, the dramatic ITU music played. I flashed back to last year when I was broken and would longingly watch the ITU action unfold on my computer, wishing to be a part of it. "Here I am," I thought, and without further ado, we were off.
I merged with the pack on the other end of the field before we hit the first turn buoy and was dragged into the trenches. After the first turn I got around a few women, but it feels like everyone was on top of one another.

The Kelowna swim course is two loops, where you pop out of the water at the half-way point and run around a buoy on the beach. At the start of loop two I was flanked by compatriot Amanda Felder and one of the Rios sisters and we had a civil thing going, until more people came along to drown us.
I thought I was positioned well in the water and felt good heading into transition... not a time to chill:
The bike was nothinggg like the Life Time Fitness races where I feel like laying down when I get off the bike. The 6 loop bike course in Kelowna included a hill, but our front pack of 9 didn't do anything too wild and we stayed away from the rest of the field.
T2 trying to hurry the hell up:
Paula had a gap right away and I ran up to Annie Warner and Sarah-Anne Brault (the race winner). Annie didn't stay with us too long, but lurked behind the whole race. Brault pulled away from me before we reached the halfway point of our first loop (4 loops on the run course). I FELT like I was moving fast and thought, TODAY I WILL RUN 36 and get under that 37 minute barrier. I just pressed forward as much as I could.

Ow. Ow... OW In the last 90 seconds I felt a tug in part of my quad. I had a vision of hobbling over the bridge before the finish line and potentially losing my podium spot, but then summoned all my zen energy and channeled it into the freaking muscle.
I finished third behind Brault and Findlay. I saw my run split, 35:40, and was so happy and proud for running hard.

Onto the awards ceremony...our homestays, Susanne and Denise, with Militza and Melissa Rios in front. My dad asked: and who is that on the right? (I roll my eyes): that's me.

Awards ceremony with the dolphins
I'm ready to smuggle my newly acquired plantlife and apples back to the USA
Egged on by the crowd, I made use of the champagne
The men's podium was not safe either, not even the CNT (Canadian national treasure, Simon Whitfield)
All six of us squeezed on the podium for more pictures. Good thing we're triathletes.
That evening Susanne fixed me a bowl with her blueberry pie and ice cream for the car ride to the airport for my red eye (love those)... and there you have it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The 8th Bitch at Ironman Canada - A LAHP season update

DNF - nothing good can really be said about those letters. From an academic perspective, I've always lived in fear of getting a "D" or an "F" in school and never liked seeing an "N" (category for: needs improvement) on my elementary school report card. Unfortunately, I was a talker and always got "N's" for "listens to class instruction" and "self-control." Anyway, in my entire 5ish years of racing triathlon, I have prided myself in always finishing a race.This past month, however, I have DNF'd two races in a row and have learned more then I ever really wanted to learn about NOT finishing a race.

Consumed by the Kona Points Ranking (KPR) system and the siren call of Kona, I made an idiot decision to race Boulder 70.3 as there were more points to be gained by racing there. (Quick aside here: I liken the KPR and the whole giant Kona points chase to the power of that lame ring in Lord of the Rings...or even the horcruxes and their hold over Harry Potter. Don't judge my movie selections. The closer and more involved you get with the ring, and the horcruxes, and the freaking kona points chase, THE CRAZIER YOU GET.) ANYWAY - apparently, I thought I was above science, like many of our current GOP candidates, and clearly the altitude at Boulder would not affect sealevel lauren. After hyperventilating in the water and not being able to crack 100 watts on the bike and subsequently blacking out, I knew this race was not meant to be and pulled the plug.

I came home, regrouped, and then put together two excellent training weeks. My swim was improving, I was seeing good numbers in my run and on the bike. I was ready for Ironman Canada. I had unfinished business there, and I had an OUTSIDE chance of amassing enough points to qualify for Kona by only doing three ironmans and thus preserving my body provided everything went according to my spreadsheeted plan. Canada race week was good. I was chill. I was focused. I was ready to execute my plan. The sherpa was ready and had my bike dialed into perfection. My back and glutes were 95.5% and I was happy.

Race morning I was ON and FOCUSED. I did my pre race deal and got down to the water for the swim start. I lined up next to girls and away from the men, so as to avoid my typical face kick by male pros at the swim start. The gun went off and so did I. I felt strong swimming in the water and found some feet about halfway through the swim. These feet tended to swim crooked so I stayed on them only when they held the line. The swim was over quickly and per my plan, I decided NOT to look at the clock. I heard an excited Pataky scream that I was 5th out of the water. what? FIFTH? Did he really say 15th?? This was uncharted territory for me, so I decided I better use this to my advantage and get cracking. Loeffler passed me in transition and we started the bike together. I kept her in sight and tried to use her to mentally move me down the course. After the first few miles I started to pick up the pace and power and really felt good. Things were coming together and I was rolling along - HAPPY to be racing.

I stayed in this euphoric state through the bottom of Richter pass..somewhere over 40ish miles into the race. As we started climbing Richter the 2 people ahead of me dropped me quickly. I couldn't seem to get my bike to move. After what seemed like forever, I made it to the top of the pass. Something felt wobbly on the back of the bike and indeed, my tire was flat. At that point, I threw out about a million F bombs in my mind. This had never happened to me before and WHY in the MOST IMPORTANT RACE OF MY YEAR, did this have to happen?

After 12 minutes of battle with a new and stubborn tire, I finally changed the tube and extricated a large staple/tack from the wheel. Off I went....with the knowledge that almost every pro girl had passed me while I was sitting on the side of the road. I spent a few minutes feeling sorry for myself and cursing in my mind, and then I heard Pataky yell that I was "only" 7 minutes out of 5th. Avoiding a group of age group men sucking each other's wheels and passing me on the right down the descent, I made my way down Richter and into the first of the 7 bitches (for you non tri people, the 7 bitches are 7 big rolling hills after Richter pass). Unfortunately, I felt wobbly on the descent on the first bitch, and when I looked behind me, I saw yet another flat tire. I pulled over and found another tack/staple in my tire. At that moment, I became the 8th bitch on the IMC course. It took all of my energy not to pull a Stadler and throw my bike into the field. I waited for tech support as I only had one tube, but they were helping all of the other people who had flatted farther back on the course. At this point, I knew my race was over. While I completely respect the age groupers who waited patiently by the side of the road for over an hour and then got back on their bikes and continued on, I knew that I was not going to do that. My back only has so many marathons in it, and I decided to save it for another day. I called up Pataky from the phone of a very nice spectator and then just sat down and cried.

To be honest, I feel like the idiots who sabotaged this course really robbed me of a race*. Last time I felt this way was when my back blew up in 2008 and I felt like my L4/L5 discs had robbed me of part of my season. I could take the DNF from Boulder, because that was just stupidity on my part, but this second DNF was painful. Rather than sit in our depressing motel room, Matt and I went to the finish line and cheered for our friends who had put so much time and energy into preparing for this race. Watching Nina, Matt, and Jen finish despite their own flat tires, nutritional issues, and off course swimming made me happy to be part of this sport. And that is where I found my motivation to carry on......

A few weeks ago I decided to sign up for IM Wisconsin, which happens to be two weeks after Canada. Now that I DNF'd IMC, my body is still prepared to race an Ironman....SO RACE IT I WILL. In order to be successful there, I realize that I have no time to feel sorry for myself. So, rather than tubing down the river with an aching body the day after the race, I did a long run on the course. I did, however, feel like scratching out my race number on my calf and putting a big DNF to wear like a scarlet letter. While these past 2 races have been less than ideal, I have learned much, including the notion that I should focus more on racing and less on trying to qualify for Kona as a pro. If I focus on racing, the qualifying will come when I'm good enough to legitimately qualify. Most important, I have rediscovered my passion for this sport of triathlon and am ready to do what it takes to make it to the finish line next Sunday. And, to borrow a phrase from LJ's mom, when I cross that line I will get down on my knees and thank God.

* this is LJ hijacking Lauren's post--I view the course saboteurs as intervention by the merciful hand of fate, as Lauren will race Wisconsin fully marinated and rested.

Friday, September 2, 2011

LJ's Chicago Triathlon Race Report - 4th

I have four race reports in the posting pipeline, starting with the one freshest in my mind, the Life Time Fitness Chicago Triathlon. I split this into 3 parts for ease of reading, concluding with the most important section: gratitude.

1) INTRO: I raced the draft-legal ITU in Kelowna, British Columbia the weekend before Chicago, so it was interesting to see how I would recover and race back-to-back. I was effing sore the entire week after Kelowna from the run. Since the bike ride was a FAR CRY from the effort I've had to put out in my non-drafting races, I felt zippity and ran an unprecedented 35:40 10k... Paula Findlay's presence certainly helped me step up my game. Thusly, the week in Cleveland between races involved molasses-slow swimming, biking and running, with lots of bed rest and family time.

On Friday, my dad dropped me off at megabus which began my journey to the windy city. Unfortunately, I didn't take advantage of any good food offerings in Chicago. By the time I got to my hotel to nap, run and visit the race expo to chat up my favorite Frenchman, Andre of Kiwami triathlon race wear, I only had time to grab a turkey sandwich and a few bananas from Walgreens with a redbox movie.

I met up with my dad and his girlfriend Saturday afternoon when they came into town and was whisked away to Chicago's finest, The Drake Hotel. I love when Marlene comes to races, haha. We waited 1.5 hrs for our room to be ready so my nap and ride went out the window. As a consolation, the Drake gave me my own room on the floor of the Diana suite instead of pegging me with the other two. I reveled in the solitude, leaving my crap all over my room, offending no one.

This was the first time I almost didn't get to eat my pre-race egg bomber and had already poured milk over rice cereal when the waiter planted a bowl of rice in front of me. During this time my dad was canvassing nearby convenience stores for instant rice--never again will I travel without microwaveable rice packets! The other low point of the morning (more from my dad's perspective) took place on my bike ride to the transition area. I got trapped on some pier then lost, which garnered a frantic call to my him. Dad: Ask someone for directions. Me: DIRECTIONS TO WHERE? I'VE ALREADY ASKED. NOBODY'S FROM HERE. I stopped the haranguing and found transition 5 min later... haha

2) THE RACE: The swim was ~400m one direction, then a 180 degree turn the other way and straight on until the swim exit. Intel and common sense suggested I go out hard to get around the turn buoy before the masses. Plus, I wanted to see how long I could stay with the expert swimmers.
Sara McLarty (who just lost her father in a cycling accident--so sad--and told me to love my dad everyday) started on the left side of the field but I resisted her magnetic pull and started on the far right to avoid the onslaught in the water. I went out hard and by the time I cleared the group, I met Alicia Kaye's feet--she was on the heels of the two speedy sara(h)'s. I hung on as long as I could and was gapped by the time I reached the turn buoy and went around it completely alone. At least I got that part right.

I made my way back to Alicia, who had fallen off WRP (world record pace of 2XSARA), as Flora Duffy came by me. Again, I drifted back of them and swam the second half solo--not ideal. Just as I reached the swim exit steps, I felt a touch on my foot which turned out to be Radka, my awesome new Czech friend (country adjacent to my motherland). Moral of the swim: the sara's are FAST. MOG.

See my pretty new Kiwami suit:
There was a long run to our transition area, ~600m. My bike shoes jammed in the grass (time to finally learn that damn rubberband trick) and I realized my chain had fallen off after I hopped on my bike. I had zero momentum and got off to put the chain back on, then fumbled some more while the entire field passed me by.

I felt awful on the bike so my first goal was to hang with the women nearby--I was in 10th position at one point early on. The bike course is 2 loops out and back on Lake Shore Drive. The out section lead into a VERY strong headwind which meant a healthy tailwind heading back toward the transition area. This allowed you to see the whole field and I could see Alicia really going for it which I admired.

On our first loop, our effort eased up slightly when riding with the wind (this was a welcome break), but on the second loop, I decided to keep up the intensity and came into T2 with a tiny gap--5 were already ahead of me on the run course.

Expert photography, compliments of my father:
I extended the margin a bit on the run and passed McLarty and Lavelle around mile 2, then hung dearly onto 4th place. I FELT hunted and was a tired Lindsey out there and very happy to cross the finish.

Chicago was the deepest field I've been in this year and I am happy with my finish place.

3) THANKS: While in Canada I got to spend time with my friend, Andrew McCartney, and his lovely girlfriend. Andrew mentioned that consistency in training leads to consistency in racing. That registered with me and instilled confidence in what I've been doing as I AM consistently progressing in training. It makes sense that it would translate to races, too.

Also worth a mention, I really hit the jackpot in nabbing Margie as my coach. She knows her stuff and is a master at the make or break aspect of sport: cultivating a healthy and strong athlete mind. She teaches me to look at the bigger picture and reminds me that there is more to life than triathlon. As a result, I do not read too much meaning from any single workout--good or bad. I appreciate our brick workouts as much as our Blizzard runs to DQ with her kids.

During my wkd of exhaustion at the end of July when I moved apartments, completed all my training AND attended a friend's wedding, Margie encouraged me to go to the britney spears concert that Sunday night when I brought it up because... it's BRITNEY SPEARS and how often can you see the princess of pop perform for free? Only once in my lifetime, anyway. When I got my schedule for Monday AM it said: Sleep in, recover from Britney. That's empathy.

And, thank you, Dad. :)