Closure

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2014 ended rather abruptly around here and so I’m going to put a bit of closure on that chapter before moving on to the next one.

Last year was a tough one. Good races and bad.

It was a battle, plain and simple.

Me vs Myself.

I had to face some harsh realities about my mental fortitude during difficult training sessions and how I race. It’s not all that fun to look deep within yourself and admit that while you may… “talk the talk, you’re not always… “walking the walk”!

I had to figure out a way to stop coddling myself like a mother would her child. I had to learn how to no longer accept the negotiations, that went on inside my head, as if I were writing a UN peace treaty. I had to truly embrace the challenge of a difficult training day and carry that with me to racing.

Was I successful? We should ask my coach, but I’ll go ahead and give my thoughts…

I made great strides. I’m closer now than ever before, but it’s constant work. Some days are easier than others.

My last race of 2014 was River Roux 70.3 in the worst conditions I’d ever faced. Conditions I don’t think I could’ve imagined and I’ve got a pretty wild creative streak in me.

Nine months of hard physical and mental training got me to the finish line that day.

And when I got there, I cried. Hell, I started crying when I SAW the finish line.

And just so you know, I’m not a crier. I didn’t cry at my wedding, when my son was born, when I finished my first Ironman….I’m very practical and pragmatic. I typically don’t get that emotionally “spent”.

But on that afternoon I was fried. Sure I was tired physically, but mentally; it was the hardest thing I’d ever done.

Every now and then though, we get rewarded for our efforts.

My time was far from record-setting, but that was the nature of the day. Part of my battle was being able to “let go” of what my computers were telling me, keep the frustration at bay, and trust my training. All of it.

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I earned 1st place (40-44 women) at River Roux. I wanted more, but on that day…for the 1st time ever…I can honestly look at myself and say that I left everything out on that course.

I’ll carry this with me and continue to build upon the foundation that was laid, creating what I feel will be a remarkable 2015 season.

-Whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve…..Napoleon Hill

See y’all soon!

 

 

Routine and Consistency

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This is a great 7 minute clip if you have time.

One of the things that really resonated with me was when Alex was talking about his routine and how it’s not always pleasant or enjoyable, but simply part of getting the work done.

I know for me personally, routine is what keeps me consistent in both the training and recovery. Throughout this horrid winter, it has been very difficult to maintain the typical day-to-day flow I’m accustomed to and I can feel the difference in my focus and attitude. I’ve been able to get the sessions done, but everything has been at odd times and I just feel like the ebb and flow has been way off.

Hopefully, with the ground thawing (yes, even way down south we froze over!) and the grass once again turning green, things will finally return to normal!

Routine= Consistency= Success

Swim Happy, My Friends!

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Ironman Florida 2013- The Day

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The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing – Henry Ford
 
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Ironman Florida has come and gone and like most races, there has been a lot to process.

On the whole, the day was pretty good. There were no real mechanical problems, my nutrition was perfect for the most, and my training left me feeling more than capable throughout the event.

However, there are ALWAYS issues and the longer the race, the more ones (errr…my) weaknesses tend to effect the overall outcome. My biggest problem, during any race, is moving through the course with a sense of urgency. This, once again, proved to be my nemesis and left me crossing the finish line feeling very frustrated with myself.

Here’s how it all shook out….

We headed out, for Panama City Beach, on Wednesday afternoon. The drive down proved uneventful and that evening we hooked up with a friend, had dinner, and hit the grocery store.

Thursday we slept in and eventually made our way down to registration. I spent some time at the expo and then it was back to the condo to pack up our race bags. Our support crew was heading in that afternoon and I didn’t want any distractions as I got everything in its proper place.

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Bags packed and bowed for easy identification along the course

We woke Friday to an approaching cold front and along with it some very nasty wind, torrential rain, and high surf advisories. Any notions I had of a quick little swim and/or ride were quickly abandoned as the risk simply didn’t outweigh the benefit. Eventually we decided the rain was not going to stop anytime soon, so we braved the elements to check our bikes and drop off our transition bags.

This is NOT your sunny Florida!

This is NOT your sunny Florida!

Oh what fun! 🙂

With the bikes and bags taken care of we settled in for the rest of the afternoon/evening. We kept one eye on the weather and the other on whatever movie my husband could find….

My mom and dad had arrived the day before armed with our 16 yr old and a enough food to feed an army. It was so nice to not worry about what to eat and to also KNOW exactly what we were eating. There are not enough thank you’s for their hard work in keeping us all fed, hydrated, and relaxed….no easy task for sure!

Just around sunset the weather broke and we finally had a shred of hope for the following day….

sunset the night prior

sunset the night prior…water still choppy

I headed to bed around 9 pm feeling calm, confident, and ready to finally work out again. All week I’d been feeling very good. I wasn’t nervous. I didn’t have any anxiety. But the extra rest was leaving me stiff and achy. I was ready to MOVE!

RACE DAY

I woke up at 3:30 am….10 minuted before my alarm. I had slept the entire night. This is very unusual for me. I still can’t decide if maybe a little bit of nervous energy might have been a good thing….

Next Time..

We got breakfast, headed down to drop our special needs bags, load our bikes, pump tires, and then went back to the condo. The seas were still somewhat rough and my husband has an awful time with seasickness. He threw up throughout the entire 1.2 mile swim in May, in these very waters, and they were not NEAR as turbulent. He becomes violently ill when he scuba dives, participates in OWS events, and goes deep-sea fishing if conditions are not 100% ideal, so we knew today was definitely going to be an issue. So at approximately 6 am, an hour before we were to get in the water, I was giving him an IV dose of Zofran (anti-nausea drug used after surgery, during chemotherapy treatments, etc..) in hopes of making a bad situation tolerable. He has tried everything else, over the years, so this was our very last resort.

On a wing and a prayer…

side note: this actually helped reduce, but not eliminate the nausea and vomiting attributed to his seasickness. He had 2 minor episodes throughout the entire 2.4 miles but no residual problems once he got on the bike. He still managed a 1:15 swim.

IV meds in, wetsuits on, and we were off to the beach. I was still feeling good, not nervous or anxious. I was actually a little tired. It was a very weird.

Once we got to the beach, we made our way to the water’s edge. The waves that SOUNDED large from the road, were enormous up close. So much for the winds flipping to the north and laying the water down. It seems Mother Nature didn’t get the memo. We did get in for a few minutes to simply get wet and acclimated to the water temperature. There was no way you could do a warm up “swim” in those conditions.

SWIM:

The 1st loop, of this swim, was the most terrifyingly insane thing I’ve ever been through in my entire life.

I knew I wasn’t going to swim my predicted 1:10 because it was going to take forever to make my way thought the breakers. I elected to place myself in the back of the 1:10-1:20 group. Once we got into the water, I realized this had been a very bad decision.

This was a self-seed mass start. I honestly believe a straight up mass start would’ve been a better option. It would’ve allowed people to place themselves in a more strategic position, along the beach, and as a result made for an overall safer swim. I originally wanted to start to the far right of the buoys and let the current pull me into position, but I was unable to do so since that was where they placed the slower groups. Then there was the fact that the self-seeding process was a nightmare in and of itself. It seemed no one took into account WHERE they were swimming (the Gulf of Mexico is NOT a lake!), the conditions they were facing, and how that would affect their ability/swim time.

The water was rough, but these people were out of freaking control. The didn’t know their asses from a hole in the ground once the first breaker slammed them to the sand. It was downhill from there.

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The contact was brutal. I was punched, jabbed, dunked, elbowed, shoved, pushed, sat on (yes someone sat on me like a surfboard!), and kicked the entire first 1.2 miles.

I was about 300 yards in when someone grabbed the back of my head and forced it under water. As soon as I came up for air, someone grabbed my legs and pulled me under again. I got a few strokes under me before I was punched in the left eye socket. I had an excruciating headache until I was able to run across the beach and re-adjust my goggles before the 2nd loop.

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When I could find space to swim, I felt great. But those moments were few and far between during that 1st lap. During this time, I was having serious doubts. I’m a fairly capable swimmer and I have no open water issues, but that morning I was scared for my life. I questioned whether or not I’d be able to do another 1.2 miles like this. As I was spiraling deeper into worry and despair, I thought back to the words of my coach…..

“there will be ups and downs along the way and the bad patches will pass. The key is to just keep moving forward….”

So as the mayhem continued, so did I. And I found it particularly ridiculous that I was having such a bad “patch” 15 minutes into a very long day!! All I could think was, “Great, wonder what’s next??!!”

hmm, I wonder….

As I made my way to shore, wishing I was doing a 70.3 so the swim would be over, I was able to find sand and stand. I thanked GOD that I was still alive, ripped off my goggles, and my headache was gone….just like that!

AHHh, relief!

I had a gel flask in my wetsuit so I pulled it out, chugged it, and then pitched it as I ran across shore. Then I remembered my watch….

35 minutes for the 1st 1.2miles….Not bad considering I just swam through hell and back.

I rinsed my eyes with water (from the aid station) since I’d been swimming with a google full of salt, rinsed my mouth, said a prayer, and got back in for the 2nd loop.

It was like a totally different course. The water was still rough, but I wasn’t having the shit kicked out me and fighting for my life. It made for a MUCH more pleasant and relaxing swim. So much so, that I had to remind myself at the turn to stop lolly-gagging and get a move on.

Made it to shore once again and was feeling SPECTACULAR! I headed up the sand to the wetsuit strippers and then off to transition.

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

T1:

I grabbed my bag and ran into the changing tent. I didn’t sit, but I did a full change….which I will not do again. Trying to get a tri-top on while wet is a time-consuming task.

Helmet on, shoes on, sunscreen on, sunglasses in back pocket, crap back in bag, and out the door!

How this takes me so long, I have no idea. I have a really bad concept of time though because I swore I was only in here 5-6 minutes at the most. Not quite!

Time: 13:07

BIKE:

riding easy

riding easy

Ohh the bike! It’s where Ironman dreams flourish or crumble. And folks, I’m here to tell you, it’s not always about what happens on the bike! Sometimes things go quite wrong when you’re not even physically peddling!

I had a GREAT plan (by a great coach!) and I followed it to the letter.

Easy first hour, cruising like a granny going to church. I focused on hydration and eventually on nutrition. I let everyone who came out of the water AFTER me, pass me like I wasn’t even part of this event. No worries, it was going to be a long day. All I was thinking about was the 26.2 miles of unchartered territory to follow. As time clicked on, I finally hit the magical point where I could increase my speed a little and settle into my IM pace.

Not long after, I saw a group of people slowing, pointing and swerving to avoid something. As I got closer I spotted another racer on the ground. He was pretty skinned up, his bike had lost a few parts and pieces, but no one has stopped to check on him. So I did.

He was able to talk. I knew we were close to an aid station so I asked someone to let them know a racer was down and I went through the process of making sure this guy didn’t whack his head. He was still a little out of it from just the shock of crashing. His entire right side was fairly torn up and full of road debris, but that seemed to be the main complaint. Somehow his aerobar pads were dislodged when he hit the pavement so I retrieved those, his nutrition that had spilled, and made sure his bike was functional. The important stuff!! Race marshals eventually arrived with a radio and called for medical assistance. At that point, the downed racer thanked me and sent me on my way. I never thought to get his bib number or name, but I really hope he was able to continue and finish his day.

I got back to riding and just before the 30 mile point my stomach started to bother me. This NEVER happens (ok rarely) and it has really never happened on the bike. But then I don’t normally ingest a gallon of salt water prior to riding either. Honestly, I was grateful I just needed a porta-potty and wasn’t barfing my guts up like some folks riding along the course. Salt water is wicked!

I get to an aid station, pop in, take care of business, and I’m off again. I’m thinking to myself, “hey that didn’t take too long….not bad at all.”

And this is where it all went wrong. My piss poor concept of time allowed me to justify stopping. I convinced myself it would be faster to stop and do what needed to be done instead of multi-tasking…..working on the move.

I proceeded to stop at 3 more port-a-pottys, along the course, AND at bike special needs. I didn’t have any more stomach issues I just had to pee, wanted to re-apply chamois cream, or needed to mix a bottle. Sometimes stopping was more important than others, but the thing is, it AWAYS took longer than I thought. In my case….about 6 minutes longer per stop than I “thought” it was taking.

I went from planning on making bike special needs my only stop of the day, to stopping at 5 different points throughout the course. All totaled, it added up to just over 30 minutes of non-moving time that day.

GAAA!!!

When I set up my head unit, I elected to remove time from the display. I knew my wattage parameters, I had mph up on display, and felt that was enough. I didn’t want to be frustrated by how long it was taking me to move through the course and push for an overall bike split that would come back to bite me in the ass during the run. A fine and dandy idea, until I decided to stop half a dozen times.

The ride itself was pretty uneventful. My nutrition was perfect. My pacing was spot-on (minus the stop and go nonsense). The weather was beautiful.

It was typical Florida cycling with some rollers, a bridge or two and a lot of wind in every direction, but nothing unusually difficult. I felt great until some stomach/gas pain popped up during the last 20 miles and I was able to deal with that fairly effectively.

As I made the turn down Thomas Drive I was feeling pretty good about things, but still had no idea what my cumulative race time was at that point.

I slipped out of my shoes, rolled up to the line, and dismounted. A very nice gentleman took my bike from me the same moment I glanced at the race clock and saw 8:22. I said something along the lines of, “Well, that’s just fucking fantastic!”

I’m sure he was a tad shocked….

or maybe not…

I thanked him for taking my ride and trotted off to grab my run bag in a less than stellar mood.

Time: 6:48

T2:

I ran into the changing tent trying to figure out WHAT exactly happened out on the bike course. Obviously, I didn’t know THEN all that I know now and I was very confused. I expected to ride 6:10-6:20…6:30 if things weren’t going my way, but 6:48? WTF???

I was rational enough,however; to know that the middle of T2 was not the place nor time to dissect my Ironman bike split. I needed to get going. I changed shorts, grabbed my visor, race belt, gel flask, put on my socks and shoes, then ran out for the first marathon of my life.

Woo-Hoo!

Time: 8:36

RUN:

I headed out feeling pretty good. My legs felt nice, my back felt good, and my stomach pains were gone. As I made my way past the crowds, I looked at my watch at saw I was running a 9:00 min/mi and knew I needed to slow down.

1st and last mile was full of spectators

1st and last mile was full of spectators

My goal was to pace the run as evenly as I could. I was so focused on that pacing that I didn’t recognize friends on course, my husband until he screamed my name, or even what mile I was on until I would ask an aid station volunteer. I never had the cumulative time or distance pulled up on my Garmin. I ran with only the current lap/mile time and pace, nothing else mattered.

I was not a fan of this run course. It was 2 loops, out and back. It went into a residential area and then peeled off into the a state park. There was very little crowd support with the exception of the 1st and last miles. That wasn’t as much of an issue as the condition of the roads. I ran the HIM version in May and had similar thoughts, but it was raining and I felt maybe I just got a bad impression. Nope. This day only solidified my opinion. The roads were full of gravel and potholes. There were numerous portions where we had to run over very wide speed bumps (no going around…only up and over) and through sandy patches with makeshift plywood bridges. There was one section where we actually ran through a sandy/grassy patch of an outdoor restaurant. Bizarre and I didn’t like it, but that’s just me.

I was told I would feel pretty good for the first 10 miles and this proved to be spot on. The first 6 miles ticked off fast. I couldn’t believe how easy it felt. It seemed like my watch was chiming mile alerts one after another. I remember thinking, “only 10 will seem easy???…pfft, this is gonna be a piece of cake!” 😉 yeah, right!

I made it through the dreaded park (maybe it’s just me…I loathe that park) and was headed back to the turn-around and special needs, a place I need not ever stop…..but on this day, I did.

2nd loop, the effects of fatigue jacking with my form.. even though I didn’t “feel” it

I was feeling pretty good as I got close and had some decisions to make.

I knew I was over the half-marathon point and I was pretty much done with my gels by this point, so I elected to NOT grab my 2nd flask. I  had switched to coke at the aid station prior to special needs so I knew that’s how I was fueling from this point forward.

I’d had some ITB issues after my bike crash, a few months back, and ran the 1st loop of the run with my orthotics in hopes of keeping it under control. Now those orthotics were making my feet sore so I elected to switch to my regular insoles. In retrospect, probably not the best idea.

I grabbed a jacket, tied it around my waist because it was supposed to get cold and took my hand-held light to navigate the inevitable darkness.

This took me just around 6 minutes. The magical number for the day!

I headed back out for the 2nd trip and the miles are not ticking off near as fast. I didn’t “feel” tired, but I can’t seem to get my heart rate elevated enough to move any faster and it’s a very uncomfortable feeling. I drank more coke and then more water. For a minute I thought I might be volume depleted, but then I realized that would be near impossible.

At some point my left IT band really started to hurt and my left knee would periodically buckle. I was still able to run, but I’d have to stop and re-set my form every so often. This distracted me and I ended up skipping an aid station, which meant I skipped my dose of coke. This left me dizzy and feeling like crap before I could get to the next one. I made a quick mental note to never do that again….

The rest was pretty much more of the same. I ran until my knee wouldn’t allow it. Then I’d walk for a second because any longer than that and it would be impossible to start running again. And I always remembered the coke!

I never felt “bad” or even unusually tired. I just remember that my knee hurt and I was generally annoyed with the situation. Looking back, that’s probably a pretty good indicator of my overall fatigue.

At about 22 miles I was just “over it”. The run/walk seemed ridiculous and as the minutes ticked on I was growing a strong distaste for the state of Florida….Panama City Beach in general. I really wanted a nice hot shower, a toothbrush, and to ingest something other than coke. I also knew it was almost over.

The last mile was lined with spectators so it passed quickly. I could hear the finish line and was trying to dig deep and pull out a positive attitude. You hear so many stories about people doing cartwheels and crying when the cross the finish line. I was pretty certain I might be the first to throw my hands up and cuss like a sailor when I saw the clock. I still didn’t know my race time.

At that moment I had a short talk with myself. It went something like this….

What’s done is done. There’s no going back, only forward. You were fortunate enough to be here, healthy enough to start, strong enough to make it through the day, and you’re now armed with knowledge to carry forward. The only bad result, at this point, would be a bad finish. And the only way to have a bad finish, is to not take the time to enjoy the moment you’ve earned.

So as I rounded the corner and came down the chute, I promised myself to not be distressed by the number on the clock, but to be grateful for the end of a fantastic journey.

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smile!

And just like that it was over…

Time: 5:12

Overall Finish: 13:43

And yea, there was a little bit of, “13:43 are you serious?”

But that’s just who I am; always acutely aware of how I would’ve done things better.

Truth be told, this journey began closer to 5 years ago when my husband asked me what was on my ‘bucket list.” At that point neither of us even owned a bike and certainly had never even thought of entering a triathlon. We both grew up swimming, worked out daily, and ran here and there……but nothing remotely close to what we do now.

The evolution has been fun, exciting, and at times very frustrating….but it’s never boring.

So did I sign up for next year?

No.

I don’t have a great big urge to race IMFL again. And I don’t have a big desire to sit on my bike, for thousands of hours, for months on end quite so soon either.

Next year I’m going to stick to half-ironmans or shorter and work on the “little things” that have a tendency to add up over a long day! I’m fairly certain, my coach will use this opportunity to re-aquaint me with pushing the envelope a little, as well as to remind me that feeling uncomfortable (at times) is an actually good thing. 😉

If there is one thing I DO love about Ironman it’s the pace at which you train and race! And I’ll be ready for that again, armed with the knowledge and experience of Ironman Florida, in 2015….

at Ironman Texas!

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Run Happy, My Friends!

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Ironman Florida- The Last Two Weeks….

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Well not the LAST two weeks…

More like the PAST two weeks, because there’s still 2 more out there…

and let me just say, WOW!

The past 2 have been rough. I’m not sure if it’s been more of a mental or physical battle, but after Augusta EVERYTHING has seemed ten times harder.

The give a shitter has just about given out.

Each and every workout has been minute by minute bargain with myself.

“Just make it to 15 minutes and see how you feel. Ok, now 15 more…..ok, not so bad, now another…” and so on, until the days work is finished. Nothing really HURTS physically, but I’ve reached my saturation point, for sure.

1383144_680189891998635_451716297_nToo late to quit now though, right??!!

It’s like riding up a hill. You get to that point where you just put your head down, push a little harder, and FINALLY you get to the top!

And so today, things look and feel pretty good from the top of Ironman Hill.

The gradual taper has begun, the hard part is behind me, and it’s all downhill from here.

A pleasant change indeed.

A few highlights from the past couple of weeks…

Swim: Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve swam between 4200-5000 yards almost every time I’ve gotten in the pool. It was ridiculously exhausting and a smidge boring. At one point, I was so tired I couldn’t even muster enough energy to hold myself on top of the water. I was basically sinking. I could feel it, but there wasn’t a damn thing I could do to correct it. Very frustrating. Thankfully, it only happened once during this whole training cycle because it’s this kind of crap that really messes with your mind and causes all sorts of questions to start popping up.

Bike: I am so sick of being on the bike. I can’t even begin to express my displeasure at seeing a cycling workout in Training Peaks right now. Last weekend was the last of the really long rides and I finished things off with my first century event (102 miles technically). Thankfully, I’ve done so many 6+ hr rides it was a piece of cake, aside from constant climbing involved. I think the elevation tallied right around 2000 ft, which isn’t a lot for some of you, I know, but for me it’s a helluva lot!  At least I know I’m ready for IMLou should I decide to ever go that route though!

Run: I’ve gotten the 3 hr long done and think I have a solid plan set for the marathon portion of the race. Having never run one makes things interesting to say the least, but I’ve gotten several runs over the 2:30 mark accomplished and feel pretty good about my pacing. If the weather is co-operative then it will be that much easier, if it’s not….well, I’ve got that down to a science too.

This next week, as recovery/taper starts, the volume begins to come down. Things seem to level off a bit later in the week and that pattern continues for the next 10 days or so, until race week. At that point there is quite a bit of downtime to assure the body is both fresh and rested.

And so now….

The waiting begins…

Wish me luck!

Train Happy, My Friends!

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Ironman like life….It ain’t all Sunshine and Rainbows

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When I first decided to tackle IMFL I was warned, by several friends, that at some point my training would break me down to a worthless heap of human remnants.

I laughed….

and I trained.

Things went perfectly and ya’ know what, no breakdown. I swam, cycled, and ran hundreds…maybe thousands 😉 of miles, then cruised through Augusta 70.3. I recovered like a champ and headed into the last two weeks of training feeling pretty damn good.

I got through my epic long swim, leaving with the knowledge that the 2.4 miles in the Gulf would not be a problem.

Yesterday was the big one. A 6:45-7 hr ride with a 45 min run to follow.

And guess what???

“It” happened.

I woke up with a mild GI bug, but when you do the kind of stuff we do, a “mild bug” brings nothing short of chaos to the day. The ride was on the trainer due to the intermittent torrential downpours and so there was no “fun” in this….it was a “just get through it” kind of day. By the time I made it out to run, the sun was out, the roads were steamy, and yet it was still raining.

I thought I was going to suffocate from the humidity and have an ass blowout simultaneously.

Not a good time…

And so that’s when it all came crashing down.

Mentally and physically I was D-O-N-E.

I came to a screeching halt and then verbally declared the finality of my situation, to my neighborhood. Thank goodness everyone was inside watching the Saints game….what normal people do on Sunday’s in these parts.

I crouched down, by a stop sign, and begged for this process to just be over. A pity party for the record books for sure.

Then I thought about how ludicrous THAT just sounded…for God’s sake, I’m training for a race that I signed up for voluntarily. Ohhh, poor me!

And so then, I got up and ran…(and walked) home. It wasn’t 45 minutes, but it was close. And despite wanting to shut off the Garmin and call it a day at 9 minutes, I found it within me to continue on.

It was a truly ugly day, but these days come…

In training and in life.

I think we often see them as failures instead of opportunities to learn and grow. I know I did.

It took the rest of the afternoon for me to really sit back and dissect the training and what I gained from it. Because there is ALWAYS something to learn….

Every single day…every single workout.

I came to the conclusion that it’s during THESE kinds of struggles where we find out how much we can take and still keep on going. It gives us our reference points and helps provide clarity for the next obstacle we face.

And there will AWAYS be another….

One day, I’ll need to draw on today’s memory. When that day comes, I’ll be glad it’s in the bank!

I think he sums it up pretty well….

Run Happy, My Friends!

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Ironman Florida- 6 weeks and counting….

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It feels like an eternity since I’ve been here….

And in some ways, this summer HAS been about that long…

But it’s finally time to see what all this work has done.

It’s race week!

I mentioned last week that Augusta 70.3 was going to be about testing the IMFL race-plan….

In addition to pacing and nutrition strategies, I’m also sharpening my mental focus quite a bit. In every race, there’s a point where the mind tells the body to stop.

This weekend, one of my primary goals is to dominate the mental aspect of the race…

Swim: Not much volume reduction here and my arms are finally getting tired. Go figure. Totals: 8500 yards/ 3 hrs

Bike: Big drop in volume and by the weekends “longish” ride, I was starting to see how a little rest was going to help me hit the numbers I needed. I was having serious doubts, the week prior, about racing a HIM as tired as I was….this week put those fears to rest. Totals: 7 hrs 15 mins

Run: The run is coming together nicely. We had a few cloudy days and it made a big difference in RPE. If the temps would drop to the mid 80s and humidity would follow suit, I would be a happy lady! For the 1st time in….forever….I’m excited for the run this weekend!! It just feels “good” right now! Totals: 3 hrs 5 mins

These past few days, as I get ready to head to Georgia, volume has taken a VERY steep drop. I guess this is what you’d call a 70.3 taper in the midst of Ironman training. The words of my coach keep replaying in my head, ” you’ll be rested, but not fresh.” Two very different perceptions indeed!

That rest, however, has been very nice and also productive enough that I’m starting to see my fitness peak its head out from under the exhaustion. And that’s a beautiful thing to rediscover after the weeks of cumulative fatigue had stolen it right out from under me!

And not a moment too soon either!

Race Happy, My Friends!

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Ironman Florida- 9 weeks and counting….

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If I’ve told you I’d meet you, call you, or do something FOR you….

and have forgotten…

I apologize.

Really it’s not you, it’s me….

Just this week alone:

  • I’ve left one of my dogs in the car for well over an hour (luckily at home, in the garage!) and she wasn’t discovered until I got BACK in later that evening….an almost impossible feat as my dogs make their presence very well-known!
  • I gifted my wallet to the checker at Wal-Mart….only discovering it’s absence when searching for my license/ID, 36 hours later, so I could head out and ride my bike yet AGAIN
  • and I failed to pay the mortgage……oops….but ya’ know, days sorta just run together when your ass is glued to a bike seat 24-7. And honestly, I had no earthly idea what day it was much less what bills may or may not be due. I’m now making lists for my lists…

I won’t even try go into the amount of time I spent looking for misplaced car keys, sunglasses, cell phones, water bottles…

Children…

But only once…and that really was HIS fault! 🙂

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It takes longer than 9 weeks to prove insanity, right??!

9 weeks till Ironman Florida and 4 weeks till Augusta 70.3….

Augusta is actually starting to weigh on my mind a bit more than I thought it would. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say I feel pretty good about Ironman Florida at this point, but at the same time, I feel nowhere near ready to race a half-ironman.

Is this unusual or is it perfectly normal considering the past 6 months of training? I haven’t a clue. I guess we’ll see how it shakes out at the end of the month.

On a positive note, my hip is almost 100% after my crash 2 weeks ago. I was scheduled to race a long distance duathlon (3-33-3) this weekend, but elected to DNS. I just didn’t want to push that envelope and take any unnecessary chances. So I volunteered while my husband and friends did the DU. I got my mileage in later and wasn’t even remotely snarky about missing the race. Since was no swimming and lots of running involved, it would’ve been all work and no fun anyway! 🙂

This was a step back week and unlike last time, 10 hours actually felt like a huge break. That being said, it did take my body until Friday (a good 4 days) to behave like it was rested. Age makes everything so much slower!!

Swim: Only 2 swims this week, but they were both long ones. My hip was co-operating, so they were also good ones. It’s been a long time since I’ve been really excited about a workout because slow and steady just isn’t all that exciting. Friday I finished my 4200 yrd swim before the allotted time, negative splitting the back half with an overall pace faster than my HIM race pace……except this was slow and steady and therefore, THAT was very exciting!!! It doesn’t take much! Totals: 7000 yards/ 2 hrs 25 minutes

Bike: I wish there was something thrilling to report, but really just more hours peddling away. Oh, I got a flat AND changed it! Very exciting times on the bike indeed!! I did head to the northern part of the county to tackle some hills and ease my mind a little about the Augusta bike course. I managed the terrain a bit better than earlier this summer, both mentally and physically so that bodes well for overall improvement. If the weather would break, it would be a huge help because 95F and 90% humidity, while fighting hills and wind just makes for an unpleasant day. Eventually cycling will become fun again….I just know it! Totals: 5 hours

Run: I honestly didn’t think I ran all that much, but the little bits and bricks really do add up. It was nice having a little less on tap though with the recent skyrocketing temps. Hopefully, this is the last heat wave and cooler weather will soon be here to stay! Totals: 2 hrs 30 minutes

This week things are getting crazy again as the volume is going up, up, up. For some reason, I keep thinking it just can’t get THAT much harder….

And yet, every time I come off a period of rest, it does just that.

59 days….

I can do anything for 59 days…..

Swim Happy, My Friends!

swimmer

Ironman Florida- 15 weeks and Counting

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Week 15 proved to be a great big reality check.

Up until now, I’ve kinnda been on cruise control….

Doing workouts as instructed and watching hours gradually build. I was feeling pretty good about things….no, REALLY good about things…

Enter week 15 and functional strength work.

It was hard….both physically and mentally. The work itself combined with the heat and humidity made for a really challenging 7 days.

By Sunday I was fried. The work all got done, but I was also very DONE!

So now, I sit here not feeling near as good about this whole process as I did 2 weeks ago.

Peaks and valleys…

I’ve been through these ups and downs many times before, but it doesn’t make it any easier. WHAT does make it easier though, is knowing after this week I’m heading into the paradise known as recovery.

A step-back week is on the horizon and for the first time since I trained for Galveston (my first 70.3), I am literally “x-ing” off the days. My body really needs some rest!

Until then, the  goal is to just stay focused, put my head down and get some quality work done….

Piece of cake, right ?!! 🙂

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Swim: More functional strength in the pool….I had back to back days of over 3000 yards and one day was almost all pulling drills. My upper body was toast by Wednesday, but I didn’t get back in until Friday for a light swim prior to the weekend. 8000 yards/ 2 hrs 40 minutes

Bike: Throughout the week there were intervals and hill simulations. I can’t really get to hilly areas easily and with the heat/humidity it’s better to do these on the trainer and try to play catch up with the fluids….or at least not create a bigger hole. A nice principal, but not quite a reality. Saturday brought the long ride and it was an inferno. I went through all 4 bottles in 90 minutes and by the time I stopped to refill, I was WAY behind the 8 ball. I walked into the Dollar Store (small town USA) bought three 12 oz waters and two 12 oz Barqs, then promptly downed them ALL right on the spot. Hmmmm? Thirsty much? I then had to go buy MORE water so I could actually refill the empty bottles…Obviously, I need to stop more frequently to refill. Lesson learned and I got through the remainder of the 4 hr+ ride with ample fluid. Time in the saddle: 8 hrs

Run: Well, I got through it despite all that Mother Nature threw at me….If the heat and humidity wasn’t enough, she added some stormy conditions to the mix and always seemed to do so right as I was doing hill intervals over the bay bridge. I spent as much time chasing my visor as I did running up the overpass. It was as ridiculous as it sounds. Sunday’s 2 hr long run started nice and early around 6am, following a lovely early morning monsoon. It was 84F and 100% humidity…When the sun arrived on the scene it was a mess. Between the sweat, the gels, the steam coming off the road….I felt like a giant sticky bun. My stomach was revolting (and it never really does that), but somehow my pace was holding. An amazing fact, considering I rode 80 miles the day before and I was literally cooking from within. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t breaking records, but I was holding a decent pace. I’d walk when the GI system said to walk and then pick it up again…I called it at 11 miles/1:50. The rest of the day however, I was miserable. My stomach was most unhappy and lying horizontal was really the only thing that kept it from barking until this morning. Time on Feet: 3 hrs 50 mins

This weekend I learned a valuable lesson:

I need a HELL of a lot more fluid….especially on the longer rides, in these conditions. I’ve spent the better part of today mapping out various places where I can reload frequently during these long rides.

I also plan to take advantage of every single water bottle hand-off station in Augusta and IMFL…..something I did not do, during my two previous half-ironman events, because it just wasn’t that hot…..but, looking back, I probably should have done so.

This week is more volume building as opposed to strength (yeah!) to finish up the block and then….

REST!

Have I mentioned I’m ready for some R&R?

This has been a HUGE 3 weeks for me, as my workload increased enough to bring me up into that IM level.

Makes me a tiny bit leery to see what’s around the bend AFTER recovery is over!

Swim Happy, My Friends!

swimmer

Ironman Florida- 16 weeks and Counting…

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OverthinkingReturning from Texas proved to be fairly stressful.

I was carrying residual, hidden fatigue from racing and it was a VERY busy week here once we made it back home. Those two things, combined with a fairly large jump in training volume put me in a somewhat unfamiliar mental state…..

I started to constantly overthink everything….

I’m normally very “present” during each training session, but throughout week 16, I was always somewhere else….distracted, trying to make the rest of the week gel a bit more smoothly.

Pre-planning my rides while I was swimming, then second guessing when I was riding….leading to the inevitable, “how in the hell am I ever gonna get ‘x, y, z’ done?” and “oh shit, I forgot to pick up the dog at the groomers yesterday!” 🙂

Obviously, it led to nothing productive and just added more stress an already stressful workload. As the week came to an end, I was exhausted….not from the training per say, but from simply overthinking it all.

6a00d834cad15053ef0115710a904f970b-800wiI came to the conclusion that while I prefer to look at my workouts day-to-day, that simply isn’t feasible anymore. As the volume increases and training hours climb to over 14-15 hours/week, there IS a bit of juggling that needs to occur on a weekly basis to assure the rest of life runs smoothly. It is my hope that this will allow me  to better focus on the present task rather than going into a chronic state of mind drift!

It sounds great on paper, I’ll keep ya’ posted on how it turns out in real life!

As for the work itself, it looked a whole lot worse in Training Peaks than it actually ended up being once things got started…..which was nice.

I think this, “bark being worse than the bite,” may be the new trend…

All the way till the end!

Swim: You would be amazed at the many different ways a coach can mix up a swim workout. The overall distance doesn’t change all that much, but the sets and intervals do….Right now a strength component is being added to the mix so that means a lot of pulling. Total distance: 8000 yards/ 2 hours 40 minutes

Bike: Now more than ever, I’m so grateful to have two bikes to ride. I ride my Cervelo during the week when my rides are under 90 minutes and then I break out the QR on the weekends for the long ride. My ass is ever so grateful come Saturday for the change! The shorter rides during the week were mostly strength intervals and then I tackled a 4+hr long over the weekend. It was my longest to date and I was able to hold my HIM wattage comfortably so I was quite pleased. I was finally able to “see” myself finishing the IMFL bike during this ride. Its been rather elusive up until this point, but after crossing 70 miles I  felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Finally, I feel like I can just ride again….Total time in the saddle: 7 hours 45 minutes

Run: I got it done. Some days were better than others, but for the most part it’s the same ole’ story: hot, humid, miserable….The runs during the week were fairly short at under an hour and then the long on Sunday is now just over ninety minutes. Despite the conditions, I’ve been able to hold my pace to right under a 10:00/min mile with walk breaks….I found after my last HIM that I needed more practice with the stop/start thing since it’s not quite as easy as it appears. Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Looking back, I’m not quite sure how I got anything else done. And the scary part is….the hours are just starting to build!

I hope everyone is having a great week out there and a special should out to everyone heading out to IMRacine this weekend!!

Good Luck, Be Safe, and as always….

Race Happy, My Friends!

racer

Ironman Florida- 21 Weeks and Counting

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Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans -John Lennon

This has turned into the summer of outdoor home repair.

So while it is summer and I should be free to gallivant around town….swimming, biking, and running to my hearts desire, I’m bound to the schedule of those helping us get our exterior in order.

So I sit and wait…

For the painters, for the guys repairing our failing bulkhead (a seawall keeping out land OUT of the bayou), the gutter man, the pool leak detector, the pool REPAIRMAN (because the guy who FINDS the leak can’t actually REPAIR it…WTF???!!), and the landscapers….

There’s a story here….

So I walked out back, early one morning, and said hello to our wonderful painters. I looked at our pool/hot tub and noticed the hot tub was totally empty and leaking into the yard.

GREAT!

So I filled it up and went to run my 6 miles, rationalizing I’d “test” how quickly it emptied…

Yea well, it was empty 52 minutes and 49 seconds later.

Also why I called the leak detector guy….who then told me there was a leak (no??!!), but he doesn’t fix them!

I then got to perform my Crossfit routine for the week by digging out the yard to FIND it…

Oh, and I found it alright….

And my wonderful pool guy came out on Saturday and fixed it. 😉

And my wonderful husband got to backfill the yard. 😉

I’d like to say this is a rare occurrence around here, but it’s not. We’re starting to believe we built this house on ancient burial grounds or something because this has pretty much been how our life has gone since we built the place 4 years ago.

If all else fails, laugh!

Often!

I’ve gotten my training in, but it has been a chore.

  • Swimming: I’m averaging right at 9000 yrds a week divided up over 3 swims. I tried like hell, this week, to drop down to a 2 beat kick and finally gave it up. I’ve used a 4-6 beat for so long that it was not only slowing me down, but also ruining my roll to the point my back started to hurt. I have added in a few more kick sets though to help boost the overall strength of my kick. I know a lot of triathletes don’t utilize a lot of kicking, but I was a swimmer first and I kick quite a bit.
  • Cycling: I hit right around 6 hours in the saddle, also split over 3 sessions; 2 shorter/1 longer. The big development was my Quarq started misbehaving and you’d like to think I could no longer pedal without it. I LOVE that thing! I’m hoping it was due to some residual dirt and grime on the magnets, but I won’t know for sure until after todays ride. I spent yesterday de-greasing everything, giving it all a good cleaning, and then a fresh application of Rock and Roll Dry Lube. That is some good stuff!!! If that doesn’t do the trick then it’s off to the LBS for some adjustments with the torque wrench. I’ll keep ya’ posted!!
  • Running: It’s hot and humid, but I’m doing alright. For the first time in ages I’ve got a really good grip on the heat and how to manage my longer runs in the current conditions. My longest so far (post Gulf Coast) is 1:10 and building. It’s the shorter ones that tend to cause me more problems because they usually involve drills, hills, or pick-ups…no speed work per-say, but enough “work” to make me a little more uncomfortable in the heat. The goal, during those workouts, has been to not only complete the session, but to keep the negative chatter away. So far, I’ve been able to do so.

Next week is a step back week and my coach was nice enough to sneak a run test onto the schedule as well…

It’s been a while since that was evaluated so it should certainly be interesting.

I hope everyone is having a great summer training and racing.

Best of Luck to everyone tackling Ironman Kansas and Ironman Boise this weekend as well!

Race Happy, My Friends!

racer