Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kona Eastside Tri - Race Report

Race breakfast wouldn't quite go down. Had my 16 oz. G'ade, power bar, Ezekiel english muffin/almond butter 2 hours before race start, but had to pass on the banana.

No Heart Rate or Garmin data today. Accidentally left it at home (Boo!) when I was diligently double-checking it to make sure everything worked. Ugh!  Hate when good intentions go bad!  Today I raced completely blind.  No Heart Rate.  No cadence.  No speed.  No pace. 

On the way to the race site it was misting rain -- was kind of worried about the streets, but they were dry by the time we rolled. 

The Swim was okay.  My arms and shoulders grew tired fairly quickly today, which is not the norm. Seemed like I was better the first 400 and got noticeably tired on that last stretch. The last leg of the swim, I really had to think about kicking... my legs were sinking if I didn't -- they were just tired.  I know I swim better than this, so I'm trying not to be bummed.  I did a lot this week (including adding strength training to my schedule) and this was just was supposed to be just for fun.  Right?  Right. 

The bike was tough going out; horrible headwind (I think worse than G'ston). To top it off, I must have knocked something out of whack with the derailleur on my bike.  I couldn't  get into the big ring for quite a while; had to keep futzing with it and trying over and over.  finally after about 15 minutes I got it to switch and I just stayed there.  Coming back was a lot more fun;  nice tailwind and a top speed of 29 mph (going by the girl I was leap frogging and met post race).  I drank 20 oz of EFS on the ride. 

As per my usual after a bike, the first 1.5 miles of the run pretty well sucked.  My calves just would not loosen up, so that was pretty annoying. I was a not-so-happy-cramper.  I decided, reluctantly, to run 4:1 intervals so my calves could relax a little. The first 3 miles were on the pavement, the last mile was in the grass around the lake. I could tell I slowed even more here. The ground was cracked and dry and I almost "ate it" twice tripping in the holes in the ground. Grrrrr!

Here's how it washed out:

Swim 600m
14:47 (2:27/100m) <--- suckage -- should be 2:05

T1: 1:06
Bike 16 miles
56:03 (17.1 mph) <---- happy because this was tough.

T2: 1:26
Run 4 miles:
54:13 (13:33 pace) <---- Not a "race day pace" but surprised it wasn't worse, because it felt worse.

Total 2:07

Good enough for 2nd Place, Athena!  I actually had to beat someone in 3rd place to earn it!

FYI:  Took 1st place after the bike, then dropped to 2nd after the run! One day my run will improve!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Surprisingly Well!

I have to do a little celebrating!  I made it out to run last night (I was determined... no matter what!).   I was kind of dreading it, since I haven't run since Lonestar back 17 days before.  That's a while to go without running.

I hit the road last night and the biggest difference with my heart rate was even though I was pushing at 155-160, I didn't physically feel like I was.  In the past 160 would quickly get out of control and jump to 170-something and I'd hit my max and have to start walking.  Last night was a very controlled run.  Nothing got away from me. That was awesome.

This morning I had spin, which was normal spin. I think this instructor's favorite phrase was "pick up the pace!"  That's all he kept saying.. over, and over, and over again!

I did a 30 minute run after and once again felt really good!

This morning, Coach texted me to find out what my 5k PR was, because he thought I might have beat it on my "easy" run last night.  That PR was was back in January at the El Paso 5K.  I came sooooo close and probably would have with my regular :30 walk breaks (he had me doing 1 minute walk breaks for my first run back).  He said that PRing back in January and doing what I did last night was progress.  That makes me hopeful.  We're also thinking perhaps I need more of a taper from running before my races.  I think so... in fact, I've thought that for a while in my gut, but really had no basis to justify it.  

Later today I'm strength training then wrapping up with TriSwim.  :)

An all-around "Yay" for happy training days.  Gotta celebrate them and remember them when you have the sh*tty ones!

Adult Truths

My boss sent me this... too funny and most of it absolutely the truth!

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

24. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where's my Game?

After 2 very light weeks of training, it's supposed to be "game on" this week.  I admit I needed a slight break from training, as much as my family needed to have me take a break!  For the next 6 weeks I have different goals outside of racing, focusing on nutrition and strength training. Try to get leaner and stronger before I start training for Redman.  It's really a challenge to do both, and train hard for an event. I always struggle with this dilemma because I must have a tri in the future to focus on in order to keep some consistency. 

I started Masters Swimming today  Me + Masters Swimming =  very entertaining.  :)

Funny story... or maybe not so funny.  Your call.  We have more than a couple people in every lane.  We "circle" swim most of the time... like 99% of the time.  So this morning it was just me and Ben in our lane and we were doing 100's on our intervals.  I swim a bit faster than Ben (except when he's sneaky and has his fins on).  I came back to the wall to start my Intervals and coach says, "you're splitting the lane now."  Meaning I'm staying on my side and he's on his side.  I get to the second 100 and I've already forgotten I'm NOT circle swimming.  I come back, in Ben's lane, and completely collide with him.  Poor Ben!  He's so nice... he even apologized for my mistake!!!  Something just goes automatic when I swim intervals. Haha... wish everything was so "automatic."

Nutrition has been pretty good.  I find it helpful to journal for periods of time to make sure I'm in the vicinity of my goals.  I've been a little short on calories and off by a few grams of fat and carbs here and there, but the  fat sources are "healthy" so I'm not sweating a few grams.

The real problem is getting the darned weight training in.  I know how freakin' important it is, and I only have until June to get moving with it.  I'm trying to work it so my weight training days fall on the days before I swim or bike (so I have recovery days). 

Must. Lift Tomrrow. 

I think I will try to do something at Lunch time.  Might even be able to do it after I spin/run in the morning.  Fitting it in will be much easier once Cassie's after-school stuff is over... but then that's a little late.  Have to get on it.

I'm actually racing this weekend, just for fun, doing Kona Eastside. :)

Sunday is a 130 mile ride for a bunch of our tri family who are doing IMTX.  I'll ride a portion of the course and provide some support along the way.  

NASCAR Driver Tri's

From Competitor.com

NASCAR Driver Ready For His Debut Triathlon

Published: Apr 26th 2011 2:31 PM UTC by News
NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip, who plans to compete in this weekend’s Monticelloman Triathlon in Virginia, says endurance sports motivate him to stay fit.

Michael Waltrip is enjoying his ownership role with his NASCAR Sprint Cup organization this year, but he’s keeping busy with some outside interests, too.

Although he’s running only a limited NASCAR schedule, he’s getting in plenty of hours of competition. Next up on his schedule is the Monticelloman Olympic Triathlon in Lake Monticello, Va., on Sunday — which comes just hours after his two NASCAR Sprint Cup teams race Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.

Waltrip has competed in several marathons, including the 2000 Boston Marathon. The triathlon Sunday includes a 0.9-mile swim course, a 24-mile bike course and 6.2-mile running course around Lake Monticello.

The competition comes a week after Waltrip tested a Ferrari in France for the 79th running of June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans — the world’s most famous endurance race. He and Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman will join Rui Aguas as the three drivers in the No. 78 AF Corse Ferrari in the GTE class.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fab Food Find - Cha-cha-cha Chia

Chia seeds.  I know, they look weird.  But don't hate the Chia.  It's good for you!  And no, these aren't exactly the same Chia seeds found on the clay forms of the "As Seen on TV" products.  Those seeds are not FDA approved. 

Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants (more than blueberries!) and are a sources of protein, fiber (more than bran!), calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and copper.  

One blogger source says, Chia "contains 6 times more calcium, 11 times more phosphorus, and 4.6 times more potassium per 100g of edible portion than milk, and have 6 times more iron per 100g of edible portion than spinach, 1.8 times more iron than lentils, and 2.4 times more iron than beef liver."

Chia seeds are also considered to be hydrophilic, meaning they can absorb large amounts of water quickly. Great for aiding athletes with hydration.

Eaten raw, chia seeds are also a great source of essential fatty acids, offering a healthy balance of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. 

Chia is easy-to-use and doesn't require grinding or prep.  You can simply toss a tablespoon or two into whatever your making.  The texture in your mouth is like poppy seeds with a tiny crunch.

Admittedly, it's somewhat difficult to discern what is fact or fiction above the Chia Seed fad.  I choose to eat them for me because it's a source of so many things my body needs... especially the Iron. 

My favorite way to enjoy Chia is making a Chia Pudding:

2 Cups Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 Cup Chia Seed
2 T. Agave nectar (or to taste)
1 tsp. Vanilla (or to taste)
Dash of salt
Optional:  Couple Tablespoons of slivered almonds.

Mix all the ingredients together and keep the mixture in the fridge.  You'll think you have the recipe wrong, because it will be so liquidy.  Stir the mixture every 10-15 minutes over the course of an hour and let it set overnight.  The next day the seeds and almond milk will have congealed to a rice pudding consistency. 

Be brave... try something new!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Food Journal 4/20

Yesterday's plan changed, since I wound up going to TriSwim.  I did grab a small slice of meatloaf before I left to tide me over and after swim some of us headed to Chick-Fil-A and I grabbed their chargrilled chicken and fruit salad.  Not bad for 22 g of Protein and 210 Calories.  As usual though, the "light" berry balsamic dressing was 130 Cals for the packet.  It's a good sized salad... I used the whole darned thing and it wasn't very good.  Super-duper sweet!!!  Would do the salad again, but not the dressing. 

Still ended yesterday with 1,310 Calories, 131 g. Carbs, 37 g Fat and 122 g of protein.

I was a super-duper good protein girl!

Here's the plan for today... boss brought me some leftover stuffed cabbage from their Passover Seder.  I haven't had good stuffed cabbage like that since my Gram was alive!  Yum!

I may or may not take a 1 hour run tonight.  Feeling like I should with a 160+g of carbs for the day.   

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to Pull

Progress and Plans

Yesterday was my second swim since my 70.3 race.  The first was a group swim -- not that it doesn't count, but it's a different mentality going in.

I was not feeling the swim session at first.  Just felt like I slogging through the water.  After my warm-up I started feeling better -- thank goodness, because I had 5 sets of descending intervals for my main set.

In the end I did awesome -- and was happy.  It's been a while since I've swam in the 25 yard pool, so I knew times would be faster, but I did PR at 1:45/100 yd. and that was my last interval of the night after swimming 2800 yds.  I could barely break 2 minutes last year, so I'm making progress.  I love when something happens so I can actually see it.

Some of my race plans have changed. I added a 2 mile swim race to my schedule and changed my race at Redman to the 70.3 distance again.  I know I can do better than I did last year.  Not 24 hours after my race, coach told me my time-to-beat for Redman... I'll take that as a hint I should be dropping the full aquabike and take on the 70.3 again.  I know he's right.  He generally is.  LOL  I just wanted a Summer of light running.  Yeah, it was laziness making the choice.  It gets hot here, dangit!

Frankly, training for the 70.3 is easier on my home-work-family balance.  I'm going to be making some changes to my schedule as soon as my Daughter's schedule permits.  I think it will go something like this:

Monday (AM) Masters Swim

Tuesday (AM) Spin & Weights

Wednesday (AM) Weights
Wednesday (PM) Bike/Brick?  (Unless Hubs wants to Brick)

Thursday (AM)Spin & Weight

Friday (AM) Masters Swim

Saturday (AM) Long Run

Sunday (AM) Long Bike

I really need another day of Weights.  Not sure where to fit it in.

Friday is my "Off" day with having just a swim.  Works on paper.  Just have to see how it works in real life!  Now with 2 triathletes in the family, we have to figure out how everyone gets their time!

Food Journal 4/19

Keep in mind I am in a lighter training mode, so I don't require as much "fuel" as I do when regularly training.  Also, with my slower thyroid, in order to have weightloss I have to be eating substantially less.  After having my RMR tested that number should be somewhere around 1400 calories per day, but with capacity limitations, it's sometimes less.  What's here is what's planned for the day, but sometimes it changes. 

Yesterday I added an apple and 3/4 C (instead of 1/2 C. Cottage Cheese).  I also added a 1/2 T. of Dark Chocolate Almond butter and few dried cranberries, bringing my calories for yesterday up to about 1280.  Kind of blew my salt intake out of the water for the day.  Ugh.  Working on that.  My target is no more than 1600 and I finished the day at just over 2k. 

Here's today!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Food Journal

For the next 6-8 weeks my blog is going to have a lot of boring nutrition focus.  I'll still be training for tri, but I'm going to be changing up my training schedule a bit with a little more swimming, in the way of Masters and the addition of weight training. It seems the new thyroid meds might be working... though I hate to be hopeful so quickly.  I'm down 10 lbs. since starting them, and no mystery weight gain after the 70.3 like what happened with Redman. 

Today I have a 3,000 yd swim for my exercise.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ironman 70.3 Texas - The Race Report

Race prep really started the week before. I had been making some upgrades to my bike in the way of wheels, hubs and a bottom bracket.  I thought I was pretty well set until my bike check ride.  My bottom bracket just felt tight; making it harder to pedal.  Initially I didn't worry much about it because I thought it was just the day's wind that was causing resistance, but after talking to Darren and him taking a look at it, we opted to return the old bottom bracket to my setup... at least until after the race.  The hubs and bracket all need time to break-in.  The grease inside is thick and you need to put on some miles to break it down a bit.  So after replacing the new bracket with the original, my bike was ready to roll.

On Friday I took off of work and headed down to the race site for packet pickup and one more bike check ride.   I was 5th in line for pickup and it went smoothly.  I hit the expo and spent way too much money on IM70.3 stuff, but I figure it was my first IM event!  Plus, they actually had stuff that fit me, which is generally a challenge, so that helped me make my decision to indulge. :) 

...Of course none of it could be worn, if I didn't officially finish.

I had packed everything up on Saturday and dropped my bike off Saturday afternoon. So all I needed to do Sunday morning was grab my bags and head out to the race.  Surprisingly, I slept extremely well on both Thursday and Friday woke and checked the weather.  I knew it was supposed to be as high as 88 degrees (Someone said it hit 91) and the winds were 18-20 with gusts up to 25.  Of course this info wasn't a great way to start my race day, but I just said to myself, I can't change it, so why waste the energy worrying.  *sigh*

I got to transition early; I hate being rushed and I like to be there and have more than enough time to go over my stuff a few times... not to mention go to the potty several times.  I think my second biggest worry in addition to making the cut-off, was having GI issues.  I changed my nutrition in training for this race and and switched to EFS and pieces of Clif bars.  That ultimately seemed to minimize my issues, but you just never know for sure until you run it through an actual race.

Nerves in my stomach kept me from eating my entire pre-race breakfast, but I was able to choke down 50% of it before I had to stop. Did what I could, you know?  I have limitations. :)

Starting in the last wave at 8:40 am, I was going to have a lot of time to kill.  I hung out mostly by myself pre-race until I headed out to Palm Beach to stage for the swim.  I really needed to wrap my head around what had to be done in order to make the cut-off.  I knew it could be close if the conditions became more than challenging or showed a marked increase in difficulty.  It was going to be a windy day no matter how you looked at it, but I was already having difficulty just assessing what kind of wind it was.  If my bike was bad, I would likely not make the cut-off.  When I say bad, I meant 4hrs or more.  Most of my rides have been between 3:25 and 3:30, but I had one Galveston ride that haunted me with a 4:10 ride of the course.  It was a horrible day my mind just couldn't let go of.

I had to sit with that a while and accept that doing my best might not be good enough, but that it would still be better than not going at all.  If I gave it my all and failed I wouldn't be letting anyone down; not even myself.  There is no shame in failing at this kind of thing, and you can't let ego control you.  Truly it was out of my hands by the time Sunday came around, and I just needed to keep faith that I would have the grace with me to succeed.

Coach says, "the actual race is your victory lap for all the training hours you put in."  He says a lot of stuff that makes me think he's just flat-out nuts. But in the end, what he says, makes sense.

I hung out with some of the BAMily before the swim start, and that helped lighten me up, which was great.  I had been thinking a little about Elysha and how Lonestar was one of her favorite races.  It always makes me both a happy and sad when I do one of "her" races.  She was with me in spirit and my thoughts went to her often throughout the day.  I could hear her in my mind, "...don't take this stuff SOOOO seriously."  LOL

Well, it seemed like a a half-day before my wave, started.  I was excited and nervous... guess I don't have to keep saying that.  You get the picture by now!  After 7 trips (Yes that many!) to the potty, there was nothing left to stir in my gut, so I felt safe.  We all zipped up our wetsuits and headed to the staging area. When my waved was staged I went right to the front of the wave.  The announcer asked me where I was from and when I entered the water, he announced me as "Local she-ro Donna Toler from League City!"  He also announced another BAMily member on her wave start, so that that was pretty fun!

I stayed right in the front for the swim start.  I knew this would mean people would be swimming over me, bumping into me, but I didn't want to be in the back and waste time.  I needed every minute I could get on the swim would be all the more time I'd have to finish the run.

Countdown, 5-4-3-2-1 and the horn goes off!  I start swimming and sighting on the Home Depot across the highway as planned.  I was told not the sight on the buoys because they were not in a straight line and I'd be doing more swimming than necessary.  My first leg out before the turn was okay.  Got beat up a little, but not terrible, especially since there were 154 women in my wave!  I made it past the first turn buoy and I noticed the current was trying to push me out to the right, so it made it a challenge to swim straight.  I did do a little extra swimming and by the time I was about 500 from the Colonel Paddle Boat, it seemed like the longest.  Stretch.  Ever. It felt like I was standing still and just ceased moving forward.  It also seemed like the water suddenly got a little rougher.  I knuckled down and focused on my stroke, keeping my elbows up and finishing and gliding and kicking as consistently as I could.  At the end of the swim, about the last 200 to the ramp out, I found a burst of energy and noticed I was passing caps of 2 different colors.  I guess that kind of fueled my confidence a bit.  I felt sure I had a great swim.  It was actually 45 minutes... was hoping for low 40's, but I did do some extra swimming.  I was 68th out of the water in my wave of 154, that means less than half the women in my wave passed me!  I was up the ramp, stripped and to my bike just like I planned.

The swim was a 2:22/per 100m -- an improvement over my Redman pace of 2:31/per 100m and Galveston was a way more challenging body of water.

I took a 4+ minute transition reapplied sunscreen and made sure I had everything twice.  I hit the bike course and started with my nutrition going into a strong headwind out to the seawall for the out-and-back course.  Once on the seawall I tried to take cues from the windsocks and flags to gauge what my plan would be on the race.  It appeared to be a direct cross wind...not really a complete tailwind or headwind. In fact it was different than any other day I had ridden the course! After all that riding I did down there to learn the wind, it was totally different on race day.  Go figure!  Gotta laugh at it. 

I decided to ride at my heart rate and cadence, even if it meant people passing me.  I'm still a little unsure where my heartrate should be on the bike now, since after getting the iron infusion it my heart rate is running consistently lower around 135-140, where the same effort before the infusion had me at 145-150.  That's a good thing.  Same effort, lower heart rate, means longer endurance!  I tried to keep my cadence at 80 into the wind -- anything higher and I'd have nothing left for the way back (I learned this lesson on that 4+ hour nightmare of a practice ride!).  It was really hard to be disciplined here, because the bike is where you have opportunity to make-up time. Time I needed for the run.  Knowing doing anything different would have been a risky, I stuck to my guns and raced smart and not as fast as I could.  Truly, I'm not racing anyone but mysel.  I just needed to finish well.  "FINISH" being the operative word.  I settled for a 14 mph average outbound. I wasn't real happy about it and was praying for a tailwind on the way back.  I still couldn't tell just how much of a tailwind anyone had on the return.  People didn't look happy coming back.  I saw lots of flats too.  Word from one of the volunteers was someone dropped tacks on the race course, right before the San Louis Pass bridge.  How awful someone was to do that!?!

When I made the turnaround and saw the time, I knew I was still okay with the cut off, but if I had the same ride back as I did going out, I might be in trouble, so I really couldn't relax just yet.  You can imagine how happy I was to find I had a cross-tailwind after the turn-around.  I was excited -- why wasn't anyone else?  Yay!!!  While it had me feeling a more positive, I knew I still had to be disciplined about my effort. I did my best and still kept my cadence around 80 for most of the way back and let the momentum carry me a bit.  When I got closer to the end, I upped my cadence to 85-90 to try and relax and spin my legs to get ready for the run.

Let me tell you, When I turned off the seawall to head back to transition, people must have thought me nuts!  I let loose a loud, "Whoohoooo!"  I was so happy to have a complete and full-on tailwind and to be done with the bike and riding easily.  I wrapped up my nutrition and took my feet out of the pedals and stretched my legs a little bit.  My nutrition and hydration had went well on the bike and I felt pretty good.  Using my second watch as a timer to remind me to stuff my pie-hole with nutrition or hydration was really helpful and worked very well!

My bike was 3:42, so I while missed my goal of averaging 16 mph for the total bike, I was happy that I rode smart. I averaged just 15:24 for the 56 miles and dropped to 99 of 154 in my division.  Looking at the times, it seems like the wind took about 10-15 minutes or from everyone, so I felt pretty good I'd made the right choices.

I made it to transition for another 4+ minutes and was on my way out for the run after asking a v'teer to slather my shoulders with sunscreen.  By now it was getting hot-hot-hot.  I knew I made up some time on the bike, but I couldn't be comfortable yet with the cut off.  I knew it would take me a full 5K lap to feel my legs get right.

I neglected to remember to program my Garmin, and this pretty much bugged the snot out of me. My plan was to run 5/1 for the first lap, 6/1, 7/1 and then all out for the last.  When I realized I hadn't programmed anything, I knew I just needed to be steady and consistent.  So I went with my regular half marathon plan of 1/2 mile run/:30 walk.  It was worked for me... half the time.  Sometimes I could only go for a quarter mile, sometimes I made it half mile.  I also knew knew some of it was in my head and it became a game to make me go the distance before my walk.  My heart rate was running around 150-155 at this time and I was hanging on, with the walk breaks bringing down my average HR I knew in my gut I would make it.

Initially I was dreading the 4 loop run course, but looking back it was fantastic seeing everyone so many times.  I mean I knew when I turned this corner, BAMily would be there... or Darren and Cassie would be there... or coach (OC) would be there.  It gave me something to focus on.  On my first lap I see my coach (the good cop) walking with her Hubs (they were was racing).  He was having challenges and she was helping him through.  I saw another seasoned BAMmer having trouble too, so I started to worry about just how hot it was on the course.  I tried to put it out of my mind and reminded myself I did well drinking and eating.  I just had to stay with my plan.

The first lap was okay.  I didn't expect a ton from the run since my regular pace for a half-marathon is around 13:30, and that's with taper and rest!  I expected around a 15 minute pace, and that's what I got: 15:05, 15:34, 15:43 and 15:13.  I did drop my fuelbelt on the course because my stomach was starting to turn and I couldn't take the pressure of the belt against me.  I dropped it by the curb and just told Darren to not let anyone pick it up.  I would pick up each of my 10 oz bottles of EFS, one at a time, and carry it while taking water from the aid stations. Against the rules, technically, but it's not like I was going for a podium spot.

After the second lap, I realized I would make the cut off!  Unless something went horribly wrong, I could definitely get the 10K done in under 1:45, even with pain.  I experimented with power walking because my knee was hurting if I ran, and found I could almost walk as fast as I could run by this point!  So I alternated my running intervals with power walking and running, to try to save what I had left of my knee.

Throughout the run I made the (sorta) mistake of dumping water on myself to keep cool. It felt good and was probably necessary to keep me cool, but I got my running shoes completely soggy and had the wrong socks on.  I could feel the balls of my feet being rubbed raw. :( 

By the time the third lap came around my knee was hurting and my glute was ready to shut down on me and my jaw got that I-want-to-vomit feel in it and became little worried.  I tried to slow down, just a little, to  figure out what was happening with my body.  I didn't know if it was my stomach or I had to potty... or what?  I just knew I wasn't well.

Every time I passed OC his encouragement would make me all emotional.  My breathing would get out of control and I just wanted to cry.  I can be such a emotional-wuss, plus "You never let the boys see you cry!"  I just had to keep focused.  I had my fun on the course too, but mostly, mostly, kept my focus.

When I had one more lap I passed OC and he said, "Give it your all!" "Stay with it!!"  To him I replied, "This is my all!"  I really felt like I had nothing left and really wasn't sure how I was still moving forward.  I passed him and had a short little uphill climb.  I walked that climb, then played a game with myself to try and run more, "from this rock to that trash can." And then, "from this curve to that playground" and then "from the last uphill past the BAMily!"  They were all there, cheering for me to finish my last lap. Everyone waited for me to finish; that was so nice of them!  I ♥ my BAMily!!  Just a little further to go, I saw a guy ahead of me, about 50 yards from the finish and something inside just turned on and I "chicked" him! LOL  Not very significant that that point in the day, but still funny.  I started running hard and passed him while I was screaming... it was like a complete release of everything I had been feeling throughout the day and it felt so good.  I had finished under the cutoff!  Whoohooo!!!

I was completely spent.  The V'teers wanted to take my chip but I felt like I was going to puke. I started dry heaving and the med tent took me in for a bit to make sure I was okay.  Within 15 minutes I had to pee! That was a good sign I wasn't dehydrated.  Just spent; I left it all on the course. 

The run dropped me to 119 of 154 in my age group, but I was really happy I could keep consistent when I also knew how much I hurt and how badly I felt.  Sounds funny, but after the swim and bike, it was a lot of effort to keep a 15+ minute pace!

When I came out of the Med Tent, OC also pointed out that I not only made the 8:30 cut-off, but that I also broke 8 hours!  I finished in 7:58!

As I left the finishers chute, OC pointed out Chris Lieto standing there. "Go get your picture with him!"  I was still bare-footed and oblivious after leaving the medi-tent.  I think said something to Lieto about taking a picture with me, "but don't touch me I'm all gross", and he obliged and posed for a pic.  Of course it's not true, but I've been telling everyone he was waiting there just for me. "Lieto was my carrot" LOL
Right After My Finish!
L-to-R:  Chris (Coach/OC), Me, Chris Lieto Ironman World Champion!, Melanie (Coach/Good Cop)

I have to say how great the volunteers were!  Always there with an encouraging word, I became fond of 2 of them.  One girl was just dancing up a storm.  On every lap I'd pass her twice.  On my last pass by her, I didn't see her! I was yelling, "Where's my girl?!?" and she comes out from behind the bushes, "Here I am!"  I thanked her for her fun, smiles and dancing, and told her this was my last pass.  There was also an older woman, sitting in a chair on the back-end of the course, by herself, just rooting everyone on so sincerely and non-stop.  I was so thankful for both of them!

What a race! Now it's time to reflect on what I want to work on next and improve.  Again, my running is at the top of my list.  For the next 8 weeks or so, I'm going to be focusing on strength training and hoping that will help me drop some more weight.  That's my biggest obstacle to getting faster and running better.

What I did right:

-Discipline pays off. I trained like I wanted to race, so I knew what to do in most circumstances.
-Rolled with the punches and figured out what would and wouldn't work for me with each challenge, without getting freaked.
-Improved my Swim.  Definitely!
-Race Nutrition overhaul was successful -- still could use tweaking as evidenced by my feeling crappy at the end.

What I screwed up with or "need assistance" with:
-Assessing the wind and determining different strategies.
-All around getting stronger on the bike and run.
-Don't forget to program Garmin for the run.  I'm an interval girl... I need that beep to shoot for!
-Developing alternate Nutrition plans.

Incidentally, Memorial Hermann was the sponsor of this race.  Memorial Hermann is also where I had my WLS.  If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be doing ANY of this crazy-ass stuff.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ironman 70.3 Texas

All I will say right now is, I did it and it was amazing.  I beat the cut-offs I was so desperately worried about with time to spare! 

I have a geeky race report coming, but want to wait until I can complete it with pictures.  It was a great day full of challenges.


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Holy Race Week!

Oh yes.  Make no mistake.  It's race week.  I have absolutely no focus.

I'm driving to work this morning, listening to my mojo mix.  These are the songs that get me pumped! 
But wait... why?  Why are my eyes welling up?  I'm such a gurl.  Geez!  Why? Why?! WHY?!?

I hate the rollercoaster.  Here I thought my valleys wouldn't be as low since it's my second time around. Stupid song... talking about not letting your insecurities take hold of you.  "You're made for more."  "Don't be afaid." Blah, blah, blah.

*deep breath*


I have to make a quick run to get a new bike mount for my Garmin.  I head to my favorite tri store where the parking lot is nuts at lunchtime and I swear the parking spots are made for Mini Coopers.  I have an FX35; it isn't big or small.... when people know how to park their vehicles!  Ugh!!

I had pulled into the spot and realized it just would not do.  I was 2/3's of the way in trying to get out without hitting the car next to me.  I looked behind me, looked at the car next to me, and in that 1/2 second, someone was behind me!  I didn't even see her.  I backed into her and my bike rack barely tagged her rental (of course) car.  It made a ding, but didn't crack the paint.

Thankfully, she was super nice. We exchanged info and kept insurance out of it.  She said she'd let me know if they caught it, but "please don't ignore my phone calls."  

My mind is everywhere else but where it needs to be today.

What makes this so bad? 

I have a backup camera on my car.

Can I get an "Oiy!"

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

4 Days to 70.3!

It probably goes without saying that this week is just a complete roller-coaster ride.  Being my second half ironman, I still get my pre-race lows, but I don't think they're quite as low as they were with the first one, which is good for me... and good for everyone involved. LOL

This is the week where everything on my body starts tweaking.  I feel little aches and pains where I haven't before, and they make me momentarily worry.

Yesterday was a short bike and negative split run.  I rode without any devices through the twisty-turns of my neighborhood.  I think I rode down every single street in my subdivision.  It was kind of fun, with the wind constantly changing direction.  Probably much like I'll experience race day, except it will be for longer stretches.  My run was alright, but then again, that's how my run is all the time; alright and slow.  LOL

My bike is running nice and smooth, especially with my Husband's handy-work at installing my new hubs and crank.  Wish I had a little more time to ride them before the race, but they are sooooo much better and smooth than my old ones.  My new wheels are rockin' too!  I'll have to post a final picture of my bike.  She looks completely different!

I'm really enjoying my TriSwim Class.  I've been going twice a week.  We do some pretty fun stuff and some workouts that aren't so Masters-ish.  We relay, make wave pools, do time trials.  We event do brick repeats... swim 300-400 and get out and run 3 laps on the small track!  I've been taking a stab at learning butterfly.  I've been doing 50m before I leave each class.  Last night I did it for my relay team.  Coach says I've got the rhythm down, I just need to work on the arms.  It's kind of fun learning the stroke that everyone is always afraid of.  (Shhhh, secret is backstroke is the one I really hate!).  TriSwim is always a challenge of some sort each week, and I can tell it's making me a better swimmer.

Tonight I go for a flush massage and then to my Chiro for an adjustment to get both my legs the same length again!  LOL  I need to pull out my checklist and set aside some time to gather all my gear together on Saturday, after my Husband's first tri.

I'm really proud of him.  Triathlon training, no matter the distance, is so mental.  For someone who never did anything athletic as a kid, to jump into triathlon is a pretty big deal, I think.  He was always a good cyclist, but to have to learn to swim from scratch and start running with some physical challenges, is pretty darned good.  He's not even done with Lonestar, yet he is thinking about an Olympic!  I'm excited to be able to sit-back and watch his success this weekend!!! 

Like the Silverlake swim did for me last year, the Kemah relay swim did for me this year.  I feel really great about my swim, good about my bike and I'm okay with my run.  Instead of focusing on chasing the cut-off all day long, which I'll be doing because I'm not fast and I'm in the last wave.  I'm choosing to focus on the best scenario, which is completely reasonable even if the conditions are a little challenging.  We're talking mostly about the wind.  This week has been a weird week weather-wise with a recent cold snap (51 degrees when I left for work this morning!), so it remains to be seen how race day will be.  Makes no matter, really.  I've been riding in Galveston every weekend, since the weather warmed-up enough for riding, with the exception of one. I've had great rides and I had one weekend that just challenged me relentlessly.  Good thing I've had more good than bad.  I will just have faith and pray for strength, staunch determination and persistence.

 Oh, and added a race to my schedule... Kona Eastside.  I'll probably do the Swim for Sophia in June as well.  :)

Monday, April 04, 2011

Weekend Racing Recap

This weekend was the Kemah Triathlon Festival.  I pretty much spent the weekend volunteering or racing -- as did the rest of my family!  Cassie did the Kids K, while I swam for a relay team on Sunday.  Hubs and Cass volunteered at one of the aid stations on the run course.  The swim was 1500 meters just 300 m shy of what I'll have to swim next Sunday in the 70.3.  I was pretty happy with my swim in that I was able to swim pretty straight.  Lots of big buoys this year that were extremely visible.  I even noticed distance marking on some of them.  The water was calmer than last year, but with a push to the right from the current -- which made it a little challenging to keep a straight line.

I wanted to finish my swim with a 2:00 pace, but finished in 35 minutes with a 2:08.  I really can't complain because it far exceeds my 2:31 pace at Redman last year, and that was a completely still lake!  I'm pretty happy with picking up 20 seconds per hundred for this distance. :)  It gave me a good idea of what's possible next weekend.

If I had to improve anything, it would be my kicking.  I have the hardest time remembering my kicking in the wetsuit.  Everything just floats!  I concentrated on it during my swim, but I would forget when I'd really start focusing on my pull and keeping my elbows up.

This wasn't really a "race" for any of my team... just a warm-up.  Our Biker injured his hamstring a few weeks ago and really didn't know how he was going to far, so played it safe to stave off further injury.  If he had been on (or I had done better!) we would have taken 3rd in the mixed relay.  Our runner pulled off a :57 10k... NICE!

It was pretty awesome to see the pros and elite athletes move so swiftly through transition.  It just amazes me.  Yoder and Naeth took first place for the Pros, but frankly, their all amazing to watch!