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Boulder IRONMAN Headsweats

Boulder IRONMAN Headsweats

It’s been 11 days since Headsweats Sr. Account Manager, Lisa Maloney, and her husband, TR, completed the first full IRONMAN in Boulder. It was an amazing feat and we are so proud of what they accomplished. Here’s a recount from TR of the rigorous trainging and day of event, enjoy.

Lisa_TR_IM_Pics

My first Ironman event was back in 2009, and once I could walk up and down stairs again I swore I would never do another one. You know, “one and done.” Late in 2013 there were rumblings about an Ironman in Boulder. My wife works at Headsweats, so sporting news is common at the dinner table. She and I began talking about the event that night, and before I knew it we were both signing up for the big day.

Other couples thought we were nuts. It’s bad enough having one tired and cranky IM athlete in the house…why would you want two? We brushed aside those thoughts knowing that we make as great a team as we do a couple.

Long before the last snow we were prodding each other out of bed at 5am to make our way to the pool for morning swims. We rode together and ran together whenever we could. Most of all we recovered together and made sure the other was eating right and stretching.

Before we knew it the race had arrived and we were ready to go. We woke up, had breakfast together, grabbed our race bags and headed out the door. There we were, ready to go and sitting in the car looking at each other as the engine would not start—more drama for race morning!

After remedying our car issues, we were there at the start of Boulder’s first Ironman, marked and ready to enter the water. We held hands and strolled down the ramp and wished each other well. As soon as Lisa’s foot crossed the timing mat she was gone! She entered the water so fast I thought she was being pulled by a jet-ski.

The swim seemed to take forever! I know Lisa wanted to get on her bike (her strength) and I wanted to get on the run (my strength). Before we were even out of the water we both had our issues to deal with, she had to deal with broken goggles and I took a nice kick to the face and sternum. Seeing the exit arch was pure heaven.

After a quick trip through the transition tent, I was on the bike wondering if Lisa was ahead or behind me. Little did I know, she was a full 6 minutes ahead of me! Even with broken goggles full of water, she dominated on the swim.

Once we were on the St. Vrain out and back, I caught a glimpse of her and we both smiled from beneath our dorky shaped helmets and went back to work. It wasn’t until mile 80 that I finally caught her. She was having a great bike leg and it was impressive watching her pass guy after guy. Finally I pulled up next to her, cheered her amazing effort and made my way forward.
Right around mile 85 the heat began pressing on us and I was pushing the pace to finish the bike. It was then that I realized the insanity of hurrying a 112-mile bike to run a marathon. Luckily the crowds on the course were picking up and the screaming and fun signs lifted my spirits to keep at it. During the hardest climb of the day, I was greeted by the Headsweats crew and I can honestly say it is the only time I have ever smiled on that climb.

Off the bike and into the running shoes is when the real shock came. There were SO MANY PEOPLE CHEERING ON THE PATH! It was insane! I knew Boulder would come out pretty strong but this was like nothing I have ever seen. All racers have their names printed clearly on their number and soon I had what seemed like 5,000 fans.

With the 3-part out and back two-lap course I knew I would see Lisa soon. This was the whole goal of the training and picking Boulder Ironman as our event. We would see each other multiple times throughout the day. Speedy Lisa was 8 minutes behind me when I saw her running down the path. We slapped hands and kept going. Soon I would see her again and we would yell words of encouragement.

During the run my stomach started giving me trouble and I knew I would miss my goal but at that point I didn’t really care. I saw so many friends that I decided to make the last 6 miles a party and started jumping in photos with friends and stopping to give my step-daughter a sweaty hug. At one point, I even ran up to a cooler and grabbed a beer. Boulder knows how to party and Ironman is no different.

Running down the finishing chute I heard the words all Ironman competitors want to hear from Mile Reilly – “You are an Ironman!” Not only did I hear them I was there to hear them for Lisa. Our journey was complete. We dreamed together, trained together, were tired together and finally raced together. Congrats Boulder for putting on a great race. The scenery, the tough course and the amazing Boulder community made it a special day that we will never forget.

Penny Comins takes on another IM

Penny Comins takes on another IM

Headsweats Athlete Penny Comins takes on yet another Ironman – Ironman Kalmar in Sweden this past August. Read her full race update – with emotions and all – below. Congrats Penny!

Ironman Kalmar

Written by Penny Comins

The blue carpet, the blur of the crowd, the music and one voice crystal clear – you are an Ironman. It never grows old. All 15 times it has been a spine tingling moment, only seconds before the immediate release of emotion. The past three months of training, sacrifices and the 140.6 miles you have traveled to get to this moment in time come exploding out. Sometimes it has been joy, sometimes bewilderment and often tears. This time it was tears.

  Ironman Kalmar

I finally got a time trail bike and trained harder than ever on the bike. The plan was to ride 5 hours 30 minutes and run 3 hours 30 minutes to get a new Personal Best. Entering Ironman Kalmar presented a relatively flat cycle course, playing to my strengths. The weather gods had other ideas, as on race morning the flags were at full attention around the small UNESCO town centre.

Penny Comins, IM

Winds gusting from the south at 50 kilometres per hour made the 120 kilometre loop on the open marshland on the island Oland a trudge down and low flying back. Unfortunately I didn’t make up the time lost heading down the island on the way back and was 16 minutes down on my time check heading back over the six kilometre bridge to the mainland. The final 60 kilometres were rolling countryside to Rockenby with a stonking headwind coming back in to town, just when energies were low. It was time to start on the Maxifuel Viper gels and get the caffeine rush in. I came in off the bike at 5.51.56. After a longer than planned swim, or more accurately described as a drownfest, 1.22.55, it was time to get the deficit back on the run.

 goofing around

I stared off at a pace that felt fast but able to hold. As the wind showed itself on the course and my body started to wear down my pace slowed and relaxed at just over five minute kilometres. As the world started to spin I took the precautionary step to slow down through a few aid stations, get some water on my body and in my Headsweats visor to keep my core temperature down. I took on salt; more Maxifuel gels and a few Sports Legs to buffer the lactic build up.

I started to feel better, or was it the finish line feeling looming? Regardless I pushed on. My devoted boyfriend kept popping up in the last few kilometres of the run in the historical city giving me splits and pushing me to go sub 11 hours. I just got my head down, engaged any energy left and pushed with all my might.

 Ironman Finish Line

Relieved to see 10.56 above my head I had done it. I wobbled to the catchers having pushed the hardest I have ever done in all 15 Ironman’s I have completed. Yet tears rolled down my face when I saw David, I felt I had let him down by not cycling a faster time. On reflection the whole field was slower this year with the crowded swim and hurricane winds. The elusive 5 hour 30 minute bike and 3 hour 30 minute run has evaded me again. Well, until Ironman South Africa next year.

My 3.34.27 did give me the 12th fastest ladies marathon on the day, including the pro’s. My Sigvaris calf guards kept my legs in tact to have the power to push when they would normally feel fatigued.

Ironman Lanzarote – it won’t beat me!

Ironman Lanzarote – it won’t beat me!

Headsweats Athlete Penny Comins didn’t let IM Lanzarote beat her – but it sounds like a tough as nails race:

Avoiding the hardest Ironman on the M-dot circuit has always been easy, but there comes a time when you have to face your demons and just tick it off. I entered. I then had the white sweaty feeling of fear. I had a long winter of hard training ahead to get to the level of fitness I needed to conquer the notorious hilly, hot, windy course on the Canary Island. What I hadn’t planned for was four punctures.

Snow, sleet and rain for four months wasn’t conducive to the training I had laid out to get to the level of strength I needed. Many Mazifuel vitamins were taken to ward off the constant lurgy that people had. Long rides and runs, often in the snow, my head was kept warm in my Headsweats beanies. I was determined to get the training in at all costs.

Luckily my determination was a key part of my training as come race day that skill paid off. Lanzarote is known for high sunshine hours so getting into my wetsuit, cap and goggles in a café at the start while the rain lashed down outside wasn’t how I had visualized my race start.

Taking it in my stride, or stroke as in this case, the swim went to plan. Getting out in the cold didn’t make for an easy transition with the loss of dexterity. Riding out in the pouring rain my lips were blue; I was thankful for packing my gillet in my T1 bag just in case.

I have never seen the island shrouded in such mist and rain. Water gushed out onto the road, bringing with it small shards of volcanic rock. One of which decided to shred into my tire giving me a puncture and holey tire. Luckily the mechanics were there in a flash and helped me change it. I continued on with a spare section of tube in my tire where the hole was. This didn’t last long and after two more tubes, my gas canister exploding and an extra tube and pump from number 536 Matty I was annoyed.

Patience tested, I could still see my tire going down as I rode on. I felt every bump in the road and had a fleeting thought to thank the inventors of tires with air verses the old fashioned hard tires. We have it easy now.

Resigned to the fact that I would just have to keep pedaling until I got to the finish as I had no more tubes or air left I pushed on as hard as I could. Then, like a calling from above, the mechanics wagon flew past as we were climbing the gorgeous Mirador. I chased after them, a five minute interval on the turbo. Seeing my distress they helped with a new tire. I was so excited to have air in my tire I floated to T2, having the sun come out helped too. I love the scenery of the island, its barren rawness makes me feel invincible and I absorbed it all.

I didn’t lose focus of the mini goals and set out to run a good marathon, even though I had been out on the bike over eight hours. I put my favorite pink and white Headsweats visor on, downed a Viper Active gel and was off. I love running and enjoyed the sun going down over the ocean. The wind was still immense holding me at six minute kilometre pace on the way out and allowing me to clip along at four minute 30’s on the way back.

Finishing is always a special moment, the finish line feeling. Yet this time I felt like I had won a war. I will be ever proud of this medal. The hardest Ironman, on the hardest conditions day they have had with four punctures.

Tick.

Snowy Running for Penny Comins at Endurance Life’s Half Marathon

Snowy Running for Penny Comins at Endurance Life’s Half Marathon

What’s new in the world of Ironman Athlete Penny Comins? Running a half marathon in the snow!

“Thought you might like these pics of me in the snow in my Headsweats Snowflake Beanie. I LOVE it! Endurance Life had a coastal trail half marathon run in Anglesey, Wales and had to be shortened to a 10k due to the dumping of snow. 70 people ran it unofficially, and it was a real blast. All good training for IRONMAN Lanzarote coming up in 15 weeks now…!” ~ Penny

Ever seen a snow ravine? Looks like Penny found one!
Penny Comins braving the cold

Penny's rockin the Headsweats Beanie
At the summit
Crossing Endurance Life's Finish Line
IRONMAN World Championship Race Report

IRONMAN World Championship Race Report

Who watched the NBC broadcast of the 2012 Ironman World Championship this past Saturday? To all those who’ve been following Ironman religiously over the past weeks and months, Headsweats is happy to share one athlete’s personal story. Brady Murray shares his personal race recap along with some incredible photos of this year’s Ironman. Brady races to raise money for RODS (Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome). Check out his website here for more information.

It’s hard to believe the Ironman World Championship has come and gone. What an incredible experience! Everything couldn’t have gone better and I’m thankful for the opportunity to race. I want to thank Headsweats for your support on my journey to Kona and especially for getting the RODS visors to Kona in time! That was huge!

Ironman and this year’s presenting sponsor did some remarkable things for RODS Racing and the child I was racing for.  I’m excited to see this story told. Read on for my full race report:

Race day started at 3:20 a.m. when the alarm clock welcomed me into the days activities. The normal race day jitters and nervousness was strangely not there right from the beginning. Instead of nervousness I was feeling excitement! It was time for the big dance and I couldn’t wait. I knew I had done everything in my power to prepare for this race and I was ready.

The morning of the race

I made my way down to the start. I was among the first athletes to arrive. One of the first things they have us do is get a number stamped on your arms. The energy was huge from the very beginning. With race number 137 successfully tattooed for the day I then stepped on the scales for a weigh in. I’ve never actually been weighed at a race check in. I wish they would have weighed me after to compare. I bet I lost a few pounds in water weight.

I then put my race nutrition on my bike that had been carefully calculated to give me the correct amount of calories at the right time of the race. This is such a huge part of the race and cannot be overlooked. Regardless of the amount of hours trained, without enough gas in the tank it doesn’t matter how well tuned the engine is.

By now there were a lot of athletes starting to pour in. About this time is when I was introduced to an NBC Sports camera crew. They started filming me prepping my bike. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but then I found it to be kind of fun. The other Kona Inspired athletes started to arrive for the day as well. We have all become very good friends. I feel like I knew them all from their videos. To get to meet them in person was great. To get to race with them was even better.

As the horizon started to brighten, I knew it was time. I put on my speed suit from Aqua Sphere and checked in my morning clothes bag and made it back to the start just in time for the pros to start the race. With the pros gone, it was time for all of us to enter the water. 25 minutes until the cannon goes off!

Stepping into the ocean increased the excitement even more. I swam out so I could see if I could see my family sitting on the cement wall that was lining the bay. Sure enough, I saw them all there with their RODS Racing shirts on. I got their attention and then made my way out to the starting buoy. I’ll never forget looking back at all the spectators lined along the bay. There were also many hundred athletes still filing into the water. Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman, started to give us the estimated time before the start. 10 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 1 minute. By this time I was like a 10 year old on Christmas morning waiting to open presents. We were all stacked in there which made it impossible to tread water without having contact with other swimmers. A warm up of things to come. Then the countdown, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BOOM! Instantly the blue ocean water looked like it was boiling. All you could see was white water and arms flying all around. Immediately I started hitting into other swimmers all trying to make forward progress. It was utter chaos! I had never been in a swim start quite like that one. I found myself trying to avoid being kicked but at the same time, not backing off one bit. This lasted for a few minutes before things started to normalize and the rhythm of the swim strokes started to settle.

Within 5 minutes of starting I got behind a swimmer who was going slightly faster than I was. Perfect! I slipped in right behind him and started to draft. Drafting in the swim is perfectly legal and can be a big advantage to conserve energy and pick up a few minutes as well. It’s amazing how much it helps having someone break the water in front of you as you focus on staying right on their toes. I stayed so close to this swimmer that I found myself tapping his toes every time my arms came forward in my stroke. I worried that this might be annoying for him, but he just kept on swimming and I kept on following. The other advantage of doing this is you aren’t required to site as much. As long as the swimmer you are following is going straight, you can keep your head in the water. This was also nice because I loved looking at all the fish during the race. It was a nice distraction.

The entire way out I stayed right on this swimmers feet. There is a big sailboat at the turnaround which gets pretty congested. I had to work hard to stay behind him, but I managed and before I knew it, we were on our way back after having just swam the first 1.2 miles. Heading back into shore was much faster. The current was pushing us and I think we all were excited to get on the bike. The entire swim seemed fairly congested, but I later found out from Andrea that I was swimming in a group of 15+ swimmers and there weren’t any other swimmers in front or behind us when we came in.

Getting through transition was quick. I had a camera man following me which I wasn’t necessarily ready for, but it was fun. And just like that I was on the bike riding up the infamous Palani Road. The first 10 or so miles weaves through town where there are hundreds of spectators all cheering. You honestly feel like a rock star in this race with all the fans cheering. My legs felt great and all systems were checking out well. After weaving through the city streets there is a steep climb going up Palani and then on to the Queen K. Once you make it to the highway it settles down and you can get into a groove for the remaining 102 miles.

20 miles into the ride there were a lot of other bikers. Swimming is my weakest discipline which means I typically pass a lot of bikers the first 20-30 miles. It was fun seeing all of the other athletes from around the world. We had a big tailwind heading out which meant that the miles were flying by. Around mile 30 I had another TV crew pull up next to me filming for about 8 miles. I didn’t know what amount of filming would be done while I was racing before the day started. One thing I am thankful for is when the camera is on you it helps you go faster.

By about mile 35 I hit my first difficult part of the race. I had a hard time keeping my wattage up and I was going into a big headwind. I decided it was time to have a peanut butter and honey sandwich and some PowerBar Blasts which really hit the spot. Within 5 minutes of finishing my meal I was feeling much better. When you are exercising for this amount of time the food gets into your system almost instantaneously. By the time I started the long climb into Hawi I was feeling great. One thing I did notice though was the wind was really starting to pick up. By the time I got the the last 3 miles of the 18 mile climb the wind was blowing hard. I looked out over the ocean and it was pure whitecaps as far as the eye could see. Right before I started feeling sorry for myself I remembered back to May 5th, the day I raced Ironman St. George. A big smile emerged as I remembered how much worse the wind and conditions were that day. Nothing will compare to St. George wind. I picked up the pace and started to go faster.

The bike course turnaround in Hawi is right at 60 miles. It felt great to get the wind at your back and have a very long downhill heading back to Kona. By this time it was around 11 a.m. and it was starting to get hot. On my way back to Kona our route took us back through the lava fields. I remember hearing about how the heat would radiate off the blacktop but it was hard to imagine there being more heat from below than from the sun above. Let me tell you, this is absolutely true. It was like somebody turned on a heater on the road and it was blasting you from all angles. One way to combat the heat was while going through aid stations to fill up every possible water bottle cage with full bottles of water. Not just to drink but to pour it all over your body while you are riding. This provided temporary relief, but the heat would just not quit. The good news is mentally I was still very much where I needed to be. Any time I found any negative thoughts come to mind I found it relatively easy to replace them with the thoughts and feelings of why I was doing this. The cause of racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome allows me to mentally stay positive and stay where I need to be in my mind throughout these races. Without that cause I believe I would find it much more difficult to battle through the hard times and ultimately finish.

Coming into town I felt great. I was going faster than I was expecting, averaging 20.2 MPH over the last 110 miles. My heart rate was good and my legs felt good. Time to go run a marathon. Coming into transition I was met by a camera crew. My feet were all wet as I was trying to get my socks on. My right sock went on perfectly. My left sock was off a little bit and I didn’t take the time to adjust it. This would come back and haunt me 3 hours later.

Running out of T2 is always a big test. The test is how do the legs feel? If you go too hard on the bike, you will know immediately. Luckily the legs were feeling fantastic. This was good. I ran out of transition and saw all my family. Their cheers are pure adrenaline and energy. Thank you!

Something different for this race than any other is I had never ran the course before. This was kind of fun, but it was also a little frustrating. Fun in a way because it’s all new. It’s kind of like going for a drive in an area you’ve never seen before. Kind of entertaining. The frustrating part is I sometimes felt like a little kid always asking myself “are we there yet” as I look for the next turn or turn around. The first 10 miles of the run took us through town and right next to the ocean. What a great route! I was feeling great and my pace was holding true. I was sticking with Ironman Perform and water to drink and an occasional gel every few miles. I also saw my good friend Mark Wilkerson as well as Alex and Risa Wight during this portion which helped. After 10 miles you have to climb right back up Palani. I wasn’t ready for this. I went up this in my bike and it was tough, now I had to run up it. Crazy! Getting to the top is when we once again turn onto the Queen K and leave all the spectators behind. The next 15 miles were going to be lonely.

About the time I hit mile 13 I could feel another mental challenge coming on. By this time I was 10 hours into the day. I had just ran 13 miles and I had to get my arms doing it all over again. The heat was still an ever present factor and I was starting to feel fatigued. This is when the Ironman secret weapon had to be utilized, Coca-Cola. Most people don’t realize this, but one of the best sources of nutrition in an Ironman is pure Coca-Cola. Not Coke zero, not caffeine free Coke. Only the good stuff! This stuff is magic! I always wait as long as I can before I start drinking coke when they offer it in the aid stations, but it was definitely time! I was able to keep my pace and continue to progress along the course.

Next up on the run course is the infamous Energy Lab. This is a place where you leave the Queen K highway and take a left into one of the most desolate places on the entire island. It’s called the “Energy Lab” because of the huge solar panels and different facilities on the road. What this place does not do is give you any energy. In fact, it sucks it out of you. When I saw the Energy Lab just ahead I decided right then and there that I would pick up my pace when I entered the Energy Lab. I refused to let this 4 mile stretch get me. I went into the energy lab with a chip on my shoulder kind of like a little brother that finally thinks he has a chance at beating his older brother in a foot race. I did pick up the pace. I could feel some deep pain in my quads but I pushed. I knew this was gut check time and I was not letting up. The first 2 miles felt OK. Miles 19-21 were among the toughest faced yet but I lasted and it fueled me when I finally exited having taken on the Energy Lab and won. It was time to take a right back onto Queen K and head back into town.

With only 5 miles to go I kept telling myself, “You got this! 5 more miles! You’ve ran 5 miles a hundred times this year! Keep pushing!” Things were starting to get tough. I could feel a blister on my left foot start to form. I remembered back to the transition area when I didn’t get my sock on right. I demanded that the pain leave my mind and I kept going. My pace was still steady, but my heart rate was increasing rapidly. “Only a few more miles, keep pushing!!” I kept telling myself. The battle that was going on in my head was as intense as it’s ever been. The adversity I was facing on whether I could do this or not was real.

“Keep going!” I kept reminding myself over and over. Mile 22 passed and I celebrated, 4 more miles. I can do this! Between mile 22-24 was the hardest of the entire day. My quads were smashed, my head hurt, and I was spent. Every athlete will face this during an Ironman. This is really the true test in my opinion. It’s easy to race when you are feeling good. It’s when you are hurting, when you’re body tells you that you can’t do this, that you find out what you really are made of. All you want to do is walk. Your mind will start to reason with you. It will say things like, “you’ve done great, just walk a little bit.” Then it will get more aggressive. “This is crazy, why are you doing this to yourself!” it screams. The thoughts of “Why am I doing this” and “I can’t go on anymore” start flooding your mind. It was here where I had to go back to why I was doing this. I remembered Maelie and I remembered the commitment I made to myself to find her family. If pushing through this temporary physical pain meant that she has a family I would do it. If this meant that Down Syndrome as a whole is more widely accepted and that together we can prove that Anything is Possible, I would do it! I kept the pace and pushed harder.

Before I knew it I was on the top of Palani making my way down the big hill I had to run up a few hours earlier. It was here that I knew I had it. Tears started streaming down my face as I thought not just about the day, but this year. Here I was, running the last mile of the Ironman World Championship for these kids that have become such a big part of my life. Last year at this time I didn’t even know Reece’s Rainbow existed or that there were hundreds of children with Down Syndrome withering away in orphanages throughout the world. Now I was getting to represent them at this very moment. I was afforded the opportunity and blessing to be their voice. To stand on their defense and bring hope at that very moment. In this moment I also gave thanks to a loving God. I knew this last year wasn’t anything of my own doing, but more a tender mercy from a loving Heavenly Father.

As I turned down Ali’i drive I could see the finish line in the distance. The pain was gone and I was running on pure adrenaline. Thousands of people lined the streets cheering and high fiving. I came into the final hundred yards under the bright lights and everything went to a blur. As I crossed the finish line I saw lots of people and I saw cameras. Then I saw Alex, he had the biggest smile on his face and I bet mine matched it. He gave me a huge hug and I lifted him up off the ground. Then Andrea and Nash came to me and we hugged a very long hug. I looked into Nash’s eyes and could see that innocence and look that was the source of so much motivation. I then saw my Dad, my Mom, and my Sister Paige and hugged each of them. Then I gave a huge hug to Rob Wight CEO of myList, David Deschenes, Executive Director of Ironman Foundation, and Andrew Messick, CEO of Ironman. That’s when I saw this huge check made out to RODS Racing. I was in shock. It was for $20,000 and it was for Maelie’s adoption. This meant that this little girl has a chance! It was joy in the purest form!

I want to take a moment to recognize and show my appreciation for Andrea. RODS Racing and Ironman is a team effort. There is no possible way that I could serve these children as I have without her. I can’t stress this enough. She IS the reason why things have worked out. Her level of contribution is huge, but often goes unnoticed behind the scenes. Thank you Andrea! I love you!

After the race I went in the transition area and had a chocolate milk. The adrenaline quickly dissipated. I sat down on the grass in a corner as far away as I could get and put a towel over my head. Piece of mind came over me. I knew I left it all out on the course and gave it everything I had. I suppose doing this race is a lot like life. We’ll face exhilarating highs and extreme lows. Pain always comes but it’s how we handle the pain that defines us. There are a lot of people cheering us on at times and at other times we are alone in the lava fields. It takes a team effort. It’s never just one person, but in the end, the results are dependant upon the one looking back at you in the mirror. I hope that at the end of my life I can go to a far away corner for a moment, put a towel over my head and know that I left it all out on the course.

Final stats on the day were: Swim 1:19:42; Bike 5:33:48; Run 3:51:11 Total 10:51:32 I was able to beat my Ironman St. George time by 1:35 minutes!

Total Stat’s for 2012 are: Swim 152 miles; Bike 5,443 miles; Run 1,194 miles Total Hours 802

At the end of these race reports I always find myself asking the question, so what’s next? Well, I can’t wait to watch the Ironman Broadcast on October 27th at 2pm MST. I have a feeling that Maelie will have a family very soon. My hope is that we can find Megan and Maggie a family very soon as well. I’ve already spent time putting together the plan for RODS Racing in 2012. I will continue to race, but my hope is to continue to develop a network of other athletes and advocates who are passionate about racing and passionate about Down syndrome. In the end, our work is not done until every child has a home and until society as a whole has a better understanding of just how much of a positive impact a person with Down syndrome can have. One thing that I have learned this year that I plan on applying next year is this: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!

Feel free to visit Brady’s personal blog here, for more photos of the day’s highlights!

Berlin or Bust

Berlin or Bust

Eight time Ironman athlete, Penny just competed in the Berlin Marathon – reaching a Personal Best! Penny heads to Amsterdam to race this weekend. Read on for her crazy training schedule before the marathon:

Leaving the Ironman world for 2012 I wanted to give it everything for the Berlin Marathon. I chose a very audacious training plan and took it day by day. I was scared of the plan but determined to get it done. Some days were harder than others. I saw some amazing sunrises, got some inspirational messages from friends, ran all over the UK in search of perfect trails, wore a different Headsweats visor each day and ate a lot of Maxifuel Viper gels.

I ran 1,168 km in 11 weeks.

Had 5 rest days.

I had 61 days where I ran every day.

The 39th Berlin Marathon was the day to test this crazy plan.

I was ecstatic to be hitting the start line healthy, strong, and in the sun for once. I don’t remember much of the race, just pushing hard at each moment and thinking of all the messages of luck I had.

Each 5 km I had a time written on my arm and I was two minutes below it right the way through. When times got tough I just thought of all the mornings I had gotten up at 5 am to fit in my run before work; I had to make that count. I kept pushing and pushing. Crossing the finish line I knew I had done a Personal Best but tears filled my eyes (there is need for a Tearsweat for racing visors!) and I missed stopping my watch straight away. I had done it. I had really finished the journey I set out on.

I ended up doing 3.05.35 and being the 71st lady back. It was great in the athletes village as I got an ovation from the helpers and loads of help at the ladies tents…even a special photo with them!

Champagne please!

Ironman Frankfurt – A Test of Getting the Job Done

Ironman Frankfurt – A Test of Getting the Job Done

Headsweats athlete Penny Comins talks about her most recent Ironman — in Frankfurt, Germany! Here’s what she has to say about her experience:

Never had I felt so good in the lead up to an Ironman. I was lean and rested. Maxifuel recovery products and vitamins had meant I was strong and at a very lean race weight. It was to be my race.

When I got in to the water I felt light and strong. The Maxifuel gel topped up my reserves just before I hit the water. I was on for a good time until I took a full fist blow to the eye socket. Pulling out of the slim stream I re-adjusted my goggles and checked the fist hadn’t busted the skin on my face.

Feeling the rain drops on my back while swimming I made the decision to take the time in T1 and put on my arm warmers and rain cape. Three hours later on the side of the road changing a slow flat I was pleased with my decision. It hadn’t stopped pelting down and now I was struggling to get my sodden tire off covered in grit. It wasn’t to be the only slow flat I would get of the day, resulting in riding the last 15 kilometres on my rim hoping that my flat tire wouldn’t roll off taking me with it.

Race goal time was out the window. I needed to route deep to find mini goals within the goals. Headsweats visor on, I attacked the run. Having half a Maxifuel gel every 20 minutes not only broke the marathon into 20 minute treats but kept my nutrition even throughout. I spent the first lap of four running between the third and fourth professional woman. This is the reason why we do this sport, to be in the mix with our heros. This spurred me on to keep racing hard despite the disaster on the bike. I was super pleased with how smooth and loose I felt on the run. Crossing the finish line was a huge accomplishment. It wasn’t just about the distance but the mental games I had to play to trick myself to the finish.

I jumped straight in to the ice bucket baths with a Recovermax in hand. The following day I could walk with ease. I put the lessons of the day down in my diary and started to plan out my pursuit to the Berlin Marathon in September.