Friday, June 29, 2007

I Love The Tavern

Well one more day and then off to another race...."I Love the Tavern." I've been talking for a couple of years now about how Richmond needed a road tri with an open water swim in the James River, so when the opportunity knocked for this new race, I knew I would answer.

I'm not at all keyed up about it. Sort of treating it as just another workout. I have to go to work right after the race. Just happy to have a race coming up to help relieve the sedentary guilt. I'm giving myself until after this race and then I have to start training in ernest again. I've decided to race the Patriot Half Iron Race afterall. I'm just too blah without training for another big race. The only question now is will I have trouble catching up after 3 weeks of basically doing nothing....and will I feel more fulfilled doing the full race or taking a more casual approach and doing Aquabike....just the things I love.

For now, I'm not signing up, just yet. I'll wait a few more days to decide on the Aquabike-full thing. I did sign up for the Ntelos 8K though...which means I'm not going to run the marathon (this year that is)...what a big relief!

Oh and by the way, I should mention that I don't "Love" the Tavern. Good marketing ploy though.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Post Race Blues

hmmmm. Well, I'm such a slacker. I've been doing baby workouts like 3 mile runs and 12 mile bikes, not even on the same day mind you and still, i feel sort of like I'm dragging the entire time.
I've read the "Post Race Blues" article two times now. Especially noting the part about how if you feel them coming on, don't start immediately training for the next big thing. But still, I can't seem to get my finger on it. Maybe I need to push through the shorter workouts and on to something truely draining to really remember what a break a measly 3 mile run is.
I'm trying to re-balance my life, like the article says. Enjoying being with my kids, sleeping late, having an unrushed diner at home.
Trying to keep it all in perspective. But now with school out, we've got two extra bodies at home. Daisy and Mr. Preschool are off for the summer. Training is done. My life is completely differnt than it was just 11 days ago. And it all happened at once. Plus, this month seems to be the month of parties, wine and eating. Every other day there is some event with lots of wine and good food.

Tomorrow I'm leading an 18 mile bike ride on a the new, I Love the Tavern bike course, hopefully that will be a start at longer workouts. The Tavern Race is in a week, that should fun and challenging because it's new. And I'm going to start strength training again next week too, on my lunch hour if I have to, becuase I can, while Mr. Preschool watches the kids.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Am I Really Saying This?

I think i've figured it out.

The reason I don't feel elated at finishing Eagleman like the rest of the TRIgirls. But wait I'm not sure. I really don't want to admit it. I just can't press it down any more or deny it.

I want to do an Ironman.

That's what I think it is. It's horrible and I don't want to say it outloud or write it even. But it is true. In my heart, in my wildest dreams, I know it is true.

"Horrible" only in the sense of terrifying. Only in the sense of I don't really want to come clean and admit to myself that this is a dream of mine....just becuase I'm not sure If I have the guts (or time) right now to persue it. And, becuase it hurts just a little bit (along with much joy that I feel) to watch my teammates pursue something that I want to do but am just not yet ready for.

Ironman J. just wrote a great post about Ironman Dreams. As I read it, I realized that he was talking about me. You never forget your first triathlon. And the reason I found such exhileration after so many races was becuase each of those times I was pushing so far outside of my comfort zone. Somehow, I'm not sure if Eagleman did that for me. And I'm not sure why. Maybe I was just too comfortable with all my teammates around. I felt in my heart, I always knew I would finish (well except for during my asthma attack). Mostly becuase I had completed the workouts to a T and had faith in my coaches and my training.
Maybe that elation didn't come because I didn't push myself hard enough to go faster or run more of the race. Or maybe, like someone suggested recently, the enormity of my accomplishment just hasn't hit me yet.
Maybe I'll never know

But there is a part of my heart that says it is because I have this dream that I've been surpressing....a dream to train for and complete an Ironman.

Now can someone remind me of what I said directly after the Half Ironman?

Was it "I want to sit down now!"
or was it "I never want to do this again!"
or was it both?

Or as Pirate recently said, "Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Eagleman 70.3 Race Report (Part 2) -- June 10, 2007

I just finished reading Holly's race report. This woman is so inspiring. For those of you who raced Eagleman with me you may have heard me cheering for her. You may have seen her barrel roll over the finish line (not too long after I finished). I had checked out her blog months ago, via Nancy Toby and I introduced myself to her at Eagleman. Holly is being treated for Malignant Melanoma....It is also her dream to one day complete an Ironman --which I'm sure she will.

I won't tell you any more....just go read it. It's the kind of report that will make you cry, so grab the tissue. Her story makes my journey seem insignificant...but most of it is already written.... so for the sake of not deleting it is.

Bike 56 miles.
I saw TRIgirls Melissa, Margo, and Sandee at one intersection leaving the out on the bike... and TRIgirls Shawn and Karen at the next intersection. Man do these girls rock or what? They drove 8 hours in one day with insane traffic on the way back just to cheer for us. I think Melissa got up at something like 3:30 so she could be there for our first transition....and Margo drove in all that traffic!

Me and my TRIgirls after the race.....Mwwaahhh! LOVE you guys!

Starting out on the bike....

At the very next turn, my asthma meds flew out of my back pocket onto the street! Damn.

My main concern for the bike was not getting a flat (which maybe it should have been)....but getting lost if the support crew got distracted and wasn't pointing the way. I took Coach Grandison's advice and took the first 20 minutes easy, allowing my body to adjust, just drinking. After about 20 minutes I ate something and cranked it up a notch. I'm really not sure what when wrong next but I was having extreme back pain....not sure if it was due to the pull out couch or what but I was very uncomforatble. I tried many different things to stretch it out and actually I wish that I'd pushed it on the first 20 minutes because little did I know that that was the only part of the ride that was easy. As soon as we got out to the Blackwater wildlife refuge, the winds picked up hugely. And as many folks had warned me, it was head winds the entire time -- how is that possible? My heart sank as I was passed by more and more people. (I expected this on the run, but not the bike). Even people I knew I was faster than back at home passed me at a high rate of speed. And all I could think was "what is wrong with me?"

The conclusion I came to is simple, It comes down to this: I didn't train on flats. And with my body type it made much more of a difference.

I noticed that more than anything, I was distracted by the beauty of the nature preserve and the scenery. I had trouble focusing on my race due to the sheer longness of it. It seemed to go on forever.

The texture of the ride came only in fragments. When I was being passed by someone super fast. Or when I passed road kill with the most intense smell that I just chose not to breath. By a guy who passed me going over a small bridge that seemed to be a small favorite fishing spot. A 400-some pound woman in a bikini was sunburned beyond what could possibly be healthy. And the cyclist says to me, "That woman in the bikini -- she won Eagleman last year!" You know she thought she was going fishing in the lonesome, remote Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, not fishing in front of over 2,000 extremely health concious and body concious athletes.

The the texture of me wondering what the hell that pile of little yellow sponges in the middle of the road was BAM!!!!-- "S*@#!" I just figured it out. The biggest F-ing pot hole you've ever seen in your life. No wait, two of them in a row. And all those little yellow things in the road with some GU's and some water bottles to boot are the little spill-proof plastic spongy things that fell out of the triathletes Profile Design Aero bottles. Some eagle is going to try to make a nest of those things!

I drank my Accelerade, which was in my bottle cages but mostly preferred my water because I love my Aero bottle so much and it is so easy to drink from. I picked up a water bottle at every water stop but one (and yes, I slowed down a little to grab it). Each time I squirted it directly into my aerobottle. And tossed it back to the aid station. The volunteers (especially on the bike) were really nice. I made sure that I thanked as many as I could.

All this water was making me need to pee! Yet another dilemea. Even though everyone says, don't try anything new on race day. I had a plan. I was planning to try something new (peeing while on my bike) on race day. Mr. Preschool said it was OK to pee in his/our shoes. Again, just like the race it was way more challenging than I had imagined it would be. I don't want to get too graphic here but let's just say I peed 4 times on the bike. And each time I did it, It slowed me down quite a bit. In fact, I wonder if I should have just gotten off the damn bike.

Changing my wet socks before the run!

Run 13. 1 Miles.

Back in transition, I could smell people grilling and the feel the celebration starting. But I still had a long way to go. Nancy Toby caught up with me. After trying to leave out the wrong exit and thinking I somehow lost my race number (which I didn't) I was running in circles off to a rough start again. Nancy quickly passed me looking really strong on the run.

I ran when I could, but right off the bike, it wasn't for more than a few minutes at a time. I started to feel overwhelmed for the first time at what lay ahead for me. And each time I ran, I started to have an asthma attack. After using my inhaler, I felt slightly better but not great since it takes about 15 minutes to work. I walked a few more minutes. Then came Som and Mark and Rick and Amy, all passing me at my 1.5 mile point and they were coming down to the last mile in their race. Each one cheered for me but instead of feeling happy or feeling more motivated to run, I felt this overwhelming emotion and it would trigger another attack. I was a wreck! I think I was so moved that these incredible athletes (Mark, Michael, Jeff, Rick, Amy, Blake and Som) had so much left in them to chear for me even in their homestrech. I had nothing for them. I wanted to encourage them but I couldn't. I think that's why I got so emotional. It didn't cross my mind that this senario made sense. Eagleman was a taper for them. They were supposed to have plenty left at the end. They've been training for Ironman Cor d'Alene which is next week.

Wild turkeys that we saw on the run.

I was starting to see some of the faster TRIgirls - Liz and Suzie. I can tell I was out of my "fight or flight" mode that was triggering my asthma attack because I was actully able to cheer for them. By the time I saw Suzie she had just a 5 K left. Go Suzie! And then I stared to see my other girls... Cyndi, Deanna B., Lynn, Kate, MaryJo, Anna, Carmen, Molly, Sharon, and Deanna L. Still, they started the race before me (except for Molly and Anna) and they were faster than me. You put the two together and you get a long wait for them at the finish line before I will cross. I found a group of walkers to hang with...Some very cool girls Kristen Mylotte from Baltimore and Angie Yohey from Bloomsburg, PA. I tried my best to keep up with them.

Here's my walker gang...that's Angie on my right...I was so glad when I crossed the finish line and looked back I saw that the TRIgirls were kissing and hugging on her too!

And through it all Mr. Preschool rode his bike keeping tabs on me. Mostly he'd ride from water stop to water stop, making sure I was doing OK. He is the greatest!

When it got hot, I put ice cubes in all my pockets, down my bra, in my back and in my hat. When I ran, It sounded like I was mixing drinks!

Here's a photo Melissa took of me coming down the home stretch. It's a little out of focus, but I look happy don't I?

I think I'm happy that I can see the finish!

Eagleman 70.3 Race Report (Part I) -- June 10, 2007

Well the race is done. I've been procrastinating writing my Eagleman race report for many reasons -- I guess mostly because the race didn't really rock my I had hoped it would. ...Like so many races before have rocked my world for me.

I'm not sure why but I suppose I thought since I was attempting something so difficult (something that many days I doubted I could actually accomplish) something so big, that surely it would have a bigger impact on my life than smaller less important races. I guess I don't want to dwell on it too much...but I supose it is a combination of not performing as well as I had hoped and realizing that I'm not as strong as I thought I was. Pretty ironic for a race that is supposed to test your limits (and it did) and when you complete it (which was your goal) you actually feel weeker.

I guess I will tell my story. Perhaps when I am done, I'll have a better understanding of it all and my feelings. (And yes, this is a long one, so for your sake and mine I'm gonna break it up a bit).

Leaving the kids.

The anxiety gods were kind....I didn't worry about leaving my kids....even though I had only slept without them both once before, for only one night (when I was doing IronGirl). They didn't seem to mind to much that I was leaving (since Gramma and PopPop where here) and actually Redfish didn't even want to talk to me on the phone when I called on Saturday night. I guess maybe he was secretly mad at me for leaving.

Race morning, I was surprisingly calm. Our homestay rocked and was only about half a mile from transition and on the run course. I could have walked, but Mr. Preschool didn't want me to carry all of my stuff. Got to meet Nancy Toby again (we met the afternoon before at the expo when I recognized Buttercup, her bike with Nancinator written on the top tube). She was very nice and tried to alleviate any last minute fears I might have had. That was pretty cool, since she's kind of a mentor for me in a strange sort of way. And Mr. Preschool took this photo of us before the race.

Swim 1.2 Miles.
The weather gods were kind. On race morning it was actully cold enough to want pants and a sweat shirt. The Choptank river was not as choppy as it had been the night before and white caps were few and far between. Despite many jellyfish tales, they were just tales, as not one was in sight. After watching several waves I picked the spot I wanted to start in, just in front of the left bouy -- surprisingly I didn't really have any company! Everyone seemed to bunch in the center, and I had no trouble with anyone kicking, pushing, or swimming over me. Unlike the IronGirl start, where we had to tread water for 5 minutes before the race in a holding pen-- the in water start was so shallow that we could just stand and wait for the count down. Endorphin's Michael Harlow had taught us at a recent open water clinic to basically go after hearing the count of 2 (instead of 1 and then going) and that seemed to be what everyone was doing. I had planned on "dolphining" until I could no longer stand, since it was so shallow, and since I saw the leader in several of the waves was either the person dolphining or running in the water. This worked well until I realized that my wetsuit was biting me in the neck. I sure felt like the velcro teeth were digging in deeper with each stroke and with each turn of my head...but after several times of standing up and refastening the back of my wetsuit I realized that it couldn't be the velcro teeth digging into my neck but the wetsuit itself. I could tell I was drawing blood, but what was I going to do? Stop? No.

With every turn of the head and breath it worsened. Sort of like a rubber rug burn. Despite the pain I was able to draft off of several Athena's shoulders....changing drafters only when they slowed down too much or swam off course. The chop in the water was unpredictable. I definatly swollowed way more water in Eagleman than I ever did in any other open water swim. At Sandman the ocean waves were huge and rough, but none-the-less predictable. At Eagleman there was no logic to the waves. I have a hunch that many were caused by the wave runners and rescue boats and the taste of diesel fuel filled much of the swim. Strangely, the water out in the river was warmer and it was cooler close to shore. I stayed close to the buoys and there always seemed to be a jam up of people at everyone I passed. At one point after the turn (day glow orange bouy) I started swimming back to the yellow buoy I had just passed, but a man on one of the rescue boats told a handfull of us that that was the wrong bouy and we turned again. I could see really well with my prescription goggles and they are the best $20 I have ever spent! Without them I would not have even been able to see any buoys!

Who cares if I look like a dork...or a fish for that matter.

The problem with the chop was that you were just sort of unable to see much in general because you always seemed to be lower than everything else. I got in a good rhythm several times during the swim but that was usually interuped by a back-up at the buoy. As I started to see people from one and 2 waves ahead of me, I realized I was actually doing pretty well. I looked up at one of the yellow caps from the wave ahead and realized it was TRIgirl MaryJo. MaryJo had been pretty nervous about the swim and I told her she looked great and that we were almost there. I couldn't believe I found her in the water in the middle of all that chaos and all of those people. As I came up on the boat landing, a blackness replaced the light brown water from before. I had checked out the slimy, rocky swim exit and knew I had to swim all the way up the ramp. Mr. Preschool was waiting out on the pier and as I took my last 5 breaths I could see him with each one, cheering for me and I even waved. One of my favorite memories of the race...and he got it on film!

I chose not to run in transition...something I had read on the IronStuck website. That worked for a while. And then I saw Laurie Mehler, our local race director...and in her excitement of her cheering me on (while she was racing the aquabike), It seemed like she was telling me I better run, and I did. Now I was going against 2 pieces of Ironstruck advice....1. don't run in transition on your first Half-Iron or Iron race and 2. Have a game plan, which I did....and stick with it -- which I didn't.

30 seconds later I was changing the game plan again -- grabbing my asthma medicine from my race hat...that I had planned to use on the run and sticking it in the back pocket of my tri suit. At the time I was worried that I would forget to grab it on the run (and I knew I would need it) but that was foolish, I wouldn't forget it if it was in my hat! Oh well. I grabbed my race belt, because they were requiring that we wear them on the bike. Mr. Preschool announced that I was in the top quarter of my heat....actually I was 4th out of the water for the athenas -- so that was great. I grabbed my bike and I was off.

I'll post more tommorow. Thanks for reading about my journey.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Eagleman Race Results and Finish Photo

Eagleman Race Results
(I will post a race report soon)
BIB : 2019
AGE 33
SWIM 39:20

BIKE 3:33:28

RUN 3:14:27
OVERALL 7:39:06
TOTAL SWIM 1.2 mi. (39:20)
TOTAL BIKE 56 mi. (3:33:28)
15.74 mph
TOTAL RUN 13.1 mi. (3:14:27)



Friday, June 08, 2007

Last Post Before Eagleman

Well, this will be the last post before Eagleman....we are leaving early tomorrow morning.

The Ironman Live website will be tracking athletes live via their timing chip and will be covering the event on line. I don't yet know my race number, but you certainly can search for me by name if you want a real-time update on my progress. Thanks for all of your support in helping me get to the starting line....It is going to be a hot one....and with a little luck, I should be finishing sometime between 3 and 4 in the afternoon. Cross your fingers for me!

Here is the web address below

Thursday, June 07, 2007

2 Days Until Eagleman -- Taper Hell

Nancy Toby is a local girl. So I hope she really knows what she's talking about when she says it is going to be 78 -82 degrees (depending on the source) during the Eagleman and only 3-5 MPH winds! Not that I'm counting on it...but just praying!

She did send me comment hinting at deer flies on the bike at Eagleman -- and guess what? The very next day at West Creek I was plagued by them on the bike and the run! I have NEVER seen any kind of flies out at West Creek until Tuesday, so go figure!

Mr. Preschool says that recently I've been exceptionally anxious (read bitchy)... and taking it all out on him. I don't know what he's talking about. I'm perfectly fine. Just flippin out at the thought of what have I gotten myself into! AND I just got a little upset when he said he was going to bring his bike and go on his own little adventure while I did my 1/2 IM.

He has supported me a hell of a lot by picking up the slack at home and watching the kids...and he'll be driving me home from the race....but still, that wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I asked him to come. I told him I was happy he was bringing a back up bike thought in case mine looses a major part or something! That is rational too, right?

The saga continues....Man, If I could just go run and bike for a couple hours, I think I'd be O.K.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Revised forecast

Yep, I knew the forecast for Eagleman was too good to be true. Maybe MSN weather wasn't the best place to find my weather info. The National Weather Service forecast is seeming much more realistic.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 85.

But after yesterdays Monsoon-like tropical depression, that arrived just in time for the Powersprint...I guess a high near 85 isn't too bad. Yesterdays horizontal rain, cool temperatures and incredible wind brought out the best in the TRIgirls. With the worst race conditions I'd ever seen in my 5 years of racing, the baby pinks (girls doing their first race) provided there own sunshine. I didn't hear any whining and no one even talked of not doing the race. Amazing. I am so lucky to be part of this amazing group of women.

Photos will follow.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Eagleman Forecast

Sunday Jun 10
AM Rain
Hi: 76° Lo: 69°
Mostly clear skies. High 76F and low 69F.
50% chance of rain

I know it is early....and it seems to good to be true, but Mr. Preschool usually comes through for me....and the forecast for Eagleman looks great! A high of 76! That is all I could ask let's hope it doesn't change.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Eagleman 70.3 Homework

I've been trying to do my homework in preparation for Eagleman. I keep reading as many race reports as I can find from last year and years before with the hopes that I will garner some crucial piece of information that will make or brake my race. All the while trying also not to get freaked out by others mis-fortunes.
So far, I keep reading about wind, jellyfish and flat boring scenery. Jellyfish? What? I was told when I signed up for this thing that jellyfish weren't out yet. That it wouldn't be an issue...but then keep reading race reports of folks getting stung. God, I hope I don't get stung on the face.
Trigirl 40 is looking into buying some Sea Safe that we found out about from Nancy Toby...but there seems to be some discussion as to whether it would actually work.
So far I can say, I won't finish the race in 5:10 or 5:15 like these guys and maybe that is why the heat wasn't a problem for them. Plus they start a whole hour earlier than I will. I can also say that I'm happy that I won't have to drive and get stuck in traffic on race morning. And I'm REALLY happy that I'm not camping. It would suck to have folks packing up their car/gear while you were trying to sleep. And then sparking the race to the race, to see who can get set up first.
Entertaining stories aside, I will remember to rinse my feet well or at least try them and wipe them as best I can before putting my socks on. I keep thinking socks are the way to go for the bike and the run...but then that will mean no peeing on the bike (not necessarily a bad thing)...these final details and decisions are killing me!