1 Week to Ironman Lake Placid: MMRF Team for Cures


6 abc action news south philadelphia woman competes in triathlon to fight cancer

image via 6abc Action News

One week until Ironman Lake Placid!!  Departure in four days.  I’m not quite sure how to begin or write this blog today but know I have to because I’m definitely behind on blogging.  A lot has happened and I want to be able to look back and remember everything. The past two weeks have been extremely busy, mostly filling these final two weeks with final efforts for the MMRF.   Truth is, I feel extreme exhaustion the past three days. I’m a little embarrassed to share this but it’s important to be honest in my blog so that I can look back in the future and learn from my experiences. Sitting down to blog feels a little overwhelming because I feel like there is still so much more to do with my projects but I want to get some thoughts down in writing.  Over the past week I haven’t been eating, hydrating or resting properly.  I just talked about the importance of getting REST six days ago although I haven’t followed my own advice on this one. On Wednesday at 10pm I realized I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. I’ve been staying up until 3:00 or 4:00am in the morning working on projects for MMRF and then waking up by 7:00am. I chose projects over training on Thursday. I just can’t seem to put it down and want to know that I did all that I can when I show up to the starting line.  This is my #1 priority of 2015 and as long as I know I gave this my all I will be happy when I arrive the start line.

I woke up today with a massive headache for the second day in a row so I headed over to my favorite cafe in Philly, Down Dog Healing Cafe.  I first stepped foot into this lovely cafe on October 14, 2014 just a few weeks after signing up for Ironman Lake Placid. I remember sharing my goals for Ironman with the owner.  I remember setting out to share what the MMRF is with everyone I meet.  I remember her response when I told her.  She paused and then told me “Thank you.”  Yes, she smiled and said thank you. She shared with me that her father lives with Multiple Myeloma. It was just weeks after signing onto the MMRF Team for Cures that I met someone other than my aunt who lives with Multiple Myeloma. Their family helped me host Sing to Celebrate Life! It was my first big event for the MMRF and I had a chance to meet her wonderful father. Little did I know that I unfortunately would meet so many more people with MM through this journey. Kei owns an Ayruvedic healthy cafe just blocks from me and it’s my favorite cafe in Philadelphia. Every time I walk into her cafe I feel peace, comfort and positive energy. She always knows what to serve me so I’ve stopped looking at the menu. Today I just said “headache/tired” and she knew the proper remedy.  Kitchari with a special Hibiscus-lemongrass tea followed by hot Root Boost tea (licorice root, ginger, astragals, elderberry, ginger, and orange peel). It was delicious and I already feel better already.

6abc Action News was the highlight of the week.  It was so much fun to meet Ducis Rodgers a few weeks ago and then have the opportunity to meet Jeff Skversky on Wednesday to share my story, the MMRF, and do a little training with him.  HUGE thank you to 6 ABC Action News Philadelphia for featuring my story. http://6abc.com/853901

The Bacon Boy Challenge was another exciting part off that same day!  They raised over $500 with this awesome and hysterical challenge. I can’t thank Greg and Darren enough for their humor and recent efforts to jump aboard and help me raise awareness for Multiple Myeloma and the MMRF.

On Thursday the MMRF Team for Cures featured my story as one of their IMLP MMRF Team for Cures Athletes. Their words mean a whole lot to me and I appreciate that they shared a little more about who I am. Special thanks to Endurance event manager Kelley Ward, who has encouraged me and reminded me to keep going. Many times. Another huge thanks to Chuck, who is racing on MMRF Team for Cures.  He is one of my greatest inspirations these final months leading up to the race and I am so excited to see him next week.

Yesterday is when I hit a point of serious exhaustion.  At 9:00am I saw online that my sister dedicated the entire day to donating 50% of sales from her store on instagram spearmintcloset  All day long she listed items for sale and her followers were grabbing the items rapidly.  My sister did more than funds for MMRF. My sister Shari raised awareness to her 41,000 followers on instagram educating them about Multiple Myeloma and the MMRF. Thank you so much, Shari. I love you.

So what a week, right?  But it wasn’t a week filled with all happiness. It was one of the most sad weeks since I began my journey with the MMRF.  How is this possible?  Sunday, my friend shared that she lost her paddling coach to Multiple Myeloma.  She shared with me that he was a giving, dedicated, inspiring coach and friend to her.  Thursday, another friend shared she lost a patient she was close with to Multiple Myeloma on that day. One hour later another person I know shared that their co-wokers husband passed away from Multiple Myeloma on Tuesday. Why?  Why did three people I know who lose someone to Multiple Myeloma in the same week?  If you get a chance please watch my video on suffering.  Think about it. Think about how fortunate many of us are to be racing Ironman Lake Placid. Since the 6abc news story more than 20 people who have family that lives with MM or family who have passed away from MM have shared their story with me. One of my goals with the MMRF Team for Cures is to see that EVERY athlete that shows up to the start line knows what the Ironman Lake Placid official charity is. Yes, I want to reach my personal commitment too but I want ALL athletes to know what Multiple Myeloma is and what the MMRF does.  Together, we are making a difference. Every time someone shares they are educating another friend about Multiple Myeloma or reaching people who are affected by Multiple Myeloma. Raising awareness is key. So are raising funds for research.  I understand many of us have causes that are special to us and not everyone can make contributions. This I completely understand.  But you can still make a difference.  May I please ask everyone reading to consider just one thing? May I please ask you to consider sharing one post, one fact, or one thing you have learned about Multiple Myeloma with someone you know today. Please, help me spread the word about what Multiple Myeloma is and the important work of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. It is thanks to the incredible communities coming together that we achieved so much. If you have been part of the journey for the MMRF I want to say thank you. Thank you so, so much.

If you’d like to learn why I am racing on the MMRF Team for Cures, more about Multiple Myeloma, or would like to make a contribution please visit here to donate.

With love and gratitude,

Keli Engleson


MMRF Team for Cures Ironman Lake Placid Feature

South Philadelphia woman competes in Ironman to help fight cancer.

Keli Engleson

Philadelphia, PA

On March 31, 2014, Keli Engleson ran in IRONMAN Los Cabos. Keli has always been a huge health and wellness fanatic, being a certified yoga instructor and birth doula. She is an avid trainer, maintaining the mindset that all you need are positive thoughts and anything is possible. Despite her healthy lifestyle and upbeat attitude, Keli swore that she would be a “one and done,” completing that one race and then relishing in the bragging rights.

The day after completing the triathlon in Los Cabos, Keli was already online looking for her next IRONMAN. Six months later, she completed IRONMAN Maryland.

After conquering Maryland, Keli didn’t stay away from IRONMAN for long. In 2014, she volunteered at IRONMAN Lake Placid, and it was then that she discovered that the MMRF is the official charity partner of the race. Keli’s aunt Mary has multiple myeloma, and Keli also recently lost a close friend and training inspiration to cancer. Enthralled by the possibility of continuing to do something she loves while making a difference, she signed onto the MMRF Team for Cures.

Keli wants to do all that she can to raise awareness for the MMRF, and hopes to reach an amazing goal of $35,000 for cancer research so that one day a cure can be found. An avid blogger, she has inspired many others to join in on the fun; eight of her friends have laced up their sneakers and started running, and three of her friends have even entered into their own first races. Keli uses her blog to record her progress, grow from sharing her journey, and reflect by reaching out to others. Check out Keli’s blog as the funny yet very inspirational “Yoga Peach” here: http://yogapeach.com

IRONMAN Lake Placid will be Keli’s first event with the MMRF Team for Cures, and her decision to join the team has turned the experience into a passion. Every time that she encounters a steep hill, braves through challenging weather, or just doesn’t feel like moving from bed to continue her training, she draws inspiration from the knowledge that she is doing this for something so much bigger than herself. Keli will race at Lake Placid in July in honor of her aunt, in memory of her late friend and inspiration, and as part of a team working together to make a difference.

To Support Keli and help her reach her audacious goal: http://support.themmrf.org/goto/yogapeach


President Obama Delays My Run: Ironman Lake Placid Training

President Obama Philadelphia

You know when you’re just out there training and President Barack Obama interrupts your run? Yeah, that just happened a few hours ago. Tonight’s run was entertaining. Four miles into my run Bryce from Philly tri club appeared behind me on the SRT. It’s always fun to run into people when you’re out there training. Keeps you motivated.  After a quick chat we continued our training in separate ways when it began to pour. It was nice though and the sun was still shining. At this point I visualized the IMLP marathon while I ran in the rain. By the time I reached Walnut Street the rain had stopped, the sun was still shining and I was a total groove.  At the corner of Rittenhouse Square 6 miles into my run I was stopped by K-9 Police unit and a Terrorism Police officer who informed me that I could not cross the street. They were just closing Walnut Street for President Obama. A row of motorcycles with American Flags zoomed by followed by a caravan of flashy vehicles. You can see in the picture above and that I was dressed in style. I’ve made a promise to myself to wear MMRF for the 50 days leading up to race day and I have kept my word. Mr. President, thanks for visiting Philadelphia tonight. I wish I had seen you out of the car. I want to share my commitments for MMRF with you!  Call me?



Philadelphia Runner: Run & Yoga University City

Philadelphia Runner and yoga

Thank you to all who came out to Philadelphia Runner University City today for this morning’s 3 mile run followed by yoga in the park! Today was the second Philadelphia Runner Run & Yoga event to support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.  The last event will take place at their Manayunk store on Monday, July 20 at 6:30pm. At each of the events we run 3 miles followed by 45 minutes of yoga for runners.  Any and all donations will go directly to the MMRF and there will also be a post run/yoga raffle at the next two events. Congrats to Fred who won the Zavino gift card today!

In 14 days, on July 26, I will race Ironman Lake Placid on the MMRF Team for Cures.  Multiple Myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer and currently has one of the lowest 5 year survival rates of all cancers.  I will race to honor my aunt who lives with Multiple Myeloma and also in memory of my friend Kara who passed away 8 months ago at the age of 34 years old from another form of cancer. My commitment to the MMRF is to raise $35,000. I chose the number 35 to give thanks and celebrate the 35 years I have lived.

The Philadelphia running community is an amazing group and I did not realize the positive power of it until I found myself in it. Over just the past two weeks I’ve met some awesome new friends through the Philadelphia Runner events. There are so many people I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for these active and social events we’ve held for the MMRF. To be able to raise awareness while meeting new friends has been such an awesome experience.  The running community is notoriously welcoming here in Philadelphia so even if you are brand new to running, please come out and give it a go!  Hope to see some of you at the next event on Monday July 20.   If you’d like to make a contribution, all donations are greatly appreciated.  Donate to MMRF.  Love, Keli


Iron Cowboy Report Maryland #27

Iron Cowboy experience
The Iron Cowboy is James Lawrence, an incredible athlete, who set a goal to complete 50 Iron distance triathlons, in 50 consecutive days, in 50 states.  That’s swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full 26.2 marathon.  Everyday and then ride over night to the next state to do it again. James is raising awareness to fight childhood obesity. Through the James Oliver Foundation he aims to raise $1million to fight the obesity crisis in the US. “Through the work of the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, we aim to shape the health and well being of current and future generations and contribute to a healthier world, by providing access to food education for everyone. Our research drives and influences practical food education programs that directly empower the communities that need it the most.” Please take a moment to listen to his message and check out his foundation. If you’re able to make a contribution please visit to donate.
iron cowboy report

So who is the Iron Cowboy? James made the Guinness Book of World Records in 2011 for having completed the most half Iron distance triathlons in one year. In 2012 he broke a world record for the most full Ironman distance triathlons in one year.  It was this statement that made me keep reading when I first discovered the Iron Cowboy.  “I will test my mind and body beyond what anyone thinks is possible and I invite the entire United States to join me and my family as we race across the country. When I tell someone what I am doing the first thing they say is, “That’s impossible, you can’t do that”" I CAN’T is a phrase that I do not believe in. If we are fortunate to have a healthy mind and body, we can do almost anything within reason.  It isn’t even about whether we can or can not in my option. It’s about having the will and desire to chase after our goals and dreams.  Choosing to push beyond our limits, to see what lies just outside.  One of the first times I heard myself say the words “I can’t” (actually it was “I could never do that”) was the day that I learned what it meant to complete an Ironman triathlon. Less than a year later I ran across the Ironman finish line for the first time and confirmed to myself that we can achieve so much more than many of think we can. But 50 Ironman distance triathlons in 50 days in 50 states?  Yeah, that’s pushing limits and then far beyond. Iron Cowboy is more than a strong athlete physically. He must be one of the most mentally and emotionally strong people out there in order to achieve what he’s already accomplished. He’s out there right now doing this every day, in every state, for 50 days, allowing us join him. Inspiring so many people.

Iron Cowboy Schedule

I’ve been following the Iron Cowboy since day 1 in Alaska and this past Thursday, July 2, 2015, I had the honor of returning to the Ironman Maryland course for his 27th day in a row to watch him swim and join him to ride and run.  I woke up around 4:00am and drove two hours and 45 minutes, arriving to quite a storm that morning just a few minutes before he started the day.  The swim was moved inside the Dorchester YMCA and due to the whether it was only Iron Cowboy allowed in the pool. By the time the ride began the weather had cleared and we were ready to rock.  Windy morning but so comfortable.  Believe it or not, I was actually a bit shy when I first met him and simply put my hand up to wave with a quiet “Hi James!” I didn’t want to hound him right out of the pool with so many people around him asking for photographs. I can’t imagine what that must be like.  Fresh out of the water and headed onto the bike. Off we went on the ride and wow…this  guy incredible. 38 minutes into the ride I averaged 19.1 miles per hour and soon enough he and a crew of people were already out of my site.  I don’t know how he’s done it for 27 days straight being able to maintain that pace. There was a good handful of us that trailed behind and most people went out for just one loop. Some stayed with him the entire 112 miles. I rode almost one loop, went to lunch with an awesome girl for crab cakes and then returned for the run.  I can not confirm this as fact, but some of his crew members said that Maryland was perhaps his fastest courses?  James told me when we got to the run that it was one of his coolest and most comfortable days.  He seemed happy and well the entire time.  Jason, one of the race directors for IMMD, was with us the entire day. Jason and his wife Laura are amazing people who own and operate Tricycle and Run, the official bike shop of IMMD. I do not know how they do it all, but they are truly wonderful people.

iron cowboy

iron cowboy updates

iron cowboy 5k

iron cowboy

Somewhere around 6:00pm we met at Great Marsh Park near the IMMD swim start for the 5k group run. There were about 50 people there to run it. Just before the run James shared his mission and asked us all to take on a big challenge, to go after something that truly pushes our limits. His children were active handing out race bibs, handling t-shirts, and it truly seemed like they were having a blast on their summer vacation.  I chatted with his wife Sunny briefly who shared stories from their journey from location to location. I don’t know how James does it but he was happy, full of energy, laughter and able to converse with everyone on the run. He brought so much positive and healthy energy this event.  The 5K was like Forrest Gump, but cooler. You know what I mean.  It was a nice slower pace run so that everyone, including children, could participate.  Once the 5k was completed about 20 of us continued on.  It was so much fun to be back on the IMMD course, so many flashbacks from moments of that race.  And being able to reconnect and run with Michele from IMMD was a blast.  She’s also one super inspiring and kind lady. Now that the group was smaller I had more courage to talk with James. It was great to be able to keep up with James on the run. I told him that I was only allowing myself to ask just two questions.  I can imagine questions get old after awhile but he was happy to answer everyone s questions. I stuck to just my two questions and he answered in detail. The second question one was humorous which lead into another fun conversation. We talked about Ironman Lake Placid and he says it’s one of his favorite courses of the 30 full Ironmans he’s completed in 11 countries. Ironman Cozumel is the best swims in his opinion. At mile 8 of the marathon James ate a Wawa sub for dinner while maintaining a 10 min mile through dinner. I remember a lot of laughter around this point.  Everyone was super positive and supportive throughout the entire event.  As the sunset and the roads became dark as we dwindled down to 15 runners. By 10:30pm, approximately mile 11, there was just six of us left.  I wanted to keep going but was feeling it and didn’t want to over do it before my final long ride before IMLP. When I realized I was the last woman running I decided that was cool and it was time to call it a day. My ride home was a big longer… My eyes were blinking shut on the road at 1:00am and I knew I had to pull over and take a break. I’ve only felt like this once before after working a 32 hour birth.  I fell asleep at a welcome center and woke up in my car again at 2:45am.  Whoa, that’s a first and it was a bit scary. Lesson learned, next time get a hotel.

I am extremely inspired James’ challenge. He is an example of determination, dedication, strength, courage, belief, and pushing limits, and taking action. If the Iron Cowboy is coming to your state, go meet him. Bike with him, run with him, support his journey and efforts to raise awareness to childhood obesity.  Be prepared to leave the experience inspired. Thank you Jame Lawrence, for an unforgettable experience.

iron cowboy review

Iron Cowboy Report

Iron Cowboy triathlon


Philadelphia Runner: Run & Yoga Event

philadelphia runner yoga


Philadelphia Runner has teamed up with three of their stores to support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation to help raise awareness and funds for the MMRF through Run & Yoga events this month.  In 18 days, on July 26, I will race Ironman Lake Placid on the MMRF Team for Cures.  Multiple Myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer and currently has one of the lowest 5 year survival rates of all cancers.  I will race to honor my aunt who lives with Multiple Myeloma and also in memory of my friend Kara who passed away 8 months ago at the age of 34 years old from another form of cancer. My commitment to the MMRF is to raise $35,000. I chose the number 35 to give thanks and celebrate the 35 years I have lived.  This past weekend I came to the realization that there is a chance I may not reach my commitment by race day. It was hard to face this realization but I promise I will not give up. I will continue to give all of my efforts up until race day. As of today, we have raised $14,497 together! This outstanding accomplishment is thanks to so many of YOU and this is something to celebrate.

A huge thanks to Philadelphia Runner for selecting me to be one of your “Featured Fitness Friends” I am grateful that three of their stores are offering the opportunity to lead Run & Yoga Events for the three weeks leading up to race day. Tonight kicked off the first event at the Center City Store.  We ran 3 mils around the river followed by 40 minutes of yoga in Rittenhouse. Thank you to all who came out on this Monday evening, what an awesome turn out!  The next Run & Yoga will take place at the University City Store this Saturday, July 11 at 10:00am followed by the Manayunk store on Monday, July 20 at 6:30pm.  Any and all donations will go directly to the MMRF and there will also be a post run/yoga raffle at the next two events!

I have grown to really love the run community here in Philadelphia.  If you’ve followed me for awhile then you know that my first two years of running was just part of training for triathlon.  It wasn’t until recent that I truly began to enjoy and look forward to running. Thanks to the Philadelphia Runner community and other awesome active running groups, to go for a run is more than just training for me. It’s community. A community of people getting out there together to stay active, to make new friends, and to have fun together.  Check out their Facebook for details on additional upcoming events.  THANK YOU PHILADELPHIA RUNNER for supporting the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation while getting our community together.  You support dreams and goals while making a difference.

If you’d like to learn more or support the MMRF I greatly appreciate any support or sharing. It all makes a difference. Thank you all so much. Love, Keli




philadelphia runner yoga

philadelphia runner yoga

Philadelphia free yoga classes


Philadelphia Runner Featured Fitness Friend

Philadelphia Running events Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 9.29.58 PM

A huge thank you to Philadelphia Runner for allowing me to be one of your “Featured Fitness Friends” and for your incredible support to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation through offering Yoga & Run for the 3 weeks leading up to Ironman. The people over at Philadelphia Runner are incredible kind and awesome people!!  Tonight kicked off the first event and I am so thankful for all of you who attended. We ran 3 miles around the river followed by 40 minutes of Yoga in Rittenhouse Square. It was a beautiful evening. Hope to see many of you at the next two Yoga & Run events! The next two events will have a raffle after the run & yoga. Check out https://www.facebook.com/philadelphiarunner for a list of their events.


Triathlete Hair

ironman lake placid

The truth is I’ve seriously neglected my hair over Ironman training. Boy has my hair taken a beating.  I do not even think I have visited the salon since I started training…seriously!  My fabulous hair stylist Linde tried figure out when I paid her a visit based on my birth doula schedule.  Turns out putting wet hair in a ponytail= knots.  And lots of them.  My hair dresser asked if I put my hair back when it’s wet or if I go to sleep with wet hair. The answer is pretty much yes….almost all the time. I can’t remember the last time I haven’t worn a ponytail at some point of the day.

1)  Yes…I sometimes shower right before training and then put my hair in a ponytail.

2)  Yes…it’s so hot outside that usually my head is a drenched by mid run.

3)  Yes…how else am I supposed to bike right after I swim?

4)  Yes…I often shower and go straight to bed.

My chlorinated, wind-tortured, helmet matted, and sun-parched strands of hair were seriously a mess. It’s a little embarrassing but true. I haven’t had knots like this since I was maybe 8 years old and nothing could get them out (not even a wet brush) and yes, I put conditioner in my hair before putting a swim cap on. Good thing there’s an easy fix that’s just $20. A conditioning treatment was just what I needed, especially after yesterday. I wonder what the guy in the chair next to me was thinking as I took selfless under this heating helmet. As I looked into the mirror I was thinking this reminds me of a scene from Spaceballs so I had to capture it. And yup, I wore my triathlon gear to the salon today. Keeping my commitment to wear MMRF for the 50 days leading up to race day.  Ladies and gentlemen with long hair, what do you do to protect your hair while training? Speaking of hair, I still owe Greg “To shave or not to shave…that is the question.” I promise, it’s coming…

p.s. I am still very, very tired but at least my hair isn’t. Thanks Linde, for the super silky hair!  You are the best.


3 Weeks to Ironman Lake Placid 2015

ironman lake placid

* Disclosure:  The following blog post will not be one of my more positive posts.   I share this in advance because I understand that the language we use is a key component to our outcomes. If you feel reading a discouraged training post may affect your training mindset, please skip tonight’s blog. 

Three weeks to Ironman Lake Placid. All in all I’ve been feeling so ready for race day to approach.  Today, however, was not my day.  It was by far the worst training day for me in the history of my training.  So much so that I don’t feel it’s appropriate to do one of my daily videos.  These videos are intended to be on topics that come up for me, with hopes that others can relate to them…maybe even inspire a few people here and there by sharing my experiences. Tonight is not a night to spread any sort of inspiration and I feel I should be honest. Plus, I think I’ve gotten behind on blogging since I’ve been doing videos and I don’t even know how to begin with where my head is right now.  Even typing feels like a task right now as I lay on my stomach in bed looking at this screen.  I know, however, that I must journal today’s experience.  Blogging is an important part of record keeping for me.  It helps me look back, see my growth and on nights like tonight it will help me look back at my struggles later.  Blogging also helps me process and release. Beware: I’m about to unload. This is your second warning. So read on if you choose.

The truth is, I don’t think I’m fully recovered from my trip to the Iron Cowboy.  I haven’t even had a chance to blog the experience.  It was an amazing, exhausting, 24 hour turn around and I’m certainly not myself since returning two days ago from Maryland. Even though my body feels normal I just feel exhausted. Exhausted is an understatement and I think it’s been an build up of physical and mental exhaustion over the past week and a half. Looking back at my Facebook last week I shared the above image with my family and friends along with the following. “The truth? I have doubted myself at times over these past few weeks. The truth? I am afraid. I am not at all afraid to race. I am ready. I am afraid to not meet my commitment. The truth? I don’t sleep much these past few nights. The truth? This has been one of my greatest challenges. The truth? It has all been worth it. I will not let my doubt, my fears or my challenges get in the way. I promise to keep moving forward. I won’t arrive at the start line unless I know that I gave this reason I am racing all that I have. So long as I do that, I will be happy and celebrate the outcome. 25 days.”

I hoped to get adequate rest before today’s final long, hilly ride. I ended up staying up until 1:00am to work on fundraising efforts. I just can’t seem to put it down with just 19 days to go. Ten minutes before leaving for my long hilly ride this morning I received some upsetting news.  This news truly dug deep inside me throughout my entire ride.  On occasion, sometimes my best intentions backfire and it hurts. Today’s ride was the hilliest training ride I have had to date.  Yes, hillier than my two loops over Memorial Day weekend for Lake Placid training.  But I don’t think that was what was actually my problem. My body was fine, really. I did not have physical discomfort. Just 18 miles into my ride something did not feel right.  I can’t pin point it because I’ve never experienced this before.  I shared this with Chris and for me to share this out loud in the middle of a ride says something to me.  I was almost teary eyed. On my bike.  To see/hear myself like this was a red flag.  I was incredibly fortunate to have two training partners who were fully supportive and encouraging. They were there for me, and did everything they could to support me and then some. I just kept feeling more and more exhausted. More and more done.  Only 24 miles into my ride I felt defeated for the first time ever on my bike. I had this intense feeling of near failure with my goal I set for the reason I am racing this time around. It kept eating at me. I kept reviewing all of the events, projects and efforts I have put into this over the past 8 months and kept asking myself why I am still so far away from the goal.  I felt sad again about this morning’s news, and starting thinking about the few ideas that have been shot down over the past few months. I felt ashamed with where I am and I felt like I have let myself down. Do I back down with just 19 days to go or do I keep going with all that I have?  This is not even a question…answer is keep going. Climbing hill after hill today was different than any other day. Exhaustion set in quickly today. How many times have I used that word exhaustion already?  Yes, I was hydrating. Yes, I was taking in nutrition. It was like no other day and for the first time in my life I felt afraid on my bike. I didn’t feel okay riding that bike today.  I wondered if I was about to have my first break down. Right here, on my bike, with just 19 days left of training. Come on Keli, don’t be a baby. I thought of Kara on EACH and EVERY hill I climbed today and the hills just kept coming one after the next and there didn’t seem to be much break. I wanted to stop thinking of her but I just could not. I was teary. I have thought of her every single time I have been on my bike in 2015. I started to think about how she was supposed to get married this summer. Why is my friend dead after just 34 years of life?  I kept flashing back to the day she was out there climbing hills with me. Stage 4 cancer, climbing hills, pushing me, encouraging me, believing in me.  Maybe Kara believed in me perhaps more than I believed in myself that first time around. I can not put in words how “not right” things felt as I kept battling the hills today. I reminded myself to push just past my limits and eventually it occurred to me I had already done that and then some.  I promise.  Today was supposed to be my last huge training day and it did not go as expected. Today was not strong but the one thing I assure you is that I gave it all I had and then a little more. And then it happened. At just 54 miles I had the break down. Crap, just 54 miles.  For the first time in my life, I got off my bike, sat on the side of the road and cried.  Yep, I cried.  I wonder as I type in this moment why I have the guts to share this. I have always been 100% honest throughout my training process and no matter what happens I think it’s important to continue sharing my journey as it happens. When I began this blog I had two main goals.  1) to document my yoga and triathlon training/race progress and 2) to share my journey, hoping that if even a few blog posts reach someone perhaps they will inspire people to become more active or to chase after their dreams. On days like today even if my words reach just one person maybe that one person will realize that they are not alone.

I am fortunate that I had the incredible support from three training partners today. What would I have done if they were not there?  We were far from home and I can’t even imagine what I would have done if I was out there alone. I even asked them to text me later this evening I was so concerned I felt this way. Once I reached home I took an extended nap after a late lunch and then started thinking about what I have learned from this when I woke up. I  have learned that sometimes we must break down in order to truly have a breakthrough. Sometimes events appear as “negative” when really they were just a small step we needed to encounter along the way. At the end of the day, today is just one day. Maybe I needed this huge challenge mentally. I can assure you  I’ve never experienced anything that even resembles it. On one hand, I am so sad this happened 19 days to Ironman and on the other hand perhaps having gone through this will make race day better.  I guess it is my choice how to view this day. Phew, it’s 11:00pm and tomorrow brings a new day where I will recommit to my goals and objectives. I am hopeful that today marks the beginning of a new breakthrough for me. Wishing everyone a wonderful week of training.

Love, Keli



1 Month to Ironman Lake Placid 2015

ironman lake placid

ONE MONTH to Ironman Lake Placid!  Yesterday officially marked one month to Ironman Lake Placid!  I am feeling so ready, are you?  I know these that it’s easy to constantly look ahead these final days but I understand the importance of focus on each day as they come leading up to racing day. One day at a time, Keli.  That’s probably a great topic for today’s video blog actually… staying in the present. Something that can challenge me, being a funny combination of a yogi and triathlete.  I’ve been enjoying sharing the daily video blogs.  I was so nervous when I started but after just over 2 weeks I’m starting to get comfortable doing them.  Greg posted the most funny video yesterday and he’s challenged me to a topic I can’t wait to cover on Monday.

ironman lake placid mmrf team for cures

Yesterday also marked exactly 35.5 years of my life. I celebrated it. Just like a 12 year old celebrates a half birthday. I made the commitment is to raise $35,000 for the MMRF to give thanks and celebrate my 35 years. I will race to honor my Aunt Mary who lives with Multiple Myeloma and to remember Kara, who passed 8 months ago from cancer. She would have been 35 years old last month. She was a cycler and the first to get me out there encouraging me to ride the hills and I have a card she wrote me to read during the race on my bike. I will make sure to fully stop on my bike to look around, give thanks and then read it.  My #1 goal is to reach my commitment. My #2 goal (as of four weeks ago when we received the news) is to finish in the top 4 on our team (top 2 on this leader board) which will earn me a spot to race KONA World Championships representing the MMRF.  I am asking for help to reach my goals but trying to give back to those who are able to contribute or those who share my goals.

The truth is…the MMRF is as important to me as the actual race this time around.  In fact, I sit here thinking about what’s more important. My race goal or my MMRF goal.  They are both important but you can probably guess which one is most important to me inside. Thanks to everyone who’s contributed for the IMLP race day tattoos by the way, it means a LOT to me and can’t wait to see everyone in their tats on race day. This project has been one of my favorites.  At the end of the day, I want to reach the commitment and that’s what matters most. I’ve committed to wearing MMRF for the final 50 days leading up to race day and promise to focus on my goal daily. Yes, that means I wear my MMRF tri kit, running single, or bike top everywhere I go. Wednesday I worked on fundraising contacts until 4:00am and last night canceled going out working on fundraising projects. Just like Ironman training, sometimes I get overwhelmed but then remind myself how much fun this process has been.  When I get nervous or overwhelmed, I make myself stop and express gratitude for the opportunity.  It occurred to me at midnight that I hadn’t eaten lunch or dinner (Big no-no, I know!) so check out what happened at 1:00am in Philly last night below. I have to tell you though that I think it was worth it just this one time because I haven’t visited Lorenzo’s South Street Phlly since last summer.  Yummmm! I was grateful to connect with someone else who supports the MMRF through racing last week and I expressed that I’m not sure how I will feel standing at the starting line if I don’t reach my commitment. I can imagine it will be emotional but so long as I know I gave it everything I had, I will be happy with my outcome.  His response was perfect and I’ve posted it on my bathroom mirror… “When you jump into the water, remember why you are doing this…and don’t forget to breathe!”  I have to give thanks for all of the support I’ve received throughout training for this Ironman. It’s been such an incredible experience and I’ve learned so much by being part of the MMRF Team for Cures.  I think I have made more friends training for this race than ever before.  I want to say thank you to each and every person who has played a roll in this journey.

Ohhhh, and how do you like my new googles?  I call them #SwimForLove.  I picked these up on sale at the TriRock Philly expo yesterday.  Do you just love the look?  Especially trying on the swim top over the tri kit? Tomorrow I race Tri Rock Philly, which is my last triathlon before Ironman Lake Placid!  I’m off to pickup my bike now from a tune up and then hit the pool. Have a great weekend of training!  And take a moment every day to focus on the present, remember why you are doing this. Give thanks for being able to. xo Keli

lorenzos pizza philadelphi

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