A few weeks ago, I returned to Boston after co-hosting the first-ever IRACELIKEAGIRL training camp in Clermont, Florida. It was an epic weekend to say the least. Here’s my summary of experience and the months leading up to it.


How it all started

One year ago, Angela Naeth and I flew down to Florida for a set of QT2 Training Camps. At the time, we didn’t know each other very well… She was there helping out with the age group camp I was attending and was staying down for her own elite camp take place shortly after. I had just started my informal role of supporting outreach and development for the IRACELIKEAGIRL community, a group Angela had founded just 2 years prior, and was loving everything about it. 

A few weeks later, we were exchanging emails about some blogs I’d been working on when Angela wrote to me,

I want to do a camp for the team. I think we could crush it. Is that something you’d want to help out with?

Let me think about that for a moment… Co-organize a women-specific training camp with one of the top professional athletes in the world? In sunny Florida? With some other awesome IRACELIKEAGIRL athletes?


Screenshot 2019-02-03 11.13.02

The planning process

Once the wheels were in motion, there really was no turning back. We shared spreadsheets and outlines over Google Drive, we met coffee, we had monthly planning calls. It was important to us that this camp to be different than others we had both attended. We knew that for many ladies attending, it would likely their training camp…they’d be taking time off work and from their families to attend and spending good money to even get down to Florida from all over the country.

So our first camp couldn’t just be good… it needed to be freakin’ awesome.

In September, we launched the official invite to IRACELIKEAGIRL team members at a discounted rate…. and it sold out a matter of days. We never even had a chance to open it to the public. Sixteen awesome women put down deposits and many others were added to the waitlist. Damn! We were stoked. 

As January grew nearer, everything started coming together. There were a ton of details to keep track of but if you think Angela is a beast on the bike, you should see this chick knock tasks off a to-do list. We were constantly ahead of schedule in the project plan I kept for us… so much so that I’d check it compulsively, figuring I must be missing something.   

I recruited my mom, who just happens to be an expert yoga instructor, to come down and offer yoga and additional stretching as a part of the camp… and also SAG for us on our bike rides.  Angela went to town reaching out to sponsors to support the camp. We booked and confirmed (and confirmed again) our reservations, meal orders, gym times, etc.

My mom, Robin, our in-house yoga instructor.

Before I knew it, the day had a arrived and we were on a plane down to Orlando.

T-Minus 1 Day

When we arrived down to our Florida hotel, the receptionist greeted us with a knowing smile and said, “Angela Naeth…Yes, we have a few packages here for you”.

A few was a understatement….More like dozens! Brown boxes literally filled out room. Our sponsors came through for us a huge way for us and we were stoked. 

  • 2 complete systems from Normatec to help ladies #recoverfaster during camp
  • Enough fuel to host an Ironman (not really… but it was a lot!): EFS Pro, Ultragen and water bottles from First Endurance and an amazing amount of performance bars and energy chews from Bonk Breaker. The team relied on these products heavily to get us through back to back training sessions down there. 
  • Custom IRLAG Greeper Laces for everyone attending the camp
  • Cases on cases of Red Bull – necessary when you see our itinerary #givesyouwings Wahoo KickRs for bike demoes and if the weather turns (thankfully it did not)
Angela showing Pam our pull buoys
  • Hot pink Pearl Izumi arm sleeves for cooler morning temps and to #beseen. 
  • Sports psychology journals based on the research of Dr. Craig Manning and his book, The Fearless Mind
  • Pull buoys from Eney Jones, A.K.A. The Mermaid.
  • Bluerub anti-chafe rub

On top of all of this, we learned just a few weeks before camp that the local Velofix teams (Velofix Orlando and Velofix Space Coast) would be fully supporting us throughout the camp. THIS WAS HUGE and took a lot of pressure off Angela, my mom and I in terms of bike maintenance or mechanical issues and freed us up to focus on the other 2,903 things going on at once. 

In our shared hotel room, Angela and I tore through the all boxes and laid everything all out like we were kids viewing our presents on Christmas morning. “Damn,” I said,  “These ladies are going to get some dope-ass goodie bags.”

We went to bed our first night feeling stoked and ready to do this thing… and do it right.

Mom & I were both very impressed with the “drink while you shop” concept at the local grocery store.

Camp Kick Off

Thursday – Team Arrival

Thursday was the arrival day for many. Angela, my mom and I, and a few others arrived a day earlier. We convened after dinner to kick off the camp with introductions, review the itinerary, and heard from everyone what their goals for the camp were. Many were just excited to be there and meet in person personalities that only previously known from social media.  We knew right away we got lucky with an awesome group of women.

Ladies from all across North America were there: from Canada to SoCal, from recent grads to grandmothers, from seasoned Ironman finishers to tri-newbies. It was AWESOME. I wrote down everyone’s goal as we went around the room that night and despite these different backgrounds, everyone was there for mostly the same reasons: to learn new skills, to kickstart their fitness, to meet new people and have fun.


Friday – Day 1

Sunrise yoga with Robin to start each day

We wanted to start camp off in an epic way. Take advantage of everyone’s energy and excitement… and kick their butts with a super tough training day right from the get-go. Here was the first day itinerary:

  • 7:30 – Sunrise yoga on the pool deck with Robin – a nice stretch to get the body
    ready for training after travel. 
  • 8:15 – Swim time trials and swim analysis. My breath holding and GoPro skills were really tested here. The National Training Center pool was set up in long course (i.e. 50 meters), which is awesome… but challenging. 


  • 12:30 – Set out for the long ride. If you’ve never ridden in Clermont, Florida you might be surprised to learn that it’s incredibly hilly down there. No joke: the riding is tough. Many athletes hadn’t ridden their bikes outside for months… so as you can imagine, we had a few technical issues and were incredibly lucky to have Velofix
    Velofix help
    Thanks, Velofix!!

    vans tailing our two groups throughout the duration of the ride.

  • 3:30 – Run off the bike solo or in small groups. For the tri-newbies this first run off a big, hard bike ride is always tough and fun to be a part 
  • of. 
  • 5:30 – Restorative yoga with Robin
  • 6:30 – Dinner and fueling / nutrition talk

It was an epic day… and everyone absolutely crushed it.  

Saturday – Day 2

Strength and technique. No backing down yet.

  • 7:30 – Breakfast and overview of Yin yoga principles and finding balance in training with Robin
  • 8:30  – Yoga flow at the pool deck Robin
  • 9:30 – Swim. Drill-focused swimming with individual feedback from Angela. Still in the long course. This was a breakthrough day for several athletes with their swims!
Coach Angela in action
  • 12:30 – Bike hill repeats. There’s a right way and a wrong way to climb hills, and Angela told us all about it. But first we had to ride our way out to the infamous Sugarloaf Mountain. Velofix met us other there for mechanical support (and a team photo) and Robin had the extra fuel and hydration… with temperatures approaching 80 degrees, we needed it!
Run Drills – A, B and C skips
  • 3:30 – Short run off bike and then… run drills! This was a session that I actually got to lead given my background as a college sprinter. The ladies were great sports in trying out new drills that must have felt extra silly with such tired legs.
  • 5:30 – Team dinner
  • 7:00 – Optional evening yoga

Sunday – Day 3

Since everyone’s legs could use a little break, today we had plans for two of our of sponsors to stop by over lunch for little mini-expo.

  • 8:30 – Swim at the NTC. Putting into practice everything we’d learn over the past two days.
  • 10:00 – Strength and pre-hab at the NTC gym. Note: “pre-hab” exercises are the stuff you do so you don’t get injured / need rehab.
  • 12:00 – SPONSOR DROP IN. We were very excited to have Topo Athletic and Caliloko Compression Gear arrive at our camp for ladies to demo their shoes and gear. They even let us take them to the clay trails…
Rocking our Caliloko compression tights and Too Athletic shoes on the clay trails
  • 1:30 – Run drills and long run at the infamous Clay Trails…. where it was windy AF that day! New kicks and compression gear go a long way in helping re-motivate a tired body out there. As was becoming normal, the gang crushed it!
  • 4:00 – Yin yoga back at the hotel. Our bodies needed this!!
  • 6:00 – Dinner out at Carraba’s Restaurant up the road. It was awesome to have time to unwind and really connect with the other women during this dinner. So many of us have very full lives outside of triathlon that we don’t always get to hear about when we’re training. I’m really happy we did this on our last night together as a group.

Monday – Departure Day

On Monday the temperatures started to really drop. The NTC actually postponed the opening of the pool (it’s outdoors) due to the cold temps. A group of us still swam, while some of us got in another strength day. We packed up our bikes, hugged goodbye and shared rides to the airport.

Check out our TOPOs!

As we said goodbye to the amazing athletes, Angela and I proudly reflected on the weekend. We were both exhausted but had an amazing time. It seemed like everyone who attended enjoyed the experience….It seemed like most everyone was appropriately challenge physically… that they learned new skill, met new people, HAD FUN…. just like they’d hoped to?  It seemed that way to us but we were eager to hear the honest feedback in the post-camp questionnaire.

A few weeks later: What the critics are saying

How’d we do? Don’t take it from us. Here’s what our campers said.  

This was my first triathlon camp and it was an amazing experience. I learned so much about myself and took home so much information. It fed my joy and got me really excited. I can’t wait for the next one.

Meeting all the other campers and connecting with them was so powerful. We are all connected by a sport that brings so much joy and fills out hearts. I haven’t been surrounded with this energy in a really long time. The overall support was incredible.


I had been to other training weekend camps before but the IRLAG camp was like being a VIP! It was a great opportunity to learn from Angela along with other teammates with a variety of experience. I learned some new swim drills to focus on which I plan on introducing into my regular workouts and got in some great group workouts on the bike and on the track. I really appreciated the focus on the whole picture of training, including nutrition, strength, swim/bike/run, to recovery techniques. What an excellent way to kick off the training season!

For a first-time camp it was amazingly well done, with barely a hitch. I was so impressed at how seamlessly all abilities, strengths, and levels of fitness were accommodated in all of our activities. Support was fantastic, and I came away with a new energy to face the coming season!

The camp was just a surreal experience! I am still in shock how much I learned in just a few days. Angela was so hands on, giving us live feedback and ways to improve. I loved not only all the swim, bike and run training, but also the yoga, the talks, the sponsors and the amazing bike support by Velofix. Everything about the camp was amazing! The group of ladies I met was incredible. It was sad saying goodbye to everybody cause we all had such an amazing connection. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to connect with Angela and everybody again.

Camp was great. Perfect balance of activities and good level split. I loved the opportunity to train in the warmth and meet members of the team. 


The inaugural IRaceLikeAGirl camp was exactly what I was looking for. It was fun, challenging and very inclusive for all the athletes of varying levels of abilities.

I appreciated the culture of inclusivity. With triathlon, you frequently run into type A personalities that are not patient with or accepting of different abilities and backgrounds. I think we had an amazing group of women who were respectful, welcoming and cohesive; everyone there was genuinely nice! I feel like I will have a bond with all of these women for many years even though we are scattered across the country. 

I appreciate that Angela and Kalyn were able to design a program that allowed us to train and work out together despite our differing levels of experience. We were all out there as a group, every day, and we looked amazing!

Best training camp experience ever. Angela’s expertise is invaluable and her willingness to share her knowledge is appreciated. I learned so much and was sufficiently challenged. Angela, Kalyn and Robin did a great job coordinating activities, meals and presentations. The location was great and the camaraderie was awesome.



I don’t think it’s too crazy to say… WE CRUSHED IT!

We were warned (many times, by many “industry experts”) going into the camp that hosting something like this was probably too much for just 2-3 people to orchestrate successfully. After all, we’d never done this before!

Even I, at times, throughout our planning would share these concerns with Angela… who was always quick to kindly dismiss them with the reminder,

“Yeah, but we’re really awesome so we’re just going to nail it”.

She was totally right and this confidence and enthusiasm is what I love and admire most about her.

Of course, in a many areas, we got lucky.

(1) The weather was kind to us for most of camp. It could have been cold and rainy, which could have really made things unpleasant.

(2) We had top-notch professional support from Velofix on our bike rides. Seriously, this saved us and we just can’t thank these guys, Pearl Izumi, and all of our amazing enough for their support over the weekend.


And (3) we had a seriously awesome group of ladies. With a sport like triathlon, there are a lot big personalities, that are almost sure to clash from time-to-time. But they didn’t. Everyone treated each other with respect and encouragement, which I think is largely a testament to the power and camaraderie of the IRLAG team. 

To summarize, co-organizing the first ever IRACELIKEAGIRL Training Camp with my now close friend and triathlon legend, Angela Naeth, was a dream come true, and a journey I’m honored to have been a part of.

You can view the full album of pictures here and stay tuned more details on camp #2 to held in beautiful Boulder, Colorado!

yoga-arms wide

Research, Training

A Scientific Approach to 2019

Twenty-Nine and Feeling Fine

That’s been my motto since my birthday a few weeks ago. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to translate it to the New Year but somehow,  “Twenty-Nineteen and Feeling Fine(teen?)” doesn’t seem to flow quite as well.

In any case, despite this new catchphrase, I’ve actually been feeling less than fine these past few months. I’ve felt tired and worn down more often than not and seem to be having a much harder time getting back into the swing of training than I usually do this time of year.

After several weeks, I got sick of accepting this was just a normal “off-season funk” (patience is a virtue I lack) and decided to take a more scientific look at things.

Post birthday-blood test!

So, for a birthday present to myself, I went and got my blood tested with InsideTracker. The process is pretty simple: You order a test online and are provided a lab form to take to any Quest Labs. I scheduled an appointment before work the next day, showed up, got 3 vials of blood taken, and that was it!

About a week later, I received my results, which (spoiler alert!) revealed some possible explanations as to why I’ve been feeling so run down lately.  Key markers for my muscle and bone health (i.e. creatine kinase, vitamin D) were outside the optimal range, as were several of my liver enzymes and iron group biomarkers. The liver thing may sound a little odd, but it is actually pretty normal for athletes to have elevated liver enzymes due to the constant cycle of muscle breakdown. Beyond that, I’d also been on a bit of booze-bender between holiday parties and my birthday celebration so wasn’t shocked to see my markers for liver health looking less than perfect.

screenshot 2019-01-03 17.30.06

Here are some things I like about InsideTracker: you receive a more relevant range for your biomarkers (optimal, needs work, at risk) instead of just a generic “in or out of range” like you get from the lab directly. More importantly, they immediately offer actionable suggestions to optimize areas that are in need of improvement based on your lifestyle goals (i.e. overall health, endurance, injury prevention, energy), and back up each suggestion with the research and science behind it. They’ll also recommend personalized nutrition tips or food groups to focus on based on your results, all within a pretty sleek user interface that’s easy to navigate (of course, as  a millennial, that’s what I really are about).

I chose “overall health” as my lifestyle goal, since that’s kind of where I’m at these days post-Ironman training. Below are some of my action items to support this goal. You can set up your preferences in InsideTracker to send reminders everyday, week, etc. to complete these daily actions. I have mine set up for a daily text message.

Here’s what I’ll be working on:

  1. Drink less alcohol. You all can probably appreciate how hard this will be for me given the title of my blog. I really love good beer! And bourbon. Oh and most red wines (even the really cheap ones). But apparently it’s time to give the liver a little break. I’m attempting to do a #soberJanuary –inspired by my friend Liz Lowe – and will see where things go from there.
  2. Take a vitamin D supplement. Because I live in the northeast, get absolutely no sun throughout the year, and also don’t eat dairy….this one kind of feels like a no-brainer that I should have started sooner. I picked up some D3 gummies a few days ago.
  3. Take a probiotic supplement daily. This may be cheating because I sort of already do this. I started a few months ago when I was having some bad GI issues and it seemed to help (and no, I don’t even care if it’s just the placebo effect at work). I’m the kind of nerd that writes things on my to-do list just to cross them off a moment later so… let’s leave it on!
  4. Eat more fish.The hubs and I usually eat chicken or meat-free during the week…because we are boring creatures of habit. In 2019, we are going to spice things up and have fatty fish at least 2 days a week. This should help my Vitamin D levels but also hopefully improve inflammation markers and cholesterol as well (thanks Omega-3s!).
screenshot 2019-01-05 19.30.56
InsideTracker’s User Dashboard where you can control daily reminders.

I’m on Day 6 of #SoberJanuary and, other than having a horrible cold, am doing pretty well. I have yet to get on my bike but have attended some lovely yoga classes and have taken my supplements, along with cold medicine, daily. #winning

I’ll get my blood tested again in April to see if I’m making progress. In the meantime, I plan on just listening to my body, following my action steps, and taking it one day at a time. Leaving my race calendar wide-open in the spring and early summer has given me the wonderful freedom and flexibility to that. Yay!

I also, for those interested, have some goals (I don’t use the term resolution – too rigid) outside of health/fitness.  In 2019, I’m going to read and write more, and I’m defining “more” as at least once per day. In order to achieve this, I need to free up time from somewhere else…That means less (defined as <1 hour day) social media and Netflix. There are better ways to unwind and reward myself.

If anyone else wants to join in on these goals, let me know! I’m #blessed (only using that half-sarcastically) to count on the support of my IRACELIKEAGIRL teammates for a second year, and of course, my truest supporters, Evan and Evie.

Happy 2019 (and feeling fine-teen) all!





Feminist Ranting, Training

Dear Creepy Men: Please stop ruining our runs (and everything else)

I got home from work today and quickly changed into my bright pink iracelikeagirl tech teeand short spandex shorts. Though the shorts are super short (as most running shorts tend to be), they’re perfect for running. Honestly, if I wasn’t worried about this little thing called “safety”, I’d wear the least amount of clothing as possible for running in weather over 60 degrees. Even as the sun started to set, it was close to 70 degrees in Boston today. A truly perfect fall evening to sweat out a tough work week. So, even though a little voice in my head said, “Are you sure you want to wear these shorts?” – I pull them on. We’re mid-laundry cycle and they’re what I had that was both clean and appropriate for my workout on deck. And I like them.

After that sort of intro, you can probably imagine where this is going. Before I’d even finished my 1.5 mile warm up, I’d been honked at and cat-called twice. It didn’t exactly set me up for a great workout… and I didn’t have one.

During my cool down, a man in a truck slowed down to drive along side me and started trying to make small talk. I wear headphones sometimes on runs… usually not to listen to music, but to make situations/people like this easier to ignore. Here’s what he was saying:

Hey – what are you running for? Are you running for some sort of school? You look like you’re running for something. You look like a fit girl. Seriously girl, you look fit. Are you in school?

There’s so much strange and creepy to unpack in that.

  1. I’m in my late 20s. I don’t look especially young for my age. Maybe you think you’re complimenting me by saying I look like I’m in school?
  2. Maybe you actually think I’m young enough to be in school (I guess I am wearing a shirt that says “IRACELIKEAGIRL” on it), in which case…. What the f**k is a man your age doing slowing down and talking to me like this?
  3. Regardless my age, clearly I don’t want to talk to you so probably you should just take the hint at this point and keep driving.

After ignoring him didn’t work, I eventually did stop running, take my earbuds out and say, “No, I’m not in school. And you’re going to cause an accident if you keep driving like that.”

To which he replied, “I’m just saying you look like you’re fit enough to be.”

There are now cars honking behind him… because it’s rush hour traffic in the city with dozens of people around. So, the loser does eventually drive off. Correction: he peeled out away from me in an obnoxious way that only men of that caliber seem to do.

I’m pretty annoyed by the time I get home and grab my dog to take her for a short walk before dinner. A few blocks up the road from my house is a older man standing by his car on the side of the road. The car’s hood is up and he’s looking inside of it. I’m pretty sick of men in general at this point but also try to be a decent human most of the time… so I stop to ask him if everything is okay. He answers politely that he’s fine and his car just overheats sometimes.

As I’m walking away he says, “That’s a cute girl right there!”

Evie, my dog, has what I call a perma-puppy face and is VERY cute so I proudly start to respond,

“Thanks! She’s a go—–”

“AND THE DOG’S NOT BAD EITHER!!” <wink, wink>

On a different day, I might have had a better response. I have decent wit. I’ve been known to be cutting with my words from time to time (and not always to folks to so

Me, Evie and the outfit that “caused” everything.

deserving either).

Tonight I had nothing. I think my brain could only handle so much in such a short period before exploding. So I just sort of stared at him and eventually let out a big sigh before turning away and continuing my walk. He passed me later and honked a friendly “toot! toot!” at me… like we were old friends and would be seeing each other again soon.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you probably know that it’s been a rough week for women in this country… or least for women like me who believe that women are people deserving of equal rights and, you know, all that other stuff.

The Kavanaugh hearing has impacted me in a real and personal way. It’s bummed me out… and not just a little. It would have been nice to have this run today to clear my head and not deal with a bunch of creeps. It’s really a bummer that we (women) can’t do fun things like go for runs, attend parties, etc., without creepy men ruining everything. And when I say “ruin” I specifically mean: make us not feel safe… harass us… assault us…etc.

Mostly I just don’t know what to do about the fact that shitty people get to just continue being shitty and getting away with disgusting behavior on a daily basis.

It was a bad run. It’s been a bad week. I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be fired up again and ready to take on all the garbage taking place in our world right now.

But today I’m just tired.



So, a few weeks ago something pretty shitty happened to me. I was driving back from the T3 endurance training camp in Lake Placid when my tri bike was taken. The details are sad, painful and even a bit embarrassing for me recount. I left it unattended for a few minutes when I stopped at a gas station to get a Red Bull for my drive home. No it wasn’t locked. Yes, I feel incredibly stupid about that. What can I say? I grew up in the area and honestly never dreamt anything like this could happen.

The last ride I’d do on this bike: Training outside of Lake Placid. 


The hours and days that followed were a whirlwind of [pretty terrible] emotions. There was a brief glimmer of hope where my bike was maybe spotted along the highway but when I and others drove to the location, it was gone. I drove slowly around the area it went missing again and again, ultimately giving myself a flat tire on my car from driving on whatever debris was on the highway shoulder.  And still…. nothing.

After filing a police report, I waited for hours in that same parking lot, stranded in part by my car’s flat tire but also sort of just paralyzed by the situation.

Do I drive back to Boston? What if shows up? Maybe someone has it and is just looking for the owner!

Occasionally I’d look back at my bike rack with torn straps that had once held my most prized possession and my heart would sink further. 150 miles from home in Boston; 6 weeks out from the race I’d been training for for nearly a year….and no bike. Overwhelmed, heartbroken, and exhausted, I called my Mom and started crying.

Not to belabor/sound dramatic about how shitty this felt because I’m sure some of you may be thinking, “Kay, it was just a bike…Keep it in perspective!”

And of course that’s true. But this bike was really special to me. For one, it was a really nice bike! I worked really, really hard to buy the original frameset and perhaps even harder to get the components upgraded only a month prior to it going missing. It spent most of the year in my basement on a trainer where I’d spent hundreds of hours training on it. It was the bike that I planned to ride 112 miles through the Adirondacks during Ironman Lake Placid next month. I know it’s silly to say… but I loved it.

Nearly 8K shares!

So alright, alright! What’s the silver lining? Well, here it is: YOU ALL! The support from my friends, family and the online community was… incredible to say the least. The Facebook post I made soon after it went missing went essentially viral (by my standards at least). I had COUNTLESS people reach out and offer to lend me a bike or help in anyway they could.  People I had never met before were sending me Facebook and Instagram messages offering to help incredibly generous ways.

And each time someone reached out I was so incredibly touched and the world, that had gotten so heavy over the past few days, became just a little bit lighter.


There’s not a single day that I don’t remind myself how privileged I am to be able do this sport. Not just the obvious fact that I could afford such a nice bike to begin with, but also that I’m able-bodied enough to put it to good use; that I grew up in area where I could start going for solo runs and bike rides in high school, that I learned to swim at a very young age (okay yes, and haven’t improved that much since then). Most of all, I’ve always known how incredibly lucky I am to have friends and family who support me through something kind of crazy like training for an Ironman.

And these past few weeks have just solidified all of that. Friends and complete strangers offered to lend me their (also very expensive) bikes so I could still race Lake Placid on a tri bike. COUNTLESS people checked in regularly to see if there was any news and if there was anything they could do to help.

So what do you make of that? Well, my take is this: It’s the shitty things and people that seem get a lot of attention. Whether it be a rotten bike thief, or a horrible world leader who separates families at our nation’s border….

There are so many really, really kind, amazing people out there still. Like, at least 20,000,000 of them in fact. There’s also this thing called insurance, which I’m really glad I have. I got fitted today for a new bike and I’m hoping to get on it in the next week or two… just in time to start my taper for Lake Placid.

THANK YOU SO MUCH friends, families, strangers who I’ve never met for all of your support and kind words these past few weeks. I can’t tell you how much it’s meant to me.


A few of you asked if I set up a crowd funding account. I did not but would love for you to consider to donating to this way better cause instead.


Race Reports, Training

Race Recap: Ironman Raleigh 70.3

I’m probably of the 1 in 1000 people (including non-triathlon folks) that enjoys reading the lengthy race reports that triathletes like to write…which is why if I write them, I usually try to keep it short and sweet. BUT I’m currently stuck traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike on a 13+ hour car ride home to Boston so figured why not have at it! This report is neither short nor especially sweet, but neither was the race itself! To the 0.1% of social media followers that may read this, here’s to you!

The Before

Ironman 70.3 was my first official 70.3 and my first ever Ironman race. When I signed up for it, people kept saying “Ooohh! North Carolina in June?? Good luck with that!” but I never really took their warnings seriously… until I arrived down there a few days before the race: 88 degrees, 70% humidity, water temps IN THE 80S! Eeeeps! This northerner was not prepared. I stopped thinking about a goal time for my race and started focusing more about my fueling/hydration plan.

I started hydrating extra the week before and basically cut out fiber all together the days leading up to the race as I am prone to GI issues, particularly when it’s hot out. I use a great smoothie mix made by Field Work Nutrition Company that allows me to still get the important nutrients even while cutting out vegetables (too much fiber) during race week. My race day breakfast included a smoothie made from Primo mixed with 1 banana, cinnamon applesauce, water (though normally  I would do almond milk) and ice, plus half a bagel on the side for a few more grams of carbs and some solid food in my stomach.

I basically had one goal for race day: respect the heat and stick to my race plan. Shout out to my Coach Karen Allen Turner for giving me some great guidelines to adhere to for race day. I stuck to them the best I could.  Here’s how it went:

The Swim

So, because I’m from New England, I didn’t have a chance to open-water-swim before the race (aside from a quick dress rehearsal the day before). However, I kept telling myself on my pool days “yeah, but on race day you’ll be in a wetsuit”. Of course with 81 degree water, Raleigh was not wetsuit legal. I did have a friend lend me her Blue Seventy Swim Skin the day before the race. While swimskins don’t offer the buoyancy (read: security) of a wetsuit, they do keep your kit sucked in nice and tight to you, which cuts down on drag. The swimskin worked great and I was lucky to have it!

This is the swimskin. SUPER flattering.

The Raleigh swim starts in Jordan Lake, about 40 miles outside of downtown. We boarded the buses from Raleigh around 5:00 am. Transition closed at 6:45 which gave me PLENTY (maybe too much) time to get in the water and warm up before my wave went off at 8:15

Jordan Lake was much nicer than I was expecting. There were a lot of nay-sayers on the Internet talking trash about the  water quality but the lake (other than being like bath water) was fine. My swim wave ended up combining 3 age groups, so it was pretty large. As instructed by my coach, I seeded myself closer to the front of my wave so I could hopefully find a faster swimmers feet to hang onto. I may have been a little overzealous in this as when the horn went off, I found myself hanging on for my life in a cluster of swimmers WAYY faster than me. About 200 yards out, I started panicking that I had gone out too fast and felt myself start to hyperventilate. I’ve never had a panic attack in the water before but felt it coming on this time. I started breaststroking to calm myself down and eventually, after a few moments, I passed the first turn buoy and got back into my rhythm. Just as I thought I was in the clear, the men from the Relay wave caught me. As they crawled over me in the water, I wanted to shout at them, “YEAH, BUT YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO DO ANYTHING AFTER THIS”. But instead I waited until someone who seemed closer to my ability swam near and tried hanging on. This time I was much more successful. The last 1000 yards or so yards went by without any more drama… but I was still more than happy to finally get out of the water. Averaged 1:59/100 yard, which is slow for me, but considering my few hundred yards of breaststroking, I was okay with it.


Aside realizing I couldn’t take off the swimskin by myself, T1 went pretty smoothly. The only unique thing about Raleigh is you had to pack your swim gear into a bag so it could get transported back to the finish for you (since it’s a point to point bike ride). That wasn’t a big deal and only took a few seconds to do. As I ran to “BIKE OUT” I saw two, younger boy volunteers holding enormous sunscreen bottles and shouted “YES! Get at me, boys!” They thought that was funny and did a great job throwing massive amounts of sunscreen lotion on me. Time in T1 was 4:50.

PLENTY of sunscreen. Thanks, volunteers!

The Bike

My heart rate was a little high from the anxiety of the swim so I took the first 5 miles of the bike to get my heart rate down. I drank the first half of my speed bottle right away to catch up on fuel and hydration. I got on the bike around 9:00 am and it was smoking hot out already. About 15-20 minutes into my ride, I settled in aero and basically stayed in that position most of the course. My new Shimano Dura-Ace wheels had me feeling like I was flyyying on the flats and downhills. The course was basically rolling hills the entire way, which kept things interesting. I rode fairly conservatively – spun up most of the hills, tried keeping watts below ~220, even on the hills.  I had a power target in mind to average but focused more on my heart rate than power. More than anything, I knew I had to be super smart about hydration during the bike. Because it was SO DAMN HOT, I just kept drinking. I started with 3 bottles of First Endurance EFS. I refilled my speed bottle with Gatorade Endurance at every aid station. After the first one, I managed to refill “on the fly”, which I was pretty pleased with myself for. I also had 2 energy gels and a protein bar (broken up to have about 1 portion per hour). Since it was so freaking hot, I also dumped a water bottle over my helmet and into my bike shorts at every aid station to try and stay cool. Volunteers didn’t seem too weirded out by it.

I ended up averaging a little low for normalized power but was SPOT ON for my heart rate target. My bike split was almost exactly 3 hours (3:01) which was faster than I was planning for actually! Averaged closer to 19 mph, which was solid for 2800 feet of elevation. Felt good and was even happier to finally pee as I came into transition (yes, in my chamois), which was my goal indicator of hydrating okay on the bike. YAY!

I mean, doesn’t it just LOOK hot?



So, the distance between the bike dismount zone and the entrance to the actual transition area was ridiculously long. There’s almost nothing more awkward than running in bike cleats while pushing your bike along on pavement so I was not impressed with this aspect of the race. Other than that, T2 went fine. I practiced in my head during the bike what I was going to do during transition. Took out my cooling towel, wet it with an extra water bottle, chugged half the emergency RedBull I had in my transition bag, grabbed my Base Salt and Clif Bloks and was off.


The Run

Lots of congestion. Lots of heat.

My coach warned me not to go out too hard on the run and to instead use the first mile to get my heart rate in check. That’s exactly what I did. My first mile was exactly on target at 8:14 min/mile pace and heart rate low Zone 2. The run course was two loops and contained (without exaggeration) at least 6 out and back U-turns. So… it was pretty congested out there. The tight turns made it difficult to get into a rhythm and, of course, that mother f**king heat. I knew from feeling the strength of the sun on the bike that the run would be brutal but there was no way to really prepare for it. I took a salt lick every mile or so, had an energy chew every 2 miles, drank Gatorade at every aid station. Around mile 3-4 I got an incredible stitch out of nowhere. You know the kind where it’s hard to even stand up? Yeah, like that. I ended up walking the next aid station and drinking extra Gatorade and water this time. I forced myself to start running again and was surprised to start feeling better.

So. Damn. Hot.

By the second lap I actually felt pretty good so tried to start picking up the pace, but as soon as I did the stitch would start to come back. So instead of pushing it, from then on I just took it from one aid station to the next. The heat had me a little nauseous so I ditched trying to eat anything solid and went straight liquid calories. I started drinking cola in addition to water and Gatorade around mile 7 and the caffeine seemed to really help. I also followed a cooling protocol given to me by a friend (thanks Sam!) which included water over my head, plus handfuls of ice in my sports bra and chamois at each aid station and that (plus the cooling towel) really saved me. Running in nearly 90 degree heat is no joke! At mile 10 I thought to myself “Just a 5K left. Anyone can do a 5K” (a mantra given to me by a friend) and decided to actually pick it up. This was the first time my heart rate went out of Zone 2 all day. Mile 10-12 was a long steady climb back into town so my final splits were not anything special but I was able to get back down into the 8s and finished the run course in 1:57.


The Summary

Raleigh 70.3 was a tough battle that tested both my mental and physical fitness in a way that it hasn’t been before. The course was mostly well designed and very well supported. The volunteers were INCREDIBLE. But by far my favorite part of the day was seeing my brother, who also raced, on the course and my husband cheering me on.

My goal for this race was sub 5:30 and/or top 10 in my age group. I ended up finishing in 5:48 and 14th in my age group. For my first official 70.3 and the race day conditions, I think I executed it nearly as best as I could have. I’ve been going back and forth like “Man, should I have ridden a little harder on the bike? I probably could have pushed harder on the run.” but then I remind myself that this was just the warm up: I’m still gearing up for the Big Dance in Lake Placid on July 22nd.  This was the last year Ironman Raleigh 70.3 will be held so I was happy to help send it off… but will probably stick to racing above the Mason Dixon line from now on.  Bring on IMLP!

So happy to be finished! 🙂
Official finisher photo!
Beta IPA by Common Roots at the finish was oh-so-good.
Training, Unsolicited Advice

A call to stop being so damn hard on ourselves

I haven’t blogged in a while. Despite my New Year’s Resolution to “write more,” I just simply haven’t had the free time between work and Ironman training.

I was recently promoted at work (yay!). While promotions are awesome, early feelings of pride and accomplishment quickly converted to stress and anxiety as I realize the implications of having more responsibility, more exposure to leadership, etc. More than anything else, it’s been a struggle to navigate my new role and still make it seem like I (at least somewhat) have my shit together.

To use a swim metaphor, it’s like just when I figure out how to tread water to stay afloat, someone comes and hands me a 20 pound weight to hold over my head and am back to almost drowning. Essentially, I’m doing too much to really feel like I’m doing anything well. I shared this with one of my mentors and asked for advice on how to do better.

Her response was this: “I think you’ve got it wrong and actually you are kicking ass and we, as women, are just way too hard on ourselves.”

Oh. Damn.


Maybe she was kind of right. I was probably promoted for a reason… was probably given more responsibility for a reason. No one has called me out on not doing a good job in my new role.


I started thinking about this and wondering about other areas of my life. Silly things that have been causing me stress for no reason.

Take this photo: 28472168_2100323953535974_5536323473011463419_n

This is a photo of me taken at the Outrival Racing training camp. It ended up getting picked up by Outrival and QT2 Systems and shared on their social media accounts. This could have been really cool but all I could think while looking at the photo on my phone screen is that I’m nearly 10 pounds over “race weight,” that I don’t look like an endurance athlete… blah, blah blah… all the horrible things we think about our bodies from time to time for no good reason.

The thing is: I was one of the strongest runners at that camp. The fact that I was even at that camp and the fact that I’m training for an Ironman 10-12 hours a week shows that I have a pretty decent level of fitness. So really,  that kind of self-loathing about an extra few pounds is kind of crazy!

And obviously I’m not alone. Here are just a few examples of conversations with my girlfriends from the past few weeks:

  • I could seriously be 10 pounds lighter if I didn’t drink beer. (Yeah, maybe… but then you wouldn’t drink beer and that would be so sad and boring)
  • I only worked out 4 days this week… that’s pathetic. (No, you’re working full time and going to nursing school at night and it’s amazing that you find any time to work out)
  • I’m going to show up for work my first day and they’re going to immediately fire me when they realize how unqualified I am. (They hired you knowing your experience and decided you were the best person for the job.)

You get it. This topic is so pervasive in women’s conversation it is almost cliché to even write a blog. But for real.  Maybe it’s time we actually start to cut the crazy talk and cut ourselves some slack.

So I took that quote from my mentor and have used it as mantra these past few weeks. Here it is for you to keep in your back pocket for whenever you need it.



In endless support for the sisterhood …on International Women’s Day and all the days!


Beer, Training

Negativity,*!@#!$ Tendinitis and the Trillium Beer Garden.

I like to think of myself as a generally positive person. Not the… in-your-face, everything-happens-for-a-reason type of positive. More the pragmatic… “sh*t happens but it will all work out” type of positive. You know what I’m talking about, right?

So when my Achilles Tendinitis flared up 3-4 weeks ago for the first time in years, I was okay with taking it in stride. As my Coach reminded me, now is the time to rest and heal; focus on my swim; take a needed break from running, etc. I’ve been a good little athlete: avoided running; prioritized stretching and strengthening; convinced my husband to torture me with an achilles “sports massage” almost nightly.

Because of all of this, I was really ready for my test run today (20 minutes, super easy) to go well. But it didn’t. It still hurt… so much that I had to cut it 2 miles in.

Pragmatic, positive Kalyn reminded myself that it’s only been three weeks; that it’s cold  and my achilles is going to be extra stiff in this weather; that injuries (this one in particular) take time to heal and Ironman Lake Placid is still 8 months away.

But then Negative Nancy (that bitch) swept in: “How am I going to ever get to marathon level run-volume if I can’t even run 2 miles?” “Swimming and biking alone is no way to work off these holiday cocktails and cookies.”  “I’m getting so out of shape.” Wah. wah. wah.

Basically Nancy won. She took over my mind like whoa and I spent the rest of the afternoon sulking through social media, being a brat to my husband, contemplating quitting triathlon all together (such a drama queen). When the hubs said he was going to the gym, I begrudgingly agreed to go with him….I literally rolled my eyes pulling on my bathing suit on and grimaced as I got into the pool.

GoPro birthday present FTW.

But something changed as I started to go through my swim drills. I actually felt really good in the water and couldn’t believe how quickly and easily I was reaching the wall. I checked my Garmin to confirm: yes, this was a good pace!

HOLD UP! Maybe I wasn’t so out of shape! Maybe this whole “focusing on swim technique for the winter” thing was actually working!

I met my husband in the lobby feeling significantly more perked up.

“Should we grab a beer at Trillium?”

Um… yup. With good beer, the answer is always yes. 

So we did. For those not familiar (i.e. non-craft beer peeps): Trillium makes some of best beer. No joke: their double IPAs are ridiculous. Awesomely enough, they just opened a seasonal, beer garden at the old Substation in downtown Roslindale… just a few blocks from our house.

The Garden was filled with fellow yuppies, buzzed off 8.5% beers and holiday cheer: Exactly our kind of scene. 😉

Trillium Garden
Dialed In & Farnsworth St

I had the Dialed In DIPA…So freaking crisp and juicy that I had to get a second. And somewhere on the way to my own beer buzz, I decided I’d stick with triathlon a little while longer.

The moral of the story is that injury still sucks but there’s nothing that a decent swim and even better beer can’t make better.  So I guess I’ll continue to practice patience and positivity to ring in the New Year!

Happy Holidays All!




Acknowledging my ignorance: My Nutrition Consult with The Core Diet

You ever have one of those conversations where you realize halfway through what an ignorant dummy you’ve been?

That was essentially my experience during my nutrition consult with  The Core Diet this weekend.

“Back in the day” finishing a leg of the 4X400 at UVM (2010).

By way of background, “back in the day” I ran D1 track while earning my degree in nutrition and dietetics at the University of Vermont. I was a sprinter in college but spent the next 5-6 years training for some longer races, including the 2013 Boston Marathon and most recently a half ironman (70.3) this past fall. All of this is to say that I thought I knew a thing or two about nutrition and training despite some lived experiences suggesting otherwise – e.g. debilitating muscle cramps, GI issues (oh, I could blog for days about the runner trots), essentially crawling (dehydrated and under-fueled) the last 6 miles to the finish line of 70.3… etc.

So, I finally figured when I signed up for my first full Ironman (IM Lake Placid 2018!!) that I needed to actually get my sh*t together. I was beyond pumped for my initial nutrition consult that came with my 1:1 coaching package from QT2 Systems.

Our conversation went something like this…

Me: I know everything about eating healthfully because I went to school for nutrition  (I’m paraphrasing….and I hope I didn’t sound this arrogant) 

RD: How do you usually fuel during long runs or rides?

Me: Hmm… I use Infinit sometimes—like when I have it—but I’m out of it now… so usually just water and a Clif bar or Gu or something.

When was the last time I fueled or even brought hydration for a run??

RD: What do your longest training days consist of right now?

Me: Two to three hours. I’m doing a two-hour trail run this weekend.

RD: You need to be fueling for something like that. How are you doing that?

Me: Ehh… I hadn’t thought about it honestly.  It’s pretty cold out…I’ll probably just carry a water bottle.

This sounds incredibly silly as I’m saying it out loud.

RD: You should have more than water and probably need more than one water bottle’s worth.

It goes on. We start talking about electrolytes and glucose and all things I “knew” or at least thought I knew, but definitely forgot how to apply. Namely, you need to fuel for long workouts (duh!) and there are ways to do that are better than others to keep your training on track over the long – term.

Long story short, RD Jaime (who’s a serious badass, by the way) dropped a whole world of wisdom on me during that 30-minute call. I swallowed (pun intended) my ego and and realized that sports nutrition for endurance is it’s own crazy discipline that I apparently know nothing about.

I picked up a new CamelBak (because I hate my handheld water bottle and fuel belts) plus some electrolyte tabs and put my nutrition refresher crash-course to the test on my two-hour trail run.  I’m pleased to say that it WENT AWESOME! Yes, I ran slower than normal (coach’s orders) but I felt confident that I could easily run another two hours without bonking… and what’s better than that? I actually felt so great and energized afterwards that I went for a second hike with my family later that day.

Training day: CHECK.

Time with family: CHECK!

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ That does not always work out so well!

Committing to Ironman training has meant surrendering to the idea that I don’t know everything, or even close to everything. It’s been about finding a team of experts that know their sh*t. It’s been about talking to other athletes, about listening more, about trying new things… and eventually I might figure it out. This weekend’s conversation got me one step closer.

There is more than one water bottle’s worth in here and it didn’t bother me at all to carry. 🙂



Rest and a run to take me out of my funk

Like so many others after the New Year, I started 2017 with a crazy amount of motivation to train. I had signed up for my first half Iron and started working with a coach for training for the first time.

I trained every day, rarely missing a workout. My “tempo” run pace quickly dropped from around 8:30 min/mile to 7:30 min/mile. I bought a new Trek Speed Concept (not a bad whip for a bad a newbie) and a power meter and watched my watts increase. My first race of the year (despite racing like a complete idiot) I took 3rd overall for women and won my age group at the HITS Hudson Valley Olympic.

That was July.

Then life happened.

Luckily most were good life-things but still life-things that needed to be prioritized, often times over training. (1) I was promoted at work, (2) we adopted a puppy (she’s the best), (3) my only sister got married, etc.


Some were bad life-things. I had two bad bike crashes in one month, the second ending with a broken hand just two weeks out from the 70.3 I’d been training for all year.

All that is to say that somewhere along the line, I forgot that I do this shit for fun. Training became a stressor instead of stress reliever: another obligatory responsibility that I’d grown to resent.

So, after my last race I took about 6 weeks off from “training”. I worked out when I felt like it, and I didn’t beat myself up when I didn’t. I gained a few pounds and didn’t sweat it. I mostly just focused on letting myself heal.

This week I started back up again. With a new coach from QT2, who I love, my training theme for the next few months is durability. I’m keeping my training effort very aerobic to work explicitly on building endurance (as a former college sprinter, my slow-twitch fibers are the ones that need the most work).

All of this is to say that I am doing a lot workouts at lower effort.  Lots of Zone 1 runs and rides, lots of swims where I’m not caring about the pace at all and just focusing on technique.

And you know what? It’s been awesome. This weekend I went out for a 90 minute easy trail run and genuinely enjoyed every minute of it. Loving that run took me out of my funk. I’m not sure I can remember the last time I found myself smiling during a “work out”. I’m pumped to do speed work again. Waking up at 5:45 to get on the trainer isn’t my favorite but I’m doing it and do not feel like I’m acquiring massive sleep debt along the way.

Ironman Lake Placid is 9 months away. My prep race for it is Ironman 70.3 Raleigh in June. I have plenty of time to stress about training as race day grows nearer… but it’s too early in the journey to sweat the small stuff. For now, I’m just pumped to be excited to train again.

P.S. Easier pace runs means more runs with Evie – so she is very happy too. 🙂