Our Trip Part One: Triathlon, Tractors, and Tim

Saturday July 25 th

Tim and I left San Diego before it was bright and when it was squirrley early. Once again we had packed up our bikes. We flew into Traverse City....the Cherry Capital of the world for those wondering. Then drove north to the U.P. We arrived at about 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. At which time we ate dinner then Tim assembled his bike.(Notice I didn't say we assembled Tim's bike:) I acted as team manager and double checked all details for the next days race. My parents were going to watch along with my good friends Kristi and Brian. Despite being slightly weary travelers we could feel the pre race excitement. I really wanted to race in my home area with my friends and family there. Maybe I can race I thought as I unpacked my gear. "My foot feels a little better." Tim stifled a laugh. "Does it hurt to stand?" He asked . Ummm....just a little, but maybe in the heat of the race I wouldn't notice. "Then you can't race" Tim said. "No fair....you get to race and you're half sick," I replied. I decided to test my foot. I threw my running shoes on. About 30 seconds later I returned to the garage recommitted to my role of team manager:)
Around 11:30 p.m. Tim finished assembling his bike and packed his gear. As the team manager I should have enforced a 9:30 p.m. lights out curfew the night before a race. However, in this case we had to wing it a little as we had just arrived. The reality of racing for Tim as it might be a long time until he is well rested before a race.

July 26th: Race Report.

All athletes must write a race report. Tables are turned. This time I'm living vicariously through Tim.
I took my role of team manager very seriously and was the first one up in the house. I figured I should be first at something today. I made oatmeal for Tim. I rationed it to be sure he didn't eat too much. I wouldn't want Quaker Oats to haunt him on the swim. Tim had 2.5 hours before race time. I also packed some coffee to go. I herded everyone out the door and drove Tim to the race start. I dropped Tim at the start (like a rockstar), found parking and called Kristi and Brian to give them the scoop. The race start was very near the Shepler dock. We noted quite a wake from the 7:30 a.m. departure to Mackinac Island. My parents worried the 8:30 boat would affect Tim. I said don't worry...he'll be done in 12 -13 minutes. As it happened Tim was out of the water in 12:47. Everybody was in awe of how accurate my prediction was. I smiled smugly not sharing that this was simple math since at masters you swim in a lane based on your 100m time. Truth was I was a little worried about Tim during the swim. Not because he was still somewhat sick but because I feared he may have a wardrobe malfunction. His wetsuit zipper was gaping a bit at the bottom. I helped him get the zipper up but I wasn't sure it would hold. Tim's wetsuit held and he was 5th over all out of the water.

5th out of the water.....yeah for Tim

Where's the aero helmet??

T1: Tired Tim's Transition

Tim transitioned quickly to the bike. This is where Tim could turn the hurt on people on a normal day. We chose not to bring our race wheels or aero helmets to keep the luggage down. Still I knew Tim could make some people hurt out there. (I'm the usual suspect). Tim did very well and went fast. I noticed the "I'm gonna destroy everybody" twinkle was not in his eyes. I worried he might stop for a cup of coffee or take a nap on the way. I think a nap is what he really needed. Once again I correctly predicted Tim's mile per hour pace. What can I say? When you have logged as many miles as we have together the pace is like clockwork. I was a little wistful watching the competition go by. This was a bike heavy sprint. 800 m swim, 18 mile bike, 3.1 mile run. Usually in a sprint the bike is only 12-13 miles. The bike is my strength and I can belt out a fast 5k if needed. The swim wouldn't be long enough to fall too far behind. I let the wistfulness go. I have raced 4 times this year and I have had 4 good races (I count club races :) That is more than I can ask for. I'll be back strong again. I just have to be patient, something I am not good at.
Tim came into T2 at a good clip. "There's Pumpkin" My mom said as Tim came in to view. Too bad Tim didn't hear that. He would have went 30 seconds faster for sure. He wasn't too happy with me for naming his bike "Pumpkin" or sharing it with the entire world on my blog. He said he preferred it be called "The Shining Stallion," but Pumpkin stuck. As for the run I again correctly predicted Tim's time. I didn't take long and Tim was running down the finish chute. He maintained a good pace but again lacked that "I'm out here to go as fast as humanly possible look." Tim commented the race was fun but he was knackered. He didn't have much in him from being sick. As he hacked we all questioned if he was still sick.
Tim wanted a nap and my mom's baked goods more than anything. I didn't insist we stay as I had my own time trial to attend:) We headed home, skipping the awards ceremony. Later we found Tim placed 2nd in his age. He missed 1st by 30 second and out split the first place guy on the run. Wow!!!!!Strong work.
Tim seemed moderately pleased by this result. His eyes still lacked that twinkle.....until my Dad showed Tim the tractor . Digging up stumps with a tractor is Tim's new found passion.

Ladies and Gentlemen I now present 2nd place M30-34, Tired Tim!!!

"Ugg...can I take a nap now"

Tim's face when I tell him there is fudge at the aid stations and for winning.

My mom and dad spectating their first triathlon, debating weather or not to get Tim a pre race apple fritter from the bakery across the street.

Ready for a swim in Lake Huron

Good job Tim.

2nd Place AG

Mackinaw Multi Sport Mix

Sorry there was Hammer products instead of fudge at the aid stations. I fibbed.

View of the Mighty Mac...the Mackinac Bridge.

It connects Michigan's Upper and Lower Pennisula

Friends Kristi and Brian come and cheer Tim on. Thanks guys!!!

2008 Olympics

With the Tour De France wrapping up I look ahead to the Olympics
Since the Summer of 1984
I have LOVED,LOVED, LOVED the Olympics

It was the summer of 1984 and my life was FOREVER changed. Mary Lou Retton tumbled over the vault and I began tumbling over the furniture in my mother's living room. (Confession #111 ....it wasn't always our dog Spike's tail knocking over the plants.) I spent the better part of my youth being an Olympic hopeful. Not the kind of Olympic hopeful who has a legitimate chance and the entire family devotes their life to achieve this dream. I was just full of hope and energy. Although I had no (as in notta, zip, zero) chance of going to the Olympics I will maintain my title as "The Best Back Yard Gymnast Ever". This title I will never ever relinquish. It is not in any danger because children no longer are allowed to tumble in back yards anymore. It's a liability. I wore patches in the grass I tumbled so hard. I also twirled from the homemade beam and bar my Dad hand crafted with pride. (O.k. he made them from scraps after I begged and promised not to hurt myself).
It wasn't until I was 10 before my brothers told me I wasn't going to go to the Olympics. They were getting a little embarrassed. When asked what I was going to be when I grew up I would state that when I turned 16, I would be moving to Texas to train with Bela Karolyi. He coached Nadia and Mary Lou. I had sent him letters on a regular basis to alert him I was coming. (I learned later these letters were never mailed.)I remember my parents sitting me down and gently trying to tell me I wasn't going to go to the Olympics. Therefore I needed to do my spelling. This was after I convinced my second grade teacher I needed extra recess to "train." Funny thing was no matter how hard they tried I just didn't get it. I'd be like "OK so if I don't make it in gymnastics I can go in skiing right?" Sometimes in life I think you get a little further when it takes a little longer for reality to sink in. I was probably about 15 when I really got it. Still watching the Olympics meant a lot to me. I remember watching Kim Zemeskal fall from the beam and fall from grace just when it mattered the most. Back then I think there were fewer personal interest (and cry me a river sob stories like there are now) of athletes and I liked them. I related on some level in fact I still do.

This winter Runner's World featured a great article on Paula Radcliffe. I became intrigued by her not only her speed, but her choice to "slow down." She chose to have a child during her career as a runner. I also was intrigued by how even she, as the best of runners, could have a complete and utter system or mental shut down at the 2004 Olympic Marathon. I was more impressed that she could come back and triumph after that race and after having a baby and win a marathon. I know there is a lot of controversy over running and pregnancy and working mom's but "dude" the lady is a runner. It is her job, nobody knocks other mom's who work from home or take their children to work. I don't think any job that allows a mom to have a treadmill next to the bassinet is that bad. Now having a 50 hour a week corporate job and training for IM with a child is a different topic. Paula running a 8 minute mile is like the exertion of me riding a bus. I was hoping for a fairy tale ending in Beijing where Paula would come back post giving birth stronger than ever and win the Olympic Marathon. I was rooting. I am rooting. Reality is not in favor. Due to recent injuries Paula will be lucky to attend the games at all. It's amazing how much work it takes to get to the top and to peek form and how quickly you can fall from it. I guess it's just another one of life's lessons and opportunities for learning to deal with what you didn't spend all that time training for.
Paula Radcliffe in battle to be fit for Beijing - Times Online

Vacation around the bend

Flash backs from one year ago.
"Vacation again".....your probably thinking. "Didn't you just get back?" Yup. Saturday, Tim and I (and hopefully two of our bikes) are going to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to see my family. Last year, we titled our trip running camp. We spent so much time running on all the cool trails......that was when we weren't eating my mom's baked goods and garden fresh tomatoes. Tim had fun shooting my Dad's pellet gun as well. In the U.P. we do such things. This year was going to be full on triathlon extravaganza fueled again by my mom's baked goods. However, with Tim being sick and my foot injured I think it will be more like "scenic bike tours.com". You know the kind of bike tours people spend a lot of money to ride like 30 miles a day. They stopping every 5 miles to "refuel". A friend of mine used to guide these tours she called them "fatty bike tours." Yes.... that might be just right for us at this time.
So mom if your reading.....we might need a lot of cookies to support our rides. You don't want me eating that sugary sticky syrupy stuff do you? I might "track" it in the house some how. I could get everything sticky. Besides I think there is magic healing powers in molasses cookies ( especially when Mo-lasses is pronounce in a politically incorrect way) Also, the anti-oxidants in rhubarb are necessary for our recovery. Probably better than goji berries. So some spring tonic may be in order along with the rhubarb bread cake. Yum yum.

If Tim is still sick or if I get his sick:) we might have to leave our bikes in San Diego (shed 1 tear only please) At this point we will title our trip "reading and respite." Oh yeah and we will finalize all of the wedding details. Now insert the collective sigh from both sets of parents who secretly worry we will be lost on the running trails and late for our own wedding.

Happy Monday

Today started with a splash....O.k. so that was a bad pun. Many days off start with a splash. Just as I was heading to morning swim Tim was returning from work. I swim at the crack of dawn (well not quite....I usually attend 7:30 a.m. masters but in case you haven't noticed by now....I'm a drama queen:) This seems impressive until you realize that people like Tim start work at 0500. Anyway poor Tim was sent home from work because he was sick. Febrile with no voice. Scaring the patients and his co workers. Ugg. No fun for poor Tim. Those worried about my Ironman recovery, forget it......worry about Tim. I have the luxury of sleeping at night. Anyway Tim insisted I go to swim anyway and I did. I'm not a very quiet person so it was probably best I burned up some energy while Tim dozed. After swim I swung by Trader Joe's and bought frozen fruit bars in the premise that if ice helps my foot it would help Tim's throat. I also bought some more tea. I think Tim has been existing solely on the licorice spice tea my mom gave me. I was worried I might run out of tea for Tim. Feeling assured that Tim's hydration needs were met I bought Tim some Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I figured he needed some calories and this would be the easiest way to ensure his needs were met. After all a spoonful is probably 20% of the daily allowance for calories. I returned to find a dozy Tim. He insisted I go for my bike ride. Well, I was planning to go but I thought it might be nice to keep Tim company. He mentioned that I shouldn't be hanging around a sick person all day. It wasn't good for me. Hee Hee Hee. That's what I do for a living. The nurse in me recognized a difficult patient so I gave Tim the option of ice cream or a frozen fruit bar. I knew he'd take the frozen fruit bar if ice cream was the alternative. However, if I didn't offer him a choice he would have refused everything except tea. Eventually after ensuring Tim was taking enough fluids with his ibuprofen (....didn't want any kidney failure ) I left for my bike ride. Once again, I figured he would rest better without me bouncing all over the living room.

Despite missing Tim on the ride. I must say today was an excellent day for a bike ride. I can't tell you my speed because Saturday my Garmin went AWOL from it's holster while I was descending Via Capri. I climbed the whole way back up that mountain but couldn't find it. (So far I'm 0-2 with Mt. Soledad.) Loosing my Garmin was sad, so sad. I still managed to ride to the highest point in coastal North County so all was not lost. I had another slight mishap Saturday when one of my rear bottles launched itself and the other tried to escape while I was descending from San Elijo into San Marcos. I found the bottle hanging from the hair tie I use to ensure the hydro tail does not act as a bottle launcher. The bottle was actually dragging on the tire. I shoved it back into it cage and noticed a while later it was empty. Hmmm. What's up with that? The tire had created a pin whole in the bottle. Now my "Sustained Energy" was coating my brakes and rear derailleur. What a sticky mess. My mom wouldn't like that at all. It was a long ride with a lot of climbing so I needed those calories. Loosing 5 lbs in real life is great. Loosing 500 calories 50 miles from home is never a good thing. I heard myself singing "Oh happy day" in a quivery voice while heading into Carlsbad. I knew it was a pit stop soon or a bus ride home. Inspired by Tim I stopped at Pannikin an ordered an iced mocha. I am very dogmatic by nature. I never stop at Pannikin on my bike alone. I just don't. Coffee shops are for company. I texted Tim from Pannikin and he replied he was sick. I felt bad for him. He should be out enjoying the day. Instead he was at work and sick. I slammed the ice mocha, headed back out on my bike.....and then ....well.... I got a little sick. I forgot to soft pedal post mocha and it was a mistake. Oops. I'll stick to black iced coffee from now on. I chilled out a bit while the mocha settle. Luckily I managed to get home without any other issues.

Despite the long ride and lots of climbing Saturday my legs felt grreeaat today. I just rode the coast to Oceanside. It was the best today could be an awesome breeze, even a tail wind on the way home. I barely noticed climbing Torrey. Maybe there's something to be said for not knowing your speed:) It was then I titled my ride Happy Monday.

Tim was feeling and looking a little bit better. I asked him if he was compliant with the frozen fruit bars.....he said he had eaten 4 of them so I think he will live. Hopefully he will be better soon. Vacation is just around the bend.

Vineman 70.3

Congrats to all those who did Vineman 70.3 this weekend. Shout out to Bruce, my future Father in law who placed 3rd in his age and earned a Clearwater World's spot. Shout out to Meredith who demolished the field and nailed everything including the run.
You guys ripped it up.

A week later

July 20

Another week has gone by since my last blog. Life is resuming returning to normal post Ironman, post Tim's return to uber hours of work, and post move #2 for the year. I should be back up to uber hours of training or base building but I have bunked up my foot. Oops....apparently In the battle of Jenny vs. Mt Soledad .....Mt. Soledad won and I actually hurt my foot running uphill. Unless you all care to believe that the Hill Rom Total Care Sport bed ( carrying the 350 pound patient) that ran over my left foot during my last shift before I left for Ironman could be the culprit. It actually hurt at the time but the pain didn't linger. More than likely I think there is a definite lag between what you can do cardiovascular post Ironman and what your soft tissue can tolerate post Ironman. My form had been a touch off so I thought I would do the run at an easy pace wearing my racing flats to identify exactly wear I was striking my feet and I would clean up my form ........O.k. so this story is going from bad to worse.....Honestly though, there are readers of this blog who only run in racing flats. Maybe it was the best time to practice my form wearing racing flats..... (maybe that only works for Paul.....
so I was heading home going up Soledad and my foot started to hurt across the metatarsals. I was almost home and if I stopped it would be quitting on an uphill. That just didn't seem right....what's next asking for a ride to track practice????This is an inside joke with my family. The next few days I made it through my work shifts with a little discomfort and the next day I through on my bike shoes and the pain went away. That was until I got off my bike to do my first brick in preparation for IMAZ. I started to run and my foot started to hurt. This time I quit but stupidly refused to let Tim get the car so I was now reduced to walking up Soledad. The next few days I was either working or off work and lucky enough to be off work and riding with my friend Stacy. Magically my foot does not hurt at all while I am riding my bike. ( I think because the sole is stiff) It does hurt however when I stand on it at work. Hmmm. Imagine that sick call...."Yeah hi, this is Jennifer I can't come to work today because I am in pain and the only way to alleviate my discomfort is to ride my little pink bike all over the county".
Handy Tim examined my foot and said he didn't think it was a stress fracture but then C.Y.A'd himself and his future by saying but maybe you should have an x-ray.....it could be a stress fracture but it's probably soft tissue. I made an appointment at Coastal Sports Medicine because any non sports M.D. would think I have a psych disorder. When I told the Dr about my foot he laughed at me (in a nice way). He didn't x-ray it. He said Tim was probably right. Also that stress fx don't show up right away anyway and to come back next week if it wasn't better. He told me was impressed because a month after his first IM the bike was still in the box. I assumed he was riding his other bike. After I told him I was running up Soledad he stated......Jen.....the wetsuit was in the box with the bike.....ok so maybe he didn't ride the other bike. I explained to him that I had a 26.2 mile cool down because during the run my heart rate was only 130. I could breathe through my nose, talk, and eat while I "ran." He said the means the body has spoken..... it said you are done racing for today. He told me it's totally normal for my body to be malfunctioning right now and to expect to continue to do so for a while and that I'm inflamed everywhere. Hmmmp. Is Arizona too soon for me I asked. Nope..... he said, don't worry about it. Then he reminded me of Paula Newby winning IM after taking a long time off because of a stress fracture. I'm not Paula I thought, I actually need to prepare for this venue. I sheepishly kept my mouth shut this time.

I can only imagine the dictated H&P. It would read something like this:

31 year old well nourished, well developed Caucasian female complains of (L) foot pain s/p attempting to run up Mt. Soledad. She attempted this 21 day s/p Ironman. She denies use of recreational or performance enhancing drugs. She admits to supplementing with electrolytes while training and consuming protein recovery shakes prn. She is accompanied by three pairs of running shoes stated to be possible mechanisms of injuries. She confesses to cycling "toe down" at times. Her heart rate is 44 while sitting in the office but she admits to allowing it to climb to 181 during the Henshaw Loop.

Review of systems: Negative except exercise induced asthma. Skeletal: No hx of broken bones except (R)UE 3&4 th metacarpals suffered while alpine ski racing.

Differential Diagnosis:
Illusions of grandeur attempting AEB: running up mount Soledad vs.
(L) metatarsal stress fx vs.
Inflammation of plantar fascia at distal end vs.
Joint capsule inflammation

She has been advised to abstain from running for one week and return to office for x-ray in 1 week if no improvement of symptoms. Patient is highly suspicious for being non compliant with recommendations.


For now my foot is too painful to think of running but on the flip side I guess I get to swim and ride more . Right????

Wedding Prep

July 10, 2008

This weeks highlights:

A full work week , one swim, one bike, a bunch of running miles. Tuesday consisted of a epic trip to San Fransico resulting in an epic dress followed by an extra 6 extra hours of work to pay for the fabulousness I aquired in SF.

The wedding planning is coming along quite nicely and with those details in place it's time to get training for IMAZ. People ask me if I ever have a hard time staying motivated to train. "Not really". Fabulous dress=uber training time. Sometimes I do think about this answer more carefully. Training means there are things I'm not able to do while I'm logging those miles. There are just so many things I love to do and so little time. People talk about post Ironman depression. I don't think I have that, I can honestly say I am struggling to have patience with the recovery process (low and slow mileage). I haven't had much time to train lately because I have been catching up on things I misplaced :) while training. I always come to the same conclusion I love to swim, bike, and run. I'm constantly drawn to the chance to take things to the next level. (sprint distance--->olympic distance--->1/2 IM, ---> Full. There are pros and cons of this. Pros ...you accomplish a lot, Cons...potentially loosing interest in the things you love because you have already done them. Today was one of those days where I was reminded of why I do these things for pleasure. I finished my day at work with tired legs and planned on a four mile run. A 9 mile run Wednesday and a swim/bike combo Thursday I knew Friday would leave my legs with little stomp. I thought about calling it a day. There was no way I would beat my average pace from the other day. A small part of my brain wondered "what's the point of running if you are going to go slower than you can on a good day. The better side of me remembered that there is something about an evening run in La Jolla that can't be beat no matter what pace you run. I laced up my trainers and headed down the hill.

Yes... I was 20 seconds/mile slower today. In the end, with the sun setting and my I-pod playing, I was glad to be out there for an extra 1minute 20 seconds. Hmmm, think about what I could have cheated myself out of. The San Diego area is a great place to do these things. I have such great camaraderie.

As for recovery:

Today is July 10th:

Mentally I feel recovered. In fact I feel slightly cranky from sitting around too much. I really don't feel like I have done much training wise for the past month. I can't tell if my body is deconditioned from tapering and recovering or actually tired from Iron man. Mentally I'm ready now to be in the shape I was in at Wildflower. I'm over "recovery." I'm done being slow. I start each workout willing myself to be in peak form when I am actually a long ways off. I start each workout a bit too hard and bonk before the end. This is not at all my style, so I bargain with myself by saying it's good sprint training. ( that's the Pollyanna in me). I also think I'm existing on a little too much coffee which probably is a culprit in the flash and crash performance. I know, I know caffeine is evil.... well try getting up at 5 a.m. It's not that I am that much slower right now, it's that I have too work harder to go the usual paces. It's a bit hard and humbling to face this but I know the only way out of the "shape" I'm in is to be patient.....and to be humble. I realize it may take more motivation to go out and go slow. So this is my motto weather I run a 7 minute mile or a 12 minute mile at this point I just need to do it. No matter how slow I go at this point by doing it I will look that much more fabulous my wedding dress ....right? What could be better than a swimmers back, bikers butt, or runners legs????

Moving again

After  four months in the La Jolla village studio (aka the shed.....per brother Tom) I am moving to the home Tim and I will share once married. Shout out to Tim for this is the third time he's helped me move. When somebody helps you move they get a good window in to your good and bad habits. For starters I have no less than 7 pairs of running shoes. All very justifiable in the world Jen. Racing shoes, racing flats, trainers, new shoes...the keep ahead pair that you had to buy while they were on sale, trail shoes, retired shoes now used for walking, and the pair that didn't work for running demoted to work shoes. That's only the beginning of my loot. I enjoy life and have a lot of hobbies. I even have up back hobbies like books and knitting just in case I should ever be sick or injured and unable to swim, bike, run, or even do yoga. It must be an act of God that after helping me move all this stuff Tim still agrees to marry me. Maybe it's because of the three cookie sheets, two muffin trays, and one pie pan Tim helped  move. 

 I am strangely soar despite no epic training this weekend. Moving is sort of like an Ironman. Not quite as early as a true Ironman would start, we drove a very large borrowed truck to Tim's grandmother's storage unit in Oceanside. There we found many things in addition to the dresser and dining room set we came for. We found the clip to a gun. What's funny about this is the gun belonged to Tim's great grandmother. She lived to be 101. According to Tim she was very spry and carried it in her purse in case she was mugged. We also found at least 1/2 dozen grabbers from Tim's larger than life grandfather. As he aged  he strategically placed them around his home. I made use of them by untying Tim's shoes and even trying to inflict a "wedgie" on Tim. By 8:30 last night we had all of my stuff moved. I even had cleaned the La Jolla studio. Tim sighed with the relief that despite moving all of my stuff we still had plenty of room for his things. 

Tour De France

It's officially summer and with it comes the Tour De France. I'm not much of a tv watcher but for the Tour I'll tune in. It's time for me to enjoy the climbs and the scenery with out any of the work.