Sunday, July 1, 2012

The highs for temps here have been over 100 for the past few days during this first week of official training toward our marathon.  
Three runs and a bike!  While it feels like I'm starting over again, I know I'm not.  I know I used to be able to run 100 yards before collapsing into breathing fits because my conditioning sucked and  my muscles weren't strong enough.  Now, I collapse after a mile because of cramps but then I'm able to keep running after the cramps subside.  Yay me!  I used to have to walk up that steep hill on Homestead but now I gear down and pedal all the way through it - even in the middle of a minor asthma attack.  Yay me!

I am encouraged that even though it seems like a raggedy ass start to training - my base level is way higher than it used to be. I am encouraged that even though I was NOT well fueled this week for training, I remember what it takes to get through training.  I am encouraged that I'm looking forward to Tuesday, which is when our next run is.  And, I'm encouraged by the fact that I wish our next run was tomorrow!

Happy training homies...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Here we go again.

Ironman France 2014!  In 2 years, Meredith and I plan to do Ironman France!  It's very exciting and a bit scary. 

Some of the lessons we've learned over the past few years in our other journeys will carry us through our beginning stages of training:
  • trust your training
  • be here now
  • just keep swimming
  • just keep pedaling
  • just keep breathing
We are in the process of developing and implementing a training plan for this first stage of training.

More as we go.

It's good to be back.

Allez! Allez! Bon Courage!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

yes, i'm still alive

I have avoided this here blog and doing anything like blogging. [You're like 'duh, we can tell, you haven't posted anything since like January.']

But let's try it again.

I started this blog to talk about my journey to being in the best shape of my life. Until now, I have thought that the only things I should talk about are things that have to do with triathloning or other physical things I do. But, I've had a revelation: I can talk about things other than just physical exercise and training. You're like 'yeah chic, you can talk about whatever you want - it's your damn blog.' So, I'm gonna. Talk about all the other things that are part of my journey to being in the best shape of my life.

I might talk about architecture because I've gotten interested in it recently. I might talk about teaching because that's my job. I might talk about games because I love to play them. I might talk about my fabulous partners because, well, they're fabulous. I might talk about the kids because they are wonderful. I might talk about our dogs because they are Whacked, with a capital W! I might even talk about price of cheese or other random crap that's flowing through my head - why? Because it's my blog and I can rant if I want to.

Someday, I'm going to write a book and one of the chapters is going to be called the Seventh Grade Stink. It happens every year right around the beginning of spring when we have a few warm days. All of a sudden, the classrooms, the halls, the bathrooms, no doubt the locker rooms (but I'm never there) smell like 7th graders. I don't know if you know much about 7th graders but they are usually 12 years old popping off at 13 almost daily. And, hormones hit most during 7th grade. Why am I writing about it this now you might ask? Because this past week was the week - the week when it got hot enough for the students to sweat and pervasive enough for the new hormoneinduced-7th-grade-stink to permeate EVERYTHING.

More on 7th graders later.

I gotta go do something.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

spin class

What do you think about spin classes for off-season training?

Some of my thoughts about it so far...
It's too cold for me to ride outside - I know I'm not going to do it so I have to find another alternative.
I've thought about just doing trainer rides. I need to work on my pace and I don't mind getting a book to read while my legs are doing the work.
Today, I attended a spin class at a gym and I had a lot of fun.
The bike was a bit uncomfortable (but it's only an hour class and who hasn't been uncomfortable on their bike for at least an hour?).
The music was fun.
The encouragement was helpful.
There were a lot of sprints. I like sprints but for some as yet undiscovered reason they were more fun than helpful.
I did sweat a lot which was good. And, I need to lose more weight which seems like it might be a by-product of the spin class.

Thoughts, oh peeps in the blogosphere?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beach2Battleship half-iron race report...(it's long so be warned)

The basics according to my watch...

Swim - 31:44
T1 - 11:18 (I think)
Bike - 3:40:43
T2 - 4 minutes (not sure)
Run - 3:04:52
Total - 7:30:24

The results according to the official timing (which didn't work for everybody):

Swim - n/a
T1 - n/a
Bike - n/a
T2 - 5:37
Run - 3:04:18
Total - 7:29:53

My overall rank - 137 out of 156 (that finished) or 137 out of 163 (that started). In either case, about 85% of those the women in the race are better than me. (I view this as information to help me get better in the future not criticisim for now.)

The day...

We started the day at about 4:00 am (possibly 4:30 - not sure - it was too early for me to track). I had a bagel and a Coke. Believe it or not, I spent a LOT of time trying to figure out what to eat that morning and, yes, what I decided upon was a bagel and a Coke. I have a lot of work to do on nutrition. I know.

I took a shower, got dressed in the warmest stuff I had brought and we headed over to T1. (John our fabulous sherpa toted us over to the start, toted our bike pump back to the car and hung out with us until there was no reason to stay. I think we got there around 6:00 am and the temperature was about 36 degrees - yes, 36 degrees, which SUCKS for this Florida girl. Fortunately, I had some warm clothes.

We parked and headed over to the bikes to pump up the tires and fiddle with stuff for the first transition. Then, headed over to body-marking which I like a LOT. I know - I'm weird. It's okay. I know it. And, we had a little fun getting cheesy for the camera.

By this time, it was about 7:00 am. And, we didn't start until around 8:50. Dude. That's an hour and 50 minutes. To do nothing. Except think about stuff. Torture. For. Me. Meredith headed over to swim start. I walked around more, checked out the swim exit and then finally hopped on the trolley to head over to the swim start.

The swim:
The swim start was at a pier that I think rented kayaks or something. When I arrived there were already lots of people hanging around. And, it was actually more fun and much less stressful than I thought. There were a couple of very cool people there like Carolina John , Missy and SWTrigal . We saw some of the full-iron distance folks swimming by so we cheered them on. Right before our start, we saw Sage (she's a coach, yogini, athlete - all kind of fabulousness wrapped into one person and someday we'll be able to afford to have her coach us). Then, we had to enter the water down a boat ramp and over a mat (to the swim start we go). The mat beeped when we crossed but it was just to indicate that we had entered the water. Our swim start was at 8:50 - that's how our time was noted. We got in the water and I felt incredible. EVERY other time I have gotten in the water for a swim I have had some immediate panic (can't breathe - panting even). I've learned that the panic passes and I can eventually swim. I did NOT have that AT ALL this time. It was amazing and magical. I felt at home - like this was my water - like I had been doing this my whole life. Totally weird. Totally awesome. Meredith looked great. She was getting settled in the water, finding her spot. The horn sounded and off we went. I felt great. I was bilateral breathing; I had smooth strokes; and, in almost no time it seemed, I was at the boat with the wiggly man (one of those human shaped things usually at car lots that has air blowing through it - and it's wiggling). This was pretty cool because it was at the wiggly man that we turn left. I lifted up out of the water and yelled "I love the wiggly man" - I was giddy-stupid at that point. The swim was going really well. I did keep getting pulled off to the right after the turn (with the current). So, I ended up swimming more than those who stayed in the 'fast lane'. But, I don't have any complaints - it felt incredible to swim that much with less effort than I imagined and in less time than I had planned. I realize that I had the current and I loved every minute of it (all 15 fewer minutes than I had hoped).

*Something to note for the future - when I have been swimming for a bunch of laps without stopping, I get a cramp (or that tightening feeling that you get right before you get a cramp) in my left calf. This seems weird to me because I don't use my legs very much when I swim. I'm one of those people that when I kick it actually slows me down. During the swim on race day, I started feeling that pre-cramp feeling in both of my calfs. Weird. I had to focus a LOT on keeping my legs relaxed for the last 10 minutes or so to try to prevent the cramping.

Transition 1:
We had to climb up ladders onto a pier, then walk a few meters, get our wetsuit shucked off (which was wonderful), then walk through a freshwater shower, then I got my shoes on and jogged (sloshy belly full of salt water and all) about 400 miles, I mean 400 yards to the transition area. I always feel a little strange when I get out of the water so this was a bit of an adventure. Finally got to my bike, Meredith was just about to head out of the transition area. She looked GREAT! There were others coming and going and there was this guy a couple of bikes down the row who draped a towel around himself to change - only it didn't really do the job. Reminded me of Carolina John's bike race in SC with the cocks-a-flopping. Anyhoo...

I got changed, got on my bike, and headed to the exit. I got to the mount line, mounted my bike and took off.

The bike:
A few seconds later, I noticed my bike computer was NOT working so I pulled off to the side to fiddle with it. Then started biking again. Still not working. Pulled off again to fiddle with it differently. Then started biking again. Still NOT working. Pulled off again to fiddle with it. Then started biking again. STILL NOT WORKING. So, I pulled it off my bike, chucked it into my pocket and biked on. I still didn't feel right. Usually the bike is comfortable and easy. Not this time though. I felt uncomfortable, unsteady and, well, icky. My tummy didn't feel good and I couldn't do anything to make it better. That's about how I felt for the first 5 or 6 miles - just not quite right. Then, the course took us up on I-140. We had a whole lane to ourselves for the length of I-140. AWESOME! There were police officers at each exit ramp and on ramp stopping traffic for us. Dude. I could get used to that. I felt better and better. I started eating Shot Bloks and drinking some water and I was just pumping away. I did decide to pull over somewhere on the interstate in order to take some ibuprofen because it usually does me a LOT of good during rides and runs. I got passed a lot which was kind of weird because I'm definitely a back-of-the-pack kinda girl. By the time we got to the end of the I-140, I had caught up to Meredith, which was tons of fun for me because I got to talk to her a little bit. Not much 'cause you are NOT allowed to ride next to each other or draft. By this time, we were riding north on 421 where the course is VERY VERY flat. I had a good pace I thought - focusing more on turn-over than powering through. Turned onto Blueberry which was where the first of the courses aid stations was located. Took a moment to pee, get some water and headed on. The next few miles was pretty good. Saw a lot of riders coming back (it was an out and back course), Carolina John was kicking some boo-tay at this point. Got to the turn-around point and, well, turned around. (From the end of I-140 on, the course was familiar to me - Meredith and I had come out a few weeks prior for a test ride.) This is where I started feeling not so great. It took a few miles but gradually pedaling became harder, then there was a head-wind and finally, my stomach just felt like there were rocks in it. I stopped at the last aid station before the end. Used the restroom again (didn't help), got some water and went on. I was able to get a good pace going, but every pedal stroke sucked a little more energy out. And, all the stuff that I had put into my stomach was not getting to my muscles. I did okay up until the last 2 bridges. By the time I grinded all the way to the top of that last bridge, I was empty. And, I was crying. And, I could not see any possible way that I was going to be able to do the run. I had hit bottom.

Transition 2:
I pulled into transition just behind Meredith. I had finally caught back up with her. I think she asked me how I was doing and I think I just busted into tears. I don't think I could even talk for a couple of minutes. I needed nutrition. Nothing I had taken in felt like it had hit my system and the bagel and coke were long gone. I sat on the ground for a bit, got on my shoes, and tried to imagine how the hell I was going to keep going. Meredith headed out. Another guy was headed into transition and, while I know he wasn't talking to me (I think he was talking to one of the volunteers), it seemed like it he said to me "I just feel like crying". I already was. Okay. So, I said to myself "get up and get going and, if you have to, you can walk it." Also, I really needed to take a gel but I didn't have any water so I decided I would at least get to the first of the aid stations on the run course so I could get some water and take the gel. As I reflect, I did have water on my bike, which wasn't with me at the beginning of transition but was magically there by the end (fantastic volunteers who took our bikes as we entered transition and brought them to our positions). My head was so foggy that I couldn't adjust to the water on my bike when my bike got to me.

The run:
Anyway, weeping and walking and running was how I exited transition 2. I tried very hard to run past all of the wonderful people who were cheering me on. I saw Sage again. Right past her, I stopped running, started walking and weeping. I got out of the parking lot and past the access road and saw the big bridge ahead of me and what did I see? Meredith up a ways and other people walking too! I was still in a deep dark hole but this gave me just a little bit of energy to keep going. I got to the aid station, got some water, took 2 gels this time 'cause I was in bad shape and off I went. Walking and running. I could see Meredith up ahead and I thought "gosh, I hope I can catch up to her at some point - I sure could use some Meredith energy right now". I slowly began to feel better - I was still crying every now and then but not as often and not for as long. And, I was able to run a little bit farther each time. I could still see Meredith up ahead and now she was running with someone else. I thought with a bit of a chuckle "Meredith made a new friend" (she makes friends wherever she goes). But, I found out later, that this person actually befriended her! How fun!
Anyway, I caught up and we ran the last 9.1 miles together. We saw the lead man and lead woman for the full iron distance -that was totally cool. But, dude, they were on the last lap of the run for the full (the last 13 miles of 140.6) while we were on the last lap of the run for the half (the last 13 miles of 70.3). Wow! They were amazing. We saw signs that said "be here" and "believe in your training". All of those helped. I felt better and better mentally - I guess my body finally started to absorb some of the nutrition. I felt more and more physically tired at the same time. The balls of my feet were hurting. My head was a little fuzzy. The bricks and the cobblestones on Water Street as well as the drawbridge were a little difficult to navigate. And then, we finished. Our peeps were at the end waiting for us, high-fiving us and ringing some serious cow-bell. It was awesome!

Post-race thoughts:
*I have got to learn more about nutrition.
*I have to have a stronger run base.
*Holy shit - I just did an half-iron distance triathlon.
*I do trust the training we did. There are certainly some things we/I will adjust next time around but it worked.
*While we were at the expo, surrounded by all kinds of 'serious' athletes, I thought "what right do I have to be here with all of these athletes with all of their wicked cool gear?" By the end of the race, I what right I have: I trained for this and I did it.

We rock!
We went for a run today - in the icky cold rainy weather. Last spring, I ran in the cold and rain and was absolutely MISERABLE. Today, I was a little stiff and sore but other than that, I was okay. I was definitely NOT miserable. Mentally, it was easy. That's progress.

Friday, November 6, 2009

0 days (the night before)

The countdown clock on my blog says 0 days! Dude. Wow. It's here. Tomorrow is race day.

Today, we picked up our packets; ate several times; dropped off our bikes and bags of gear per race instructions; and checked out all the transition areas. We did all of the stuff that we were supposed to do.

<--This is where our bikes are spending the night, without us, in the cold, waiting for us to emerge from the swim and take off.

This is where we had to drop our T2
(bike to run transition) gear.-->

Now, we just have to race.

I have this feeling that I might start freaking out in the morning right before we start the swim. I haven't freaked out yet, so it's gonna come right? We'll see.

I know there are people out there for which this is not a big deal. I hope someday (sooner rather than later) that this becomes familiar, festive and fun. There is a degree of fun in it for me now but it's a bit more distant or maybe removed. The fun factor is more like the light at the end of a very dark hall - it's there and I know it but it's there - not right here. Someday.

Tomorrow, I will attempt to do the biggest physical thing I've ever done (at least that I can remember). I plan to start and I hope to finish. See you on the other side of 70.3.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

rant about stupid-isms

Stupid-ism #1: A few weeks ago MFTLP and I were doing a LONG ride. We were about at the turn-around point on a state road that had been 2 lanes for quite a long way but had turned into a 4-lane road with a center turn lane. Plenty of room. This chic in the passenger seat of a white SUV leaned out as she was passing us and said something along the lines of "why don't you ride on the sidewalk?" with an angry tone and possibly an obscenity attached.

Um...well #1, a**hole: it's not legal to ride on the sidewalks where I live and it is legal (as in required) to ride on the right side of the road - "ride as far to the right as practicable" which still means riding on the right side of the what? - the ROAD. And, #2, stupid a**hole (this is where the stupid comes in): THERE WEREN'T ANY SIDEWALKS. Yes, that's right she yelled at me to ride on the sidewalks and there weren't any. You'd think because she was so blatantly stupid that it wouldn't bother me. But, alas, I am affected - frustrated by the fact that nothing I did impacted her - she was driving in the left lane with nobody slowing her down - and yet she had to yell something angry out the window to us. WTF!

Stupid-ism #2: Today, during the bike part of our brick, I had a flat. [I guess I didn't have to specify that it was the bike part of the brick in which I had a flat - if I'm going to have a flat, I would have it during the bike. Duh. Sorry.] So, having a flat today is pretty frustrating - I mean it's always frustrating to have a flat but today it was made even more frustrating because I just changed my tire like 2 or 3 days ago because it was flat AND (this is good) I HAVEN'T FUCKING RIDDEN MY BIKE SINCE I CHANGED MY FUCKING TIRE and it still went flat! Besides having to deal with a flat during terrible traffic time (cars zooming past at like 40-50 mph or more like 3-4 feet away from me) and dealing with the fact that there is something wrong with me and how I change my tires or something wrong with my tire (either one of which REALLY needs to be fixed before the race), some fuckhead yells out his car window "(something something that was garbled) bicycle fags". I suppose it might have been "bicycle hags" or possibly "bicycle bags" but people don't usually go out of their way to yell something like bicycle bags. They are much more likely to yell something which is intended to be some kind of insult I suppose. What exactly are "bicycle fags" or "bicycle hags" for that matter? And, does changing a tire on the side of a busy road during almost-rush-hour constitute us being "bicycle fags". I mean it's not like we were making out or anything (although I have to say that would have been far more fun than changing the FUCKING tire for the second time in 3 days). Or, what if it was "bicycle hags"? What's that? He was also traveling the opposite direction on the other side of the divided highway from where we were. So, nothing we were doing was impacting him at all. And yet, stupid a**hole had to yell out his window at us. WTF!

Anyway...there is so much anger out there about bicyclists riding on the roads. Why? What the hell did we do to you? You are probably the same a**holes that throw shit out the windows of your cars rather than in a trash can and chain up your dogs outside without water and don't give a shit about what happens to them and you are also probably the kind of ignorant motherfuckers who go out of their way to kill, torture or maim other creatures. Definitely the kind of people that need to be weeded out some variation of the darwinian way - like survival of the smartest - of which they would totally NOT make the cut.

Sorry, fuck is the word of choice today. I hope none of you younger folks are reading this. If so, edit out the bad words.

Today: the traffic got to me. It didn't used to - but it sure did today.

We have 16 days 'til the race. It seems very close. We have about 10 more days of pretty intensive training and then taper. My confidence is increasing in little bits and my excitement is growing. Yay!

Later dudes. Thanks for reading.