Thursday, September 15, 2011

Changes, Recovery and Refocus

It certainly didn't take long for the season to start changing from summer to fall. The temps have dropped dramatically; leaves are starting to change and it is dark by 7:30 pm now.

Recover week means doing very little but resting, eating, sleeping and resting some more. I have to say that, while I'm enjoying some longer snoozes in the morning, I am looking forward to getting back to some easy "maintenance" workouts.

I'll go to watch my friend Mary's son play in his high school homecoming football game on Friday night, I'll golf on Saturday and on Sunday I plan to join some friends for what is sure to be one of the last open water swims for this year.

I can start doing some short runs again soon; won't be long before I get back on the bike, but really only just for fun now, as the 2011 season draws to a close.

I will do a couple other races this year: The Monster 10 miler; maybe the Reindeer Run 5K and maybe one on or near New Year's Day....

I'll also be able to register for Tri U Mah 2012 on October 1st and can doing some 2012 event planning soon, as a number of races I want to do have already landed on dates and some have early registration open.

I'm giving some thought to training plans for 2012 -- where to do Masters swims; training program and coaching options; race ideas. No decisions yet. Just kicking around some ideas.

Changes abound right now. Professionally, personally, seasonally and athletically. Should be interesting to see how they all unfold.

Monday, September 12, 2011

DNF but okay with it....

Yes, it is true.

I pulled out of IM WI yesterday at mile 14 of the marathon, at about 9:05 pm.

Second year attempting to cross the line. Second DNF.

I made the decision to pull out after figuring that there would be no way I could run a negative split to get to the finish before the magic midnight hour. (Had "run" the first half in about 3 hours and 15 minutes or so.... and it was not pretty).

In making the decision, I had to be sure that I could live with it. That I wouldn't wake up today and regret it. As strange as this may sound, I don't and I can.


Because race day -- and the days leading up to it -- were not a total loss.

What went well:

  • I went in to this race incredibly calm. I felt more competent and prepared this year.

  • My swim was 4 minutes faster than last year.

  • My transition times tightened up.

  • My nutrition was fine. (Last year, I got was so nauseous by the time I got out to the run, I couldn't eat any thing. The only things that appealed to me were ice chips, coke (which they ran out of) and chicken broth (which was cold). This year, there was plenty of coke (which, as a non-soda drinker, I have a new found appreciation for its power to bring you back to life when you are running) AND the chicken broth was warm and salty. Perfect!)

  • Instead of hating the crowds (as I did last year), I had fun with them -- even during the run.

  • I had a GREAT first 58 miles on the bike (averaging over 15 mph, versus 13 last year). Also had a great ride back in to town after the hills (averaging 14.8 mph).

  • I had tons of support out on the course, which I really appreciated. Hubby, Nat, Lance, Angel, Rick, Mary, Jim, Gary, Marcia, Marty, Pam, Kurt, Eric, Greg, Patrick and Beverly just to name a few faces I was so very, very happy to see out on the course.

  • I remembered to be grateful.

  • I remembered to look up and to see the day.

  • I had fun in the days up to the race hanging out with Nat doing some pre race swims and stuff.

  • It was a nice weekend with my husband.

  • My other IM WI friends did GREAT! Congrats to: Ali, Debbie, Cindy, Mark, Alyssa, Kirk and MIKE WIMMER!!!!

What went wrong:

  • After that awesome first 58 miles, the second loop went south in a big way. Not sure if the day was too hot, or what, but I got very uncomfortable on the bike. My average pace dropped like a stone to just about 10 mph. Pitiful. Screwed up my plan to get back in to transition and out on the run course by 5:00 pm at the latest

  • Things that usually didn't bother me while riding. did. My shoes got terribly uncomfortable. (I may try some gel inserts to add some cushion). My "hoo ha", which never, every bothers me, really, really bothered me. (And I even had Hoo Ha Ride Glide packets, which I bought as a "joke" and didn't use. Dumb me.) My hands hurt (the tape on my handle bars came loose). Hubby had asked me if I was going to use gloves. "Why?", I replied. "My hands never bother me." Dumb me.

  • I stopped at the water stop in Cross Plains to stretch my back a little, where the following conversation with a happy volunteer occurred:
The happy volunteer to me: " ya doin'?"
My reply: "Fine...just stretching my back."
" have enough water?"
" ya feeling?"
(I thought I had answered that...) "Fine."
"You look a little hot."
"So, you want to sit in the shade a bit?"
(Not really, but are you hinting???) "So how are the riders handling the heat?"
"We are having lots of them sit in the shade for a few minutes.... wanna sit in the shade?"
(Okay, hint taken.) I got off my bike and joined a few people who were also cooling down.

I rolled in to transition waaaaaay later than I wanted to and knew that finishing the run on time would be stretch.

My running training had suffered this year, with early lack of mo-jo and then a late, nagging heel injury. My coach and I had been banking on me getting off the bike in enough time to mostly walk the marathon. My plan was to run a 3 minute/1 minute walk routine, which I started, but had some struggles keeping. I adjusted to a 2/1 routine, but my pace was off, off, off and it became apparent I was not going to be able to make midnight.

I had lots of friends out on the course who tried to get me to run more/faster, but it wasn't where my head was at. And where the head is at, the feet will, by about mile 7, I started to think that getting to the half, picking up my Special Needs bag (because I wanted the card that Hubby slipped in there), and then dropping out sounded like a good idea.

And that is what I did.

The really bad news: for as much as I prepared, the real struggle for me has always been (and continues to be, apparently), the ongoing argument with my mind.

As much as I've heard "the body can take 20 times more than the mind thinks it can", I have not been extremely successful at countering it when it woos me with it's crazy talk. Be it "you aren't good enough/young enough/thin enough/speedy enough/whatever enough" or, "just stop. It will feel soooooo good", I am not always prepared with a counter offer.

I have 360+ days to come up with a good one.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It's Heeerrreeee....

No, not the aliens or even that very strange blond little girl from the movie.....

Ironman Wisconsin is tomorrow. It is here.

I can't believe how quickly the year flew by. I can't quite grasp that it is already September. Amazing.

Hubby and I have been in Madison since last Thursday.... got my packet Thursday; went to the dinner and official meeting on Friday; spend MOOla at the expo (MOO, of course, because it is IMOO...); Got a couple swims in; a quick bike and a quick run.

I'm feeling strangely calm about tomorrow. Probably because I made the trip down here several times and am less afraid of the bike course. Could be because I did the Madison Open Water Swim event as a 2.4 mile practice of the course. Maybe because I understand more of what I'm up against tomorrow. Who really cares why.... I'm just going with it.

Natalie and Lance got here yesterday. Angel, Rick, Patrick and Beverly are here now.....Marcia, Gary, Marty, Mary and Jim come later today and tomorrow.... It is really wonderful to have such supportive friends (and Spouse!) here to watch, volunteer and support. I have no way to appropriately repay them for this.

Other friends I've trained with are excited for their Ironman day too: Ali, Debbie, Cindy, Madonna, John, Mike W, Mark....AND friends like Eric, Helen, Steve, Ray, Kurt, Pam, Greg, Badgergirl and JWimm will be out there too - some volunteering; some just cheering, but I'm sure to "feel the love" (or at least hear the screams) while we are out there on the course.

One friend that won't be competing is Denny Johnson. He was in Boulder in August to watch some friends do IM Boulder 70.3 and went out for a training ride, when he had a very bad accident. Broke his helmet, bones and ended up with a severe brain injury. He was in a coma for almost a month and passed away a week ago. He was so excited to do IM is a rotten shame that he won't be here to compete -- won't be here any more, but his spirit certainly lives on, as many of us here knew him and will carry him with us tomorrow.

So, when I hit those dark spots -- when I've hit "the line" as the Endurance Nation folks call it, and I need to have that "one thing" to grab on to, I'll be grabbing on to gratitude. For being alive; for being able to be here; for my health; my sobriety; my husband; my family; my friends. And I'll pass a silent prayer on for Denny. Then I'll take that next step.