Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ironman Kills Athena and Clydesdale Divisions

I know, I know. MIA. I'm getting back to it. Working is just majorly stressful and that, raising a family and workouts are taking up every waking minute. Hmm. Maybe I need to sleep less.

I'll be back soon. IN the mean time, I just want to say that this SUCKS!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Inspiring Stories of Ironman Friends

I am in complete awe of my Ironfriends who completed Ironman Florida this weekend. These incredible athletes continue to amaze me. Actually, I could go on and one about each of them. Each one has overcome amazing things to get to this finish line. But based on time, I'll just have to highlight two of them. Plus, the two I've chosen don't have blogs, and many of the others will write their own stories.

Iron Friends who did Ironman Florida this weekend included my swim coach Som, who crazily decided to do 6 Ironmans in a year, to celebrate his 60th birthday (no really he is 60, I know he looks 35, but it's true). Talk about an inspiration. Did I mention that he is about to be featured in AARP Magazine?! He is a local (and national) legend.
TRIgirl Kate O.
TRIgirl Kate G.
TRIgirl Shawn
TRIboy Fred
Granite Pool friend Chris Lyons
and of course the unforgettable butt-slapping TRIgirl Patty

I took a special joy in watching TRIgirl Sharon finish, because I remember one Sunday, about a year ago I was at work, and thinking of signing up for IMFL 2008 myself. I thought, who would I like to train with. No really, really like to train with, for hours upon hours of training. And Sharon was one of the first people who popped into my mind. I looked up her number, and called her when there was a brief lull at work and before I knew it the conversation was over and, she just said, we'll there's no time like the present and she had signed up. OK, to me, it seemed like a whim, but to her, perhaps she'd been pondering the leap for years. Who knows. But the look as she crossed the finish line Saturday night and her huge smile were priceless. A warm feeling ran all up and down my heart for her.

TRIgirl Charlotte is yet another amazing story. It seemed like injury after injury plagued Charlotte. But each time, she remained optimistic and hopeful. When I swam with her at her last TRIgirl swim practice, we talked about Ironman Florida for a minute. She said, with no doubt or sadness, that she did not know if she would finish in the time allotted. There was a complete calmness in her voice. Resignation that she'd done all the training she could do. And that her journey had come to an end. She seemed at complete peace with herself and with the fact that she had done all the training and perhaps would or perhaps would not finish. It was an uncomfortable moment for me. Thinking that someone who wanted this so bad, and someone who had worked so hard against all odds could achieve such a sense of peace in the acknowledgement that after all this, she still might fail. In that instant, I admired Charlotte so much for teaching me something, she certainly has an IronSpirit.
We both mentioned how in awe we were that the body could achieve this feat, when so often our own bodies resisted attempts to stay up late just to watch our friends finish And for her, like me, more often than not, we succumbed to sleep. Totally in awe of what we had not done that day, and yet our bodies resisted even efforts to stay awake.
So, when Charlotte actually did finish and with time to spare, you could see, on her face, all of that glory -- so well deserved, coming to the surface. And in that moment, I experienced complete joy for her.

Oh, and did I mention she has one of the most dedicated husbands in the world. Her husband Fred also did Ironman Florida. When I first met Charlotte and Fred, he was always with her to keep her company on each workout. After a while he started to trust us TRIgirls with his most precious posession, but you can just tell how much Fred loves Charlotte. And I LOVE that!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ironman Hawaii 2008 World Championships Video

Here is a really cool video from last week's Ironman Hawaii World Championships:

Monday, October 13, 2008

If you Fall in Love with the Ocean -- It is Love at First Sight

Thanks to Sarah who shared an article about my new new hero -- Laurene Booth. She embodies what I hope to be. And her story, along with the inspiring story of Dave, Jeff and Tanner Martin show how ones actions can influence the actions of others. It's a long read, but if you need inspiration, here it is.

Some Thoughts on Ironweek

Thanks to Nancy Toby for pointing me in the direction of this essay by Martin Dugard on the Ironman. I'm not sure it I agree with him, and he certainly isn't Ironstuck (like I am), but he may have a point.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ironman Buys Ironkids Brand

We all know that Ironman events are some of the best run events in the world.
I've experienced 2 events owned by the Ironman brand --Irongirl Colombia and Eagleman Ironman 70.3. The were really well run races. Now, annouced today, Ironman has bought back the IronKids brand and are launching an 8 city youth triathlon series. I can only hope that there is an event near Richmond, because I'd love for Daisy to experience that -- but I'm unlikely to drive too far for her to do it. Stay tuned for more details....

October 8, 2008 – Today, World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), owners of
Ironman, Ironman 70.3 and Iron Girl, announces the growth of its brand
portfolio. In 2009, IronKids, the newest member of the WTC family, will
an eight-city youth triathlon series culminating with a national
The IronKids’ mission is to inspire and motivate youth
through the sport to
lead an active, positive and healthy lifestyle. The
national event series,
targeting children ages six to 14-years-old, will
offer an interactive weekend
experience for the entire family.

Monday, October 06, 2008

An Ironman Dream Deferred

I've strayed away from this blog recently. But I've been sorting it all out in my head. Plugging along, training (or not) and racing on autopilot. Ignoring the cliffhanger I posed in early June about my plans for Ironman Florida in 2009. Perhaps scared to admit that I've chosen not to do an Ironman this year. Maybe worrying that I don't have it in me. Or that I've lost focus on that goal.
But recently, I've been taking some time to think more about me. Despite a new job that is challenging to say the least -- and the fact that I'm experiencing a major learning curve while I adjust and try to master new skills -- I've taking some time out to refect on me. The kids are at school, and one day a week, I try to squeeze in just a little time to focus on my goals. It's funny how you can put everything on hold, just by having kids. I feel like I've been on auto pilot for years. Finally, I'm taking the time to reflect and make some more deliberate decisions about my future. Decisions that require more thought that just the 1 hour nap time, or 2 hours squeezed in here or there.

I've been examining my career, my role with TRIgirls, what really makes me happy, and how I can live more passionately. I mean, that is why I started my triathlon journey in the first place. I wanted to feel alive, experience life more fully and to take some controlled risks -- out of my comfort zone to challeng myself. How can I balance being a full-time mom, an athlete, a TRIgirl team leader, a loving wife, a writer, a daughter, a sister, a PR & marketing coordinator, and blogger? Can I do well at all these things at the same time? Or, does something have to give? How do I choose to give less to one of these very important things or not put my heart fully into one of them. Until I recently took the time to reflect, I might not have lived my life as deliberately as I would have liked.

But things change. We grow older (and wiser). We write and reflect. We find that we are stronger than we realized. Then, we find something we need to be stronger for.

I'm not sure how this ties in other than It's helped me understand (without fear for a change) my own mortality. About 10 days ago, 2 friends were killed in a fire. They were not close friends, but still they were friends, and more importantly they were beautiful people trying to live their dreams. My grief for them is reminding me to balance goals in my life with relationships. To balance work with play. To live my life with no regrets. To place more emphasis on the people in my life that I love and respect. I regret not getting to know Oi and Nit more while they were here and now I've lost that opportunity. And, I'm trying to turn that regret into change in my life.

So, while I still have Ironman dreams, I'm thinking maybe now is not the best time to accomplish them. My son will never be 4 again. My daughter will never be 7 again. Maybe I'll wait until they are just a bit older. And maybe if I do that, they will understand more fully the sacrifice that an training for an Ironman takes. Maybe it will impact thier life differently --maybe they will be inspired.
Perhaps in a few years, I'll be in a better stage of my life to truly appreciate what completing an Ironman means as well. Maybe I'll be able to savor each mile more carefully, knowing that my family didn't make unwilling sacrifices for me to get there. I know I don't want to feel a tinge of guilt while I am fulfilling my dream. I don't want to be selfish.

And, I find myself coming back to last summer's posting about weight, self-esteem and the Ironman Pill. I mean if you are going to do an Ironman, you better do it for the right reasons right? I figure if I am not at my best self when I start the training, I likely won't make it to the starting line on race day. If I'm not doing it for the right reasons, and with the full support of everyone in my life, I doubt I'll have the fortitude to finish. My Ironman dreams need to be based on just me -- not improving self-esteem, or proving something to someone. Not even proving something to myself. Maybe some people would find that the Ironman completes them, or makes them whole, but for me, I know that if I am going to be sucessful at this, I need to be complete and whole from the day I sign up. And my Ironman, If I ever get there, will be the icing on the cake.

After getting a comment last week from someone who wanted to include my Great Chesapeake Bay Swim story in a book they are writing about the Bay Swim, I revisited my race report and realized that I still have alot to learn. My journey is just begining. And if I'm going to do an Ironman, I want to do it right and be able to enjoy each moment of it, and I don't just mean the race.

So, I'm still on my journey to Ironman. It's just that getting there for me might take a little longer.

Happily, I'll still get to be a TRIgirl team leader, with more of the work picking up when my job ends in June. Coach G is so understanding and flexible. And, I think she realizes how much TRIgirls means to me. And in the mean time, as I get an handle on my new job, I'm hoping, with a little hard work, everything else will fall into place.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sandman Triathlon Race Results 2008

I finally got my race results from Sandman. I was lucky number 173. The good news, is I placed 3rd in the swim -- averaging 3.06 kph. Don't you just love how they break it down like that, like you are going to travel across the country swimming? I guess is pretty good considering it included the run from the water all the way up the beach.

OK, Here are my splits
Swim 1K: 19:38.20 (no wetsuit)
T1 3:12.70 (slow!)
Bike 46:32.20 19.0mph -- wow, that sounds fast! in fact, it was faster than last year, but they changed the course so it was less windy and more shady, so it's hard to compare to last year's 48:09 averaging 17.4 mph. Actually, last year surprisingly, I had the second fastest bike split. This year, I was 8th, if that is any indication.
T2 1:58.50 (slow again, I need to get Mr. Preschool to put my Yankz! in. I don't even have lace locks. what is wrong with me? Am I a triathlete or what?

Run: 44:06.55 OMG it was H-O-T. I heard that it was 97 degrees, but that may have just been the heat index -- it was 90% humidity. The icey cold ocean was awesome after the race. That is all I wanted, was to stay there....forever. Kids were ready to go though so I pulled myself out.

Overall time for Sandman 1:55:28.15 -- Not a PR, but not too bad either. I really need to start running again! That is what I learned from this race! My run was 4 minutes slower -- it had alot to do with the heat, and my lack of desire to run recently!

Also during this race, I took a shower on the boardwalk, kissed Redfish in transition, and run across the finish line with not one but two kids!

Sandman 2007 1:54:17
Sandman 2006 1:57:53.8

Sandman Triathlon Photos, Redfish's 4th Birthday

The night before the race, granting Redfish's wish -- to ride in a surry we pedaled -- he road in front like a king, watching it all and waving. Totally ruined my legs for raceday but it was worth it!! he he.

I had a great swim. Was finally able to stay focused the entire time.

This year, both kids got to run me in!

And, back in the ocean at the end! One of the many great things about Sandman. The support out there was amazing. Thanks for everyone who cheered me on -- on the bike and the run!

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Cancelled Patriot Half & Simply Stu

Man, I can't believe I'm letting things slide so much. Between the kids going back to school (Redfish starts Monday) and getting ready to start my new job at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden on Tuesday, I've let things get away from me. For one, I've been blogging like crazy over at the Near West End News. And, I've been putting in alot of hours on my other new job managing the Facebook page for the Richmond Region and Richmond InsideOut. on top of all that, I've been trying to train for Sandman the day after Redfish's 4th birthday -- on September 14th.
I know, enough excuses! Finally, I'm writing because of a comment that someone left on my blog. Marcus was complaining about how Set Up Inc has handled the cancelling of the Patriot Half Triathlon scheduled for Saturday, due to Tropical Storm Hanna.
Ladies,I just saw that the race has been canceled and that they are going to
give us 50% credit! If anyone else thinks that this is absolutely unacceptable,
please join with me! As I see this, they run a business. In business, you take
risks. In business, if you cannot deliver your good or service for ANY reason,
your customer does not pay. I do plan to write to the race director and USA

When Sandman was cancelled 5 years ago due to similar circumstances the response was much better. Not only did they reschdule the race for several weeks later, but also they offered an alternative -- if you weren't free during the reschedule date or didn't want to race for some reason you were given free admission into the next years race. In my case, it was a total loss -- I was pregnant with Redfish the next year and couldn't race at all -- but still I never felt short changed. In this case, not only is SetUp not offering a make up race, but also they are pocketing 50% of the fee which could be as much as half of $220. SetUp is a large company with many races. Surely they could have expanded the Duke Liver Half (on Sept. 14) to accomdate folks who have trained for many months for this event. Or at least allowed as many folks as possible to switch over for free. This morning there were 35 spots left. Currently, there are 13 spots left.

On our team, we have 2 women who were set to do their first Half Ironman race, and had trained for it since last winter. Why isn't SetUp trying to reschedule the race or otherwise accomodate these athletes? I'd hate to think it is just about money to them.

On another more positive note, I'd like to just say thank you and give a shout out to Simply Stu out in Wisconsin. Some of you may remember last winter when my husband made a video about me and TRIgirls and I competed to get on Team EvoTri. Well Stu is on Team Evotri. He is a legend in the triathlon world (or at least the internet techy triathlon world). He symbolizes the comraderie and love for this sport that so many of love and try to represent ourself. He inspired my kids to do their first ever triathlon - the World Wide Triathlon. And, check this out:
Among his accolades, Stu is also the personality behind the Simply Stu Triathlon
Podcast, which has consistently ranked in the top 100 sports podcasts on iTunes.
The show has been featured on iTunes and has been ranked #2 of amateur sports
podcasts. He is the team manager for Evotri.

Anyway, to make a long story short, Stu, awesome guy that he is, took Dr. Rick, Coach Blake and Aimee G. all around Wisconsin, showing them the Ironman Wisconsin bike course, helping them upgrade their wardrobe at the local running shop, etc. All in an effort to get ready for the big race on Sunday. I'm sure this is typical for Stu, 'cause he's such a rockstar and all, but I really appreciate our folks from Richmond getting a warm welcome from such a great guy, who is so dedicated to the sport.
Good luck Dr. Rick, Coach Blake and Aimee! Have a great time, wish I was there to cheer you on.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Virginia Beach Lifesaving Association 5K Ocean Swim

Quick race cap. I finished. I placed 2nd and got my first hardwear EVER! The downside is there were only 2 or 3 of us in my age group. Not sure. I came in 28th overall.
I got the worst jelly fish sting EVER!! on my face -- right below my eye. Thank God for my goggles or i'd have been stung in the eye. I think there were only 2 jelly fish. no one else got stung. I got another on my leg. One jellyfish in all of VA Beach and I hit it on the way down and the way back! My shower tonight, 6 hours later revealed tenticles in my suit! ouch.
I predicted a 2 hour finish. I think I finished in 1:55 or so . Although it was a perfect day and the ocean looked like glass. But there was a pretty good current. I swallowed alot of saltwater. In fact my throat still burns from the salt.
highly recommend this race for TRIgirls next year. ROAD TRIP!!
More details later. off to bed.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sharks in the Pool? Oh My!

Well, Coach Adam won the sperm helmet. It is OK by me! But I will miss getting that photo of me and ANNN in our matching dork helmets.

I dropped my Y membership today. Too expensive. But I will miss those Masters swims with Ironwoman Canada. I hear she'll be out for a while anyway, which will make it less painful to lose.
In the meantime, I'm off for my 5K Ocean Swim in Virginia Beach. I'm feeling nervous about it. I keep thinking about the sharks, which is funny, becuase that never even crossed my mind at Sandman all these years. Maybe it's the fact that I'll likely be in the water 2 hours that has me thinking I need to worry. Last night, one of the regulars, Rick, brought his daughter to swim in the fast lane. She was so fast, that when I caught her out of the corner of my eye I did think she was a shark. I guess that is just where I am right now. Everyone has their demons. Today mine are sharks.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Looking for a Tie-Breaker in the Bfit Bday Challenge

Thanks for all your votes gang!
I am currently tied with Coach Adam -- we each have 43.9 percent in the Bfit Bday challenge where we swam, bike and ran our age. If you haven't voted yet, go vote....I have no idea how long the voting will last.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

TRIgirl Mentioned in Richmond Magazine's Best (& Worst) of Richmond Edition

This is a cross post with the TRIgirl Training blog.

Richmond Magazine's Best & Worst of Richmond edition just came out. Guess what? TRIGirl Training came in runner-up in the "Best 10K Training Program." Our members love us, and so will you!

You can pick up a copy at newstands or Ukrops. They don't run the whole story online, because they'd like you to buy it.

If you'd like to come to a workout and give our team a "TRI" just email us to let us know you are coming. We'd love to meet you.

Here is the email address in code form so those spambots don't get us:randison[at]TRIgirltraining[dot]com

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My New Hero -- A Triathlete

I have a new hero: A triathlete, Casey Peirce, who dove into fridgid waters in Canada to save a couple who had capsized in their canoe. The story is amazing. What a gift she gave them -- the gift of life.

Despite the danger of diving into the frigid mountain water near Canmore, a
Calgary triathlete risked her safety to rescue a pair of boaters whose canoe had
capsized, dragging them and their boat to shore.
Casey Peirce, 30, was on a
bicycle ride with family near Spray Lakes Saturday night, when the group heard
two people in the water yelling for help.
They saw a man and woman about a
kilometre from shore clinging to their overturned canoe and Peirce, a strong
swimmer, dove in for them.
"To be honest I thought twice about jumping in
because I know how cold that water is," said Peirce, who works at the Canadian
Sports Centre in Calgary.
"But I had recently done a triathlon and I knew I
had the training to do it."

She said it took 15 minutes to swim out to the couple, but
at least 45 minutes to swim back with them in tow, her sister Darcy dialling 911
from shore.
Peirce said she knew that since the couple had already been in
the water for an hour, and the woman was mostly submerged, that they didn't have
a lot of time left before they might have succumbed to the cold water.
I got to them, I first asked them if they were injured, but they were both too
cold to speak," Peirce said.
"I knew by the time anyone else got to them, it
would be too late."
The swim proved trying for the triathlete, as she towed
the canoe with a rope tied around her waist, her hands too cold to pull it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Church Shooting in Tennessee Hits Home

Yesterday, around 2 p.m. I heard a report on NPR that 7 people had been shot at a Unitarian Universalist Chuch. I was working, and I did not catch the full story, but , having grown up a Unitarian, and knowing that there are aren't many UU churches, I rushed to the computer found out what church they were talking about. ...Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tenn.

My friend Kim Kredich, who founded Triathlonmoms (the predecessor to TRIgirl Training) and her husband Matt Kredich, TriMom's swim coach (and the swim coach formerly at UR) are members of that church. Our children are roughly the same age. When they lived here, they went to "First Church", or First Unitarian Chuch of Richmond. Kim was always involved with the children's performances here, and even lead and inclusive kids orchestra, for any child who wanted to make music.

Fragmented news reports kept coming in:

7 people injured.... Some with severe head wounds. ....Man pulled out a
shotgun....during a children's performance....1 now dead. 2 now dead.

I called a mutual friend. She didn't know anything.
Finally, I got off of work and called Kim and Matt's house. A message on their machine stated that they were safe. And, a wave of relief ran over me. Because you don't realize how special Kim and Matt are. They are amazing people. The kind of folks who draw others in with their positive energy and magnetism. They are just the best, kindest, most resilient people. And, they are safe.

But, not everyone was. The Washington Post Reports:

A burly usher, 60-year-old Greg McKendry, was hailed as a hero for shielding
others from gunfire as other church members rushed to wrestle the gunman to
the ground. Police arrived at 10:21 a.m., three minutes after getting the
911 call and arrested Adkisson.
No children were hurt, but eight people were shot,
including the two who died _ McKendry and Linda Kraeger, 61.
When the first shot rang out at the rear of the sanctuary, many church
members thought it might be part of the play or a glitch in the public
address system. Some laughed before turning around to see the shooter and
his first victims covered in blood.
A four-page letter found in Jim D. Adkisson's SUV indicated that he targeted
the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church because "he hated the
liberal movement" and was upset with "liberals in general, as well as gays,"
according to Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen IV. Adkisson, 58, had
a shotgun and 76 shells with him when he entered the church Sunday during a
children's performance of the musical "Annie." Six adults were wounded in the
attack. Owen said the letter indicated that Adkisson did not expect to leave
the church alive.

The Washington Post quoted the pastor in an op-ed piece in the local paper as bringing the church's liberal views to the forefront of the community.

"In the midst of political and religious controversy, I choose to love my
neighbors as myself," Buice [the minister] wrote in an op-ed piece published in March.
"Ultimately, I believe that tolerance, compassion and respect are the qualities
we need to keep Knoxville and East Tennessee beautiful."

Thank God for the bravery of the people who jumped the guy.

Update: I just found out that Kim and Matt and the boys were not at church at all on Sunday. A blessing for them. But does not change the facts in this crazy shooting.

Voices of the Olympics, Blogging Like Never Before

We all know I love blogs! Which is why I'm so glad that I found the Voices of the Olympic Games athlete blogging website. Athletes are blogging about their experience at the Bejing Olympics on Lenovo Ideapad notebooks. The best part? It is athletes from all over the world, some blogging in English, but many blogging in their native tongue.
Whoever made this website did a great job. You can sort the blogs by country, sport and language. Or by all three.
I know I'll be spending alot of time here over the next 3 weeks. Check it out, I bet you will too.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Turned 35, B Day B Fit Race Report

I can't write a long race report, but I wanted to share with you this cool photo of me and my friend Stacia after I was almost finished with the Bday Bfit Birthday Challenge on Tuesday, July 22, the day before my 35th birthday. (I finished the last mile running when I got home).
I started my challenge at 6 a.m. in the pool with the Tuckahoe Masters. Then swam some more, and more, until I'd hit 3 miles. After drinking some much needed coffee, I ran 4 miles on a treadmill (saving 1 precious mile for later, so I could make an appointment). Then home for a few hours with the kids. Oh, and a huge (for me) job interview!
I decided to push my biking back until 5:45 p.m. because it was so damn hot! I think the heat index was 110, but the real temp was certainly around 100 degrees. After the first 6 mile lap at West Creek, I had no idea if I would actually finish this thing in 24 hours for the "gold" designation. I was thinking silver looked pretty awesome, so I could ride my bike in some cooler weather. Thank God the sun went partially behind the trees and things became much more possible all of a sudden. TRIgirl Linda rode with me and Stacia for 2 laps, and then went home to her family for dinner. Hmm. That sounds good, I thought. Stacia had never ridden more than 24 mile before and I certainly didn't expect her to ride 35 with me in this heat, but as the night got cooler, I could see that she might! We had a "cupcake transition" around 7:45 or so. I really wasn't thinking I could stomach a cupcake, but surprise, it was a good idea, and kept me from bonking! Something I really needed since the last 2 laps were filled with the windy gusts of a coming storm (always a headwind of course). We finished up around 9 p.m. after taking a few water breaks. Yes it was dark. And yes, Stacia rode her longest ride ever -- 35 miles, and was such a trooper to stay with me! I might even say that we had fun doing it!
I decided to run at home, or perhaps even run/walk at home with a glass of wine in my hand for the last mile. Yes, I felt like since I was still 34 for a few more hours, I should savor that last one, until I was officially 35. Oh, and If I didn't hurry up, it would be too late, by the time I got home and drank some much needed water it was 9:30. As I unloaded my bike, the storm that we encountered on our bike ride had arrived. The lightning was off in the distance a little, but if you know me, you know I'm terrified of lighting. OK, not terrified, just a little bit too careful around it. My kids aren't embarrassed to tell you that their mom sleeps on the floor during lightning storms because sleeping in a 4 poster brass bed, that would just be stupid! I ran one of my fastest miles since forever because I was so scared. I toyed with the idea of not finishing my last mile, but quickly put that idea out of my head. I mean, a mile is a mile. Thank goodness I'm not afraid of the dark! I ran quickly, sans wine, avoiding metal posts and tall trees like the plague. I mean how stupid would I be if I got hit by lightning doing something like this? As the storm rolled in, I turned around, and barely made my mile in before the rain started. Yes, I made it to 35 in one piece. And it was exhilarating. And when I got home, then I had my glass of wine.
Total time, including my cupcake transition & water stops: 5 hours and 55 minutes and 48 seconds
Swim 3 miles: 2:05. 11 by the time I got out of the pool and remembered to stop my watch
Run 5 miles (split): First 4 miles 53 minutes, last mile 11.5 minutes
Bike 35 miles : hmm, I didn't press my split button, for the breakout, so I'm guessing 2:46 or so.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Tour de Google

I just found an old swimteam buddy on FaceBook, and when I linked to his his brother's webpage, another friend of mine, Bob Cesca. I came across this on his blog. I thought you all might enjoy it.
I still can't watch the Tour. I wonder if this will suffice?

Monday, July 07, 2008

More Inspiration from a SwimmerMom

I hope that the inspiration keeps coming. Dara Torres, 41, just set an American record for the 50 meters freestyle. She is the mom of a 2-year-old.

In this YouTube video, from last year, she explains how it feels, to be a competator and a mom at 41. Thanks to Phaedra and Becky for pointing me in her direction.

Ironman Dreams ....This is Why

I've been needing some inspiration. Perhaps you have too? Go ahead, check it out. XT4, over in Madison, Wi. is blogging his heart out. Something I just might want to ponder again someday soon.
I've been here. Have you?

Because the first time I swam 25 yards I thought probably that would be
about it. Until I could swim 50. Then 100.

Last weekend I got on my bike at 4:45am. Clear dawn was rising on the left side of my road, and the end of a sinister thunderstorm was looming on the right side of the road. Between them, inviting me to ride into it, was a rainbow. I thought, who else sees this now?
People who choose to ride a bicycle at 4:45am, they've lost a bit of their
minds. But it's only when you lose your mind that you see some of the best the
world is.Those who hear not the music think the dancer mad.

....Yes, it is. It is that big of a deal. It is that hard. It really is.
That's sort of the point.
The rest are just details. The rest figures itself out. There's never a
"good time". It's never going to ideally suit your universe. You'll never think
to yourself, "Geez, you know what I'm in the mood for? Madness." It will always
be hard, you will always have to work to find the balance, it will never make
sense to everybody, often not even yourself. And that, too, is part of the
journey, and part of the forging. If you have to talk yourself into it, then
wait until your time comes. Until you're drawn in. Until the current takes you.
But if you're just making excuses...well then. Life is short. Get in

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Amazing Wheel, Better than Zipps

Did I mention that the wheel I raced on yesteday is also the same wheele (and tube, and tire) that I ran over? After replacing the skewer, things seemed relatively OK. It's a good thing I didn't cry over it!

I Love the Tavern Race Report

Yesterday was a good day. I had a great time at the I Love the Tavern race. Results were slow in coming and were just posted, but here they are. Get this, I PR'd by ONE second!

This year
Swim 15:29 last year 18:43
T1 2:44 last year 2:53
Bike 18.89 miles 1:05:24 last year 104:10
T2 1:57 last year 1:04 (this year forgot to put my Yanks in)
Run 42:06 last year 40:52
Total 2:07:39 last year 2:07:40

Last year, in my race report, I can see the current was stronger. I remember it being a bit of a tougher swim than this year. This year, I definitely could have pushed harder on the run. To be honest, I set one goal for this race -- to get up that friggin' hill without walking. And, I did that. My second goal was to PR. Did that too.

My only complaint: They tried to mark the inside of our arms at the top of the giant hill bike turnaround. This was totally crazy. The space for turning was incredibly small, a narrow 2-laner with no shoulder. Needless to say, it was thrilling and a bad idea! The girl behind me fell. I likely would have too, but decided to take the catch me if you can approach.

The most rewarding part of the day: The TRIgirls got the Great Ball of Fire Spirit Award, which I got to accept on behalf of the team! We had fun. We rocked the course. We cheered for our teamates. We cheered for others. We thanked the volunteers. We had a great race.

Monday, June 23, 2008

It is all a Balancing Act

I'm looking forward to my first triathlon of the season, I Love the Tavern Triathlon, on Saturday. I've afraid to say I've been feeling a little burned out and I'm hoping that doing one of my favorite races will bring me back from feeling that way.

Regardless, I've made some decisions. I've decided against the Richmond Marathon this year. And, I've decided against the Patriot Half. I'm not sure how this will affect my 2009 season if I decide to do Ironman Florida, which doesn't seem likely.

I kept thinking, Ironman Florida or go back to work. Now, I'm thinking maybe going back to work is best for my family. Ironman Florida can wait.

I feel like while I started training to add balance to my life and my family (which was way to focused on just my 2-year-old) I'm at the other end of the spectrum. The one week I followed the Patriot Half schedule when I was not away from the kids training, I was too tired to give them much or be there for them. A 6 mile run that would take most folks less than an hour, takes me an hour and a half. And then the biking and swiming on top of that was too much. With Mr. Preschool working on his PhD. with night classes, I just feel like I really need to be there more for my family. Stay tuned....maybe things will change after Saturday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Believe it or not, it was not the Worst Workout Ever

I was emailing my lil' sis today. She made the mistake of asking how my workout this morning was, now that I've decided I actually have to do them ALL and can't use the Bay Swim as an excuse.
Big Mistake.
Her: How was your workout??? Sorry I missed you!
Me: hhm great except i ran over my tire with my car.
i am not kidding.
Me: Both
Need I say more? I've been meaning to get out of the habit of leaning my front wheel against the back of the car while I put the bike on my roof. Now, I'll stop doing that for sure.

Then, I proceded to put the smooshed wheel in my back seat and run 5 miles of hills. I did not even....cry!

Monday, June 09, 2008

The 4.4 Mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim Race Report

I guess I should start in telling this story be telling you where my journey began. I'm not sure what year it was, perhaps it was 1983 when I was 10, or perhaps it was several years later. I read an article in The Washington Post. It was a first person account of swimming across the Chesapeake Bay -- some kind of officially organized event.....The author described hearing this kayaker blow a lifeguard whistle repeatedly. The author/swimmer couldn't figure out what he was doing wrong, was he breaking some rule? Going off course? Later he found out that the man swimming beside him was blind and was following the sound of the whistle to get across the Bay.

I'm not exactly sure why, but I found this incredibly moving. My dad is blind and I have watched him year after year as his sight has diminished. Bit by bit, it seems my dad was swallowed whole by his vision loss. And with each year there was less and less that he could do. In contrast, here was someone who was accomplishing something great, doing something that many many sighted people wouldn't dream of attempting, and he was doing it in spite of his blindness. The blind swimmer had found a way to strip the power from his blindness. And while I watched my father take one path, I knew that when I grew up, whatever hardships I was dealt in my life, I wanted to be like the blind swimmer, not my dad. I guess to help you understand this I should mention, that I have no idea what it would be like to go blind. I can't imagine the pain that my father has endured at having his sight taken away from him bit by bit over all of those years of my childhood. But before you question me for judging him, I should also tell you that the blindness he has is heredetary. And while I am not a high risk to be blind myself, I could. Growing up, I had doctors visit after doctors visit where they were always testing me for it. And, I was always on the lookout for it come up behind me like a shadow over my shoulder. And more than one time in my life, I was convinced that I was going to lose my sight too. Mentally, I spent many years preparing myself to suffer the same fate, and many years I tried to push myself on the path of the blind swimmer, so if fate dealt me that card I would handle it better than my father, who allowed himself to be defined by his illness, growing more bitter and frustrated each day.
Simply stated, I was amazed -- that there could be someone who responded to his fate so differntly than my dad. At that time, I was not inspired to swim the bay myself, but just inspired by the will of that man. The passion, the desire for life. By the iron will that he found and the strength and courage he displayed, to try something great in the face of adversity.

Years later, in my 30's after doing triathons for a while, on some race calendar or on some blog, somehow I was reminded again of the The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim. Instantly, I remembered being so moved by that article when I was so much younger. I searched for several hours trying to locate it in the Washington Post archives, but with no luck. I did learn the history of the Bay Swim though, and read a newer article about open water swimming by Caroline Kettlewell, who I actually got to meet at the swim.

Then, the thought crossed me. I could swim. Triathlons had served as a vehicle for me to realize that I could swim across the Chesapeake Bay if I put my mind to it. Last year, at this same time, I had conquered many fears and obstacles to complete my first half-iron distance race, Eagleman. That took me over 7 and a half hours and over 6 months of intense training. I could certainly swim the 4.4 miles of the bay. I'd done the 1.2 miles in the VERY choppy waters at Eagleman in 39 minutes. I guess this is what made me think I might actually complete the Bay Swim in 2 and a half hours or so.

After researching the history of the bay swim, I realized that maybe I was getting in a little over my head. Not only did I have to qualify for the swim, but also, I had to enter a lottery to be selected to participate.

Then I read this information on the Great Bay Swim website:

Is it dangerous?Among the difficulties that may be encountered during the
average 2 hour 25 minute swim are flailing arms and legs during the "Cuisinart
start," cross currents, swells, chop, hypothermia if the water is cold, nettle
stings if the water is warm, and collisions with the bridge supports or rocks
surrounding the jetties, islands and causeways.The National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has measured tidal, current and weather
conditions prior to the event and compared the results with predicted
conditions to determine the optimum starting time for the event. How does
it affect the race?As a result, 79-97 % of the starters finished the race in the
last 5 years. Prior to this, in 1991 and 1992, a strong ebb current of about 2
knots in the main channel beneath the 200-feet high spans (one and a half miles
from the start) precluded all but the strongest and most determined
swimmers from finishing the event (only 15-19 % finished the swim).

And, for some reason, I still signed up.
As I talked to other swimmers who'd done the race, I realized that the swim was a spiritual experience for many, not just me. Atheletes would travel from Japan, Canada, and from the West Coast. I envisioned a peaceful swim -- floating in the middle of the Bay, looking up at the giant spans. I imagined swimming and thinking about that blind swimmmer. And, I imagined remembering the last right of passage I'd taken almost exactly 15 years ago to the day, when I made a symbolic break from my parents and went out on my own. In a sort of a passage to adulthood, I took my first long motorcycle trip overnight and by myself and crossed this very same bridge on the way to Rehobeth Beach. I would think about my Grandma Jane, the only grandparent I ever knew, and the stories of how she was so scared to cross the Bay Bridge that she would take valium and then and drive her carfull of young children across. I would reflect on my own journey. My fear of sharks. My fear of drowning. My fear of dying. The incredible respect that I have for the open water, and mother nature. I imagined reflecting on my decision to finally sign up for an Ironman. I imagined feeling victorious when I finished the swim across.

But, The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim was not at all what I thought it would be. The places that I imagined struggling, I did not struggle. The places that I envisioned enjoying, and being in awe of were not what I imagined either. And, no matter how much you might not think it will affect you, being a little fish in a big pond certainly changed the race for me.

I started off feeling strong because I'd made it through the rough kicking of the brutal open water start. I still had my goggles. No one had swam over me. (I didn't get kicked very hard in the chest by a huge guy until much later in the swim, and thankfully, he turned around and said he was sorry). I had planned to stay with TRIgirl 40 for the first quarter mile, but lost her in the frantic start.
"I am actually doing it," is all I could keep thinking. "Take it easy, don't kick, save your legs for the end. "
I should mention here that I decided not to wear my wetsuit. Since it is a long story, and you are already getting way more detail than you expected, I'll just leave it at that. Fate had decided that no wetsuit would be worn. It was warm enough, and I wasn't going to win or anything. I figured that not wearing it would slow me down a bit, but not keep me from finishing or anything. It seemed like a fine decision.
As I was swimming along, finally under the bridge, and feeling comfortable, I let doubt creep in. My left foot was falling asleep. Hmm. Maybe my anklechip strap was on too tight? I better stop and loosen it. Bad idea. I had visions of it sinking to the bottom of the bay. But worse, I noticed that as soon as I stopped to adjust, I started floating off to the side under the bridge. OMG, I'd hit the current. Folks swam by me quickly. I adjusted it and then swam a few strokes. Hmm. No that isn't right, it's too loose, it's going to fall off. Stopped and adjusted it tighter. Really loosing ground now, I kicked it into high gear, swimming at a higher speed and actually kicking, but going nowhere. The current was incredibly strong. I'd lost my rhythm. I'd lost my mojo. I swam at an angle directly for the other span of the bridge thinking -- now or never. I looked up and noticed I was starting to go under the span. If I did go any farther, they could disqualify me and pull me from the water. What was I going to do? I hadn't even hit the first mile marker? or had I? I always knew there was a chance this could happen, but I never expected it to be so soon, I wasn't tired, I just got distracted. I didn't feel any exhertion at all, just panicky because no matter how hard I stroked, I was still not making any progress forward. The taste and smell of diesel fuel and oil from the boats was potent and I could not seem to get away from it.

I knew from other open water swims that the current would affect the slowest swimmers most. And I worried for the first time that I would fail completely. What if it was like this the entire rest of the swim? How long would I fight, not knowing if I would ever go anywhere or if it would ever get easier?

I kept at it. I lost all track of time. I focused just on pulling each hand through the water. I focused on rocking from side to side. I thought about my form and tried to remember to breath on both sides. Then, all of a sudden, people were swimming over me. Pink and green caps from the fast heat (that left 15 minutes later than us) were passing me like I was standing still. It reminded me of when you are on the highway, going the speed limit and someone comes flying past in the fast lane going 90 mph. I felt like I was stuck in place. I felt defeated. I never thought of myself as fast, but also, never had been passed like I was standing still. I tried to sight ahead. Nothing. I looked around and no one was around. No red caps from my heat. But I'd managed to make it away from the left span. I wasn't being taken upstream anymore. I was solidly in the center.

I thought about my family coming across the bridge to see me at the finish. We'd planned it that way, so they would drive across while I was swimming across. My awesome Aunt Sally and Uncle Wendell who had not only put us up at their river house, but also stood in the 110 degree heat while I swam. For hours. I looked at my watch. I'd been swimming for 1 hour and 22 minutes. I still couldn't see the 2nd mile marker buoy. I started to think about how the time cutoffs seemed so generous. Now, I wondered if I was going to make them. I tried to draft off a pink or a green cap that came now in a slower fashion. I couldn't hang on. Everyone around me was wearing wetsuits. I could feel pockets of cold come across me so quickly, it made me shiver. And then suddenly a freezing blast of water. I kid you not, I got a brain freeze from the cold water current. Then, I thought about hypothermia and wondered if I should even be out here with no wetsuit. Despite my layer of insulation, I was freezing, my body was fine. But my face, and my head hurt from the cold water. I thought of Lynne Cox swimming across Antartica, and found some comfort there. I knew, I would be OK if I could keep moving. If she could swim through ice, i could certainly swim through this! I found another red cap, and found that if I drafted off him at his feet, that he stirred up the warm surface water enought to make it not seem quite so cold on my face. I noticed he was wearing just the smallest Speedo and no goggles. I was about to ask him if he lost them and then realized that was ridiculous.

And then, like a mirage in a desert I saw it: the big red 2 mile marker and better yet -- a "feed boat" right behind. (I know it sounds like animals feeding...but that is what it felt like too). I knew from TRIgirl Allison to expect a Dixie cup of water, banana and wet Vanilla Wafers. I knew from the rules that unlike Lynne Cox's swims, I could hang onto the boat while I ate and drank. I didn't want to, but at this point it seemed ridiculous not to hang on while I did. I had two Vanilla wafers, and about 2 oz of warm, almost hot water -- remember the heat index was 110 degrees! Then i had 2 saltines. Then I had 2 more ounces of hot water. Then i had an inch of banana. Then i had a tiny part of a gel that i'd stuck down the back of my suit. I couldn't swallow it. I gave it to them to throw away. I had one more wet Vanilla wafer. Did I mention that swimming across the Bay makes you hungry? I swear these were the best Vanilla wafers i've ever had in my life. I don't even like them. My last 'nilla wafer had a wet thumbprint on top, it was very wet. I can't believe I almost thought to ask for a new one, because that sounded so disgusting to me....but I ate in anyway. The last one got all stuck in my teeth and as I pushed off the boat. I remember telling the volunteers that I was worried that they were going to hurt their backs. It seemed so hard that they were all hunched over feeding the athletes in the waitresses in the sky to the most demanding and yet grateful customers. I decided I was spending to long at the boat. Time to move on.

I'd started the race with a headache, the brainfreeze had made it worse, and now I was starting to feel just not so great. I don't know why, but started thinking I wasn't cut out for this. I started thinking I am crazy to ever think I could do an Ironman. I decided I definately was stupid for even considering it next year.

Then, between spots of incredible cold, I allowed myself to get distracted from the pain. I notice that I was moving faster than a U-haul truck on the right bridge span. Apparently traffic was almost stopped on the bridge? I noticed a woman had gotten out of her car and she was looking down at all the swimmers. I waved, happy to not feel quite so alone -- almost all of the swimmers had passed me now. And I was sure that TRIgirl 40 had to. She was wearing a wetsuit, which I was sure would make her faster than me, typically we are about the same pace. Then I quickly pulled my hand down when she did not wave back and a realized that the kayak support might think that I needed assistance. I kept my head down for a long while after that. I started noticing the numbers on the pilings. 36...37....38....And then a charlie horse hit my right calf. I stopped kicking and flexed it. Luckily it was not a full on contraction that would keep me from staying afloat, but still, I was scared to kick at all anymore, for fear that it would come back. I kept flexing my foot, with the hope that I could fight it off, then I'd find my muscle starting to tighten again. I tried to relax, keep my head down, and focus on what I could use, my arms..... then I saw another bouy, and the shore behind it. Could it be that I missed the 3 mile marker? That would be a good thing if it was number 4 in the distance. My guessed that I would have to swim to the piling that said 56 before I would be at the shore. And if that was the 4 mile marker at the end ahead, then I still had another 700 meters after that. The current picked up again this time taking us to the right. But more than the current was chop, like at Eagleman. Big swells, like waves, and more pull to the right, which thankfully was where we were going. I could see the grassy shore, and tons of people. For the first time ever, I realized I was going to finish the swim. I was going to cross the Chesapeake Bay on my own. Not only that, but I looked to my left and there was a girl with a read cap standing next to me. STANDING! I did not know it was shallow enough that I could stand, and when I did, my legs felt whole again. I expected to be so ever greatful for reaching the land, but never did I expect to happen while I was still in the water. I dolphined in to shore. Perhaps I don't need to explain it, but at that point I just had no desire to go back to freestyle. Me doing the dolphin:

My amazing Uncle Wendell, who had woken up early to drive me to the race and had dropped me off in the morning was there. My mom was there. My Aunt Sally, Mr. Preschool and of course the kids. It wasn't at all what I had imagined. My eyes hurt. My head hurt. I wasn't really happy or proud. Just happy to be done. I certainly didn't feel victorious. Just dazed. It was rather anticlimatic. I needed to find some glasses, my goggles had cut circles around my eyes. I wanted a towel, but strangely no one had one for me. I was too iffy to get one out of my bag. I was so happy to take my cap off (which we were forbidden from doing during the race). I felt wobbly. Faint. and terribly hot. I was worried about my kids standing in the heat for so long. Redfish had no shirt on. I drank a Pepsi of all things (I never drink soda) and that seemed to bring me back a bit. I ate something salty, that helped. I leaned over to get my coverup out of my bag. (Silly family kept taking pictures of me half-naked). Thought I was going to faint again. The fire trucks had showers. I decided to rinse off until I realized the water was HOT.

All of a sudden, I remembered that I still hadn't seen TRIgirl 40. Where was she? I looked up and there she was, still dripping wet, standing beside me. I was so certain that she'd come out of the water before me that I hadn't even thought to look for her to finish after me. At this point there were very few swimmers still left in the bay. But, after comparing notes, we realized that we finished just 4 minutes apart. She was right behind me the whole time, but I never saw her once, the whole swim. We'd trained together (sortof) and swam the Bay together (sortof as well). I never thought that I would say I was proud to finish in the very bottom of the pack. I was 549 of 602 swimmers. She was number 564. Both of us, solidly on the very last page of the results. To be honest, I had no idea that there was such a range of swimmers out there in the world. The winner of the race completed the entire 4.4 mile swim in an easy hour and a half, more than twice as fast as me. I am simply in awe. Here are my results: 3:11:29 43:32 per mile ave. I was 29 out of 33 in age group.

Looking back at all that training in the pool for endless hours in the cholorine. Looking at the black line, perfecting my flip turn. I would definitely say that I'm glad I did it. I'm not sure that I'll do it again. I was struggling so hard, I never got to flip on my back and just be. I never go to take the time to stop and just feel alive and appreciate the simple task at hand. I was too busy struggling to stay alive. To stay in this race. So, if I do it again, that would be my goal -- to swim fast enough to be able to stop in midstream and float and enjoy it. And I would like to finish my swim with enough energy to actually feel good when I am finished.
After sitting in a VERY hot school bus for a ride back to the car, I again almost passed out. Why am I leaving the medical area? I kept thinking! It is so hot I'm going to faint!

Unfortunately, in the swing of things, and deciding no wetsuit I forgot to put on ANY sunscreen on my back. The cresent moon shape on my forehead created by the sunburn is a dead giveaway for a capline, but looks incredibly dorky. As I mentioned before, I guess I thought that the murky Bay water would protect me from the sun. Needless to say, I believe I got some sort of sun poisoning. My burn is bad. I felt so bad on Sunday night, that after showing up at my dad's 70th birthday party a few hours after the swim, I had to leave after just an hour, because I felt so ill. Which reminds me....I think this is why I'm doubting going for an Ironman afterall. Would I be strong enough to finish the race and still enjoy the victory? Missing my dad's 70th birthday party was not in the plans. My sister, who flew in from Seattle, had planned it around me being able to come. I was planning to tell my dad that night, that I would do an Ironman in his honor to raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. That was my plan anyway, and I didn't do it. Now, I need to take some time, regroup and figure out if I still have it in me.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

We Finished the Bay Swim -- all 4.4 miles

We finished the bay swim! I am extremely sunburnt. Didn't think the sun would get me through the water how silly! Wait until you see the photos. Current was like endless pool details later.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Times-Dispatch Covers the TRIgirls

This is a shout out to TRIgirl Amy Godkin, who was able to get some local coverage for TRIgirl Training! There are some really spiffy photos (click on slidshow), and a very short article in today's Times-Dispatch.
I am so proud of the whole team, but especially the 25 girls who were doing their first race! You ladies are so inspiring!

Here ya go:

It's not as if traditional chores (cooking, cleaning and laundering) have been
cast aside.
Only now, a sizable contingent of area women are wedging
swimming, cycling and foot racing into their already hectic to-do lists.
time to introduce the TRIgirls, easily spotted at triathlon competitions in
their hot-pink gear.
"We're serious athletes but also very feminine and
well-rounded," said Grandison Burnside, TRIgirls founder/coach. "That's why we
chose pink -- to show our diversity."
Come one, come all: There are 120
TRIgirls, ages 25 to 60-something. They vary from trail-toughened veterans just
back from Ironman Brazil to beginners like Amy Godkin.
A mother of two and
fundraiser for an area pediatric group, Godkin debuted as a triathlete at the
Shady Grove YMCA PowerSprint on Sunday.
"When I started, I couldn't swim 50
meters without gasping for breath or run a mile . . . and I didn't own a bike,"
Godkin said.
For her 40th birthday, husband Todd Godkin presented his
adventurous wife with the gift of pedal power -- a racing bike.
Godkin was
among a group of 32 TRIgirls (25 first-timers) swimming 300 meters, cycling 20
kilometers and running five kilometers at the Shady Grove "sprint."
Next up
on the 12-event, TRIgirls schedule is the Tavern Sprint on June 29 along the
James River downtown.
Working women: To gain perspective on just who these
"pink ladies" are, here's a peek at recent TRIgirl of the month
Diane Schnupp, IT consultant; Jackie Rice, computer programmer;
Kathleen Martin, lawyer; Susie Fazzio, customer service manager; Carrie
Mayrhofer, pediatric occupational therapist; Kate Bott, fourth-grade
"We've got it all, from women who've never been athletes their
entire lives, to former collegiate athletes, marathoners and Ironman veterans,"
said Burnside, a mother of three and a former English teacher at Salem Middle
Let's sweat: The TRIgirls, based out of Maramarc Fitness, train three
nights a week, with swimming at University of Richmond, running at UR and Byrd
Park and cycling all over on roadways.
Then there are what Burnside calls
"philanthropic/fun things," like raising funds for Safe Harbor Women's
Burnside suspects there is a competitive athlete somewhere in every
woman, longing to be released.
"Most just need someone to get them started .
. . to motivate them," she said.
To learn more, go to

Thursday, June 05, 2008

3 More Days

Just a couple more days until the 4.4 Mile Bay Swim. Tonight, my last masters. Tomorrow I'll try to resolve my wetsuit chaffing issue at the Richmond Tri Club open water swim.
Saturday travel -- and Sunday race.
Feeling good in general about my preparations, but packing is stressing me out.
Hey, thanks to all my teamates and friends who remembered my race and wished me luck. I really appreciate it! So sweet of you to remember!
Shoot, Redfish is up from nap....gotta run.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The New York Times Explores Endurance Sports

Robert Mackey, over at the New York Times, wrote a facinating article, titled, "Are Endurance Sports Good for You?" A facinating topic if you ask me! But the best part of all was reading the blog he linked to, V-Tach, by Craig Cook, who is experiencing Acquired Arrhythmia, "a condition that seems to be prevalent in endurance athletes." Here's a clip from the NY Times story, which carefully reminds the reader, not to go all "Chicken Little" with this thing:

.... But being in touch with Craig led me
to read the whole story of his battle with Acquired Arrhythmia on his blog. In Craig’s latest post, he wrote
about a study in 2003 by a cardiologist named Hein Heidbüchel, which raised the
possibility that, as Dr. Heidbüchel told Agence
France Presse
, “Lifelong endurance training may lead to heart disturbances,
particularly in young male athletes.”
Craig also links to an
editorial that same year in the European Heart Journal
, titled “Endurance
athletes: exploring the limits and beyond,” that considers the implications of
the Heidbüchel study. The authors of the editorial write that the possibility
that endurance training may, in some circumstances, for some people, cause
damage to the heart raises “a fundamental question to medical practitioners:
what are the reasonable limits for the practice of sport?” The editorial expands
on that question as follows:
Humans have always tried to push back the limits
imposed by their physical characteristics. Competitive sports are in themselves
a continuous struggle to surpass these established limits. As physicians, we are
frequently asked not only to identify and treat diseases, but to define what is
and what is not healthy behaviour. …
The general population has the
perception that athletes are the healthiest members of society, since they are
capable of such impressive physical performance. However, the cardiological
community has been interested in the inherent risk of sport for many years.

Up until now, sudden death in athletes has been attributed to underlying,
pre-existing cardiovascular diseases such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or
right ventricular dysplasia. In this issue of the journal, Heidbüchel and
co-workers go a step further, and hypothesize that long-lasting, competitive
endurance activities may, in some individuals, induce structural changes in the
right ventricle. This can lead to a kind of ‘acquired right ventricular
dysplasia’ that may finally produce ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death.
Although the published paper does not prove this hypothesis, the high mortality
observed in this series of patients is quite worrisome. …
New data
suggesting that excessive endurance training may have deleterious consequences
for the heart need to be confirmed by case-control studies of non-selected
As Craig says on his blog, it is important not to extrapolate
too many conclusions from the results of one study of only several dozen
endurance athletes. He writes:
Some media outlets have taken this to Chicken
Little extremes. A widely disseminated article by Agence France Presse (here
carried on the Discovery Channel of all places) almost seems to be telling us to
retreat to our couches and TV sets, or else… “Most athletes pay a physical price
for their love of the sport, but the ones who engage in endurance sports may be
pushing their bodies to the brink of heart failure, according to a new study”,
we are told. This is alarmist.
I’d suggest anyone interested in this issue
read the whole of Craig’s blog, and follow all the links, but the idea that very
fit endurance athletes could be doing damage to their hearts, even while
succeeding at a very high level, is kind of surprising. As Craig points out, the
hugely successful, American cyclist Bobby
was diagnosed, and successfully treated for, the very same condition
a few years ago.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

TRIway to the Pain Cave with Troy Jacobson

My mom grew up in a little itty bitty part of Baltimore County called Sparks. There was one bank there, and her family's close friends, the Prices, owned a tiny 2 isle store, called Price's Store of course. Pretty much nothing happened in Sparks except for farming. That is until Troy Jacobson arrived. Troy Jacobson is probably most famous for his Spinervals DVD's and is Ironman accomplishments. Now, he's started his own Triathlon Camp. The New York Times wrote a great article on it this week.
Sounds like a pretty wicked vacation. Not only did reading this make me feel lazy for my beach plans this summer, but it also somehow inspired me. Check it out? Here are some of the best parts:

Not halfway through the bike portion of my first brick since 2005, the year
I (barely) completed my last triathlon, I couldn’t decide which would give out
first, my legs or my enthusiasm. I was wondering why I wanted to return to a
sport that is actually three sports and requires the sort of fanatical training
regimen that destroys schedules and frightens young offspring. Actually, I knew
why. The only way I can calm my mind is by exhausting my body. There’s nothing
quite like triathlon training to shorten the mental to-do list.


If triathlon camp is your idea of a vacation, there are plenty of tour guides. Here are three of the best.
TRIATHLON ACADEMY: Besides the Tucson camp, Troy Jacobson runs shorter Ironman-focused camps in Louisville, Ky., and Lake Placid, N.Y.; a beginner-friendly Tri 101 Workshop in Sparks, MD.; and clinics on swimming. The seven-day Tucson camp costs $1,095; the others start at $295.
LIFESPORT: The official coaches for the Ironman series. LifeSport holds three-day-long, race-specific camps in places like Kona, Hawaii, offering everything from hydration tricks to course secrets. On race weekend, its free clinics are great for last-minute tweaks. The camps start at $295.
MULTISPORTS: In addition to Ironman-centric camps, this company, co-founded by former Ironman champion Paula Newby-Fraser, offers custom weekend camps—from Idaho to Lake Placid to Hawaii—that include bike setup and videotaped swimming analysis. Ironman camps start at $795; custom ones start at $3,500. D.M.
Don’t cup your hands and glue your fingers together. Instead, relax your hands to create a half-inch space between each finger. “That way, your fingers are creating a web, and you’re pushing as much water as possible,” says Emily Mastin of the Triathlon Academy.
On an uphill climb, your quads are your main motor. Tap into their potential by keeping your heels pushed down and thinking about your pedal stoke as a triangle: the upper point is at 12 o’clock, and the two bottom points are at 5 and 8 o’clock. “Push through a 5, back to 8 then unweight the pedal to get back to 12.” Troy Jacobson explains. “Pulling up with your hamstrings—the 8-to-12 part—isn’t very efficient on a hill.”
Don’t land on you heel, which is the equivalent of putting on the brakes—you don’t get much momentum. Instead, try to land on a flat foot, then roll forward through your toes to maximize speed. “Pretend as if you’re running on eggshells,” Jacobson says.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Daisy -- My Little Triathlete

This is just a shout out to Daisy who finished her first real triathlon this morning! I am soooooo proud. She did it all by herself and she had fun the whole time! I almost cried while she was in the pool. I was so nervous (more than she was!) and so worried about how she'd get out of the 6 foot deep water and then get across the wet tile floor without slipping, but she did great. Kudos to all of the PowerKids volunteers who helped her. They were amazing, took her bike from her and racked it, even helped with her shoes! How come no one told me that kids triathlons are like Ironmans?

God I love her, I cannot tell you how proud I am!
Also, a shout out to all the other TRIgirls kids who raced -- especially the other first-timers Christopher M, Rylee D, and Reilly R.

Monday, May 26, 2008

New Swim Distance PR

Yes, I swam 7,000 meters today. Yet another distance PR. I think it was closer to 4.4 miles than 5 miles, but I'll take it. Especially since I hadn't planned on swimming alone. It took me 2 hours and 30 minutes.
I did 4 x 1,000 meter sets then at timed mile -- 1650....which was a PR (31 minutes)....then some odds and ends to make up the last bit. With shoulder pain, I did lots of kicking those last couple of 100's with a kick board.
More later, gotta run.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Swimming Straight

I couldn't make 4 swims this week, especially considering 2 of them were supposed to be 4,500 meters. So, today, I combined 2 workouts. The one hour non-stop swim and one of the 4,500 meter swims. I hope it will work, or go with the FLOW of my training as Coach G stresses.
I dropped off Redfish off in childcare at the Y and I had exactly 2 hours before I had to pick him up. I spent the first 10 minutes chatting with Patty and Lil' Sis Jessica...then a good solid 1:45 minute swim straight. I stopped a few times to adjust my goggles. Tried to imagine doing that while I floated on my back in the Bay. Hopefully, I won't need to on race it wasn't so easy.
Swam by myself for about 30 minutes. Then shared a lane with Lona. She left, then Lynn was next. Swam alone again until Wendy joined me. I have no idea who these people are. I just like to introduce myself to the person I'm swimming with. Seems to make things go better. Then I swam by myself again. Anyway, it was a LONG swim. Afterwords, I had about 3.5 minutes left for a shower, before I had to pick Redfish up again. I think I'm gonna be fine on race day. And looks like the open water swim is rescheduled for next Friday, so hopefully, i'll work out my wetsuit issues then.
Oh, one more thing. I guess this shouldn't be a footnote, but it's own post. But, oh well. more later. I've decided to do Ironman Florida in 2009. And, I'm going to do it for a cause....more on that later. In the meantime, can I just tell you that Chlorine is not a cologne, but I feel like it's my new scent. Should I layer something over it?

Double Dip

This week, instead of a super long Thursday night workout, I tried something new. John Pace's Masters swim at the Y. Followed by Annie's TRIgirl workout. Both workouts focused on speed, so needless to say, I slept well Monday night.
Last night I swam 2600 at masters in the fast lane. Long story as to why I was there....but I'll tell you, It wasn't because I'm fast.
Off to the pool AGAIN now. ...not sure how long I'll last. I still smell like chlorine from last night! Confession: I've been using swimming as an excuse not to run. This has got to stop, or I won't be able to call my self a triathlete anymore!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

TRIgirl Style

New distance PR in swimming tonight. 6,000 yards....or is it meters? I can never remember. Got a giant charlie horse when I got out of the pool!
You know I was tired, because how much I would have loved to swim the extra 400 so I could say I swam 4 miles. Well, not tonight anyway. If I did another flip turn I was gonna be sick! And I'm getting so tired of the smell of Chlorine. ON another thought, maybe I would have made the extra 400 if I hadn't had wine and appetizers before I started? True TRIgirls style, right?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Beautiful Day for Triathlon

A beautiful, perfect day. I didn't quite make it the 20 miles on the bike, but figure I was closer to 18 miles. A short run-off, and then rushing home to meet the sitter. Mr. Preschool got to ride with me today! And I'm not sure if it was because I'm just fast or his bike was malfunctioning, but I actually smoked him! Hey, I'll take what I can get.
Then, off to Daisy's soccer game. Her team is full of so many players she didn't get to play much, but she had lots of fun.
Then a nap. Then the park, dinner. And some bike riding -- for her. Trying to get her ready for the big race -- her first real triathlon, the PowerKids Triathlon. Luckily they are allowing training wheels!
I was thinking lots about all my teamates and friends doing Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon and White Lake Half today. I'm glad they had a beautiful day for a race.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

UR's Julie Rechel on her Future as a Triathlete

This is a cross post with my other blog, the Near West End News.

I was lucky to talk briefly with Julie Rechel, the Richmonder who won the Twenty-12 Talent Identification Triathlon in Tuscaloosa, AL, last week. I asked her if she had any idea, going into this race, that she might win it. “I had no idea!” she said. “I looked up all my competition — and I was going to be so excited if I was in the first half (of the finishers). It really took me by surprise.”
Rechel is a distance runner at UR who is described on the UR website as a three sport athlete. The three sports? Swimming, running, tennis. Since this was a talent competition to scout for potential triathletes for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, you’d think that it would drastically change her plans. But it hasn’t. “Right now the only thing it changes is that I’ll now race U23 Elite.” She says if the Olympics are in her future, it is far in the future.
Rechel is both talented and humble. “I’m not particularly outstanding at any one (event) but I”m good at them all. I can can improve in each, but there is not one that stands out as my weakness.” In training she said she’s been focusing on the bike leg, biking mostly on Old Gun Road and Riverside Drive, and she’s glad she spent so much time on the bike because that is what ended up winning it for her. It didn’t hurt that she had a personal best on the run either.“I had a phenomenal run. I dropped 1 minute off the best run of my life.” Previously, at a 5K that was not part of a triathlon, her best time was 18.52 but in this race even after the swim and pushing herself on the bike, she came in at 18.39.
“I love this sport of triathlon. I love the training. I love the athletes”

Monday, April 28, 2008

National Duathlon Festival Comes to Richmond

I just want to say it is a sad, sad thing when you have National Championships in a city and the local newspaper just barely covers the event -- burying the news in the middle or back of the sports section.
I mean first I looked to see if there was any coverage on the front page of Sunday's paper. Nope. Then, I looked on the front page of the sports section. Nope. I never did find the coverage from Saturday's off road race at the National Duathlon Festival, until I looked it up online. And today, the coverage for the National's road race was buried in the back of the sports section.
Meanwhile, at Inside Triathlon online, they are also covering the winners. I guess it is just one more reason why I'm not a fan of the local paper.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Shark Kills Triathlete in Ocean Swim

My deepest sympathy goes out the the family of Dave Martin tonight, a retired vetrinarian and traithlete who was killed by a shark yesterday in off of the coast of California.

SOLANA BEACH, Calif. - It was a perfect spring morning for an ocean
With the sun shining in a clear blue sky, Dave Martin and his triathlon
training group swam past the surfers at Tide Beach on their regular Friday
course through cool glassy waters about 150 yards out.
Somewhere below, a
shark — presumed to be a great white — was lurking, possibly on the hurt for a
seal or sea lion. It struck around 7 a.m., charging at Martin from below and
lifting him vertically out of the water, both legs in its jaws, its serrated
teeth slicing deep, fatal gashes.
"They saw him come up out of the water, scream 'shark,' flail his arms and
go back under," said Rob Hill, a member of the Triathlon Club of San Diego, who
was running along the beach when the attack happened.
Martin, 66, was rescued
by two swimmers who had been 20 yards ahead. They raced back and dragged him to
shore in a little cove shielded by 50-foot bluffs. A lifeguard truck took Martin
up to a lifeguard station on the bluff where he was pronounced dead at 7:49
A terrifying but rare attackMartin, a retired veterinarian, was the
victim of a terrifying but exceptionally rare attack. Only person worldwide died
in a confirmed, unprovoked shark attack last year, though the annual average in
recent years is about four, according to the University of Florida's
International Shark Attack File.

Friday, April 25, 2008

USAT Duathlon National Championships in Richmond this Weekend

Note: This is a cross post from my other blog, the Near West End News.

I'm hoping that Redfish and Daisy want to go see the USAT Duathlon National Championships this weekend. If I can convince them, I have a hunch we will all come home inspired!

The USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships come to Richmond this weekend. If you are not racing, consider volunteering or being a spectator. This is a huge two-day format featuring off-road events on Saturday and on-road events on Sunday. The National Duathlon Festival has attracted a broad range of athletes from far and wide plus the opportunity to watch the winner of national championships cross the finish line. Here is the official schedule and the all important road closures.

Official Schedule
Saturday, April 26, 2008
7:30 a.m. Off-Road Youth Age Group Races (7-8, 9-10, 11-12) –1k run, 4k bike, 1k run 8:30 a.m. Off-Road Junior Age Group Races (13-15, 16-19) — 5k run, 10k bike, 2.5k runSport Race (non-championship) — 5k run, 10k bike, 2.5k run 10:30 a.m. Off-Road Championships –10k run, 30k bike, 5k run
Sunday, April 27, 2008
7 a.m. Age Group Races — 10k run, 40k bike, 5k run 9:30 a.m. Elite Races –10k run, 40k bike, 5k run - Draft Legal 11:30 a.m. Youth Nationals (7-8, 9-10 and 11-12) — 1k run, 5k bike, 1k run 12 Noon Junior Nationals (13-15 and 16-19) — 5k run, 20k bike, 2.5k run - Draft Legal 1 p.m. Sport Race (non-championship) –5k run, 20k bike, 2.5k run

Road Closures for Friday, April 25th
2nd Street from Byrd Street to Lee Bridge closed – 7:00 p.m. Friday through 1:00 p.m. Sunday

Road Closures for Saturday, April 26th
2nd Street from Byrd Street to Lee Bridge closed – all day.Byrd Street between 2nd Street and 3rd Streets closed – all day.
Road Closures for Sunday, April 27th
2nd Street from Byrd Street to Lee Bridge closed – Until 1:00 p.m.Byrd Street between 2nd Street and 3rd Streets closed – Until 1:00 p.m.The curb lane of the Lee Bridge closed in both directions — 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Riverside Drive closed from Lee Bridge access ramps to 42nd Street — 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.42nd Street from Riverside Drive to Springhill Avenue partially closed, police present to monitor and control — 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Parking on both sides of 42nd Street prohibited — 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Running, Change up the Speed. Variety is the Key.

Verticle Man, over at Life is a TRI, linked to this great article in the NY Times about runner, and Olympic hopeful Sara Hall and how she is breaking into new territory with her training. I will never be a fast runner, and seriously wonder if any of the drills she offers will help me as long as I continue to use the Galloway Method of combining running and walking, but still, the information, especially the video, was very informative.
Most of all, I just love to watch her run. She is beautiful, like a gazelle. And you can tell she is a runner, just by looking at her walk. She covers everything from form, to ice baths, to distances and why she runs differently and different speeds on different days. Check it out.
Last month they featured another great article on swim form and training that was also hugely helpful to me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Local Athlete Wins Twenty -12 Talent Identification Triathlon

Congratulations to local University of Richmond student, and Olympic hopefu Julie Rechel, who placed first (female) in the Twenty-12 Talent Identification Triathlon in Tuscaloosa, this weekend. Luckily, I get to cover it on both my blogs!

Julie Rechel, age 20, of the University of Richmond, finished as the first place female at the Twenty-12 Talent Identification Triathlon in Tuscaloosa, Alabama this weekend. She won the race with at time of 1:06:57.Sunday’s race was a chance for USA Triathlon or USAT officials to scout and develop talent for the Olympic Games in 2012 or 2016.
Rechel, a student at the University of Richmond, said she didn’t expect to be out front on the bike in the women’s race. “I just held on and brought it home on the run,” she said.

Swimming, It's Over Already?

Good news: After last night's workout, I was sad it was over. It seemed to short (although it was an hour), and I was ready for more. That is a really good sign, since I need to get used to swimming 2 plus hours often. I just love the University of Richmond pool. It is so deep and so clear! The workout just flew by.
I swam with a speedy group of TRIgirls: Karen B. and Shelly, and coach G. It was perfect. Karen challenged us to go faster but, I wasn't lagging behind either. Last season, I had trouble keeping up with Karen and Shelly, so I see this as a good sign. I really didn't feel fast at all. Funny how who you swim (or bike, or run) with changes your perspective on how fast you are! Last Thursday at Masters, I probably swam slower but felt faster as I kept lapping the boys in my lane. Last night, I was faster, but felt slower, as I was challenge to keep up.

Thursday night, Trigirl 40 and I are aiming for 4 miles....including Masters and then staying late to complete the rest. This will be a new distance PR, so I'm excited to see how I'll manage.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bay Swim in the Pool, I'm Getting Dizzy

I am having my own internal battles with the Chesapeake Bay swim. Things are coming along. The date is fast approaching. Mentally, the training in the pool is tough. I can't wash the clorine away. I'm getting good a flip turns though! But feeling dizzy from so many.

Ironwoman Canada, is giving me lots of good Mojo. I think, slowly, I am earning her respect. It means alot to me. Swam masters on Thursday, then swam another hour straight. Still no training schedule. Decided I don't really need one. I'll manage.
I'll try to squeeze in nearly 4 miles this Thursday. A solid 4 next week. Then 4.5 then 5. Then taper.
Friday nights in May will now all be spent swimming in the James River. Still need to figure out if I can manage in a wetsuit, or if I'll go without.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Riding Through the Storm

It's true. I've been in a bit of a rut.
Which is why riding at Pony Pasture yesterday put me in a good mood. It reminded me of why I ride, and why I love being a team leader for TRIgirls. Riding a 5 mile loop along the river with herons, ducks, geese and kayakers would put anyone in a good mood. Riding with a new team of baby pinks reminds me of my first days of getting into the sport. Where 15 miles seemed like a long ride. Speed wasn't important. Everything seemed new and intriguing. And plenty of smiles were going around just at the sheer joy of being out and about at the beautiful river in perfect weather. Well, it did rain for a few minutes, but no one's complaining.
And, after racing home from my ride to get Daisy to her soccer game on time, only to hear a severe thunderstorm warning on the way, and having the game get called as the lightning started to strike, made me thing of the noble triathletes on my team, who were still out on the road, on Route 5, and in Goochland, biking. And running 16 miles all over Richmond. Getting flats, and getting buzzed by big guys in big trucks with big wheels....all in that same scary thunderstorm. By the way, Daisy and Redfish were cowering in the back seat of my car, holding their fingers to their ears, looking very scared. And THEY were in a CAR! So, this is an ode to those of you who managed to cycle through that storm or run through it. I promise you on race day, nothing will be quite as scary. And now, you are ready for anything!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Technological Doping: What is the Cost?

I recently came across a really interesting article about technological doping, thanks to another local blogger, Jon Becker. Basically, Speedo's new high-tech LZR Racer swimsuit makes swimmers feel like they are swimming downhill. The suit uses NASA technology, and sound comparable to wearing a high end tri-specific wetsuit -- It gives compression, and a bit of buoyancy. So the question is, is it really technological doping if anyone can buy one? Do we want to make swimming about equipment, like so many other sports are? Actually, until now, swimming was the one sport where equipment doesn't matter. Only what Mother Nature gave you and what you do with it matters.
I have an idea. Fair is fair, lets make everyone swim naked.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why You Shouldn't Store Things in your Bra When You Run

I just g0t back from the doctor. I know, I know. You are saying AGAIN! I'm sure you think I'm a hypochondriac. And, maybe I am. BUT, wait until you hear this story. ANNNN I am talking to you!
Do not put things in your bra while you are running! I repeat, do not! Apparently one doesn't have nerve endings there.....or else I would have realized that I was tearing my skin to little bits with each step of my 10K. Ok, let me back track a little bit.
Based on some advice I received (will not mention names)....but I will say she is the Notorius Bra Stuffer, I put my asthma inhaler in my sports bra during the 10K. I could have put it in my back pocket, but, well, it looked kinda funny back there. Do I have to admit here that Mr. Preschool actually warned me not to do this, for this exact reason! Thank God I have a sense of humor, right. Because when I got home and took a shower, I had the most gory gash. I will not mention any more details. Except to say, that it hurt like crazy when I took a shower. I swear I thought that was vinegar coming out of the showerhead it hurt so much. And, now it is now infected. And, booo hoooo, pity party for me, my doctor says I can not do the open water swim in the James River on Sunday. I am so sad. I've been looking forward to this for weeks. Even took the day off of work to go. On the bright side, at least I have a funny story to tell.
Would you believe me if I told you my (male) doctor told me he did the same thing?! I have his number if you want it. Apparently, either this is a common mistake!?! or my doctor was really going out of his way to make sure I didn't feel bad. And, he threw in a tetnus shot for good measure.
Oh, well. It is what it is.