-->

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A New Way to Party (on a Road Bike)

You have got to watch this.  You won't regret the 5 minutes and 21 seconds!


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

2012 Houston Tri... I mean Aquathon at Towne Lake

Race Report...

The week after Redman was the Houston Triathlon. At the beginning of the tri season I signed up for the TX3 series put on by On Ur Mark Productions.  It's a competition of three races, plus you got a discount for early registration.  I figured what the heck, I'll save some money, since I won't be in it for the fame.  Plus On Ur Mark does great events.

Kemah Triathlon ended with me in the med tent after pukin' my guts up off the bike.  Took in too much salt water on the rough swim. 

Had knee surgery in July and bailed on the Bridgeland Triathlon -- only to ease my way through my beloved River Cities Triathlon (didn't realize they were on on the same day, so there went my savings).

Houston Triathlon, now turned Aquathon.  Poor weather canceled the bike portion of the race; safety prevails.

My tri season:  0 for 3.  :(

After my Redman sprint experience you might bet I was ready to go.  My bike was so clean there was no way one bit of negative energy rested on it. :)  If nothing else, I was going to have a great bike.  :)

Rise and shine at 3:30 on race day.  The race site is a little over an hour away, so I have to start extra early.  I get up, grab some coffee and gather my pre-race breakfast.  I check my phone and I have a text message.  My friend texted me and told me the bike was canceled.  WTH!?!
 
I immediately got online and read, for myself, the message from the race director.  They made the right call, but I was bummed. 

"Guess I'm leaving Princess at home."  So much for that great bike!

Since my now IMTB (Ironman Training Buddy) can't seem to quit the routine of waking at ungodly hours on the weekend, he doensn't know what to do with himself, so he came along to support.  It was nice to have company on the dark early-morning ride out to Cypress.

Race setup was uneventful.  I ate my breakfast, got in a little run and a little swim.  The weather was cool and it was misting on and off.  It was just a yuck morning all the way around. 

I waited patiently for the waves to start, wishing I hadn't taken the warm-up swim, because now I was really cold!  Eventually the waves were started and we were off on our 1500m swim.   This year it was a nice 1 loop course, instead of wacky 2 loop course (for the Olympic distance) last year.

My swim started out okay.  I was in the top 1/3 of the group, according to IMTB.  Somewhere on the back long stretch though, I started having palpitations; my heart was in my throat.  This happened to me one day, a couple years ago on a crazy-brick workout.  I had to ride 24 miles at pace and finish with several 1 mile repeats.  I finished the repeats and was chatting with my coach just fine.  2 minutes later, I turned to go to my car to get my recovery drink.  I got 20 ft away and suddenly my heart was in my throat.  My HRM said it was over 300!  I couldn't talk and it was difficult to breathe.  I tried to stay calm, sat down and relaxed.  In a few minutes it came down.  I attributed it to accidentally double-dosing on my Thyroid meds. 

Needless to say that this happening on the swim.  It wasn't as bad as that day a few years ago, but it was definitely unnerving.  I tried to stay calm.  I rolled on my back and took note of where the kayackers were in case I needed help. I felt like I was staying in one place while just about everyone passed me.  Generally I catch-up to the slow folks in the wave before me, but today people from the wave behind me were passing.  Ugh.

I finally made it in, in 40 minutes.  Crap!  That's practically my 70.3 swim time.

Oh well.  I'm thankful I survived.  :)

I take the seemingly 1/4 mile run to transition... longer than the Redman "dash" to T1. 

I grabbed my gear and put on my Garmin.  I knew I still wasn't feeling right.  Sure enough, Garmin was reading a HR of 200+.  Ordinarily I would say it was incorrect, but I knew I felt it too.  I was walking with a HR of 200.  I could get it down to 170, but if I jogged, it shot right up -- at about 1.5 miles in it all just stopped.  My HR dropped to 120 and the palpitations were gone.  Just like that!

I was a little unsure so took it easy for a bit, but for the remaining 4 miles I ran and actually negative split my way to the finish. Horrible race, but that was something I never did before on a run.  :)

It was a yuck day, but another one for the training books.

Of course I've signed up for 1 more race this year -- a sprint. I'm really hoping, praying, I can have just one race where everything comes together and nothing (or me) falls apart.

 More to come!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Redman 2012 Spectating, Sprint & A New Kind of Crazy Brick!

I've been to Redman for the 70.3 twice now, but this year I didn't plan to race. I just planned to support my training buddy's first Iron-distance effort. He's pretty much been training for 2 years, since he had to defer last year with an injury, but there was no way I was going to miss it.

As is usually the case, when I decide not to do something, I turn around and do something anyway. This was the year of the Club Championships, so they offered Sprint and Olympic distance races the day after the 70.3 & 140.6 races. I needed a workout anyway, so figured I'll just do the Sprint for fun.

Nothing is ever for really JUST for "fun" though right? We all have those super secret goals in our head we never speak out loud because they have no basis. Although my training had been inconsistent since July, I still wanted to do well -- realizing of course I really didn't deserve to do well; I had not put the time in. See? No basis.

Anyway, spectating the day before would have me on my feet running around and my day started early, having breakfast with Amy, at Beverly's, at 3:30 am. I volunteered for transition (A great way to have access to your friends racing and still help out!) and later Chris, Lisa and I worked the Swim exit. One-by-one Mike, Ed, Kim, Terry, Cheryl, Christine, T, Amy and Erin finished their swims and headed off on their bikes. We watched for them at the turnaround and were ready to man the BAM tent on the run after everyone passed to transitioned. Amy and I had made signs for those running -- it was great and everyone got a good laugh out of them! I was so excited for everyone... but you know what that kind of excitement leads to, right? By the time Mike D. crossed the finish line I was overwhelmed and now completely full-up on race day BuzZzZzZ. If there had been internet access nearby I probably would have signed up for something... anything! I was so proud of the Hombre -- you'd have thought he was my Son!

I was very thankful everyone finished well and I was able to get to bed 11ish. I fell asleep, visualizing how I wanted my race day to go, but not before I crossed the finish :)

Now it's my race day and I was all excited inside. I woke at 3:45 and this time Amy came with me for Breakfast! What a trooper after finishing her Aquabike, but she felt great!

Setting up transition was uneventful. I really felt like I was missing stuff, but wasn't. I went for a warm-up run up on the levy. It was dark and quiet. Nice. I got my wetsuit on (yeah, for Sprint -- everyone was wearing them) and migrated to the start. Every time we talked about finishers the night before I would get all teary-eyed. It was ridiculous! I really had no idea how the day was going to go.

My swim was so-so. I really couldn't find my groove until a half-way through the 750m swim. It just seemed like I was always on top of someone for a while and I just couldn't get around. I made the long dash to transition, running the whole way and left on the bike (a 2 loop course of 7 miles).

I was quite surprised how good my legs felt! Usually it takes me a couple miles to get my bike legs, so I was pretty excited and I was keeping good cadence/speed. We rode the levy out to the city roads and there were a couple of small rollers. The longest climb being about a 1/4 mile up Lake Hefner Rd. Mile 5 is where I screwed myself. I shifted gears to navigate the climb, but I shifted the front/back rings too closely together and I dropped my chain. Not just a pop-it-back-on-and-go drop. This was a how-the-heck-didt-that-happen? drop! The chain looked like it had jumped the crank! It was totally wrapped around when the big ring mounts and it was all jammed up in the guide. I tried for 5 minutes to fix it, hoping SAG would come by, but no luck. My hands were black... decided to keep moving uphill, walking my bike and hoping SAG would come.

Remember "See Jill Run?" Well, "Watch SAG come." "Watch SAG go." They never stopped. :(

I continue to walk my bike up the 1/4 mile climb. Another rider stops me and asks if I have an Allen wrench, holding his pedal in his hand. I said, "If you can fix this (pointing to my chain) then I have a wrench for you." He tries to fix it while I dig the Allen out of my tool bag. He couldn't get it to budge either. I gave him the wrench to fix his pedal and he was on his way -- one of us should have a good race! I played with my chain a little longer thinking SAG would have to come by and redeem themselves. As I neared the top of the hill I saw them and waved them down with my blackened, greasy hands! I thought they were going to stop at the entrance to the park, "Yay!"

No. They kept going.

I got to the entrance to the park, still 3/4 mile to transition, but at least I could run with my bike now.

I make my way to transition and didn't cross the mat. I asked one of the volunteers to get me a bike guy. After more time passed the bike guy finally came out and was able to get it unjammed. He said, "don't use the little ring... it will probably happen again." "Thanks", I said, and was on my way.

I was so frustrated about the SAG thing, but I knew I had to let it go -- but crap I was mad! That's when I started thinking it's a freakin' sign that I shouldn't be racing this year! It seems like it's always been something at every race! And truly I had no one else to blame but me for my Operator Error! Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

So it was just me and the hybrids out there on the course now while "Princess" and I finished our 2nd loop. I never thought once to bag the race, because of something that Hombre said the day before while he was in T2. I asked him how he was doing. I just wanted a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down"... would have settled for a "neutral thumb" too. I knew something wasn't completely right and that all was not 100%. All he said was "It's manageable."

I thought, this WAS manageable. If this happened during my Ironman race one day, would I quit? Heck no!

I finished the 2nd loop, headed into T2 and out on the run. I admit I was still a bit angry, and we all now think anger is my motivation. I finally saw Amy on the course! Someone I could vent to! Blurted out some inappropriate language referring to the SAG services, then immediately apologized to everyone around Amy. Threw my water bottle down and kept running.

Anyone who knows me, knows that running is not a strength of mine. I try, and I have improved, but my running is just a means to the Finish. I felt good though. Even though I knew I had completely missed out on placing, losing 40 minutes on the bike, I realized I could have my best 5k run... at a tri, or solo 5k ever! On my run I saw women who reminded me of me when I started my first tri 100+lbs. ago. I was grateful for what I am now able to do and it brought me to a more positive place in my head. I encouraged everyone out there and really had a good time. These were the folks who were really going to work hard for their finish.

I did Finish with my best 5K ever and negative split my run; I didn't finish last either. Yeah, I was a little happy.

I was still ticked at SAG though. Haha!

I crossed the Finish all happy-pretty. Evidently they ran out of medals right after I got mine. I remembered those athletes still out there and what my first medal meant to me, and I gave it back so they could give it to someone else after me. To my surprise they gave me a Redman tech shirt to replace the medal. Sweet. I sat and waited, watching the later finishers and congratulating them :)

Every race, good or bad, teaches you something you should remember. The biggest loss of the day is missing that lesson.

And yeah, while I know it might seem over-the-top to write a race report about a Sprint tri, I learned a ton that day. The most valuable lessons don't always come with the most perfectly executed races. The most valuable races are the ones where you have to be flexible and manage adversity.

Anyone up for a Swim, Bike, Walk-up-hill, Run, Bike, Run Crazy Brick?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2012 Redman Race Report -- The Hombre

There's really no excuse for it -- my complete inattention to blogging.  I have a lot of thoughts in this noggin of mine, it's just getting it to my fingers and keyboard... that's a different story.

So here's my race report spectating at the Redman 70.3 and 140.6 distances for 2012.  No, I didn't race the 70.3 or 140.6, and I didn't even take an aquabike option.  Sunday was the National Club Championships where they held an Olympic and Sprint.  Coach did the Olympic and I did the Sprint (race report to come).  My reasoning was, I wasn't really there to race that weekend; I was mainly there to support.  Why not get a workout in, right?  This weekend was not about me -- this weekend was about my teammates achieving their actual goals or hit benchmarks working towards them. 

My Training Buddy (TB) and I have been training together for 4 years now, I guess.  In that time we've both had some highs and lows.  Moments of fear and anxiety.  Moments of a greatness and moments of.... well, not-so-great.  We persevere though, getting support from one another, because who else knows better what you are going through than the person you are training with, right?

The Training Buddy dynamic is a difficult one to understand too, if you've never had one.  And I mean a good one.  Gender makes no difference to the bond you create when you training with someone week-in and week-out. It's like having a sibling.  They see you at your worst, but what are they gonna do?  They stick around because no one else is as reliably crazy to continue training week after week.  Like family, they can't just trade you in for another. 

You know, if it weren't for TB, I probably would have never joined my club.  I can clearly remember loafing on my couch one night and he called.  It was the "beginner night" for the Club at the start of the season.  I was actually too chicken to go.  Too self conscious.  Too fat.  Too unsure.  We weren't really training buddies at that time -- we had just met through a mutual friend and learned we both had this triathlon thing in mind.  I remember when I didn't show, he called me (out) for not going.  It was then the TB dynamic kicked in.  He already managed to get me to ask myself "Why didn't I just go?"

Not much after that, I watched TB do his first multisport event.  A duathlon.  Truth be told, at that time, he was still afraid and so very unsure (yes it's true!) of the swim. He just was not not be comfortable with the swim.  So he ran/biked/ran his way to his first Finish.  Of course I was happy for him nonetheless.

Fast forward through lots of swimming, kicking and pulling, a almost 2 seasons of Masters swimming, to last weekend where I watched TB finally achieve the goal that both of us have; to each complete a 140.6 race. 

The entire day, while spectating and supporting, I kept thinking about all the things he did to bring him to that point.  When I saw him complete the swim well under his goal time, I recalled how to swim a length of a 50m pool seemed like a daunting task to both of us!  When he came back on the first loop, all smiles on the bike, I remembered how when he first got his TT bike; he had such a hard time getting comfortable with it.  As for the run, he's always been a great runner, but somehow he managed to get even better! His consistency is just admirable.  I watched how focused he was and always noticed how much time he spent educating himself and planning. He's one smart a$$ "Hombre."

TB started training nearly 2 years before since he was supposed to compete in the 2011 Redman 140.6 race.  Unfortunately he suffered an injury just a couple months out of the race that caused him to defer to 2012.  Again, he didn't let it get him down too low.  He pulled it together and just got focused on racing in 2012.  Others may have fallen to the depression of having the bail-out, but not Hombre.  :) 

All that training, planning and education helped him through his day and I only hope that I can be half as ready for my 140.6 as he was.  His day didn't go completely as planned, but he was flexible and smartly played the cards he was dealt.  When he crossed the line at 14:13, I felt like a proud family member!  My eyes just welled up when I saw him (literally) sprint through the Finisher's chute. 

I really didn't know what to say outside of, "Congratulations!"  There was much in my heart I could not express.  I just might have been happier for him, than I could possibly ever be for myself!  Okay, maybe not -- suffice it say I was proud beyond words and all I could do was let my eyes well with tears since words just escaped me. 

That day I woke at 3:30am to have breakfast with my teammate Amy.  She was doing the full Aquabike.  She's training for IM Cozumel in November, and was using this race as a training day, as was another teammate, Ed.  I think Ed is planning to do IMTX -- I'm not sure what his next race is.  Then we had a bunch of first-time 70.3 athletes too.  We had Erin too,  a major cross-fitter who goal it was to do an Iron distance triathlon one day.  It was going to be a fun day of volunteering and spectating.

We took v'teer spots in transition -- a nice option to be close to your athlete friends/family.  Once the race started we were at the swim Finish.  We had a great time with the kids doing who were stripping wetsuits, and as usual, our Coach got the kids excited about stripping wetsuits.  I swear, there is nothing he can't talk someone into doing.  LOL

Once our shift in transition was done, we waited for them at the turnarounds for the bike.  Everyone came in smiling -- not one frown among our team.  Everyone looked great, comfortable even. I found myself giving thanks to God throughout the day for giving them strength and keeping them safe through this day.  The second loop, not quite as happy as the first, but everyone still looked good and were managing their individual challenges.

Once everyone was in on the bike, we made sure we were at our team tent on the run -- that's where the heavy-duty support becomes important.  We made signage, had cowbells and glow masks and necklaces.  We were the bomb-diggity of support!  We had a hybrid bike to take rids out to the course, carefully, so as not to PACE the athletes, just to make sure everyone was (and stayed) in a good state of mind. 

After they passed us for the last loop, we packed up the gear and headed to the Finish.  It was just awesome to see Hombre and Erin Finish.  Simply awesome.

And yeah, we were grateful they didn't have to take advantage of the generous cut-off at Redman. :)

Because, you know, I did have to race the next day. That's for another report. 




Thursday, August 23, 2012

Getting Re-focused

Bricking... well, grabbing a drink.
Post-surgery it's been a little challenge staying focused.  It's about to become more challenging with Swim Team for Cassie starting up again, School (for Cassie), and Hubs now training for his first Marathon, not to mention his work schedule is a bit demanding these days.

It's not that it's insurmountable, it's all about getting through it and then improving the efficiency of the routine. It takes planning and communication.  I"m a planner.  Hubs is not.  We manage, though sometimes it can be tough when the pressures of everything else come crashing at the same time.   

Tonight I'm supposed to be bricking but I have so much on my plate before a busy weekend.  See how well I'm utilizing my time right now?  I'm blogging!

This weekend is Clear Lake International Triathlon.  I'm doing a relay, since my biking and running really aren't up to par yet.  The Race is on Saturday and I'm looking forward to it... with a "Hell Yeah!"

On Saunday, CC has organized a "Really, really long ride" for his athletes doing the Redman 140.6 or Full Duathlon.  It will be 112 miles of double loop goodness.  I'll ride the first loop (56 miles) then provide SAG for the 2nd.  I'm going to go from riding 90 minutes to over 3 hours... yeah, that's smart.  :-/

My swimming improving.  My running is coming along.  My biking is sucking because I haven't been immersing myself in it as I should be.  Grrrrr!  No one's fault but mine and it's got to change.  Boy, wll it change, come Sunday!  LOL

This post is so random.  I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to write, but lost my train of thought.  Oh well.

Some big news to announce in the next few weeks. Hopefully. :)

Good luck to my friends at Ironman Canada!  Wish I was there sherpa-ing.



Thursday, August 09, 2012

Race Report: 2012 32nd River Cities Triathlon

This makes the 3rd year in the row for this race :)  I really do love this race!  The course is so much fun.  It's challenging, but certainly not insurmountable.  I made the trip up to Bossier with a group of club friends.  My BFF made her way up there as well (from Dallas) and we got to have a little visit. A nice addition to my 36 hour excursion from home.   :)

We stayed at the race host hotel, Diamond Jacks.  I really don't reccomend it, though I will say that Roderick really did try to accommodate our disappointment, which was beyond anything he was capable of rectifying. Diamond Jacks is an old hotel/casino.  You can tell when you walk in the door. It has an *old* smell.  When we went to check in, they didn't have the non-smoking rooms we reserved back in April.  They told us they don't guarantee room types.  WTH?  I'm certain the triathletes to follow us would not be pleased with having to sleep in a smoking room.  We were quick to think, and  asked for a King, non-smoking room, and Roderick came through for us, as well as granting us a late check-out the next day. :)  I must mention, in case anyone coming to the race comes across this report, that the rooms were very dated and half the lights don't work.  It was a good thing we weren't spending much time there.  If I was spending more than an overnight, I probably would have left and went to the Hampton Inn!

As usual, the packet pickup was totally busy but went smoothly.  They were having all kinds of sales and I picked up a pair of Newtons.  I've been wanting to try them, to help adjust to a more natural running form; anything to try an avoid injury.  Newtons are rarely on sale, so since they were having an event/sale and I needed new running shoes, I decided to give them a shot.

The BFF and I hit DJ's seafood buffet for dinner.  I was a little leery, but happily surprised that the food was so good!  The crab legs were awesome.  I think seafood is my new night-before-the-race food!  We did a bit of gambling... just a bit and was in bed by an appropriate time. 

ZzzZzzZzzZzz.  Slept pretty well and woke before the alarm. 

Rise and shine was at 4:45am - Had a banana and 16 oz. Gatorade (to prime my tummy to receive/process carbohydrates later)

Here's "Princess", ready to roll!

We arrive at the race site and set up "Princess."  Yes, "Caddy" has been renamed.  She is now "Princess."  My club-friends renamed her on this trip, since I was a freak-a-zoid about not driving to Bossier with her on an external bike rack.  I had to have her ride inside the truck; so much so I was ready to drive myself there, alone, to make sure she was okay.  I will probably never own another bike like this, so I need to make sure I take care of her.  She's still pretty darned new to me too!  I'm sure it will wear off at some point... right?  Maybe?  Hmmm, probably not.


At breakfast 2 hours before Race Start, about 7-ish:
2 hard boiled eggs
2 sweet potato, cinnamon & apple Earth's Best Baby Food

Hey now, don't judge on the baby food.  :) I've been experimenting since gels don't work with the "rearrangement" of my guts.  Each on is about 60 calories and 19g of carbohydrates.  More importantly, so easily absorbed for me, and no GI Stress.  I also do the butternut squash and pumpkin flavors too, but the sweet potato is my favorite.  Something to note though, if you're doing Paleo, note that some brands add grains to their baby food pouches.  I just caught that fact while reading some labels other day, so read the labels.

Me (Orange) - "Super Mermaid" Cathy (Pink)
Club-mate, friend, and super-swimmer-extraordinaire Cathy and I headed out for 15 minute warm-up run, my knee was tweaking a little, but I didn't push it.  I successfully "eliminated" (Yay!) and then took a 15 minute warm-up swim .  :)

CC would be proud.  I really did warm-up. LOL

 30 minutes before race start, I drank 20 oz EFS Drink with a scoop of PreRace. I like the Pre-race supplement since I have Iron/Anemia issues -- more efficient oxygenation is just one of the benefits.

Wave start 8:42 -- last wave.  No surprise there.  

Athenas, teens and relays were all grouped together in the last wave.  I went right to the front and drafted off of Cathy for a whole 30 seconds... okay, more like 15 seconds.  How does she do it?  I always get asked, "How are you not afraid to go to the front?"  I'm an average swimmer, for sure, but I always repeat what Cranky Coach says:  The best swimmers are in the front.  They are the ones who are going to know how to swim around you.  They don't want to swim over you or into you -- that will just slow them down.  So now I go right to the front, and my race starts are far less chaotic, plus I catch a draft or two off other athletes.  I also think it makes me swim harder, it's a challenge, which isn't a bad thing. 

The water didn't seem particularly active, but 5 minutes in I sucked in a ton when trying to breath and was gasping repeatedly, like an asthmatic.  The water got super-deep into my chest.  I started to panic the moment I realized I couldn't even call for help if I needed it.  This was by far my worst scare of all my triathlon swims.  I thought, "I just have to pull it together and calm down."  I really did think about all those times I heard advice given to others who were afraid of open water swims.  I composed myself and just treaded water slowly and smoothly until I could get it together.  I don't think I lost more than a minute or two.  After that, I was swimming perfectly fine!  I was also swimming particularly straight which was even better!  Swam the half mile in 21:02 (Better than previous year's swim, but if I didn't have the scare I might have (shouldda, wouldda, couldda) broke 20? Masters is paying off. Yeah!

My kingdom for a "swm" exit picture that looks good.  LOL
I've been trying to better to race my transitions, instead of using them as rest breaks!  The plan in my head was to run all the way to T1 without walking. The swim exit is uphill in sand, which I knew I would have to take carefully, so as to not tweak my knee.  I did it; I ran the whole way to my bike for 3:18 transition.  I did make the comical rookie move and put my aero helmet on backwards!  I really wish I had a picture.  I was wondering why I was having such difficulty buckling my strap and then I heard someone in the crowd say something about someone wearing their helmet backwards.  I grabbed for the front of my helmet and felt it!  Yep, that was me.  I was *that* athlete.  Luckily I caught it before I left transition, so all that the time saved running to my bike (conveniently located by the bike and run out, by the way) I needed to turn my helmet around.  Doh!

Once riding, transitioning my legs to the bike on this course usually takes longer than it felt this year, so that was good (Maybe the "Pre Race" helps).  The course's small rolling hills and a couple of bigger ones, were a challenge since I haven't been riding much, let alone doing hill work.  I had a few moments of greatness where I attacked and shifted gears properly, then other moments I may as well have dismounted and walked my bike up the hill.  Okay, not really, but it was s-l-o-w.  HR was 160ish whenever I checked.  I did practice  restraint though, remembering I still had the run after the bike.  And like every triathlete, of course I secret goal of finishing the bike in an hour (with no justifiable reason, since I haven't been training).  I'd have to settle for 1:01.  I definitely had more to give on the bike, but by the time I realized I was *that* close to doing it in an hour, it was too close to the end to push, and I didn't want a miserable run.  I was already a little worried since my HR was riding around 160-165 through the bike.  I took in about 24 oz of water with EFS liquid Shot mixed in... about 300 cal.

I returned on the bike and transitioned to run in 2:37.  I tried just changing shoes, grabbing the rest of my stuff (water bottle, race belt, visor and Garmin) and putting everything on while I was  running.  It makes for a faster transition time, but also an awkward start on the run because you're trying to put evetything on. Not sure it's worth it.  I'll have to practice that a little more... along with flying dismounts.  LOL
So happy on "Princess"

My legs felt pretty good after just a few minutes.  I was really glad there was no lingering heaviness.  It helped keep my positive, for sure! Unfortunately any uphill grades had to be walked because I would feel it immediately in my knee (inside front).  I brought with me a 10 oz bottle of water with just a tiny bit of EFS Liquid Shot, so I'd have something to tide me over between rest stops if needed.  I ran mile-to-mile- with short walks on the up hill grades. Just kept going until I finished. Run time 41:57.2 13:32/M

Lo and behold!  A smile on the run!!


Total time for RCT 2012:  2:10
RCT 2011:  2:13
RCT 2010:  2:20

RCT 2010, 2011, 2012
Swim:  23:36, 22:01, 21:02*
Bike:  1:04, 1:02, 1:01
Run:  45:54, 42:38, 41:57*

*Swim scare and bad knee!

Overall I felt good the whole race.I remembered thinking, in the middle of the run, how surprised I was that my legs felt pretty good -- the limiting factor was my knee!  My guess is that since I haven't been training much, I probably didn't really improve as much on speed, as much as losing some lbs. made for a faster finish. 

Of course I thought to myself... Imagine if could have trained. 

One day it will come together.  One day.  Until then I just keep plugging away.

My crazy, dysfunctional, loveable club mates. :)







Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nathan's "Greatness"

Just came across a video by Nike.  The Jogger, in the  "Find Your Greatness" series.  Nathan is a 12 year old from London, OH.  He is overweight and they have him jogging in the video.  Take a look here:
The first thing I thought was.  Yay, Nike!  It's about time we see some images that inspire kids to move.  Not just any kids though -- those kids who think they can't even begin to start!  This image, in my opinion, is so much better for our kids!  These are the kids who really need to be moving, playing, jumping.

It just might make them think, "If Nathan can, then why can't I?"

And if you get them thinking, "Why can't I?" and they start to believe it's possible, you get them DOING.  

It also made wonder how I would have received this message as a teenager.  I was constantly doing things I was told I was too "fat" or "overweight" to do.  It was a limiting factor over everything I wanted to do in my teenage years.  I never saw anyone like me doing the things I wanted and tried to do.  My family only saw the world through the eyes of a dancer... these were the messages I received:

"You have natural ability to dance but, you don't have a dancer's body."
"You need to lose weight."

"You can try out for the [insert any number of sports here] team, but you won't make the team,
"You are too heavy."

"It won't matter how good you can sing, you'll never land *that* part."
"You're too heavy; you don't *look* the part."

"You can audition for that scholarship, but they probably won't take you because of how you look."
"You need to lose weight to find a job after college."

"You can't ride a bike that far."
"Are you crazy?  You're much too heavy."

"You can't do a triathlon."
"Your weight will make it soooo hard"

Kids should be encouraged to move before it's too late and before they've grown accustomed to coming home from school and hitting the couch with the remote.  Kids need supportive reinforcement when they start to move, so they feel good about themselves and positive about the experience, so that they want to return to it later.

I can remember starting to jog when I was in High School.  I don't recall what got me started -- probably being told again how I needed to lose weight.  Anyway, one day, I threw on some shorts, sneakers and shirt and began to run around the neighborhood pretty routinely, which is kind of funny since I pretty much have a love-hate relationship with running now.  When I started running though, I had no support from my family in the way of encouragement.  Granted running wasn't their thing... they just didn't have time to understand anything outside of Dance.  I honestly don't think they knew how to be supportive of anything outside of the Arts.

My point is, a little encouragement goes a long way.  A bit of positive reinforcement sends a message to the kid what they're doing is a good thing, no matter how awkward they might feel or look.


The images we're bombarded with are of accomplished athletes with beautiful, athletic, bodies!  Kudos to them for bringing their bodies to that point. It just cannot the short-term goal for some kids who have a long way to go -- if it's even a realistic long-term goal at all.

They need to hear, you CAN move.  You can play sports.  Everyone starts somewhere.  Everyone feels awkward to start, but with practice you improve.  You get fitter. You will be healthier.  

Kids need to see more kids like Nathan, finding their Greatness, no matter how imperfect or unlikely an athlete they may be.  I know this, because I was a "Nathan."

"Crazy" Brick

Every several weeks CC (aka Cranky Coach) has his athletes do a "Crazy" brick.  it's a workout that pushes you beyond where you think you are.  Beyond what will come easy.  It's good for your mind.  :)  I get almost as excited for CB day, as I do for a race.  Almost.

I'm back to training but sessions are short... most are 45 minutes... maybe an hour here and there on the bike.  Certainly nothing long, and with good reason, since I'm not racing long this year and still recovering from knee surgery.

This past Saturday I had a 30 minute run/1 hour bike/30 minute run.  Doesn't sound like much, but with my longest workout being 1 hr in the last 3 months, it's a challenge.  Add the heat as the cherry on this sufferfest sundae. :)

My running is still slow, but I can still tell it's improving and is still improved over last Summer's hotter runs.  I'm between a 12:55 and 13:05 pace.  I'm not doing any speedwork until cleared by the doc, but I know once I can do that again things will get better.  I feel slight fatigue in the knee that had the surgery and a lot of tweaking in the knee that didn't have a problem -- nothing that doesn't work itself out after a bit of running easy to warm-up.

I was determined to make CB day a big step towards recovery. It was also going to help me determine what to do for River Cities Triathlon this weekend!  I know I won't be having any PR's, but at the least I would get an idea of how it will feel going in. 

My pre-brick breakfast was some eggs with English peas (for my carb).  I know... sounds weird, but I was out of my sweet potatoes.  The peas worked though -- they might have been even easier on my stomach!  I did eat breakfast a little late considering my start, but it didn't seem to impact me too terribly.

I made the first :30 run without any walk breaks, Yay!  I just kept a nice steady pace and practiced from; keeping my legs under me and head up.  2.28 miles.  HR was a bit high, but to be expected with the heat/humidity.  I used EFS on my run (it's Gluten free, btw.). 

I had my bike all setup and ready to go.  I hopped on the bike quickly and headed off for my hour ride.  The first 15 mins was a warm-up and the next 30 was supposed to be Oly effort.  I finished the last 45 mins at Oly effort, since I was feeling good.  I wanted to also make sure I could handle some intensity, since there are lots of little rollers at RC Tri.  I felt really good on the bike, and rode a 17.4 average pace.  Considering I took my time during the warm-up, I'm feeling pretty good about the bike.  I also used EFS on the bike.  HR high again...bah. 

Run 2 was supposed to be 30 minutes, going a longer distance than the first run.  Yes, I have a coach, but I had it in my head I was going to do 5K, no matter how long it took because that's how far I have to run after the bike this Sunday.  I mapped out a loop, which I thought was 5K, but it was just a tad short!  I did 2.9 miles in 39 mins with 2 super short walk breaks, one I had no choice (traffic) and the other I took 30 seconds at the half way point. After the run, I was kicking myself for not doing the couple 10ths of a mile to get 5K... but damn, by this time it was super hot!

My calves were super sore post brick.  I'm having a problem with what I think is the gastrocnemius... it's deep inside and it gets super tight!  It was so sore within 30 minutes of finishing the brick!  I stood on the steps to stretch while my Husband rolled it with the "stick!"  It hurt soooo good.  All I can do is try to stretch it well before and after, and pray it doesn't turn into PF.  Ugh!  I

So all-in-all I'm feeling okay about going to River Cities and having a good time.  If adrenaline serves me well, I could have an okay run as opposed to a walk like I planned. It's a long drive home, so I don't need to be stupid about it, but I can go in knowing I will be able to survive it.  I'm happy to be going -- I love this race and I'm grateful I don't have to miss it. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On Hunger...

Not hunger for food.  For racing.

It's been a recurring theme and I can't ignore it any longer.  a few weeks ago I was reading GoSonja.  She had received an amazing anniversary gift from her Husband -- some chit-chat time with Dave Scott.  Long story short, but you really should go read it for your self, Dave pegged her lack of hunger for racing for her less-than-what-she-desired race performance.   

A few days later I'm reading a Lifehacker feed about changing the way you make your decisions.   Let's just say it involves a lot of "Hell, yeah!"  and not settling for "Eh, okay."  Go read that one too.

Then I read a race report from another favorite blogger, Mary IronMatron.  Her 5th Ironman race at Lake Placid. Amazing, right?  But she wasn't thrilled with her performance.  She wasn't happy during her race.  She didn't have fun.  She realized she wasn't "hungry" for it.

I was super hungry and super scared when it came time to do my first 70.3 race.  Remember that old television program, "Scared Straight"?  For a non-competitive-middle-of-the-packer, who isn't a great runner to begin with, a 70.3 is kind of like a season of "Scared Straight."  You know that every second of training counts and you don't let one day go by with a yellow box in TrainingPeaks because you've trained less than planned.  You're scared, sh*tless that if you miss just 1 minute of training, you'll tank the whole race!  Now, training more than planned is perfectly okay, because, well, you know that will make me better in the end.  Right?  NOT.  (Lots of lessons learned there, but that's a whole 'nother post).

When I decided to do my first 70.3 race, I was all "Hell, yeah, I wanna do this!" "I gotta do this!"  The Redman 70.3 race came and went and I can say I was absolutely thrilled!  Aside from getting sick on the run I had fun, I enjoyed the race.  Of course with my time being so slow, I knew, before I crossed the finish, before I even reveled in what I had accomplished, that I would promptly find the nearest Internet access, and I would sign up for another 70.3!

Yep.  That's what I did.  Signed for Galveston 70.3.

Now, to be fair to myself, I *wanted* to do Galveston -- because I had something to prove to myself.  Admittedly there was a small part of me that was hesitant.  That little (usually wise) voice in my head  whispering, "Maybe it's not the right time?"  "Maybe you need to work on your running more?"  "Maybe get your health issues in check FIRST?"  Of course I ignored that voice and did it anyway.  I chased cut-offs all day long.  I couldn't relax and have fun or genuinely enjoy it until I knew I'd officially finish, which wasn't until I was more than 5K into the run.  I compare it to racing with a gun pointed to your head all day long. 

My Galveston run was slightly better, in that it was so consistent the whole way through, which led my thinking, "Oh yeah... I gotta do another because I know it could be even better!"  "I'm going back to Redman damnit!"  "I have business to take care of there!" 

Just like that, with a couple clickitty-clicks on that dang ol' Internet I'm signed up for my 3rd 70.3, where I returned to Redman.

I did finally start to listen to that voice in my head. I made a concerted effort to take care of  health issues -- I learned I raced those previous two 70.3 races with Iron stores as low a 7 -- yes, a single digit! My hormones were all jacked up -- between severe Anemia, Thyroid, and Prolactin, my body was in a constant fight with itself!  Add to that the stress of training and I was just begging for disaster.

I did make health improvements, but not all was 100% corrected.  In spite of the incomplete progress, I was determined for Redman.  If I'm being completely honest though, I didn't have that "Hell, yeah!" feeling.  I even blogged repeatedly that I was looking for my "mojo" and knew I left my "race buzz" over there, but couldn't find it! Looking back, the fear of failure; the worst possible thing for me is to race and not see improvement in some fashion.  Which is silly, since I have so much low-hanging fruit that there is always improvement somewhere! 

Galveston 70.3 was the next race coming up in my backyard, making it a hard race to say "No" to, but I did.  I said, "No." and stuck to my guns.  There might have been a few minutes here and there during a training outing with the club that I thought I might regret it.  However when race day came, I was completely at peace with my choice.  I was happy as a clam to volunteer that day!  I knew I had my first race of the season coming up a few weeks later.

I was so ready for Kemah Olympic.  My running had improved by over 2 minutes pace per mile and my swimming and biking had been coming along nicely.  This race was a definite "Hell, yeah!" for me.  I wanted this so bad, however I returned from the bike puking (rough swim waters and ingested too much salt water) and left on the run still puking, then collapsing.   It wasn't to be my day.  You live to race another day, right?  The point is, it didn't matter how badly I felt -- I wanted it so bad, that nothing was going to stop me.  That is until they scraped me up off the pavement. 

I've said this before, but we as triathletes are constantly driven to do the next best, biggest, baddest race out there.  If we're not on our own bandwagon, we've jumped someone else's and we ride their post-race high until we're registered for something.  Anything!  I think we are convinced that is how we are supposed to "live the dream."  If we're not killing our selves, we're not.  What is it that makes us feel like super-heroes who are above the complications of real-life, over-training and injury?

The majority of us are not pro, or even elite athletes.  We may or may not have full-time jobs and families.  I have to remind myself it's okay to take a break!  It's okay to say, "No." to a race that I'm not 100% "hungry" for.  It's okay to wait until hunger returns and give it a wholehearted "Hell, yeah!" and not be fueled off the hunger of other athletes signing up for races around you.  In the end, if you really love it, you'll go back to it.  Period.  End of story.

Personally, I think there should be a law that triathletes who finish a 70.3 or 140.6 race should not be allowed on the Internet for 30 days post race.   That also may apply to those who "sherpa" these 70.3 and 140.6 finishers as well. Just sayin'.

It doesn't take too long to feel the hunger return.  I'm about 6 weeks post-op on my knee surgery, and really for the last 3 to 4 months I could not do nearly what I was, and had to pull out of Hyvee Nationals.  The good thing is, I've taken a needed break, but I can feel myself getting itchy.  I'm going to River Cities with a "Hell, yeah" -- but also with the realization that I am still recovering, and won't be "racing" -- it will be a fun training day, and I'll get through it, having fun doing something I love.

This IS all part of my journey.  Every up.  Every down.  Every fall.  Every recovery.  Every failure.  Every success.  I need to keep in mind the kind of 140.6 race I want to experience.  I don't have any dreams of finishing a sub 10 hour race, but I do dream of enjoying the day, as much as possible, and know my training has brought me to the point of not worrying about cut-offs.  To the point where I can cross the finish line and realize what I've done while standing on my own two feet with a stupid ear-to-ear grin on my face, and not be scooped-up off the pavement or found horizontal in a medical tent with a DNF.  

This was all kind of a ramble, but in any case, here's to taking time to really enjoy the journey to achieving my ultimate goal (and keeping it fun too!)

"Hell, yeah!"
River Cities
Clear Lake International - Relay (Swim)
Houston Olympic
Katy Firethorn





Monday, July 23, 2012

"Don't Quit" The Original

I was reading an article my Husband sent me on "How Parents Can Best Support Their Kids Athletics."  It pretty much reiterated what I had already known -- learned pretty much from my years spent at my Mom's dance studio.  she never wanted the parents hawking over the kids while in class because it always created confusion for the child as to who the authoritative figure was for the 90 minutes they were dancing.  In this article the coach said she was forced to learn this poem, "Don't Quit", before she could participate in swimming.  I thought that was a great idea.  


Cassie had a fabulous swim meet this weekend.  Granted she has some low hanging fruit right now, but she did so much better than at past meets... and no DQ's.  She fell right into the groove and kept telling us how she was "relaxed" and that's why she was swimming faster.  LOL  Ummm, she's 7.  Haha!

The Don't Quit poem is based on a famous poem which was written many years ago. The author of this poem is unknown. Sadly, in recent years a number of people have claimed ownership of the poem and some have even claimed to have written it themselves!

   When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
    When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
    When the funds are low and the debts are high,
    And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
    When care is pressing you down a bit,
    Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

    Life is queer with its twists and turns,
    As every one of us sometimes learns,
    And many a failure turns about,
    When he might have won had he stuck it out;
    Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
    You may succeed with another blow.

    Often the goal is nearer than,
    It seems to a faint and faltering man,
    Often the struggler has given up,
    When he might have captured the victor's cup,
    And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
    How close he was to the golden crown.

    Success is failure turned inside out--
    The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
    And you never can tell how close you are,
    It may be near when it seems so far,
    So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
    It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

    - Author unknown

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Hardest Part...

...is not crossing the Finish, it's showing up to the Start line." 

I read that somewhere, can't remember where, but it always stays with me. Today the gun went off at the Start for me. I went for my fist run, post knee surgery! I was going to head to the track to run on a softer surface, but after going to bed late and oversleeping, I didn't have the 30 minutes to spare for the drive there and back. I decided I would simply hit the pavement in my neighborhood -- because Ironman waits for no one!. It was a slow going jog and I was a bit nervous at first. I did a couple of 5/1 intervals and then asked myself, "Why am I walking?"

I mean, I was doing fine. Yes, there was a bit of soreness, but that's to be expected! So after that little motivational chat with myself, I continued and ran the remaining 1.5 miles, for a total of about 2.25 miles.

This past weekend was also my first bike ride since my surgery and bike crash! I went an hour and 20 mins. I felt good. I could have felt a ton better, had I taken the ride a little more seriously and ate before leaving, but I didn't feel that great and saw no reason to push it. Although after I was out there, it was evident I could have used the nutrition.

Folks, don't skip breakfast.  Ever. :)

So I'm going to give a brick a try tomorrow. Just a 30 minute bike and 30 minute run. There's reportedly a loop through a quiet neighborhood that's pretty safe that I'm going to give a try. There's also a run path (soft ground) for me to run on.

I've decided I'm still going to go to River Cities and simply do the best that I can.  My best might be last Athena, but I'll have a decent swim and an okay bike (I'm not ready for any kind of hills and there are little rollers here). I'll have to walk a portion of the run through the wooded trails, but it will make for a good, fun training day. Plus, it might work out that I get to see my BFF too! That would be an added bonus.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Never Enough Backers (or Cowbell!)

So far Bia's progress has been pretty darned impressive.  With 17 hours left they have just a smidge of $82k to raise to make this a real deal!  Swim Bike Mom backed this product to the point of doing a 5K match to backers!

Why am I backing Bia?   The reason I back it is because it's technology and technology doesn't move forward without a little nudge.  I think the features of this watch are up and coming and will be the standard down the road, but until the technology is out there, used tried and true, progress can't happen.  It's how progress works -- products are developed the competition starts, and from there may the best product win!

What I love about Kickstarter projects is that you can be a part of that journey.  Even for  just $1!  Every dollar counts in these last 17 hours, but bump it up to $20 and you'll get a free, additional band with your Bia watch (should you order it).  Go $40 and they send you a super cute Bia tech running shirt now and a free band if you order a Bia sports watch.  There incentives increase the higher you the amount, you get the picture.  If you've already backed them, but you can't resist being officially titled a "True Multisport Bad Ass", then go "manage" your amount and increase your contribution!  Remember, untless they reach the $400,000.00 mark in the next 17 hours, not a penny is charged to your electronic payment. Even a penny short, and the project is done.

Friends, we are in the Ironman stretch; 17 hours to finish and reach the $400k mark.  We need more Backers... and we always need more cowbell!  :)

From a previous post: 
Cheryl and Sylvia, of BIA Sport are trying to achieve one of their goals. They have developed a women's specific GPS Trainer/HR Monitor that they would like to bring to a reality. Here's a video:

First, let me preface this by saying I have no partnership with BIA, of any kind. In fact, to Cheryl and Sylvia (the founders) don't even "virtually" know me!* I simply think they have a great idea in their product and after reading what I consider trusted reviews on Swim Bike Mom and the "King of All Reviewers" DC Rainmaker, I had to back it myself.  Cheryl and Sylvia have turned to Kickstarter to raise initial funds of $400,000 since coming upon challenges garnering support for the idea.  As Cheryl says, it is kind of hard to find female "angel" investor who is also marathon runner!  It's a lofty goal, but they're pulling out all the stops to make this watch a reality in the retail market. Here is a great interview with Cheryl, explaining all that they've done and come up against through their journey. It's not for not trying, that's for sure.  I love the spirit and passion!


What I love most about this product is that it targets athletes just like me. MOP'ers (Middle of the Packers) who race because they absolutely can't think of anywhere else they'd rather be, at 5:15am on a Saturday or Sunday morning, but in transition setting up for a race.

We are the athletes who try to be just a little better than we were the day before.  Sharing our stories, triumphs and tribulations are exactly what keeps us going.  Having the data helps us see the improvements, even if we're not exactly crossing the Finish first or placing in our age groups. Products that deliver performance AND are easy to use, are invaluable!

Having a community of other women athletes where we share motivation is really how lifestyles change for the better... for the long-term.We're in such a fast-paced culture now that we seemingly need to have a reason to do what is right for our bodies -- I believe the product, in conjunction with the community could be life-changing for some, but will definitely impact many.

With that said, the product is pretty darned.... well, pretty!




From what I've read, it's doesn't just feel great to wear, but it's also simple to use and has some great features.  It's got one  button instead of 7 -- they compare it to iPod functionality.  You can synch Wifi to an online training log.  And I love that it is ANT+, and therefore compatible with many different devices used in training -- like maybe the power meter I will have one day in the future! They say it quickly connects to satellite -- which I would totally appreciate, since I've lost count of how many times I've stood in my driveway on a cloudy day waiting for a connection.  Or how many times I've fudged the buttons during a race and wound up with no data or guidance.    (Okay, I admit, some of that is just plain ol' user error!)

Honestly, when I first read about it I thought, "Too good to be true."  I thought it couldn't possibly be a robust product, and that in the end would not hold up to the Garmin.  A few weeks later I checked out their profile and the one of the first things I read catches my eye. "This is not a shrink it and pink it product."  Their product team brings experience from Apple, Nike, Jawbone, and Zoot! Even if you're just the least bit intrigued, check out their Kickstarter profile for more information, pictures and details functionality.

Please consider tossing a few bucks their way so they can fund their initial investment.  They even have some thoughtful awards for different levels of donations. What would it take really?  Wearing the only slightly leaky goggles for another month?  Maybe drop a month's worth of expensive lattes (and maybe some weight too!)?  And do we really need another pair of blingy flip-flops?  Yes, Yes.  I know they're cute, but Sylvia and Cheryl are "this close."

If you were "this close" to your idea becoming reality, wouldn't you want support too?

Make your donation here, at their Kickstarter Profile:  http://tinyurl.com/cwpaoag

By the way "Bia" is Goddess of Force and Power... younger sister of Nike. True story.

*Okay, they know me "virtually" now. :)

Monday, July 09, 2012

Dreams Don't Work Unless You do!


I'm officially back to "work."  as of Friday.  I went to Masters and did a 30 minute swim and felt pretty good.  Knee was a little fatigued, but that's okay.  It felt so good to be back doing something... ANYthing.

I had decided to take the day off and get some things done.  After swim I had the opportunity to go to b'fast with some of the girls, and that was fun.  Dang, they all make me wish I was a teacher who had Summers off!  Hubs joked that I was taking the vacation day to train.  3 months ago, maybe, but this come back will be smart and slow. 

On Saturday I hit the elliptical.  It was supposed to be just 30 minutes.  Ordinarily I feel like a rock-star on the elliptical, taking 2-3 minutes off my normal pace, however it was pretty sad how it was kicking my azz. No.  Really.  It was.  I was almost dying on these new Precors, that have the ski arms, so you are pushing and pulling the entire run. Anyway, I was determined to stay on it for 5k, which I did and then did 10 minutes of the elliptical backwards, just to get the reverse motion in too. Day 2 done.  Yay!

Today I made it back to Masters.  It was a good swim.  Knee was fatigued by the end, but then I also swim 1:20 and did 2300m.  400m of no breathers gave me a break from kicking, so I decided to hang for the rest of the session and used just the last 10 minutes to get my rehab exercises in.

So I have another 6 weeks, at which time the Ortho will do all the twist and bend tests on my knee to make sure I'm good to go.  Right now though I have license to swim, bike and run at 1/3 the volume and build 15 minutes a week from there.  so my race schedule is a little different -- here's what I'm thinking:

8/5    River Cities (won't really "race" the run since knee will still be recovering, but I'll be out there!
8/25  Clear Lake International (I'll be relaying; doing the swim.)
9/2    Summertime Blues (Just for fun... depends on what Ortho says on 8/15)
9/15  Southwyck Olympic (tentative )
09/30 Memorial Hermann Houston Olympic at Towne Lake ("A" Race)
10/28 Katy Triathlon at Firethorne  

Enough about me.  I'm not the only one working on dreams...

Cheryl and Sylvia, of BIA Sport are trying to achieve one of their goals. They have developed a women's specific GPS Trainer/HR Monitor that they would like to bring to a reality. Here's a video:








First, let me preface this by saying I have no partnership with BIA, of any kind. In fact, to Cheryl and Sylvia (the founders) don't even "virtually" know me!* I simply think they have a great idea in their product and after reading what I consider trusted reviews on Swim Bike Mom and the "King of All Reviewers" DC Rainmaker, I had to back it myself.  Cheryl and Sylvia have turned to Kickstarter to raise initial funds of $400,000 since coming upon challenges garnering support for the idea.  As Cheryl says, it is kind of hard to find female "angel" investor who is also marathon runner!  It's a lofty goal, but they're pulling out all the stops to make this watch a reality in the retail market. Here is a great interview with Cheryl, explaining all that they've done and come up against through their journey. It's not for not trying, that's for sure.  I love the spirit and passion!


What I love most about this product is that it targets athletes just like me. MOP'ers (Middle of the Packers) who race because they absolutely can't think of anywhere else they'd rather be, at 5:15am on a Saturday or Sunday morning, but in transition setting up for a race.

We are the athletes who try to be just a little better than we were the day before.  Sharing our stories, triumphs and tribulations are exactly what keeps us going.  Having the data helps us see the improvements, even if we're not exactly crossing the Finish first or placing in our age groups. Products that deliver performance AND are easy to use, are invaluable!

Having a community of other women athletes where we share motivation is really how lifestyles change for the better... for the long-term.We're in such a fast-paced culture now that we seemingly need to have a reason to do what is right for our bodies -- I believe the product, in conjunction with the community could be life-changing for some, but will definitely impact many.

With that said, the product is pretty darned.... well, pretty!




From what I've read, it's doesn't just feel great to wear, but it's also simple to use and has some great features.  It's got one  button instead of 7 -- they compare it to iPod functionality.  You can synch Wifi to an online training log.  And I love that it is ANT+, and therefore compatible with many different devices used in training -- like maybe the power meter I will have one day in the future! They say it quickly connects to satellite -- which I would totally appreciate, since I've lost count of how many times I've stood in my driveway on a cloudy day waiting for a connection.  Or how many times I've fudged the buttons during a race and wound up with no data or guidance.    (Okay, I admit, some of that is just plain ol' user error!)

Honestly, when I first read about it I thought, "Too good to be true."  I thought it couldn't possibly be a robust product, and that in the end would not hold up to the Garmin.  A few weeks later I checked out their profile and the one of the first things I read catches my eye. "This is not a shrink it and pink it product."  Their product team brings experience from Apple, Nike, Jawbone, and Zoot! Even if you're just the least bit intrigued, check out their Kickstarter profile for more information, pictures and details functionality.

Please consider tossing a few bucks their way so they can fund their initial investment.  They even have some thoughtful awards for different levels of donations. What would it take really?  Wearing the only slightly leaky goggles for another month?  Maybe drop a month's worth of expensive lattes (and maybe some weight too!)?  And do we really need another pair of blingy flip-flops?  Yes, Yes.  I know they're cute, but Sylvia and Cheryl are "this close."

If you were "this close" to your idea becoming reality, wouldn't you want support too?

Make your donation here, at their Kickstarter Profile:  http://tinyurl.com/cwpaoag

By the way "Bia" is Goddess of Force and Power... younger sister of Nike. True story.

*Okay, they know me "virtually" now. :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Cassie's Race!


Cassie did a local triathlon sponsored by the Kiwanis Club.  They have a whole series of Kids races throughout the Houston area.  She had tons of fun  and did well.  She's downright giddy on race days.  She gets right up and ready, faster than ever, as if just rising from the bed was a race too! 

We arrived at the race site and she was enamored with the red sky. She insisted the red sky was good luck, in spite of the old saying, "Red sky by morn, sailors be warned.."   She stood by her opinion though and believed it was good luck.  :)


She got into the water for a warmup -- she must have did a 300m warm up for a 50m swim!  LOL  She was having a great time and I could tell she really wanted to be there.  She's improving so much and I get inspired when she gets something in her head that she wants to make better and does. 




This was the first race where she was 1st out on the swim! She was so proud!  In fact when they started it didn't even look like her swimming!  She was aggressive, attacking the water like a more seasoned swimmer.  Cassie and another girl took a quick lead then she just kept increasing her distance between 1st and 2nd.  I thought for sure she'd slow down 2/3's of the way out, but she didn't.  She stayed strong!


She spent a little too much time in transition, and gave all the kiddos she beat out of the water a chance to leave on the bikes ahead of her.  No matter though -- she was still smiling and having a great time.  She headed out on the bike nice and steady, no wrecks!  She made a super fast transition to the run and pushed it the entire way!  I think she was surprised by how good she felt too! 


After she finished (13 minutes), she ran into a couple of kids from swim team and also had a friend of  still out on the course. 


Cassie was still full of energy and ran out to the bike course to cheer her friendon as she rode.


Then the swim team friends and Cassie ran out on the run course to help run their friend in.  It was soooo sweet.  I love the spirit. 
 

In the end, I think Cassie was really hoping to place and get a trophy. I think taking 2nd place in her very first race last year set the bar a little high! When they called out 3rd, 2nd then 1st, I saw her suck her lip and hold back the tears.  I looked at her and said, "Look what you did today on your swim!  You were amazing!!"  "That was a first, and you should be proud."  I also pointed out that she didn't wreck on her bike (unlike the last race) and that she pushed her run harder than I've ever seen.  She nodded in agreement, but was still sad for a few minutes.  :(

I gently explained to her, if she wants to "place" that she has to work on the weaknesses, and the rewards will come in time.  She asked me what she could do better, and truthfully the biggest improvement she could make would be her transition from swimming to biking.  I explained to her that in the time she took to get her sneakers on, all the kids behind her on the swim left on their bike (she was in transition for more than 2 minutes). Immediately she said, "Making a better transition is my goal, now, Mommy."  The fact that she "got it" so quickly was so awesome.  She's one tough princess. 

In this life you don't get anything handed to you.  I think she'll learn those lessons through her triathlon racing and swim team.  I don't really see the point of organized sports where they award everyone essentially for just signing up. Where's the lesson about working hard to achieve goals in that? 

As hard as it is to see, because it really does break my heart inside, I'd rather console my little athlete in her disappointment, knowing that she is learning invaluable life lessons while still having fun.  :)

  
Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Healthy, Pretty, Strong and London Bound

It's no secret that I'm a fan of weightlifting.  I really do enjoy it, but I also love triathlon and it's a challenge to share time between the two.  This year though, before my injury (which was related to walking in high-heels and not lifting or triathlon!), I was managing to get 3 days of lifting, along with my tri training.  I was getting stronger and loving it.  No one needs to make a believer out of me.  I AM a believer.

I can't say I paid a ton of attention to Olympic weightlifting, in that I am an astute, long-time follower.   Several years back though, Cheryl Haworth caught my attention and I loved her story.  At the 2000 Olympics, 17 years old, 5'8" and 300 lbs., Cheryl brought the Bronze medal home.  On of my favorite quotes from her is, "It's fun to be strong." 

Indeed it is. And I've always remembered that.

For me, post-RNY surgery, I spent 2 years weight training with a trainer.  My only objective was to lift, so as to minimize the loss of muscle mass post-op.  Even though the closest thing I did to Olympic style movement was squats, it was still enough for me to build my appreciation for being strong and what it does for your body. I learned that when I lifted regularly, everything felt better. Everything.

Since then, I got back into Triathlon, but through some constant reminding/gentle persuasion/jedi mind tricks, my Chiro, who also coaches an olympic weightlifting team and owns Crossfit Box, finally got me to come "play" with them after my Thyroid symptoms went unimproved for over 2 years and I couldn't loose any weight (despite training for the MS150 and 3 Half Ironman races).  Long story short, I did play.  I changed to eating a clean, Paleo diet.  The results have been surprising.  But, along with my improved health, I found that weightlifting gives me something I don't get from triathlon.

While I love triathlon and I still desperately want to do an Ironman one day, there is something about weightlifting that feels natural to me.  Lord knows I wasn't built for speed.  I've been told by a couple of trainers I just have a natural affinity for weightlifting and getting stronger.  Even my Chiro once said to me, "When will you realize you're a weightlifter?!"  LOL

When I lift I feel strong.  I feel confident.

With triathlon I feel strong and confident and after the accomplishment. 

It's okay... I can love both triathlon and weightlifting.  I'm not dreaming of weightlifting at the Olympics. LOL

But there are some who do, like Sarah Robles and Jessica Gallagher; the girls who author the blog Pretty Strong.  Some of those dreams are about to come true via the 2012 Olympics in London for Sarah Robles.  The more I read about their stories, the more intrigued I become. 

So here we are with the 2012 Olympics approaching and I follow the US Olympic teams a little more closely these days.  Between triathlon, swimming, cycling, running and weightlifting, I love the Summer Olympics.  At the time I started following the Pretty Strong blog, Sarah and Jessica were 2 Olympic hopefuls.  Sarah Robles (along with Holley Mangold, another great story) is going to compete in the super heavyweight class at the 2012 Olympics. Yay!

This morning I get on Facebook and find my Crossfit coach posted this story about Sarah.  It was titled, "The Strongest Woman in America Lives in Poverty."  Okay, that caught my attention.  I read the article and was dumb-founded.  In part because I hadn't thought deeply enough about the subject, but when I did it really hit me. I'll preface this by saying, I respect and appreciate ALL Olympic athletes.  If you've made the US Olympic team, you deserve kudos!  What's makes me sad about this story is how these super heavyweight lifters, will most likely, never see sponsorship opportunities post Olympics that other athletes do.  All because they don't fit the general perception of "healthy."

It is likely these super heavyweights women won't see those super-heavyweight sponsorship paychecks because they don't have LoLo, Phelps, or Lochte bodies.  Maybe, MAYBE if they were men, it they might have a slight edge, but that's another story. 

These athletes stay the course, even though there is likely to be no proverbial "pot of gold" at the end of their Olympic rainbow (and they pretty much know it). They persevere, dedicated to becoming the best they can be.  Being the best is the only thing driving them.  I can't imagine them being afforded the opportunity to waste one ounce of energy on "hoping" for this or that. 

What makes it so unfortunate, in my mind, is that these HEALTHY, STRONG athletes are incredibly good role models for our youth -- and maybe even more so because of their increased determination to override the additional struggle and obstacles their own bodies create.

They even face obstacles being outfitted to wear Team USA clothing, for crying out loud!  Why should these world-class athletes have this additional, nonsensical stress?  It's such BS!  If you're a designer for Team USA, you gotta know It's a pretty broad range of sizes in both men and women!  With that said, there is no complaining by these athletes, just a simple statement of their reality.  No requests for special treatment.  To them it's just a reality they have to accept, process and just continue to press forward with in order to be the best in London. 


Reading the article moved me to the point of writing Sarah and sharing my brief thoughts and a virtual high-five for what she's accomplished.  I had already made a small donation to the US Olympic team; not nearly anything that would help on it's own, but I wanted to know what could be done for her directly.  I found this page on the blog that lists all the ways you can help, and they don't necessarily have to be donating money.

If you have a moment, take a look at the list.  If you can help in some way, just do it!  :)

Recovery and Rambling

Recovery is going well.  I'm still so very grateful there wasn't a detachment that required a repair, as that would have made for a far worse, much longer and would have required a brace and crutches!  There's still some swelling, and that keeps the joint a bit tight, but I'm doing my leg lifts and stretching my quad -- getting my foot closer to my butt every day.

I'm starting to miss training a bit.  Can't say I'm missing running in the 108 degree weather we've been having the last week, but I am hoping to be able to start swimming and biking here shortly.  I called the Doc's office this morning to see if I could get in the pool and swim, even with a pull buoy, I'd be happier than doing more of nothing. 

"CC" said to not pay for coaching for a couple months, until I'm good again.  My CF Coach said, she'll temporarily cancel my membership until I'm back to it.  I appreciate the savings, but it's strange to be "dropped" faster than on a Tuesday/Thursday p'clip ride... and that's fast!  LOL

I stopped by my chiro's office yesterday to get my "Unboken" tee shirt.  It makes me miss being around the very people who help to keep me inspired and motivated.  In fact, this week, I thought I might go to Tuesday morning track just to do my leg lifts and stretching, just to be around everyone for some motivation.  Before I left I Doc T. if I could come "play" on Friday, at least do some upper body stuff and just move.  

I won't be racing at Y-Freedom this year, but the RD was nice enough to let me defer my already complimentary entry, so that made me pretty happy.  That was something she didn't have to do, so I'm going to make sure I give them some volunteer hours to show my appreciation.  I still have River Cities on 8/5 and Houston Olympic Triathlon on 9/25 to look forward too.

Not sure I mentioned it; I probably did.  I decided, firmly, that I won't be going to Hy-vee Nationals.  Nationals is on 9/2.  There is no reason to travel to a race, and spend that kind of money, when I won't be 100%.  I don't want to go and just be 90%.  I can do that here, for a lot less money.  I am going to contact them and see if they'll defer my qualifying spot until 2013.  Not sure they'll do that, but given the injury, surgery and recovery, they might?  Who knows?  It's worth a shot.  


 Cass-a-frass gets to race this weekend.  The Kiwanis Kids series tri is in Pearland on Saturday.  As hot as it has been, I'm tempted not to let her do it.  On the other hand, she spends 80% of her day outside at Day Camp, so she's acclimated to the heat.  I want it to stay fun for her!  It will be early enough in the day so won't be as bad as it could be... I hope!

She's been having a great time this Summer at Day Camp (the local YMCA).  She's swimming like a fish, Mon-Thu at the Y in the morning, and then with the Sails team 3 afternoons per week.  She absolutely loves it and she's making good progress.  What I'm most proud of his her good attitude.  She just doesn't give up.  She might get a little upset at something, but she's tough, and goes right back to it. She's been to several meets since late April and really loves being with the team, swimming and cheering for everyone.  She's such a good little sport about it.  

Hubs has been fighting the new-bike-bug since I brought "Caddie" home.  He stopped fighting and finally succumbed.  I placed his final bid on a Matty Reed edition of the Fuji D6 Frame for him.  It's every bit as pretty as "Caddie", but in a lime-green.  Of course this shows it all decked-out, but we only bought the frame -- he now has another project in disassembling his "Frankenbike" and moving the parts to his new, sweeter ride. 

"His"
"Hers"

This not training period has been a test of motivation on so many levels.  My weight has been holding steady without any real exercise.  If I'm keeping it real, for the last 2 weeks I've been Paleo only 80% of the time.  Still mostly good, but not perfect.  What I've noticed right off is that my skin is dry and flaky.  That seemed to happened after I let a little dairy Milk  and little wheat back into my diet.  I'm back on, so I'll be curious to see how quickly my skin returns to normal. 

That's about it for now.  Better tend to my day job.  :)

Oh, wait, one more thing.  Oh wait... I'll write a separate post about what's on my mind, because it deserves it.