Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just in time for 2011

I'm back!

I'm not really so sure why I haven't posted in so long. There has certainly been enough going on to keep me busy:

Work: Just work, reorganizations at work; travel for work; and then more work.

Some fun stuff: holidays with my family; holidays with Hubby's family. Some fun travel with Hubby.

"Training": I say that loosely because, although I was pretty active up until Thanksgiving, my level of output dropped dramatically the three or four weeks between Turkeyday and Christmas. I did get back in the pool this week and hit both strength and spin classes. I have to start running again. Well, okay, running more than 5 - 10 minutes at a time.

Why the lack of running?

Injuries: The hamstring from IM WI cleared up just in time for me to develop a big problem in my right sitbone/hip. VERY uncomfortable to sit for any period of time in the car or at the office. Yet, could sit with no problem during some very long flights from Minneapolis to California and back and then then from Minneapolis to Florida and back.

I iced, sat on tennis balls, used a foam roller, stretched and then finally went to see a doctor.
Ultimately, after several sessions with "Dr. Pain" -- a local chiropractor who specializes in ART therapy, I'm very, very close to getting over the problem.

NOW I'm wrestling with some thing called thoracic outlet syndrome. Basically, it is the squeezing of a big nerve in my neck that trails down through my arms causing them to fall asleep. This usually happens when I'M asleep, so I wake up and have to shake them out. Many times, every night. Big drag, but not fatal.


I'm now back to "Dr. Less-Pain" -- a local chiropractor that has a much gentler approach than Dr. Pain....

I'm also working on sitting with better posture, unhunching my shoulders, stretching my neck and got my bike position readjusted.

Ironically, Nat's mom and my coach's Dad have experienced this same issue. The good news is that I know other people that have it and have had success in managing/getting rid of it. The bad news is that, because the people that have it are my friend's parents, it now sounds like something that happens to old(er) people. (I am refusing to believe that I am getting o l d.)

Operation Muffin Top: Despite my avoidance of most sugary things during the holidays, I managed to put away a lot of food and put on some weight. I have to say that I enjoyed every yummy, delicious, enjoyable bit of that food but am not enjoying paying for it now with tighter blue jeans. Remarkably, I'm not all that worried about it because I'm ready to get on the training/eating bandwagon again to lean up for spring and summer.


So where does this leave me on New Year's Eve 2010?

VERY excited for the New Year!

I've planned out my race schedule for 2011 and got my Coach's approval. I'm excited to do IM Wisconsin again in September and will have some fun events before the big day to measure my readiness.

I've got some other goals in mind for the new year, but I think I"ll wait to post those until I've worked out all the details in my head.

So, until then: Happy New Year to my blogger friends!


Let's make 2011 the best year yet!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oooooooommmmmmmmmmm

Motivation "will all have to happen from within".

So what the hell does that mean?

Conceptually, of course, I know what that means.

  • Draw your power from inside.
  • Don't let any thing get in the way of your goal(s).
  • Focus.
  • Blah, blah, blah.

At times, it is very easy for me to self-motivate.

But, frankly, some mornings it takes a lot of self-motivation to get out of bed to get ready for work, when just fluffing the covers, turning over and going back to sleep seems like a much more palatable option.

The real rub for me will be to work on this concept:

"Act As If"

When JonnyJ and I had our Ironman debrief, he hammered home the fact that, even with not being able to eat during the marathon, I was obviously stronger than I thought because when I was asked to pick up the pace, I did. By over 2 minutes per mile.

What I really couldn't do was get my head around finishing. My brain was telling me all sort of "lies":

You shouldn't be here.

Who are you kidding?

Every one else is a real triathlete, you are a hack.

Stop running now. It will feel better.

(Okay, that was only a half-lie. It did feel better to just walk, but it did not feel better to not finish).

Conversations in my head have plagued me since I was a kid. An overweight, pimply-faced kid at that.

Athletics were a struggle for me. The annual President's Physical Fitness assessment equaled two weeks of dread and embarrassment. I was the slowest runner; I couldn't jump very well and I certainly could not hold myself up for the chin-up challenge or pull myself up during the rope climb task.

The summer before I went in to high school, I discovered tennis. I actually liked it and was reasonably good at it. (Fun Fact: I still happen to own and play with a Wilson T-2000) But I wasn't quite good enough to win a lot of matches.

I decided to believe that it was better to participate than to win. Since I wasn't "good enough" to win, I might as well come up with some line I could tell myself so I could actually motivate myself to get to practice.

Some might say: "Well, maybe you are just not competitive".

Good deduction, but lousy assessment.

I used to tell myself that too. (Sometimes still do). But the fact of the matter is I am pretty competitive most of the time. Fact is, I find my self competing over the weirdest, silliest things. It really surprises me...

Anyway: zoom forward. Many years forward. I start running. Although I always wanted to be a runner and lived very close to lakes were runners were running all day long, I never could get myself to do it.

Why:

  • I'm not built like a runner (who, obviously, are all tiny, tiny boned, super thin speed freaks)
  • I can't keep up with other runners (who, again, are all speed freaks)
  • Who am I kidding...


Sound familiar?

And yet, runner I became.

Hubby signed me up for that first 5k, where I was slow-as-molasses. Yet, spectators clapped when I shuffled by, they said stuff like "go Runner!" and there was FOOD at the finish-line.

Ding, ding, ding went the bell; Pavlov's theory proved to be correct once again, and I continued to line up at the start line of 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons and marathons.

I have generally finished all of those races at the back of the pack. (Now I will say, the larger the field, the less toward the back I am, and in recent years, I've moved up to sort of the back-of-the -back-of-the-middle-of-the-pack). I am "okay" with that.

Why?

"I'm happy to participate".

(Nowadays) "I'm glad to, at my (ancient) age, be here doing this. Look at how many other XX year-old women are not here doing this."

"I'm not a real runner" (because I typically do a run/walk thing when I race.

Add triathlon in to the mix:

When I started tris, I really was a terrible swimmer. (No "conversation"; just a fact. To swim 100 yards, I had to do 25 yards each of the crawl, the backstroke, the breast stroke and sidestroke).

I was not a great biker and did not have a cool bike.

But I could "run".

I took lots of swim lessons and got to be a better swimmer. I biked more and got a better bike. And, I did lots and lots and lots of tris: sprints, Oly's and Halfs....

I discovered the Athena category and places much higher in the ranks, which fed my competitive craving.

Still:

  • happy to participate
  • Incredibly happy to not drown during the swim
  • But I'm not a "real" triathlete.

Then, I decided to sign up for Ironman.

The distance and the training intrigued me. The time-cut off worried me, but I was pretty sure that I would be able to finish the race in 17 hours. (I didn't initally know about the interium cut-offs, except for the swim cut-off, which, frankly did worry me.)

I trained -- was very committed to the traning tasks (self-motivated....) and pushed my comfort zone by doing some open water swim events without a wetsuit; did some longer ride events.

Yet, there was always the nagging conversation in my head:

You are so much slower on the bike than everyone else.

You are slower in the water, your a slower runner....

who are you kidding?

And so it went....

So Acting As If: JonnyJ says that I have to start having the conversations that say:

I am an athlete.

I am a TRIATHLETE.

I am faster than I give myself credit for.

(As proved by my recent running, where I am holding the 9's pretty darn easily.)

When my brain tells me to quit, it is lying to me. I've got much more in the tank

Changing the words will change my attitude.

Changing my attitude will change my beliefs.

Committing to the process will make it much easier to commit to the work.

The work will get me to the finish line.

So, I'm acting as if....

Monday, October 25, 2010

Okay, so what's next?

The last entry was a brief summary of my (first) Imoo experience.

This period of time from 10:32 pm on September 12th until today has been filled with every emotion and thought you can imagine, including but not limited to disappointment, sadness, relief, wishful thinking and resolve.

"Resolve" really kicked off the morning of September 13th, when I got in line (again) at Monona Terrace to sign up for Imoo 2011.

All it took was my signature on a very big check and the fun began again.

This time, though, things (aka "training") will be a little different and a bit more focused.

I'm still working with the incredible JonnyJ. He is tough and smart and knows his stuff inside and out. We both feel good about the fact that we have a touch under a year to train this time around, which we will work to our advantage. (I didn't hire him as a coach until well after base training ended last time around. We had less time to work hard on my "limiters" last year. Not this time).

I'm already working on technique stuff. I'm taking a swim technique class that meets twice per week. There are up to five of us that are in the pool at 6:15 am doing drill after drill after drill after "drill swim drill".

I'm strength training -- some thing that was pretty much nonexistent the last time around. I'm working with weights a couple time per week and also taking this absolutely killer class that my coach teaches. No weights -- except that of your own body. Lunges; side lunges; a nasty little thing called "inchworm", which is where you basically start in a "downward dog" position and then walk "out" with your hands until you are in plank position and then walk your feet up to get back up in to downward dog. Then more lunges, which are followed by bosu ball work (more lunges and twists). You get the jist....

I'll be on the dang -- er, wonderful -- bike trainer a lot this winter. (Fortunately, the weather has been okay enough that I've still been able to ride a bit outside. But that is changing fast. We may have our first "snow" this week...yeech).

What will be difficult and much harder this time around is that I'll be training "by myself". Nat is not doing IM WI 2011. She'll be there to watch the race; she'll do some of the training with me, but she will not be my partner in crime (or my motivation).

That will all have to happen from within.

Which will be the subject for my next blog entry.....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Catching Up and True Confessions

WOW! Did this last month fly by or what?

The days are micro-mini now -- leaves are or have peaked -- summer clothes have been put away and sweaters are in the drawers (just in time for Indian Summer!!).

Ironman WI 2010 (IMWI10) feels like a blink ago, though, and Ironman Wisconsin 2011 (IMWI11) feels like a long, long, long way away.

I've had plenty of time to examine, slice, dice, examine, re-examine and post-mortem exam my day, which add up to this short summary:

I was a bit off from the getgo that day. I was a bit crabby on the way to the race; was pissy about the "happy people" that were sharing my transition rack (and even pissier when I spilled Infinit all over my aero bars as I was filling up my bottle, so they got sticky); my swim ended up being the easiest part of the day (surprise, happy, happy surprise); I had a hard time getting comfortable on the bike going out to the hills; used a new bento box that would not stay properly on my bike, which annoyed the crap out of me; the first loop of hills went surprisingly well; the second loop did not; and then, there was the run:

As I mentioned earlier, I got off the bike and my nutrition plan went all to pieces. Nothing appealed to me, so I really got very little calories in. It was just a matter of time before the "no energy" got me to that very ugly space in my head which I was really unable to get over.

In talking with my coach a few days after the race, we really discovered that my nutrition meltdown started before I got to the run. I thought I had had enough while on the bike, but I was short on calories. Way short.

He told me though, that I really did have a lot more gas in the tank than I thought -- or would give myself credit for -- or would allow.

He and Pam, another super, great triathlete he coaches, had been following me and Nat along the course. When I was out on the run, they knew exactly what my pace was. At one point, when I was doing the "how much time left before midnight" math in my head and unable to get it to add up, Pam sprang out of now where to tell me that if I could pick it up by about a minute per mile, I'd have the race.

I ended up picking it up by over 2 mintues per mile for several miles. I got to the half way point with time to spare, but not much time. One of the race officials came up to me as I was making the turn and said "You know you are cutting this awfully close....".

"Yes, I know".

"Well, keep going. You have a little more than an hour and a half to get to mile 19. If you get there, just keep going. If you see me there waiting for you, you know your day is done.".

"Understood".

And then I got in to a very dark place.

So, if I honestly assess, the real problem was my head.... was the fact that I just couldn't get the negative stuff out and away.

At one point about mile 14, the pace bike was behind me. I was the last person out there that they considered having a slight chance of making it. I turned to him, with my feet moving forward, and said "What happens if I want to quit?"

The man on the bike said "You just stop and we take your chip and you are done".

I kept moving forward.

By that time, though, I had pretty much convinced myself that I was only going to go until they pulled me off the course.

I just kept moving forward. Walking a lot; running a little.

I got to Camp Randall for the second time and there were only three people in the stadium: two officials and Bill.

Bill had been the last official finisher at IM WI 2009 and I became his personal mission. He was determined to make me make the cut off.

I was having nothing of it.

Although in retrospect, and I was able to tell him this during the run, he was doing a very kind and noble thing by trying to encourage me to run faster, walk quicker, take less breaks, and that "I could do it", all I really wanted to do was to make him go away. Far away. Far, far, FAR away.

And yet, I kept moving forward.

By the time I was between miles 18 and 19, knew I was very close to the cut off.

There was a huge part of me that didn't want to miss the cut off and a part that wanted to just be done.

My coach found me again at this point and followed me (on the sidewalk). He was a much better motivator than Bill was (who was also still out there pushing me along).

As I was running up State Street to mile 19 (and I was running), I saw the race official...and I was bummed. I got to him at 10:32, missing the cut off by 2 minutes -- and the finish by seven miles.

I turned to my coach and said "It's okay. It's really okay".

He told me he was very proud of me and that next year would be my year.

Bill? He dissapeared like a thief in to the night to who knows where, although I'm pretty sure he just went to find his next mission, who was probably a little bit ahead of me on the course.

There was another man behind me that got to mile 19 about the time the official was taking my chip off my ankle. He got pulled from the course too and we both got a ride back to the finish.

We rode past Natalie, who was less than a half-mile from the finish line. She was looking very strong still. I was incredibly proud of her. I called out to her and told her my day was done and that I'd meet her at the finish line.

The very nice volunteer who drove us to the finish area dropped us off at the Med Tent and I walked to the finish line, where Hubby and a couple other friends were working the finish line as catchers.

One of my friends saw me and then told Hubby I was behind the finish area. He came up to me and gave me a huge hug and told me that he was sorry I didn't finish, but that he was proud of me.

And then we saw Natalie finish. She rocked it! I was -- and am -- so very happy for her!

I was very mad at myself and very okay with what happened all at the same time.

I'm not sure why I couldn't just buckle down and get it done, but I just couldn't (didn't?).

But you know, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Stay tuned for Part TWO....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2 minutes or 120 seconds or See You Next Year!

Well, I am not an ironman -- yet.

I will post a longer race report soon, but for now, suffice it to say that I am listed as a DNF for Ironman Wisconsin 2010.

I DID make the swim cut off (2.4 miles in 1 hour 44 minutes. Not very fast, but got it done).

I DID make the bike cut off (in by 5:12 pm which should have been 5:00 pm, (which really should have been less than 5 hours if a) my watch hadn't quit working and b) I had pedaled faster ;-) )

I DID make it to mile 19 of the slog-fest -- I mean marathon. Yep, got there at 10:32 pm. The only problem was that the cut off for mile 19 was 10:30 pm. I missed it by two minutes. Or 120 seconds... or....

My run fell apart for oh-so many reasons:
  • Couldn't get my head around eating any thing. Nothing had any appeal except ice.
  • Couldn't get my legs to move faster than a walk for about the first 6 miles. A slow walk at that.
  • I finally did start running and picked up the pace a bit, but just could not keep the momentum going.
  • My brain took me to a very, very dark place and there was no getting out of it. No matter how hard others tried to get me out, I was stubbornly stuck.

And so it went.

But there were many, many bright spots for the day (again, will post more of those later).

And I'll be back in Madison NEXT YEAR to do this again.

I've already signed up, already got my hotel room, already rented my race wheels.

Now I just hope Hubby, my coach and my friends can put up with me.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

WHOOOOOSH! We're here....

I can not believe that Ironman Wisconsin is tomorrow.

TOMORROW!

The year has really flown by along with all the fun, fear and fretting.

Natalie and I volunteered last year on September 13th and signed up for the 2010 race which seemed so, so, so far away.

Base training started in December. Real training started in March.

Hiring one (lousy) coach; moving on to a much, much, much better coach.

Leaving behind things like Julie Murphy's candy jar, a once beloved container of chocolate comfort that I could count on finding in my co-worker's office. (I have not dipped my fingers in to that jar since December....).

I let go of other things too like sleeping in late on the weekends and more golf with my husband and golf friends.

Oh, and about 25 pounds.

But I gained so, so much.

I've gained confidence in the water and on the bike. I've run better than I have in a long time (until that pesky hamstring injury that happened about three weeks ago); I tried a bunch of new events this year (a couple open water swim events; a duathlon; a couple sponsored bike rides). I made "friends" with some of the tri-power houses in the Twin Cities. (Not that they would remember my name if they met me in an elevator... but I remember and have been inspired by them....).

I know what a cassette is and a crank is. I can tell you how to change a flat (even if I can't get the dang tire rim back over the wheel). I've ridden aero; I've moved on to road bike clips (although I'll be using my mountain clips for IM WI.... new shoes are still not quite broken in).

I've had a blast.

We've been in Madison since Thursday and it has been nothing but organized chaos. Things are not going quite as I "planned". I'm fighting a little virus; Hubby has a huge horrible cold.

But, the weather tomorrow is supposed to be perfect. Natalie and I are ready to go. Hubby is here; lots of other friends are here to help volunteer and to cheer us on.

No matter what happens out there tomorrow, it should be a wonderful, wonderful day.

My plan is to cross that finish line before midnight. To become an Ironman.

If I don't... I can always sign up for IM WI 2011

But I hope the day doesn't just go in a whoosh.....

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2884

My new, hopefully favorite and lucky, number.

(aka my bib number for Ironman Wisconsin).

Bring it on!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

AAAARRRRRGGGGGH!

Do you SEE that countdown timer over there on the right-hand side of the screen?

YIKES!

Not that long ago, it read something like 300 days and 2 million hours till Ironman Wisconsin.

Now..... yikes!

For the most part things have been going well. Training has been mostly fine (meaning I've been getting it done. Slower than most every one else, but getting it done).

Over the last couple of weeks, people have asked me: "Uh, so... how is the training going?.... No injuries yet?"

As if one was just waiting out there for me. As if I was the proverbial "bus" on its way to "pick up" the injury to take it a ride.

"No.... nope. No injuries so far", I would reply.

I may have been driving that bus past a grave yard while whistling (or how ever that metaphor goes)...Anyway, you have to know where this is going...

Hubby's daughter got married last week on Friday. Lovely wedding. Lovely reception. Lovely bride.

At some point over the weekend, either as part of the 15-mile run Hubby and I did together on Saturday OR at some point during my bike/run on Sunday, I felt a little tug where my left hamstring is located.

"Uh oh"

Really gave no thought to it. Just a little tweak.

Then swam on Monday; tried to run home on Tuesday.

"UH OH".

The tweak became a twinge became an impediment to my gait which became a shuffle which became a walk home from work which became a bunch of worry.

Was I, in fact, INJURED???

With three weeks to go until the big race, was THIS going to keep me from finishing?

I think NOT!

Out came the ice bag. Out came the free samples of Bio-freeze. Out came the Ace bandage. Up came the Internet and the Google search on "Hamstring injuries".

Fortunately, the pull does not seem to be tooooo bad. (Probably "stage one" according to the web sites I accessed for research. Gotta love "the google".)

Ice, bio and ace seemed to help, but the real miracle occurred when I went to see John, sports massage expert, at my health club last night.

He worked on my quads and my calves and my hips and my hammy's for 50 glorious minutes. He pushed and prodded my aching muscles in a really good bad way.

And my hamstring feels better! YEAH!

I'm still taped up today, but I swam this morning (felt fine). I may bike a bit this evening and tomorrow. I'll run and bike on Saturday and then have my last, full blown bike ride on Sunday before settling in to taper.

I'll see my chiropractor tomorrow morning for a little fine tuning and already scheduled another appointment with John early in the week of IM WI for one last tweak. I think the hamstring will be a big non-issue on September 12th.

I'm excited, nervous, anxious, full of dread and excited all over again.

Still worried about cutoffs, but.... still...

Wonder if John could work out those kinks better known as "the bike course hills"?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Last Tri.....

Waseca 1/3 Iron distance tri was last Sunday...my last tri before IM WI....

I always hate the time when triathlon season starts winding down. I wait, wait, wait all winter long to be able to be outside swimming, riding and running and then WHOOOSH.... it seems to be over in a blink of an eye.

I know that, with IM WI looming, the season isn't really over. There are still four pretty intense training weeks ahead, followed by a two-week "taper" of some sort, but, summer has definitely gone from feeling like there are endless weeks stretching ahead of me to "how long until Labor Day weekend?"

This year was the second year for Waseca's event. The field was pretty small. Only 100 people did the 1/3 Iron distance, which was really a 1 mile swim; 33 mile bike ride and 8.8 mile run. Of the 100, only 34 women did the distance.

A couple of people I used to train with from time to time also did the 1/3 Iron distance; Steve Stenzel and his brother-in-law did the sprint distance, so I could catch up with a couple friendly faces while waiting to get in to the water.

The swim was trouble free. The water was very warm, but they allowed wetsuits. Honestly, I would have been fine if they hadn't allowed them, but since they did, I took advantage of the extra buoyancy and feeling of security.

The race website warned us of potholes on the bike course, but honestly I didn't encounter any. (They may have been referring to the sprint course having potholes). I was actually quite impressed with the quality of the roads.

My legs were tired on the bike. Maybe a little aftermath of Chisago... could have been the fact that I rode some hills the day prior to Waseca with one of my old coaches, Greg Rhodes. He gave me some great tips as we (I) trudged up some killer hills in St. Paul.

In any event, I didn't think I had much mojo on the bike ride, but my pace was holding steady. Until, of course, a turn on the course pushed the bikes right in to a headwind. Not a huge one, but enough of one that my mph dropped from 18 to about 14. Depressing.

That stretch of road seemed to go on forever, but I was able to pass a couple of people -- and eventually the course turned out of the wind and pedaling was easier.

By the time I came in to T2, the sun was blazing hot, the humidity was high and I thought long and hard about just going home.

Rationale? "Well, this is really just a C minus race for me... why do I need to finish this???"

Why? Because.... that's why.

So, I got out on to the run course and did my run/walk thing. No particular "schedule" of run/walk, but just plodded along. The 8.8 mile course consisted of two-loops around Clear Lake. Pretty course with very little shade.

About mile 3, I bumped in to an old friend from work and we ran/walked a bit together. He was just about to finish the race and I still had a second loop. It was nice to have the company for a bit.

But then he zigged to the finish line and I zagged out for the second loop.

Again, I felt okay enough despite the heat and sun to keep doing the run/walk. I passed about four others during the second loop, which made me feel pretty good.

Not long after starting loop two, I was looking towards the finish line and then it was over.

I had fun, I was happy with my time and I thought the race was very well organized and the volunteers were great.

Now I'm focused on the Urban Wildland 1/2 marathon, which is this Saturday. It will be Hubby's first 1/2 marathon and I'm hoping we both have a great day.

In the meantime, I continue to get my training in....swim on Monday; bike today; open water swim and bike tomorrow; spin and run on Thursday; stretch and core work on Friday....

Tick tock, tick....tock....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ZIPP-e-tee-do-dahhhhhhh



Chisago is in the books. It was a very good race for me. I PRed by 55 minutes over my 2009 time (when I walked pretty much the whole 1/2 marathon) and PRed by 37 minutes over Liberty 1/2 iron tri earlier this summer.

Yippee, yippee, yippee!

Two things worked well for me:
1) I have been working hard. Still not sure if it has been "finish Ironman WI before midnight" hard enough, but I have been working hard.
2) Zipp wheels.

Yes, that's right: awesome, rocking Zipp wheels.

I rented a pair for IM WI but got a chance to "preview" them last weekend. I had a bike fit tweak scheduled for last Wednesday with Kevin at Gear West. Unfortunately, Kevin had to switch my appointment at the last minute. When making the new appointment, Kevin asked me what my concerns were. I talked about the bike fit but also asked about the race wheels.

Having never used them before, I didn't know if they'd really make a difference, or if they would ride differently than regular wheels, or if it would make a difference if I was on a flat course (which IM WI is NOT) versus a hilly course (which IM WI IS).

He answered each of my questions (Yes; not really; no) and then said that I could preview a pair for Chisago... and so I did.

WOW!

What a difference! I was much faster on the bike; the little hills didn't feel like much work at all and made it through those 56 miles in 3 hours and 10 minutes. That was a HUGE improvement for me!

The swim was pretty uneventful -- felt good in the water and came out in 45 minutes. The "official" time was 47 minutes because the timing mat was at the top of a hill (where transition was set up). I decided to take a potty-break in the bath house, which was on my way up the hill.

My run was okay -- not stellar. I actually RAN this year -- but did end up taking lots of walk breaks. The temps were up and there was not a cloud in the sky, so I got very hot, very fast.

All in all, I discovered that getting off the bike earlier means you see more of your friends out on the run course. (Who knew?)

Nat, Patrick, Gary, Rich, CY, Derek, Joe, Pam and Brett all just rocked the course. Marcia did the sprint distance and was out on the run course with her wonderful supplies of ice, water and other "aid". (I think it will be very hard for her to not be able to provide any support other than cheers at IM WI....If she hands us any thing on the course, we risk disqualification).

Another really nice plus was that my coach decided to race the event too. I saw him right before the swim, where he wished me well and gave me a nice little pep talk. He caught up to me at about mile 35 on the bike and gave me another "Atta Girl" along with a high-five as we passed each other on the run. That kind of encouragement means a lot to me.

After the race, I was supposed to ride the 56-mile course again. I ended up only looping the 22-mile sprint course. (I know. I am a bad person.)

I was way over heated; the sun was relentless and, foolish me, packed a cooler with water and extra nutrition for the second loop, but forgot ice.

So.... I had HOT Infinit and Nunn. Blech.

I had also developed a bit of a blood blister:




which bugged me a bit.

Still and all, 78 miles, plus 1.2 for the swim; plus 13.1 for the run? All in all a good day.

Only one more tri left before IM WI: Waseca 1/3 iron.

I can't believe how fast time is flying and how fast the summer is passing.

I'll run a 1/2 marathon with Hubby on August 7th -- it will be his first...And I'll got back to Madison for one last ride on that bike course... plus, I'm sure my coach has lot of other fun stuff in store for me over the next 7 weeks....

Finally, I thought the photo below was very telling about life at our house. Notice what fills the dishwasher:



Seven water bottles and three cat food dishes.....

What more can I say?



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shhhhh

I am whispering, just in-case the Tri Gods hear me and decide to throw a little "fun" my way....

Chisago 1/2 iron tri is coming up on Sunday.

I

feel

ready.

I sort of hate writing that sentence down, lest it be construed as overconfidence. Or just plain confidence. But....
I
feel
ready.

Ready for Chisago, mind you, NOT READY (yet) for Ironman Wisconsin....

I've been training since January. I've been putting in the time and the effort putting miles in on the bike, and the trainer; in the pool or lake and on treadmills and running paths.

I've covered the distance for the 1/2 a few times already -- I've even completed one 1/2 already this year, so the distance doesn't scare me.

I can even overcome those crazy-making voices in my head:

"Ready, huh? Don't you remember last year, when you did Chisago and the bike sucked so bad that you were ready to quit, but put your running shoes on anyway and then WALKED the ENTIRE 1/2 marathon????

Oh AND, this year, the bike course is hillier! What do you say about that???"

I say: I feel ready.

What I'm NOT saying is that I'll definitely PR or have an easy race. But I am going in to this race better prepared mentally and physically than I was last year, which is really great.

It should be a very fun day -- lots of my friends will be racing too: Nat, Marcia, Gary, Amy S, Brent C, Patrick, Derek and loads of others. The weather is supposed to cooperate too.

What I'm not so ready for is the additional 56 miles I'll put on the bike AFTER the race.

Yes, my coach thinks it would be a "good idea" for me to do 112 miles on the bike, so.... pedal I will.

Ultimately doing the extra distance will help for Ironman, so

I
may
be
ready.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Right where I'm suppposed to be.... I think.

Greetings from Tempe, where it is 115 degrees. But, you know, "it's a dry heat".

Yeah, like an oven. Yikes!

I'm leaving to go back to the "cool" (humid) Minnesota in just a few minutes, so only have a bit of time to catch up on what's been going on.

The WIBA weekend was wonderful and eye-opening.

I went with Nat and Amy S. The Stenzel's were there too and I had a chance to meet Mike and Jenny Wimmer. I met some other new friends, includig "famous" people like RobbyB and Simply Stu.

Friday night, we all had dinner together and there was a Course Prep talk. I got a lot of great tips, including

  • "put your name on every thing" and
  • "put a pair of extra running shoes in your Running Special Needs bag in case it is raining and the pair you started out with is soaked by mile 13.5...."

    Brilliant.

I had already thought about extra socks but did not think about the shoes....makes total sense.

Saturday, we swam in Mendota. The lake felt wonderful and the swim went well.

The only concerns I have for September are that the lake will be too warm to be wetsuit legal and, of course, the chaos of the start. Fortunately, I did that 1-mile open water swim (sans wet suit) and did just fine. I do like the wetsuit for the buoyancy, though and with a big event like Ironman, would like to know that if I get kicked in the head, I won't sink like a stone.

We ran pretty much the first loop of the marathon course on Sunday. The run is great. It winds mostly through the University of Wisconsin campus, which is beautiful. The route took us past my first ever apartment, by my dorm, then out to the Lakeshore path, back in near the Union, down and back State Street, then up Observatory hill and eventually winds back to the Capital.

My run went really well and I felt great. I ran part of the course with Amy S and then finished up with Nat, Rich and a guy who just did Kansas 70.3. I called him "Kansas".

So, so far, so good, right?

Well, notice that I've said nothing about the bike course..... until now.

I had read and heard a lot of things about the IM WI bike course -- and all the stories about the hills are true.

Hills, hills, hills and then more hills. Not Minnesota hills. Wisconsin "hey, a GLACIER carved through here centuries ago and created these hills" hills.

OMG.

Let me say that again:

OMG.

I had read some one's blog about the hills at Wisconsin and he wrote: "Learn to love your small chain ring. Buy it presents".

I, of course, pooh-poohed his advice after reading it. After all, I'm a big girl, I like to mash those gears.

Oh no. Not only was he right, he was dead-on right. I'm looking for presents for my small chain ring every day now.

So the good news : I got through the loop (only once and the course will have us do the loop twice). I stayed seated during all the climbs but one. I got to see what I'm up against.

The not-so-good news: I'm very, very worried about my ability to get through the bike course within the cut off limits.

I'm not the strongest biker in the pack -- this, despite the fact that I've been training since December. I am not the best rider up the hills and I get a bit frightened on the down hills, so I tend to brake a bit, reducing the down-hill advantages.

So, the bike ride sobered my IM WI dreams up a bit.

I'm worried that I haven't done enough training or the right training or the "something" training.

My coach says we still have time to get it together (meaning I'll be doing lots and lots and lots more biking on hilly courses).

I'm going back to ride the whole course one more time before taper time... which should help.

But that little seed of doubt and fear has been planted: what happens, if after all this training and all this preparation, I don't finish?

I'm trying hard not to let this seed germinate and grow.

I know that, about this time in a training cycle, we all tend to doubt our training, our bodies, our mental prep. So, these thoughts are probably "normal" and I'm right where I am supposed to be...

I'm just going to have to keep plugging along. I'll have to trust the training, my coach and the work.

Most of all, I'm going to just have to trust my self...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Travelin' to WIBA

Hubby and I have probably logged about 100,000 or more miles this year traveling for work and other (more fun) stuff.

Unfortunately, we usually don't travel together for the work stuff and, lately, even the fun stuff has been without each other.

We knew this would be the case this year, with an integration (at work), my Ironman training and his playing in the Golf Channel Amateur Tour...We figure we'll see each other this fall (ha ha).

That being said, the long anticipate WIBA weekend has arrived and I'll be leaving shortly for Madison to spend the weekend previewing the IM WI course.

There are about 56 people attending this event, including Nat, Amy S, Patrick, Tim, the Wimmers and the world-famous Stenzels.

I'm so excited I can't stand it.

My coach wants me to ride the full 112 bike course tomorrow and run one loop of the marathon course on Sunday. I'll throw a little swim in just to see what the lake feels like.

I have a feeling this will be a challenge -- but in a good way.

I'm feeling pretty strong and I am looking forward to meeting the course so I can make it my bitch*.

(* keeping those fingers crossed, anyway)

Friday, June 25, 2010

112 miles + 2 for extra credit



Yesterday was my first ride of over 100 miles -- all at once -- ever.

Chisago Triathlon hosts several preview rides of their 1/2 iron (56 miles) and sprint bike courses, including a ride held yesterday.

If you are ever doing an event that offers a course preview, take advantage of it. Seeing any course before you actually swim/bike/run/golf or what ever on it is very very helpful. You'll know where the tough parts are, the easy parts and you'll get familiar with locations of hazards (like potholes).

Natalie and my coach wanted us to ride the course twice for 112 miles. The first 56 would be supported by the preview; the second loop would be on our own.

Our good friend Gary, who is also doing the 1/2 iron with us, came to the preview too. One other running friend of ours, Patrick, who is also training for Ironman Wisconsin was there, along with a about 40 or so other riders.

Nat, Gary and I all did Chisago 1/2 iron last year. We thought we were familiar with the course. As I remembered it, it wasn't a terrible course... some really nice, long flat stretches with only a couple of "uh oh" hills.

What I didn't remember is that last year, apparently, the course was altered because of road work....

We were in for a little "schoolin'" about this year's course.

Starts out innocently enough, but then there are some kick ass hills. I will admit that a couple of the hills are really nice DOWN hills, but then you pay for it on the way back up.

At one point, we make a turn on to a stretch of road that looks innocent enough, but is really a slow, sly incline that takes you to some more kick ass hills. The incline is very deceiving. I was pedaling, pedaling, pedaling and going 12 or 13 mph.

What? How can this be? Oh yeah. I suck at hills.

Natalie, who flies like the wind on the bike, was way up ahead of me. At one point, I stopped to take off my jacket and Gary caught up with me. We rode mostly together for the rest of the ride. It was nice to have the company and to have some time to catch up.

We pulled in to transition after loop one and Natalie was there...waiting patiently...The photo at the top of the page is of the three of us after completing the first loop.

We took a bit of time to refill water bottles (using Nunn), go to the portapotty, stretch, take a couple pics, put on some sun screen and to do other general stuff to prolong going out on the second loop.

Then it was just Natalie and me.

By this time, the sun had broken through the clouds, the temps came up and so did the humidity. But, surprisingly, the ride was not too uncomfortable and we were making pretty good time.

Natalie decided to pull her pace back to stick with me. (I think she did it to make sure I wouldn't turn around early... :-) ) We were doing pretty well and feeling pretty good.

At one point, we were out in the middle of nowhere and Natalie was a little bit ahead of me. I saw her slow down. I looked to the left and saw two big dogs running toward her. I was wondering where those two dogs came from when I realized they were deer! Two fawns were crossing the road. One stopped right in front of Natalie and one came bounding toward me. It stopped, stared and then bounded off in to the high grass on my right. I always like seeing deer -- although I was glad that they leaped out of the grass in front of us while we had some time to react. It would not be good to hit one.

I think my nutrition was good: I had some Infinit, water with Nunn, gels and a couple Uncrustables. I just didn't bring enough stuff. I ran out of pretty much every thing about half way through loop two. Natalie also ran out of liquids about the same time.

We were still okay until mile 90. This was just past the horrible hills and only 22 miles to go. By now, we were both thirsty with no gas station or QwikE Mart on the course.

So, naturally, those last 22 miles just dragged. And dragged. And dragged.

At the point my odometer read 110.00 miles, I knew I was more than 2 miles to the transition area. I had forgotten that, earlier, we had taken a wrong turn, so I'd be riding more than 112 miles. That was a little discouraging, but... what could I do...

My pace went back to turtle pace, so Natalie went a head of me. As I turned back in to the city for the last 1.5 miles, I rode up to a motel. I got off my bike, went in to the lobby and filled my water bottle with ice and bought a well needed and appreciated water. It tasted heavenly.

Finally I hit the last turn back in to the park, which takes you under the tunnel, which takes you back to transition.

HURRAH! I survived! We survived! We did it! Awesome!

We walked -- very slowly -- to the beach and got in to the cool water to soak our legs. The water felt great and really helped to start recovery.




The good news: we did it. We got through it. The course was hilly, which should help prepare for Ironman Wisconsin.

The bad news for me: it took me a very, very long time. Now, I did putz around a lot in-between loops and I did stop on the course quite a bit to stretch. Not so sure that I'll do this during Ironman. Still, my pace, especially on those hills, was not stellar and could put me in "not making the cut-off" danger.

Good thing we still have 12-weeks of training left. I see me doing lots of bike work, hill work and brick work between now and September 12th.

In other news:

I accomplished a great psychological challenge by completing a one-mile Open Water Swim in Lake Harriet sponsored by USMasters Swimming.

Why was this such a big deal?


US Masters does not allow wetsuits -- or "help". Meaning all my swimming comforts were left at shore.

I love the wetsuit because it adds buoyancy and eliminates my fear of drowning and sinking like a stone.

I like "help" (meaning being able to hold on to a kayak or a buoy) when the crowd gets too thick or I panic or I just need a little "break".

There was also a pesky cut off (45 minutes) which I was a little worried about.

But I got in to the water, along with friends Angel and Carla, and swam away.

Swimming out to the first buoy wasn't too bad. The water was fairly calm and I kept up with other swimmers.

The turn around to go across the lake was where the rubber met the road. There was a lot of wind over the water, so the lake was very choppy.

When I came up to breathe, I got a mouth full of water. If I lifted my head up straight to site, I got a mouth full of water. Although I never felt unsafe, I did start to really understand how someone who can swim can drown.

Fortunately, a kayaker was never too far away from me, so I thought if I went under, he'd be able to get to me pretty quickly.

I kept trying to swim forward, but progress was slow. I finally started to side stroke, so I could at least see some movement. This took me off course (naturally), so I just flipped back to the crawl and I literally crawled my way to the buoy.

I finally hit the turn back buoy and I just swam to shore.

I got out in 39 minutes and some change (before the cut off!) but was last of the field. I did not care one bit. I got through a tough swim without my "comforts", which was a huge victory for me.

Twelve weeks to go! Lots of fun training stuff coming up. I can only get stronger and faster. Right?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

GRRRrrrrrrr

Postscript: a few hours after I posted this, I received a very nice message from the person who uploaded results from the Tri...He apologized profusely for not having the times for the last four finished and did, in fact, enter our times on to the log.

I ended up at 7:32:33, which, while was still 3rd from last, was a 7:38 minute PR for me....I can now stop thinking of the DNF as a IM WI omen...


Liberty 1/2 iron was yesterday.

I'm really bummed because I'm listed as DNF in the stats, which is not true. I finished in about 7:31 and some seconds -- approximately 4th from LAST of all finishers. The problem is that it looks like the organizers turned off the timing mats before everyone crossed the finish line.

The rules of the race only listed one cut off. Everyone had to be off the bike course by 12:30 pm. If you weren't you were not able to go on the run course.

I made the bike cut off and finished the course. I'm ticked that I'm listed as DNF.

My biggest problems with being listed as DNF? 1) It isn't true. I completed every inch of those 70.3 miles. 2) I DID pr, but only by about 7 minutes and some odd seconds. 3) My ego is bruised, if the truth must be told.

The day was cold, gray and rainy. Our normal high temp for this time of year is about 79 degrees. Yesterday, when we got in the water, the air temp was 61 degrees; the water temp 68...Neither got much warmer as the day went along.

I felt "okay" about the race. Not worried about the distances, having covered all of them separately. The "stitching them together" in one event had a me a little concerned, but I thought I'd be fine.

My swim took me much longer than I thought it would. When I first got in and started swimming, my breathing was off. I'd breathe in and as I put my face back in the water, I was continuing to breathe in. Swallowed a bit of water a couple of times, so I thought I'd just hang out at a couple of buoys to calm down a bit. That seemed to do the trick.

I got to the turn around in about 23 minutes, which I was not happy with, but could live with. I swam back and was thinking that I was doing a better job: no stopping, just doing my thing. Got out of the water in 50 and some change. So it took me much longer on the way back.

Bike: I had previewed the bike course a couple of times. It's a two loop course that is very pretty with some rolling hills and some doozy hills. I rode the first loop pretty well and then started the second loop.

I did not see another person for miles and miles and miles. I thought I was the last one on the bike course and was worried. I checked my watch: still plenty of time before the cut off and I knew that that was not going to be my issue.

I finally got passed (by a 61 year old man, by the by) with about 14 miles to go to the end. By then, the wind had picked up and a weather front was moving in. With 11 miles to go, the rain started.

I like to run in the run if the temps are nice. It can be very refreshing. Yesterday, it was cold, so it was just a cold rain, which is not-so-nice. I also had some concerns about wiping out, so my pace dropped back and I was getting tired.

With about 8 miles to go, I finally found some other bikers. Hurrah. I was not last on the bike course. I was pretty soaked and my left hand had fallen asleep. I think my watch band hits against my aerobar putting pressure on a nerve. By the time I pulled in to transition, it was not really moving much.

Another reason DNF ticks me off? As I was coming in on the bike, I had given serious consideration to pulling out of the race. I was cold; there was no sign that the rain was going to let up; my hand was asleep, and I just thought "screw it".

But, when I got back in to transition, I got my shoes on, grabbed my stuff and went out on to the course.

The out-and-back run course meandered through Baker Park and was really beautiful -- even with the rain. There were water stops about every mile -- volunteers were great and mentally, this helped me keep going.

I did a walk run thing: first it was 3/1; then it was 4/1; then it was about a 1/2 mile, then it was "To that big tree" or "To the aid station". I did what ever I could to keep moving forward.

I FINALLY passed a 32-year old guy. Then I passed another guy (in his 40s). I also passed a woman still on her way out on the 1/2 marathon course. She had her right leg all taped up and was being followed by the sag-cart, but she was moving forward with a smile on her face.

By the time I crossed the finish line, the finish clock was down, but the announcer was there and he called out my name as I crossed the line. I looked at my watch, which read 7:31 something and I was done. I got my medal and wobbled to the car where Nat was waiting.

SHE finished the race IN UNDER 6 HOURS! A HUGE PR for her! She has been just rocking it this year and it shows. GOOD FOR HER!

Steve Stenzel had a great race -- first in his AG; Pharmie also had a great finish. Other "non-bloggy" friends finished well too.

Hurray for them!

---

On the positive side, my nutrition went well. I drank Accelerade Hydo with Carbo Pro; had some Gus; ate some gold fish on the run and did not feel bad nutritionally.

On the very bad side, I am now very, very worried about my Ironman dream. I know I still have time to get ready (14 weeks to be exact), but I am feeling very scared about it.

I'm going to have to figure a way to shake off this doubt...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Give me (a) Liberty (pr) or give me....

Saturday is my first 1/2 iron distance event of the summer: Liberty Triathlon.

It is funny how your mind works when you are knee-deep in to training for an Ironman. Two years ago, I was getting ready to do my very first 1/2 iron distance tri. The 1.2 mile swim/ 56 mile bike/ 13.1 run seemed like such a loooonnnnnng distance. I was unsure I could finish the event.

Now, two years (and one-and-a-third* other 1/2 distance tris later), the distance doesn't scare me so much.

*the "third" comes from competing in a 1/2 iron distance tri as part of a relay team...

I've previewed the bike course a couple of times, so I know where to expect rough road and/or hills. I've covered the distance in the pool and have been in open water, so.. that part won't be so bad. I've completed an official 1/2 marathon and a 15-mile race, so I know I can cover the distance.

The trick will be to stitch all three together and complete the race in a "decent" time.

What does that mean?

I'd like to PR.

There. I said it.

I want to finish in a reasonable (for me) time.

Do I think I can do it?

Maybe.

Depends on lots of external factors (wind; choppy water; rain) but the biggest "maybe" that typically gets in my way is my head.

I still struggle with thinking/believing/trusting that I can actually "do this". Push my self. Just a little....

I have got to get over this personal block.

"NC" should be able to help me with this. He's been my coach for less than a week and he's already pushed my training and challenged my internal beliefs. (We've already had our first fight, when I refused to do lunges. This is actually pretty good!). I think he is going to be very, very good for me and my training.

In the mean time, I'll continue to spend time pouring over my 1/2 iron distance stats to try to figure out where I can shave some time on Saturday.

I'll also be praying to the Weather and Wave Gods for calm weather and smooth seas.

Oh! I'll also carbo-load!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

PRs and Divorce

First the good news:

Buffalo Triathlon was today.

I have not done this race since 2005, which was the first year I participated in triathlon. The event is always scheduled for the first Sunday in June, which is also the same weekend for the Edina Art Fair.

Hubby is a part-time photographer and has been a selected artist of the art fair ever since 2006. We typically have spent this weekend manning the booth at the fair making Buffalo an "event of the past" for me.

Not this year. Hubby decided to take a break from the art fair so I had the chance to register for the sprint distance event. My goal was to do better -- MUCH better-- than I did in 2005.

Well, yippee-eye-yeah-cai-yo, I achieved my goal.

I beat my 2005 time by almost 21-minutes (20:56 to be exact). Best of all, I placed 4th out of 11 in my age group. I am estatic (if I do say so myself).

I had a great swim, a pretty good bike ride and a pretty good run (even with waiting in line for the portapotty...).

Three other friends (Nat, Marcia and Sara) also did the sprint distance course today. We all had great races and a lot of fun.

Buffalo is a very well run event; they give away great schwag, have very enthusiastic volunteers and I was very happy to be able to do the event this year. I highly recommend it.

Now on to Subject Number Two: Divorce.

No, Hubby and I are not getting divorced.

That is an event I can not even imagine happening. I love him with all my heart, even after all these years of togetherness...

I had to divorce my IM coach. At least moving away from him felt like a divorce.

We'd been working together for several months and on the POSITIVE side, I'm running better and feeling stronger than I have in a long time.

He is an awesome athlete, his company is undergoing restructuring and he is a very busy guy.

I need more attention. I need more u-rah-rah. I need someone who will actually require me to log my training hours and give me feedback.

My old coach (now lovingly referred to as "OC") didn't have the time to check logs or provide much advice. (In his defense, during our divorce proceedings, he said that I was paying for a service. His service provided workouts and advice if I were to proactively ask for it. He said that if I wanted him to be more proactive, I could pay more money. That did not seem like a good deal to me).

I thought about this long and hard and decided that if I was going to make a move, I'd have to do it now. There are only 15-weeks left until Ironman Wisconsin and my training can not skip a beat at this point.

So....I divorced him last week.

And you have to know that our relationship was a polygamous relationship (meaning OC obviously has other clients...). One of his other clients was also unhappy, so she divorced him too.

We've both entered a new relationship with a NEW coach -- "NC". NC is already sending unsolicited emails with lots of advice and encouragement. He is also sending training plans that look like they are going to challenge us and get us stronger.

Perhaps it is only a honeymoon period, but we both feel that NC will get us through the next 15-weeks and to the finish line.

The only question now is whether we should register at a local tri store for some gifts.....

Monday, May 31, 2010

Fargo 1/2 and Apple Du

My whirlwind calendar of events leading up to September 12th began on May 22nd with Fargo 1/2 marathon.

Fargo puts on a terrific running weekend, which includes a marathon, the half, 10k and 5k events.

For the past few years, my friends Nat, Marcia, Mary K and I have done the 1/2. This year, Gary joined us for the fun.

May's weather in Fargo can be a bit "iffy". We've run in the cold; we've run in the heat. The one real constant is the wind....yikes!

This year, we lined up outside the Fargodome on Saturday morning just as the sprinkles started to come. By the time the starting gun went off, the rain was pretty steady and "cool". Not cold, just cool.

Fortunately, the rain stopped by the time I got to mile 3 and the temps were mostly plesant for the rest of the race.

I ran well -- steady and feeling good. Actually RAN the first 7.9 miles of the race with out walking (except for one potty break), which I have never done before. (BIG accomplishment for me!).

The one big bummer was that, with all the rain, my socks had gotten pretty wet, so I developed a blister on one of my toes. At mile 9, just at the end of a water stop, I asked a friendly volunteer if the stop had any band-aids on hand.

"No", the friendly volunteer said, "but, I'll give you my sock. It's dry and clean".

"Sold!"

So he gave me his sock and I trotted on to the end.

It was not a PR for me, but I did take almost 17 minutes off of my 2009 time and almost 13 minutes off my 2008 time. I was very happy with my results.

All my friends had a good race -- Nat PR'ed, in fact. We shared a great lunch after the race and are already looking forward to Fargo 2011.

I noticed a slight tickle in my throat during the drive back to Minneapolis.

This tickle lurked for most of the rest of the week until late on Thursday, when BOOM. I had a stuffed nose and laryngitis. Bad laryngitis. No voice. At all. Just squeaks.

So I did the Apple Duathlon with no voice....

The Du was my first run/bike/run event. It turned out to be a very fun event. Nat and I both entered and we car pooled from Minneapolis to Sartell MN -- about 90 minutes away -- for the race.

I really didn't know what to expect with a Du. I found out that packing transition stuff is much easier: you don't have to worry about all that "swim" stuff.

Although the field was pretty small (only about 350 people), there were a number of multisport heros participating in it: Cathy Yndestad, Julie Hull, David Thompson, Kevin O'Connor, to name a few.

It was hot and sunny at the start of the race. My first 5k was pretty good. I ran it in just a hair over 30 minutes (9:53 pace). Another first for me.

The 33K bike route was beautiful -- a few challenging hills, but I really felt great for about the first 10-miles. Then came the turn home, which also happened to be straight in to the wind -- YUCK. My mph dropped fast and my frustration grew.

Final tally: Took me about 1:17 to cover the 20.5 miles, for a pace of 15.9 mph. Boo hoo on that...

I was tired and hacking when I rode back in to transition, so I decided to take my sweet a$$ time on the 2nd 5K. I flipped off my bike shoes; grabbed my running shoes and had a blistering T2 of 1:32.

Then came my sweet a$$ time. I sat on a curb just outside transition and put on my shoes; I got a drink of water; I took my time strolling up the big a$$ hill at the start of the 5K route. Then I started to feel guilty, so I started running.

I did a run/walk for the rest of the 5K, but at a very leisurely pace. Took me 40 minutes for the second 5k.

Now, of course, I feel bad about being so "lazy" on that second loop.

Truth be told, I wasn't feeling so great and I let my mind control my feet. Silly, I know.

Bottom line: the Du was fun and I'd "du" one again.

The rest of my Memorial Day weekend was very fun. A bike ride with some friends; a dip in to the lake to get ready for next week's triathlon and a great round of golf with Hubby and some of his golf friends.

I still don't have much of a voice -- but it is slowly coming back.

Only 16 weeks until Ironman. Amazing how fast time is flying!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

fastest post ever....

Woefully behind on blogging. Work is a blur; Training is a blur; Time is just passing in a big ol' blur.

Fargo 1/2 marathon is Saturday. How the heck did that event get here so fast? (blur....)

I'll be there along with Nat, Mary, Marcia, Gary and Brenda, Kris, AmyW. and up to 20,000 other runners doing either the marathon, 1/2, 10K or 5K event....

Unlike Fargo's past, this year, the weather is expected to be warmer (up to 77 degrees) and humid, with the possibility of rain. What will be normal is the wind....Fargo seems to have a never ending supply of wind.

I'm hoping to run strong and to have fun. It kicks off my race season and I'd like to start it feeling good about where I've come over the last few months.

Time will tell....

Saturday, May 8, 2010

We'll get by with a little help from our friends....

Ironman Wisconsin opened its site for Volunteer sign-up yesterday.

This "little" event revved up my excitement and enthusiasm levels in a big way. It made the event feel so real for me, as opposed to just an arbitrary date looming out there some distance (okay, now 18 weeks) away.

Last year, Nat and I signed up as volunteers so we could a) get a first-hand, close up look at the action to see if, b) we wanted to have priority status to sign up for IM WI 2010.

I was a wet suit peeler. I helped the swimmers out of their wetsuits as they came out of Lake Mendota. It was a blast.

Nat worked the swim to bike transition area, helping athletes find their bags and get ready to get out on the bike course.

Later that day, we both worked the bike water stop at Mt. Horeb. Our shift was timed so we could see bikers as they were hitting that spot for the second loop of the course. That was a fun volunteer spot too and it also interesting/enlightening to observe the condition of the riders. Some looked great -- all smiles, having a blast. Others were struggling a bit, but not giving up.


Nothing we saw along the way that day turned us off from signing up for this year's event, so the next morning, we joined the long line of other volunteers to sign an application, a waiver and a great big check. And so, the Ironman adventure began.

The other fun thing about volunteering last year was seeing other friends: Steve and Pharmie were also signed up to be Peelers; I had just started reading Mike's blog and he posted his race number. When he got out of the water, I recognized his number so I got a chance to "meet" him in the peeling area and wished him good luck.

We also ran in to lots of other people, either participating or volunteering or just spectating. All just fun, fun, fun.

Well, THIS YEAR, as Natalie and I and Matt and Sarah and Patrick and Cathy and 2,494 of our other most close and personal friends are out there on the course, we will have a long, long list of friends waiting for us at various volunteer spots:

Marcia and Marty: Swim timing recorders. One of the first shifts for the day. They will have a chance to see everyone get out of the water when we are all still feeling "good".

Rick L: Will be out on the bike course. I look forward to seeing his omnipresent bright orange hat.

Beth and Bev: Finish line catchers from 6:00 till 9:00. Beth posted on her Facebook page that she did it so she could see me, Nat and Mike finish. I told her that Nat and Mike might finish before 9:00 pm but she was being awfully optimistic thinking that I'd be there by then...(gotta keep it real, you know....)

Carla, Angel, Tim and MY HUBBY: Finish line catchers from 9:00 until midnight. What a treat it will be to see them all as I'm coming down that chute! (note the optimism about finishing before the clock gets turned off in that last sentence....).

As any runner, triathlete or other sports person will tell you, volunteers can make or break an event.

We are going to have a crew of AWESOME volunteers on September 12th. Not just the just the great folks above, but all the others that will take part of their weekend to spend it out on the course with us as part of our day.

To each volunteer, especially my friends, I say THANK YOU in advance for sharing your enthusiasm and your time.

I may not be 'happy' when you see me out on that course. I may not be able to acknowledge you with more than a grunt and a pissed-off glare. I may be crying my eyes out. But know that my soul will be happy to see you and I am ever grateful that you are my friend.

Monday, April 26, 2010

20 WEEKS -- are you kidding?

Twenty weeks until IM Moo. That is Ironman Wisconsin for any one that has not been paying attention.

Like me.

Twenty WEEKS? TWENTY? How did that happen?

You'll note my training log on the side has been devoid of any mileage updates for quite a while. Oh, I've been working out. I've been training. I've been swimming, biking and running.

I haven't been blogging. (Or tracking calories, if the truth must be told...)

The good news is that I got through a couple of the races that Coach Dan put on my schedule for this year.

Human Race/ Earth Day 8K on March 28th. Ran it in 50:15, which was a very good time for me.

Trail Mix 25K on April 17th. Two loops through a really wonderful park, nature preserve and ski area. (In other words: HILLY). Finished it in 3:11, which was a 14 minute PR for me for the course. (The last time I ran Trail Mix was in 2004).

Last weekend, I was supposed to do two events: Get in Gear (GIG) 10K and 65 miles on the Ironman Bike Ride - Minnesota. Hubby's plan was to run the GIG 5K event and then play in his first Minnesota golf tournament for 2010.

Mother Nature had other plans.

Hubby and I woke to thunder and lightening on Saturday morning. We had planned to run if it was rainy, but did not want to run if it was pouring. So we went back to sleep.

We did end up running later in the day, so it was not a total wash out (pun intended).

Sunday was rainy too, but there was no lightening. Just rain. Oh, and wind.

Since I was riding this event with my friends Gary and Nat, I could not just go back to bed. So, I loaded up the bike, picked up Gary and went to the start line.


Nat's been under the weather and decided to not risk getting sick again, but Gary and I went out on the course.

We did decide to only ride the 30-mile route, which was a smart choice. My feet got soaked by rain and got very cold. I don't think they could have really handled 35 additional miles.

Despite the cold/rain, the event was really wonderful! Nice course with some challenging hills. Terrific rest stops manned by very helpful volunteers and yummy stuff like HOT oatmeal, HOT coffee, HOT chocolate, muffins, candy (?), Cracker Jack, Trail Mix and other deliciousness.

I was also happily surprised at the number of riders that braved the weather. Had the day been nice, I'm sure there would have been thousands of riders out on the road.

I definitely will do this ride again next year. I can not say enough good things about it.

Okay, back to reality:

Twenty weeks!

Really time to get serious about the mileage, the time and the training.

Cuz now it is nineteen weeks and six days....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fast and furious....

Been a while since I've updated my blog or my training log.

I am a bad girl.


Quick update:


All is going well -- meaning, I'm getting workouts done and I'm not injured or too overwhelmed.

I am worried that I'm not doing enough, but this is every runner/triathletes issue. I just have to trust my coach.

I also worry that if I talk/write/obsess about this much more in public/out loud, that I'll jinx myself. And yet, here I am writing and obsessing once again.

Ces't la Ironman.

I went to Madison last weekend on a SOUL-o journey. (yes, soul). I needed to do some personal / emotional work on my own before going back for training weekends with friends.

I did have a chance to ride and run a bit on the IM WI course, which was great.

I also took walk after walk after walk down memory lane.

I'm glad I went.

I took a bunch of pics and will post more later.

I took a self portrait of me at the IM WI finish line (minus all the finish line stuff...)


Because there is no way in heck that I'm finishing in daylight, I went back to the Capital to take a more realistic shot of what it might look like for me fright before midnight on September 12th.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New York, New York. Hopes dashed again....

Year TWO of not making the NY Marathon cut.

DANG!

I ran NY in 2007 (I got in that year because I was a sponsored amateur athlete for Team Toyota). It is a really wonderful marathon. The course is exceptional, the crowd support non-stop and fantastic, and really is quite the experience.

Last year, I entered the lottery and so did my friends Mary and Nat. Nat got in, but deferred to this year. She opted out for this year because of Ironman.

I put my name in the lottery for this year. I put my name in the first day registration opened.

I was hoping that I'd be still in pretty decent shape after Ironman (how ever that ends up...) and that NY would be like a swan-song for 2010.

Nope.

No such luck.

I guess the gods are really just taking care of me, allowing me to train fully for IM WI so I can ROCK THE HOUSE there (or at least finish before they turn off the clock...)

Still and all, a little bummed about NY 2010...but there is always next year, right?