Friday, September 28, 2012


I finally got my gymnastics meet schedule for the 2012 - 2013 competition season. I pretty excited that they got it to us a little early this year, which means I can start planning my race schedule around their meets. I would really like to do a half marathon in March and with a meet the weekend of March 16/17th that leaves out the bigger local races. Hopefully the B&A Trail Half will work out for me, other wise I may be traveling a little longer than I would like for a race. Either way, I'm sure I will find something.
Talking about race schedules, I pretty much have mine almost planned out.
VA is for lovers 14k - Feb 9 2013
undetermined half marathon - sometime in March
Rumpuss in Bumpass oly tri - April 2013
Kinetic Half (aqua velo) - May 2013
IM Raleigh 70.3 - June 2rd 2013
Rev 3 Williamsburg 70.3 - June 23rd 2013
???? - July
IM Mount Tremblant 140.6 - August 18th 2013
Umm... I have no clue what I'm doing after ironman, but I did sign up for one race:
Rock n Roll Cleveland Half Marathon - Oct 5th 2013
Also, if any of these races look fun to you, come join me :)
Happy Friday All and hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Napa Valley Riding

So over vacation, M and I rented bikes while we were in Napa Valley from the Calistoga bike shop.
The shop guys were extra nice and hooked us up with some Orbea Orca bikes and mapped us out a 50 mile route with rolling hills. Well, rolling hills according to them, but there was nothing really rolling around the one hill we rode.
We started the ride around 11:30ish and it started off great as we were riding past vineyards having fun. 

Then we turned onto Howell Mtn Rd. A road name with the word mountain in it couldn't be good. 

Especially for this out of shape, lazy, post ironman doing nothing person like myself. As we made our way up the hill, I put my bike into the small ring and dropped my first chain! Woot. M kept flying up the hill as I struggled to put the sucker on. 

Anyhow, about half way up the hill and not that many miles into the ride, I felt light headed and thought I might pass out. A small breakfast and no snacks made for dumb fueling for this ride. I was hungry 10 miles in and was struggling. I ate a stinger and some shot blocks which made my feel a little better, but I knew there was no way I was doing 50 miles.
The hill went on forever.... 4 miles with 1,200 feet of climbing forever... 

This may not be a big deal for some, but it was hard for me.  I really never thought we were going to make it to the top. I had my bike in it's smallest gear and just pedaled very slowly. Once we made it to the top the views were breath taking and well worth the ride up. 

But what goes up must come down! I think I was more scared of the down hill then the climbing. It was also at this point we cut off about 20 miles from the ride and just headed back to the shop. Wimpy I know, but we had to also fit in some wine tasting as everything closes at 3-4pm in Napa.
Overall, I had a blast riding just a little less than 30 miles in a new area. Would love to come back another time to do some more riding. Vineman anyone? 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Vacation Recap

I haven't posted in forever and I'm sure everyone missed me.... ha... probably not. Anyhow, I have been on vacation for the last 9 days :) We went to San Fran, Napa, and Monterey CA.

Stop number one: A quick 16 mile run around San Fran. Running over the Golden Gate was fun but windy as hell!!

We then walked all over the city the next two days. Too many pictures to post, but I thought the Full House houses were neat.

Along with the biggest hill ever (35% grade I think) were cars have to snake their way down it.

Next Stop: Alcatraz! Somewhere I have always wanted to go for whatever reason.

I tried to escape, but forgot to get my wet suit smuggled in.

Jason I guess had better luck on the other side of the bars.

After Alcatraz we went to the tourist trap known as Angel Island. Pretty Views of the city and Gold Gate, but not worth it at all.

On our way out of the city, we stopped at Muir Woods - aka Red wood trees and hiking.

We had fun hiking up a mountain and the views were rewarding.

We finally made our way to Napa

Were we tasted wine and road bikes of course.

Don't let the word Napa Valley fool you though, we climbed up a mountain were I thought my legs might fall off. Oh and don't mind Jason's thumb. It's part of the view :)

Our Final stop was in Monterey to visit my old roommate and good friend Jessica.

She took us to 17 mile drive for great ocean views.

Then we made our way to Fisherman's wharf and made friends with the sea lions

One of my favorite things the whole trip was going to the beach in the evening to hang out.

Look at the views

Be over all goofy

And share stories over the fire.

So anyhow, I had a great time and now it's back to real life.

Happy Monday All :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Digging myself out of blob state

So I'm back to the grind...

As I mentioned I only did a little bit last week, but then I went back into blob state over the weekend. Which somehow then flowed into Monday. Anyhow, yesterday was my first day back to a two a day workout. My alarm went off to run in the morning, but I turned if off and figured I could just run over my lunch break with the cooler temps we are having. When I left my desk, it felt great outside. Good bye summer and hello fall. My favorite season. I set out to do 5 miles at a tempo pace of 8 minutes. Now, I actually haven't tried to really run fast or faster I should say in a long time since ironman training is all about slow and long. I huffed and puffed my way through the workout and thought I might die. 7:46, 8:03, 8:17, 8:05, 8:00. When did 5 miles get so f'ing hard? How in the world did I run a half marathon in the spring with a little under a 8 minute pace? Maybe my body is still recovering? Who knows? But all I know is I have a lot of work in front of me if I want to become a better runner.

In the evening, I couldn't pass up the last Fresh Bikes BBQ ride. The route was changed a little bit last night and they had us swing by their new store in Fairfax. Now, before the ride Rachel, Jason, and myself agreed we were going to do the normal hill ride, but somehow I ended up on the new route. Not a fan at all. Traffic, gravel, pitch dark out. 20 some miles later we arrived back at 8pm! I know I already said it, but it was so dark! Thank goodness I had lights on boomer, but not every one did. So unsafe. If their wasn't food at the end I might have been grumpier. 

At any rate, I am finally starting to feel like a triathlete again. I did an easy 3 mile run commute into my office this morning and plan on hitting the pool after work.

Happy Wed All :) 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekend Recap

My big plans for the weekend did not involve 100+ miles bike rides, goggles and a swim cap, or running shoes. In fact it involved none of that...

1. Friday night I went to Match Box Pizza with my good friend Jill who was up visiting from VA Beach.

2. Sat morning even though our alarm went off at 4am or something like that, I just rolled over and went back to bed as Jason made his way out the door to do the civil war century.  Did I feel jealous, for a split second, but my bed was much to comfy and warm to get out of.

3. I slept in until 8am! 8am! It was great!

4. Jill and I went to Eastern Market and I actually got to enjoy DC for once :)

5. We then went to brunch at Cava where I had the best french toast in the world. Also I have been wanting to go to brunch for months and it was so nice to be able too finally.

6. Jason and I volunteered at the Nations Tri on Sunday. The morning shift. Like having to be there at 4:45am early.

7. It was a lot of fun, but hard work as I worked the swim start calling out people's numbers. Lots and lots of numbers. I had no voice left.

8. After our shift was over we rode our bikes to Haines Point to cheer with fellow DC Tri-ers at mile stop 4 on the run.

9. After a nap, we went to a surprise Bday Party - but I'm not sure if it was a surprise?

It was a great weekend :)
Happy Monday All :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Post Ironman...

It has been almost two weeks since ironman and I think post - IM depression is setting in. It's a weird thing, I nearly worked 8 months towards one goal. Then bam, it's over in one single day. It's almost like I feel lost right now, that I have no direction...
The first week after Louisville I did nothing. Actually I did do something, I napped, then I napped some more. The only form of physical activity that I did was ride/walk to work. I also dropped in on track practice to say hello to my friends and did warm up and cool down laps with them, but even that felt hard.
At the beginning of this week, blob state started to set in and I knew I had to start doing something again besides eating all the junk food I could find. I have managed to do the following this week:
Tues: Fresh Bike's Hill Ride - 16 miles
Wed: swim 2000 yards
Thurs: run 3.1 (omg I felt like death).
Friday: well I plan on swimming today after work.
So yeah, it's not a lot, but I suppose it's better than doing nothing at all.
But there still seems to be something missing? What am I working towards? There is no spreadsheet to check. There is nothing telling me what to do. I am lost.
Yes, I have the Marine Corp Marathon coming up Oct. 28th which should give me something to work towards. But this is not my race and this is not my goal. This is Jason's race and his goal and I am merely just running it with him at whatever pace pleases him. Don't get me wrong, I am happy to run by his side during his first marathon, but it's just not the same as running your own race.
So, in a moment of weakness, I registered for another ironman! There is something that just draws me towards the challenge. I know I can do better, I know I can run faster. I know I go under 14 hours. Ironman Mont Tremblant, please be nice to me and make all my dreams come true. ha. And actually if things don't go as planned, I can blame Jason. After all Kiwi and him are the ones that registered me :) 

In the meantime, I think I will soak up my time off and just try to enjoy myself. I actually have plenty on my plate that will keep my busy before I have to jump back into IM training next year.
Happy Friday All :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

IM Louisville Run Race Report

I will admit as I handed the volunteer boomer and ran into T2 I didn't want to run. The thought of running 26.2 miles just sounded stupid. But I proceeded to get my run special needs bags and ran over to the changing tent. I sat down on one of the chairs and dumped out my bag. I put fresh shocks on and my calve compression sleeves. The compression sleeves were really hard to put on my sweaty legs and the left one was getting stuck on my timing chip. It was a pain. I also changed into my favorite pair of running shorts. A volunteer filled my hand held water bottle up. I put my visor on and off I went.
T2: 7:36
It was a long way out of transition and I started my garmin in the wrong spot which would later lead to depression on the run. As I began to run, I had not realized exactly how hot of a day it was. The sun was shinny bright and let me tell you it was just plain hot. I would later find out it was around 94/95 degrees out when I started the marathon.
Anyhow, when I came out of the run shut I saw my Mom, Dad, and Jason right away. I stopped and gave each of them a hug and kiss. They asked how I was feeling....I thought about sugar coating my answer, but I didn't .... my response: "I almost died the last 30 miles on the bike and I really don't want to run. This is my last ironman." They told me to keep going and that I could do it. I really didn't believe them, but I kept running. Shortly after that I saw Rachael and Joe. I stopped and let them know I was ok, I was just hating life and I wasn't even a mile into the run. Then off I went away from the crowds and into the Louisville heat....

The first two miles take you over a lovely little bridge. Lovely....not! It's not shaded at all. I saw Victoria at this point and she was about 1.5 - 2 miles in front of me. I was happy to see her and know she had survived the bike. I figured I could catch up to her in a few miles and we could run together, but those miles never came.
As soon as I finished running the bridge I saw my family again and gave them all high fives and kept going. 
Shortly after they were no loner in sight I started walking. This was the beginning to the end. Why did I walk? Why was I not running? My stomach was messed up. I was hot. I felt light headed. I walked some more. I started to talk to another woman who was walking and asked her if I walked the entire marathon if I could finish by midnight. I could feel the tears starting to come to my eyes because it was at this point that I really didn't think I was going to make it to the finish line. I was hating life and I was only 4 miles into 26.2. WTF was I going to do? I feel like at this point I also gave up mentally and just figured I couldn't run, so why even try.
Much of my first loop was spend walking. I saw Holli and she was smiling and running strong. Then I saw Victoria again at I don't know which mile and thought oh good god she is fast, I am never going to catch up to her. They had cones set up on the road and I began picking cones in my head and told myself run two cone lengths and walk two cone lengths. This seemed to be helping. I of course also walked every aid station and was drinking IM perform and water. I would also take two sponges and put on one my head and the other on my back. Food wise I was switching between pretzels and orange slices. 
At the turn around point I started talking to this guy from Memphis. He was super nice and we pushed eachother along. It was nice to have someone to talk to and it was nice to know I wasn't the only one having a hard time.
What seemed like forever in a day (probably because it was) we were finally making our way over to 4th st.

Now, Louisville's course is a little cruel as it's a two loop run course with the second lap going right past the finishing line. I mean right past the finishing line! At first I thought I had turned the wrong direction. I could see the finish, I could hear the cheers. My heart sank because I had another 12 miles to run as I turned down the other street to start my second loop.
I saw my family again around this point and they really lifted my spirits up. I picked up my special needs bag and grabbed some slide guide out of it and put it on my arms as they were getting chaffed, then I handed my bag to my dad. My dad and Jason ran by me for a little and I loved every minute of it.

I stopped and told them I wasn't going to make my goal of under 14 hours. Jason told me I still could, but I said it was impossible, that I couldn't run. I felt like a failure. Then something clicked...I wasn't failure and I'm not someone who gives up. I started running. I felt like I was running fast, but in reality I was doing 10 minute miles. My stomach was no longer hurting and my legs felt fine since I hadn't been well running. My new plan was to finally catch up to Victoria and run every mile and walk the aid stations. I could surely do this for 12 miles.
I continued to run slowly and finally I saw Victoria around mile 18!!! I was so happy to see her! We ran together for a little bit, then she said she needed a little break so I kept going. It was at around the turn around point that we only had a 10k left and that I met up with another one of my friends Ed. I ran with Ed for most of the last 6 miles as we pushed each other toward the finish line.
My Garmin was ahead of the mile markers due to me starting it in T2 instead of the run out making math hard to do in my head. I ran through the aid station at mile 23 not wanting to waste any time, but the running did not last and I still had to walk. I gave up on my under 14 hour goal as I looked at my watch. But then I realized I had 33 minutes left to run a 5k. There is hope, I can do this. This should be easy! But it was not easy and I couldn't do it.  As I pushed through the last few miles my stomach was acting up again and if I tired running hard I could feel the vomit coming up. So I took it easy which I later regret.
I got closer and closer to the finish line, then I could see it as I made my final turn! I was about to become an ironman. It was really happening. I could see the lights, I could hear the crowd. Just go towards the light I kept telling myself. And before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line and herd those words everyone longs to hear: "Sarah Karpinski, you are an ironman."
It was the best feeling in the world and all the pain and suffering over the last 14 hours seemed to have disappeared and all I could do was smile.
Run Time: 5:27:12
Total Time: 14:01:38
After the finish - I was hugged by my wonderful family. They were their for me every step of the way and the support they gave me was overwhelming. My dad took off my shoes for me and Jason gave me my flops. It was amazing to get my shoes off! 

Shortly after the finish I was not feeling well and ended up vomiting in a trash can. A volunteer then got a coke for me in hopes to make my stomach feel better and it did. I proceeded over to the food area and ate lots of pizza and cookies with Victoria and my family.
It was a long, hard, hot day! There is so many things that I wish I did differently, mainly on the run, but I don't want to dwell on the bad parts or the low points of the race. Sure the time on the clock is not what I wanted or expected, but I still finished and I know I should be proud of that. During the run, I never wanted to do another ironman as I shuffled along in the heat. It's a funny thing though, as much pain as one puts themselves through the feeling of finishing is like nothing else and I think that is the reason people keep coming back for more.... 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

IM Louisville Bike Race Report

After jumping on Boomer, I left the crowds and the cheers with a smile on my face. I was not worried about the bike leg and I knew I could survive it, especially since I had rode the course about a month before the race. Actually you can just click over here, if you want the more technical version of the course as I'm just mostly rambling about how I felt right now. 
The first 15 miles are so easy, we must have had a tail wind. I was holding around 20mph without effort and my legs felt good. I knew this was too fast and everyone tells you to take it slow, but like I said it was still easy effort. I had eaten a snickers in T1, so I was good on food for about 45 -60 minutes.

The bike course was pretty crowded and the drafting rule was somewhat a joke. Not that people were drafting on propose, it was just hard simply to find space to stay the correct bike distance behind someone. The out and back (or the stick) section of the course was really bad. This is the section with hills. People were crazy, crossing double yellows, flying around people going 40mph. I guess Victoria saw me around here and yelled my name, but I never herd her. On one of the hills, there was a guy dressed in a devils costume and there was also death. They made me chuckle as I gave them high fives. The water bottle hand off on this section was also crazy. People would just stop as other cyclists would then almost crash into that stopped person. This is actually the first time I have ever done a water bottle hand off. It was easy though. I took the bottle and just squeezed it into my aero bottle and tossed. Then I would fish a Gu Brew tablet out of my jersey and drop it in my bottle as well.
I knew the course from riding it and was getting excited as we approached LaGrange. I knew my family would be there and I knew there would be crowd support.

This was actually my favorite section of the course. The crowd was awesome and seeing my family really lifted my spirits even if it was only for seconds that I saw them. But I was feeling good and made it to the cheering section around 2:15 into the bike. I was right on my target pace.

I was also keeping up with my nutrition and eating honey stinger chews / PB&J sandwiches about every 45 minutes. I also made sure to take my salt tab every hour and I was grabbing a new water bottle every 10 miles at the aid stations, so I felt like I was drinking plenty.
I saw my friend Ashley at about mile 50 on the bike and we chatted a bit. But she is too fast for me, so off she went. It was around this point that we passed the beautiful Kentucky horses, but it was hot out and all I could smell was horse shit and there was nothing beautiful about that! It was also around here that I saw a bunch of people changing flats. I had herd the locals hate us and sometimes put tacks on the road. I would later find out that this is what indeed happened. Luckily I got no flats.
We do two loops around LaGrange and by the end of the first loop, I was still feeling good. But, I was looking forward to special needs around mile 68. A snickers and a coke. My super power foods. I made it to special needs and a volunteer held my bike as I ran to the port-a-potties while stuffing my snickers down my throat. It was not melted! Thank you mommy! I opened my hot coke and it exploded all over me. Pop everywhere! Hands, arms, face. #fail. I was stopped for a total of 4 minutes which isn't too bad.
Shortly down the road I got to see my family again! I saw Jason and my Dad first then I saw my sis, mom, and Joe and little bit down the road. Once again, I was so happy to see them! I knew it was hot out and I knew it was a long day for them too. So I was so thankful to have them there! Love them so much.

It was a little after this point that things started to go down hill for me. I don't know what was happening. My feet had gone numb and they hurt to pedal. I would try to coast for as long as I could and try scrunching my feet up to give them a break. It wasn't working. I wanted to stop and take a 5 minute break. I didn't stop. I should have stopped. Maybe it would have made my feet feel better? But I kept going. We were riding into a head wind and this point and my garmin just kept telling me ... you are slow! I tried not looking at the stupid thing, but I looked at it every minute I think. Time was not moving. .5 mile of a mile had gone by, then .6, but it felt like it was taking 10 minutes to go a mile. Then my stomach started hurting. No! WTF was happening to my day. I kept pedaling. "90 miles, 95 miles, you can do this." "You only have like 6 laps around Haines Point left. Easy."
But those last miles were nothing but easy. As I got closer and closer to Louisville people were just sitting in the grass with there heads down. I guess they were having a hard time too. The last 5 miles were the worst. I did mange to pick my pace back up to 16.5 or so. Then my garmin beeped 100 miles. 2 miles left! 

I saw another guy on the side of the road laying in the grass defeated. He only had two miles left. What had happened that he couldn't finish 2 miles? Then after the longest two miles of my life, I herd cheers and saw the crowd. I was there. I had finished the bike. I saw my family and smiled. Yeah I had missed my goal of a 6:30 split, but it didn't matter. I had made it. 

I dismounted off Boomer and handed her to a volunteer and ran into the Bike in. One step closer to becoming an Ironman. One step closer. But I still had the dreaded run in front of me.... 

Bike Time: 6:54:43