Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Almost four years ago I was almost 100 lbs overweight. It was sometime in mid May and I had just joined my local gym and signed up for Runners World a few hours later. I was declaring myself to be a "runner" and I had my first 5K picked out for August. About two weeks later I received my first RW in the mail. It's funny how vivid this memory is to me. I was running water in the bathtub and sitting on the ledge of the tub when I pulled out the insert. It was a fold out poster of the map of the ING New York City Marathon, tracing the route through all five Burroughs. At that moment I promised myself that I would get there. At the time I could barely run two miles without stopping and I closed my eyes and imagined the feeling of running in the greatest city in the world with thousands of other people. 26.2 miles!? How would I ever do it? It seemed liked something other people did. Not what I could do. Even so, I knew one day that it would be me. Even though I've run four marathons already, this will by far be the sweetest. I don't have the map anymore. I folded it and messed with it so much that the edges became torn and more like Kleenex than paper. I still wish that I would have kept it.
What a dream come true! Bucket List Item #1, here I come!
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Never Gonna Sink and Will Probably Defeat the Bad Guys
Yesterday was wet suit try-on day. If you've never tried one on, let me just say that it's like trying to stuff a pig into a into a kids Jedi costume. I say this because putting pajamas on a cat would be easier. It takes science, skill, a slick plastic bag and a whole lot of wiggling and pulling.
The suit that I'm modeling in the pictures costs a lot of money and hence was my obvious choice. I tried on a couple others, one of which I swam in at masters class last night that was sleeveless and I have to say that I love these things. They feel like a bionic suit that doubles as a life preserver. I have no problem walking through "the hood" in this body armor. I dare them to try and steal what money I don't have left.
Anyway, after burning close to 2K calories getting the suits on, swimming and wrestling them off, I finally made it to swim class. It was a swim games extravaganza! There was a professional that came in and he would have us do all these "racing games" that involved buoys and reenacting what takes place at the race start. I foolishly tried to race out ahead of everyone. I paid the price with elbows and a proper head push way down into the water. Glub, glub. Then, said professional got in the water with us and acted as a rogue swimmer who insisted on scaring the shit out of every last one of us. I could see him coming out of the side of my goggles and my heart would race. I then would get clobbered. Just all out clobbered. He would jostle me, just as if I had got stuffed into a washing machine. The first couple rounds I would stop swimming and wait for him to get out of my way....then, something magical happened. I got mad and decided that I would chase him and jostle him back. This was not the normal "me" that I know in the water. I felt aggressive and normally I'm little Gretle Von Trapp who mouses her way up and down the pool quietly out of the way. It was a huge mental hurdle for me to cross.
Before we left I thanked him for beating up on me in the pool. He did me a big favor and puts me one step closer to where I need to be!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The only thing that was missing from this triathlon was a Versace dress because believe me, after it was over, I felt like giving a speech. So, Saturday was the Heart and Sole Triathlon. It's a sprint distance event and was held in the next town over from where I live. Actually two towns over. The weather was 43 and rainy. Just as crappy as you could possibly imagine it to be.
There are things in this world that I don't like but racing and competing in bad weather is not one of them. I find that I do my best when mother nature dumps on me. The swim was a 400 yard pool swim. Not bad really. These days my warm-up for my open water swim is a 400 so I knew that wouldn't be an issue. The only problem is that it takes me awhile to settle in when I swim. I often don't hit my best stride or feel comfy till about 20 minutes in. I had a MAJOR problem in that they didn't swim seed me. I was the LAST person to sign up for this event and I was almost the LAST person to start the swim. I passed 5 people in the pool and was hit HEAD ON by a guy trying to pass in my line. It startled me. Really startled me! I popped up and yelled "Hey!!" at him. Took me another 5 - 10 seconds to catch my breath and get back at it. Needless to say I was happy to get out of the pool.
Once I climbed out of the pool, I had to walk out a door, in my tri suit, soaking wet, into a 40 degree day with rain. My daughter was there to greet me at transition with my Nike jacket. I was never so happy to put that thing on. I wasn't 100% focused on the feeling of being cold but I knew it was there. I immediately sat down by my bike, threw my helmet, socks and bike shoes on, got up and took off on Achilles. I know I'm doing it right when the race volunteers are telling me to slow down. Since my bike sensors were wet, the entire bike computer was shut down. About 2 miles in, my cadence and MPH started working so that's all I had to go on. I almost like it better that way. I looked down at my legs about 5 miles into the 15 mile ride and noticed that they were beet red. The rain and cold were burning. I mean, I was warm on the inside but my skin was telling another story. I always find it interesting how I'm so much different on the bike than I am on the swim or run. I would find people out in front of me and do everything in my power to catch them. I passed 10 people on the bike. Yeah, I wasn't messing around.
Complete drowned rat
Once I rolled back into transition, my daughter came up along side of me and asked how I was. Then all of a sudden it hit me. I couldn't feel my feet. The cold had numbed them. Each foot felt like a wooden pirate leg. I said "I think I have a problem, I can't feel my feet." And then I laughed, because really, what else was there to do? I pulled my helmet off, racked my bike, threw on the Nikes and away I went for 3.1 miles of cross country / trail running. Up creek beds and over the hills I went. I looked like a drowned rat but I felt like a million dollars. When I crossed the finish line I knew that I had done well. I could sense it. And I DID!
I finished 1st in my age group. Not only that but I was the fastest woman on the bike with the exception of the overall female winner. For being fastest on the bike I received a $50 gift cert to the local bike shop. Say it with me - New Helmet.
It was such a confidence boost. I crossed the finish with plenty in the tank. Now, I'm ready to move it on up like the Jeffersons!
Friday, April 20, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
In training we take the good with the bad. This past weekend was a whole lot of good, followed by a whole lot of bad.
Friday night was amazing. It was beautiful outside, a sneaky, hidden breeze that I can never identify before I actually get out on my bike. About 65-70 degrees. As you all know I go through this cycle of great ride - bad ride. I struggle with the wind and it infuriates me to no end. Well, sometimes fate takes over. I had everything ready but my Garmin, that's dead, and my bike computer that's spewing me false numbers. I work on it for five minutes and decide that fate doesn't want me to keep track of time. I knew the distance and I suppose that's all that matters in the end right? So, I hop on and away I went. Some three hours later I had completed my first ever 50 mile ride. Aside from some lower back soreness, I was in good shape. I had hill climb left in my quads and frankly, I was shocked. I won't tell you how bad I fueled.
Anyway, got home about 8pm. Woke up at 6 am and went for about an 8 mile run with my friend Courtney. Funny enough, I could run. I was preparing myself to be a cripple when I woke up but I was shocked to find myself functional and in a right frame of mind to move. I was a bit sluggish but I still had gas in tank. Must have been the half a gallon of chocolate milk I drank after the bike ride or the mound of bananas and beef jerky?? Whatever, it worked!
Two hours later, I took Thing 3 to his first soccer game of the season. Don't be fooled by the smile. He's shorter than everyone else but can clear out a ball like none other. I'm pretty sure he's also the reason we keep our home security system up to date. So, after the game we're walking back to the car and I felt like I was desperate for sleep. Desperate. I asked for everyone's forgiveness and that I would be back to join everyone in about 15 minutes. Try, 2 hours and 15 minutes later. My husband walks in and laughs at me. I can't swallow and my fever has set in.
Dum dum dummmmmm, strep throat. Accompanied by it's favorite friend, fever. HIGH FEVER. Ice bath fever.
When I get sick, really sick, I don't care if I ever run across the street, ever again in my life, much less run a race. It's now Wednesday and I've done ZERO since that run on Sat morning. I feel fabulous and I'm ready for a cycle tonight but at one point, when I was holding the walls while trying to walk downstairs, I thought to myself "if I can't take a week off after all these years of being the poster child for adhering to a training schedule than screw it, I'll take up cake baking." See friends, this is what fever will do to you.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
I was in a store talking to the sales clerk the other day and actually uttered the words "I'm an MS DOS kinda girl!" They had a good laugh. Of course I'm constantly laughing at myself because I'm chocked full of nonsense. I use to track my every sweat droplet on Daily Mile but then found that I couldn't keep up any longer. Tracking became too much. So...I went to paper tracking. I can throw this little booklet in my purse so at times it can double as a notepad! What's that phone number beside my Tuesday spin, mmmm, ahhh, dunno?
Anyway, if you're like me, which can be good or bad equally, you get a case of the moodies about working out or running. I have a good week, then a bad week. I've decided I would track that too! After much scientific research, I've come to a conclusion....
King of the castle. Why yes, I think I am.
After I PR, I feel this sense of entitlement. I have worked hard, reached the summit, I'm entitled to sleep in and eat ice cream if I want. This type of slovenly thinking can last for days. Bobby Brown wasn't joking when he sang about his prerogative and neither am I when I say that I wanna torch my training schedule after I hit exercising's big PR jackpot. Maybe this is normal, I'm not sure?
Proof. Two weeks ago, I set a PR distance and time swim. I set a half-marathon PR AND I had an off the charts bike ride where I felt like calling Lance Armstrong up and asking him if he "wanted a piece of me!?". Of course in a very asexual way of course. I would only make inappropriate come-on's which involve Dolvette, who, by the way, made a very risky wardrobe choice at the White House, but I'm guessing if he showed up wearing a samurai outfit that I would melt like microwave butter just the same.
The very next week I felt like I shouldn't have to do any of the above. Now, I feel like I'm back to normal. Why can't we just have a RESET button to adjust the mood.
So, this morning while I was shuffling to get out the door, I glanced out my bedroom window and smiled at the Rainbow Bright trees in my front yard. It's a good day to run!....and swim.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Me and Susan, my swim coach.
Last night I mixed things up a little. I'm suppose to run an hour and swim an hour but since I had run on Monday, I decided to swap it out for a bike ride.
Now, since my bike is the shop, I was left to ride my husbands 20 year old Trek. It's barely hanging on. Despite the fact that it's the wrong fit for me, and that it's the senior citizen bike of our house, I still needed to ride no matter what. My bike would be a high end Lexus. This Trek would best be compared to a Nova. Sorry if you're a Nova driver and I'm offending you in some way.
Try changing these gears while flying downhill. No thanks.
Anyway, once again, I subjected myself to 35 mph winds on a ghetto ride. Funny part was that I loved it. I rode on one gear the entire time because changing gears at times felt like a death wish. I rode that Trek like it was my job! It wasn't fast by any means but my quads got a nice wake up call. It was almost like training on a Huffy from the high rack at Wal-Mart. If I sound like a snob about my bike it's because I am. My bike is the peacock of the bike neighborhood. I'll be making payments on it till 2014 but that's not what matters.
Second part of my training for the night was the one hour swim.
From now, until deep into summer, each master's swim class is turned into tri training. Last night was tread water like you're in the ocean, when you hear the whistle - TAKE OFF! Do not stop until you hear the whistle, then turn around and swim in the other direction until you hear the whistle. Then we're done. This process is just short of an hour.
Here we are, ten of us in the deep end. Swim sinsei makes us get right up against each other like we're in an elevator. You can't tread water without hitting someone. We're packed in like sardines. She says we better get use to it because this'll be how it goes on race day. I somehow end up at the front of everyone when the whistle goes off. I go from that awkward tread into a swim and as expected get bumped around like the start of a race. I take an arm to the back and am trading paint with some guy. I notice that there are a few women who are hustling themselves to the front, swimming like they were in imminent danger of a shark attack. They had no problem swimming right over me. Hmmm, all's fair in a race right!?
And I asked myself... "do they not know that we have 45 minutes of swim ahead of us? No touching, no stopping. Can they really hold that pace for 45 MINUTES!?"
I was fine to let everyone go. I was about 5th out of 10 but I was super comfortable, and really, that's all that matters to me.
While swimming we use the red clocks on the walls as sight points. It's also a reminder of how long you've swam and MORE SO, how much longer you have to go. I won't lie, it's tough to look up and see that only 6 minutes have passed and that you have about 39 more minutes to go.
My baby never came out looking like this.
About 15 minutes in I realized that I'm completely relaxed and thinking about random things like Blue Ivy, Jay -Z and Beyonce's baby. Swimming has this sick effect on me where I wonder about the lives of celebrities. What else am I to think about face-down in water for almost an hour??
Anyway, fast forward to minute 26. That woman that was frantic to swim over me!? I catch sight of her hanging on to the side of the pool wall. As I come up for a breath I can see her talking to swim sinsei ahead. I'm heading in that direction and so I calculate my position so that I can catch about 3 seconds of their conversation. I hear the words "I'm tired".
Excuse me??? Ex-cuse me!!? You're what? You weren't so tired when you were barrelling over top of me to get to the end of the pool like they were handing out free french fries now were you!? I was livid for 2 seconds and then I laughed to myself. Slow and steady wins the race EVERY TIME!
Fast forward to the 45 minute mark. Finally I hear the beloved whistle blow. I can stop. I'm tired but not by much. I'm interested in the fact that our numbers had dwindled by 6! We started with 10, only 4 of us were able to complete the task. I asked swim sinsei where everyone had gone and she said that people were trying to sneak out of the pool and head to the locker rooms without her noticing.
Note to water tramplers. You cannot sneak out of the pool without swim sinsei noticing.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Spa treatment at the Trump Wolf Lodge for my bike crash leg.
This past Friday was going to be a major milestone workout for me. It would be the equivalent to the first 20 miler of ones marathon schedule. I knew I was going to be gone for the weekend at Trump's Wolf Lodge and Water Park up in Cincy, Ohio so I knew I needed to get it in. 36 miles on the bike followed by a 2 mile run.
I don't know about you but I'm guilty of applying a number to a workout and just looking at it AS A NUMBER and not a distance. Does that make any sense? 26 miles is a long way to run, 36 miles is a long bike ride. It just is. I find myself more often than not, dissacociating myself from the emotion of the distance.
Anyway, it was a beautiful day out! Truly beautiful. But when you start a bike ride and you see people, lots and lots of people out flying kites. You need to know that you have your work cut out for you. I felt like I was pedaling through mud the entire time. I would put my head down and push and push. Felt like I was having a bike baby I was pushing so hard. I was averaging almost 2 mph slower than I normally do. I was discouraged.
I had a mini crash at mile 30, got back on and rode to 36. Threw my bike in the back of the loser cruiser and ran 2 miles. I can always count on running to be a happy event. Icing on the crash cake.
I called my husband after it was all over. I was choking back tears. Training for a 70.3 is difficult. I'm strong, yes, but sometimes it makes me feel 2 inches tall and like the biggest weakling. My heart and my mind think we are earning a podium spot. My legs think not.
Sooo, the next day while I was running errands before heading off to the Lodge I decided to drop my bike off to the bike shop to get an overhaul.
Bike guy says "so, how long you been riding around on this flat tire?"
This could explain why I felt like I was riding through mud.
I got no fewer than 20 odd looks from surrounding parents but I don't care. What gives with the bathing suit you ask? Well, I do have a civilian suit. It's a two piece! My daughter packed this one. My working swim suit. I felt odd but I was so much more aerodynamic in the tubes! There are pluses to looking like a total tool.
Here we are being thrashed out of the big bowl ride. I have to give the Lodge a big shout out in the Life Guard Dept. You COULD NOT have drowned, even if you wanted to! Those kids were like Rain Man up in that place just waiting for someone's head to go under water! Every time I turned around there was a Life Guard honed in on me like a guard at the top of the watch tower. I'd like to think this is where part of the $20K + I spent for one night stay went toward.
Successful trip? Yes. I think so.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Good thing you worked hard on those temp runs. You're gonna need them to sprint to your purse so you can be sure to get that 20% off. 20% off of what you might ask?? A one nights stay that you'll have to take a second mortgage out to afford. I plan on setting up a yard sale table out in their lobby.
It's my sons 9th birthday.
Last year he asked to go to the Great Wolf Lodge but I talked him out of it. I take serious issue with the rates they charge for a nights stay in their beloved water kingdom.
An average nights stay is between 300 - 400 dollars. That's right. ONE NIGHT! I could fly my son to Chicago and stay in a 4 star hotel for that. That doesn't include food or anything else. Just a basic room and access to the water park.
The thing is, it's more about what he wants, after all, it's HIS birthday and shouldn't be about me being moaning and groaning. It's been about 5 years since we went there last and it's because I'm cheap. I even got on that "live chat" feature on their website and scolded the online chat guy about committing highway robbery at their water park. He replied that if I wanted a cheaper rate I could stay in the middle of the week for $200 - $300 a night. . . . . Because that would make it all better?
I often wonder if I've lost my mind. I just get on a soap box about things like this and bag fees on airlines and chicken finger places that only sell chicken fingers yet they're twice the price of McDonalds chicken. Chicken finger snobs? Yes they are.
Anyway, so, when my son was asking to stay at the Trump Wolf Lodge for his birthday I tried to talk him out of it again. But this time I thought I would sweeten the deal.
I say "did you know babe, that for the price of staying at the Lodge, we could get some of these things.."
A Brand New Ford Explorer
His own petting zoo.
He turned them all down.
I should be ashamed of myself.
Please tell me that there's something you just can't get past??
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
You can't peruse the pages of Glamour magazine without stumbling upon an article which wants you to identify with "your shape". Are you pear shaped? Apple shaped, rhino shaped? Ever since my college years, I've been pear shaped. I have zero upper body. No boobs. I was branded with the glorious title of "chester" in middle school. It never got any better and since I've started swimming, I have nothing. I might as well play flag football with no shirt. So yeah, I carry my weight in my thighs and in my trunk. Unfortunately though, I don't resemble J-Lo, who is my butt idol.
Now, you would look at me and think skinny. I'm a solid size 6-8 in pants size. I have a pair of 4's but I'm pretty sure that a seamstress somewhere in Indonisia fell asleep at the spinning wheel. Anyway, point being, back when I was JUST running, I had a go-to pair of running shorts. Champions that I bought at Target. "Tarjay" to all you french readers. I could never wear Nike's, they rode up funny on me.
My go-to running shorts in the pre thigh rub era!
Problem being, since I've started cycling, my already tree trunk style legs have gotten bigger and now my thighs are rubbing together. It's a nightmare friends. You know how odd it is to have to pull your shorts out from between your thighs while running? I'm an athlete for crying out loud! My parts aren't suppose to rub!! Well, they are and I need your help.
If your thighs rub together, tell me, what shorts do you wear?
Monday, April 2, 2012
I suck at race recaps. I never know where to begin. I have a million things to say but have no idea how to package them up nicely so you don't have to spend half your day reading about my 2 hour adventure.
I was so excited about this race. It's was suppose to be the largest gathering of all my running friends in one place so I tried my best to visit with everyone beforehand and during the race at some point. Last night as I was sitting on the sofa, I counted 9 people that I talked to along the 13.1 miles. It made me incredibly happy!
Blogger meet-up with my friend Courtney!
Now, like I said before. I had no intention of a PR. The course is pretty difficult. Extremely hilly to say the least. It wasn't so much the elevation gain but more of a "what goes up must come down". A really festive event for ones quads. There was at least one major hill at every mile. I had trained on it before so the batting count was one run over it that was great and two that sucked.
Heading up to the start line I felt like I had new legs under me. No aches, no pains, just lots of strength. This is the thing with me. I never know what I'm going to be dealing with until I start.
I'm a believer in fate and signs. On Friday I received my new Runners World and there was an article about ditching the gadgets we race lovers revere so much. My original plan was to leave the Garmin behind, but I made what became a very good decision, to leave my music behind as well. I felt naked.
My goal was to run the entire race by feel alone. Relaxing and taking deep breaths, running strong but reserving for the push up the hills. Trying to remain somewhat conversational. Relaxed and happy.
I started the race with a friend of mine from the running group. At mile 2 she looked at her watch and said "sheesh, no wonder I'm outta breath, we hit mile 2 at 18 min". I was shocked. I felt like I was jogging. THIS NEVER HAPPENS TO ME. EVER. I felt as if I had just hit the Mega Millions Half Marathon jackpot. I'm normally huffing and puffing like a chain smoker. Thanks pollen.
Each mile that went by I seemed to feel better than the last. When I got to the 8 mile marker I had to make a salt / GU and potty pit stop. I was starting to cramp up a little in my calves. I often wish I could be one of those people who just race and hardly drink water but I'm exactly like a bad parking spot, I have to keep feeding my meter the ENTIRE time or else I just come to a halt every 4 - 5 miles.
At mile 10 I overhear a conversation going on behind me. Two guys. Guy One: "we're on pace to finish where we want". Of course I'm thinking to myself that that does me no good at all. I have no idea what my pace is. Then Guy One pipes up again "yep, each mile has been between 9:25 and 9:45". I grinned. I was doing this all on my own with a Kelly Clarkson song stuck in my head. It was the happiest I had been in a road race in forever and I'm not even a huge fan of Kelly Clarkson.....I even sprinted the last .25 to the finish. That never happens to me.
As far as the race itself goes. The expo was great, small but unique vendors, not just one table of GU's and water belts after another. The shirt was a Nike Dri-Fit. When was the last time you got a Nike tech shirt from a race!?...with a decent logo? The course was beautiful and the finish line was like a festival! My swim coach was there at the finish to give me a hug! She was putting medals on finishers. They had tents with computers set up so you could just punch in your bib number for a finish time. Tons of food, music, drinks! If you live anywhere near KY you should put it on your list for next year!
Oh yeah, and I got a PR! Next race, Ky Derby Half Marathon. Think I'll ditch the watch and music again.