Rock N Roll: Pre Race Perspective

Despite having done a 2 marathons and 2 Ironnman marathons before I was really excited for this race. Not good attitude excitied, where you really aren't that excited but you talk give yourself a pep talk and try to get your head in the game because you paid for this race. I was the real deal excited. I was the kind of excited that caused me to dance in the kitchen while making dinner the other night. Rocking out while chopping veggies (good thing I didn't hack off a finger). You should see my rock moves. Hopefully there were no hidden cameras on me. Hopefully I didn't deplete any glycogen stores with my rock moves or accumulate any lactic acid. (gasp )

When I first decided to run the marathon this year I just wanted to enjoy the run. Two years ago I did it very untrained and had a blast. I PR'd at 10K and at the 1/2 before spiralling slowing down to a crawl......(bad idea) despite that I had a great experience and a lot of fun. I vowed I would do that race again because it was just so fun. Sidenote ....It is very easy to have fun when you have no expectations. I got greedy after signing up this year. I started thinking well if I'm going to run that far maybe I ought to give qualifying for Boston a shot. Of course I had communicated to my coach that I wanted to run the marathon with enough training to have a good handle on the race but didn't want to sacrifice my biking or swimming to do so.

Sidenote...... Some people do great from reading a lot of books and writing there own plan. I have a coach write my plan because I seem to be lazy or crazy when I take these things on solo. For me it seems the most effective and safest way for me to reach my crazy, ever changing goals, and often my goals conflict with each other. Since using a coach/training plan I have improved and suffered fewer injuries. I have also been able to consume more cookies and have my skinny jeans continue to zip. Maybe I should lay off the cookies and focus on zipping a size smaller skinny jeans but then I would be kicked off "The Team in Eating"

About 4 weeks before the race I e-mailed my coach and snuck dropped the line "I was thinking I could shoot for 3:40:59." Do you think it would be a bad idea? (He's probably thinking when he sees my wish list if events.....I can't polish a meatball) Luckily .... he said no problem. I was really excited when he wrote that. I was a little afraid it would say....Jennifer I'm sorry but if you wanted to go sub 3:41 you would have needed to not race Oceanside, WF, Encinitas and the club races. You would have needed to run twice the volume and three times the intensity....Those were my thoughts......not his. Basically he said...sure kid you can have your cake and eat it too.

I heard a bit of flack from others (I didn't solicit) that asked specifically about my time goal, my milage, and my training paces. Regarding not running 20 plus in training and not running long training runs on goal race pace they were not impressed. Hmm, I didn't think either of these were great ideas but what do I know I had never gone under 4 hours before. I wasn't too concerned (well maybe just a little) because these comments were non solicited. Also they were from those who had only ever run one or two marathons. They were not triathletes and they trained on very flat surfaces..... I had a sneaking suspicion that I had some things working in my favor....
Running with Tim, Paul, Elizabeth, Stacy, and Julie. Hah, they are all fast and really big deals. I ran hills with them. Scratch that I was running mountains with them. Hear that mountains.....and those mountains are growing as I type. Running at races with them. Running after races with them. Running on tired legs after riding with them. They saw me run and they all said I could do it. So (hand on my hips) there!
Stacy adviced I shouldn't over think it. She's smart, fast, and even looks pretty when she runs so I believed what she said.

Elizabeth said I could do it IF I rested. She wasn't sure based on my typical behavior that I could rest. When she said that a light bulb turned on in my head I could maybe do it if I rested. I did it. I rested minus the dancing in the kitchen...I figured by not resting I was giving myself an out. I didn't need an excuse. On race day I would hit the start with my best self intact.

Julie said I could do it, no problem. Just not to go out too fast.

Tim said he'd shave his stash if I qualified for Boston. Then he repeated several times he was shaving his stash after the marathon Sunday.

I went to yoga a few times last week and felt great.

Saturday....after my 2 mile warmup run I went to the expo and hung out with Tim at the USCD Orthopedics ask the Experts booth. I'm not sure if I was aloud to hang out there since I am employed by Scripps. Also I am a Medical ICU nurse so my take on "almost" everything is you probably don't need or want surgery ICU Nurses are mean ;) By the way as an athlete if it hurts today.....after 26 miles of running they will really hurt.

We picked up Bruce my father in law at the airport. Bruce is in the final stages of IM Couer D'Alene training. He's kind of a big a big deal....but to him marathons are no big deal.In fact Ironman is not even a big deal he's done 7 of them before. He did a 100 mile bike ride Wednesday and was willing to fly down and support Tim's running. He was really worried about Tim. Tim confessed that he didn't want to run this marathon but his mean wife was making him do it. He was under trained and going to go very slow. Bruce said slow was perfect training for CDA and would be glad to pace Tim to the finish. Then Tim pulled a Jen and said "Well if I'm going to go this far I may as well try to qualify for Boston". Bruce said ....You are on your own kid.

Bruce mentioned that although he enjoys coming to see us. He associates our place with waking up very early and pain. Yeah ....pretty much, except don't leave out the Team in Eating traditions of espresso, cookies, and cream top milk in a glass bottle.

See the twinkle in Bruce's eye. He loves pain. He loves to share the pain with Tim and I. He looks really nice but Warning....Do Not Take The Bait.....I have seen him trick Tim and Seth on bike rides and make them cry. He looks nice and is nice, but is exceedingly dangerous. When he says "Sprint now Jen , Go, Go, Go. Just the next mile and there is a down hill recovery. You you might just be in for the biggest climb you ever did see..... Bruce will do it all without breaking a sweat...... and his eyes will twinkle because he got you again.

2009 Rock N Roll Marathon Expo.
Ask the Experts any questions about exercised induced discomfort?
Who wouldn't trust these guys?
Tim and I outside our home on potentially the last day of the stash.

Birthday Weekend

Since there was no race on the docket this week I had to go and have a birthday to keep things lively. Thanks to everybody who helped me celebrate and all of the well wishes on face book, on the phone, and in person.

I was prepared to have a mellow birthday. I am gearing down to gear up for next Sunday's little event:) I had no "epic" rides planned, not even a double workout day. So Saturday morning started with me lazily sipping coffee and surfing blogs, facebook, and online window shopping . I was trying to be quiet and good while Tim slept post call. I figured the less I disturbed him the sooner he would be up and able to go for a ride. Just as I was about to place an order for some apres-Great Western Loop clothing, I noticed a new e-mail. Elizabeth was intervening on my lazy latte day and invited me to yoga. That was enough to spring me into action. The post workout wear was x'd off my screen and out of mind as I flew out the door to yoga. The studio was only a few miles from my home but I had never been to this one before and took the least direct route. I also hit all the red lights. I was actually late for yoga which is against all yoga laws but Elizabeth talked to the teacher before hand. I think she pulled the it's my friend's birthday and she only knows how to navigate places on her bike. Anyway it worked and we had a good class.

On the way home from yoga Tim texted me and asked me to pick up supplies for the birthday cake he was making me. His family's famous buttermilk cake. Yummy. Soon I heard from Tim again stating I better hurry up because we had to be home from our bike ride by 5 p.m. Where are we going I my mind what could be more important than completing getting in our planned mileage:) Tim didn't really answer. I asked if we were going to another friends party? I was confused as Tim was acting like we were going but when discussed previously he had not been in favor since it was in East County, likely to go late, and he had to work early in the morning. I thought I could convince Tim to go further on our bike ride but he said "no, we have to be home by 5 p.m." We ended up home before 5 p.m. and I insisted on finishing out my ride on the part to get him to spill the beans on just why it was so important we be home (stubborn me). Tim looked at me, spinning away with a copy of Runner's World balanced on the handle bars, with a bit of concern. We have to leave at 5:45 and you might want to dress nice. O.k. ....vanity got the best of me and I ditched the trainer and hit the shower. I threw on a sundress and Tim said well you might not want to get to fancy as we could be going to a burger joint. Yeah right??? We only go to In & Out when we are starving post race. Usually we haven't even showered yet.

Soon we got in the car with a loaf of Tim's warm bread and the cake. I had one job to hold the cake a not let the frosting smudge. Our road is very curvy and despite the safety of the Subaru Tim must have cornered too fast :) The cake slid and the frosting was sticking to the side of the cake container. We headed over Soledad in the usual fashion but we didn't turn where we usually turn. We stayed straight. I mentioned to Tim that it was the way to go if he was riding his bike to Pat and Elizabeth's house. He acted like we were going into PB. Then we turned onto Elizabeth's street. Oh...we were going to Pat and Elizabeth's for dinner. Elizabeth greeted us but as we entered we saw not only Pat but Julie & Jon, Stacy, Paul , Suzie, & Spencer. Surprise they hollered. Oh what fun. I'm not sure how they kept me out of the loop for so long but they did a good job of it. We had great fish taco's and enjoyed good company. The gang had heard so many stories regarding the plants on my porch vs. the snails they each got me a plant. Now my porch looks really cool. It looks like I am a real gardener or something so I promise to nourish my plants with more than the dredges from my water bottles :)

Sunday Tim worked all day. Stacy came over and we had the most ideal morning. A run that went up Soledad followed by a wrong turn leading to a Better Homes and Gardens tour of a new neighborhood. Then it was breakfast at Pannikin and a stroll through the farmers market. I love the LJ farmers market;). Tim thinks that the "farmers market" is all a big scam and all the vendors go to Costco and repackage the produce to say "Mike's Organic Farms" or something like that.

Encinitas Pics

Stacy and I ...just after our press conference with Triathlete Magazine. We answered all sorts of questions about dropping boys of course. They asked Stacy to start giving "Dolphin Dive" clinics.
(Just kidding of course).

Oh Good Lord...that guy is chasing me down!

Quick wave to Pat as I try to fend off that guy and keep Stacy in view.

I like the guy two places back...he looks like he's checking himself out. He's probably just looking over his shoulder to make sure he's not about to be chicked. Sorry boys.

Elizabeth and I post race....getting ready for the Sunday morning Home and Garden Tour. A.K.A. an hour of running where Elizabeth is destined to find a steep hill for me to accidentally and uncontrollably surge up and then gasp for breath. I'm so predictable:)

Encinitas Sprint

Sunday I did the Encinitas Sprint with Elizabeth and Stacy. I met Marit, my friend from blog land, for the first time in real life. Somehow by the end of it we all went home with glasses that said "I'M REALLY FAST" Unfortunately Tim was post call and couldn't play. He currently is trying to scrape the "S" off and call it his glass. He says it fits the "Team in Eating" image better. The race was super fun. I think that is my primary goal for this year: To go faster than ever before AND to have fun, regardless of the distance. I did not identify an A race, B race, or C race this year. Last year finishing two full IM's were my primary concern. This year it is just to take advantage of whatever opportunity comes my way and have fun with. I figure I'll build my focus as the season goes on. My "A" race goal is to maintain a cheery persona while increasing my base fitness and speed peaking on November 23..... It sounds easy but feel free to give me gentle reminders of this blog starting about 8 wks out from IMAZ.

Anyway ....Sunday things were good. Even though it was a little race I got things right in a big race sort of way. I went to bed on Saturday before 9 p.m. Like a big race I got up at 4:00 a.m. Did a little spin, spin on my trainer as the coffee brewed. Ate, stretched, and inflated my disk with the crack pipe adapter all by myself. (For all you non-cycling people, a "crack pipe" is the bike pump adaptor to inflate a tire on a disc wheel, aptly named because it looks like a piece of drug paraphenelia) . What a self sufficient triathlete I am. Up to 120 psi without the air leaking out through the adapter. Not having a fight with anything mechanical set the tune for my day. Elizabeth was suprised when she rolled her aerodynamic minivan into the drive and I told her I was all set. Secretly I think she wanted to get her hands on the crack pipe:)

Arrived in T1. Found a spot on the transition rack near Stacy....our bikes are siblings and were glad to be reunited. I think my bike gets a little lonely when Stacy's bike heads out of T1 before me. I told my bike, "Sweet Thunder," that I would try and pick it up on the swim but she'll have to just be patient. She should be thankful she wasn't around 2 years ago when this very swim took me 9 extra minutes to complete. Stacy and I headed out for a warmup run and hit the port a potties. I would like to thank the race directors for having conveniently located port a potties and a good porta potty to racer ratio. Those things are important. Soon we headed down to the water to warm up. The waves were pretty mello for Encinitas. I don't know if I was relieved or dissapointed. When I did this race prior the waves were so big and I got so pummeled I remember the jet skis circling me and almost raised my hands for help. The good thing about this was I had adrenaline galore for the rest of the race.....and memories for the rest of my life. A few sets came in during the warm up. I felt very safe, but not aggressive at accelerating out of them. Catching them in was about the same. Then I miss-timed one or caught one too close to shore and it sort of broke on me leaving me with sand in my teeth. I was hoping to catch a wave on the way in but not quite like that. I brushed myself off and Stacy and I nodded at each other we had enough warming up.

We lined up with our wave and I heard Elizabeth yell to us. I yelled good luck and waited a row or two back. Then Stacy and I exchanged a knowing look and moved forword to the front of the pack. I know I'm not the fastest in the pack but folks I've paid my dues and if you want to beat me you are going to have to swim over me or around me. For the the first time ever I thought when the guns goes off my race starts, not when I get on the bike my race starts. It was wierd but I stood confidently on the front line with my hands on my hips. I was ready.

The horn sounded and I ran to the water. I wanted to copy Stacy's tactics as long as I could. I figured she was smart so that would be a smart move. I ran just behind Stacy and watched her aggressivly and skillfully enter the water. All of the sudden she was horizontal. Then vertical then horizontal again. I thought maybe she was trying to do the ITU dolphin dive. Not to be rude to Stacy but the dolphin dive looked like it needed a little work. I sort of tried to copy but couldn't quite execute I was stumbling into holes. It turns out Stacy wasn't dolphin diving. She was executing the run, fall in a hole, run fall in another hole technique. No real big surf going out just swells that made it hard to sight the buoy. There were two buoys: a yellow or orange one and everytime I tried to site on them I would see an orange swim buddy cap or a yellow kayak. I found no feet to swim behind. We seemed to all be very spread out. No exciting surf for me to ride to shore but no sand in my teeth either. I'll take it. Tried to slow my breathing and equibrilate post swim for the run up the hill. The transition to land seemed easier than the last few times.

T1: Up the hill, out of the suit. Felt like forever ratcheting my shoes on but whatever I was off and cycling. Who could want more. This was where I had work to do. Tim told me to make an attempt to win the bike split for my age, actually he said you should at least win your age group's bike split. No pressure....becuase it's just that easy controling what other people do, how talented they are, and how hard they stomp. I gave it a shot. Mostly I just tried to get a bit uncomfortable ...that is so hard for me to do. If I can ride a 1/2 mph slower and feel great why wouldn't I....that's the whole make peace with it. Take it to a place you want out of and deal with it but don't back down. Heavy on my mind was that I have about every technological advantage besides a power tap...but that wouldn't actually make me go faster, so I figured I better do something. Plus Elizabeth's husband Pat had ridden his bike up and was taking pictures. I was worried he would think I was too slow to ride with anymore so I tried to make it look like I was going fast. When I got home I told Tim the time for my bike and he crinkled his nose and said "Hmm that sounds kind of slow." I made up a bunch of excuses about the roads being slippery, people in my way, mostly whatever I could think of. Luckily when the results came out I had at least taken my age groups bike. Caught Stacy late in the bike and I knew this meant trouble for the run.

T2: I had what felt to be a slow motion transition off the bike. Stacy caught me in transition and I fought the sensation to want to follow her, like follow the leader. This should not be the thought process when you are racing somebody and in contention to win a race. I figured with my swim there must be gobs of people ahead. I ran out of transition with Stacy on me. We headed out the run and I felt like my legs weren't going fast enough. Like I was in the wrong gear. I wasn't tired from the bike but I had the feeling that I was doing the equivilant of pushing too big a gear and slugging along. Stacy ran next to me for a bit and then it was like a dance or art. She started executing this super clean, fast, gliding stride that was getting further in front of me until she was gone. The kind you want to watch and imitate. I saw her at the turn around just after the short steep incline. I don't remember that incline from the first time I raced Encnitas. Anyway I heard Stacy yell "come on" to me and Pat cheering me to get some people but I just kept slugging my legs along. I tried to increase my cadence but I felt like I was running standing straight up and into a brick wall. I saw Elizabeth finishing the bike, looking fabulous in her Moment Cycle Sport kit. I was glad I had a 24 minute head start. I needed it.

I met Stacy at the finish and we were super excited. We met Mer and we all were giddy. Stacy and I got some quick slugs of Gatorade and collected our gear. Next on the agenda was to cheer Elizabeth in and go for a bit of a run. Yeah about 60 minutes worth. Elizabeth even found some hills for us to climb. Mid run Elizabeth veered off course to run by the aerodynamic mini van and grab some Gu. We decided to meet at the awards area at 10:30. We knew Elizabeth won her age. She probably wouldn't have stayed for the awards but we convinced her there was real food there. Stacy and I headed straight to the food area and the nice ladies offered to make us sandwiches even though they were putting the food away. How's that for a small town community feeling. We wondered over to where the results were posted. It was a little chaotic finding are results. I found Stacy's and saw a #1 by her name. You won, I said. I was so excited. Then I found my name and saw #3. Wow. I had no idea. Not a clue. We were super excited and high fiving. Happy for each other, happy for ourselves. Woo Hoo.

All in all it was pretty sweet morning.

In less time than it took me to write this blog:

Completed a sprint tri.

Ran miles "recovery"..and had a Better Home and Garden's house tour along the way

And .....drum role....

We were deemed fast.

Yup that's what the cup says that they handed us on the podium.

(Might be the bikes....we got'em at Moment Cycle Sports)

Thanks to my sponsors who made this day possible ;)

Ok that would be Tim for prepping my bike and putting up with me. Stacy for being a fast, fun, friend and getting so fast I have no choice but to try to get fast too. The Daubner's for picking me up on race day and for riding with me enough so that some of your speed might rub off by osmosis.

Tuesday's Adventure

Tackling Tuesday

Recently I made a choice the limit the consumption of antioxidants from sources such as Ghiradelli chocolate chips and mixed salted nuts. I would say red wine too but honestly I seem to rarely drink anything but coffee and sports drinks. So instead I began taking a multi vitamin and fish oil ....I know I should always take a multi vit but I leave for work at 0600 and don't always eat breakfast before work. Anyway I was testing the defibrillator at work one morning after vitamins on an empty stomach....I got all clammy, sweaty, and almost lost it. Anyway I got out of the habits then and started letting the vitamins slide so now I am back on the straight and narrow. So if I start showing great improvements you'll all know it's the Trader Joe's vitamin's ....

Maybe if I take fish oil I'll start swimming like a fish. Hmm now that is reason too take it.
Tuesday I did a long run. It was a very very cool run. I ran with Elizabeth up a cool super secret path up Mt. Soledad. It was hard core and exploited all the weaknesses in my core as I struggled to keep from sliding to the bottom. Now this is how you really know Elizabeth is a mom. She has eyes in the back of her head. She caught me walking behind her. The trail was so steep I could walk as fast as I could run. I figured though that it was the cowards way out and I should have kept running. We ran down the fire road which I had never done and it was super cool. We started talking about cool marathon's like Catalina. Someday I'll do that marathon since I like the hills. By the time we went our separate ways I was down to the single digits. I could have ran up Soledad again and accompanied Elizabeth home but I chose to work on my marathon pacing on the flats (flattish).

After the run I felt really good. I was prepared to feel terrible so I had all sorts of recovery aids. 3 bags of ice. Epson salt. You name it I had it. I usually only use one bag of ice per tub of cold water. I decided if one was good then two would be better....why not clean the freezer and throw in three bags of ice. I also added some Epson salt ...couldn't hurt right. Oh crap...forgot about basic chemistry...the salt helped cool the water really fast. Oh my gosh....I have never been so cold. I know it's an ice bath but that was the worse ice bath EVER. More stressfull than the entire run and no scenic view. Finally gave in and started adding warm water to the tub. Oh dear ....a day in the life of me.

Happy Mother's Day

Mom keeping me from getting my wedding dress dirty.
In honor of Mother's Day I would like thank my mom for influencing all of the good qualities I have. My mom is amazing and she really tried with me. I gave her quite a workout. I have two older boisterous brothers. When my mom was pregnant with me the nuns at church informed her they were praying she would have a girl. She did. Years later she said I was the one who gave her the most grey hair. I don't think I was defiant so much as dangerous. I was the daredevil. I had to do something to keep up with those older brothers. I think my mom's first choice for me was ballet. I ended up in gymnastics with no interest in the dance part of things and only the desire to tumble. Parents were only allowed to watch in the last 5 minutes of class. I remember getting so excited to show my mom the new tricks I had learned that class I often over rotated..Yes, it was due to me the coach began putting a crash mat against the wall just before class ended. She kept me in check too...I remember riding home from the ski hill ( not to be confused with "the mountain" it really was only a hill). Salty tears ran down my cheeks. My pole got stuck coming out of the start and I had to take my run with one pole. This seemed like such a rookie thing for a 6th grader and these things did not happen to me. I was too cool. I was embarrassed and mad because I wanted to go faster. I wanted to win and I didn't. As she pulled the Oldsmobile Woody Wagon into the garage she told me I needed to stop crying and carrying on before we went inside and my Dad saw me. She told me these things happen to people in every race and if I wanted to continue to compete I was going to have to learn to deal. She pointed out I was doing this for fun, personal satisfaction, and sportmanship. If I couldn't accomplish those things she and my father had no interest for me to continue. A lot of the kids at the hill were very cocky. They talked a lot of trash, saying thing like "I could beat you with only my boots". My parents encouraged me to let my actions speak for me as if it was so simple to not respond to another's goading. My mother also threatened that if I misbehaved my skis would go straight into the trunk for the rest of the season. This image scared me so much as a child. I still have a picture of my little skis in the trunk of the car....edges rusting while I sulked. Those thoughts have always stuck with me....If you happen to be offended by my idropboys stickers on my bike gear...don't blame my mom.

Mom's lasagna...yum!

My mom is an excellent homemaker. She cooked. She baked. She sewed. She kept the house spotless even with me around. I repeat EVEN WITH ME AROUND. I have vague memories that my shadow had broom and dust pan as I tracked in dirt. Tunrs out it wasn't the shadow....that's why I had to get mop slippers. I also remember her grabbing my fingers wiping them and stopping me before I touched anything (else). "Sticky fingers, I can't stand them". Then she would sigh. I didn't mean to be messy.....I was just blissfully unaware of how much work I was. Looking around my home I think WOW....she really had to work hard and work fast. I am a messy girl. Not dirty, as in unsanitary, just messy as in too many projects too little time. I guess you could say I am a little disorganized especially compared to my Mom. She has everything organized. You should see her cupboards. I think as I get older the more I appreciate how much my mom did. I honestly thought as a child that mom's automatically were able to have the knowledge, time, and discipline to keep everything and everyone organized. I thought Mom's had a chip installed that enabled them to cook well, garden, drive taxi's:), help with home work, read to their kids at night, manage the groceries, and plan the meals. I never ever entertained she might have had something better to do. She just made it all look so easy, like there was not a thing to it. I now know differently.
Mom and my niece Maddy.
My mom is a great playmate. She knows exactly what to make the dolls say. She often changes the names in the books she reads to please the audience she's reading to. My mom loves to read and is a very good writer. She always uses proper punctuation, spell check and unlike me she doesn't over use the word LIKE. She thinks run on sentences are a crime yet still enjoys my blog.
In fact she's even taught their dog Sparky to write. He sends me letters keeping me up to date through his point of view. I wish she would help Sparky set up a blog ;0) My mom is also the best library patron you will ever know. She reads like I ride my bike and has never ever returned a book late. Thanks Mom. I love you.
P.S. Sorry about the typos....I had to set the timer for my blog writing like you did for my homework and it just dinged....time to clean up the dirt I tracked in and wipe off the fingerprints I have left behind.

Wildflower 2009: Family Challenge Part #3

Wildflower 2009 (and part three of the Neuschwander Family Challenge)

Another Wildflower come and gone. Tim and I have decided Wildflower is a family tradition. Readers if you want to know the real results go to the Wildflower homepage. It is the plight of a nurse to double chart and I've been spending more time functioning as a nurse than riding my bike lately ( GASP!!!) Anyway, I'm not going to publish all the race splits on my blog when they are published someplace else. I would rather give honors for categories that don't exist at the actual venue.

Awards are given for the following categories:

Wildflower Winners

Wildflower Wash Ups

Wildflower Wash Outs

Once again for more accurate race day information go to or somebody Else's blog. Thank you

Wildflower Winners:
Wildflower is one of the hardest halves known to man. I swear it is and I am not being my usual drama queen self. WF has a sweet spot for somebody each year. A sweet spot for somebody who has worked really hard and is really fit and has the mental toughness to do it. On this course, known for making large men cry, this person puts it all together. They execute all three disciplines to the best of their ability. At the end of the day she or he crosses the finish with the biggest smile and maybe a few tears of joy (even the boys would cry for this finish). S/he may be tired for weeks afterwards, but for months or maybe even a year they will float on air. In 2007 it was Tim's year. Tim PR'd at WF in 2008 but I'm claiming the honors. 2008 was my year...After the error in entry to Oceanside and the poor prior performance at WF I desperately wanted to prove myself. I had to show I had a good handle on a half as I was doing in a full Ironman in a months time. I think it was heavy on mind that it would be hard to outdo the happiness I felt on that day last year. Honest exhilaration is hard to recreate. I knew that from the start. There is a difference between being satisfied and finishing well ahead of exceeding what you thought possible you anticipated.
This years top honors goes to my friend Stacy. What she did at Wildflower simply validated what she was capable of. She deserved it. She worked hard and had huge improvements in swimming and biking on top of an already stellar run. She was set to have a really great race at Oceanside and just plain had bad luck. Aspirated salt water on the swim and dropped her salt tabs on the bike. That combination leads to a long day. No fair. While it may not seem fair, there is no guarantee that hard work and talent will equate with good race results. Yet as athletes we take that chance. We hope at the end of the day we will feel validated and accomplished. I'm glad this time things worked out for Stacy....I can't say I'm surprised.
I am also glad she had a good race for selfish reasons....Ummm ....On the way to the port a potties that morning I nervously tripped up the steps...Twice...and stepped on the back of Stacy's foot (twice). She was wearing flip flops so her foot flopped forward and she had a bruise on her foot before the race even started. The other reason is I gave her a blow by blow of the course. I specifically told her that no matter how hard or steep the hills seemed on the run she needed to think of the course as 12 miles. The last mile was all down hill. You really can't see the descent ahead until you are there. I saw people giving up and starting to walk when just ahead was the downhill. I think if they knew it they would have dug a little deeper. Mile 12 IS all downhill. The problem was the sign was misplaced. At the mile 12 marker, it was really only mile 11. She had a mile to run up where she thought she should run down. When I got there I knew she must have been cursing my name. Worse, I worried she would think I was pulling and underhanded maneuver. I think what happened is one of the mile markers was taken as a souvenir by some overenthusiastic racers. They probably view it as art. It's probably hanging in their garage. Of course my father in law Bruce get's male top honors....2nd place finisher in his age group. Top honors and yet again bragging rights. Oh dear, he doesn't even need to get the age graded champ award. Too bad his Splish Speedos already say "AGE GRADED CHAMP." By the way thanks for taking several minutes off your bike split....I was going to go with the theory that the course conditions/wind direction caused me to ride 2 minutes slower than last year. You had to go and mutilate my excuse by riding super fast.....jeesh. I never get a break do I?

Winners of bragging rights....Bruce and Stacy

Stacy going really, really fast

Wildflower Washup's:

Well that would be Tim and Jen. Apparently we have been nesting since we got married in September and really let ourselves go:) Tim didn't go sub 5 like last year and I was two minutes slower. We both went slower than last year. Tim has an excuse, he works more...I have none. My base is bigger, my training quality better but truth be told I didn't start the race with the attitude that I could outdo what I did a year ago. I was really tired from a bunch of work days that separated me from all the great training I had accomplished. I had a pleasant race, a comfortable race, but all in all I think my efforts were a bit mentally mediocre. I just needed another day or two to shift gears and refocus. It's hard to PR on mediocre efforts and attitude. I am not sure what this was all about but it was like I just got tired mentally. I had a great block of training after Oceanside. Moments where it was clear to me that if I went for it I could smash my time from last year. I swear. I have witnesses ;0) Moments on the track and trails at UCSD...running Soledad and doing the GWL/Laguna loop later that week. I was so psyched and my body felt capable. Not too tired, then I went back to work for a strecth of busy days and lost my focus. The thought of racing seemed so far off and my mind was a million miles away from visualizing an excellent race. All I could think about was working, sleeping, making coffee, packing, and needing more coffee. I felt run down and sort of blah. Clearly I was in bike withdrawal. Tim asked if I had the swine flu...because I looked bad in the car. I wasn't sick. I was quiet because I was tired and anguished because I had to PEE so bad and we were in LA stuck in traffic. Talk about an exercise in managing your suffering.
I love to train and find it rewarding in many ways that never ever are measured by races. The training you've done is meaningless if you can't balance other parts of your life and execute it. Some people learned everything about life in kindergarten...I learned a lot there but more riding my bike...You've got to know what gear to be in, when to change, how hard to push, when to coast, and how to roll with the least amount of resistance. This is a good lesson to learn in racing and life.
All in all I am happy with my day.....The real kicker is that something went wrong with the timing computers. I have a total time, Swim, T1 time, and Bike time. I have no T2 time or Run split....I think my run was 1:55, which would be 2 minutes faster than last year and the same run split as Tim and Bruce but I have no way to confirm that my assumption is correct. This is sad..because maybe, just maybe, the loose change after the 1:55 would be less than Tim's and Bruce's. If so I could bellow "I drop boys" to them over and over again....I could also pep myself up with the whole...."my run was faster than last year" I'm still processing how I feel about my race results. Currently I think the no run split is due to bad karma. I would use it to taunt Tim and Bruce relentlessly. I am not sure which head trips me more....the thought that I am slower than last year or the thought that I deserve bad karma because I talk "smack" to my husband and FIL (Father in law).
While we are there my race report.
SWIM: disappointed that the lake was full of algae this year....last year it was so nice. Worried I had moss in my teeth. Worried this would do to me what drinking super greens does....make me want to vomit and give me runners D. Happy I was not swimming alone. Disappointed when I found myself swimming alone....sighted and found myself off course. Got a little down...tried to get up, swam a little harder. Exited slowly since Andy Potts the pro had fallen on the algae and I don't transition to land gracefully. Frustrated when I saw the time on my watch....2 minutes slower than last year:0(
BIKE: Tried not to get down about swim. Felt sleepy tired and flat in my head. Thankful my muscles felt great, strong and fresh. Concerned I felt like I needed a nap in the aero bars. Supplemented with a little Motivator for motivation....It was just enough to stop me from sleeping in the aero bars. Noticed the scenery , the horses, cows, and how green it was. The course went by quickly and pleasantly. Kept up on my nutrition , hydration, and lytes...yeah I got it right. Chilled up Nasty Grade: it wasn't so bad as I remembered. It really wasn't bad at all. Didn't go to fast down the steepest hill as it dog-legged at the bottom and didn't think I could handle the change in wind direction with a disk. Stoked it for a few moments at the base and caught up with the cyclists who passed me before. Finished feeling better than at the start.... knowing my time was similar to last years. Not thrilled or dissapointed with the time just ready to run.
RUN: legs felt great. Like I hadn't even ridden the last 56 miles. In disbelief I could be feeling more energetic than I did a swim and a bike a go. Ran steady the first few miles. Braced myself for the "hard hellatious hills." They must have eroded. They didn't seem so big this year....I repeat they couldn't have been as big this year. They shrunk....Charged down the downhill and was happy when I hit pavement in the camp ground. It was easy to pick up the pace on steady footing and with the crowds howling....NO EARPLUGS FOR THIS GIRL. It has been advised to wear earplugs to drown out the distracting crowd. That's crazy talk to me. Prepared for the make work section ....miles 9-11. Where you run down a mile grade then back up it. The whole way down you see what you will have to come back up. Was ready for a little fire. Planned to think if the grade coming back up as HOOKER HILL. I was going to kick that Ho Ho of a hills butt. I picked it up coming up the hill and before I really had to dig deep and resist the urge to throw in the towel the grade was behind me. It wasn't bad at all. It's like all day I was bracing myself for something really bad, really hard and something would fail at. It was all behind me and late in the game my it finally hit me that I could possibly beat last years time. I picked it up and really worked it the last 4 miles. The last mile I dropped 6 guys going down the hills. One guys ran up next to me and asked if I wanted to race to the finish. I choked out, "What do what you want, I'm passing every man in front of me." That was pretty fun. I finished strong. Happy only wishing I would have had my confidence earlier.
In retrospect even if my brain seemed to be absent I don't think I could have gone much faster even on my best day.

Wildflower Washouts:

That would be Seth, Val, and Cindy.Sorry guys. Val actually deserves the biggest award for the weekend. She hosted us and made us homemade BUTTERMILK CAKE. Yummy.
You know I am in dangerous territory call my mother in law a washout. She can handle it. Whenever we visit and go to masters I swim in ladies lane with Cindy. My mother in law laps me relentlessly over and over again. There is no mercy. Cindy was planning to do the Long course with as a relay with Val as the runner. Seth and Val are now expecting so it was decided that Val might not want to run 13.1 miles on unstable and brutal terrain. Gee, I don't know why. Cindy isn't "supposed" to run due to some orthopedic knee issues. She's hoping Tim will hook her up with a replacement knee guaranteed to run a sub 3 hr marathon. She is wondering what is taking Tim so long. Anyway Cindy changed her entry to the Olympic. After getting up before 5 a.m. and being at the race course until after 7:00 p.m. she wasn't feeling so great. She had to wait for Bruce to claim his award. (Some people and their never-ending spot on the podium). Anyway by Saturday night she was feeling pretty bad and looking pretty dehydrated. She spent the race counting calves for Bruce....So dedicated to the job she didn't drink much. She might have to go to the bathroom and miss a calf. She promised me someday if I get fast she'll count calves for me too. ....right now there are too many calves age 30-34 in front of me. She should probably get an award for her support but this family is tough. You know the and so went to Aruba and all I got was this lousy t-shirt....Well I think a Splish suit stating Wildflower Washout would be just the ticket. How about that for Mother's Day. If it's a problem we can have it changed to "Wife of the age graded champ"
Seth has been having some knee problems as well so he called it a day after the bike ride. He exited the water in 26 minutes. Second in his age. That's fast.....he doesn't go to Master's. We were questioning him on how he does it. Then I saw a picture of him swimming as a lifeguard. I asked if it was really hard to pull people. His answer was not as hard as swimming while pulling a boat, which is how we train. No more questions. I say I want to swim faster but if pulling a boat is the secret I guess it's not that important to me after all.
The aftermath:
Sunday was Funday. In all honesty this was why Cindy didn't race. She cared more about hanging out with her family then hammering on the course. After all she can hammer any day hanging out with Bruce (my FIL) ....."Sprint Jen, you're almost to the top, it's just around the corner"....said 5 miles from the top of Mt. Diablo. Sunday we slept in then headed to downtown SLO for breakfast. Cindy bought some material at a craft shop to make Tim some OR caps. Tim entertained himself by purchasing a funny cap with hippie hair sticking out. It looked quite real. My eyes were really red from the wind and pollen on Saturday so I looked like a druggie. We walked around SLO hand in hand for a while. What a sight. Later visited one of the vineyards. It was nice. After that we packed up for the long drive home.

Seth with the transition rack all to himself...must be nice to be ahead of the pack!

Sunglasses to hide my bloodshot eyes and match Tim's new hair