Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Baby Jogger

I gave away my baby jogger today. My babies are 4. Huh, can't really call them babies :) They are 4 and can run with me now. I didn't think the day would come that I would even have children or a baby jogger and now the day is here that I'm giving the jogger away. The picture above is our first day using the baby jogger.

I am left with the great memories of pushing my two kids for miles and miles. Over time I went from making sure they stayed bundled and warm while we ran on chilly mornings to going back for dropped toys that they let go of because they drifted off to sleep to last year when they would tell me which street we should turn down for the day's jog. Yup, I guess when they are old enough to tell you which way you should turn, well it's time to give the stroller away.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Blissful Torture

I was sitting outside on my front step enjoying a moment of quiet time. It was around 7:30 p.m. and I just finished unpacking the car. The kids were inside with Scott getting rid of the last bit of energy they had stored up on the long car ride home from Wisconsin. My cell phone rang.

Me: "Hey Scott I......" (Scott I. is one of my tri-mates and also a member of the "07 Moo Crew")

Scott I: "Hey, how's it goin?"

Me: "Hey!!! How's it going with you?!" Scott, Doug, Pat, Ken, Tom R. and Bubba rode the 200K of the Horibly Hilly Hundreds, in Blue Mounds Wisconsin.

Scott: "We finished about an hour ago" - I think that's what he said.

Me: "I'm glad you guys are safe and everyone is ok."

Scott: "Yah, me too. Hey, I wanted to know what you thought of the ride?" Tom F., Rick and I did the 100K of the Horribly Hilly Hundreds.

Me: I sat there for a second, trying to find just the right words and then it came to me - "BLISSFUL TORTURE".

Scott: "Haa - I like that".


Monday, June 11, 2007

I Am a Rockman!

I'll try to keep this short and to the point . I notice that I give every little detail so I'll do my best to tell just the high points.

3 a.m. - Woke up 3:25 a.m. - Mike B. arrived, packed up my car - we were off. 4:50 a.m. - Called Bubba to see where he was on the road. About 5 miles ahead of us. Told him we would do 100 mph and see him shortly. No just kidding. Told him we would meet him at the race site. 5:15 a.m. - Parked the car. Met up with Bubba. This would be the only time I would beat him today. We actually got to the parking area before he did. 5:25 a.m. - Mike registered. We picked up packets and chips. Racked the bikes and started to unpack. 5:45 or 6:00 a.m. - Not sure on the time - managed to take these pics of my tri mates. Don't they look ready to race?! 6:30 a.m. - Still not completely unpacked. Can't seem to focus my thoughts. Hands are shaking and my heavy sighing is starting to make everyone nervous. 6:31 a.m. - Bubba starts asking me what I need set out - "Shoes - these shoes?" "Where's your towel?" "I don't use a towel" I said - "Glasses, number, chip, nutrition?" He straightened out the mess around my bag and put my transition area together - Thank you Bubba. 6:35 a.m. - We headed to the beach for the course talk and warm up swim. 6:50 a.m. - Was thinking out loud about club members heading into Frankfort for the group ride. Was scolded by both my team mates for not staying in the "moment". 6:51 a.m. - Got in the water and swam about 50 yrds. before the "Star Spangled Banner" started to play. Stopped swimming. Listened - sang - wished they played this at all the races. 7:00 a.m. - Started swimming with 399 (guessing on the number) other triathletes. My 1st half Ironman started.

From this point on I'm guessing with the time line. I followed coach's instructions and raced with my heart and not my watch. I can say I'm glad that I did. I loved the entire experience!

7:20 a.m. - Found myself caught in a fishing net. Was wondering why someone would leave a fishing net in the water. Why wasn't this cleaned up before the race? Tried to swim out of it but it wasn't moving. Ok, I'm gonna complain. Then I realized it wasn't a net. DUH! It was seaweed. That's a funny word cause we're swimming in a small lake. But anyway. Finally got it off by stopping and pulling it off and swam on. Fought with the seaweed a couple more times but thought it was pretty cool because I've read about this happening to others and now I can say it happened to me. 7:45 a.m. - Got out of the water. Was hoping I didn't look like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Got to transition and saw Mike. He asked about Bub, told him not to worry, he wished me luck and then left. 7:50 a.m. - Got my bike out of transition and realized I forgot my Camelback. Oh well, I'll have to manage. 8:05 a.m. - Was worrying about Bubba. The mother in me does that. 8:06 a.m. - There goes Bubba. Looking strong and smiling as usual. 8:07 a.m. - Rode my bike. It felt good. The weather was perfect. A little wind. Not enough to make the ride difficult but enough to feel it when my back to was to it. 9:10 a.m. - Took my second Gel on the bike. Washed it down with the water bottle that was just handed to me - and I didn't stop, it was just handed off to me - that's a big deal for me - an even bigger deal, I put the bottle in the cage without stopping or losing my balance. Hey, I think I'm becoming a cyclist. Noticed a red shirt about a block ahead of me. (Coach, it was a real block, I'm not jazzing the distance up like when we rode the course a month ago.) Ok, I told myself "You're not racing but keep your eye on that shirt, use it as a guide." 10:00 a.m. - Reached the turn around. Red shirt is right in front of me. Red shirt doesn't stop for any nutrition. I let red shirt go. Get some water and go. Red shirt has disappeared. I'm a little disappointed but felt stopping for water was very important. My stop was only seconds - then I was off. I did ride slow and take another Gel (#3) and a couple of bites from my MoJo bar. I kept looking for red shirt. Ugh! Ok, just ride your ride I told myself. Things were feeling really good. I was surprised by how good I felt. 10:30 a.m. - Saw red shirt. She was about 2 blocks ahead! 10:45 a.m. - Red shirt was about a block and a half in front. The hills were getting to her. Unfortunately they started to wear me down too. 11:00 a.m. - Back to transition. Well, got off my bike just before transition and used the pap. Didn't want to put any extra time on my bike but wasn't sure how the timing mat would register my chip going in with my bike, then going out to use the pap then going back in to run out. Figured I put an extra minute and a half on my bike time. Yes, that long, no matter how bad I had to pee, that's how long it takes me. Ask my mom she can tell you. Eventually I hope to learn to pee on the bike. That sounds pretty crass. But a very valuable thing to learn when riding distances. :) 11:04 a.m. - I can't believe this happened but I cross my heart it did - I'm jogging to rack my bike and a young girl, dressed in tri clothes came running up to me, yelling, "I love your kickstand! Where did you get it?" I thought she was just being cruel and realized she was serious! I asked her where she lived and then told her where I got mine. Life never ceases to amaze me. 11:05 a.m. - Off and running. Hey, the legs are feeling good. The bike fit was worth every penny. :)

From here on out I'll use miles for time

1.5 miles - Took a gel #4. Was holding it while I passed the photo guy and realized I was squeezing it while running. I squeezed it all over me, my leg, arm, face and chest. The kind of thing you want frozen in time - ugh! 2 miles - Stopped for nutrition. Oranges!!! Beautiful, juicy oranges. I'll take one. ooh, I'll take another one. Then I saw it, my favorite drink. Probably the best use of caffeine ever (I'm not a coffee drinker). COCA COLA. It wasn't icy cold but there it was. I heard of athletes using it and feeling good after having it. So I downed it. It tasted good:) Drank some water and off I went. 2.10 miles - I see Mike. He was having trouble with his stomach absorbing what he had taken in. I felt bad for him. Really bad. I wanted to stop but kept hearing Bubba tell me to stop for no one, not even if they are crying, don't stop. Mike told me he would be ok. I moved on. 3.5 miles - Saw Bubba! I saw Bubba. No way. I have to try to catch him. I have to try. Called out to him. He looked at me and saw it in my eyes, even with my glasses on. The race was on. I can't believe I was feeling this way. Bubba is by far one of the nicest people on the planet and here I was ready to track him down. 5.5 miles - See Bubba again - put my hand out and we high five. I think I closed the gap a little. Now, I'm failing to mention that up until this point the course is rolling hills. I don't write that off the cuff either. They are literally rolling one after another. Then, they stopped because the hills started. 6.5 miles - I came out of the beautifully wooded park with the paved trail and there in front of me was the Mt. Everest. (on a much smaller IL scale but daunting at this point of the race) No shade trees and not a cloud in the sky to cover that X@#! sun. The hill twisted and went up and then twisted and went up. What kind of masochistic race director does this to a person?!? Well, I guess he thought he was being kind because at the top of the hill was an aid station. And, at that station was red shirt! She was walking. I fueled up. Little Coke, little orange, little water. I was off to get her and to find Bubba. 8 miles - Fatigue was catching up with me. Or maybe it was the poor nutrition choices I had made. My stomach was starting to sour. Yuck. Never felt this before. Was starting to regret drinking the Coke and eating the oranges. The 2 acids were playing havoc with my belly. But red shirt was just in front of me. 9 miles - Race volunteer yells out the mile marker is just ahead. I'm feeling the effects of the entire day now. But it's not going to defeat me. I decide to walk. This is a huge decision for me. The last time I walked was 2000 Chicago Marathon. I was way under trained for that race and swore I would never walk again. I know that deciding to walk today tho was different. This was a learning race for me. If I wanted to finish and finish even close to my goal I had to walk now, or I would pass out 1/4 mile up the road. 10 miles - Was running again and turned down another out and back area. I knew I was going to see Bubba and didn't want to. He had won. Ugh! I put my head down and watched the street ahead of me. Was looking at feet. Looked up and there he was. Smiling like always - I know he knew what I was thinking. He yelled something about the hills up ahead - I gave him a thumbs up. The next time I would see him would be the finish line. Was met by some more crazy hills and then headed back to finish the last 2 miles. The Last 2 Miles - I stopped and walked 2 more times. Red shirt was walking too. She was still in front of me. The last time I stopped she broke away. This was not a day for me to race, it was day for me to learn. Believe it or not I took comfort in that thought. I told myself not to be disappointed if I didn't reach my time goal. I had learned a lot today. I gave each part of the race the attention I needed and had fun. It was a training day disguised in a race. The Finish Line - There is was. People were cheering . I was smiling. I turned the corner and looked at the clock. I couldn't believe it. It just flipped to 6 hours. I would finish the race in 6 hours 41 seconds. My goal was 6 hours 3 minutes. My smile got bigger. I finished my 1st 1/2 Ironman. Ahhh, life is good. :)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Playing Hookie on a Wednesday Night

I had the best workout I've had in a while last night. To be honest (Bubba and coach stop reading here) I didn't workout at all. Nothing. No yoga, running, swimming, or biking. Ok, the running part is a lie - read on.

Last night after dinner the kids and I sat down and found a movie on the Disney Channel. It was fun sitting with the kids and laughing at the goofy stuff cartoon characters do. Had the windows open so the evening breeze was cooling off the house. The room was getting dark from the sun going down. Around 8 o'clock the kids heard the ice cream truck. The night wouldn't have been complete without a mad dash, in our jammies, to the curb for a frozen treat. So off we went. With $5 less in my pocket we went back into the house to watch the end of the movie. I can't think of a better way to play hookie from a workout. :)

Monday, June 4, 2007

To Warm Up / To Race

I completed my first triathlon of the season last week-end. I used the race as a warm-up to my first 1/2 Ironman (ever) this coming week-end. Ugh, just writing that makes my stomach quiver. It was a satisfying day. I rode down to the race site with tri club mate Gil a.k.a. snoopy. Water temperture and the weather dominated the conversation. The area had storms the night before so we were curious what the day would be like.

We arrived at the race site and parked the car about 3 blocks from the transition area. We then went our separate ways agreeing we would eventually meet up during the day. I had done this race last year and loved it but my performance wasn't quite what I wanted it to be. I tried to put those thought away because I wasn't going to "race" this race, I wanted to just find a rhythm with the open water, my bike and the road and my feet and the street. Oh, how could I forget transitions! Those as well.

After picking up my packet and getting acquainted with the pap, I moved over to body markings and chip pick-up. The weather was a little humid but nothing to be concerned about. After being marked I went on to the bike racks, they were full. Well, not really but when I see the racks I always hope to see wide open spots. I never want to touch someone elses bike or stuff and when the racks start filling up, well that's almost impossible. Fortunately I found a good spot and didn't touch anything but the rack. The woman who came in after me tho didn't have the good fortunate I did and was reprimanded. I was thinking of saying - hey, we're having fun out here - chill. But instead tried to make friendly talk with the poor lady that was just chided for touching the other girl's tri bag.

I put on my wetsuit and went for a short swim. Got out of the water and tried to do a little yoga just to loosen up mentally and physically. Didn't work tho, was to self conscious that I was being watched, so I just practiced my breathing as I walked closer to the beach and watched as each wave went off. Saw Gil and wished him luck. Before I knew it I was in the water. Flashes of doubt ran thru my mind. "Have I swam enough?" "What if I tire half way thru and freak?" What was I doing? Why do I do this to myself before every race, even when it's not a race for me?

Off went my wave. The swim felt good. I swallowed some water. It wouldn't be an open water swim for me if that didn't happen. The arms were starting to feel a little heavy at the first turn. I kept making mental notes to swim one more day a week. How would I fit that in? Maybe I could ride to the pool and ..... hey wait is that a different color swim cap? It's not blue, hey maybe I'm doing a little better than I thought. Getting more swimming in vanished and finishing the swim dominated my mind. I got to the beach and it was off to transition.

3 racks down, 3 racks down, go to the front of the rack and 3 racks down. And there was my trusty bike, just waiting for me with my trusty shoes, trusty new helmet and trusty sunglasses. Off came the wetsuit, on went the socks and shoes. WOW, things were going smoothly. Took my bike down, oops, forgot the helmet. This is were things got ugly. Reached for the helmet and knocked off my bars instead of grabbing it. The helmet flew with the glasses. Put the trustworthy kickstand down and retrieved the helmet but couldn't find the glasses. Huh? Now how could they just disappear. Saw my goggles and actually considered putting them on but the risk of ridicule forced me to look further for the glasses. And there they were, grabbed them put them on and saw team mate Tom standing there with his camera documenting the entire fiasco. It was time to ride.

What a ride. From the time I got on it was smooth. In the past I have struggled with trying to find a rhythm the first couple of miles and then settling into a speed before coming back to transition. Not today, for some reason it was all good. Gentle breathing, easy pedaling. It felt like someone was pushing me. I'm so used to being passed on the bike. 4 women riders passed me. I caught and passed 3 of them. I kept telling myself tho, keep things easy, you're using this as a warm up. It all felt good.

Got back to transition and moved onto the run. Started the first mile and the humidity hit me. Made sure I had my inhaler but held back on using it. Thankfully I never had to use it. Just tried to steady the breathing and concentrated on staying calm as I approached each "gentle rolling hill". I ran some of the Rockford course a couple weeks back and was telling myself that this is what I had to look forward to so just get used to it and keep the stride short. It worked. I was able to see some friends on their way back to the finish. I get a burst of energy when I'm able to yell to them. MJ, although she said she didn't feel it, was looking great and no I couldn't hear her breathing :) The "Wildflower Hat" was a nice site. Another friendly face. "GGGGooo Rrrrannndddyyy". After the turn around my legs felt good and I wanted to push things. I kept my head down and saw a lot of number on the calves of the athletes. With about 2 blocks to go I saw a "49". I put it in my head that she was in my age group and I could catch her. I cautioned myself that if I was going to pass her I had to have it in me to sustain the pass to the finish so that she didn't come up on me. Well, I moved in and did it. I finished happy with "49" behind me. It was good.

I took almost 4 minutes off of my time from last year. How does that happen. I don't really race the race and take off that amount of time. I guess the the long distance training is paying off. Now, this week-end. Rockman. Rockman. Rockman. I have the good fortune of doing it with clubmate Bubba. I'm looking forward to it. :)