Life is about overcoming barriers.

Racing is like life.

It teaches us how to overcome barriers.

These tools, are easily transferable to real life.

Anything is possible, and we are able to overcome anything.

It’s a mindset.

Yesterday I competed in the 2nd Annual New Mexico Toughman Half Ironman.

What an adventure that was.

Only my 2nd Half Ironman.  Last one was in 2009.  Last year I participated in the Aquabike.  I haven’t run 13 Miles since before my 50 miler back in 2012.  Thanks for breaking my toe, in a location, that is difficult to heal!

I did a block of “Crash Training”  Which is ample for what I wanted to do, tapping into years of Muscle Memory.

I figured I could do primarily Z3 on the bike, with surges into Z4 for terrain dictated parts of the course, and then do a 10 minute mile Z2 on the run.  With an ideal situation of a negative split on the last 6.

Just as in life, you never know what you’re going to be dealt.

When the monkeys returned from the summer, they were both sick.  This week, on Sunday, oh.  Did I have a bad case of this is NOT pre-race pneumonia.  I’m not surprised that my immune system gave in to the power of the virus.  My block consisted of:

An awesome ride up South 14.  Nice in EZ, as I was still recovering from Leadville Stage Race.

A 12.3 Mile Trail Run

And a 3400 Swim with a 1750 Pull

I’ve been testing the theory of muscle memory for about 5 years.  I have a good understanding of “what the body” remembers.   And how to use it to our advantage in our training and racing.

Most of it comes down to fitness.  What you keep your base level of fitness at, and how quickly you can transfer it over.

6 and 12 hour events are my favorites, so a 6 hour Half Ironman, totally doable.

It is not unlikely that I would have to take two days off following that, to prevent the monkey virus from contaminating me further.

I did what I could the week of.

I wasn’t worried about my training at all going into it.  I had spent the summer doing Triathlon training.

I sign up.

My 1st sign should have been the discount code wasn’t working.

To Packet Pick Up.  Someone else had claimed my number.

To race day.

3 am wake up call.  And roughly 2 hours of sleep.

Never good to start your race morning with diarrhea.  That seemingly lasted 4 hours.

To a bike that worked perfectly the evening before on my pre race acceleration, to not shifting when I pulled it out of the car.

To a 30 Minute delay in the race start to re-position the buoys in the water.

Finish Line at Dawn

Finish Line at Dawn



Yes, premonitions.

What I usually call the “slap on the wrist”  My usual advice to my clients, is to listen to it.  Don’t wait for the freight train.

The swim and bike are usually my strong portions of a Tri.  I had two excellent swims going into it.  A rested pull of 2000 sub 30 minutes.  And a ‘non-rested’ swim on 31 and some change.

I am a strong swimmer.  I have swam San Francisco Bay with 6 foot swells.  I have swam across the widest portion of the Mississippi.

I did 90% breast stroke on the 1st lap.  I was overheating, feverish.  Something was not right.  I thought about how I don’t quit.  I kept doing breast stroke, and letting the cold water into my wetsuit.  For some reason it came together for me on the 2nd lap.  And I was able to swim the entire thing.

My swim 37 minutes in some change.

So now onto the bike.  The goal was to maintain Z3.  I tried.  I couldn’t.

Z3 50 Minutes

Z2 1:20

Z1 :40 Minutes

By the end of it, seriously, I couldn’t even maintain Z2.  It was bad.

My bike 3:09 and some change

So any hope for a sub 6 was completely out the window.  And that’s totally OK.

I am not going to quit this thing.

To the run.

To my fuel belt not staying up.  Finally ditched that.  And relied on race water.  Fortunately the water around here doesn’t seem to have a high sulfur content, so all was well.  The run was so confusing.  I had to stop 6 to 12 times to figure out where I was going.  Getting off course, thank God not more than a couple of steps, quite a few times.

Z1, possibly with some Z2, definitely cardiac drift.  I may have gone into the 130 HRs on some hills.  Not likely.    I was slow.  Real slow.  The hip started to hurt.  So I ran like I used to run in Bartonville, Texas.  Small town.  In the middle of the road;

follow the yellow brick road,

follow the yellow brick road.

The yellow line, if there is one, the middle is the flattest part of the road.  Running there felt good.  As good as running can feel at a 12 minute pace.  Those are my Strava minute per miles.  There was a minute of stopping, or so, per mile.  That includes stopping to figure out directions, dropping broken fuel belts, etc.  I never stopped, because it hurt, or I couldn’t run anymore.

Which I am extremely happy about.

Total Run Time 2:42 and some change.

Finish time 6:34 and some change.

I was glad to finish.

I was glad I didn’t quit. I think, a lot of people would have bailed on the swim, feeling the way I did.

I could barely eat the rest of the day yesterday.  (Usually I do not have that problem.  Who am I kidding, I never have that problem!!)

It’s that moment, that hard moment, that hits.  That moment when I am disappointed and proud at the same time.

Disappointed in my time, proud that I still had finished, and overcame so much, in order to.

It’s hard to be disappointed, when I did all that I could for that moment of time.

I wanted that sub 6.  I knew I was capable of that sub 6.

It was a good day, even though it was a bad day.

I never had negative self talk, I just went.

And it all felt right.

I met some truly amazing people.

There were a lot of things I was disappointed in with the race.

The “At Home” Awards Ceremony was one of them:

2016 Toughman



















1st Place Female 45-49 AG

6th Place Female OA.

I may have gotten 1st place by default.  I may have been the only  who was Tough Enuff to show up.  Who knows though. Definitely, definitely, ladies, show up.  Do what you can.  Because showing up and giving it your all(even if it’s only your all for that day), is what it’s all about.  Just come out and have some fun, make it more interesting, and challenge yourself.  Take your mindset, and your body to a new level.

There is something truly amazing about having the mountains and the wide open sky of New Mexico serve as the back drop of a Half Ironman.  It was magical.

Thanks to everyone who made this such a special event.

Thank you to all of the volunteers.  It takes a village.

And most of all, thank you for checking in.

2016 Toughman 1


That’s all folks.

Until next time,

Have Fun,

and Keep the Rubberside Down.

Coach Zoe


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