Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ironman Mont Tremblant: Over at Last

An Ironman doesn’t really start when you hop into the water to swim 2.4 miles before biking 112 miles and running a marathon. It starts long before, during the training leading up to it, with the planning involved in attacking the training and racing, and with the decision to start the process altogether, which is often a year in advance of race day, thanks to quick sell-outs of Ironman races in North America.

I signed up for IM Mont Tremblant 2013 a few days after getting home from IM Louisville 2012, partially determined to take another stab at the Ironman run, and partially because I just plain loved Ironman training all summer. Literally two weeks later, I got some not-awesome news from my doctor, and it included orders for a very restrictive diet that left me wondering how on earth I was going to train for this thing that I’d just laid out $700+ for. I threw a few tantrums about this over the fall, kind of adjusted, set a half marathon PR and figured all would be well. I maintained about half of the weight loss that my doctor dictated through marathon training, and then took 47 minutes off my marathon time.

I was bulletproof. I was going to make myself healthy, lose the weight my doctor told me to lose, and keep setting PR after PR. I would annihilate IM Mont Tremblant come August.

Or so I thought.

Some combination of accumulated fatigue/stress/my diet left me barely functional this spring, and it was the first time that I really thought about dropping out of IM Mont Tremblant. I bounced back from that to break 5:30 in a half ironman, and was back on the “let’s crush this thing” train. Once focused ironman training started up in mid-May, my body rebelled in a serious way, and I gained an absurd amount of weight in a short period of time despite no change in diet. That left me discouraged about ever addressing my health, and again doubting whether or not I should go ahead with IM Mont Tremblant. I kept going back and forth all summer, concerned about how I wasn’t losing the weight I needed to lose to get healthy, and that the extra weight would leave me injured while I trained for the race. By the time I was two weeks out from race day, all I could think about was getting this race done and attacking the weight issue with everything I had.

I even told Jason on Friday afternoon before the race that I wanted to go home and never think about this again.

Clearly, I didn’t go into this thing with the best outlook, but every time I doubted the wisdom in continuing, I reminded myself how much I enjoyed the journey, the training, and the challenge, and tried to stay positive. I mean, at this point, we were 800 miles from home with all my gear. There really wasn’t anything to do but race.

So there I found myself, by the shore of Lac Tremblant, at 6:30 am on August 18. Time to get this thing done.

Swim: 1:04:09 (1:31/100 yards)

Ironman initiated a few new swim start formats at their North American races this summer, including a wave start at IM Mont Tremblant. This put the 34&under women behind ALL the men – and three minutes behind the 45&over men.

I think you can see where this is going.

While a traditional mass start with 2000-some participants involves a lot of congestion at the start, folks tend to spread out and swim with others the same speed as them for most of the race. Just like in a road race. In a wave start, however, faster swimmers from later waves wind up running into those slower swimmers in earlier waves. While this happens at shorter races that use wave starts, the effect is far more drastic in the 2.4 mile ironman swim, as we have more time to catch up to more folks, and spend even more energy navigating around slower swimmers.

While we had clear water for a few minutes, the fastest pack of women ran into some very slow-moving men before we even hit the first buoy. Though Lac Tremblant is beautiful and clear, which makes it easy to see that these slower swimmers are ahead of you, we had so many slower men to swim through that our pack broke apart almost immediately. The congestion got so bad around the halfway point that I stopped, stuck my head up, and realized that I was blocked off by a Wall of Dudes.

There was nowhere to go in any direction. Not forward, not right, not left, not even backwards. Eventually, the congestion broke up a little bit, but I continued to run into the Wall of Dudes for the rest of the swim, and spent the last mile or so of the swim wanting nothing more than for it to be over.

When I’m waiting for a swim to be over, you know it’s bad. I mean, after swimming across the Chesapeake Bay, I asked to swim 4.4 miles back to the other side.

I wound up coming out of the water under 1:05, which I promised myself I would be happy with, and started the half mile run to transition when I heard the cheering crowd suddenly start cheering EVEN LOUDER. Then I realized they were yelling “ALLEZ MADAME!!!! ALLEZ!!!”

Awww, those crazy French Canadians were all excited because I was one of the first women out of the water. How sweet of them. I’d have stopped to thank them, but I was on a mission to get in and out of the change tent as quickly as possible. I had a few other things to do, like ride my bike.

Bike: 7:12:08 (15.6 mph)

The volunteers got me out of the change tent quickly, which was one of the best parts of being one of the first women – I was one of the only people for them to help. Score. I hopped onto my bike and made my way out of the village and towards highway 117, where I was greeted with even more “ALLEZ LES FILLES!!!” because so few women had passed through. And maybe because I was in my slick SMASH kit.

Once we were out on 117, all those people I swam past were hammering to make up for lost time…and I once again ran into Wall of Dudes several times – this time, though, in the form of draft packs passing me.

I had to let up on my effort several times to make sure that Wall of Dudes didn’t take me out OR leave me in the draft zone, but I figured I was just saving my legs for the run. It was discouraging to be passed by so many people, yet I knew I had to bike my own race and ignore them, so I focused on staying in control of my race by repeating a little poem.

Drink your drink.
Eat your snacks.
Watch your watts.

And watch my watts I did.
My power was somewhat low for the first 40 miles, thanks to all the (legal) draft advantage I got when being passed by Wall of Dudes over and over, but I didn’t worry. More power for the run, and more time to get hydrated. Unfortunately, eating the snacks was a little difficult, because I had no interest in letting go of my bike for one second while careless folks dodged around me on the shoulder (where we were explicitly told NOT to ride), and I wound up taking in very little for the first hour or so. I started taking any chance I could to take in a combination of UCAN and homemade sweet potato bites once we headed back towards town, but the opportunities were few and far between.

Finally, the climb up to Lac Superior, the hardest portion of each loop, nicely broke up all the packs before we started the second loop of the bike. My legs didn’t feel fatigued, even after the climbs, and I was ready to take this on again. The course was more deserted this time around, and I needed to pull up some prime entertainment to keep my spirits up, especially when fighting the wind gusts on 117.

(Think it's ridiculous? Try it.)

Around mile 80, I started passing people back – folks had taken this ride out way too hard, the temperature was climbing, and they were fading. I wasn’t pushing – there was, after all, still a marathon to do – but a normal effort level with my power and heart rate in check had me leaving folks behind. This is why keeping yourself in check the first half of the bike, regardless of what is going on around you, is so important.

Just as I started passing people, I started getting really hungry, possibly because I was behind on nutrition following my failure to take in calories while maintaining a death grip on my bike while being swallowed up by pelotons. That was fine – I just took in some extra Gu for an hour or so and hoped I’d be able to catch up. Meanwhile, my legs felt great, and I didn’t feel the foot pain, or frustration, I felt at the mile 90 point on at IM Louisville. I was SO ready to run a marathon.

Run: 5:08:17 (11:41/mile)

My feet hit the ground at the dismount line, and I felt OK running – even in bike shoes. I tore through transition after changing shorts and shoes, and was off to RUN THIS MARATHON and redeem my miserable performance at IM Louisville the year before. The first 10k had me at a solid sub-10 pace, and I was taking in Nuun and salt and Gu just as I’d planned, with a short walk break every 3 miles to address nutritional needs.

In other words, this was happening. My sub-4:30 ironman marathon WAS HAPPENING RIGHT THEN AND THERE.
Until the first little bit of Gu I tried to take after the 10k point wouldn’t go down. I let up on that, and decided I’d take it when it would do some good. Then I realized that even Nuun, which I’ve NEVER had difficulty with in over two years of training, was making me sick, too.


I tried a little plain water around mile 8, and it stayed down, so I dumped the Nuun and filled my water bottle with that. Only the tiniest sips of water were palatable, so I avoided overdoing that. I kept moving, but started to worry that I wasn’t getting in sufficient hydration and nutrition to finish this thing safely.

And that was the end of it.

I got angry. Really angry. Angry about how I worked so hard for a year to address the weight issue, to follow the diet my doctor handed me, and now it was leaving me unable to reach my goals because I can’t practice race nutrition in training because I can’t afford that in my meager calorie budget, and now I was getting sick in the middle of my biggest race of the season.

Rather than continue to be vague about this, let’s just get this out there: I was diagnosed with Polycistic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) shortly after IM Louisville. My doctor explained that I developed it because I was too fat, even though I wasn’t technically overweight by BMI metrics, etc, and that I NEEDED to lose about 20-25 lbs or I was looking at cancer and diabetes down the road. She told me to eat 800-1000 calories/day, regardless of how much I was training, and to limit my carbohydrate consumption to 100 grams/day.

Let’s just say that this doesn’t mesh well with training for long-distance races. I wasn’t, however, about to give up on doing what I love, so I tried that diet for a few weeks while training for the Richmond Half Marathon. Almost passed out a bunch of times, was totally miserable, and upped my calories to about 1200-1300/day for the rest of the fall. I had a successful PR effort in Richmond, and lost about 12 lbs over the fall. Even though it was hard – VERY HARD – I was doing it. I was racing well and moving towards resolving my PCOS issues. I thought I could handle this, but my body totally broke down in March, and this spring, I started gaining back some of the weight I’d lost no matter how hard I trained or how carefully I watched my diet. I felt powerless and trapped – no matter what I cut out of my diet, the weight crept on unless I left myself so hungry that I couldn’t sleep for weeks at a time.

I really did try to stay positive about all of this for the past year. Honestly. I told myself that a low carbohydrate diet would make me a more efficient fat burner, which would be key during long races. I told myself that the careful attention to my diet would improve the quality of what I ate, and support my training better. I told myself that being this committed to the process of fixing my body would reinforce my commitment to training hard.

And it still sucked. It sucks to not be able to sleep because your stomach is begging to be fed, but you can’t do anything because you’re over your meager calorie limit for the day. It sucks to go to a post-race bagel-fest with your friends and drink water. It sucks to skip all the pie at Thanksgiving. It sucks to know that with every day I fail to lose the rest of the weight, I increase my risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer just that much more. It sucks to know that this is what my life is going to be like for good, and that there is no end in sight aside from (eventual) death. There is NOTHING positive about it, and come mile 9 of that run, I ran out of mental energy to deny that any longer.

From there, I completely mentally fell apart. I wallowed in the anger of my inability to train and practice race nutrition like others, and lost the will to make myself run. I walked, walked more, tried to run, but always soon gave up with the futility of it all given how much of a failure I’ve been at doing something as simple as losing another 15 lbs.

Eventually, I was walking large sections of the course, knowing that I was missing my goal for no good reason, as my run pace was still right around 10 minutes/mile when I DID run. I just had no will to make myself run when thinking about how my life is such a pathetic, hopeless disaster with no prospect for improvement.

The one pick-me-up that hit me on lap 2 was the realization that I was actually walking faster than some folks who were running. I can, after all, power walk with the best of them.

Around mile 19 or so, I figured things couldn’t get any worse, so I tried to see if some Coke from the aid stations would stay down.

Holy smokes, it did, in very small sips with an extended walk break. A few calories, a little hydration, and I was trotting along at 10 minute/mile pace here and there, until my brain went back to that dark place of despair. Averaged together, I wound up around 12 minutes/mile with sporadic running and power walking for the back half of the second loop. If only I’d been able to gather the mental strength to run it, I’d have been done much earlier.

The whole second lap was truly pathetic. I even walked most of the last mile, which was just stupid – I could hear the crowd at the finish line, I was so close to being done with this damn thing already, and I was STILL too mentally weak to make myself run. Thankfully, the last half mile or so is straight downhill, and I was able to jog down that hill into the finish.

Until I ran into Wall of Dudes again.

You didn’t think they were done making an appearance in this race, did you? Once we were entering the chute, several of them started stopping, showboating, and generally getting in the way.

I just wanted to be done, so I squeezed past them, and passed over the timing mat for a 13:36:59 finish overall.

It was a PR by about 36 minutes over last year, which means I met my B goal. Great. I still severely underperformed given my fitness level and other race performances this season. The finish line volunteers forced me to take a medal, which I tried to decline by explaining that I didn’t earn it because I mentally gave up during the run. Then I burst into tears, partially because I was finally letting out all the misery from the past year, and partially because I was so relieved that this was all over.

Several weeks later, I’m still disappointed in how the run went. Not because of the time, but because I was mentally weak and couldn’t push my body to perform. It’s extra discouraging because I’m fairly certain this is the last Ironman I will be attempting for a long time. I love training for the Ironman, and I love the challenge, but it is clear that my body cannot handle it. I don’t have any choice but to focus on losing the weight for good, and Ironman training doesn’t work with that. As for what I can do? It’s hard to say. I think I can handle marathon training and half ironman training and keep the weight loss going, but I’m not sure. I’ll only find out by trying, and being willing to adjust my race schedule with my health being the focus.

In the end, I cannot discount how fortunate I was to even be able to do this race, regardless of what the clock said at the finish line. I have a well-paying job that I like, wonderful friends and training partners to keep my spirits up, and an astounding ability to avoid injury under high training volumes. Few can say the same thing.

Which is why I, and others, sometimes need this reminder: Never take the ability to cover 140.6 miles under your own power, no matter how it goes or how long it takes, for granted. Ever.


  1. I'm so sorry about the run, dude. I can't imagine how frustrating that was for you. The wall of dudes showboating at the end made me furious on your behalf!
    So...I'm not a doctor and I have no business commenting on your health issues, but would it make sense to get a second opinion about the diet/treatment? Forgive me if I'm out of line for asking! I hope you're able to figure something out that works with your training.

    1. Thanks for the well-wishes. I've gotten a couple of opinions, nobody seems to have much else to offer, which is what makes me so angry.

  2. I think races where you mentally give up are definitely the hardest to handle, no matter what anyone tells you. I feel your pain and I hope you come to terms with it and do look on the bright side that you were able to finish a freaking incredibly hard race with a PR.

    I was also going to ask about a second opinion. Your doctor sounds kind of crazy for saying you were overweight in the first place ( you don't look overweight in these photos to me!!!) and that caused PCOS? If not another doctor, maybe acupuncture or some alternative medicine could help. You never know!

    I've been following your journey for well over a year now and I can't imagine what you are going through but do know that you are inspiration and I think you are an incredible athlete!!!


    1. Thank you :). I've contemplated acupuncture, at this point, it's about the only thing I HAVEN'T tried. Thanks for the reminder/nudge.

  3. I'm not really sure what to post, but I am so sorry about all of your health problems this past year. I hope you can figure it out soon. I am overweight, and I often let that get me down during races.

    You still ran an awesome race and I'm sure you will do another Ironman one day.

    1. I hope so, too. Keep racing no matter what your weight - the clock isn't tied to a scale!

  4. First of all, congrats on a 36min PR!! That is awesome!!

    Secondly, I'm sorry about the mental game. I hatehatehate those races where I psych myself out and then I am so mad at myself afterwards. Of course, the perk of having done that, is that I can now remind myself how much I hate it. I talk myself into going b/c I KNOW how angry I'll be afterward.

    And I'm with the others...second opinion? I know you keep saying you need to lose weight, but I've heard PCOS contributes to weight gain (not the other way around, although that may be true too). If you want to race and lose weight, might I suggest some shorter distances? Fast running burns more calories...

    1. Thank you! I did get a few opinions. There are several studies that demonstrate that the ideal BMI for women with PCOS is around 21, so even though I'm not overweight, I have a ways to go.

      Women with PCOS don't burn many calories in any kind of exercise, though, with shorter distances, I won't be screwing with my hunger hormones, so that's probably the route I'm going. Good thinking.

  5. Add me to the chorus of people calling for a second opinion. What this 'doctor' said directly contradicts the most recent medical research on PCOS - hormonal imbalances CAUSE insulin resistance and weight gain, NOT the other way round. There may be evidence that morbid obesity (and I'm talking 200+lbs here) can trigger similar hormonal issues to those found in PCOS, thus causing cysts to form on the ovaries, but in 99.9% of cases PCOS makes it damn near impossible to lose weight because our hormones and ability to process carbs in particular are out of whack. I have seen multiple specialists in the field in the years following the removal of my ovarian tumour, and not one of them has suggested a diet that extreme. The only dietary recommendation I've ever had was to watch the amount of carbs I ate, particularly simple sugars.

    Doctors can make utterly ludicrous recommendations. I empathise, I really do, because I am so desperate to lose weight that I've cut my calories down to NET -1000 minimum a day, and even then I don't think I'm getting thinner to any obvious degree (I can't face weighing myself any more). It's screwing with my training too, and I want to punch all of the other runners who brag about eating whatever they want due to running 'so much' (and their mileage is less than half of mine), who live on sugary crap and don't have to count every calorie and macro they take in. I want to be at my racing weight so, so badly but I find myself absolutely drained during the end of marathons in particular, shaking and desperate for food that I can't eat. I am hungry 24/7 and it's a miserable life...and I'm not at calories as low as yours.

    I just don't think this has to be 'it' for you. There are other treatments for PCOS - I can't have a lot of them due to the high risk factor of breast cancer (prevalent on both sides of my family) but unless you have the same family history then you could.

    Despite all the adversity, you still raced, you still finished, and you're still a stellar athlete.

    1. Oh, Jess. I feel like you are the only one who understands. THIS SUCKS SO MUCH.

      You are definitely right that carbs/sugars are the big deal, and I watch those EXTREMELY closely. I am hoping that if I remove the physiological stress of super-long workouts, I can manage my hunger better? We'll see.

  6. First, congrats on setting the new PR--and for covering 140.6 miles. Like you wrote, any day you can go 140.6 miles is a good day.

    Not to sound like a broken record, but I second/third/fourth what the others said about a second opinion. I'm sure you crossed the t's and dotted the i's, but an order to lose 25 pounds seems very daunting and tough to accomplish, especially since you weren't overweight to begin with.

    Anyway, despite the health and mental stuff, you should be proud. You continue to inspire and motivate (both me and others!), so even if another Ironman isn't in the cards, do not give up triathloning. The sport needs you!

    1. I'm definitely still doing triathlon! Probably HIM and Olympic distance, both of which I love. You don't HAVE to do an IM to be a triathlete, as you know!

  7. I so badly want to give you a hug. And to kick down the Wall of Dudes (which cracked me up, by the way). I'll echo the previous commenters on ... well, everything. But most of all, as someone who has had more than her share of THOSE races, mentally, I can say for sure that getting through them brings you closer to a place that is mentally peaceful, race-wise and other-wise.

    1. I will accept a hug (from you, at least). And yeah, I had a lot of fun with those drawings.

  8. Sorry you didn't have the ending you wanted but I still think you did AWESOME out there!! Absolutely love your Smashfest stick figures and the wall of dudes... And yes, the WOD were out in full force on each leg of the day...

    And I hope you figure out the nutrition piece - that's bonkers! I can't even imagine not getting the chance to train with the right nutrition.

  9. Congrats on completing the Ironman. I heard that bike course is tough. I am doing my first full Ironman this November. Was it too hot during the run that cause you not to keep done your food. That is my biggest fear. Not being able to eat during the bike and run.

    1. I don't think the heat was an issue - I think it was lack of proper nutrition training on my part. So, train in race conditions and practice your nutrition, and you'll be fine.

  10. Delurking to say that I love the wall of dudes drawings. They made me laugh. Also, I have PCOS, and I kinda think your doc is full of shit. I'm really sorry for all your health struggles. I hope you can get a second opinion and get back to good health. Good luck!

    1. Glad to entertain. Sorry to hear you have the same issues, this is NOT easy to deal with.

    2. It's not easy, but once you figure out what works, it's totally manageable. There's an awesome endocrinologist in NYC - she didn't treat me, but has treated a couple of family members. Don't know if you're willing to travel, but if you are, she's definitely worth the visit. Her name is Carolina Sierra.

  11. Get a second opinion please. As an MD (but not a GYN/endocrine specialist) I am a upset that another doctor has this backwards. One does not "get PCOS by being"fat"". PCOS happens and we don't know the cause-low grade inflammation, insulin resistance, hereditary, and exposures are some of the things being considered. One of the issues with PCOS is changes in metabolism-thus women with PCOS tend to be overweight/obese or have prediabetes/diabetes. This is why diet modification and exercise are recommended. Severely restricting your diet is not the answer here and is likely the wrong thing to do in your case. Given your level of fitness you should probably be consulting with an exercise physician, nutritionist as well as a specialist in PCOS. You seem like a researcher/scientist--use that knowledge to go find the latest literature and find a better informed MD.

    1. Thanks for the pointers. I've gotten a few opinions, nobody seems to have anything to offer, other than to say I'm doing everything (diet, exercise, supplements) right...which makes me even more hopeless.

  12. Hey - I can only echo what you read above. Finishing your second (2ND!!) Ironman with a PR is awesome. Full stop. But I also understand how that finish feels diminished by your mental game during the run, and for that I'm sorry.

    I hope for your sake that you find some way to get back to the training you love quickly.

    1. Thank you! I hope I get back to it soon, too.

  13. Despite the frustration and bleakness of the run, you managed to do an ironman with everything thrown at you over the last year. You see mental weakness, I see strength. You see someone who gave up on the run, I see someone who managed to run-walk 12 minute miles -- a pace I can only dream of. I think you have the right approach - put health first, and see what you need to do to address the PCOS, and see what becomes do-able and FUN around that.

    1. This is all true, I'm still disappointed and annoyed with how everything turned out. Oh well. Onward.

  14. While I have yet to enter the IM fold, I do understand how disappointing it is to not race the way that you hope and expect, but you're amazing in that you did continue to train and race despite the challenges.
    Good luck as you focus on your health and, as others have said, I hope that training can be fun for you again.

  15. While your mental game may have let you down this run, it is not weak- with everything you've been battling this past year, your mental strength has gotten you to another IM finish line 36 minutes faster!

    I'm not the right kind of doctor to give any sort of medical advice, but my first thought was to check out vinnie tortorich/NSNG/Fitness Confidential. I started listening a little while back and the reason your sweet potato cookies were key training this summer. It's pretty similar to the diet you've following, but I wonder if increasing the fat in your diet (and not focusing on a number) would have a positive impact for PCOS and, ultimately, weight. Although, I can't see how you were ever over-weight!

    I'm positive you will figure this out and find a sweet spot for you nutrition & athletic-wise. Good luck, and next time you're in boston we'd better go for a run :)

  16. You have done absolutely amazing things during your life, both physically and otherwise. When you set a goal of breaking 4:00 in the marathon, I was skeptical. After all, it took all I had to run a 1:56:30 half marathon in ideal conditions. Given that I provided half your genes and your mother's side of the family has no endurance athletes,that seemed like too much of a stretch. You not only did it, you did it by almost 30 seconds per mile! Mentally weak? That is just flat out WRONG - you have done almost everything you set your mind to: world class nuclear engineer and harpist, tremendous synchro swimmer, and holder of 3 MIT degrees. Each of us has a few not so good days and you just hit one of them on a less than desirable day. Probably limiting yourself to shorter events with your potential health is a good idea - there is only so much you can do.

    As for the PCOS diagnosis and diet, PCOS is indeed an unfortunate condition. But people have persevered through chemotherapy, lost limbs, and other traumatic medical conditions as endurance athletes. You've done a fabulous job of that so far - keep it up! The diet is ridiculous as you are NOT overweight - and weren't before you started on it. Why do you think it has been so hard to lose weight and keep it off? Your body knows what it needs to train as hard as you do. Watching carbs is the one piece of advice I would agree with and that would be true to some extent even if you did not have PCOS.

    Keep up the amazing things you do - and never be discouraged just because you ever so rarely fail to achieve your lofty A goal.

  17. Ug. That sounds frustrating. I don't know anything about PCOS, but it sounds like it basically sucks balls, and you are hardcore for fighting through all that and still finishing an Ironman. I hope you're able to work through the health issues in the coming months.

    Congrats on the finish! I love the "wall of dudes" drawings. Men are ridiculous.

  18. Victoria! I'm a little behind here, but three important things:

    1. love, Love, LOVE the drawings! The Smash kit on your swimmer is extra impressive!
    2. You definitely deserved that medal!
    3. I'm not an MD, but I hope you'll find a way to keep racing! I'm sad I didn't get to meet you in Tremblant, and hope I get another chance!

    Happy recovery and excited to hear what's next!

  19. Wow...what a report!!! I am so proud of you for pushing earned that medal 100 times over!!! So sorry to hear of your health issues. I know this is dumb but have you gotten a second opinion? The doctors orders just don't seem right....but I'm no doc. Hang in there!

    1. Or I could have read the 7 zillion previous

  20. Thank you for the report! I was checking on their page to see how your race went, and now to get a fuller picture than just your snippets of info and the times was good. (I was curious what happened during the marathon, not that a marathon is not long enough for a million things to happen).

    And thank you for the health update. You had me worrying and again, curious.

    And congrats for finishing your second Ironman!!

  21. I've been following your blog for a bit... finding inspiration as I work on my journey to (hopefully one day) become an IM. I have PCOS too. It's not easy - frankly, it sucks. Especially when you put in the work and you're disciplined about your diet but you're still not losing the weight. I've been on the last leg of a triathlon, running (more like jogging) as people pass me and thinking to myself, if only I could just get the extra weight off... if only I could get in control of my body and my metabolism... if only I didn't have PCOS.

    The thing that I've learned is that you can't beat yourself up. We're all dealt a different hand of cards and we have to make the best of what we have. I know it's not fair but don't let it get you down! Keep doing what you're doing -- you've inspired me and many others. Congratulations on your IM finish. You rock!!!