Monthly Archives: September 2014

Why I LOVE Mammograms!

On Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, I had a physical therapy appointment in the morning. I was dealing with shin splints (how ironic that I’ve sidelined myself for the exact same thing a year later) and was desperately trying to fix them so I could carry on training for the Houston Marathon. I knew I was to be notified that day about whether or not I got in to the Boston Marathon. I was a mess, a total basket case, and I probably needed a little psycho therapy (not the wine kind). I’d crunched all the numbers and I was right on the edge of being able to run that race that I spent years trying to qualify for.

After my PT appointment, I had some lunch and went to my next appointment, my lovely mammogram.  I was turning 40 a few weeks later, so they were to become part of my annual health screening for the rest of my life. Yea.

My appointment was on time and for some reason, I always get a little nervous about these things. I guess being half naked in front of a stranger will do that to you, but really, the ladies who do these are normally just wonderful. It was short and sweet and twenty minutes later, I was on my way. I was OBSESSIVELY checking my email for any sign of a notification from the BAA on my acceptance, or lack thereof, and I was beginning to feel like I wasn’t going to get the news that I wanted to get. I quickly ran into the Food Lion that was right down the street, got some wine and a few other things that we always need. I started on my way home. Now I don’t normally do this and have vowed to my kids that I WON’T do this again, but at a stop light, I checked my email again. Bing. It was there. I read it and found this:

 

THE Email

THE Email (that I will never delete)

Yes, I got in to the amazing Boston Marathon. I freaked out.  To read the whole story of how close I was and what I did (does not include driving into a ditch or another car), click HERE.  Really, it’s a good story. Do it.

For weeks, as I drove by that stop light where I read THE email, I got the warm and fuzzies. I was still in disbelief, but I was just so happy about it. I needed it.  A lot.

And as much as I dislike having my boob touched by a stranger then squished and photographed, since that day, I’ve had a fondness for my mammogram appointment. I always remember it as a good experience, a happy day, and I want to go back. I’m going to tell them that I love mammograms because I found out that I got into the Boston Marathon on my way home from getting one. The power of association, right?!

The other reason why I love mammograms is that my mom’s breast cancer was caught extremely early because of one. The cancer was removed with surgery and she had a few months of radiation after that.  It wasn’t a piece of cake for her at all, but it could have been so much worse. I LOVE mammograms because I have my mom and if we didn’t have mammograms, I may not have my mom.

So to anyone and everyone, if you’re a woman, get your boobies squished and photographed. Maybe you’ll get some good news when you get home. Maybe it will save your life. But just do it.  Men, urge the women in your life get theirs photographed too. Go turn and cough for your doctor. Just do it. It could save a life.

 

 

 

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Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, running, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Lesson From Last Year

This week his been interesting. When I was running a few weeks ago, I noticed a familiar feeling in my shins. It didn’t make any sense because I’ve been super active this summer, have incorporated additional sports, yoga, stretching, and haven’t been going crazy with the speed work YET. I did everything in my power to prevent them.  But my shin splints started coming back.  For anyone who didn’t know me last year, I melted down when I got shin splints, denied their existence, and made it ten times worse by running with excruciating pain. I look back and wonder who that crazy person was. I guess I was under a lot of pressure (that I put on myself), had just moved, and didn’t yet know if I was going to get into Boston. It was the perfect crazy storm.  I could feel that tightness, the discomfort, THAT feeling.  Instead of denying their existence and having a total meltdown disguised as a total freak out (or the other way around, I’m not sure) like I did last year, I decided to take a preemptive strike against the bastards and STOP RUNNING. This occurred before my legs had pain while running and before it got past the point of being able to fix it, like last year.  Note: Denial when it comes to injury doesn’t work, it just messes up your race! Anyhoo, my ten mile run on Friday, that included some nice pickups by the way, was the last big run for a few weeks. My shins don’t hurt when I’m running, but I knew it was coming if I didn’t do something about it.  My marathon is in January, so I’m in a position where I can afford to take the time off, especially since I’ve got the swimming and biking to do.

I had a run scheduled for Tuesday, so I thought it would be the best course of action was to borrow my sister’s gym and get in some elliptical work.

Fun, fun!

Fun, fun!

Thanks, sis, gotta love the guest policy!! I emailed my coach with my plan, and will let the chips fall as they may. I also went to see my chiropractor, who basically said I was a hot mess and all out of sorts. IF having one leg a little shorter than the other before the adjustment is out of sorts….then I guess he’s right.  He reminded me that running marathons, half marathons, and endurance triathlons wasn’t normal. He said that running THREE miles was normal. Not ten. THREE.  My brain didn’t really compute that and I got sort of confused, but I really tried to understand.  I think that means that I need to see him on a more regular basis….

Here we go again!

Here we go again!

So I’ve got plenty to do to keep busy….and since I sort of mentioned swimming….

Getting it done.

Getting it done.

I needed to get this done, just to prove to myself how goofy I was being last week. I swam 1.25 miles in the pool, no pushing off, no wetsuit, no salt water buoyancy, nothing. I did stop to change pools from the old lady water aerobic pool to the lap pool, and boy, that was refreshing. I felt good when I was done, wasn’t out of breath, and a am now confident that in my race conditions, whatever they are, I CAN do the swim portion of my half iron. Silly me, silly, silly me for thinking otherwise.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with me this week.  Almost the same old thing, just a little tweak and hoping the splints shove off into the far distant plants of another solar system….

I hope that if any of you are anxiously awaiting word from the BAA, you get the news you want. I was there waiting last year and it was a time I will never forget, and a feeling I’d prefer to not have again. Until I got the email I wanted and about drove into the ditch, but that’s another story.

 

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Moment You Realize A Runner Has Become…. A LONG DISTANCE RUNNER

 

First of all, I have some ‘splainin’ to do.  I admit it, last week, I threw myself a teeny tiny little pity party over this stupid swim stuff for the half iron.  I’ve been known to freak out over things, exaggerate, panic and all that stuff, and this really wasn’t any different. EXCEPT that I’m doing something that I’ve never done and have always been afraid to do. But instead of being the shrinking violet who shivers with fear in the corner, then stomps her feet in frustration with balled up fists and screams with crazy eyes,  it’s time to bring out my inner beast and get this swim thing done.

no fear

I mean really, what’s the worst that can happen? 1) I can get bit/eaten by a shark. And as mentioned by one of my fellow running buddies Jack, that’s a hell of a way to go out. Extremely unlikely, obviously, but hey, if by some slim chance the sharks get nutty on race morning, I could make the headlines. I’ve never done that before. And 2) What IF I don’t finish? What am I going to do then? Cry? Quit? No, I’m not. Knowing me, I’d be even more determined to try it again. And the more space I get from the above-mentioned party, the more ridiculous it all seems.  Thanks for pointing that out, Gary. Sorry about that little blip, but sometimes, we all just need to have that party and then get over it. Getting over it is the important part.

But now, on to the title subject matter. It happened slowly. Very slowly, over a decade and several years.  He wasn’t planning on it happening either, and in fact, he probably resisted it.  Over ten years ago, he dabbled a little. He ran a half marathon, training here and there along the way. Just enough to get the job done. Then the running stopped. Ok, there were bouts here and there, but it certainly wasn’t enjoyable (for either of us) or lasting or consistent. He would find pretty much any and every reason to NOT run. Too cold, too tired, too windy, too much beer, not enough time, it’s cloudy, the sky is blue, you get my drift. Three miles was a pretty big deal to him.

Then a year ago, a shift in attitude started. He said, “I want to run a half marathon per quarter.”. I was surprised, but honestly, thrilled. His blood pressure was getting high and he had to be put on medication. I don’t know how much heredity has to do with high blood pressure without being overweight, but the coins were not stacked in his corner on this one. Don’t get me wrong, a half marathon is nothing to sneeze at, but he was able to run one without running more than 7 miles and probably only putting in 10-15 miles per week, if that.  It’s my fault as I was taking up all the weekend times for MY training for Boston. But then again, he never argued.

So, after two half marathons in 2014, IT happened. My husband walked into the room and casually mentioned, “I think I’d like to run a full marathon.” My first reaction was “PSYCHO!!! HAHA!!!! SUCKA!!!!”. No, it was a mix of dreading having to share weekend workouts, and it was a mix of excitement. Now he can see how it feels to train for a run a marathon. Now he can feel the joy of accomplishment like I’ve been able to. Now he’ll know why I’m exhausted and hungry all the time. Good Lord, our food bill is going to be INSANE! I told him that it would be an interesting shift in thinking and that running anything less than 5 miles would become the threshold of feeling like a workout. I must have made marathon running look good, eh?  He’s been my best supporter and friend in my running adventure, so it’s time that I do the same for him.

There he is, all innocent. He is totally oblivious to what decision he will make in just a month. Heh, heh.

There he is, all innocent. He is totally oblivious to what decision he will make in just a month. Heh, heh.

Signing up for a marathon doesn’t make you a long distance runner. But it does change you. You have to look at things differently, IF you do it the right way. You have to prioritize your schedule, your days, coordinate with your spouse on who runs when and where and who will take the kids here and there, who gets Saturday, who gets Sunday, and all that stuff. As you train, your mind shifts. You think differently. You slowly become a long distance runner. You. Slowly. Become. One. Of. Us. Phase I of the conversion happened a few months ago.  I knew he was an OFFICIAL long distance runner was when he said, “I only have 8 miles on Saturday”. Haha. “Only”. ONLY long distance runners think that running 8 miles isn’t very much. As soon as he said this, I immediately replied, “You’ve become one of us. You’re converted. Anyone who thinks that running 8 miles as “only” is officially a crazy runner. Welcome to the wonderful world of long distance running.  I’ve been waiting.”

Phase II of this conversion happened today.  We were talking about our schedule in October and when he would cut a tree down in our yard that makes a huge disgusting mess pretty much all year long. He told me he would cut it down the weekend of my swim race, when he would only have 8 and 12 miles to run so it would be easy, no problem to cut a tree down, cut said tree into pieces, and haul it into the back yard. I laughed at him again and said, “Listen to yourself.”

It’s not like there’s a vocabulary test to take to be a “crazy runner”. Hmmmm, I wonder what would be on it though.

DISTANCE RUNNER VOCABULARY TEST

DESCRIBE AT LEAST 8 OF THE 10 WORDS LISTED BELOW:

YASSO REPEATS

MEB

FARTLEK

CARB LOADING

HITTING THE WALL

LONG RUN

BQ

GU

GLIDE

NEGATIVE SPLITS

You slowly morph from a runner to a long distance runner. I know I did. And I watched my husband do it too. It’s been interesting. It’s been fun. It’s taken some patience and cooperation for us both to get our workouts in. The house isn’t as clean (totally my fault), and sometimes we run out of milk.  But it’s ok. We have our carbs and Gu. Haha.

Anyway, I’m so proud of what my husband has done in his training. He hasn’t missed one run. He runs in the rain, he runs when it’s a million degrees with a zillion percent humidity (seriously, I’m not exaggerating), he runs with a group, he runs alone, he gets up before 5 am to run, his blood pressure is LOW. He’s reading more Runner’s World than I am, he is learning what Gu tastes like, he is practicing carb loading and what meals work the best for long runs. He is being an excellent role model for our sons, too.  Week by week, his idea of running shifts and his perception of what it takes to run marathons is becoming reality. Going through an experience is so much more valuable and different than watching someone else do it, no matter how close you are to the other person.  And because I don’t hold back, he knows the nitty gritty of MY training experiences. All of it. His race is the RNR Savannah on November 8th, and I have full confidence that he will cross that finish line with a smile on his face and a feeling of accomplishment that nothing else could ever give him.

Welcome to the crazy long distance runner’s club, Andy!!!  I am SO proud of you!!!!

 

Andy is always there with me, so it's my turn to be there for him as he crosses that finish line.

Andy is always there with me, so it’s my turn to be there for him as he crosses that finish line.

 

 

 

Categories: half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Lessons From A Snail

I’ve been struggling with the swim portion of my half iron training. I’ve been worried about it since I considered even doing a triathlon, let alone one that included a 1.2 mile swim.  I started swimming last year on October 4th, and I find it fascinating that I can actually swim for a pretty long time without touching the bottom or support or getting winded.  I’m slow though.  Very, very, painstakingly slow.  That doesn’t bother me really, because I’m at least getting the job done.  My goal is to swim only, not swim at a certain pace.

Last week, curiosity got the best of me and I looked up the approximate start times for my half iron race at the end of October and compared that time to the tide charts. My stomach dropped. I won’t even START swimming until after high tide has come and gone, so the thought of having just a tiny little push quickly vanished. I knew that during about an hour on each side of high tide, the water is pretty slack, but I didn’t realize that I would be starting after high tide and probably ending the race against the tide. Lord help me.

I didn’t freak out about this revelation, but I did talk to my coach, who knows the water like the back of her hand, and I seriously considered deferring the race until next year. I do not want to miss my swim cutoff time (1.5 hours), and honestly, I don’t want to train any more than I already am to swim FASTER. I am happy just plugging along and getting the distance in, quietly being the turtle in the back of the pack. I find myself slightly resentful towards swimming, as it isn’t running or biking (which makes me run faster), and I just want to run (or bike because it helps running). I messed around all summer, and now I’m ready to attack my marathon training. This triathlon is supposed to be FUN, not a diversion from running!!!

snail2

While all of this has been going on, I’ve noticed some really cool snails at two of my son’s football fields.  They’re pretty small snails, too. But that doesn’t stop them. I don’t know where they’re going, but they have a mission and they don’t stop. I picked a few of them up and moved them to the side of the field so they didn’t get stomped on as the crowds made their way from the field to the bathrooms, but I don’t think there’s been one snail who said, “Hey, I’m just too slow, so I’m going to give up.” I don’t think it works that way for them. They’re determined by nature to go where they need to go without regard to how long it takes to get there.  I’ve never seen a snail with a watch. I’ve never seen a snail frustrated because he was late. Or slow. Or behind all the other snails.

snail

I thought about the irony of the triathlon debacle and my snail discoveries. The message seems to be clear. Just keep going. Don’t stop, don’t give up, don’t slow down, just go.  And I will.

 

The best advice.

The best advice.

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Ten Books That Need To Be Written

Wednesday’s Workout: Impromptu open water swim at 8:00 am followed by a 90 minute bike ride at home on the trainer. You’d think that when I got home, I’d immediately change into my bike clothes, right? No. I had to take a quick shower to wash off the ocean water. THEN I got into my smelly bike clothes and sweated for about 90 minutes. I was thinking it was sort of silly to take a shower RIGHT BEFORE working out and that my towels are really never dry. And I came upon a thought of all the books that could be written by athletes and all they go through, and especially now for me, triathletes. Since I’m a fan of lists, here’s my list of

10 Books That Need To Be Written (and that I could probably write):

1)  Triathlons Part I:  Why My Towels Are Never Dry

2) Triathlons Part II: Why I Have No Spending Money and My Fridge Is Always Empty

3) Quadzilla: “No, I Don’t Lift Weights” – One Muscular Woman’s Journey

4) Are Those Biking Shorts or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

5) Relationships and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness): “It’s not you, honey, it’s that I literally cannot move.” One Couple’s Story.

6) “I Only Need To Be Faster Than the Slowest Guy” and Other Tips for Open Water Swimming With Sharks

7) I LOVE Triathlons (except for the biking and swimming part): One Marathoner’s Struggle To Transition From Marathons to Triathlons

8) Bad Combinations: Post-race Euphoria, The Internet, and A Credit Card – An Athlete’s Guide to the First Week After A Big Race….

Special Pamphlet Included!!!! “The Night I Got Drunk and Signed Up For An Ironman”: What NOT To Do

9) Mary Lee: A Guide To Why Naming Dangerous Animals Makes Them Seem Less Harmful

10) Benefits of Open Water Swimming: You’ll Never Need Your Neti Pot Again

BONUS!!!!

11) You And Your Bike Seat: Why You’ll Never Walk Normal Again

Ok, y’all, what book could YOU write????  I’ll compile a list and make another post out of it!

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

I Don’t Even Know Where To Start So I’ll Just Start

Ok, yes I do know where to start. I have to give a HUGE congratulations to Kecia from Push My Limits on her completion of Ironman Wisconsin. Is it cyber stalking if you yell at your computer because it won’t refresh and update the “live” status of the athlete you are following?! Because I didn’t do that.  You are an inspiration, lady!!!! You truly are!

As for me, I really do not know where to start. I’ve been trying to get some sort of routine in order for my days as a “stay at home” mom. Yeah, I’m certainly not home as much as I would think I would be, and if I wasn’t biking on the trainer, I would be home much less than I am now. I have so many projects to complete (one of which is getting my photo albums updated since I haven’t done that in over THREE YEARS), ones I couldn’t muster up the mental strength for last year.  I feel so much better about being settled here, and getting to my projects with a fresh attitude is a welcome feeling for me. I really didn’t think it would take over a year to get settled and let that crazy-stressed feeling diminish. Enough about that, let’s get to the goods, so I’ll start with my training.

Biking – I “biked” when I was in high school and college and enjoy it now. I didn’t think I would like the cadence/heart rate workouts that I’m doing now, but I really do. It’s a challenge for me, which is one reason why I like it, but I feel a difference in how I’m running, so I’m pretty pumped about how all the biking will improve my running. I’m really focused on one goal: The Houston Marathon. I think I’m biking at least three times per week, and none of them are marked as “just go ride your bike”. They are “you’re so gonna sweat on this ride” sort of workouts. I’m loving it. But shhhhhhh, don’t tell my coach!

Ahhh, coach. I’m back with my coach at Without Limits, who will melt away that summer feeling of “I can do whatever I want whenever I want” sort of laissez faire attitude. Sure, I’ve run and biked A LOT this summer, but it wasn’t the actual training that I’m needing right now. I have more accountability, which helps too, since my schedule is a lot different than it was with two kids in elementary.  Some days, I work out right after my oldest son goes to school and I’m just getting done and showered at 11 am. It’s kind of ridiculous.

Swimming – I didn’t go on the one swim where it was super wavy and I would have felt like I was in the washing machine on the “jeans” setting. On Labor Day, I went for an open water swim with a friend while my sister supported in her kayak. As we dropped vehicles and got all situated to start, my sister swatted at some bugs and totally dumped her kayak over. Did you know that some kayak paddles do not float? Yeah, epic design fail, eh? At least they could have had a warning on them that said DO NOT BUY AS THEY WILL SINK AS FAST AS YOU SAY PADDLE  Warning: “This paddle does not float”. Really, how ridiculous. My sister said she was fine and was going to get to the finish point to meet us, so my friend and I took off, but not before we saw some dolphins in the waterway. It was glassy perfect for a swim. Ahhhh….

week3

Perfect!

I thought the swim would be about 1.2 miles or something like that, but when I got to the usual starting point, I was already at .8. I knew I had .9 or a little more to go. Ugh.  I was tired from finishing the 5k challenge from the 10×10 challenge peeps and putting in some good runs before, so I told my compadre that I didn’t know if I could make it all the way to the finish. She simply said, “You can do it.”  I was on my way to complete the longest swim EVER, let alone an open water swim without stopping (except to talk and avoid the trolls as we crossed under the bridge), something that I could’ve never imagined doing. An hour and twelve minutes later, I had swam 1.72 miles. I was tired, but I felt great about it.  The comment from my friend was priceless. It always pays to be positive!!!

I freaking did it.

I freaking did it.

The swim this week was cancelled due to weather, plus there’s usually a bacteria warning after heavy rain, so I’ll get one in once or twice this week. If anything, I’ll head to the pool.

Running – Ahhhh, my one true love. I started back with a tempo run and speed work at the track last week. I tried not to go crazy, as it was super hot and humid, and I do NOT want to end up injured like I was last year. I’m trying to keep my paces that are given to me, but sometimes, it’s hard when you know you can go faster. I just have to keep in mind that yes, this is a marathon, not a sprint, so just take it easy. I have 17 weeks until the marathon.  That means I’ll have plenty of time for speedy speed work in the future. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.

With the extreme high humidity and the fact I wasn’t able to go run early (because I was on the bike), I tried not to look at my pace. Last week, I didn’t look at distance or pace ONE TIME during the run, just the elapsed time. For any of you out there like me, and I know there’s a LOT of us out there, I am still slightly annoyed at what my watch read after my run.

Raise your hand if this is annoying.

Raise your hand if this is annoying.

I didn’t even look at distance (and I don’t know why pace said 6:19, maybe because I moved my arm fast or something, but I certainly wasn’t going at that pace!) until I got inside and cooled off. D’oh!!!!

So for my training, I’m getting in some good miles, speed work, tough bike rides, and long swims. I’m still not concerned with my pace for the half iron  triathlon that is in less than six weeks! I’ve got my eye on the prize, what will hopefully be my second BQ, my marathon.  I’m almost giddy thinking about training for it, getting into the harder workouts, the strength, more biking, and everything else. Call me crazy, but I just love training!

I’m also going to be training a bunch of 6th graders for their first 5k.  It’s the Stride program, which to anyone who is familiar with Girls on the Run, it’s that but for boys. I’m super excited and just hope we get enough registrants to have the program at all! So if ANYONE has any advice on dealing with middle school kids (boys in particular), I’d love to hear it. I have my own 6th grader, but we all know dealing with your own kid is different than multiple kids who aren’t yours! Ha!

That’s it for now, as it’s back-to-the-fridge day. I cannot eat enough!!!!!

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, running challenge, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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