Saturday, October 31, 2009

Leaving it on the blog...

Yep, I'm leaving all of my race anxiety right here on the blog. And sending it up to Jesus. Somehow between those two things, it will have to work! I cannot believe I am 6 days away from my first Ironman. It makes me a little sick inside to think about it. Oh I'm sure the anxiety and nausea will go away once the race actually starts, tri's usually work that way for me. I remember feeling nervous about my first marathon or a marathon when I was really concerned about my finishing time, but this is way more than that for me.

Race they are!

Getting my nutrition right all day....

Wavy or rough waters for the swim.....

Starting with 2000plus other swimmers at once, GULP......

Salt water....

Getting a flat tire....

Will I be able to handle the hotter climate?????

and just the whole big long day all together!

Okay, there they are. Now that I see them, they're mostly about the swim. So get through the swim, fuel my body, stay hydrated, and I should be fine. Of course I know anything can happen. I do respect these distances. But I have trained for this more than I have ever trained for anything in my whole life. I know I'm ready, I've put in the time. Now I just have to stay calm, relaxed, focused, have confidence, and follow the plan. (The detailed plan below is for my Mom, she wants to know.) :)

The Plan....

Swim: Stay relaxed, start easy to get the feel for the water and find my own rhythm in the midst of all the swimmers. I don't want to be too wide and waste energy, but also don't want to be in the "front." I'll do a lot of looking in the beginning to watch out for everyone. Then I'll go to my normal sighting every so often, picking my head up mid-stroke to stay on track. I will try to reach ahead and glide and relax for the entire swim. It is two loops, we exit the water after the first loop and then go back in for loop number two!

T1: Get the wetsuit off, they have people who help with this. My tri shorts and tank will be under the wetsuit so I'll just have to get my helmet, socks, shoes, gloves, sunglasses and race number and I'll be ready to get on the bike. Someone supposedly brings your bike to you in the ironman. (unless it's packed out in transition, then I will get it myself.)

Bike: Hoping to be able to average around 15-16 mph for the whole ride. In my shorter tri's this summer I have been able to ride at an 18 mph average but am not expecting to be able to hold that pace for this longer distance. I'm just going to do the best I can!

For nutrition on the bike: Drinking perpetuem for nutrition which is made by Hammer. I'll also have water, gatorade, Gu energy gels and Gu chomps. I like to have options! Plus I'm putting a PB and honey sandwich in my Bike Special Needs bag which I get halfway through the 112 mile distance.

T2: Planning to change out of tri shorts into running shorts and of course get the running shoes on. And I cannot run without my trusted Garmin. We have survived many miles together!

Run: No goal but to keep moving! I'll run if I can run, walk if I need to walk. Whatever it takes to cross the line. It's a 2 loop run so I know the first loop will be tough mentally and the second loop will be the home stretch. There are aid stations every mile with all kinds of food, gatorade, water, even chicken broth. I will also have energy gels in my pockets and might carry water. Usually when I'm running, I can tell what I need or want as far as nutrition goes, so I will go with my instincts! Sometimes that means taking in a gel or some form of energy even when you don't want it. :)

Wish me luck...

And there it is. I'm hoping I don't drive Colin nuts with my obsessions over this while we drive to Florida. I know he is afraid I will be crazy and make this trip the furthest thing from vacation. So I'm going to try very hard to "leave it on the blog." :) I am excited and promise to write all about it when it's over! Presently, the countdown to race day on this page is completely freaking me out! I can't wait to see friends once we get to Florida, there are a couple other people who I know that are also racing and they are bringing their families. It's sure to be a huge cheering section! I know it will be FUN! and painful. :) But mostly fun.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Summer Trainin' Had Me a Blast...

Summer trainin'....had me a blast,
Summer trainin'....went by too fast.
Rode my bike, thousands of miles!
Ran and swam, changed up my style!
Summer Dreams, ripped at the seams,
'cause now-ow, the cold fall is HERE!

(to the tune of Olivia Newton John and John Travolta's "Summer Lovin'" from Grease of course!)

I have absolutely LOVED training for the Ironman all summer. In fact, I'm finishing week 22 of my training and at long last entering the 2 week taper period before race day. For years I contemplated attempting the Ironman distance but could hardly stand the thought of giving up my 6 days of running every week. I would miss that so much, there's just no way I could cut my running days. I was so wrong! Now I don't know how I can go back to "just running." Well, actually, with the cold weather here, I cannot wait to wrap my bike in bubble plastic for the winter-more on that topic in a moment!

the training...

Honestly, it has been tremendous fun to be swimming, biking and running. I've been so invested in all of my training I didn't have time to miss my running! Besides, I still ran 3-4 days a week, including a weekly long run. Additionally, I biked 3-4 times a week and swam 3 times a week. Yes, that's a lot of time! Two to four plus hours a day in fact! I know people with full time jobs who put in the training and complete Ironman triathlons and I am truly amazed by them! As a result of the time spent training and following my plan diligently, I do feel confident in reaching the finish line of my first Ironman. It will likely be my biggest challenge, but if I can get my nutrition right and stay focused, I believe I am ready. I'm working on my mental race plan and will blog about that sometime before race day.

biking blurbs...

Since week number 1 of IM training, I have biked 2500 miles which is insane for me! My first road bike doesn't even have 2000 miles on the odometer and I've had that bike since 2002! I trained exclusively on my tri bike all summer, a great find on eBay, and it is a much better fit for me then my road bike. (turns out I've been riding a bike that doesn't fit me until this summer...)

A few experiences on the bike to remember: Getting whacked in the face and helmut by bugs on almost every ride all summer until the temps cooled down. Having bugs, flies or bees end up down my shirt while riding, stung once! The beautiful scenery and wind on your face while cruising down open road. Max speed of 39 mph on a scary downhill. (Lots of people have gone much faster then that!) Most rides my top speed is in the low 30's from a downhill. Riding in rain, thunder (once), sunshine, warmth, and cold! Mastering the aero-bars and new shifters on my bike. Lots of solo rides, but also rides with Colin, and my tri buddy, Kim.


This will always be my true passion! I'm not giving up marathons even though I do possibly see more Ironmans in my future simply because I loved the training so much. My plantar fasciitus is officially gone after two years, turns out less days of pounding the pavement was good for treating injury, hmmmm. I still got to meet my friends most Tuesdays and Saturdays for group runs which is a huge highlight in training.

swimming saga...

I managed to get one open water swim in almost every week during the summer months which was great training. Kim swam with me too for quite a few workouts! I followed specific pool workouts from my training plan and got help on technique from coaches at the Master Swim practice I went to last spring and again this fall. Swimming is my most challenging event since I have never been on a swim team, but I am so thankful for those kiddie swim lessons! Thanks Mom and Dad! Since last winter, my stroke number is down from 27 strokes in 25 yards, to 18 strokes in 25 yards. Now I have to work really hard to get it there, but I can do it. I still have tons to work on in my swimming and am very average if not less. However, it feels good to see improvement.

whiney weeks....

Yes! I had some serious whining issues in weeks 19-21 when it got colder here! I was biking in 40's and rain and hating life on two wheels. My last long bike ride was on a very wet, rainy day in 37 degrees with Colin for 5 and a half hours. Definitely our most miserable ride ever, but comical now. Kim came out with me too on the bike in some cold temps complete with endless layers of clothing. In fact, Kim came to my rescue with some reminder words to bring me back to reality and out of my selfish pity party! They helped so much that I typed them up and they became my mantra! Here are Kim's words sent to me via email:

"Just think of everyone who doesn't have the ability to exercise. (I'm not talking about the people making excuses.) Maybe that will help you wrap your mind around these last grueling weeks of training.

This is a choice, no one is holding a gun to my head.

Being able to participate in an event of this magnitude (the IM) is a privilege:

1. Because you could afford it.
2. Because you have the physical ability to do it.
3. You have the discipline to do it (which is a gift).
4. Your husband and your friends are willing to be dragged along with you for parts of it!!"

Those words made my day and are so true! I am blessed to have friends and family that donated to the charity so I could gain entry into the race after it was full. I have loved the training and easily completed the workouts all summer. I have amazing friends who came with me when it was easy and when it got tough in the bad weather! After this email, I quit whining and got serious again! This week has miraculously warmed up to the 50's and 60's, making biking fun again! And I used to think biking in the 50's was cold, hmmmmph! Not anymore!

life's metaphor...

Endurance training and racing always turns out to be a metaphor for life in my mind. Life is never a guaranteed picnic with only good times and smooth sailing. It's an up and down, ever changing road with unexpected challenges mixed in with the easy times. Training and races can be that way, one moment it's easy and you're full of energy, the next you think you might just end up in a pile on the concrete. Circumstances in training, workouts, and in life will always change. What is your motivation to keep going? What inspires you? What makes it worth it? Where does your strength come from? Sadly, just this week a dear friend of mine lost her husband at the young age of 33. She is only 30 herself and has a beautiful 3 year old little girl and a baby on the way. I know all too well the road ahead for her will be a surreal and painful one to travel. But I know she has a strong faith in the Lord and the hope to see her husband again in a perfect place. God will be her constant source for strength and will faithfully see her to the end. I know this because of my own experience. That is how I know I can make it through Ironman too, with spiritual strength that comes from only one place. So if you're in a hard spot in life, or maybe in a race, or a physical challenge-hang on to hope and know that in just a short while, things may be the exact opposite that they are now. Just like in a marathon, sometimes you run 17 miles and suddenly feel miserable and then you're strong again for that last 4 miles. How does that happen??? it just does... Life, my friend, is like marathon.

Isaiah 40:31 They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Finger Lakes Olympic Triathlon: Sep. 20

Pre-Race Morning

This triathlon began with a 4 AM wake up alarm! We had to get there early to be completely set up and out of the transition area by 7:15 AM. My friend Kim picked me up bright and early, we stopped and grabbed Kathy who was doing her very first sprint tri that day. Before we knew it we were walking our bikes while lugging all of our gear the long half mile walk from the parking lot to transition. Did I mention it was pitch dark outside and the temps were extremely chilly in the mid 40's? Brrrrr!

Well, it may have been dark and cold but the place was buzzing with activity! There was music playing over the sound system and announcements were being made through out the set up time about how to set your bike and calling for certain numbers and giving you the warning for the start time of the morning pre-race meeting. Kim and I set up almost right across from each other in transition and we chatted while we got ready-race talk, jitters and who knows what else. I ran into Tiffany, my "TWIN," who was also doing the olympic distance! We weren't wearing the same outfit today, but it was great to see her and wish each other good luck. See the blog post from Sodus Point 2008 if you want to know more about her. :)

We got all our stuff set up, got body marked, reluctantly peeled off our warm clothes and put on our wetsuits which provided some shield from the cold air but man it was COLD! I kept my socks on until the bitter end, caring less how black they got from the pavement! Finally it was time to walk out to the lake. My feet were like ice cubes and it was painful to walk on the asphalt out to the lake, then we stood and waited for our wave start. We were in the fourth wave, the green swim cap wave! The sun was finally lighting up the day, but it was still incredibly cold. The cold created a lot of mental anxiety for me over the swim and the whole race in general! I learned from this that on Ironman Day, I will not let anxiety get a hold of me like that. Mind over matter! Positive thinking and pushing the negative energy and self doubt away! :)

The SWIM .9 miles

It actually felt so much WARMER to get in the 62 degree water then the to stand out in the cold air and dread the swim! My feet started to warm up once we stood in the lake. Finally my wave of women were off and swimming. Canandaigua Lake was slightly choppier than usual, but not too bad. This is the lake that I have done all of my open water training in this summer so it felt a bit like home. But for some reason for the first half of the swim I couldn't relax and kept having anxiety about the swim and couldn't stop thinking about the fact that my next triathlon would be a swim in the Gulf for Ironman Florida! It was like I was having nervousness for both the lake I was in at the moment AND for a race that was still 2 months away! Uggggh! Not a good choice. Like I said, I'm not going to let myself get like that on November 7, I'm starting now, can you tell?? Okay, back to the race at hand.... By the time I reached the halfway point in the swim, I felt great! The sun was shining and gorgeous, the water was calmer on the way back in then it was on the way out, and I was finally in a good rhythm for my stroke and concentrating on technique. I bumped into someone during the last little stretch and said "sorry!" and it was Tiffany! We said a couple motivating words to each other and swam to the finish. Then I was out of the water and running on the painful asphalt path to transition! Ouch! I kept running on the little edge of grass to avoid the pain. Kathy and Nicole, two of my running partners, were there cheering me on! (Later Kathy said I was running like a little ballerina, yep, it hurt!)

The BIKE 23.5 miles

Let me just go ahead and put it out there that I'm slow in transition, I can't help it, guess I just don't move fast! But I got out of the wetsuit, toweled off, bike shoes, helmut, gloves, sunglasses and ready to go. I passed a few people and one was Tiffany-we cheered each other on and kept climbing the hill! I felt GREAT! It was a gorgeous sunny day, beautiful countryside and everything that I love about biking was surrounding me and staring me in the face! It makes me so thankful that God has given me the chance to be out there and loving it! The first half of the ride is a series of pretty decent rolling hills and climbs but I've trained on the course so know where all the turns are and what to expect. There was one chica who I played cat and mouse with on the bike. I would say "Nice Job!" to her when she passed me or I passed her and she never responded. After the second time of no response I looked at her leg to see her age, she was in my age group, now it was ON!!!! I memorized her number and determined to beat her. The next two times we passed each other I said nothing! It was my mission to beat her! Well, when we got to the huge downhill near the end of the ride, I left her in the dust and never saw her on the bike again, Yes!!!!! But now I had to beat her on the run too....

The RUN 10 K

Back into transition and I couldn't find my spot! I needed a bright colored towel like Kim so wisely puts at her spot. (bright pink tweetie bird beach towel!) After a couple of minutes I found my place! Ditched the bike, helmut, gloves, glasses, changed my shoes and grabbed my Garmin and water bottle. I was off! To my amazement, just a week after the marathon, my legs felt fantastic! I've not experienced this in a triathlon before but nothing hurt and I felt like I had speed and energy, crazy! I let out a "WOO HOO" and took off down the path. Kathy and Nicole were there again cheering me on! It was still that amazing beautiful sunny day and the temp had warmed up nicely. The run was two loops, not my favorite, but still okay. Worse, I had to pee! Sorry for TMI but it was an issue! There were no places along the course to go and I seriously started eyeing the trees and bushes! But then I remembered my girl to beat on the bike and determined to make it to the end of 6.1 miles without a bathroom stop. I was off and checking everyone's numbers since it was a loop and we all passed each other. I saw Tiff about three times and we high fived and cheered each other on everytime. She rocks! The volunteers at the water stations were great and cheering all of us on. The first loop was tough mentally but by the time I was starting the second loop I felt like the end was in sight! I kept up with this girl in front of me who was running a bit quicker than me but she helped me keep going. I followed her for half of the first loop and all of the second loop, we even spoke to each other a couple of times, cheering each other on. I did see the "girl to beat", you know, the "bike girl," and she was behind me. I saw her twice during the run loop and determined to hold my pace so she wouldn't catch me. Surprisingly my Garmin beeped for all the mile splits and I was running 8's! The first mile was 8:04, second 8:01, third 7:56, fourth 8:11, fifth 8:13, and sixth 8:00. I couldn't believe my splits but it helped me keep pushing! I passed Kim near the end of the run and it was great to see her looking strong in the final event of the race! The finish line was in sight and I was so happy to get there!

The FINISH 2:46:35

It was a fabulous day and such a fun triathlon! I had a blast with my friends and being outside enjoying every minute of it! I actually got 6th in my age group and could have made 4th if my transitions were faster which just makes me laugh. The important thing is I beat "bike girl." Just kidding!!! I'm not being cocky, it was just a fun aspect and challenge in the race that helped me keep going. Here were my splits for the race: Swim-30:49, T1 4:19 ( I know!!!!), Bike 1:17:45, 18.4 avg., T2 2:47 (a little better, but not compared to everyone else!), Run 50:55. If you want to see some hilarious race photos of me, go to the Brightroom Photos website, search Fingerlakes Triathlon, and punch in my bib number 274. They're slightly embarrassing but funny enough to share. :)