Quote of the day


Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Is there such a thing as post Ironman blues? Kind of like postpartum depression? From the many ironman finishers I've spoken to, it IS indeed a real thing. Perhaps I'm just having withdrawal from the constant physical and mental prepping that I've been doing for such a long time.

In my most recent blog post I wrote that I had been training for 210 days leading up to Ironman Lake Placid.  The truth is that it was more like 500 days if I take into account all of my 2013 training and racing leading up to and AFTER last year's Ironman Mont Tremblant. My 2013 season started in January and officially came to an end. 11 months later, on October 31st.

I took November and December of 2013 "off" and got back into training on January 1st, 2014. I raced three times this year leading up to Ironman Lake Placid: a fast and flat Olympic in Colorado, one of the most brutal half ironmans in the world, Wildflower 70.3, and many people's bucket list "triathlon/xterra" race called The Escape from Alcatraz.

So, basically I either trained or raced from January 2013 to November 2013 then again from January 2014 until just yesterday. That's a lot in 2 years.

About 50 miles into Sunday's 112 mile bike ride my body reminded me of ALL the racing and training I had done in the past two years. It reminded me that fatigue is cumulative and muscle strain can happen in microscopic ways that don't manifest until out under extreme stress.  My body reminded me all right.  And it didn't do it gently.

My left knee and right hip lit up like a Christmas tree and my body was screaming for ice, a knee brace, Advil...or to simply STOP. For the next 62 miles, and a total of 7,000 feet of elevation gain, I pushed through this pain: the most pain I've ever raced with to date.

The good (I mean GREAT) news is that I had such incredible mental focus and fortitude there was no way on God's green earth that I was going to stop. And I didn't. I kept going.

People passed me. Hundreds of people passed me. In fact, I did not pass a single person except when I was bombing downhill.

This was not only a test of my perseverance and pain tolerance but of my ego. I wish she would just go away! In order to keep going I did something a friend recently suggested I do: I took the emotion out of the pain. You see, what she told me was that  pain is both an emotional and sensory experience. So if I took away the emotional component, I only had to deal with the sensory part. And that's what I did.

It turns out my mental toughness helped me numb down some of the remaining sensory input and the rest of the throbbing pain was handled by my indomitable fortitude (something I should thank my parents and ancestors for; it's genetics baby).

The days after finishing an Ironman are difficult; not just on the body but the psyche. There are a million legitimate explanations for why this occurs but none of these reasons help make the restoration process faster. It's not the way the cookie crumbles. Just like everything in life, it's a process. Recovery, healing, growth, learning, understanding...it's all a process.

Life is in a constant flux of change, set backs, moments of elation and moments of uncertainty and the unknown, to name a few. Even when we set goals like finishing an Ironman, regardless whether we actually achieve our goal, the process of trying still takes a toll on us. We are indeed emotional creatures and "judgment day" comes with repercussions.

Some people deal with the moments after they have crested their goals by quickly setting another goal. This may be another Ironman or a new life project. This makes complete sense given how we humans like to keep a forward momentum. But sometimes doing this is just taking the path of least resistance to avoidance.

I personally see my post-Ironman emotions for what they are. I do not want to replace these unsettling emotions with anything else. I want to sit with them, dance with them (as another friend says), and learn about my own humanity from sifting though the trenches. This is how I overcame my eating disorder.

So, what I've learned about myself during my recovery from bulimia and now from Ironman, is what I do NOT want. I do NOT want to reflexively fill in the empty voids with something else; something frivolous. I want to sit with the very raw and unpleasant emotions that I feel: fear, loneliness, uncertainty etc. I want to sit with them and have CONVERSATIONS with them.

I feel confident that is the only way I can keep moving forward towards a better version of my former self; and moving forward allows me to improve my own human condition.

I have come so far and yet I still have leaps and bounds to go. I have to, want to and  need to keep this recovery train on track, to be the best daughter/sister/friend/lover I can be and to help as many people and animals as I can in this lifetime.

Perpetual forward momentum with grace and gratitude.  That was my mantra for the entire Ironman. It is also my the mantra for life.

Thank you for coming along on yet another one of my journeys. Thank you for donating your time, your money and your unwavering support.

With love and gratitude,


Saturday, July 26, 2014


It's go time. For 210 days I have been training for tomorrow's Ironman Lake Placid. I will be racing for recovery, for friendship and family, for discipline and unwavering dedication, for love of multisport and for my body's never ending quest to move. But mostly, I will be racing for ...myself.

Since January, I have put in countless hours of physical training and mental training. I've had fantastic days when my energy and confidence were soaring and my body was performing top notch.  I've also had trying days when I struggled desperately to drag my tired and sore body out of bed at 4 am to workout or simply skipped a workout altogether. Sometimes, I didn't work out for days upon days. If my body said "don't", I listened and I didn't.

You learn a lot about your body and spirit when you train for an endurance event like this. You learn to really hear and feel your body. You listen to what it needs whether it's rest, nutrition or surging well beyond your comfort zone. Perhaps that is why many do this sport: to push their bodies and minds to new realms of tolerance, awakening, (pain) and success.

People often ask this question to ironman triathletes: "why do you want to do an ironman?" Most answers revolve around having specific personality traits that makes us "intense",  "crazy" or "type A".

I personally think Ironman training and competition is more about finding out how much you can push yourself; testing the limits of the human physical, emotional, mental and psychological potential. Yes, there is a little crazy thrown in there but, hey, we all posses it!

When I registered for my first Ironman (Ironman Florida in 2006) my intention was simply to complete the most prestigious triathlon event. At that time, I had spent over 5 years racing triathlon and legitimately felt I had built up my endurance enough to get to a place where I could race in the ultimate triathlon.

But that's when my injuries started. It's simple really: my body was breaking down from overtraining and malnourishment (secondary to an eating disorder and resultant body dysmorphia and abuse) . Bad combination. You see, having an eating disorder really impinges upon peak body performance; peak brain performance; ability to hold relationships and to uphold commitments and much, much more.

In 2006, 5 months before my first Ironman, during a half ironman in Miami, I hurt my hip.  I felt something literally "snap" on a down pedal about halfway into a the bike portion. I finished the race but I was hurt. I sought out an orthopedist opinion, had an MRI and began what became a year long attempt to rehab through physical therapy. But after a year I still was no better and still did not have a definitive diagnosis. I had to withdraw from the Ironman race.

Almost a year after the injury occurred I saw an amazing orthopedist in NYC for a second opinion and he nailed my diagnosis within minutes of looking at my MRI from the previous year!! He ended up performing surgery on my right hip in September 2007. Then came another FULL year of physical therapy.

When my hip finally felt normal again I got back into training and then began racing in 2008. Within a year, I started have severe RIGHT knee pain- my ITB (iliotibial band). This just goes to show how when one part of the physiologic mechanism is disrupted the others are prone to injury from compensation and/or weakness. I had "fixed" my hip but my knee said "hey, what about me??"  I underwent yet another year of physical therapy in an attempt to avoid surgery. But this didn't resolve the issue and finally my dear friend and orthopedist was convinced enough that I needed surgical intervention. He was willing to perform a rare procedure called IT band release.  And just like that, I was under the knife again in June 2009.

IT band surgery was a tough surgery to recover from. Much harder than the hip surgery. But by 2011 I was good enough to bike across America (3,907 miles!) in the name of eating disorder awareness and recovery. My body had done some pretty remarkable healing and I was ready to go!

In April 2012, I moved to Denver, CO where I started a new job and began "altitude" training, so to speak. I competed in a handful of races in 2012 and had a successful year all around. In the summer of 2012 I finally got the gumption to sign up for a other ironman...again. Ironman Mont Tremblant.

If you've read any of my blog you will know that that race didn't go over so well. About 20 miles into the bike portion, my steering tube fractured (simply put, my bike fell apart). I took a fall and when I got up I realized that my Ironman dream was over. At least for 2013.

Over the next few months my wounds (mental and physical) healed and I knew I had to get myself into another Ironman.  I had to finish what I started. So after just 2 months "off" from training, I began training again.

Fast forward nearly 8 months and here I am today, July 26th 2014, a day before Ironman Lake Placid. Ready to go. Chomping at the bit. Surrounded in spirit by so many people that I love who I know are rooting for me....including MY voice inside of me that says "I know you can do this! It's been years in the making and there's nothing Emi cannot do.  It's time to get 'er done."

I am thankful to be here and look forward to showing my potential, my passion and my resilience. Joseph Campbell  spoke about The Hero's Journey, the most important element of which is to RETURN to tell your story.

Well, that is my story. To be continued...

With love,


Thursday, July 24, 2014


I woke up one morning last week and was compelled to sit down in front of my computer and put together a video as a gesture of gratitude to the people in my life: past, present and (future).

The process of making the video was rather emotional but exceptionally fulfilling and left my heart bursting with love and joy. In a matter of one week I reconnected with many "old"friends; from grade school through veterinary school and beyond.  Since all of my own photos (the 35mm ones) are currently in NY and I live in Denver, I relied on friends to send me pictures. And they did!

For my friends and family, chances are, you will find a picture of yourself somewhere in the video but, if you don't, it's not because I didn't try to include you or that I didn't think of you ... it merely reflects a lack of time and resources. If you DO see yourself in the video I hope you like the picture I chose. Regardless, I hope you enjoy watching as much as I did creating.

Thank you to all the exceptional people that have helped me become the woman I am today.  My sun doesn't shine without you.

Count down to Ironman Lake Placid!

Bring it on!!

Monday, July 7, 2014


“It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinions; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude” -RWE

On July 2nd 1776, the United States gained independence from Great Britain. (It is believed by most that The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776 which is why we celebrate it on July 4th.)

For those of you who read my posts regularly, you know that I try to link specific holidays to something more closely associated with the present day human experience. In the case of this blog, I usually like to show how my personal struggles with bulimia have in fact helped me to transcend to a better version of my former self; how years of struggle evolved into recovery and enlightenment.

Independence for me means many things but mainly it means freedom from oppression, especially that imposed by myself ON myself. You see, for decades, I was my own worst enemy- my own limiting factor. I couldn't disambiguate my childhood wiring of what I THOUGHT I needed to do or become or love from what I actually NEEDED to do or become or love in order to live a life of bliss: the life I was intended to live.

Ten years ago, even 12 months ago, I couldn't have written what I am today with such conviction because back then I wasn't convinced. But today, now more than ever before, I can see my life and the people and experiences in my life for what they truly are: part of my journey towards independence.

Independence can mean different things to different people.  What does it mean to you?

Less than 3 weeks left to IMLP. Please like, share or donate today!

Monday, June 30, 2014

It's time. Swim time. Run time. Bike time. Laugh time. Donate time.

I just spent the past weekend in Vail, Colorado on a much needed "retreat" from Ironman training, work-related challenges, personal hardships and.... from the linear path my life had recently taken.

Since returning from Lake Placid, NY where I had trained on the Ironman course a few weeks ago, I was feeling exhausted. I wasn't sleeping well and felt stressed- body, mind and spirit.

After a weekend that consisted of equal part rest and PLAY, I am finally beginning to feel like Emi again.


Great view at the top of Vail mountain after run/hike up!

That's me running!

Gerald Ford Amphitheater
Colorado Symphony+Chorus
Beethoven's 9th

Closer view of the talented musicians
Vail, CO

Yes, I am still fatigued but I've been Ironman training for seven months and, well, that's to be expected.  What's important is that I'm in a better state of mind and feel ready to take on this Ironman challenge with all I can give.

The plan between now and July 27th is to:
  • eat well (fresh, healthy, good food)
  • rest enough (8 hours of sleep per night!)
  • follow my training plan (my coach, Jen Gatz, is fantastic and knows what she's talking about)
  • listen to my body (give her a break if she tells me she needs one)
  • give my friends and family love and attention (I must not lose perspective)
  • continue to fundraise for MentorCONNECT (please, please donate TODAY!!!!!)
  • focus on finishing this Ironman dream one STRONG step at a time.

Heaven on Earth
The top of Vail mountain
Vail, CO