Competition vs. Inspiration

It's not who you beat. It's who you inspire.

June 29

It's hard to believe a whole week has passed Iron man. While I relax in post race glow others are racing. A big shout out to those racing this weekend in the San Diego International Triathlon (aka Jess, Julia, and Stacy S). I'll be whooping it up at the finish with my camera and post race grin. To all the men, I hope you go fast......because these ladies are Fast, Fierce, and Fabulous.

Girls just want to have fun

When I racked my bike the night before Ironman  I overheard the comment. Look how pinked out the womens rack is this year. Guess what boys. We are here to stay and here to play. 

The boy in yellow just got dropped.
By a girl on a pink bike.

Race Report Ironman CDA 2008

This is it the anticipated race report. Ironman Couer D'Alene according to me. I'm sure there are many different versions of this story. Over 2300 of them to be exact and this is mine. First turn back the clock to one year ago. Bruce, Tim's father was racing at Couer D'Alene and I delayed my morning ride to see him come out try to catch him coming out of the water. It was so exciting to see his split times come up on Ironman live. I sat at home, biting my nails waiting for him to cross the next timing mat. My muscles were tense and firing as if I was competing myself. In the fall I was able to track my friend Meredith's journey to Ironman Florida. In addition to following Mer on Ironman live, I was able to follow her blog throughout her training. So much fun. In April I watched my friend "Super Sassy" Shannon destroy the IM Arizona course. Meredith flew along the course that day. I think that started the flow of positive energy. Meredith just got it right. I was inspired to do so too. In Arizona where "Super Sassy" Shannon destroyed the course, she taught me a real lesson in over coming obstacles. What's more than her really fast time is what she overcame. Not only did her car break down on the way to Tempe, but it was so windy that the wind gust cracked the fork on her beautiful and trusted bike. She had a difficult task just to be able to race. (It's a great story......I should check her blog) I knew reading that blog that there was nothing I couldn't overcome to race. I am really thankful these ladies shared their stories. In a word I decided these ladies were fabulous. My theme for racing and my goal is to be fabulous.
In June of 2007 registration opened for CDA in 2008. I registered. I registered Tim too. Tim was out of the country at the time. You have to sign up for an Ironman a year in advance because they fill up quickly. Tim claims he didn't know I was registering him and forced him to do it. This is a lie. He left me his credit card. It wasn't for me to use at Saks. Or was it? Tim, Timmy Baby, give me that plastic back.
Even though training is a lot of hard work and takes sacrifices from other areas of life I loved it. I'm really glad Tim and I spent his "easy year", the research year, this way.
We began our unofficial base training with the 2007 Rock -n Roll marathon, followed by the Death Ride and AFC 1/2 Marathon. Then we rounded out the 2007 season with the Super Frog 1/2 Ironman. In addition to building a base we built a lot of memories. I was sidelined for a bit in November with laser eye surgery (no more contacts:) and IT band syndrome. I healed quickly and haven't been injured since.
We celebrated Thanksgiving week by riding 290 miles of hilly Northern California. Think Sierra Road from the Tour of California. After that I began my official training plan with coach Mike Plumb. Secretly, I did this because I thought Tim's training plan might kill me. Turns out Mike's was probably worse. My reasons for consulting a coach were simple. I wanted to slow Tim down as little as possible training. I wanted to finish as close to Tim and his Dad as possible. This way I could eat pizza with them after the race. Otherwise they might have time to shower, eat pizza and drink beer before coming back to watch me finish. Not that there is a thing wrong with finishing later I just wanted to feel like I was sharing more of the experience with them. I also wanted to be safe on race day and throughout my training. No stress fractures, no massive dehydration, no major shocks on race day. No thanks.
At the time I signed up I thought a 13 1/2 hour finish would be great. Realistically at that point I might have been looking at a close call on the swim cutoff and a 14 hour day. I told my coach I was willing to commit to training really hard. I realized the more prepared I am for a race the more fun it is. Ironman is a really big deal and I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible.
In a nutshell I more than accomplished these goals and victory is sweet. I reaped the benefits of my training with personal bests at the Carlsbad 1/2 marathon and Wildflower. My margins of improvement were beyond my wildest dreams. Coach Sickie at Masters even called me a swimmer. Those words gave me pride. I tried to give whatever I had in every swim practice. I have struggled with swimming all my life. Ask my brothers. We all had to attend swimming lessons until I could pass advanced beginners. This consisted of me swimming 25 yds free and 25 yds back stroke. They were in life guarding class when I finally passed advanced beginners. I never had a fear of the water or problem treading water but actually gliding through the water and swimming.....not so much. When I decided to become a triathlete my brother Tom said "but Jenny I seem to recall you can't swim". Thanks for the vote of confidence.
Ironman had been a dream of mine for quite sometime. I was a little worried over the last few weeks something would happen to obstruct what I had worked so hard for. I worried about the uncontrollable variables. After seven months of training I didn't want to be left empty handed. I wanted take as much as I could in from the experience without becoming overwhelmed. I also wanted to enjoy the time I had with Tim and his parents. Tim will be working so much the next few years. I really wanted to live slowly this weekend if that makes any sense. Things worked out perfectly. The time in CDA was great.
I'm glad the water was cold because it's so much more memorable. I think my favorite moment was Saturday. We were supposed to swim for a grand total of 5 minutes that day. It was really warm out. Bruce suggested we go in without our wetsuits. He dove in sans wetsuits and was done with his swim before I even had my wetsuit on. It was so classic because it sort of represented the generation gap. Tim and I, young and futzing. Bruce, experienced and keeping it simple. Maybe you had to be there, but I thought it was pretty funny. I laughed a lot before CDA. Tim and I kept making jokes about how we were going to stop in T2 for a snow cone. T2 was in a park with a snow cone stand.
We listened to pro triathlete Heather Gollnick speak. Sometimes I hear people and sometimes I listen and take note. This time I took note. She said she the athletes she coaches draw two circles. One for the things they could control on race day. The other for the things they couldn't. Mentally I did this.
Can't control: flat tires, broken spokes, broken cables, lost goggles, other people.
Can Control: my hydration, my nutrition, my pace, my level of exertion, and most importantly my thoughts.
Then she has the athletes crumple up the circle of things they can't control and throw them away. It is easy to spend your energy on the what if's and become exhausted. I did a little of this prior. It was time to focus on being fabulous. Prepare properly in all aspects....then have fun.
It's hard in a sport with 112 miles counting on proper mechanics. I was lucky to have Tim, my master mechanic to precisely tune my bike:)
I actually swam really well though my time of 1:28 doesn't reflect it. I did as my coach and masters coach Terry Martin told me. They said nothing was more important than getting used to the water. Everyday I get in and get in before the race starts on race day morning. That saved my a**. The first day I got in and my hands were so cold. They hurt really bad and for a few minutes. I saw my Ironman dreams obstructed, but this didn't seem like a good enough reason to abort a dream. I made myself swim and things got better. After that, I really enjoyed the cold water. I had fun. I was swimming better than I ever have. Tim couldn't believe it. I think the wetsuit and booties helped float my cycling quads. I had a really nice glide. Also the hoodie made it easy to sight. I was swimming faster than usual with less effort. I was really excited for my chance to swim Sunday. This hunger to swim really surprised me. I thought I could swim a 1:20 at that point. I decided to go for it. I started to the far side as my coach suggested. I knew I would swim more distance and would swim against the current this way but I figured my coach was right. He didn't want me wasting energy getting beat up. This was my Ironman and I wanted to swim it. I was ready. I should have focused on swimming doing the swim in a large loop but my inexperience didn't allow me to think past the start. Most swims spread out after the first few hundred yards. Not so at an Ironman swim or at least this Ironman swim. I only thought about overcoming the current. I swam quickly out on the diagonal and caught the masses at corner. It was a cluster and totally stopped like an LA traffic jam. I literally came to a screeching halt. I imagine these swimmers swam straight out from shore and drafted more than me. This translates to they really stunk and Coach Sickie from Masters would say they had no business being out there. They were breast stroking and flailing around. I took a kick in my top lip/nose. I was a little annoyed not because of the kick but because I didn't come to Ironman to tread water. I came to give my all to all three disciplines. I knew I had to get out of the cluster. People seemed to be panicking and I had my hand pulled once and felt like I was getting mulled from behind. We were literally piling up on top of each other. I remembered the picture of the girl on the monkey bars reaching for the top (me as a kid). I knew that girl could and would will herself out of any situation. Never ever would she give up. I would do this. I think many times throughout the day I willed myself into a better situation. Ironman is exhillirating but not easy. I saw where things were moving so I slithered that direction. It wasn't a direct line but it lead to the outside perimeter. I needed to get swimming. The second lap was a bit better but not a ton. Ironic, I put all this emphasis on making my 100 meter interval at masters. If I was able to swim a faster 100 in the pool it wouldn't have mattered. I learned how tactical an Ironman swim is. Tim had a slow swim for him..1:08. He usually swims 27-28 min for the 1.2 mile split. He got stuck in the masses. Bruce had trouble with the cold and cramped fiercely. My friend Julie Dunkle swam 58 minutes. That's fabulous. I'll have to ask her but I am guessing she went off the front. She's got mad swimming skills and I don't have the skills to back that up. I focused on swimming the best I could whenever I had the opportunity. During the second lap my hands got cold and I couldn't keep my fingers together. I did what I could. I know in the days leading to Ironman I swam the best I have ever swam and nobody can take that from me. My coach warned me that the swims in this lake were usually slow because of the current and the cold. He said last year people saw their times and got discouraged. They let it effect their entire race. He instructed whatever my swim time was just get on my bike and get going.
6 minutes and change

Well this was less than graceful. My chief problem was when I came out of the cold water each day in practice was I had vertigo. I think this has to do with cold water getting in the ears and messing up my equilibrium. There probably is a simple remedy like ear plugs. I decided to deny it. I worried a lot the two weeks before Iron man and I was done worrying. It sucked my energy. I forgot about the vertigo. I exited the water. I reached for my wetsuit cord while I started to run. This is something I have never faltered with, the stripping of the top half of my suit while running. I stumbled and fell. I got up stumbled a little more then finally made my way across the timing mat. I headed to the first available wetsuit stripper. I was happy to plop my wobbly self down and thankful for the wetsuit strippers. I didn't come all the way to CDA to stumble like a drunken sailor but this is what happened. I didn't get down about this. In life you will fall 1000 times. Just get up and get going again. It would have been a lame excuse to not finish. By the time my wetsuit strippers had me free of my wetsuit and my booites (no easy task) I was fine. I didn't worry about the swim. I just wanted to get on my bike and get going. Unfortunately it would be a bit longer. To save time I always wear my number on my race belt and tuck it into my shorts. The Iron man corporation actually recommends not to do this. They say the numbers won't hold up. They are right....not because of the duration but because they use cheap numbers. They are really thin compared to some of the other numbers. (I've now researched this). Now that I think about it.... so are the Ironman goody bags, but I'm off talk. The pins ripped through one side and the volunteers were yelling "your number, your number, it's going to fall off." I remembered Steve Talley's voice, TCSD beginner coach, saying P&P. Numbers are for points and penalties. I wasn't planning to get any penalties but this was Ironman and I wanted my pictures:) I let them fix it and I thanked them. Always thank the volunteers. It's a tough job. It was probably a mistake futzing with the number. When they tried to pin the one spot that had ripped,they ripped the other side off. This required them to pin the entire number back on and required me stand perfectly still as the time ticked away. Not exactly the what I had in mind but again not worth letting it get to me and culminating into a DNF. Just get on your bike and get going I thought. I got to my bike, pushed the on button of my Garmin and it popped out of the holster and fell to the ground. Numb fingers. I scrambled for it, put it on and left that cluster behind me.
19.0 mph

Ahh beloved pink bike. Always a pleasure to ride. Once I got on the bike things were great. I felt good and I was moving fast without a lot effort. I started to drop boys:) I really liked the course and felt prepared for it. I did a good job getting my nutrition down ....1300 cals total. Next time I will take a little more and also drink more. I've finally mastered the use of the aero front bottle. At first I drank only water from it and it made me burp and gave me a stomach ache. Then I tried some electrolyte solution in training and I was fine. I had two Nuun tablets with me to add to the front bottle as I rode. I try to avoid Gatorade as it's gross and full of high fructose corn syrup. HFCS had been proven to make rats fat and lazy in a least one study. (Don't ask me to footnote it). As soon as I got settled on the bike and got my heart rate down I reached into my Bento box to pull out the electrolyte tablets I had. My hands were still cold and futzy. When I pulled the container of e-caps out the zip lock bag with Nuun tablets fell into the street. I realize the zip lock bag made this happen. The night before it had rained and the inside of my Bento box was damp. Without the plastic bag they would have dissolved. I realized how important it is to have a plan, yet be flexible. I mixed Gatorade and water in it throughout the ride. I managed to down my bottle of Sustained Energy taking small sips and by pouring bits into the front bottle. (Don't tell Hammer Nutrition I mixed Gatorade with SE.....they say it's dangerous....the simple sugars of the Gatorade can cause you to cramp.)
The CDA bike course is awesome. Absolutely gorgeous with over 7,000 ft of climbing. The descents were fun. I let out a few whoops as I rounds some corners.
If you are lady like you might not want to read this section, I share it because it may help somebody else*
My problem on the bike occurred when I had the urge to urinate. I didn't urinate and the urge went away. Then I couldn't urinate when I needed too. LIke when you hold it too long on a car trip.I wasn't getting off my bike to use the port a potty because every time I got near a port -a potty the fumes about knocked me off my bike. Mostly, I was afraid to stop moving and go inside a hot port a potty. I thought it would be a good way to pass out. I tried to go on the bike. This is common practice, who just hose your self off with a water bottle to clean up. I even wasted a few down hills standing and trying during the last split of the course. This is why the end of my ride was a bit slower. True, it was windy. Honestly my distraction with this need to pee overshadowed the wind. I was so close to T2 though I decided to just wait. By the time I rolled in I was fairly crumpled up feeling. This was a good lesson learned because I felt so crappy at that time. I thought I might be bonking or my nervous system might be shutting down because I started feeling nasty. I felt chilly and shaky. I read not to eat or drink anything in the last 5 miles of the bike to make the run transition easier. No gut sloshing. Forget that I thought. I rode slowly through what had been a fast section in the fist lap. This was humbling. I drank h20 from my bottle and doused my face. I felt a little better after this and eased into transition. Turns out I hadn't bonked or I don't think I did, but it cost me a bit of my confidence. I worried I would get sick and wouldn't finish. I put all of my energy into fixing this situation I was in. Above all I would finish, but I hoped I wouldn't have to walk there. I gave my self props for doing other things right. I had kept my heart rate under control. Often my breathing is the limiting factor because I have a bit of underlying asmtha. I had no problems today. I have that department pretty well under control. This leads me to think I was where I should have been speed wise. I kept a high cadence and spun one gear less than I knew I could push. I wanted to keep my legs fresh for the run my goal was I to PR the marathon. Despite my general feelings of system distress my legs felt fresh. Well relatively speaking for a 112 mile bike ride. I guess I need to focus on practicing voiding on the bike or using sweltering port -a potties. Maybe the Velo Bellas can have a clinic on it;0)

Other than the port -a -potties being full T2 was relatively painless. My nemesis, the number, had once again ripped from my race belt. I had the extra number available and had the volunteers put it on while I put on my shoes, changed socks, and grabbed my sack with everything I thought I needed (but now feel I didn't need with the aid stations). I headed out to the run course and then transferred the contents of my bag: Shot blocks, extra e-caps, and a pack of jelly belly sport beans to my pockets. Actually ....correction, the TCSD kit has the difficult to reach rear pockets and no pockets in the shorts so most of my groceries I shoved up my shorts:) In future I need to take on the run only what is offered from aid stations. At this point of the day what I carried made me feel so weighted down. There is plenty of support on an Ironman course. I can not say this of all race courses though.
26.2 miles

I started running and had an 8:45 pace for the first little bit. My coach thought I could run 9 minute miles and this was my goal. My number immediately tore again from my race belt. I had to laugh. I stopped at the first available port a potty. I felt better. The worries and feelings of a potential system shut down were gone. I was a little irritated with myself for stressing my system unneccessarily. The ICU nurse in me should know better. I was glad to know I hadn't bonked or had I? Next time more calories and hydration on the bike. I resumed running and ran the whole way. My pace slowed quickly I ran slowly. I remember glancing at my heart rate often and seeing it in the 130's. I would like to have a better story for my 10:44 pace but I don't. Like I hit the wall at mile 20. I didn't. I drank a ton. I carried an 8 oz flask in my hand and refilled it at each aid station. I did this without stopping. I sipped along the way as well as drenched myself with it until I lost the top. I ran without the bottle for a little while. Then I ran passed as aid the CDA police and ambulance had. They were giving out bottled water. "Thank you" I said, you made my day. I took the 20 oz bottle and it felt heavy to carry. I learned Ironman is about getting over your little quirks. In going the distance you get over a lot. I don't know if the water was a psychologic need or a physical need. My pace was slow but consistent and I just kept trucking. I ran every inch of the course. I was afraid if I stopped at the aid station I might not get my shuffle back. I wanted to run a lot faster. I would surge then my pace fell back. I decided to embrace what I was able to accomplish. Try as I might, I wasn't going to go any faster. Rather than to overdo and end up walking. I shifted my focus to making the best of things and ensuring that I ran the entire 26.2 miles. I decided to be thankful for not cramping ( just generalized leg aching and fatigue) and something odd feeling in my shoe. I swore there was something under my sock. I thought it was the spare pony tail holder I had in my bike -run bag. It turns out it was. I ran 26.2 miles with a pony tail holder in my shoe:) No blisters though.
I took a lot of e-caps tablets and when the race was over I weighed the same as weigh in (however I was wearing drenched clothing so I don't know). I didn't cramp at all but my ankles really ached...maybe some people would call that cramping. I took all kinds of stuff to eat. 700 calories total, My stomach was fine. I guess with a heart rate of 130 I could have eaten a pizza. I've never ran with a heart rate of 130 before. Ironman is a first for a lot of things. I was breathing through my nose yet I couldn't get the pace up. I tried to spread out what I ate from aid station to aid station to keep my energy level constant. I did find a little boost of energy after some sips of coke and after eating a cookie. This energy came and went quickly.
After the first couple miles my pace fell and remained consistant until the last 7 miles when I picked it up a bit. Even though I wasn't running the 9 minute mile I had intended. I was running. I saw Tim come to a walk with 5 miles to go. He was headed the other direction, the course was two loops. I became was confused, thinking he had finished already and was back to cheer Bruce and I on. I yelled across the way to him "are you done already?" I don't think he heard this. If he had he wouldn't have known I thought he was done with the race and probably would have thought I was goading him. He yelled I was close to his dad. He said he was out of gas. I don't know, Tim had a broken ankle on Chrsitmas Eve. I think he did fantastic. This gave me a glimmer of hope. Maybe I could catch up to Bruce and we could run together. Running long is always better with a friend. I caught up to Bruce at the next aid station. We ran together for a bit. This gave me more energy. We exchanged war stories from the swim. He said he was cramping. Running with Bruce made me really appreciate my 10:44 shuffle. I may have been off my base pace but not nearly as much as some. Bruce did all the tempo runs, intervals, and long runs you can imagine. If anyone should have been running close to their base interval it was Bruce. I still don't think this was fair for Bruce. You get what you get during the run of Ironman. I learned that. Life isn't about fairness, it's about acceptance. I decided to take my shuffle and be happy. My form I think and was told looked good. I had a nice cadence and good posture. Honestly what more could I ask for. We laughed. I said my coach wanted me to run sub 4 and ride a 5:30-5:40 bike split. Bruce said his coach, Dave Scott, wanted him to go 10.5 hours. Dave even said his 2nd place Wildflower finish was soft. I guess we don't hire these people to be our friends or our cheerleading squad. This validates how important the relationship you have with yourself is. Bruce told me to go ahead. He said he thought I could break 12 hours. I laughed it was a long day. For the next seven miles I was going to enjoy the show. There wasn't a more pituresque course than this. I worked my way to the top of the climb and rounded the corner. As I headed back down I high fived Bruce and felt a little more spring in my step. I enjoyed every bit of the next 7 miles. I thought about Madonna Buder and Scott Rigsby (the double amputee who did Ironman) They don't care what their times are. They just want to be out there. They just want to participate. I just focused on being and looking "fabulous." I'm not certain if I actually ran faster but I am certain it felt that way. The seven miles went by quickly. The best part of Ironman CDA is the finish. It's classic. 6 blocks of a slight downhill going through the downtown. The streets are lined and everbody is cheering. My favorite part was the kids who line the street with there hands held out in hopes of high five from an athlete I high five them, all of them. Those people don't care what your time is. They just think you are fabulous. Even though I have been ready to be finished for the last 26 miles I want to suspend myself in the moment. It the wierdest thing because as I see the clock turn from12:11 to 12:12 I am happy. I like that number better. My grandmother's favorite number was 11:11 and 12:12 made me think of her as I crosse the line. The voice of Mike Riley booms Jennifer Yake of La Jolla California, You are an Ironman.
I finished. Not only did my dream came true also my vision. My vision is that I would see Tim at the finish munching on pizza. He would be smiling and saying "oh man" that was hard. It was exactly like that. I saw him right away but it was a few minutes before I would be released to him. The officials do a very good job of checking people over at the finish. The grabbed my timing chip. I stopped near Tim but they made me keep walking. They didn't want me to cramp. Do you need medical they asked? No. Chicken broth? No thanks. What do you need they asked? My loved one I replied. With that I was released to Tim and his pizza.

Thanks for the Inspiration

It's Wednesday. My post Iron man fatigue has been replaced with insomnia and more energy than I know what to do with. I don't think I slept a wink last night. Maybe it was reliving the Iron man experience with my triathlete friends at the club meeting.Maybe it was the can of Diet Pepsi I should not have consumed. Ultimately, I think I got to fired up and inspired by last nights tri club guest speaker challenged athlete Tracy Moore. The combination of alcohol, depression and a failed suicide resulted in a traumatic loss of leg. As she sobered up the people at the amputee clinic took note. They donated her a sport leg prosthetic and helped her get started doing triathlons. She's been triumphing over her tragedy since then. You think your battles are tough try getting through life with one leg. I can't do her story justice enough, but lets just say I'll let you know if she writes a book. I wonder if I can recruit her to be a member of Idropboys. She made a couple of jokes about how she "chicked" a few guys at a triathlon. If getting chicked by a girl on a pink bike is bad......getting chicked by a girl with one leg is a whole level of better.

I was scheduled to return to work this morning but due to low census I was asked to extend my "vacation" one more day by being on call. This is like hooky with permission or the equivalent of a snow day. I was assuming I would be tired from a night of insomnia and unsafe to take care of patients in the ICU. Not so I am A&O times 3 as we say in healthcare. I'm also raring to go. I think my mind is healing before my body so I will refrain from my beloved pink bike. I will focus on the assigned task my coach gave me of writing a race report. I am to encompass what happened at Ironman good and bad so I can know what to work on in preparation for IMAZ (his words ...the good and bad, not mine).

Before I can begin my race report I would like to "shout out" to Bruce and Cindy, Tim's parents. Thank you guys for sharing such an amazing experience with Tim and I. Thanks also for guiding Tim and I through our first Ironman. Special thanks for arranging the Madonna Buder visit. Bruce's pearls from previous experiences saved of a lot of "pain". Thanks Bruce for being our inspiration. From the beginning when I met Tim he talked about how his Dad did Ironman and the Death Ride and so forth. He's really proud of you and so am I. You are the real deal and if you are truely passing the Ironman torch I have a tough act to follow. (However retirements in the peri Ironman period are often not valid) I'm willing to carry the torch to IMAZ just to keep it burning. At Ralph's (California 70.3) I'm handing it back to you, the rightful owner. Perhaps on the your new bike "the Swiss Stallion" (currently featured/hostage at Moments Cycle Sport) you will gallop away into a Kona spot. If anyone deserves to race on that island it is you. I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be sipping coffee from my Ironman mug right now if Tim and I didn't have you as an example. BTW: Age graded kicked our butts.

Thank you Cindy. Cindy is probably the most athletically talented of all of us. She's a former national swimmer and runner of a 1h 30min Half marathon. Cindy's knees keep her sidelined from running ( ....and no nay sayers, she didn't wear them out running) and sidelined from a non relay triathlon. It's good that she is adept at managing second graders. Spending a weekend with three nervous and jittery athletes is probably like refocusing a class of third graders. Cindy had a huge hand in my finish. Saturday evening the four of us were walking around the down town CDA. We were engrossed in a conversation of race day hopes and wished. I was quoting coach Mike Plumb who said I could run nine minute miles. That wouldn't be too hard, 9 minute miles are easy:) Bruce was referencing his coach, Dave Scott, who wanted him to take in 1000 calories on the run and thought Bruce should finish in 10:30. Tim said he just wanted to go one minute faster than his dad. Cindy interjected and it redirected us or at least me. She said this very clearly and with the emphasis on will. Above all you will finish. Cindy had the wisdom to know that in a race of that duration anything can happen and things rarely unfold the way you expect. I fell from all three of the goal splits I set (or had set for me). I didn't allow myself to get discouraged I simply repeated to myself Above all you WILL finish. If my goal splits weren't saved in an e-mail from my coach I'm sure they would be long forgotten. The finish of Ironman will be forever in my heart. Thank you also for rising at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning and cheering until 7 p.m. At which point you helped sherpa 3 sodium depleted athletes through the fourth leg of a triathlete: the smelly gear pickup. Thank you for helping me find my three top mantras of the day.

Above all you will finish.....with the emphasis on WILL

You look fabulous. This was sort of my fusion of "Sex in The City" meets Cherie Gruenfield's book "Become a Ironman" fusion. Cheri mentioned you should try to look good. It translates to good form which translates to speed. I made it my goal to look and be fabulous. It's a positive way of thinking. I'm not full of myself I just realize life is too short and too fun to spend it self deprecating. Each time I passed Cindy she yelled "Jen you look fabulous" This would make me smile and giggle. I would give her hammed up wave like I was Miss America or something. I would also yell this to fellow female San Diegans Stacey Dietrich and Julie Dunkle as we passed. They did look fabulous and it gave me glee to say it out loud.

Ice cream soda, cherry on top, I'm biking to 100 and I'm not going to stop. I would exchange the word biking for swimming or running when doing those events. This was a mantra Cindy was using in her children's story. It's actually is a line the third grade girls chanted when they jump rope. Cindy was reading the story aloud to Tim and I for opinions and we loved it. A light bulb clicked, that might just be the mantra that pops into my head for Ironman. We went for a short run just after that and Tim, Bruce, and I all started chanting the mantra. I was a great way to stay in a happy head. I believe if you get down you will slow down. I hope I haven't violated copy wrights by sharing it.

Back to work

Yesterday was the day Tim and I joined his father Bruce and became Ironman. Before I can even get my Ironman blog written Tim is back to work. I'll get a race report published soon. It's been a busy two days but the most important thing to remember is that we have accomplished our number one goal: to become Ironman.
Last night we gathered our gear after the race and headed back to the hotel. We showered, dissmantled and packed our bikes, and dealt with our wet and smelly gear. At 4:30 a.m. Tim and I were up and heading to the airport. I didn't have time to test out my new Ironman coffee mug but you can bet I'm going to tomorrow.

Tim your year of residency is off to a great start. You definately made the most of your research year. Remember during this year of high volume orthopedics are an Ironman and I'm proud of you.
photos courtesy of Raja Lahti finds a new member

If you've been following my blog you probably read the story about the flying nun, Madonna Buder. She's 78 years old and still running the Boston and completing Ironman and I don't think there is a finer soul than she. I have been wanting to meet her and invite her to be a member of the club.
Tim's parents were aware of this wish and went to great lengths to arrange a suprise meeting with Madonna Buder.
With a blessing from Madonna Buder.....what more could we need.

Greetings from Coeur D'Alene

Lake Coeur D'Alene

The New Bling: Ironman Bracelet

My quirk...I never remove my last race number replace it with a new race number

Sorry to be so delinquent in posting this update. Tim and I arrived in CDA Thursday without a hitch. CDA is buzzing and has the energy only a cold northern climate could have when savoring the joy of summer. We are having a great time. We are really thankful for the opportunity to race here and spend the time with each and Tim's family.

As for the's great. I love it because the extra neoprene does me well. I feel I have never swam so fast, so easily. We went straight to Lake Couer D'Alene on Thursday (before even checking into our hotel) and started swimming. Initially the water felt very cold and I wined for a few minutes that my hands were cold and hurt. After a few minutes of "chase the bubbles" a game where Tim swims ahead of me and I follow his kick bubbles, I was giggling telling Tim how fun this was. We have been in the water everyday and each day the water feels warmer. I'm looking forward to the swim and my main concern is that my booties are so tight I might have to do the bike and run with them. Maybe I should slip the wet suit stripper a $20 and see if s/he can pull my booties off too.


Ironman is a long way but I don't think it is in this girl to ever give up.

As anxious as I was last week I am every bit excited now. Some people feel the weight of the world on their shoulders....not me. I feel like the pull of the earth is pulling for me. I have had numerous good luck messages and words of encouragement.
I want everyone to know I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Your well wishes matter. If/when things get a little tough out there I'm going to remember there are a lot of people who took the time to care and I'm going to dig a little deeper.
I'm pretty prepared right now. For a type B person .....I bumped up to a B+ by packing most of my gear already, duck taping lists of the contents to the outside and making a list of the things I needed to pack still. Last night Tim race prepped my bike. In an hour I will meet Tim for a 15 mile test ride on Fiesta Island. After that we will pack our bikes.
This morning I received the final good luck touch... I met my friend Stacy for coffee and she gave me the ultimate "" power pack, complete with hello kitty pink band aids. Nothing can stop me now.

For the Cup

Last year I became officially determined to do an Ironman when Tim and I were at our friend Mykl Shannon's house. It was early in the morning. We were getting ready to "bandit" the La Jolla Half. I was in desperate need of coffee. Mykl placed a cup of steaming cup of joe in front of me. Then he quickly took it back. He said "oops you can't drink from that cup, that's for Ironman finishers" He pointed out I had only done a half. It was his Ironman mug and only finishers could drink from that cup. He went on to talk about his Ironman experience and then I decided to take it on. I will do that race and I will drink from that mug.
This mug is for display purposes only. The mug I will drink from actually won't say World Championships on it. This was the only one I could find and I didn't have time to airbrush it out.

Sunday was my last day of work before Ironman. I was the resource nurse today in the ICU only I think I was more of a resource on the sport of triathlons. Most of the day was spent trying to explain what an Ironman is and why I would do one. I answered a lot of questions I haven't given much thought to in a long time. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Do you do it all in one day?
There is a 17 hour time limit as well as a time limit for each event.

2. You get to take a break right?
You could....but I don't plan on it

3. Are you going to do all of it?
I'm going to try.

4. Ironman is in Hawaii right?
You have to qualify for that race.

5. Will you qualify for Hawaii?
NO.....but it's not going to stop me from trying;)

6. Does your fiance do this too?
Yes , but he'll be ahead of me.

7. How far is it?
2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26 mile run

8. What about going to the bathroom?
No answer.....that's a blog in it's own right.

Lucky FridAY THE 13TH

Today is Friday the 13Th. I declare it a lucky day.

All week I've been a complete and utter worry wort regarding Iron Man. I began worrying about my worrying and how much energy I was wasting. Poor Tim had to listen to me perseverate. I began to worry that he might change his mind about wanting to spend his life with me :) After our morning swim workout and 20 mile bike ride we received a very interesting e-mail. (Yes....we were slowed by the U.S.Open during our ride. No....we didn't see Tiger Woods) North America Sports/ Iron man sent out an e-mail warning swimmers of frigid water temps in Couer D'Alene. The water is likely to be 50 degrees. Wetsuits are required. Booties and neoprene caps are advised. Now I have something to worry about. 60 is considered cold. Instead of becoming more worried I felt a bit calmer. Tim predicted this (as usual he is right). I had been putting up a fuss all week about wearing the booties and cap if not needed because they are a little cumbersome. The bottom line is I want to finish this race. Bring on the booties and the neoprene cap. Bring it all on. Iron man I may not know, but obstacles (such as overcoming cold water) that I know. Remember the story of me falling through the ice.
This evening Tim was on call:( I met my triathlete friends at a fundraiser event Elaine hosted. It was really fun hanging out with the gang. Everyone was so encouraging and had such positive things to say. It reminded me of how lucky I am and how exciting my life is right now. I count my blessing to be in this position entering Ironman: I have completed my training. I am not injured. I am not sick. I even look well nourished, not sallow like most Iron man (inside joke). The same is to be said of my training partner and fiance Tim, as well as Tim's father Bruce. What more could I ask for? A pink Guru bike.....oh well I have that too. My game brain is back and I'm starting to get excited. The only down side is I'm starting to get excited and it's 9:50 p.m. ....uh-0h time to get some beauty sleep.

Good Night

Refusing to give up on my day job.

I've done it. Ironman is almost here. I haven't done the Iron man yet... but minus the next 12 days of taper I have finished my training. I think it's good timing. I realized Saturday that I might be a little tired. Denial is my style so it takes a lot for me to say outloud I'm knackered. I have managed to get through all of my training without becoming injured. Minus last weeks allergies I have not been sick. The last few weeks have been busy though and I found myself feeling rather short fused. I was working on Saturday and nothing seemed to roll off me. Usually I do a better job letting things roll. I couldn't or maybe I just wouldn't. I did have my coworkers in stitches when I asked them if our deceased patients met in heaven and talked about the "care" they received during the last few hours on earth. Saturday, I was a little frustrated by a family member who wanted me to keep his father alive until he found the cheapest funeral home in town. He wouldn't come into see the his father and what "do everything" entailed. He said there was really no point. Meanwhile the patient was sustained on drugs that didn't allow any blood flow to his fingers, toes, earlobes or another unmentionable area. Later after all was said and done. I called the son to let him know his father had passed. I needed the mailing address of the son. The son gave me the information, spoke to mevery slowly in a childlike manner and told me to be sure to address it as PhD. He wanted to make sure his title was on the address. Now I was really hot. All along I thought I was dealing with somebody uneducated who didn't know better. I took everything great restraint to not address the envelope as master plumber, better yet sanitation specialists, or how about pooper scooper. I spouted off that I imagined our deceased patients talking to each beyond the pearly white gates of heaven. One would say "It was the strangest thing. For a long time it was dark and peaceful except for some soft giggling (night shift..they do a wonderful job, they just have fun doing it) . The lights went on and it got really noisy. A new nurse came in ....I don't remember her name but she was a little freckle faced girl. She seemed nice at first but just as I was drifting off to this really deep comfortable sleep I felt a thump across my chest. She began pumping on my chest over and over again. Darn that little freckle faced girl. She broke all my ribs " We all laughed. One of my co workers mentioned I must have been really stressed with wedding plans usually I don't let things get to me. Reality is this sitation is typical in my line of work. I laughed but I was a little embarrassed. I laughed because the wedding plans were one of the many things on my calendar. This year in addition to my Iron man training. I have accepted (or been assigned) new roles at work requiring additional classes, scheduling commitments, and responsibilities. Just when you get good at what you do...and able to function on autopilot somebody throws a wrench in things. Not that I wanted to be on auto pilot my whole life I was just hoping to squeak out 2008 this way. Given my long term career goals in the ICU I thought it not wise to turn down these roles. In fact other terms for the declination might be.....stupid. Also the responsibilities come with a differential that pays my race entries and coaching. I never anticipated 2008 to be such a big year. By the end I will have married Tim (most importantly), moved twice, finished an Iron man with my maiden name and with my married name:) (I hope), in addition to the work responsibilities. I guess all things considered it is normal to unravel a bit at times. Every so often it's good to step back and take stock in your life. Look at what you've accomplished, what you want to accomplish and modify behaviors to make things happen. I was a little embarrassed. I had that ickk feeling with myself. Is this really the way I want to be, act, or feel, so irritable and cynical? I doubt it. Scratch that.....definitely not. What better time to realize you need a bit of a break though than taper week. So during taper week I will rejuvenate physiology and my psychology:)
I am going to determined to put my plan into action. Tim's on call and I made him two promises #1) I would eat a good dinner (he thinks oatmeal is unfit for dinner)
#2) I would go to bed early.

Last night I officially kicked off taper week with a light hearted viewing of "Sex and The City" with Stacy, Julia, and Tina. It was a great time. We were not disappointed. I think I will write Sarah Jessica Parker and ask her a few questions.

A) How she got those abs?
B) How she runs in those heels?

OH MY GOSH......She did, didn't she.
C) Did she get those abs by running in her Manolo Blahniks ? ...... Sign me up. Thanks

Well folks it's 9:00 p.m. and time to put my plan into action. No staying up all night blogging.

I leave you with another quote
Again from Sex in the city:
Mr Big: I'm tired. I'm tired of the city. I'm moving to Napa
Carrie: When your tired you take a nap. You don't move to Napa

Photos swiped from B&L's website:)

Go Team Tadpole

Way to Go Val and Cindy. Team Tadpole Rocks

Wildflower Official Photos: Tim

I wish I was that fast. Do you think he really broke his leg Christmas Eve????I'm starting to become skeptical.

Wildflower Official Photos:Seth


"Why I would ever do that again"

End Quote

Signed up for next year yet?????

Wildflower Official Photos: Bruce

Now that's fast. Nice Work.

Wildflower Photos:Jen

Here are the official race shots from Wildflower. Check out the smile.

Sex or the City meets Sporty and Sassy in San Diego

This Sunday was the release of the movie Sex in the City. If you haven't heard of it you don't read the paper, listen to the radio, watch TV, or surf the web. That's OK. I respect that. My TV is never on (but my computer is). If it rained really hard you could bet I would set up my trainer in front of the TV and watch all the old episodes. I would time my visits to the treadmill to coincide with the time Sex in the City reruns aired at the gym.
OK, I know my mom and dad are choking on their coffee now. I apologize if you coughed on the computer screen. The story is beyond the attention grabbing risque behaviors of some of the characters. The writing is very clever and the characters are developed so well you feel like they are real people. The writers have stated to use situations their friends or they personally encountered. When the show was at it's peak I was a travel nurse. It was set in New York city. It seemed to catch the soul of the city in a way that made me want to go there. The show captured the fashion and energy of New York city. It focused on four mid-thirties female characters and it's story tackled socially-relevant issues, often specifically dealing with women in society. It captured how changing roles affected the women and their relationship's with others. I day-dreamed of taking a travel assignment in New York City. My love of sports and San Diego just got in the way. Two years ago this May I officially became a San Diegan. I officially left the world of travel nursing (after two unofficial years in San Diego) I renounced my title of gypsy nurse. I traded my suitcases for a wetsuit and road bike. I joined the tri club and inherited a great group of girlfriends. While life has taken a few of them else where the majority are still in San Diego and still active in the tri club. At first glance you might not think we have a lot in common with the characters and story line of SATC. Look a little deeper you will note the similarities. If they ever want to make a San Diego spin off. They could use us as the characters. I'm quite certain in the city where more copies of Triathlete Magazine and the Competitor circulate than Time Magazine or Newsweek the show would be a hit.

The Plot:

The show is from the narrative perspective of the main character. The character of Carrie Bradshaw, a woman who was also working as a writer and living in New York City. The narrative of the show focuses on Carrie and her three best friends. The women discuss their desires and fantasies, and their travails in life and love. The show often depicts frank discussions about romance and sexuality, particularly in the context of being a successful woman in the city. (o.k. that line wasn't quite plagiarized) . I'm not much like Carrie. She smokes and I bike, but I do peck away at the keyboard and I do share my narrative.

The San Diego Cast would consist of a group and young and fabulous ladies from San Diego. All are successful professionals. All have a flair for triathlons. Some would say we don't have the same flair for fashion but that is not the case. We are the girls who like diamonds, pearls, and carbon fiber. We sport Bento boxes on our bikes that would rival any Prada purse. Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize. I couldn't help but notice the special edition Manolo Blahniks that are coming out in honor of Sex and the City. They are blue with a silver buckle. My bike shoes are blue with a sliver buckle. See the similarity.

Sex in the City is filled with many humorous and engaging stories. There are websites full of quotable moments from the show. For example: when Carrie gets dumped on a post it note. The girls on the show meet for brunch and talk all about it. This sounds familiar to when Elaine went on a cycling date with a roadie. She got a flat tire. She changed the tire herself. She was riding to catch up when he noticed she wasn't there. Shmuck......this gave us lots to talk about on our weekend ride. What kind of a fool was this guy and where were his manners? Tim said he should have ridden straight for the boarder. In another episode Miranda, the cynical but successful lawyer gets annoyed when people repetitively ask her if she's dating anybody special. She replies "No, but I'm dating a whole lot of not special guys." I can relate to that when the random coworker or nieghbor, who mind you hasn't ran a 10k in the last 10 years asks me how my triathlon went. When I tell them I was satisifed with my performance they will start rattling off run times of people they claim to know. So and so, now she or he is a legitimate runner. She he went 15:42 in a 5k (in 1982). Good for them I reply. I'm biting my tongue though, what part of Sunday's 16 mile run or Monday's 4 mile run after a 12 hour shift was illegitimate? I think I will change my blog title to Tales of the Illegitimate Runner.

We all have these stories and situations and it's fun to share them with each other. We all share a certain bond. I guess that's why they call it the sisterhood. To the girls. Thank you for being my friends.

The San Diego Cast (but not all inclusive)

Missing from photo because she's taking it:
Miss Stacy Schlocker: She's fabulous. Accomplishments include finishing medical residency, qualifying for the "Boston" and finishing her first half Ironman. All done while in residency. The queen of time management.
Front left:
Mrs. Meredith Trowbrdige:She holds a masters degree, counsels those who suffer from post traumatic stress (and this stress is unrelated to Ironman racing and training) , also holds a sub 12 hour Ironman finish.
Next up
Me: You all know me but in case you missed anything. Full time ICU nurse. Ironman finishes are pending:) Hobbies. Trying to drop boys while wearing/rolling pink
Center Front:
Miss Jessica Motyl:U of M grad and engineer for GE. How's that for hanging with the boys. Pursuing an MBA while successfully training for IMAZ and maintaining a relationship with her steady Pat. Claim to fame: racing with a smile.
Center Back:
Miss Julie Uhlendorf: Former cartographer Julia traded in her map making to stay in San Diego and become the first female to manage a Specialized concept store in the nation. She truly is the woman in the know. She is fast, fierce and quit witted. She has mastered maneuvers to drop boys now referred to as "The Julia". Claim to fame. Winner of the Rosarita to Ensenada bike race.
Front right:
Miss Elaine Bergeron: Sweet and southern. Elaine can drop most any guy who tries to ride on her rear wheel. Elaine also holds a masters degree as well as many famous quotes. She works for and spends a lot of her free time doing charity work. Claim to fame: 24 hour mountain bike races and entire road rides done "in the big ring"
Right Back:
Miss Tina Chen: Tina is a psychologist. She can psychoanalyze you as she drops you from her rear wheel. Claim to fame: Beyond posting a super smoking bike split at last years Big Kahuna, Tina is an accomplished Salsa dancer. She also hosts fabulous parties and girls nights. Tina is sensational
There are so many others but I had to limit it to the ones I'm lucky enough to hang around with the most.
I will leave you with one last quote:
Security guard: Mam there is no smoking.
Carrie: Sir, I have an addiction.
Tim: You've been blogging for hours.
Me:Tim, I have an addiction

The days we'll remember

Today was a typical day off for me. Tim met me for early morning oatmeal and coffee followed by a bike commute to USCD for 7:30 am Masters. It's a pleasant ride out of La Jolla in the early morning. Basically 2 miles down, 2 miles up and 2 miles flat, then you are at the pool. Most of the the ride has million dollar views of the Pacific. Once at swim we are subject to the mercy of coach Sicki's workout. Today was probably a great prep for Iron man. It had a lot of distance but almost all free style. When coaches insist on me doing butterfly I worry a lifeguard is going to jump in and rescue me thinking I'm having some sort of a seizure. I felt like I was swimming really well until about meter 3000. With about 500 meters to go I began to get hungry and felt as though I could be arrested for weaving in my lane. This sort of concerned me because at Iron man I will swim a bit further than this. Granted I'll be rested and I'll be fueled so I am not too worried. However, the issue of fueling is a little nerve racking. I managed to squeeze out the other 500 meters by leaving the wall less than 10 seconds after the swimmer in front of me. Drafting at it's finest. The other day I heard a co -worker complaining about their 1200 calorie diet. I couldn't stifle the reply "that's breakfast." On the day of Iron man I will get up really early a try to consume about 1,000 calories breakfast. Sure that would be easy if I was downing Krispy Cremes and sausage, but this must be low fat, low protein and low fiber food. Anyway I made it through the swim and headed toward the locker room. Good thing my whopping 6 mile ride home is mostly downhill. Tim rode with me to the edge of campus then headed to the library to work on his paper and get some work done. I returned home to second breakfast. My favorite meal of the day. I had intentions of working on a wedding registry but got distracted and ended up registering for more races. A sprint triathlon in Mackinac City, MI I will do with Tim and the America's Finest City half marathon in San Diego. I hope Tim can do the AFC but his work schedule may not allow it. It's much more fun when we both can participate. Anyway I gave my credit card a workout. I must say races in Northern Michigan are a relative bargain. A little while later I walked to the grocery store and got some food for this evening's dinner. I like to think of myself as very European....walking to the market and getting the days food. Realistically it would take me longer to drive and I have a fridge only slightly larger than dorm sized. However, I trade a full sized fridge 100 times to live in this location.

After work Tim came over. We went for a 45 mile bike ride followed by a 4 mile run. We spent much of the ride discussing our strategy for Iron man. Iron man is a eating race as much as anything else. Who has the stomach made of cast Iron?I need to take in about 1300 calories during the bike and although Gatorade and power bar gels are served on the course I'll have to have a better plan than that. If you are wondering why, I double dog dare you to take in 1300 calories of Gatorade over 6 hours. Is that much high fructose corn syrup even legal??? We found that we like pretzels. Unfortunately it would take 7 cups of pretzels and that won't fit in my Bento box. This is starting to seem like giving birth and passing something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a pear. Like a couple of mad scientists we scammed and schemed the best possible solutions.

It was a really nice day and we enjoyed the ride/run combo. Tim and I are a little sad as his research year comes to an end. The day after Iron man he will be back to 80 hours a week and multiple nights a week of call. For us to share this much time together in one day will be few and far between. 22 days left but who's counting.

Thanks for reading ;)

More Pics from last weekend

Well it's hard to believe another week has gone bye. Seems like yesterday we were in New Hampshire. Time does fly. As I ran through Mission Bay Park last night the signs were up for todays marathon. I can't believe it was a year ago Tim, Bruce, and I ran the Rock N Roll. (That story is in the archives) Only 23 days until Ironman. As I finished my 16 mile run today I thought I could run 10 more miles at this pace. Hopefully I will feel that way after a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride. I know that sounds like a long way to go in one day. Looking back on the last seven months of training, I have come so far. As Dr. Suess would say "Oh the places you'll go"