Monday, April 30, 2007

When You Think You Can't -- You Trick Yourself

First of all, I should say that being a stay-at-home mom, I often get confused about the date.
I was rushing to post this yesterday, thinking that Tuesday was April 30th --the day set aside for One Day Blog Silence. Anyway, to make a long story short, I posted this entry yesterday, but took it off line as soon as I realized yesterday was April 30th.

I'd like to take a moment to remember the victims at Virginia Tech. Their lives were not lost in vain. We will remember them forever. We will remember to love others and to help lost souls when we encounter them. And keep those that we love nearer in our hearts. We never really no how long we will be here. So we struggle to make each day we live full and worthwhile. I often think of the Harvey's -- Stella and Ruby, Kathryn and Bryan....and they help me remember to have no regrets and to live each day the best that you can. Giving. Learning. Striving for more. And Thriving.

Here's the original post:

Almost all the Triathlon Blogs go silent on weekends. Especially beautiful weekends like this one. My Google Analytics readership plummets from a high of nearly 80 during the week to a measly 13 hits.
Everyone is out working out. No one is at home at their computer blogging about working out -- just as it should be.
Luckily, this weekends workouts were pretty unforgettable. So blogging about them 2 days later should be no problem. Saturday was a tough one. The second of 6 really intense workouts leading up to Eagleman. And with each one, I'm a little floored that I actually complete it. I'm never planning at the start of the workout to actually commit to doing the entire thing. It would be to devastating for me to commit to running each of the 12 miles -- for if I somehow failed, regardless of the reason, I'd have trouble looking at myself for the rest of the day. And regardless of how much I had done, I know I'd feel bad.

I figure if you are training for a race like Eagleman, you do it anyway you can. If that means playing tricks on your mind or your body to get it done -- then you do. Some people will need to use those tricks for the open water swim. I need to use my tricks to get through the long runs. And, on Saturday,that meant arriving early, and running a 6 mile loop before I started the transition clinic for the new TRIgirls at 8. Unfortunately, because I chose to spend a few extra minutes that morning with the kids, I only got in about 5 miles before the clinic -- but still, they went well enough that I had a huge head start mentally. Many of the Ironman Florida-Eagleman training group looked at me a little funny since I was running first, and that wasn't our workout....but you know, you do what you have to do. I also knew it wasn't really a head start since I stopped for about 50 minutes to do the transition clinic with Mark -- but I was hoping it would give me the feeling of an even start. I felt fresh after resting at the clinic, and that was my goal. To pretend that I was just doing your run-of-the-mill 28 bike and 6 run kinda' brick. Pretending like I hadn't run at all that day, but slept in later than usual.

The bike went OK. I drank my coffee and ate some low fat cheese during the clinic so I was feeling pretty good. But, I lost my riding partner when stopped to check on a newer TRIgirls bike that was malfunctioning, so I biked mostly alone. Seeing all the other girls (and boys) passing around the West Creek Circle made me smile. Although it wasn't very warm (maybe 60 degrees) it was sunny and it felt hot. I'd gotten sunburned on Thursday and this was the reminder I needed to pack sunscreen AND USE IT!

I was sweating alot. My new saddle was good and I was grateful for it. My new bike shorts worked fairly well, but absorbed all of the sweat that ran down my back. I was practicing my nutrition plan. I drank one bottle of Lemon-Lime Accelerade and half a bottle of water (should have been a full one). I unwrapped and ate a peanut butter Cliff bar while aero -- that was a feat in and of itself! Next time I'll unwrap it before the ride and cut it up (thanks for the tip Blake).

I know this sounds funny, but the whole time I was biking, I kept telling myself that I had run the 6 mile loop at West Creek that I had come to run in the morning. I'm not very good at lying to myself, but that is a lie that I needed to hear. I had skipped the "nub" as we call it -- the 1.3-some mile bit that reaches from the Xterra parking lot back out to Patterson and back. But I needed to think to myself...I've only got one loop to do -- only 6 more miles!

I finished the bike, changed shoes and grabbed my IPOD, my inhaler and drank some more water. I started the loop on the "nub." Something is not right. OUCH. This was not going to work. The new bike shorts SUCKED for running. The pad absorbed every bit of sweat from the previous run and the bike and I was running with a big diaper between my ample thighs. I couldn't run 6 more miles like this. What was I going to do? Well, yes I thought of giving up...but, well, not today and not that easy.

A huge smile crossed my race when I realized that I could change into the tri suit that I had brought to show the new girls what one was. I grabbed my transition towel and threw it around my waist. I convinced myself that really just a sports bra was not indecent -- it was really just a turbo top. I flung off my top and bottoms and slide the tri suit on. My legs were sticky and sweaty. It was not easy. The arms rolled up on themselves in a tangle of skin and sweat and then I was back out on the run. Slowly but surely. Mainly I was able to keep the 8:1 minute ratio of running and walking but sometimes I cut it short on the run if I needed to walk on the hill.

And I enjoyed that there was something more going on at West Creek than just the trees and the squirrels. I couldn't believe the number of fish people were pulling out of West Creek's lakes. There were almost as many fisherman there as triathletes. It must have been opening day of fishing season, and when I stopped to ask, they told me they were pulling out Bass and Crappie.

Now I was getting really HOT. Still it was only 65 degrees out. I need to work alot on heat acclimation, because I know Eagleman is known for its hot run with no shade. I swear when I went home I thought I'd been running in at least 85 degree heat. And my body started dragging for the last "2 miles". Trigirl Carmen was behind me and I knew very well she could and would catch me. I was dreading it.

I few key moments of emotion swept over me. I'm not sure why. Ironman Jeff shouted encouragement to me from across the loop. He was running 18. I was just so grateful for encouragement and it was like with each step the cover to my emotions was rubbed thiner and thiner. And then Coach Blake and Rick ran past also encouraging me. Good thing there was still someone out here running, I thought.

And there was that voice in my head again...

"Sucks to be the first to start and the last to finish." I told it to shut up.

As I started to approach the 288 interchange, I could see Carmen closing in. I kept running. There was a triathlete parked in one of the turnoffs at West Creek, she was loading up her car, packing up. I didn't even remember seeing her out on the loop. I looked right at her. Wasn't sure what to say, I was too out of breath. She looked me in the eye and said,
"Damn girl, you still out here?" and I'm sure she didn't mean it like this but it was like a "What's your problem?" sort of voice. And in an instant, my heart sank and my face burned. I felt like I was going to cry, but I didn't. I think she meant it as part awe and part sympathy but it came across at so many levels, I didn't know what to do with all of my emotion. I had to stop running. I couldn't go on. The emotion had triggered my asthma yet again. I walked, and pulled out my inhaler. I just didn't know how to respond. I felt like saying, "Well I am training for a half iron race. No one said it was easy. And if your still have to put in the workouts...they just take longer." I was mad, I don't know why.

I walked a few steps and then ran again. I looked back and Carmen was hot on my trail. I ran for another 6 or so minutes and then took my last walk break before the parking lot.

When I went to run again, there was something wrong with my foot. I was about 20 yards from the parking lot and I wanted to finish strong...(or at least look it). I limped it in. Happy I was "done" and Carmen hadn't managed to pass me because I made i made it safely to the lot before she did.

In my mind I was done, even though I wasn't really. I'd made it through 2 loops minus one nub.

I saw swim coach Som in the parking lot.

"Hey, How was the run?" he said (thinking I'd finished.)

"It sucked" I said.

He sort of laughed this awkward laugh.

"I mean it was great -- wonderful!" I said. Remembering that Mr. Preschool had just reminded me that I didn't have to do this if I didn't want to. I could drop out at any time he said...or just skip some workouts....I think he meant well...but no, well I couldn't. Not really.

I was in the parking lot at my car. I was chatting like I was done. I was drinking like I was done. I put my IPOD down like I was done. Then, TRIgirl Lynn came up. Someone said, "Lynn, you done?" She raised her hands over her head in a sort of victorious fashion and said something like "Yeah Baby, 28 and 12! I'm Soooo Done!"

And I thought, I want to have a finish like that! I am NOT DONE!

And the voice inside my head said

"No one will know. No one will find out!"

"You are practically done, anyway...basically"

But, I wasn't done. And I couldn't feel good about my workout until I was.

The foot "injury" and limping were miraculously gone. I felt great. I didn't feel out of breath or like I'd just done a 28 and 12 brick. And maybe that is the thing that motivated me most to get back out there. I felt like I should have been more beat. A few minutes of the "I'm done" mentality and I was refreshed.

I walked back to my car. I put on my IPOD. I was really hoping no one had really seen me stop. That no one had seem me waiver in my determination to really finish the brick. I headed back out for the nub. Coach Mark, who had started his workout a full hour behind me -- was walking up the drive.

"You done?" I asked

"Yep" he said.

I walked past him. Thinking about how he finished before me despite my hour-long head start.

I started to run the nub. I saw Carmen (who had continued on with out stopping) pass going back to the lot. It was the longest 1.3 miles I think I have ever run.

I heard footsteps behind me. Ironman Jeff, passed swiftly. "I thought you ran a loop before the clinic," he said.

"Well, I did" I said, "Except for the nub, and now I'm doing it."

And that is the story of how I ran 12 miles for the first time.

Sunday I took half a day off work to go to the open wate swim. We had a great time practicing in the James River. We looked like a bunch of seals. Thank God I love the open water. After Saturday, I needed an easy workout. Here's a photo of the gang.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Want to get together? Call me after Eagleman!

I've been struggling with time management. I feel like afternoon play dates will just have to wait until after June 10th. I feel like time is at a premium. Between Mr. Preschool's graduate class, Daisy's soccer, and my strength training and evening workouts, there is just not much time left.
I miss those family diners. I miss just hanging out and putting my kids to bed. I go days wanting to tell my husband something and sometimes it is days before I actually get the chance....or sometimes weeks later I realize that I still haven't told him so I send him an email while I'm thinking about it! Most of all though, I miss the quality time with Daisy. She gets out of school at 3:30 or so, which means just a few precious moments before someone has to dash off somewhere. And it is rare that she gets just me alone without her little brother.
So, yes, I feel guilty. Parents of only children I know actually have lunch with their kids at school. I just can't do that and drag Redfish along. So, I set aside Saturday afternoons after my long brick for just her and me. Trouble is, that I'm usually too tired or grumpy to give her 100 percent. Or, other things get in the way and I put it off. But I know I'm not being fair to her.
Kids are resilient. She'll be OK. I hear school is getting out early (June 15th) since we didn't have any snow days this winter. Before I know it, summer will be hear and I'll have had my fill of the kids and be dying to get out on the road and crank out some miles. But for now, I'm wishing I could give her more of me.

Daisy has lost both front teeth now. She is so cute. She won't be like this forever. But maybe she'll still be like this in 6 weeks, when Eagleman is done. In the meantime, maybe I'll wake her up and kiss her and talk to her when I get home from my workout. Maybe she'll even still be awake. I bet she wouldn't mind.

Monday, April 23, 2007

50 Miles at West Creek -- Ouch My Girl Parts!

I hit a new milestone yesterday with a 50 mile bike. It gave me a new appreciation for my husband, who's done some century (100 mile) rides. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful ride. But tomorrow I'm going out and buying a new saddle, and new bike shorts. Everything is just fine and dandy but my girl parts.
I can't believe that I really only own one pair of bike shorts and that I've done laundry religiously so that I could wear them for every single ride since 2003 when i bought them. Do I need to mention that Mr. Preschool shares them with me? I know, I'm cheap. I love these shorts and I'm cheap. They were $65 when I bought them and I remember thinking....I sure hope I get my money's worth....that is an awful lot for a pair of shorts!
My saddle is from 2003 also, so I figure I'm due for one of those too.
Still need to work out the kinks in my nutrition plan....also on the shopping list: Cliff Mojo, Acclerade, Gu. But also V8, which surprisingly revived me when I was feeling like needed a pick me up of the non-sugar sort. I'm sure the sodium content helped since I'd been drinking plain water. Together with the cheese sticks and a few cashews, they saved me from my sugar low right before the last 10 miles.
May 12th we'll be riding 70 miles... wait let me go to the bike store right now.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

One Day Blog Silence

Triathlonmom and hundreds (if not thousands) of other bloggers will go silent on April 30th in memory of the victims at Virginia Tech and in memory of victims of violence everywhere.
One Day Blog Silence will be a day to unite and honor those who were taken before their time.
Join me and pass the word along.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Not With These Hands Pledge of Non Violence

TRIgirl Training has been working on our group pledge of non violence for quite some time. We finally got it all together....and here it is. If you haven't made your pledge already you have one more day, they are due tomorrow. Go to
We pledge to aways remember love.

TRIgirl team members with our "Hands" pledge banner. From left to right: Courtney, Caroline, Becky, Ashley, Jill, Jonah, Nicole, Valerie, Kim, Carrie, Grandison, Melissa M, Patty, Diane, Teresa, Cathy, Katrina, Jackie, Melissa F., Lenora, Jennifer, Kathryn and Leslie.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Heartache Unfolding

I've been thinking alot about what happened at Virginia Tech yesterday. The tragic killing of 32 students plus Cho Seung Hui, the shooter, who killed himself -- has left many people devastated. I mean it is just so, so sad.
While we keep hoping that the news will get better, I am keep thinking I just wish Hui had gotten help and all of these people wouldn't have had to die.

I mean even if you didn't know these people, you know someone like them. Even if you didn't know the do. You've had classmates who had a passion for learning or life. Classmates who put themselves through school. Classmates who you admired for one reason or another. You had friends who went to Tech. Maybe your mom or dad went there, like me. Maybe you even visited it as a prospective college but didn't go there for one reason or another. These bright kids from Virginia were just like us. That is what brings it home.

So, reach out if you see someone in trouble. Maybe if Hui had had the support of friends this could have ended differently. It breaks my heart to see a blog like this and then read the list of confirmed dead from The Collegiate Times (Tech's student paper) and realize that heartache is unfolding as we speak. And there is nothing we can do to stop it.

All we can do is work to make sure that something like this never ever happens again.

Fat & Fit -- That's What I'm Talking About!

The Washington Post posted an article today on heavy people who might happen to be categorized as "obese" by the government standards who also happen to be very fit.

I certainly I fit into that category. The article, "Can You Be Fat and Fit," by Rita Zeidner, explores mostly fitness instructors who have been struggling with the issue themselves. Oftentimes finding that their clients might judge them by their appearance before they even give them a chance.
The article site endurance (both cardio and muscular), flexibility, BMI, and strength as the main indicators of fitness. And noting that research is finally showing that fat and fit are not mutually exclusive. Here's a clip from the article:

"I don't want to minimize the impact of obesity -- there is no question that there are real problems associated with being overweight," said exercise physiologist Glenn Gaesser, director of kinesiology at the University of Virginia. "But there is almost no weight-related health problem that can't be helped with exercise."
Because muscle weighs more than fat, health experts generally agree that body weight -- or even BMI -- isn't always a reliable indicator of fitness, particularly for muscular athletes. Nor does exercise work uniformly to trigger weight loss in all people. So the risks generally tied to excess weight can be overstated when a person is physically active, Gaesser argues.
"Some people obviously have compensatory mechanisms" that keep them from losing weight, Gaesser said. These could include eating more to make up for calories burned or slowing down in other ways to make up for an increase in structured exercise. And just as there are some people who are naturally tall or short, he maintains there are some who are "naturally heavy."

A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association supports the "fat but fit" hypothesis. The study of more than 900 women found that those who were overweight but exercised were less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or other heart problem than their thin but sedentary peers.
It's a comforting theory. But not everyone subscribes to it.

I am one of the "naturally heavy" types he is referring to. Now granted, certainly I could be more fit and weigh less.....and certainly I have tried....but by training for Eagleman 70.3, a half iron race, and by signing up for Maramarc's strength training class, which also works on core, balance and flexibility, it appears I'm doing all the right things. And, when I've tried to diet while training I've hit my limits and realized it is impossible to train for a half-iron race and do South Beach at the same time. So, dietary changes have to be moderate, and more lifestyle changes....basically meaning working out 4 nights a week means eating less because I'm working out during diner -- a snack or small meal on either side of the workout means less overall calories.

I've also wondered as a team leader for TRIgirl Training how many teammates expect me to be more fit than I am or thinner....and I wonder how many of them judge me for just that reason -- my weight. In this society (and in the triathlon/fitness circle we are in) it would be hard to blame them.

And, I certainly would be more fit, faster and have better endurance if I was smaller -- but for now, I'm not. And that is OK too. And I know, for me my weight will be a life-long struggle. It started at 4 or so and I don't expect it to end anytime soon. In the meantime, I'll keep working on it. And I won't forget what motivates me: Not only do I want to know my grandchildren, but I also want to be able to run with them and play with them on the floor. I never knew either of my grandfathers. One died of Emphysema before I was born. The other died of a heart attack that was caused by a unhealthy lifestyle...four big no no's -- second hand smoke, poor eating (and extra weight) , work-a-holic/type A personality and lack of exercise. My other grandmother also died before I knew her of complications of a stroke. Neither of my parents ever exercised when I was a child, but I have to give my mom credit for making huge strides in her health now that she's retired and can focus solely on that. Still, though she can't really keep up with the kids outside and certainly wouldn't want to play on the floor with them. I know she thinks it's becuase she's old. But then....I think of our swim coach, Som, who is her age and I start to giggle. He's completed over 20 Ironman races and has found the fountain of youth and health. I'm sure he'll do another this year.
I'm guessing that all of my life there will be room for improvement, but as long as I'm on that journey I'll try to feel good about myself.

The Trampe Bicycle Lift

Nancy Toby is always pointing out important and funny things in the world of triathlon and bicycling. This one is so good, I just have to repeat it for those of you who don't read her awesome blog.

The Norwegian Trampe bicycle lift gets you to the top of steep hills without actually climbing them. I know a few of you who wouldn't mind if one of these was installed on the Blue Ridge Parkway for this weekend's very hilly 50 miler. Apparently The Trampe is the reason that 90 percent of the student-citizens in Trondheim use their bikes as their MAIN transportation! Amazing!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Cold, Wet 30 Miles

I'm not sure if this sums up my day yesterday...but when i got home from my 5 hour workout/clinic in the cold, cold rain, I couldn't decide if I was proud of myself for biking 24 miles, changing a tire, and running 6 miles or whether I was disappointed in myself for not running the additional 4 miles that I was scheduled to run.

When I got to West Creek at 6:30 in the morning it was bitterly cold and intermittent drizzle was starting to fall. I couldn't find my biking gloves and my arm warmers at home in the early morning search, so I was stuck wearing my running gloves and a long sleeve jersey and a micro-thin cycling jacket. I biked an incredibly cold 12 miles...then opted to warm up with a quick 1-mile run before Coach B's wet tire changing clinic and the Not With These Hands Trigirl banner photo. TRIgirl Annnnn gave me some really cool color-coordinated TRIgirl barrette thingys, that brightened my smile. And seeing the photo of all of those new TRIgirls with the NWTH banner also made it seem not so rainy after all.
I was really glad that I watched the clinic (even though I know how to change a tire) because I learned 2 tricks. First, you can get a box of cheap BB gun CO2 cartridges at Wal-Mart instead of paying $2-3 each for them at the bike shop, as long as you get the right kind (with threads or without) for your system. And second, when you are trying to get the tire back on the rim after changing a tube and you get to that stubborn part where the taunt rubber just doesn't want to budge and you don't seem to have the leverage to get it back on the rim....then you actually can sit on the tire with your inner thigh to hold it still and get the leverage you need to slip the tire back on the rim. Thanks Coach B! I've been struggling with that one at home...and it is the one thing that keeps me from being a fast tire changer....every time.

After learning that trick, I was lucky enough to get to try it out. TRIgirl Red had a flat, and after finding a tube to borrow (since hers had the wrong stem) I got to practice my newly learned skill of sitting on top of the tire. It worked like a gem.

Unfortunately though, all of that waking up early to get a jump on a rainy workout was now Coach B and I were the only ones from the Ironman/Half Iron group that stopped for what, 90 minutes for the clinic and helping some TRIgirls who needed it. I started to shiver but had to get right back out there in the rain and pretend like we were enjoying ourselves while we slogged through the rest of our workout. For the bold and brave Coach B and the rest of the Ironman Cor d'Alene group, that meant the rest of their ride and then a 18 mile run! I hate to say this, but that made me feel immeasurably better when I realized I was "only" slated to run 10.
By the time I changed TRIgirl Red's tire and got my bike back out of the truck the rain was coming down harder. Not only that but many of the girls who started much later than me but hadn't come to the clinic were now done with their bike and were we'll on the way to finishing their run. I know this shouldn't affect me....but it did.
Note to self. Focus on your task at hand -- not on others. You will be doing your HIM all by yourself and plenty of folks will be done with their entire race when you come through T2. You know they will be having a post race massage or a post race snack. They will be taking their bikes from the transition area and celebrating their victory...and you will be starting on the third (and most difficult) leg of your journey. You will need to start finding the strength to run your own race -- not look at others.
On top of the intermission of my workout, affecting me mentally, also I learned that I need to work better on my nutrition plan. When I woke up at 5:30 a.m. I certainly didn't feel like eating anything. But I also knew I needed to think about my nutrition for the day. I had a long workout planned and was going to need energy...... A quick survey of my kitchen revealed that I was short on carbs: No bread! No bananas...No bars! I guess you can tell we just got back in town and I haven't had a chance to go shopping. Brainstorm! Coach G's little voice entered my head and said....Oatmeal! Yes her favorite pre-race breakfast saved the day. Oatmeal to go. And hot coffee.

I packed 2 cheese sticks, a Chocolate Outrage GU (thanks Aimee) and a handful of pretzels. Don't ask me why but my optimistic self had placed 1 water bottle in the freezer so it would be nice and cold (and it stayed that way until I brought it home). I filled the other with lemon favorite drink for the bike. I really wish I had thought to pack an apple, because by the time I got home from my workout it was noon and that was not quite enough food (or water with one bottle being frozen) to make me my strongest.

I have to say I thought I was going to vomit after throwing my bike in my car. My stomach had been hurting for most of the bike ride but I couldn't figure out why. I guess it could have been the cheese sticks, but at this point that was the only thing I could have eaten that might have upset it. I was more likely to believe that it was the prospect of still having to run 9 miles that turned my stomach. So, let's get on with it!
I was so friggin' wet to the bone that there was no way I was going to carry water for this run -- despite the fact that I knew I hadn't been drinking enough on the bike. It just seemed ridiculous to carry water while I was soaking wet. So, I grabbed my GU and ran. As soon as I started running I was thirsty and I spent most of each my 1 minute walking/recovery looking up at the sky with my mouth wide open. Would you believe that with how wet i was and how heavy the rain felt like it was falling when I was biking, there was actually very little water coming out of the sky and into my mouth. I know you are supposed to take the GU with water, so I felt like I really shouldn't have any more considering that I was adding caffeine to an already dehydrated and overtaxed system. Each time I stuck out my tongue for water it started to quiver and shake like a hand does when you've had too much caffeine and not enough food.

I had a little talked with myself on this soaking run and decided, girl, if you can run one loop at West Creek (6 miles) then that is something you should be proud of, especially in weather like this and the fact you've been in it since 6:30 a.m. I had actually never run the 6 mile loop before and it went by faster than I thought it would. I passed the lake. I touched Patterson Avenue, and turned around. I passed the lake again...and there it was, just like it had been since Thursday's brick....only this time it was mocking me. An unopened orange Power Aid or some kind of endurance drink. Sitting there mocking me....saying, "you know you are thirsty...don't you think I would go great with your Chocolate Outrage GU?" We'll, I'd like to know that bottle's story, but I wasn't about to drink it. Up the Farm Bureau hill and shortly thereafter I had some TRIgirl company for the last few minutes of the run.

So, I admitted defeat and ran only 6 of the 10 miles slated for the day. I was extremely thankful for Coach G saying that it was OK. So, maybe I'll feel less guilty and just be thankful that today I will be dry all day long. I will be warm. and I will be resting.

Oh, and one more thing. I think it is ironic that my WETSUIT arrived Friday. WETsuit, get it?Too bad I haven't had a chance to try the thing on yet. The Richmond TRI Club open water clinic was cancelled due to the "winter-like" weather.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter 10 Miler

Since my friend, John Sarvay, author of Richmond's best blog, Buttermilk & Molasses, was kind enought to give me props for actually running 10 miles on Easter, I figured I should at least write about my run....

My goal was to enjoy it. All 10 miles of it.

That meant:

1. being grateful I was not running more than 10 miles (We will top out our running training for Eagleman 70.3 with at least one 16-mile run in a few weeks)

2. being grateful that my body can and will run 10 miles (if ever so slowly)

3. seeing as much beauty, water, marsh and nature that this 6 mile long island has to offer, while running

After the kid's Easter baskets, and an indoor Easter egg hunt (since, even though we are in Savannah, it was near freezing Easter morning)...we hung around for a while and then I went for my run.

Pop Pop gave me a map of the island, and we marked a tentative run path. He marked out "comfort stations" that golfer's use and said I could find both a restroom and a drinking fountain on any of the island's 5 golf courses -- just to look for a little green building. Unfortunately, taking the route that was closest to the marsh also meant having to look at the map about every half mile to see where I was. All the roads are circles and some connect with golf cart paths. Regardless though, it was a challenge navigating and trying to determine an exact distance for 10 miles. It was frustrating to concentrate on speed, form and direction all at the same time.

It was a beautiful and sunny day, although quite cool -- about 45 degrees. Perfect for running, but it took quite a while for me to warm up after the run.

I started out running down by the Delegal Marina and was blessed by a swarm of beautiful swallows over one of the lagoons.

Here's the photo --It looks like it's flying upside down, and I think it is! They are amazing creatures. The size of a small cardinal, but with a much sleeker body. Black on the top, changing to a subtle (if that is possible) royal blue. Whitish on the bottom, so if you look up into the sky, then tend to blend with the clouds. Very hard to catch on camera as you will see. The swooped up and down and all around me catching sips of water and bugs on the way. Then, as quickly as they appeared, they were gone -- camera shy, I guess.

Then, I walked down one of the only paths on Skidaway that goes in front of the houses down to the marsh. I saw wild boars munching on marsh grasses, and several egrets and heron. Plus, lots of fabulous moss and dead trees in siloutte against the marsh grasses. (Later, when I took Daisy back to this same spot, she kept asking if the marsh grass was prairie -- can you tell we are reading Little House on the Prairie?)

After a quick pit stop, much of the second part of the run was spent navigating through houses and trying to peek between them to catch a glimpse of the water. I had to 86 the plan to run to the North end of the island to the lookout tower when I realized although the island is only 6 miles long, by the time you wind down all of the circular streets you've traveled more miles than you realize. (Going all the way to the observation tower would have made for a nice 15 mile run and I was not in the mood!)

So, I did OK for the first 8 miles, but the last 2 I kept wishing to hop on one of the many golf carts that kept passing me. I was hurting! Mostly my knees. And looking back on my last blog entry, at my thought process for deciding to stick to one half iron race this seasons, instead of two....I'm glad I made that decision. Because when I got home, Mr. Preschool wanted me to go with him and take the kids to the park and I couldn't -- I was just too tired. Now, that isn't right! I mean you should always have enough energy to take your kids to the park, right? We'll we all have good training days and bad ones, and this was just one of those days that took alot out of me.

I'm still not a big fan of Savannah, but I'm learning to like a few things down here. Like don't call the marsh a swamp or someone will get offended! I mean why would you spend a couple million dollars to get SWAMP-FRONT property? And, that boiled peanuts are great! Man, I wish we had those in Virginia. I've decided they'd be the perfect race food. High in salt, and protein, with disposable wrappers. They are alot more like Edemame that these low country folks would like you to think. If you've never had them I will tell you there is nothing like them -- but both me and Daisy both said they taste more like beans than nuts -- which would make sense...since they are, in fact legumes. I'm taking orders so if you want some back better leave a comment!

Daisy started a new Easter tradition, that she says she will now use for ALL Egg Holidays. Eating eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I didn't even know there was an Egg Day, but she insisted there was. Since I haven't found proof of that yet so I'm sure we'll have to contact The American Egg Board and lobby for National Egg Day. And after we get that, then we'll have to lobby for National Boiled Low Country Peanut Day.

A Movie Star? I Think Not!

Those TRIgirls keep talking about how I look way too happy when I was running the Monument Avenue 10K last week. Lil' Sis Ann even said I was like a friggin' MOVIE STAR running down Monument waving to all my friends.
Well, that is a rare thing that I look great while running, so if you are curious, here is the photo I think that they are talking about. And here is a photo of me with some of my Tgirls, including Lil' Sis Ann.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Working Out on the Road & "What? You're Still Here Mama?"

We'll....nothing makes you appreciate riding on a trainer like riding on a stationary bike...inside in a gym ...with windows that don't open...on a beautiful day. But after 8 hours in the car, i felt like I needed a workout. And there was no way we could bring the bikes since we had to rush off for the long drive after a full work day. I just couldn't see unloading the bikes at midnight when we arrived either. So, here I am on a sucky stationary bike, watching T.V.
Mr. Preschool was kind enough to join me for the workout, but riding next to your S.O. just isn't the same as riding next to your TGirls.

Workingout while you are traveling sucks. I keep getting in half workouts. I ran but didn't bike on Thursday. Friday I biked for,2.5 hours the stationary bike, but didn't get to do the 10 mile run. The fitness center where I am made me truly appreciate Maramarc and the fitness centers we have where we live. There were only 3 upright stationary bikes in the whole place. Each had a 30-minute time limit. Luckily we when it wasn't too busy, and no one told us to leave.
Today I took the day off and had some awesome Savannah Soul food at Sweet Potatoes, the place we always eat when we are down here. I had fried catfish, lemon collards and brussel sprouts. Happily, I'll report that the vegetables were the best part of the meal.
I'm saving my 10 mile run for Easter if all goes well and I sure hope it is a nice day to run. It's totally funny to me how I'm dreading not getting to bike first. Call me crazy but somehow biking takes the edge off for me from running. Gets you warmed up. There is something about that first mile when you are running, that just totally sucks. I'm not sure why, but it never fails.
On Thursday's run, I spent the entire first mile thinking of reasons I was just going to quit and go home. I guess none of them seemed like good enough reasons to stop, because by the time I'd finished the first mile, I was still running. I had to work hard to get 5 loops in in 60 minutes. So, i know that tells me only one thing. I need to run faster.

I'm trying to maintain my perspective on this trip. One week of erratic training won't make or break a race. And, not working out how I like, with who I like, when I like, is just making me appreciate what I have back home: an incredible support system, incredible facilities, incredible coaches, incredible teammates, and an incredible family who puts up with it all.

And you know what else I'm realizing? My family has had to put up with an awful lot these past 3 months. I've been gone training, gone to clinics, gone to work, gone to TRIgirls dinners, gone to swims, gone to bikes and gone to runs. If they can hang in there for 2 more months....then I'll be back for them like i should be. Here on vacation, every time we get ready to go out the door, Redfish and Daisy keep asking if all of us are really going together. They are so used to Mr. Preschool taking them one way and me going another. They are used to going to sleep when I'm not there (at an evening bike) and waking up with me not there again (at an early morning run). They are used to Sundays when I leave after breakfast, and I don't see them until Monday because I work and then run and then swim. That is why, I've decided not to do the Patriot Half. My kids shouldn't be surprised that I'm actually staying with them. I still want to train, but I'm going to wait until they are both in school before I train for a half iron or iron race again. They've put up with alot, and I need to be there for them after Eagleman.
Mr. Preschool will be starting his Doctorate in the fall, so this summer should be savored, with training, but just enough...and lots of playing at the pool with my kids.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bike + Run = ick

After doing my 2 hour brick Monday night, I was oh so happy to have an entire day off yesterday. My knees were still hurting after 3 non-stop days of long and hard workouts. Today, they are much better.
All winter long, I kept thinking, when I get out to West Creek for the first time, it's going to be so easy. We'll, it wasn't. I'm glad I trained all winter, and I'm sure it is easier than it would have been, but the Farm Bureau hill is still the Farm Bureau hill. And no matter now much I wanted to do the 8 mile loop at jack-rabbit pace, it still came in at 30 minutes....putting me at a very slow 16 mph average. Luckily, I was able to keep that pace up for the entire 24 miles.
Lesson learned -- the only way to train for hills is to do hills. You can't simulate that on a trainer, no matter how much you stand up out of the saddle (or sit down for that matter) in level 10.
And, speaking of standing up out of the saddle, I just want to say that it doesn't translate! I wish someone had warned me...standing up on the bike while on a trainer is just a TAD bit easier than on a real and actual hill...considering that the bike actually stays sturdy.
Much to my surprise when I tried to stand up going up a hill at West Creek, the bike sways way back and forth....with each pedal stroke. Something more to practice I suppose. And nothing is ever easy when you are training for a half Ironman race.
At least now I have a bunch of TRIgirls to watch me as I sway my way up the hills and down again.
And another thing: A brick is only a true brick if you are doing real actual biking. For a few months now I thought, I'd finally trained my body to not feel that stick leg --icky feeling of biking and then running. What I've realized is that I haven't trained my body for that at all. For some reason biking on a trainer just doesn't wear out your legs like true and actual biking does. So, when I started that 30 minute run, ,which ended up being a little shorter due to the coming darkness of the night, I was in for a real treat!
Bike, Run, ICK! All over again...and this is where the true season starts.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monument Avenue 10K Race Report

My race report on the 10K is going to be short. Short race, short race report.

TRIgirl Melissa was a life saver. She drove me to and from the race. We kept away early morning race jitters by laughing and acting silly. After taking a team photo at the Cathedral, we raced to put the camera back in the car, and then found our team again. I was slated to start with the M wave, but all the TGirls were in G, so I sneaked in with them to start the race together. I had planned on running the race with Ann and Katherine, but couldn't find them, so I was stuck with mainly 9 minute mile girls. I watched as they each passed me, and just when I accepted that I was going to run this race alone....I saw up ahead Ann and Katherine, my pacers! I sprinted to them and ran in between them. HAPPY, I was!

Katherine left us to go to the Port-o-let and Ann and I raced the next 6 miles in 8 minute run and 1 mile walk increments. We nailed each mile at just under 12 minutes. I started pushing myself a little to far from the finish, (don't know why but I thought the race was 6.1 mile!) and finished the race about 20 feet behind Ann. There was a mass of chaos with a volunteer stepping in front of us at the finish line in order to stop us. That was craziness! I WAS going to stop, but not until I crossed that damn mat.

And, I was able to manage a negative split!
37.17 split first half
36.14 second half
In other news, now that I've ordered my wetsuit, I've been dreaming new bike.....a tri-specific bike with bullhorn aero bars, tri-specific geometry and maybe even a custom paint job. Andy, bike mechanic for team RaceAthlete, is making me think that my bike dreams might actually come true. Thank goodness triathletes are so nice.

Note to those spell checker guys at Gmail and tell them that there is such a word as aero. No, I'm not trying to say Afro, Nero, hero or zero!

F2R TRIgirl Wetsuit Custom Made

I just ordered my wetsuit and I want to say F2R rocks! Not only did they give us our own TRIgirl store, where they donate a whopping 20% of salesback to our adopted non-profit, Safe Harbor Shelter, but they also have the best prices and customer service in the entire wetsuit industry. A big shout out to Brenda and Paul who have gone above and beyond for us and for triathletes in general.
When I asked why there top of the line Sockeye wetsuit was only $300, when so many other top of the line triathlon wetsuits are $600, they explained that the weren't in the business to make a killing. They were hoping to provide a great service that was needed and a good quality...and hoped to make money by selling alot of wetsuits rather than jacking up the price.

And when our logo just didn't look right on the smaller gray portion of the wetsuit they moved their F2R logo to be smaller, so our suits would look just right.

This is the only wetsuit store in town that actually had a wetsuit that would fit my exact height and weight. No compromising here! These suits are made for real people and real triathletes.