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Monday, June 20, 2016

My Great Escape

“Courage to me is doing something daring, no matter how afraid, insecure, intimidated, alone, unworthy, incapable, ridiculed or whatever other paralyzing emotion you might feel. Courage is taking matter what.  So you're afraid?  Be afraid.  Be scared silly to the point you're trembling and nauseous, but do it anyway!” 
― Richelle E. Goodrich

Before leaving for this race I was given advice from dozens of people. From people who had completed the race and from those who had not. I am grateful for that advice so first off I would like to thank all of those people for helping me out. However, it scared the shit out of me. I was very nervous about this race until a couple of days before flying out. Many of you know I have had a terrible string of bad luck lately. Possibly karma. I'm feeling the need to put some good vibes out into the world right now to end this awfulness that keeps happening to me, but that's a whole other blog post. So I decided it was time to just let this shit hit me and roll off. I decided I wasn't afraid anymore. I decided that I can do hard things and that I was going to have the time of my life. I decided I was given this amazing opportunity and I was not going to waste it. 

Jenn Garnand, I recall when I first started racing having a huge girl crush on this lady. I stalked her at races. No seriously. I did. She didn't know it but she was inspiring me. After a while that inspiration turned into a little friendly competition. I love that about this sport. We are always pushing each other to be better than we were before. I am so thankful that we finally crossed paths and met. I am sure you are grateful that I don't stalk you anymore. I can't wait to do more crazy stuff with you! 

The day before the race I met up with a couple of Louisiana people to get a quick swim in and get a feel for the water. The water was FREEZING and CALM. NOTHING like race day. I don't even remember thinking I was cold for one second on race day. 

Jenn and I decided we were bike mechanics, well okay maybe she really is I am not. Anyway, we both reassemebled our bikes Friday when we arrived in San Fran, more on that later. It only took me 2 glasses of champagne to get it done! 

Which brings us to the big dance............

3:30 am: Prison break alarm rings
I stumble through the dark apartment to get my clothes on and grab my bike and head for the door. Ehhhh well I tried to head for the door but my front wheel wouldn't turn and my handlebars wouldn't turn. Don't panic. Don't panic. Jenn and I tinkered with it for a few minutes and decided I would hit the mechanic as soon as we got there.  I did all of the race morning prepping the night before as to not wake the spectators extraordinaire staying in the apartment with us. Well almost all of the race prep, I left out the ride your bike and check it out part. Things were super sketch with Red from the second I took him out of the bag. I borrowed a bike bag from a super spectacular teammate, as to save money.  {THANKS AGAIN!!} this move certainly saved me money, but did not save me from the race morning panic attack that I had no idea was coming. I didn't bring a pump so I wasn't able to ride it the day before to check it out. Yes, yes, big mistake. Lots of mistakes, but hey I made it through!

We pushed our bikes the half mile to transition. I immediately got in the line for the mechanic. It wasn't too long and we were early so no big deal. So I tell him my problem and he says, "Did you put this together yourself?" Uhmmmm "Yea." He then proceeds to tell me it was reassembled incorrectly and the bearings were broken and that he could not fix it. Excuse me. What in the fresh hell did you just say to me?? Not going to say excuse the language because it is fully warranted at this point. I immediately burst into a full on panic attack. Rapid breathing, tears, the whole nine yards. He tells me to calm down he will try his best and peers behind me at the line. I'm thinking those people can wait!!!! I did not fly across the country and pay thousands of dollars to not race today!! For a brief moment I considered robbing one of the Blazing Saddles bike stands (more on that later) and racing on one of those horrible bikes.  In a miraculous end to my string of awful horrible luck HE FIXED IT!! I am forever grateful to the unknown mechanic from The Sports Basement for fixing my bike. Now to get air and off to set up transition. While waiting in yet another line for air I run into Charles who I tell about my panic attack and he proceeds to  tell me he had the same issue and refused to go to the mechanic. I envy his chilled attitude at the moment. I am working on the zero fucks given thing. Making progress too. We chatted for a bit and we were on our way. Set up my transition in no time and went to search for Jenn. It was going to be a long day together and we decided to not leave each other's side for the duration of the race. This totally made the race 100 times better. We snapped a couple of pics and headed to board the buses that would take us to the perfectly good ferry from which we would leap, holding hands and squealing, into shark invested waters.

5:00 am: We arrive at the ferry 2.5 hours before we would make the jump. That's a lot of time for your mind to wander. We hooked up with our instafamily and found a place to sit. These guys kept us entertained for the time we would be on the ferry waiting. An amazing group of talent those guys are. Nathan, better known as @the_tri_lyfe, whom is now a 3X Escapee!! He finished the race in 2:58 minutes, a total badass. Kenneth, or @trikenny_140.6, this was his first time escaping and well he ROCKED it! Last but not least John, @jtlynn, who was escaping for the first time also. It was so nice to have people you know, well met for the first time but through the awesomeness of social media you feel like you have known them forever, on the boat for that long ride out to the rock. About an hour into the boat ride I began to panic. Yea remember all that I got this shit, I'm not afraid, I mentioned earlier??? Classic Jessica. I took off my boots and wet suit and sat in a knee to chest position in silence. Everyone periodically checked on me. I had to get out of my head. I had outside factors that I anticipated freaking me out. After a few self affirmations (#likeaduck) I was back in my wet suit and semi ready to jump. I searched for another familiar face on the boat for a pep talk. I found Charles again because I needed to absorb some of his chill vibes. He gave me some comforting advice and the next thing I knew the national anthem was playing and it was go time!

The Swim:

The horn blows and the mob is moving toward the exit.  Towers, trees, pier, dome. Towers, trees, pier, dome. You see, on this completely crazy jump off the boat and find your way to the shore swim you have a certain order of things to sight. That order will later go out the window. Jenn and I repeated it a couple of times then held hands and screamed as we jumped from the ferry. I hit the water and wasn't even thinking about how cold it was at that moment. My only thought was holy shit I am really doing this. When we surfaced and found each other all we could do was giggle. We were both laughing uncontrollably. There was no swimming going on just pushing through the water away from the boat and laughing. At this point we see Nathan who yells, "Hey, quit fucking around!"  We were told to swim away from the boat for a bit then turn around and look back at the island. We both looked back and took it all in. The ferry, the island, the thousands of people who would soon disappear. It was beautiful. I, uhmm, WE were really doing this. We finally put our faces in the water and began our long journey toward the shore. 10 minutes in we here a mans voice frantically screaming for help. Our thoughts instantly go to shark!!! We looked for a moment and saw a paddle boarder making his way to him. I looked at Jenn and said we have to keep swimming. So we continued. About 30 minutes in we realize we are not making very much progress and there is not a soul in sight. I tell Jenn we won't make the cutoff. She replies with a simple, "Just keep swimming." I felt really comfortable. I wasn't struggling to breathe and I wasn't tired. Now don't get me wrong it sucked! The swells were 3-4 feet over our heads and I was constantly inhaling the awful salt water. I said a quick mental thank you to my coach, Brad Stoufflet, for making me swim 3000 meters 3 times a week for the last month.  An hour in and we still aren't to shore, we are watching people in the distance get picked up by the jet skis and brought to shore. I told her there was no fucking way I swam that far to be picked up. No one was picking me up. JUST KEEP SWIMMING. 1:13 minutes later and who knows what our final distance was we final wash up on a shore a ways from the swim exit. We didn't care we were just happy to be out of the water!

Once washed ashore we began our long wetsuit laden trek to T1.  It was supposed to be a half mile run but it was about a .75 mile wog. Somewhere on this journey I catch my first glimpse of Andy Potts for the day. He is starting the run. Yep, the run, and I am just getting out of the water.  We arrive in transition, ready ourselves, grab our steeds, and head out.

The Bike:

The first couple of miles I'm tired. The headwind is crazy strong. I can't keep up with Jenn and she's hollering at me to take advantage of the flat land. I can not. I finally settle in and the climbing starts. Holy hell the climbing. And holy hell the descending. They were equally as tough. There were 90 degree turns at the bottom of the hills so I hugged the brakes all the way down. My front brake was stuck again at this point which scared the crap out of me. It rubbed the entire time and screeched so loudly you could hear me from a mile away. The climbs were quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever done. To stay on a straight up climb for minutes at a time going 3 mph while your quads feel like they are going to explode is hard y'all. SO hard. I got real friendly with the small ring on this ride. I never switch out of the big ring but had no option on this ride. I was very proud of myself a lot of people were pushing their bikes up this hill and I was able to murder those hills one after another. Like I said, it was insanely difficult but I pushed through. Jenn and I got separated a couple of times so I waited for her. We made a pact and I wasn't going to leave her. When it got flat for the last mile or so I flew back into T2, thanks to that headwind that was now my tailwind.

I took my time and got ready for the run. Normal T2 stuff.

The Run:
The same headwind we dealt with on the bike is killing us for the first 2 full miles of the run. Those miles are on gravel as well. The crowd is thick and there are people everywhere. We were some of the last people out on the course and it was like no one even noticed a race was going on. People were out there doing their own thing and not there for the race. We had to dodge people left and right. We reached the first set of stairs and ran around people to get up. We ran on a trail type surface for a while until we reached the beach. About a half mile or so on the beach and we had reached the sand ladder. This part of the race is so epic it has its own emcee at the top calling out names! I’m going to be real honest, that ladder wasn’t so bad. It has this big bad reputation but it really wasn’t all that killer. Full disclosure, we took our time and ran walked a lot of the race. If I were trying to run this race for time I could see how this ladder would hurt. I found it easier to run up the middle of the ladder than to try and hold on to the ropes and climb. I tried both and it seemed easier to just balance and quick step to the top. The last few miles became a blur, I was just ready to get across that finish line. We finally make it there and we hear the mac daddy of emcees calling our names! That had to be the greatest finish line ever! We hear, “Here they are, I’ve been waiting for you!” “Ladies and gentlemen, the Thelma and Louise of triathlon, Jenn Garnand and Jessica Boudreaux!” Thank you big time Mike for that awesome shout out! Someone else said, “They’ve been joined at the hip since they jumped off the boat!” Which was totally true, and to be honest the race would not have been the same alone.

Escape from Alcatraz was the single most difficult thing I’ve ever done. It took maximum amounts of mental and physical strength. Now in September, when I complete my first 140.6 I may change my mind on that statement, but to this date it was the most difficult. I am still in disbelief that I was able to take part in that epic race. I am forever grateful to my amazing mom and number one supporter for helping make it happen. I would not be able to do all the awesome things I do without her. Of course I do everything I do for my mini me. I love his love for triathlon as well. I can not wait to see him do big things. 

HUGE thanks to David at The Bike Path in Mandeville for always taking care of me and Red. He is the BEST!
Photo cred: My PIC Paige 
I was super lucky to meet up with this guy one of my instafriends! 

We survived!!!!

Showing off my race tattoos and apparently a kindergartner did my body marking. 

Hanging with John another instafriend.

Hanging out in the marina waiting to do my last interview with IMG.

In the months leading up to the race I was able to share my journey through interviews and videos with  IMG. They shared my videos on their Instagram and Facebook accounts. Most of the questions were about how I found triathlon and what motivated me. Beau and I had a lot of fun filming these videos and meeting with the Schuyler and Florencia in San Francisco. 

Some still shots from our videos.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Whole 30 ish

Let me start by saying I am just a normal girl on a journey to lose 100 pounds. I don't proclaim to be a guru of any kind. I just want to share my results with the program. 

No sugar, dairy, grains, legumes.
Only meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts.
No weighing for 30 days!! Hahahahahha!

I feel like I've been "dieting" for my entire adult life. I've always struggled with being the fat girl. I think I've tried every single weight loss strategy out there. In life we correlate food with good times. When we celebrate something we eat or drink alcohol. I've always said I'm not going to miss out on a good time because I'm dieting. During my 30 days there were several celebrations with lots of good food that I had to pass on. I didn't just not go all together but I just didn't eat the cake or drink the alcohol. Not too bad, but not my norm.

I guess the real weight loss journey started for me when I was 23. Woah. Almost 10 years ago now.... After I gave birth to my sweet boy I left the hospital weighing a whopping 235 pounds. The exact same I weighed when I checked in. This was so difficult for me but completely my fault. My entire pregnancy I said I waited my whole life to be pregnant and eat whatever I wanted. Well that caused me to gain 75 pounds. Since then I have done, Weight Watchers, Medifast, starvation, Prescription weight loss pills, Isagenix, Advocare, 21 Day Fix, and probably more I'm forgetting. I wish I could say Whole 30 was different from all of those but it's really not.

Whole 30 is not a weight loss plan. It's a lifestyle change. However I am not willing to never eat cheese, or drink vodka, or have birthday cake for the rest of my life. I just don't see how that is realistic. So for me, Whole 30 is a weight loss plan and I had success with it and I will do it again. W30 did change my mindset. I am now conscious of everything I eat and I think about how awful I feel when I eat heavy carbs or sugar. For example today I over indulged like an idiot and ate 3 brownies. I barely made it through my 3000 yard swim because I felt so sluggish. Dumb. Lesson learned.

Starting weight 165.6
Bust: 38 inches
Waist: 34 inches
Hips: 40 inches

Week 1:
First few days I was so excited to try this out they breezed by. However day 5-7 were rough. I felt like a turtle stuck in a peanut butter puddle. Literally trying to find energy from anywhere. I couldn't have my cream and Truvia in my coffee or my Advocare Spark and I was tired. And hungry! I found myself eating a lot of nuts this week. Probably too many. I had a race and a weekend trip is week and I guess being that it was only the first week I felt great! For the first time ever I had no GI issues during or after my race.  I know the plan says not to weigh but at the end of week 1 I was down 3 pounds.

Week 2: 162.6

This is where things began to get sticky. I had a race this week and was worried about nutrition. It was only a sprint tri but a further distance than the week before. I made it through the race with no GI issues again. After the race there was only jambalaya and beer and I had not planned ahead and brought my own food. We stayed after for several hours and I didn't eat anything so I ended up getting sick and passing out for the afternoon. Preparation is key!! 2 more pounds down this week.

Week 3: 160.6, why can't I drop that .6?!

I don't remember much from week 3, I guess I was sort of sailing through at this point. I do remember being hungry every day. I also ate like a dozen eggs every 2 days. Only 1.6 pounds this week. Beginning to get discouraged BUT I know that small numbers are best to keep it off and it's better than a gain!

Week 4: 159.0, it's finally gone!
Home stretch! I thought eating out would be difficult on W30, but it really wasn't. I have learned that I love oil and vinegar on my salads and it's not hard to ask them to cook your meat with no butter.

I ended my journey on the eve of day 30
Because well.... I had a date. I didn't want to not be able to eat or drink on this first date so I called it quits.

I have never been so pleased with myself for completing this challenge. For me W30 was a test of mental strength. I have zero willpower when it comes to food and I have never been able to stick to something like this for that long.

I wish I could say I did W30 the correct way and stuck to the book, but I didn't. Now, when I say that I don't mean I cheated. I just mean it says no snacking, eat your fruit with your meal. Well I snacked on that shit all day. It says no smoothies, I made a banana, almond milk, and almond butter smoothie that was delish! It also said no chips, I ate chips fried in acceptable oils. I also made banana and egg waffles. OMG so good. 1 banana, 2 eggs, waffle iron!

Larabars are a savior
Plantain chips and avocado YUM
Dried fruit
Boiled eggs. All. Day. Long.
Potato chips fried in acceptable oils like sunflower, coconut, avocado or olive oil

Final weight: 157.2
Waist: 33

Total weight lost: 8.4 pounds
Total inches lost: 6 inches

Off to my next journey, Racing Weight......

Monday, May 23, 2016

Spanish Moss in My Hand............

Sexy Bitches

Race all the races.... My motto, because well, racing is just awesome. I dread training days but love race day. Without race day what are we doing all this work for anyway? I have always been one to overindulge, hence the 85 pound I've had to lose. I'm working on that. So maybe I've traded in food for racing.  So I sign up for too many races, and race them when I shouldn't because I'm injured. I never said I was smart. I am in severe pain today but do I regret yesterday's awesomeness, nope. I don't regret anything I do because every single moment of life is a lesson. And guess what I learned yesterday? That I am a strong ass mother fucker. No no I don't mean She-Ra strong. I mean like Professor X strong. Only I don't control other people's minds just mine. When my foot started hurting running to T1, I knew it would be a tough race. But I pushed through 4 miles at a 10 minute pace and I am damn proud of it. Again, stupid, yes of course. I never said I was smart.

Swim: 1000 yards 24:31 2:07/100
There's nothing quite like starting a race and not knowing the distances. At the swim start I was informed it was a 1000 yard swim and not the 800 I thought. I'm not a bad swimmer, I just don't like it. So I thought well this will be fun. I decided to try out my swim skin for shits and giggles and I loved that thing! At first I just wore it because......well, I felt cool as hell. And it sucks everything in and you look all skinny and shit. Anyway, I think it may have actually helped me swim better! I'm not sure, and there's no way to prove it but I felt awesome and it was one of my faster swims!

T1: 1:12
My transition times are usually sub :60, not sure what the hell happened this time. Maybe getting out of the skin? Saved me 12 seconds in the water but cost me 12 seconds in transition. Perhaps I should reconsider!

Bike: 18 miles 57:43 18.7 MPH
I'm working really hard on my pro flying mount and dismount and well I just can't seem to nail that shit. At Latri I ended up dropping my bike and this time I couldn't get my leg over my back water bottle. I must look like a damn fool out there. So the bike. Note to self, check out distances and race course before jumping in. Don't just show up at races and assume they are all the same sprint distance and flat course.  There were hills. Now I know what you're thinking, humph, just wait until you get to San Francisco. Anyway, I just wasn't prepared once again, however I worked so damn hard for that 18.7 average. My legs felt like they were going to explode for most of the ride!

T2: 1:03
Not too bad on time here, I had to put socks on because I had a small blister on my toe from some sandals I wore the day before like an idiot. I don't normally wear socks for sprint tris.

Run: 40:42 10:11 average pace
Ohhhh the run. So I'm dealing with this awful, terrible, horrible, plantar fasciitis and it hurt the second I put my shoes on. It hurt like a mother for the entire first mile. I don't know why but after about a mile it settled down. It still hurt but not so bad I had to stop. So, I approach the first water station at mile 1,  grab my water and stroll on through. I'm thinking okay half a mile and you're at the turn around. Well I'm at half a mile later and people are turning but not around, they are turning and running up a giant hill! Again, note to self: check the distances on races prior to the race. This was a 4 mile run not the 3.1 I expected. So I think okay I got this I'm not dying, shut up foot. That hill hurt. All of them hurt. I mean I'm sure in the grand scheme of things those hills were tiny, I mean this is south Louisiana, but to me, they were Everest. At about 3.5, when I am all in my head talking myself up and zoned out, I hear someone say "Hey you're from Baton Rouge right?" She saved my life, we chatted and it totally took my mind off my foot and I made it to the finish line. Of course not without tripping and rolling my ankle in true Jessica fashion. Thanks Mike for the finish line shout out also. I was hoping no one saw me but they did, in fact he announced it to everyone. Big thanks to Francis for collecting and saving the giant rock that I tripped on. Such an awesome teammate.....

Crawfishman 2016 was honestly one of the best races I've raced. The venue was incredible. The food was literally the best post race food I've ever had. The medals are AMAZING! Of course I would expect nothing less from the race director he knows how to put on one kick ass race!

Overall time:

5th place AG
Body marking because I still cant get my crap together and get tritats like a pro

 Big Sexy at the race, Paige and Adam volunteered while Rebecca, Michael, Francis, Sherry (not pictured) and I raced! 

 These sexy boys podiumed! Is that a word? YUP
 *not my beer*
 The amazing food I talked about, grilled zucchini, squash, and pineapple! 
These medals are the SHIT! It's a bottle opener! 
Spanish moss in my hand, turn me into crawfishman.......


Monday, May 9, 2016

Louisiana Tri

Louisiana Triathlon is one of my absolute favorite races. It’s put on by Rocketkidz Foundation and some amazing race directors!
The weekend started by checking into the most amazing little cottage in New Roads. If you registered by a certain time they were giving away a weekend package. It included a 2 nights stay at LeJuene St. House, 50$ to Satterfield’s, 50$ to Ma Mama’s, 2 paddle board rentals, and a gift basket from the local grocery story Langlois’. My friend and fellow triathlete, Jenn, won that awesome prize and took me along! How lucky am I?? So we checked into the cottage then headed to packet pick up. We were so close to the venue we walked pretty much {pretty much right Jenn?} everywhere. After we got our packets we did a little shake out ride and returned to get dressed for dinner. Dinner was at Morel’s with some of Jenn’s Hard Inc. teammates. I love meeting new people especially connecting with triathletes and learning more about the sport and races. After dinner we headed back to the house to get out things ready for race day.

Stuck to my whole 30 all weekend! 

Race morning was typical. Got up, pooped, ate, and got dressed. Nothing new same routine. Only I’m still on whole 30 and really really really missing my bagel and cookie butter, but I digress.

We packed up and rode our bikes to the race site and began setting up transition. I donated to Rocketkidz Foundation and was able gain VIP access at the race! This gave me a special rack with 19 others. We also were able to start in the first swim wave. I liked getting an early start. A little friendly competition/bet was set pre-race with 2 other ladies in the 30-34 age group. Last one out of the water bought the first round. I knew I wouldn’t be last but I knew I wouldn’t be first! I love having this competition because it really pushes me to race harder. Calli and I were both VIP so we started together. Jenn started in our AG wave so I didn’t know where she was the entire race I just knew I needed to push because I was getting those 14 seconds back!
I'm still learning this whole #looklikeapro TriTats thing.....

I felt really good on the swim and I think that’s a problem lately. I’m afraid to push and get too tired too soon. It’s so hard to judge my time out there and I’ve been disappointed the last few races with my swim time. Next race I’m going to push it harder. I knew Calli had beat me out of the water because when they said go she took off! 19:28 later I’m out of the water and running to T1, I hear cheers from friends for me and then for Jacob…..uhmmmm yea, he started way after me and managed to get out at the same time. At this point I knew my swim was slow and didn’t even want to see my time. I turned around and said “No, fucking way you’re behind me!” Of course he was in the zone and not even listening.

T1 went swiftly as planned 52 seconds! I swear if transition were a sport I would win every time. I’m not sure how I get through it so fast because everything feels like slow motion!
Off on the bike, I felt fantastic the entire ride. I ended up passing Calli around mile 2 and said a quick “YOU WIN!” There were other words exchanged but I can’t recall what. Have I mentioned how much I love these girls and our competition?? Because I do. Bike time was 59:52 with an 18.6 average pace. I’m proud of it but I wanted faster.

T2:……. Well let’s talk dismount first. So I’m new to the flying mount and dismount, I NAILED the mount. The dismount didn’t go as planned. My feet were out of my shoes I was ready to go and then I get to the line and there are people EVERYWHERE. My mind said don’t do it. You’ll fall. You’ll be embarrassed. So I just stopped and dismounted as usual, Then, proceeded to throw my bike down on the way in, in front of said crowd. Guess I should have tried it anyway. So back to T2, 54 seconds and I was off on the run.
When I started the run my foot was KILLING me. Like so bad I thought about quitting. It eventually worked itself out and I was okay. The run was 2 1.5 mile loops and I thought I would hate it but I loved it. It was great! I surprised myself and ran much faster than I thought I could or would. For the first time ever I didn’t choke!! Not going to lie I was looking behind me for my girl DJ Calli Cal the whole time! Run time: 29:42 9:35 pace
When I finally returned home I had the biggest smile on my face. It has been a seriously long time since I have crossed the finish line knowing I left it all on the course. I knew that I had given that race all that I could and I accomplished a lot. I beat my time from last year by 7 mins. The best thing about triathlon is having the ability to race others, but also race yourself every time. Every time I get out there I set out to beat myself. To better myself. It’s so much fun to compete with Calli and Jenn but so much more rewarding to beat your yesterday. To be better than you were before.

Total time: 150:49
AG: 5th
Overall: 29th

There were some fast bitches out on the course. Like fas fas! I hope that I can keep pushing myself to be as fast as them one day because they literally kicked my ass! Shout out to those fast ladies in F30-34 and thank you for pushing me to be a better me! 

Super proud of you Nic! You have come so far and your hard work and determination is inspiring! Keep pushing you are going to crush Augusta!!! 

 Hanging with my sexy bitches at the bar
 Cheri is seriously the best! Thanks for the amazing race pics! #1 race bitch
 Speedy pants Francis Snagging 3rd in his age group. 
 My partner in crime CRUSHED the beginner division winning FIRST OVERALL FEMALE. I'm so proud of her progress with open water swimming.

 When you socialize all day your the last ones with stuff in transition....oops.

Peace out New Roads!