Christmas

The holidays wouldn't be complete without celebrating the four seasons of Laguna. I love riding through Pine Valley. They decorate the streets for the season. The 4th of July decorations are the best. Instead of using the main road up the mountain, Sunrise Highway. We headed a bit further east to Kitchen Creek, Rd. Don't be fooled by the sign that states pavement ends. It doesn't. Sorry though, you'll have to leave your car behind as the road is closed to motorized vehicles. Climbing Kitchen Creek is like a little slice of heaven. (Well it's a slice of heaven if you have enough gears.)
It was warm climbing up the mountain. I was glad though to have my warm fuzzy jacket, knee warmers, full finger gloves and hat for the rest of the ride. I'll never get bored riding around Laguna and the Cuyamaca's. Riding around the loop is like turning the pages in an Ansel Adams book. I would post more pictures but it's so hard to do it justice. There was some snow left in the ditches from the last big storm and a snow covered mountain in the distance. We guessed it was Palomar. Although I'm not sure. It seemed like we could see forever, so maybe it was someplace even further away. Tim will likely be working on Christmas, while riding the song "So this is is Christmas" came to mind. If a ride around Laguna is Christmas, I wouldn't have it any other way.

In case we needed a little help celebrating Christmas, our friend Matt shared with us a nativity set acquired while working as a medical missionary in Niger. There's just something about looking at a nativity set from Niger that really makes you think richness comes from a place in the heart.

Light The Night

This time of year it gets dark shortly after 5:00 p.m.
The sun doesn't shine until 6:00 a.m.
For many, a run outside this time of year requires a light.
But it's so worth carrying a light.
Running in the dark reminds me of being a kid. As a kid, I had to complete my homework before heading out to play:( Play though, was filled with adrenaline. We had to cramit in as it was short lived. I specifically remember a span of time where we (we as in all the neighborhood kids) had to be home and inside before the evening news was over. To this day when I hear the theme song for world news tonight I still have a twinge of panic/angst.
Running before or after sunset brings back that feeling of adrenaline filled play.
This time of year running sans the sunlight offers a special treat. Christmas Lights. I can't think of a much better way to appreciate the season than an evening run. Many thanks to all those who lit the night. I know at least one person who enjoyed it.

Rainy Day Fun

Lately it's been raining a lot. After a full season of sunshine and fun I am ok with that. In fact inclement weather seems quite fitting. Since all the magazines say "it is officially the off season and time of recovery" I decided to behave a little differently and stay inside. I was sort of craving some good reading and a movie or two.
I discovered "The Devil Wears Prada" is an excellent movie for rainy day run intervals. So long treadmill dreadmill. The upbeat music coupled with the star's brushes with near catastrophic work crises are sure to get ones pace up. I thought healthcare was dire, but turns out the fashion industry is more stressful. I discovered this during Monday's downpour, but the movie was longer than my run. I was actually looking forward another treadmill session to see the end. I sent Tim out to run in the rain with Paul. Just as I settled in to sheer chick flick indulgence, I was interrupted. The boys ousted me from the treadmill and forced me to run outside. Apparently those macho guys were afraid to run in the rain without a girl like me along. Complaining wasn't too much an option as we trekked up Soledad, mostly because I could only sputter. As a professional, I rate others levels of pain and tolerance to activity. I give patients who can only sputter high on the pain scale, and low on the activity tolerance. I swore we were at altitude and we were....at least 300 ft;) Despite my ability to only sputter I enjoyed the run. The rain and clouds were sort of eerie and it was actually quite warm. Downhill was much easier. It allowed for me to advance past a sputter and toss back some smack. It's funny that I am still motivated to keep up. Being in earshot let's me hear such things as..... Jen's not going to be able to ride Noble Canyon. We can't take her to Indian Creek. She doesn't really have any handling skills. One can't argue that they don't deserve the trash I toss at them.
Tim's been on call a lot this week and working a lot. I guess it's good to be on call when it's rainy. People seem to be breaking a lot of bones this week. I guess it's the rain, good thing we don't have ice or snow in San Diego. People seem to break things late on Saturday nights. This interferes with our early Sunday morning run plans. Good thing the roads are always open. I wish people would stop breaking things when we have plans with friends. Oh well, I guess I can curl up in the aero bars with a good book while my training partner recovers.

and make some cookies. .....

This season my cookie making skills seem to have digressed. I keep putting batches in the oven and forgetting to start the timer. I also made up a game where I try to run a mile on the treadmill while the cookies bake. Let's just say our oven bakes things a little fast o.k. Can I use the "I'm recovering from an Ironman excuse for this one?" Maybe it's a blessing in disguise, if all the cookies turned out I might have my a** sliding down my thighs.





Traditions Old and New


Tim and I both grew up celebrating Christmas with a tree. Seems a little strange to me to celebrate Christmas with sunshine and no snow. However, Tim didn't grow up with any snow and he had a tree so we will carry on the tradition.

A wise women once said " it's good to be traditional, but you need to make your own family traditions. This is our second married Christmas. I officially declare it our tradition to ride the Great Western Loop, then cross the street to target and purchase a tree. Christmas is synonymous with cold, snow, and skiing. Riding the Great Western Loop is about as close to cold , snow , and skiing as it gets in San Diego County. This year, Tim had to go back to work after the ride. I manhandled the tree myself. I am relieved it didn't fall off the car on the way home. Rumor has it my bikes were jealous of the tree for riding on top of the car.

You are probably wondering why I didn't just use the tree that fell in the driveway during Monday's storm? So am I to be truthful.


Life sure is different in California than in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula). The standard way to get a Christmas tree in the U.P. was to get a permit and chop one down. Every year the tree fell on some neighbor kid. I don't think that was the year it fell on me. If you look closely there isn't that much snow. It's the deep snow that your Moon Boots will sink into as you try to run away from the falling tree.

An prophetic person once told me I would never change. Only the gear in my car would. Like I said "prophetic"





Moving On
and keeping moving!

One Sunday Later

I slept in while Tim ran.
The air was cool and calling for hot chocolate.

Couldn't pass on the whip cream now could I?

My trusty, but not rusty friend.

Ready for a tailwind home.

For the record:

I drafted Tim the whole way there.

Just when I could no longer hold his rear wheel a passing roadie gave me a mighty push.

Race Report: IMAZ 2009 The Run


RUN:

I took a deep breath and headed onto the run course. I can go out fast on the bike. The run for me is not so forgiving. I knew I needed to start out easy. Last year, I went out too fast. At Oceanside ,I went out too fast. At Wildflower and Breakwater, I started the run easy and was successful. I felt I was working a bit. Labored breathing and tight shoulders. A look at the Garmin confirmed it. 7:15 pace. I don't maintain this pace (at this point) for an open marathon. Trouble. I tried to settle down. I tried to "JUST RELAX!" It gave me anxiety thinking going out too fast because soon the rent would be due. My savings account would be empty. 7:52 for mile one. I worked on settling down to the 9 minute pace I hoped to average.

Around mile 8 I saw Tim. He was running in the grass parallel to the course getting his run in. He paralleled me for a bit and said "Whoa, Jenny you are on pace for a 3:40 are you sure you want to commit to that?" I smiled and said "Don't worry, I'll slow down soon." He was filming me with the iphone. To do this race, I had to essentially leave my husband for 3 days. Beyond that, I served Tim a lot of bad dinners and had lame excuses for my housekeeping. I wanted to. share as much as I could with him on race day At this exact moment a the bicyclist escorting #3 Kate Major was behind me. Now Kate is a cool gal. I'm sure that she wouldn't give a crap as Tim was not on the course but about 30 feet away in the grass. I was on the far right of the run course. However, they warned at the athletes meeting, we would be penalized for such things as having family follow us on the run course. The cyclists escorting the top 5 males and females would be on the look out!

If your family member was on a bike near the run course that was a penalty too. This saddens me. The most touching stories my friends have of Kona is their spouses biking to different points of the run course to support them. I tell Tim I love him. Seeing him is the highlight of my day but he has to go because I have already been in trouble once. TROUBLE JUST FINDS ME!

I'm hanging in still but slowing down a bit. It still an ok pace but a steady decline. The small hills and 180 degree turn arounds seem to be so frequent. My pace seems to be all over the place. I throw down an 8:08 mile mile but don't be fooled. It’s 8:08 or a surprise in my pants. Shout out to the men wearing white shorts. You are brave souls. One man didn't look so bad. Just dirty from his bike seat. Another? Let's move on.

I run to the bathroom and somebody beats me there. The competitor in me tells me to keep going. I run on and realize it is a bad idea. I turn back and dance outside the porta potty until it is free. This bathroom has no latch on it. Just as I am wiping my behind a man opens the door. Ahh, he screams. Dude, I am the one with my shorts down. I should be screaming. This is not a sport for the weak or the modest.

I'm starting to feel like Ironman is NOT so easy. The distance isn't so bad. It's the rest of it.

Things settle down for a while. I am overcome with the feeling that my eyelids are heavy. They want to close. I feel like I am in a lecture hall falling asleep and my head is bobbing. You know that feeling. It's horrible. I slept a lot in college. I suppose it’s normal in a lecture hall. Not sure about an Ironman. People look at me a little funny though when asked about my race and I say “It was great except the strangest thing happened. I got so, so tired”.

My head wasn't really bobbing but it was such a dig to stay awake. I was going to fall asleep while running. Then I would trip over one of the one billion curbs or fall rounding one of the 180 degress turns. My worse fear was to take was out a row of small children trying to high 5 the athletes. That would be awful.

I was struggling. So far off pace, but so satisfied with my efforts. I was digging. The whole 9 minute/mile pace was out the window. I didn't know if I could even get there, but I knew I would not give up. I did not know what was wrong with me. I was overcome with something I had not experienced before. I am not sure what. Caffeine crash? Tumble weed allergy? Exhaustion? I was not cramping. Electrolytes were ok. I peed twice on the run and twice on the bike so I don't think I was dehydrated. Nutrition had been on. I didn't know what to do. I went on Coke. You know what they say about the dangers of Coke?. Well they are all true. Once you are on, you can't get off. Mile apart aid stations are too far. I contemplated putting it in my water bottle.

Please anyone with any ideas share away!!!! I beg of you.

I think I took a swig of a gel. I saw my friend Meredith, her husband Dave and their baby Soren. After swallowing the gel I swear I felt like I might implode. For certain, I was in hell on earth. Not sure how I would get out. I refused to end my race here. I kept moving. No muscle aches, no cramps but I am overwhelmed with my struggles right now. Past struggles have came and went in prior races have given me confidence that you can come back from a low point. This one was different. It made me nervous. I swear I looked crazed and scary. I swear Mer's brow furrowed. To top it all off, I swear to you that baby Soren saw me and let out a wail. I scared him so badly. Mer claims that none of this is true. She said I was smiling all day. We'll have to say I was hallucinating here. Great!

I remember crossing the bridge. In lap 2 of last year it turned evil on me. This time it was no worse than anything else. Things were bad, but could have been worse. I just kept going and singing to myself. The channeled song was Janice Joplin's "Oh lord why don't you by me a Mercede's Benz”. In my head it was very slow and very labored. I thought of Elizabeth and could hear her laughing. It got me through.

With about 12 miles to go I saw Tim. I felt compelled to tell him I was STRUGGLING. I confessed I fell off the wagon. "So, who cares?" he asked. He knew I went hard today. I could tell he was proud. This made me feel better. I didn't train hard to race like a pansy. It reminded me about what a personal journey this was. About the intentions I had set for myself. I wanted to get closer to my edge. I believed I was doing so. I will grow from this day. I knew if I could just keep plugging I'd finish and I would be happy with. He said if I ran 10 minute/miles to the finish I could still finish by 6:00 p.m. I nodded. I knew that 10 min/pace is so easy in theory but it wasn’t now. It was what I was fighting for .

Strangely things started to get better. The sun started to set. The air seemed to be more “humid” My eyes didn’t feel so heavy. My speed started to build. Then next 6 miles went by and by the time I hit mile 20 I felt good. Fresh even. Over the final 6 miles everything was right. My stride was smooth. The kind of running you wish all runs were like. I ran with everything I had. It was my goal to finish with the best time and effort I could. Whatever than maybe. I didn’t think I could break 11 hours but it wouldn’t stop me from trying. I saw Tim a mile or two out from the finish. He looked surprised to see me so soon. I threw my water bottle to him. “I’ll get you to the airport”. It was awesome.

At mile 25.5, a man yelled and screamed to me. He was just a figure in the now dark night. He had this amazing amount of energy for racer #2338 . He yelled #2338 you have 3 minutes. You can break 11 hours. GO! GO! I knew running 0.7 miles in 3 minutes was unlikely. The energy was so amazing. It’s why you do an Ironman. It's why you watch an Ironman. It's why people cry at watching, doing , and thinking of an Ironman. Regardless of how everything else transpired. all things were right in the final miles of my race. It was my lucky day. I finished on such a high note.

I turned the corner to the now dark alley that lead to the finish. I could hear the roars of the crowd and Mike Riley's voice booming. I heard breathing down my neck. I picked it up. We entered the lighted finish. We ran neck and neck and then she passed me in the chute. I didn’t care. I sort of wanted to soak in the final minute of such a long journey solo. I came to compete with myself. I’m not sure when I’ll run through the finish chute of another Ironman or when I will dig so deeply again. Ironman distance is not a race to be taken for granted. The finish is worth savoring. The time on the clock reads 11:01.

I am satisfied.

RUN Breakdown:

Segment 1: 3.5 miles/8:35 pace

Segment 2: 8.6miles/9:20 pace

Segment 3: 8.3 miles/10:18

Segment 4:5.9 miles 9:02... :)

Total Run 26.2 miles/ 4:09:16



P.S. No need for my husband to hail a cab to the airport.

The End

Sorry So Long

Sorry folks my blogs are so long and my writing so unprofessional. Someday, when I am old, gray and demented I hope one of my great-grand children can pull up this blog. I hope he or she reads to me the stories of the life that was truly lived. Also, note that I usually don't put times in my blogs but Ironman is so different from anything else. Time means something more than who you beat and who beat you so I feel ok about posting it.

IMAZ 2009 : Race Report The BIke

Leaving T1: Let's get this party started

The Bike.

3 loops. 112 miles.

I tend to ride with songs in my head.

Loop 1:

Song Channeled: One Love by Bob Marley.

Tempo: Double time maybe triple time.

I clip into my pedals and say " Get Em" Sweet Thunder. Then I steal Natacha Badman’s line (whose bike is Cheetah). She said with her thick Swiss accent "Run Cheetah. Run now. This is your home." I tell Sweet Thunder to run. I remember what I did on this course last year. I know this bike course is a day in the park compared to Sweet Thunder's riding. I think her tires are filled with helium as I fly above the ground. The course is exactly as I remember head wind out and up the slight incline and tailwind back. It is so much fun. I can’t stop grinning. I think my grin is so aero dynamic it should be banned.

I am amazed at how amazing I feel! I forgot. I did my hardest training in a very un-tapered, un-rested state, and sometimes under-fueled state. Oh yeah, and today I have race wheels. I sail my disc. It is awesome. I love it. I bought it used from some nice man a few years ago. His wife was …um over it…so he gave me a great deal. Tim exchanged some the faded orange stickers with pink ones. I have had some trouble with the disc in certain conditions. This course and these winds are perfect for it. Weeee. It is awesome. Lap one feels like 5 minutes although it is 38 miles. I am in happy land. I have coconut water in my front bottle. It tastes awesome and is full of electrolytes and even has some calories. I feel like I am dancing at a party. (Yes, you can ask? Am I on drugs? Nope, just having fun.)

I know I should settle in. I should slow down soon, but “I don’t wanna!”. I am excited to see Tim at the turn around. It makes me go faster. I see Tim and my friend Suzanne. They are jumping up and down so excited for me. Tim is excited because I am going faster than ever. Really he is proud of me not because I am going fast, because I am having fun. I am not wasting my day being fussy.

Loop 1: 37 miles

No pee stops

Ironman Official Split: 22.01 mph.

Loop 2:

Songs Channeled: Any songs with the word Sailing in them. My disc is sailing me and it is fun.

Tempo: I am trying, trying, trying to keep the tempo down.

I look at the clock. I know I should chill out a little. My HRM does me no good as my HR doesn't spike on flats. I know this. I have tested this on the Island of Fiesta. I decide to harness my energy. I know this is a long day. There is that marathon to run in a few hours.

I find out later that I shared the same first loop bike split with the likes of pros Kate Major and Linsey Corbin. They maintained the pace for the entire race. They also weren't benefiting from the windshield people riding 15 mph created. I am not bragging. I'm not a drafter or a cheater. I know times on crowded courses are artificially fast. There is a draft 5 bike lengths back. Plus, people were often riding 4 abreast. I did my best to ride cleanly and honestly. I just trained my self silly on the bike this year and this was my venue to rip it up in.

There are so many different ways to slice things. I will never know if I paid for lap one's episode later or if I would have ran the same way if I had smoked the entire bike. I will never know if I could have sustained that pace. I just wasn't ready to take the chance. Ironman is such a huge investment and too much guts will get no glory. Half IM, now that is a different story.

It took a full loop for me to know where I was pace wise. The course had very different conditions in each direction Head wind out /tail wind back. Last year, I rode each loop in about 1 hour and 50 minutes. I negative split by 1 minute last year. The one minute negative split makes it look text book perfect. I had a pee stop before the halfway stop in truth I was even, but we’ll call it a good execution. After loop one, I was well under the 1:50 mark. I chose to make a conscience effort to ease up and execute appropriately. I focused on nutrition, hydration, smooth pedaling, and maintaining the 4-5 bike lengths behind other cyclists. I made sure not to get pulled into any groups. I passed last year's pee stop and was happy I made it further without stopping. I needed to stop soon. There is always something to improve upon. I know real triathletes pee on their bikes. They rinse off with water. I am unable to execute this manuver. Any tips will be appreciated as commentsJ. (Note: This is where my mother just sighed a huge sigh of relief. My father just cringed. He’s disgusted). Rather than to do what I did at Couer D'Alene, and hold it the entire bike course. This lead to dehydration and abdominal cramping. I did what worked last year. I stopped got off my bike and used a port a potty. This wasn't so bad. VIP treatment from the volunteers. They held my bike for me. When I came out of the bathroom their arms were full of anything I might possibly need for my ride. A water bottle and a high five and I was on the road again. “I must be a celebrity” (with Bruno’s voice).

I hit the halfway point and was excited for the tailwind back to town. Ironically, the girl who couldn't pee on herself was sprayed. I passed a man as I was wizzing down the hill. He was coasting and wizzing in a different way. I am a nurse. I have seen many men pee. I have been peed on many times. This was by far the most disgusting. He peed like a large work horse. Not a race horse but like the big draft horses. The kind that pull carriages on Mackinac Island. Yuck. It hit my leg. I stopped feeling so inadequate about stopping to use the port a john. At least I didn't pee on a girl riding a pink bike.

Loop 2: 37 miles

1 stop porta potty

Ironman Official Split: 19.89 mph


Loop 3:

Song: Country Road/John Denver

Tempo: A bit Up Tempo

The wind had died down/changed direction. It was just like last year. It was much faster than previous loops. I felt great but it was time to start thinking about the run. So I honored my nutrition, hydration, and salt. I disregarded any temptation of full on time trialing to the turn. I felt so good. Better than last year at this point. I forgot how it feels to race so well trained and tapered. AWESOME!

I think I collected some yoga dividends. I felt good. No niggles, just giggles for the freckle faced girl. I couldn't ignore the urge to pee ...AGAIN. I told myself I was still ahead of my ETA . To once again avoid a stressing my body I stopped. I decided to see it as a chance to rest and absorb nutrition. Besides I wouldn't have to change shorts for the run. Plus, best of all my kidneys were perfused. It would be bad for me professionally to infarct my kidneys.

The final return to town was a congested ride. There were a lot of riders who were 38 miles behind me riding the inside part of the lane. There were people passing me that were riding faster than I could or felt I should. I had no intentions of chasing them and destroying my run. The hard thing to execute is the “dropping back” when somebody passes you and then slows down.

At mile 102, I get stuck in this situation where is a cluster. It's like a story problem. Two guys, we'll call them Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb, are riding a touch slower than me. A few others are riding a lot slower than the Tweedle Brothers. Two others pass me. They are legitimately faster. Tweelde Dumb is about 1 inch off Tweedle Dee's rear wheel. He is undeniably drafting. I am getting sucked into this crowd. The draft is strong. I don't want to blow my quads for the run passing Tweedle Dee. I don't want to draft either.What am I to do. I decide to pass. I pass as conservatively as possible. I used the full 20 seconds. Tweedle Dee picks it up as I attempt to pass. He changes gears and everything. I know this will end badly. I pull ahead and he picks up. I am afraid I have been in the pass zone too long. I point to change lanes and Tweedle Dee yells something not nice at me. I pull in and of course Tweedle Dee with Tweedle Dumb in tow pass me. (Now you know where the Idropboys.com spirit arises.) I want NOT to be involved in any of this. Perhaps, I deserve it. Lovingly applied to my rear disc in pink is a sticker that says “idropboys.com”. I have had it a few years now. People find it hilarious or completely offensive. It’s brought a lot of fun to club races and otherwise monotonous training. Perhaps this is why Tweedle Dee speeds up as I attempt to pass him.

I need to get out of this mess. I would be much happier riding alone into a gusty headwind singing "Take me home (pause) county road (pause) to the place I am from. That's how I like to ride. This is my race but I am sharing it with 2887 others. I take a deep breath, stop pedaling, sit upright. I decided to take some salt in hopes they will be 4-5 bike lengths ahead. I tap my brakes. I am passed by another while attempting to drop back. This guy is not faster than me. He passes because I tapped the brakes, trying to play by the rules. Another rider is to my left. I am sandwiched. They are legitimately slower than me. I attempt to navigate around to a clear spot so I can pass. I hear the motorcycle. It is sitting on my wheel. I slow not knowing what I am supposed to do. I have a feeling unless they watched all of this it is going to end badly. It does.

I am now obstructing the motorcycle. The man pulls ahead and says something and shows me a yellow card. I don't hear all of what he says. I know this situation is a mess. I am actually not sure what I did wrong. I am sure over the last few minutes there were a great number of things that weren't quite right. Why in this mess did they choose me? Maybe they aren't amused by my pink bike (or the Idropboys.com stickers). I say nothing except the "what." It isn't a snotty, sassy, disrespectful what. He flips the yellow card to red (a much worse penalty). He says very clearly, this I do hear "Racer #2338 you have been issued a red card. Report to the next penalty tent and serve your penalty."

SCRATCH....Silence. The needle of the record player snagged the record and the tunes are done. I feel like I have gone white as a ghost. All of the freckles have fallen off my face and onto the ground. I ran them over. They are stuck to my wheel and I feel slightly ill. I am unable to channel any more music. My smile is gone.

Worse than the 5 minutes I would serve in the penalty tent is that my ride now feels tainted. It’s a really disgusting feeling. What would everybody say? I only rode fast because I was a cheating drafter? Probably. Is it the truth? I think not. Feel free to judge me but please ride with me for 100 miles first. You will see that I don't fade. 40-50 miles of sheer speed not as good for me. Miles 80-120 are my forte. If you are looking to get smug and wag your finger at somebody here is your chance. This one is on me. Throw a dart, hit the bulls eye.

I wanted to make my friends and family proud today. That was my motivating factor and my biggest goal. This red card really makes me feel like I have let them down. It makes me sad. I don't think I could have avoided this situation. I am done with 38 mile loops that hold 2888 people. I will find courses that are not so known for such situations. Maybe they will even require some handling skills. I am glad I passed on the Clearwater 70.3 spot. I am not going to that race. EVER!

The motorcycle pulls ahead and books some others. I feel paralyzed now the motorcycle is obstructing the flow of cyclists more than anything else. It's going 17 mph. 21 mph is about what I should be doing here. Tweedle Dumb, is not booked for anything. Hmmm

I am less than 8 miles from the finish. I need some chamois butter. My a** is now chapped. I fight off the sinking feeling that TROUBLE JUST FINDS ME. Even when I try my best to do the right thing. Even when I try to play fairly it finds me. I fight the feeling of defeat off of me. This fight takes a little wind from my sails.

The last 8 miles to the finish were miserable. The motorcycle is obstructing. I am trying to remain 4-5 bike lengths from the moto but it is going so slow. Are you allowed to draft the moto when it's riding slow in the passing lane?

The no pass zone is painful. People are riding so slow I think they are on their cell phones talking. They are probably updating their face book statuses. This is like fingers on a chalk board to me. Today is the race. What am I doing? I'm riding out of the bars, sandbagging, noodling around to avoid another penalty. This feel insane. I'm really struggling to WIN here. It is really hard. My attitude is sinking. I know I need to change my thinking or I’ll be my own worst enemy.

I see Tim. He's says I was smoking fast. He's beaming. I am very disappointed to tell him I have to go to the 'Sin Bin". He needs to know I'll be delayed 5 minutes. I don't want him to worry. I am not falling apart physically. I'm just serving some time. Tim's response is the best ever. With a hint of scorn, he says "So, who cares?"

Honestly, in that mess of people? In the 112 mile cluster of 2888 riderd complete with Tour De France style peletons.? I get nabbed. Me? The girl who did more Great Western Doubles and Great Western/Laguna Loops than the average Starbucks junky does Double Shots. Me, the girl who rode her 50lb mountain bike ( ok it's not quite 50lbs) up Mt. Soledad, home from the grocery store with bags of flour in the basket. If I believe the above of any worth then I am strong enough to give the 5 minutes. I don't need them. I don't blame the officials. They can't see everything. I am glad they were trying to enforce things in the final 15 miles.

Tim was right. So who cares? I decided to give the 5 minutes and get on with MY RACE. I said wanted to race with an attitude like Bree Wee (fast and fun) I am sure she wouldn't let this stop her. Besides Stacy told me to WIN. It may not be easy to WIN but it is very easy to loose if you allow yourself to become negative. Who wants to be a looser?

I arrived in the penalty tent. I had 5 minutes to think about how I wanted the rest of my race to go. It is under this yellow tent I made the choice to win. Ok, that's a lie. the volunteers were so nice that I could help but get over myself. I gave the mental middle finger to a whole lot of thoughts poisoning my head. I (tried) to make peace with myself. I knew this course. I knew the crowds and loops were a liability. I signed up for it. I own it. In the end I have given countless hours to this race and 5 minutes is minutia. Take my 5 minutes. I wanted to race in a Ironman distance race that I could drive to. That is why I chose this race. I owned this choice.

Loop 3: 38 miles

1 stop porta potty

5 minutes under the yellow tent

Official Ironman Split: 19.97 mph

Not sure how I rode faster than lap two but the wind did die. Also, I like to step it up at mile 85 if I feel good. I feel good that day.

Overview: Toughen Up Buttercup!

My husband was watching me. My family and friends were watching on line. Many people made sacrifices for me to have a good race. I would give them the best performance I could. I would be on the run course by 2:00 p.m. That was my goal to begin with. So who cares how I got there?

I am happy with a 5:26. I won't lie I would have been happier with the ride time on my bike clock. I would have been happier with a 5:26 if the ride time on my computer didn't state a much different number as it would have indicated a better execution. Truth is when I left the start I only hoped to ride as fast as 2008, which was a 5:29. I could accept a 5:26 and be happy. Sort of ….the whole red card thing is eating at me a bit.

The execution? Well it wasn't perfect. I own the 4 bathroom stops and the 5 minutes in the sin bin that caused the discrepency between my ride time and my split time. I also am mature enough to know that others battle these things too. At least I have fitness. I'll figure out the execution in my later years.


Race Report: IMAZ 2009 The Swim

Swimming is a work in progress, just a slow one. My mom swears when I was 3, I used to look at her wedding ring and dreamily state "Someday (exaggerated pause) I'll have a ring." I'm not so sure what that was about but I now proclaim with a dreamy sigh "Someday (Pause/smile) I'll be a swimmer."

6:45 I headed down to the water and hopped in at 6:50. I wanted to swim a little before the gun went off at 7:00 a.m. I expected to swim the same time as last year but would have been thrilled with more. I knew the swim would set the tone for my day and wanted to do what I could to make it a positive one.
Last year I started way back and swam way wide. I was in the water ready to go and realized there were still at least 1000 red (male) caps standing on the wall. I realized that many of these folks were not going to get in and warm up. They were going to jump in after the gun sounded. That happened last year. In addition to the usual mass start cluster, men jumped in on top of us (Jess, Tina, Elaine and I). I never want to get in the way of a faster athlete but given there were 2888 athletes, I would be in someone's way for sure. I was near the back and started to get cold just floating. I knew the way to get warm was to keep swimming. There really was only one place to swim, to the front. One last look up at the red caps standing on the wall and I started swimming forward. It was such a solid decision. I knew it was gutsy to swim close to the front. I also knew that it was wear I needed to be to give myself a chance to succeed. As I swam towards the front I took ownership of my choice. I accepted any blows, kicks, or trouncing I may encounter.

I have some really, really fast friends and to them I apologize with all my heart for being one of the slow mo's who clogs the way. I do respect you. I promise you I was nothing but the best white cap to plant off . I swear on a stack of "Triathlete" magazines that I did not breast stroke kick or flail once. I am slow because because my swimming is the equivalent of a cyclist pedaling in the smallest chain ring downhill. I promise you though that once you pass me, I'm history. I also never stop swimming when I sight. Well, except for when I am in the cove alone and don't want to swim out to sea.


I started fairly close to the front and to the right hand side. Then I swam to towards the buoys and followed the buoy line all the way up instead of the wall. It was no worse than last year Because I owned my choice of line I really didn't care about any of the blows. There are good and bad people in the world, but for the most part good. It probably some toddler's mommy or maybe your best friend. It is probably not the villian you created in your head to blame.It's also probably 1/2 as bad as the worst thing I have inadvertently inflicted. On the way back I swam right on the buoys. It was strange. Everybody else was taking the buoy line 2-3 feet wide. I had a clean non chundered swim back. Not much draft but I figured it was more energy efficient than getting tossed about.

As I made the turn and headed towards the exit I visualized the clock saying 1:18. My watch was under my wetsuit so it was just a guess. It's funny how well you can know yourself without any guages at all. 1:18 was on the clock.

I know this is slow for most people. For me it is reason enough to celebrate. How could I be dissapointed when I never swam that fast before. I was totally excited. Exuberant actually. That was 5 minutes off of last years time and 5 minutes off the time before that. All my mermaiding around in the La Jolla Cove had dividends. Coach Sickie was right! There is a swimmer in me. It's just bursting to be let free. Woo hoo.

Ironman is like basic algebra. I love basic algebra. Balancing equations is fun. A five minute faster swim changed my equation.....now I don't need to run so fast to meet my goal time :) Now it is my goal to take 5 minutes off every IM swim. Three more Ironmans and I swimming like a fish. I know it is not that simple. But I can have goals. Let me play!

The above was my internal monologue as I ran to my bike. I was running to my bike with bike shoes on. The cement was wet. I repeat "bike shoes on, running, me. I slid and bashed my arm on a bike rack. I kept running. I took that as a sign it was my lucky day. Lucky day? Yup, if I wasn't so lucky I would have fallen and cracked my aero helmet on the cement. So there. Lucky. Now that would be a rough way to start the day. I remembered Marit's blog of how she ran with her bike shoes in her hand to her bike. Smart. I love reading blogs.


I grabbed my bike and was off. I hoped Tim saw me as just like last time I was 5 minutes ahead of schedule.


Ironman Arizona: Pre Race Report

IMAZ 2009

Pre Race Experience: On Thursday I left beautiful San Diego and headed to Tempe town. I was excited to race in the Ironman but the drive was hard. This was because along the way I passed my favorite riding destinations. Great Western Loop, Mount Laguna, Kitchen Creek Rd. Oh, the temptation was everywhere!!!! Trouble just finds me! Reluctantly I drove on, knowing some of my gang was riding as I drove. If I just exited the freeway I could ride to meet them. Sure, they may have a head start but isn't that what race wheels are really for. I realized it was my turn to put on the show. Yup, I had my fun watching friends and family smoke courses. Now it was my turn to put on the show while they tensed muscles watching the splits come up on Ironman Live. It was time to let them race vicariously through me. I needed to focus on what my goal for the year was not my goal for the moment, but I really did think it would be fun to do just one more ride. What's 2.5 hours and 4500 ft shared amongst friends.

Without event or adventure I arrived or in Tempe and checked in to my hotel. Actually, the gas station in Yuma was a slight bit of an adventure. I headed out for a short run. I found myself running on the course. Memories of 2008 floated through my head. I had a better race there than I dared to hope for. I realize there are pros and cons in repeating a race you have fond memories of. I didn't want to go home from disappointed. I weighed the pros and the cons when I signed up. They were risks I was willing to take. In spite of it all I felt myself smile. Finding myself smiling confirmed that I had made the right choice.

Entering my second Ironman I thought the fun would fizzle and I would be frustrated and fatigued. I was wrong. The opposite story couldn't be more true. I think I am able to enjoy things more now. The nice things about being an eager beaver prior to my first Ironman and cracking before my second is that I became aware of the good and the bad. Things managed to sort things out along the way to number 3. I appreciate more the things I do love are care less about the rest.

Friday I did the usual short swim and ride. After the swim I headed over to check with a couple other TCSD members. We had a long line to wait in but truthfully it was really fun. An opportunity for us to exchange war stories. Not intimidation stories. The fun ones, stories of dumb things we did in passed races and how much better we did in races after that. I love to laugh at myself.

If I didn't have such a strong intention to race the best I could I am sure I would have found myself some adventure Friday or Saturday. However, given I am a freckle face girl I stayed out of the sun and saved my adventuring for another day (although a quick trip to Sedona did cross my mind). My hotel was fine but a bit stuffy and generic. Not a good place to sit around and count the hours down to race time. I settled for a trip to Barnes and Nobles and seated my self in a comfy chair with a few books. It was quite nice actually.


Note my feet are even up. Well sort of. I am even wearing compression tights. I am so proud of myself:) By the way, competition is everywhere. That kid was so trying to out-read me.

Saturday afternoon I picked Tim up from the airport. This is when things perked up, much more fun to have my husband in tow. He kept telling me how it was going to be watching and how he was a little nervous about the timing of his execution, his nutrition, managing his electrolyte and hydration. He had quite a plan, rather than to share it with you myself have made Tim promise to do a guest entry and write a race report himself.

Sunday morning came early. I am not sure how much I slept that night but that's normal. I didn't stress about it much. I still need work here but I did a better job getting to bed on time throughout the year to support my training. I figured I had reserve in the bank. I wasn't very hungry at 4:00 am but I knew my goal could and would not be met without adequate and appropriate nutrition so down the calories went. Off to the race we headed. I turned in my special needs bags, aired my tires and loaded my nutrition on to my bike. Then I did something different than ever before. I left the transition that only athletes are allowed to be in and avoided the frenzied area. I grabbed Tim and headed to a quiet area about 1/4 mile away. I put on my wetsuit and stayed relaxed. Of the scenarios that could go wrong I had prepared for them. What I didn't need now was some random person asking me if I was swimming with an extra pair of goggles inside my swim cap just in case…. I read blogs of the best, have coaches and friends I trust for advise. What I didn't need was a head trip.

Soon it was time to warm up in the water. I kissed Tim good bye and prepared to put the finishing touches on 2009.

Intentions

Before Ironman I set an intention.
I would go as fast as I could with respect to the entire distance.
I would be true to myself.
I would have fun.
I would dig deep if needed.
I would learn a lot along the way.
I would do my best to get my husband off to the airport on time.
This meant finishing by 6:00 p.m.
I accomplished these things.

The 2009 season is complete.
It is time to set some new intentions.
In 2010 I will learn to swim and run faster.
I will ride my bike to the best of my ability and beyond my current ability.
In 2010 I will slay dragons.

IMAZ Pic Preview


Wouldn't want to struggle finding my gear bag so I added a little something, something.


Post race pizza...not so much. Frozen yogurt with extra toppings. Right on.
Except for the post race shivers that forced me to fill the tub with hot water. Then eat fro yo in the bath tub. Once again....right on.


Best of All.....

HOME SWEET HOME
Getting home and seeing the note I left my husband and reading what he wrote back.


See he underlined the "so proud" and used an explanation mark.


Post race Ironman tattoo.
Not for me.
An S dot (16.1) tattoo.
It that washes off yet still tells the world I 'm the champion of my block.
Thumbs Up.

More to come but be forewarned a long hard fought race equals a long race report.

That's a wrap folks!

Well folks the 2009 training is over. The entire point of this week is to relax and taper. I repeat the point of this week is to relax and taper. I will do just that as soon as I finish a weeks worth of work in three days, pack for the weekend, and drive to Arizona. I have such fond memories of last year's race. I am afraid my mind played a trick on me and erased all the difficult parts from my memory in some sort of body mind disconnect. I know I went through rough patches out on that course and I got through them. Hopefully this year will be more of the same.

I think the coolest thing going into this race is the support I have had from family and training partners. They have looked me square in the eyes and said that I am capable of more. Knowing that people I care about and respect believe in me is worth the workload of 100 Ironman races. So thanks guys and know that my best efforts will be fueled by you. If you feel a little fatigues next Sunday blame me. I probably channeled some energy from you;)

I am not sure what I am capable of. Mostly, I just hope to execute whatever I have to the best of my ability. I also have a bit of unfinished business with the back half of the run.

Two Week Taper

Two weeks from an Ironman means it is time to taper. Taper means a percent reduction in total volume of of training time. Hence rides with this time on the clock are over for now.
Yes, Mom I really pedaled that bike for 6 hours and 25 minutes. Don't worry, I haven't lost my mind and no I wasn't alone. I hope next Sunday the speed on the odometer says something better than 0 mph. However I didn't want to crash my bike trying to take a picture of the speedometer with actual numbers on it.

Given that tapering isn't just sitting around eating bon bons. Tim and I went for a run this morning. Tim decided to be the enforcer of my planned work out. He decided we would run my marathon race pace. The strangest thing happened. We were running side by side and my Garmin said 8:15 pace. Tim's Garmin said 8:40 pace. Tim commented we were off pace. I said we were 5 seconds too fast. Anyway, I told Tim the true reason for this discrepancy was that I must be faster than him. The watch doesn't lie now does it. Eventually our watches equaled in pace. I really had to work hard to keep Tim from getting ahead of me. I believe he uttered the words "everytime I attempt to go up tempo you herd me like a dog and box me out into the cars like a sheep". Herd me like a dog....like sheep. Hysterical, I am surprised I am not still lying on the pavement laughing. Later, he accused me of surging a minute/mile below pace when he had to slow to answer a page.
What can I say folks? I drop boys anyway and anytime I can. Even if I have to lie, cheat, and perform underhanded tasks. Even if it's my husband. Someday I hope to be able to perform such tasks with graciousness, but I lack the genetics and talent to do so at this point.

After the run Tim asked if I would go to the bike swap at the San Diego Velodrome. I had never been to the velodrome and thought it might be cool. Hey it's taper week! We didn't get there until afternoon so a lot of the vendors were packing up. It was a very strange combination of expensive goods mixed in with things that probably should have been given away at Goodwill 20 years ago. You can buy anything at the bike swap meet. In fact I'm guessing you might even be able to buy a pair of Lance Armstrong's used shorts there. Now if there are still salty sweat rings on the shorts they are more valuable. We came across a guy selling a bunch of castoff Rock Racing gear and some (we hope) unworn speed suits. He even had a shirt my size. I turned it down on the grounds that I am fairly certain it was his ex-girlfriend's. Not that there is anything wrong with selling your ex's good on E-bay. San Diego is just too small of a community. Anyway, we couldn't pass on an opportunity for a Speedsuit for Tim . I know you are all thinking "Hello Fiesta Island Time Trial Series." I think since I have invested in this suit for Tim he should have to wear it to the 101 Olympics (aka Saturday morning on the Pacific Coast Highway).
Umm Timmy Baby. I am not sure how to tell you this but you need to shave your legs with that suit.

After that it was off to the UCSD pool for a bit to work stroke. Tim caught me doing something wrong with my stroke. One might ask why the coach didn't identify that? Probably because the coach doesn't swim backwards underwater below me observing my stroke. Tim can hold his breath for an abnormal amount of time which is very helpful in the critiquing of my stroke. I hope though I didn't aspirate any of the pool water while laughing during this time.

WIN

This was a message sent to me from one of my best friends/training partners. 2.5 weeks out from Ironman my hardest training has been logged. Training is never going to be easy, nor should it be. Being surrounded by friends that inspire you with messages like this makes it all so worthwhile.

Race Report: Mackinac Island Trail 1/2 Marathon



This was my third time running this course. The first was my first ever 1/2 marathon in 1997. The second with Tim "sightseeing". The third time both Tim and I landed third place in our age groups.

If I had to describe my performance in just a few words (you would all be relieved...) I would say I raced with reckless abandonment and it was really, really, fun. I was chasing a few things. I wanted to break into the 1:30's this season. Meaning 1:39:59. I also knew despite there being some crazy fast runners in Michigan, the field isn't nearly as deep as racing in Southern California. I thought I had a shot at finishing well in my age and overall and I wanted to make the most of it.

This race was so fun. After taking the ferry to Mackinac Island, we walked a mile or so to Mission Point resort. We did this comfortably thanks to umbrellas and winter jackets over our racing kits. My racing kit that day consisted of a hat, thin gloves, arm warmers, shortsleeve shirt, a waterproof cycling jacket, and tights. We had over an hour once we got to the start. Luckily, Mission Point Resort had a wonderful conference room we could stretch and stay warm. Tim and I really weren't interested in running outside to "warm up". So we did what any smart athlete would do and walked down stairs to the fitness room and hopped on the treadmills. I can't believe none of the other racers thought of this. Now this resort supports its racers, I thought. Coincidentally, I saw the treadmill unplugged and outside after the race. Hmm, maybe we started something.

We headed out to the race start and standing in the huddle of people I managed to stay somewhat warm. There were no corrals and I ended up near the front. I ended up going out a little bit fast. Oops, but whatever. It's not like I was going out to fast in an event that lasts all day! The first and last 2 miles of the course were the only flat miles on the course. They paralleled the shoreline and were very windy. I knew I needed to move it on those miles as they were flat and on pavement, unlike the rest of the course.
I got sandwiched in a pack of guys running 10sec/mile too fast for me. However, when I would back off 10 seconds/mile my pace would quickly fall to 20 sec/mile slower as I lost the draft. I ended up just hoofing it a little bit during the first two miles. At mile 2 the course turned and headed through the woods on trails. It was an undulating up. Short steep up and downs and I tried not to off myself in the process. At mile 5, I launched an attack on something. I am not sure what. My mind played a trick on me and told me to run really fast. I should get my work done here because it would be flat for the next 3 miles then downhill. I hummed "Just Dance" by Lady Ga Ga and ran to its beat. It was all I could do not to let my head bop.
I thought maybe I still can beat my Carlsbad time. It turned out I had forgotten that the course continue to roll like a roller coaster for those miles. I charged up and down the hills like mad. I sort of ran out of steam around miles 9. The landlord came to collect the rent and I was forced to pay up.

I told myself to keep charging. The next two miles were downhill and would be easy. Hardy har har! Running down steep terrain on a wet trail takes a lot of energy. Maybe I should have respected that when I was executing my "techno" running. It was so much fun though.
I told myself to keep charging anyway as I'd be done shortly. I told myself it would be easy street at mile 11, when I hit the pavement. It would have been easy at mile 11 if I knocked over a tourist and stole their bike. I knew I wasn't going to break 1:40, but I understood the courses were very different. Actually, I was o.k. with it if I ran my Carlsbad average pace for the last two miles. It was a dig getting through the wind on pace but I did it.

I was 2 1/2 minutes off my PR and so was Tim. People say the course is usually three minutes slower than average 1/2 marathon course. By using Jenny Math, math that always favors me, I come out 1/2 minute ahead. Yippee.
After collecting our awards winner plaques we headed to the boat dock. On the way to the dock we congratulated ourselves for being fast. Ironically, we weren't fast enough to make the boat. It literally pulled away as we walked down the dock. Guess we aren't speed demons after all. We had an hour wait before the next boat. I know this doesn't sound like a big deal but look what was waiting for us at home!
Victory Dessert.

Courtesy of Mom, although my Dad likes to pretend he made it. He probably did pick the apples in the pie though. Sparky runs all the time and all he gets is a cup of kibble so Tim and I must be kind of a big deal. When we visit the U.P. we have it good!