Monthly Archives: May 2015

And Then It Was Summer

Monday, when I went into Walmart to get all those things you get in Walmart, it was nice outside. When I came back out less than an hour later, it was summer. I don’t know how that happened and how I missed the weather report that it was going to be scorching that day. But it’s summer, complete with disgusting humidity. As much as I was looking forward to running this week, I am dreading it now. Blech. Here’s a little recap of whaz been goin’ on here in the ILM  lately. I been BIZZY. PLEASE, if anything, make sure you read my huge news at the bottom regarding the fundraiser for the UNCW running teams.

Honestly, I don’t know the last time I wrote. I think was half way (it totally wasn’t half way, it was whole) freaking out about the triathlon or something and I’m just too lazy to go back and look at my last post. I tried and tried to come up with a way to get out of that race. I really did. Beach erosion from Tropical Storm Ana? Cancel it. Too dangerous. Not enough participants? Cancel the thing. Big dark scary cloud? No way, don’t mess with storms. Increased chance for rip currents. No way, Jose.  But there was nothing LEGITIMATE about my fears (except for the sharky ones), and there was no reason to cancel that race. But I sure get an A for Effort 🙂

But I’ll get to the tri here in a minute. Let me back up. Friday morning, a friend of mine and her training buddy asked me to join them on a practice ocean swim and bike ride in prep for the tri. I figured it was the best thing I could do, so went for it. We rode our bikes first and then headed to the beach. The waves were not small. They weren’t “Hawaii 5-0” waves or anything, but it took some effort to get past the breakers. It seemed the end of the breakers never came. I struggled a little, swallowed a good amount of sea water, but it was a very good indicator of what Sunday could be like – not easy, but doable. The confidence came as soon as I got out of the water, but when I was swimming, all I could think was, “No way, there’s no freaking way, this is bull$shit.” But I made it through.

Saturday morning was a proud day. It was my Stride boys’ 5k. We got up bright and early and headed to the start to meet our team. They all arrived on time, and we joked, got our numbers on, and then warmed up. I got attached to those kids, and I will miss them! We posed for pictures and did our warm ups. I reminded them about pacing, taking it easy in the beginning, then charging at the end. It got pretty warm that morning. I had originally wanted to do somewhere close to 22:00, but I just didn’t think I could pull that off. I figured I’d just do the best I could and not worry about it. For the first time in a while, I did not care.

When our race started, I was very mindful of seeing my team out on the course. I passed many of them, complimented them, and then half way scolded one of the competitive ones for cutting in front of me multiple times. In all the race prep I gave them, one thing I totally forgot to do was teach them about race courtesy. Oops. My bad. I finished in just over 23:00, which I was happy with. I realized that I hadn’t looked at my pace more than one time, which is refreshing when you are just running to run. No pressure, and I knew I had a pretty big day ahead on Sunday. I got some water and parked by the finish line so I could cheer on my boys. They all finished strong, and I was so proud of them. I think they were proud of themselves too. They were sweaty, tired, but they smiled. (Only one threw up.) It was a very good ending to a very good season.  I ended up winning 3rd overall Masters division with my time, so I won a gift card. Score.

My son and his dad as the running buddy. We started two minutes after the clock did, so pulling down a 27:00 5k when you're 9 is pretty darned awesome.

My son and his dad as the running buddy. We started two minutes after the clock did, so pulling down a 27:00 5k when you’re 9 is pretty darned awesome.

We left the race, washed up, and took off for my son’s last soccer game. He rocked it. It was his first season playing soccer at all, ended up playing goalie 98% of the time, but he did very well.

My little man defending his goal.

My little man defending his goal.

After that, we went to the beach a few hours to waste time before my packet pickup was open.  It was an absolutely delightful day, and I enjoyed those few hours totally unplugged. When it was time to get my triathlon stuff, we scoped out the course and realized how easy it was going to be to navigate. Then we headed home. My soccer son had a birthday party, so we got ready for that, picked up his friends and took them all together. Then we took our youngest to eat and had a few drinks. We headed back to pick up the rowdy boys from the party, took them home, and then my friend picked all the kids to spend the night at her house so my husband could Sherpa for me the next morning without getting the kids up at o’dark thirty.  I checked over my triathlon supplies and went to bed. What a day.

Sunday. Triathlon day. My first sprint race. I woke at 4:00 am. I had a lot of my things ready already. It was a swim, run, bike, run, swim format, so transitions would be very simple. The transition from swim to run was in the sand, so I put my running stuff in a bucket so it didn’t get covered with sand as other racers came through. I was signed up as a novice master, so all the novices started last. I was determined to place in my division, the new/old division (novice master female). The fact that I was the only one in it had nothing to do with it. Haha!!

Just beautiful.

Just beautiful.

The sunrise was gorgeous, and I patiently waited, with very little anxiety, for my start. Maybe not feeling nervous is a good sign. That’s how I felt before my half iron, and that race went well, so I figured that having too many nerves could waste much needed energy, so as much as I was dreading the double swim, I knew I just had to take one stroke at a time. The waves look smaller than how they felt, that’s for sure.

I won’t get into the details of the race, but when I started, I just went. I channeled all my energy and focused on each stroke, each breath, getting to the first turn, second turn, and then transition. I did the entire tri without a Garmin, so I had no idea how long it was taking me, my pace, distance (except on my bike, I knew my mph and time), and it was a really nice way to race. Just focus and go. The run was 1.5 miles, and the transition to the bike was fast. The bike course was a closed road, and it was smooth and very fast too. I pushed, but I didn’t want to wear my legs out for the remaining run and swim. I ended up going just over 19 mph. My second run was a tad faster than the first, and when I got to the beach to head out for the final leg of the double sprint, I smiled. I was almost done. We had to run down the beach to the start, and when I entered the water, it felt delicious. I don’t really know what happened, but I wish I was wearing a Garmin just to see how different the swims were.  The first trip was probably a rectangle, as it should be. The second was probably more of an amoeba. I ended up going way around the first turn buouy, and it seemed to take me a long time to get to the sight bouy. But I was doing it and making progress. Then all of a sudden I was turning back towards the finish and was washed up onto the beach. I ran to the finish line and crossed with a huge sense of accomplishment.

Running to the finish.

Running to the finish.

I did it. My first sprint tri, a double sprint with two ocean swims, DONE. And I had three spectators, just for me. Who wouldn’t love that? Thanks for being there, Andy, Stacey, and sis, Randee!  And just as I planned, I won first in my division, bringing home a really nice set of grill utensils. Two prizes in two days, gotta love being a Master!!!

First on the podium. I sure creamed everyone else in my division!!

First on the podium. First of ONE. I sure creamed everyone else in my division!!

Two hours after I finished my tri, I headed back out to take pictures for my new venture. One word: coaching. Here, look at the picture of me being all coachy.

What was I thinking? "I just want to go home and sit down" was all I was thinking.

What was I thinking? “I just want to go home and sit down” was all I was thinking.

I had a date with the couch for the rest of the weekend. I was tired. I dozed for a while and truly enjoyed opening my Miller Lite later on that evening. Bedtime was early, but I had even more going on the first few days of the week.

Monday was our Stride pizza party. I printed pictures for all the kids and had them come up so I could say something about them individually. At the party, I was given a check to pass along to the UNCW running teams. In case you missed it, the university decided to cut the track and field teams unless the community could raise $250,000 by the end of May. People, my little Title I school, the school that gets ignored and doesn’t even have room for the Kindergartners to attend in the building (they’re bussed to a different site), the one who has the happiest staff I’ve ever been around, the kids and the teachers and the staff and the parents came together and raised $7800 to help save the teams. That is a HUGE amount of money. I’d already planned to have my brother-in-law make a big check for a photo op, so the kids could see picture proof of what they did, but one of the Stride parents put another idea in my head, and of course, the staff made it happen. On Tuesday morning at 8:30, three UNCW coaches came to the school, were then walked back behind the school to find the entire student body around the little track, just so they could see for themselves what their fundraising did. I was able to keep my wits about me and give a little speech about how a little idea could come together to make something big happen. It was one of my proudest moments and I knew how lucky I was to be a part of this school and community.

Presenting the $7800 check to the UNCW running coaches. They were floored.

Presenting the $7800 check to the UNCW running coaches. They were floored.

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something.

And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

 

As of Wednesday, the teams have only $10,000 left to raise to meet their goal within 10%, which we all heard was enough to keep the team for another year. If you can, please donate to their cause.

And for the holiday weekend? I’m heading to Raleigh for the Dave Matthews Band concert Friday night, then I really have no idea what I’m doing besides my long bike ride. Sounds perfect to me!

What about you? Swam in the ocean before? Scared of sharks? Ever been overwhelmed by the generosity of people? Running this weekend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: coaching, follow your dreams, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I Signed Up For What??!!

You know when you sign up for a race and it sounds like a really good idea and how awesome of a training event it will be for a bigger event and then the race gets really close and then you wonder what the hell you were thinking when you signed up for it? Yeah, that’s me this week. A long time ago, when it sounded like a great idea, I signed up for a double sprint tri that takes place this weekend. And I’m really scared to do it. Why? Because the swim is in the OCEAN, y’all. The friggin ocean. I saw the ocean yesterday, and it was angry. Yes, Ana was passing through, giving us all her Mother’s Day finger, but the ocean is not something that can really be predicted nor tamed. At least not by me. I can barely swim in the waterway when it’s windy without getting a face enema, so I really don’t know how this race is going to play out. Well, I did read the participant list, and I know I’m going to do so awesomely well and place in my “Masters Novice Female” category. The fact that I’m the only one signed up in that category is of no significance, mind you. I’m going to kill it. Unless it kills me first. Let’s say I’m trying to find every possibly way out of NOT doing this tri, but the only response in my head after I think of a completely logical reason (such as DEATH BY DROWNING), my mind just tells me to shut the hell up and quit being such a wuss. I’ll keep trying.

So how IS everyone, anyway? I’ve been in my fundraising, “secret surprise”, dog-fostering, and long bike ride on the week day haze.

Some of my Stride boys with our fabulous MC, Colin from It's Go Time

Some of my Stride boys with our fabulous MC, Colin from It’s Go Time

Speaking of the fundraiser I’ve been telling you about, let’s say the ONLY thing that could have been better was about five degrees shaved off the temps. The kids were supposed to run for 20 minutes, but we backed it down for time constraints, but I think we really would have had to anyway or we’d still be peeling those melted elementary school kids off the concrete. So far, we’ve raised over $2000 to help save the UNCW running programs, and we have this week to get in the rest of our donations. I’m planning to take the coaches a “big check” early next week. The event went off without a hitch, and everyone had a great time in the process. Lots of the athletes came out to support our little runners, running with them, cheering them on, and even doing their hair.  It was a great thing to see come together.

UNCW Runners with just a few Girls on the Run and Stride runners

UNCW Runners with just a few Girls on the Run and Stride runners

I had a foster dog for a few days last week, and it wasn’t all fun.  The poor thing had an allergic reaction to SOMETHING, and he just couldn’t stop itching. I took him to the walk-in vet the morning after I picked him up (and he kept me up half the night pacing and itching), and a strange series of events led him back home.  It was really meant to be, since it was by a total chance meeting with someone at the vet office who KNEW how to reach his owner, a family who had been looking for him for two weeks. He is a 14 year old beagle named Walker, and I was able to get him back to his people on Friday evening. Good times.

Walker the old fossil dog.

Walker the old fossil dog.

Some of you probably heard something about this little tropical storm called Ana who decided to blow through our area this weekend.

"Hi, Ana! Wish you the best! Now leave."

“Hi, Ana! Wish you the best! Now leave.”

In order to get my long bike ride in, I decided to complete the ride on Friday morning since my in-laws were staying with us and Saturday was predicted to be a washout. I love to listen to loud music while I bike, so I figured it would be best to do this before they got to the house (and not when the family was trying to sleep – I’m courteous that way). I knew it would take a lot, mentally, to get this done, but I figured it was time to just grit my teeth and bear it. My legs screamed at me, probably because I did some harder interval work during the week, but I pushed. I can’t say the trainer is the equivalent of riding on the road, but it was a great long bike, my longest on the trainer and longest of this year. 56 miles in 3 hours. Done. The fastest I’ve ever been able to go. I learned a lot about my bike, how to adjust my gears, and that it’s only going to get harder from here, so just quit being a pansy ass and get to work.

56 miles in 3 hours. Whew.

56 miles in 3 hours. Whew.

On Saturday morning, I needed to get another workout it, so I decided to hop on the old bike again and got an hour in at an easier pace. My legs were tired, but I felt good. We slept in, so it was late, and I skipped my post-bike run.

When I got up on Mother’s Day morning, I looked at the radar and saw my chance at a run, which is really all I wanted to do that day. It would have felt incomplete had I not been able to run, so I got my 4.25 miles in and came in not long before the first monsoon started.

It rained A LOT for a while.

It rained A LOT for a while.

Mother’s Day was a very nice day, and I hope all your mother bloggers reading this had a special day. I don’t know why, but I’ve seen a lot of negativity regarding Mother’s Day this year. To me, it’s just a day we set aside to tell our moms how much we love them, do something a little special for them (and ourselves), and pay tribute to those mothers we may have lost. My motherhood is not the end all, be all, of me as a person, and I don’t let my identity get all wrapped up in just being a mother, which is probably why I don’t feel too guilty when I do other things outside of parenting. I am a person as much as I am a mom, and I want my kids to see that I have a valuable life besides being their mom.  It can be difficult since I am a stay-at-home mom with kids in school, for sure. Seeing the Mother’s Day backlash was sad. I think it’s a great day to celebrate, just as a birthday is. So celebrate away.

That being said, I’ve got sort of an interesting week ahead. I have a lot of work and research to do, and I’m taking it more easy with this pesky triathlon coming up. Our end-of-season race for my Stride kids is Saturday, so I’m hoping to pull out a 22:00 5k if I can. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and the humidity will decrease a little from the 8,978,409% current reading. It’s humid, people. Even the mold is moldy.

Have you ever signed up for something thinking it was a great idea and then question your sanity the week before that event?

 

Categories: coaching, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, kids, marathon, open water swimming, running, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Mish-mash and Nash

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Last weekend, I headed to Nashville with a group of wonderful ladies where some of us would run the half marathon and celebrate having good friends and a bachelorette. Turns out, it was an amazing time and I CANNOT wait to go back to Nashville. First, the race.

Pre-race. Awesome. I LOVE big races.

Pre-race. Awesome. I LOVE big races.

It was a ton of fun. Two probs. Not nearly enough bathrooms. I saw one row of them on our way from the parking lot at the finish. One row. For probably over 20,000 people. I heard there were more along the start line, but I never saw them. Good thing I never had an emergency situation and didn’t want to run this race for time. And speaking of running it for time, I think it would have been nearly impossible to run this for time. At least in the corral I was in, which was at the 2:00 mark. There were no less than one million people in the street on the same block at one time. It was tight. The first six miles were almost at a ten minute mile pace, and it was difficult to move around and stay with my friend who was running with me. We didn’t care, it was a hoot, the start was great as always, the crowds were great, the bands were fun, and we eventually found a row of bathrooms about five miles in. There was beer, food, and excellent support.  I would definitely do this race again if I didn’t want a certain time, and I might just remember to NOT drink a bunch of Bud Light Platinum the night before. But heck, we were having fun in our KOA cabins, and THAT’S why we were there. My friend and I finished our race in just under two hours, collected our medals, and met with the rest of the runners and friends who didn’t run. Thanks to my sister who gave me her bib so I could run!!

Got me a medal with boots and a horse shoe on it. Yeah, I did.

Got me a medal with boots and a horse shoe on it. Yeah, I did.

That night, we went out on the town. Let’s say there were no shenanigans, but we had tons of fun.  We danced, we laughed, we ate, we drank, we took lots of pictures.  We are already looking at where to go for our girls weekend trip next year.

THE girls. Loved every minute of it. Except the not being able to sleep part.

Bride-to-be and her posse. Loved every minute of it.

My big Stride fundraiser is Monday. I’m nervous that it will be as organized as what I think it needs to be, but the most important part is for the UNCW team to know that we care about them and that the runners have fun. In case you missed it, the UNCW running teams must raise $250,000 by the end of May in order to keep the program running (pun totally intended) another year. Please comment if you’d like to know how to donate and thanks to you who have contacted me to donate! I have everything loaded in my truck all ready to go, and the only thing I need to do is run 5 miles bright and early and get enough bags of ice to fill up my cooler on wheels to keep the water cold for the participants. Organizing an event is difficult. I didn’t think it would be easy, but there’s so many things to think about and I have no control over many of them!!! Here’s hoping we raise a lot of money to save the UNCW running teams!!!

So as for training this week, I did get three whole days off because of Nashville. I sort of freaked out and immediately got up early to run the first morning I was back home. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same thing….

I didn’t sleep well the entire time, partly because of staying up late and getting up early, but part of it was that I just couldn’t sleep. Weird, but it happens. So I’ve been trying to catch up this week. I think I finally got it this morning.  Speaking of this morning, you may know that I’ve been into this coaching thing. I LOVE to coach kids. And I thought I could start taking on adult clients as well. I got my first client as soon as I got back from my RRCA coaching certification class, and I made up a plan for him to PR and get a sub-2:00 half marathon. Today was that race. I have to admit, I was nervous. What would his time mean about my coaching? As it turns out, it has something to do with it, but obviously, not even close to everything. It was warm today, and I worried about him being able to meet his goal in the heat. You just never know with races!! What do other coaches feel? Do they feel pressure? Do they worry as much as I did?

The result of my client’s race? Awesomeness, and it wasn’t because of me. I think this guy would’ve met his goal because of his thought process and focus. He told me he was going to fight for his PR, and sometimes, that means more than any amount of training, which he did and did well. So I’m very proud of my very first coaching client, my husband, Andy. He got a 12 minute PR on the same course he PR’d on last year, and finished in 1:52:30. I’m so proud of you!

The Hubster with his medal and beer. Turns out he got first in his age group too. BONUS TROPHY!

The Hubster with his medal and beer. Turns out he got first in his age group too. BONUS TROPHY!

Blah blah, I’m training, I’m biking, swimming, and running. My first open water swim was Friday, and it was PERFECTION. I felt great and that I could keep going after 1.2 miles (with a slight current). The water was shockingly cold, but once we got going, it wasn’t as bad as my wetsuit chafing. Ouch!!! I only gagged twice, and it was something I could handle under water. It was great! (not the gagging, the swimming) I’m swimming again Monday evening, before my son’s baseball game, and I’m actually looking forward to it!

Perfect conditions for our first open water swim!

Perfect conditions for our first open water swim!

I also made it to the track to tackle 8×400 at 1:30-1:34. Most of them were 1:30, but wowzers, they were not easy. Coupled with an interval bike ride, it’s been a great week of workouts! I’m very excited to work this month in prep for starting up with a coach in June. She’s awesome, a great supportive person, and is going to Kona this year after 12 Ironman races (she qualified the last race), so she knows her stuff.

This triathlon stuff has proven to be a road I never thought I would take. I have already had so many journeys and met so many people, I can’t imagine what I will think after I cross that finish line in Florida in November as an Ironman. To anyone considering it, do it. Same thing for any goal. You never know the path you will take until you take the first step.

 

 

 

 

Categories: being epic, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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