being epic

Ironman Florida – The Race

Warning: This is long. Part of this is for me to re-live the experience as I write. Part of it is to be able to look back and remember the details. Part of it is because I like to write ūüôā

When I left you the last time, we were about ready to start the race. I honestly didn’t know when my time would start, because I was wearing a wetsuit and the race was not wetsuit legal. Wetsuit wearers had to wait ten minutes to start after the non-wetsuit wearers, which was a VERY LONG TIME. I didn’t know how that all worked, so I just went with it. Nothing like flying by the seat of your pants for an Ironman, huh?

I knew where my boys would be, so I positioned myself to walk right by where they were. Finally, it was time for us to go, and we slowly filtered through the starting chute and to the water. I was so happy to see them waving and cheering me on. It was race time! The crowds were epic. The ONLY complaint is they didn’t play “Panama” as expected. Ahhh! I am so nervous just writing this, even more nervous than I was that morning!!!

Look at all those people swimming.

Look at all those people swimming.

There goes the wetsuits!

There goes the wetsuits!

With my goggles safely tucked under my pink swim cap, I took off into the gulf. The waves were not small, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. I felt I was well-equipped to deal with the salt and waves from the training and the ocean lesson. My coach told me many moons ago that I had nothing to worry about regarding the swim. I would soon find out that she was right. And you were too, Gary ūüôā

The swim is a long rectangle where you swim out, over left, then back, twice. Two loops.

My plan was to divide the swim into parts. Out, back, out, back, done. It’s like running a marathon. You don’t normally go into it saying, “Hey, only 26, 25, 24¬†miles to go.” You divide it up into manageable pieces. So that’s what I did with the swim, my Achille’s Heel, my nemesis, my worst fear. It was relatively crowded as I swam, and I was able to avoid getting kicked in the head. There were the upcloseandpersonal touches that just goes with something like this, which was fine because I was wearing a wetsuit. I quickly made it past the breakers, and had to time my sighting so I could see the buoys over the large rolling waves. If I looked at the wrong time, all I saw was water, but when I got it right, I could see a long way. Someone was trying to steal my Garmin on my left wrist, because it was stroke after stroke feeling like he was grabbing at it. I know he didn’t mean to, but it made me mad. I know, SHOCKER. Finally, I stopped and moved away from him after grunting to stop it already. I think he muttered “sorry” back. My goggles were a hot mess and I couldn’t see where I was going. I literally thought, “I’m swimming and I can’t see anything.” I could follow the masses enough, and soon, I could see the turn buoy. Yay!!!!¬†I honestly cannot remember if I cleaned my goggles or if they cleared on their own.¬†It was like a major traffic intersection at the turn, where everyone converged together all at once. We were all going pretty slow so we wouldn’t mash into each other, so that was nice. One thing I really liked and remembered about that clear water, which was definitely not as clear as it was the day before but still clear, was that I could see bubbles if I was near someone’s feet. That was my warning to look ahead and not get kicked in the face. It worked.

We headed back towards the beach, and I remembered to pay attention to what was behind me. I didn’t really see any buoys and was confused, but swam on. It was just the timing, as when I sighted at the right time, I could see them all. I felt like we were being pushed left, so I tried to aim more right so I would end up at the right spot. People kept passing me, and I felt like I was the last swimmer out there. I stopped and turned to see if there were others actually behind me, and was relieved to see a lot of people behind me!

At 45 minutes, I came out of the water from the first loop. Right. On. Time. I didn’t look at my watch again during the swim. I saw my boys, and threw them a half smile. It was hard. My legs were tired. We were told to cut across the rectangle towards a larger yellow buoy, and there were boaters telling those “cutters” to go in at the correct one. It didn’t take long to find my groove. I kept thinking, “I never have to swim again if I just get through this” many times. It was my mantra. I hugged the buoys¬†and swam.¬†Unfortunately, I didn’t sight adequately and when I did, I found myself¬†WAY right. Damn current. I fought hard to get left, but it was difficult and it took me to the turn buoy to get where I wanted to go. I noticed swimmers WAY off course, and I felt pretty bad for them. Who wants to swim longer than 2.4 miles?

I was tired (duh), but I kept at it. I passed some non-wetsuit people, which surprised me, but when I realized some of them weren’t using their legs AT ALL, it made sense. I wanted to tap one of them on the shoulder and whisper, “PSSST. Use your legs!” but I didn’t. I was in the home stretch. I was almost done with the swim.¬†Damn, I was doing it. I decided it was a good time to pee, so I didn’t have to waste time in transition.

Coming in from the swim.

Coming in from the swim.

I came out of the water pretty happy, and wanted my medal right then. Ha, I was so happy to be done, to know I finished the swim in good time, I wanted to revel in it a little, which didn’t go over well with the people behind me and with the volunteers. I was hurried to the wetsuit stripper, sat down in the sand (that would come back to bite me) and had my wetsuit quickly removed. Zip! Off to transition!!!!

**I did buy all these pics but just don’t have them yet.

 SWIM: 1:36:16

I ran and got my T1 bag and headed to the changing room. It was inside the convention center, which was cool, and I quickly got my bike gear on, drank some Gatorade,¬†and headed out for a nice, scenic bike ride around the PCB area. The fact there’s personal helpers in there was damn cool.

T1: 9:32

As I headed out on the bike, I saw my boys again. It was SOOOO nice seeing familiar faces out there. It made a huge difference to me. I didn’t know how to avoid drafting when there were so many bikes heading out at the same time, but I kept my coach’s words in my head: “Be cognizant of what’s going on and what you’re doing.” Spoiler alert – I never got a drafting penalty (you have to stay 5 bike lengths behind the bike in front of you, and if you want to pass, you have to do so within 20 seconds). Score. No penalty box for me!!!

I don't know why, but the name "penalty box" makes me giggle. Makes me think of hockey.

I don’t know why, but the name “penalty box” makes me giggle. Makes me think of hockey.

We had a little tail wind as we headed along the beach. It was crowded, so I didn’t think I was going very fast. After mile 7, we turned north and headed out of town. I knew the big bridge was at mile 12, so I hauled it up that hill¬†and noticed how pretty it was that morning. Only 100 miles to go!! Haha! Around that time, Van Halen’s “Top of the World” came in my head and stayed there for much of the bike ride. Perfect.

Everyone kept saying “have fun” before the race, and I tried. I don’t know why I was a little upset over this, but I wasn’t having fun. I wasn’t having a bad time, but it wasn’t fun. I mean, it’s not supposed to be a party or anything, and it IS work. It’s a strange combination of work, making your dreams come true, thinking about what you’re doing, and more work. I enjoyed it for sure, especially as the miles ticked by. Funny things come into your head as you are by yourself for that long. I remember thinking this funny word, and I knew I needed to remember it, because it was goofy and silly and didn’t make sense – like BAZINGA, but I know it wasn’t that word, but I can’t remember!!! So I guess I WAS having fun, huh?


The Florida bike course is known to be flat and fast. There were a few hills snuck in there, but since I discovered I like hills and I always pass a bunch of people on them, it didn’t bother me. I passed people, people passed me, and when people passed me on these super fancy bikes, I couldn’t help but wonder how in the hell I beat them on the swim. I passed some pretty fancy bikes, too, which made me feel good about my $500 used tri bike. I saw lots of drafting, lots of cool outfits, annoying people, cool people, nice people, and idiots. I mean really, WHO PASSES ON THE RIGHT?????¬† You just don’t do that. There were packs of people I would hover behind until it got too slow, then I would pass them all at once, there were people I was playing back and forth with, people who fell over right in front of me, people throwing up into the bushes, and people with mechanical issues. I feel bad for the guy in the starting chute with a flat. That would suck.

My bike computer had given me some issues right before we left, but we tweaked it and hoped for the best. Within the first few miles, my cadence meter went wonky. It was my most important reading, so I played with the thing a while, and finally got the reading from 292-ish back to a normal 85. Could you imagine going 292? I don’t get why the thing would even read that, but I got it working and it was good the rest of the ride.

I learned about four months ago, that my legs are whiny. For the first hour or two into a ride, they cry and whine and fuss and “are so tired”. I also learned that after that initial time, it goes away and they go faster. As predicted, they were whiny the first 30 or so miles, then shut up and did what they trained to do. They felt strong.

I was very aware of how warm it was (word out was that it was in the mid-80’s, but that was probably in the sun, which we had on and off, but it was hot and very, very humid), so I was sure to tweak my hydration plan. I remember coach telling me that I can’t rely on just eFuel, I needed water as well. The aid stations are set up where you can grab something, have time to drink/eat it if you slow down through the station, then throw it away. They will penalize you if you throw trash out at any point besides the aid station (which people did anyway, but I wasn’t going to), so in the first few aid stations, I grabbed a water bottle and guzzled as much as I could before throwing it out at the end of the station. I made sure I drank my eFuel and took Base salt frequently, as I didn’t want to bonk on my run. At some point, I was lucky to score a port-a-jon without having to wait, refilled my aero bottle with the caged bottle, and went on my merry way.

I ate my salted mini potatoes, grazed on Clif Shot Blocks, and relied on eFuel and water until the half point. I packed an Uncrustable but I got slightly nauseated, probably from guzzling water, so I didn’t want it. Half way through the bike ride, I stopped at the special needs station where I refilled my eFuel, potatoes, had a mini Coke (nectar of the gods I tell you), and had a hand full of Cheetos. Mmmmmm, good! I was half way through the bike! The sun was out and wow, it was friggin hot out! I was glad to have the breeze created from the bike ride!

It sprinkled a little after that, and it felt good. I turned north, and went straight into a head wind. Oy. Ok, a hill too? Ok, I got this, if this was easy, everyone would do it, right? It’s not supposed to be easy!!! That’s what I was trying to tell myself, but I’ve never been a big fan of wind (except when it’s behind me), so I just did my best without burning my legs out. I noticed the roads were of very good quality, and I was glad the route was changed to remove an extremely bumpy section. I wondered why in the HELL people do these time after time. I wondered how people do these fast. I wondered why people would want to do ones in the mountains. I saw butterflies, I saw the blue sky, I noticed how pretty it was out and how similar it was to the rides at home. I was doing it. Mile 60, 70, 80, I was doing it. After 5 or so miles into the wind, we turned around. It got quiet, the good quiet that means we have… A TAIL WIND!!!!!!!!!!!!! Man, we had a down hill too! I probably took a mile off pedaling (or a few minutes anyway), and let the wind and hill carry me at 20 mph. It was a nice rest.

Wow, I could crush this bike time!!! I hammered it, with care of course, and tried to maintain a 21-22 mph speed. Soon, it was time to go over the bridge. “Only” 12 miles to go!!!!! Whooohooooo!!!!!¬† As soon as I came down the other side of the bridge, a magical thing happened. The tail wind turned into a head wind. WTF. My pace screeched down towards 15 mph, and I was pissed, SO PISSED. I was expecting the last 7 miles to have a head wind, not the last 12. Anyway, I cussed at it, swore at it, made a guy think I dropped food because he heard me swearing (we chatted as he passed me by), and I vented it out of my system. I thought of those who raced last year in 20-30 mph winds and was VERY happy for our hot, humid, relatively calm conditions! I stopped at the last aid station to get some Gatorade since I was nearly out of eFuel and my bike bottle mysteriously disappeared, and complained to the volunteer there, too.

When we were about a mile or two from the bike finish, I started crying. I did it. I would make it. I was making good time, and was well within my A goal time. It was the ugly cry, but I got it out of my system before the cameras and the bike finish. I came through the chute to tons of cheering, cow bells, and of course, my boys yelling and cheering for me!

BIKE: 6:18:35

I got off the bike and whoa, felt weird as I gave my bike to a volunteer and headed to T2. Time to run!!! I changed quickly and headed back out onto the course.

T2: 7:00

Heading out to run a marathon.

Heading out to run a marathon.

The run. Oh, the run. It was 2:41 pm, and still warm. My coach thinks I have a road block in my head about running in the heat, but I think I just don’t tolerate it well, so I am conservative. I waved to my boys as I left transition, and wondered how in the hell I was gonna run a marathon! Ha! Here’s the weird way I felt. It’s hard to describe. My legs and body felt strong. My training did what it was supposed to do. But I was drained. I mean, of COURSE I was, but after the first few fast miles that most IM runners have, I knew it was going to be a very long marathon. I didn’t pay too much attention to time, which I sort of regret and am not sure if it would’ve changed the outcome, but I walked when I wanted to walk and ran when I could. I walked way more than I wanted or planned¬†to before I started running, but that’s just the way it was. My knee started hurting mile 2-3, so with every single step, I felt a jab of pain. It was not supposed to be easy, but I was doing it.


I was utterly SHOCKED AND AWED by the crowd support. I wasn’t expecting there to be that many people on the course, yelling, having fun, yard parties, signs, and all the madness that keeps runners running and their minds off how they’re feeling. I was amazed. I saw Batman, funny signs, a lady whipping people (lightly) as they passed by, and the best volunteers in the whole world at the aid stations. They were filled with people yelling out what they had, and all of them, at least once a mile, were basically the same, except the volunteers. Some were themed, but they were all great. One was filled with young ROTC young men and women (I cannot call them kids because they were so adult-like), and someone noted¬†after the race, “I’ve never seen someone so happy to hand out chicken broth.” True statement. They had vaseline on a stick, cold water sponges, ice, water, ice water, Gatorade, cola, pretzels, chips, grapes, and after sunset, chicken broth. I was totally into ice and cola, and found myself rejecting solids. I drank and drank and¬†salted like it was a¬†cheap box wine margarita.

I think it was about¬†five miles in (and my thoughts were “oh, great (sarcasm), “only” 21 miles to go. $%#@*”. I felt a tingle on my arm, and I realized I didn’t have any sweat on me. Hmmmm. I stopped running. I didn’t feel weird, I didn’t feel bobble headed like I did in Boston, but I wanted to be careful. I got my heart rate down, and started running again. Soon after, we turned, and I realized that my sweat had just been evaporating in the breeze because it was a full on sweat monsoon when we turned with the breeze. Thank goodness!!! I’d never been so happy to sweat!

I was going much slower than I wanted to and was at risk of not making my A goal time. But I just felt like I couldn’t hold on to running the entire time or as much as I wanted. It WAS hot, getting cooler, so I thought maybe I’d feel better later. We soon turned around and headed back around mile something. I still can’t remember what mile we turned around at. I walked through the really cool aid station in the park, and went through the Base Performance station. They were giving out tubes of salt, which I already had and used the entire day, but the guy there had a water bottle made up of his amino acid electrolyte drink. He told me to drink it and take six licks of the salt and I would feel better. I told him I was fine, just hot. He said to do it anyway. Okay.

I drank it over the next mile or two, and honestly, I did feel better. I didn’t have much extra zip or anything, but I felt good. My legs were still strong, although my knee still hurt, but I carried on.

The course goes through some really quiet areas and some areas that are buzzing with activity. You almost need both, but I truly enjoyed this run course. The speed bumps didn’t even bother me!

As I approach the half way point, I saw my boys, and knew I would become an Ironman in just a few more hours. At the run special needs, I grabbed some ibuprofen, chapstick, new gum, and headed out for loop two. I wondered why I hadn’t cried yet.

It was starting to get dark, and when needed, I turned¬†my hat light on. I tried to keep it off so I didn’t blind the runners coming the other way. I saw the Without Limits guys, I saw an amputee struggling in pain, I saw a very small woman pushing her disabled athlete in a running wheelchair, I saw drunk spectators, I saw more and more people struggling and heaving off the side of the road. I changed the words to The Sound of Music song to “The streets are alive, with the sound of heaving”. I’m so funny. I saw the kid who’s 18th birthday was that day, and congratulated him for bringing in his birthday in a really big way. His dad was running with him too, so I gave them both kudos. I talked to a few others who were on their first loop as I headed back with only a 10k to go, and I wished them well. I talked to a girl who did Ironman Texas who said it was warmer that day than in Texas. I talked to a guy who was passing me and had crashed on his bike and hurt his arm. I saw costumes, kids running around having fun and helping, and found that my head lamp made shoes and speed bump paint glow like it was uranium.

I was watching my time, and I knew I was close to my goal time, but I knew I was too far away to make up the time I needed. As I approached mile 25, the tears started. The crowds picked up, and I knew this entire thing had been worth every moment of stress, work, tears, sweat, and every dollar. I felt inspired, and I hoped, at that moment, that what I was doing would inspire someone else, hopefully at least my kids. I cried the ugly cry as I neared the chute. I was doing it. I did it. People were putting their hands out for me to high five. I couldn’t believe it. They were telling me that I had a great smile, look at that smile, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything BUT smile at that moment, one that I will NEVER forget. I felt like a rock star as I came through that chute.

Run: 4:58:07

I came through the finish line. I heard my name…. “Kelli Kerkhoff (then he said other names) …YOU ARE AN IRONMAN”. I saw my boys, turned and looked at them, and knew that I was forever changed. I did it.

As I was turning to see my boys – the ones I love the most. This is my favorite picture.

Ironman Florida 2015: 13:09:30

Anything is possible.

 

 

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, open water swimming, swimming, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The In Between Spaces

A week ago, I completed my training for Ironman Florida.

It's about time.

It’s about time.

At that point, there was really¬†nothing more¬†I could do to prepare for the race PHYSICALLY,¬†except to not get sick.¬†As I got in my truck to go home, I started crying. It was a release, it was part sadness, it was part relief. As I cried my way home, my mind was like a rolodex of memories of the past year, flash cards of experiences over the summer. The finish line is essential to this journey, but the journey is really what it’s all about. This past week, I thought about so many things that I’ve done (or made myself do) that I would not have done otherwise, and I realized how thankful I was to have this experience. As I prepare to head south to Florida this week, I am nervous, I’m a little scared, but most of all, I’m confident that I can handle whatever the day brings.

The sun rise over the ocean the day I got to swim in the ocean while the sun rose.

The sun rise over the ocean the day I got to swim in the ocean while the sun rose.

So what are these “in-between” spaces? Well, they’re not the number of miles I biked, or how fast I was able to get my 800 repeats done, or my power meter (if I had one) readings, the type of¬†tires I have on my bike,¬†how “aero” my helmet is (it isn’t), or how much faster I could swim a mile than two months ago (I can’t – I’m the same speed). I don’t know how many miles I’ve bike and run and swam. Because it doesn’t matter. I did it. I lived it. And it meant something to me. ¬†It was more about the people I met, the multitude of sunrises I saw, the convenience store¬†we frequented on our bike rides, the dumb dogs that chased us, the big, stupid jellyfish that assaulted me slid by and scared the crap out of me, swimming in my wetsuit in my pool, my husband and I finishing the Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 as a team, the caterpillars making their way across the highway as we passed, and the butterflies the flitted by every. single. day. we. rode.

Some of the best ladies I've met! Of course, I don't have pics of the gents I've met along the way.

Some of the best ladies I’ve met! Of course, I don’t have pics of the gents I’ve met along the way.

A pool-wetsuit swim. Yay.

A pool-wetsuit swim. Yay. Technically, the pool WAS wetsuit mandatory ūüôā

It was the way my kids understood what I was doing, the way my husband easily took a lot of burden off me, never making me feel guilty (I was good at that on my own) about the time I spent away or the money I have spent. It was the exhaustion I’ve felt, the naps I’ve taken, the way I yelled at those cars “because they think they’re so cool” as I biked that one Sunday during my meltdown, the laughter as I thought about silly things along the way (like when I peed my pants on purpose to “test” if I could pee on my bike),

Yup. Even though they're black pants, there's pee.

the reaction from people when I say I’m training for an Ironman, the way my friends reacted when I said “HELL NO I WILL NOT SWIM TODAY” because I was scared of sharks and jellyfish stings. It was swimming in the ocean while the sun rose.¬† It was riding 102 miles in the¬†hills of North Carolina, not knowing how much I would truly enjoy the experience.

Pre-100 mile HILL ride

Pre-100 mile HILL ride

It was understanding why people put themselves through this, the beauty of it all, when you step back, take the training out of the experience, and just experience the experience.¬†You see the in between spaces, the stuff people miss when they’re just training, when they’re getting through it instead of living it. The in between spaces is the meat of it, the bulk of an experience, the REAL-ness of it all, when you’re training for hours and hours in a week to cross a finish line to become an Ironman. It’s what IT is all about. It’s life. It’s real, and I love it. THOSE are the in between spaces.

Pre-ocean sunrise swim.

Pre-ocean sunrise swim. I’m on the left.

 

My mom asked me what one thing I’ve learned from training for an Ironman. I couldn’t come up with one. I gave her and my sister three things that I’ve learned about training for an Ironman.

  1. I have the best husband ever. Hands down, no questions asked. I just do.
  2. The finish line is essential to the journey, but the journey is definitely what it’s all about.
  3. I’m thankful God gave me a body that will allow me to do this and a spirit that wants the challenge.

And my final one I’m adding, is this:

4) I appreciate the in between spaces and thankful for them all, both good and bad.

I’m thankful, I’m lucky, I GET to do this.

No matter if the swim is cancelled for an algae bloom, if it’s windy, cold, hot, humid, whatever, I know I can get through it. I’ll remember the in between spaces and know that I can get through anything to get my finish line.

 

 

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, no fear, open water swimming, running, swimming, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

On Swimming, Biking, and Running

First of all, I have to give a HUGE, GINORMOUS shout out to my two coaches. Sami, my Ironman coach, just completed the World Championship 70.2 in Austria and is only a few weeks away from making her way to Kona. Hello, Awesome! She has been a huge inspiration to me and has helped me navigate this crazy thing called Ironman.

Sami finishing IM France

Sami finishing IM France

My¬†other coach, Kristen, has helped me train through some crazy races (that means I was crazy at the time, not the race), including my first half iron last fall. She was the one who had me ready to kick Boston’s butt before it kicked mine, and who will hopefully help me get another BQ come January. This nutty girl and her equally nutty friend made it into Otillo, the absolute swim/run endurance event this weekend in Sweden. This race entails swimming a total of 10k and running a total of 65k. Oh, but it’s not just that, it’s swimming to an island WITH YOUR RUN GEAR, running across it WITH ALL YOUR SWIM GEAR, then swimming to the next island, and so on and so forth. Check out the website because it’s proof people do crazy stuff. Ha! Best of luck to you my friend, Kristen.

1385080_10203974705300632_405769710090026340_n

Otherwise, I’m still here, chugging away at this crazy train called Ironman training and life.¬† Honestly, I’m not sure which one takes up¬†more time.¬† Training feels like it’s all-encompassing. It’s very different from the half iron, and I’m not sure if it’s this way for everyone else, or if I’m the anomaly, or if it’s a factor of being a first-time Ironman participant.

I was trying to describe it to my husband, because I feel guilty that my training is taking up about 90% of my brain. I think about training, the race, nutrition, equipment, the next workout, the last workout, sharks, should I have an extra pair of goggles in my wetsuit, what if it rains, I don’t like hills, all that stuff, whirling around in my head all the time. All. The. Time. ALL THE FREAKING TIME. I’m sure he’s tired of it, heck, I am tired of hearing myself talk or think¬†about it. In explaining to him how I was feeling,¬† and evidently I’m still in pre-school, because the only way I could accurately describe how I was feeling was by pictures.

So this depicts the Beach 2 Battleship half last fall. We were super busy, but I got all my training in. It seemed time consuming at the time, but I was sure to have fun with it and not stress out.

Half iron training.

Half iron training. Do you like my flamingos?

You can see the Beach 2 Battleship on the left but it’s on the side. It’s clearly there, but everything else in the picture is clear and it takes up more space in my vision than B2B.

Then there’s Ironman.

Clearly, my focus is on IM.

Clearly, my focus is on IM.

The Ironman is the main focus. Everything else is there, but it’s blurry, and the IM clearly takes precedence. This is how I feel 99% of the time. I can’t stop thinking about it, focusing on it, and chewing on it, spitting it out. But it’s always there, and everything else is in the background and fuzzy. Sure, I’m getting everything taken care of and it’s not like I’m ignoring my kids while I stare at the wall or something, but when we talk about something, my mind drifts to 1) training 2) the race itself. Considering how much time it takes me to train, it’s pretty clear why I’m always thinking about it, but I certainly gets annoying. Visualizing is good,¬†but I’m sure visualizing the heck out of this race.

On swimming, biking, and running.

Swimming. Oh, that pesky swim. The event that has me tied up in knots, the one I hope to get through, the one that scares me the most. There’s no reason to believe I can’t finish this swim in plenty of time. But crazy things happen, I know, so I’m doing my best to prepare for it.¬†¬†Except swimming open water. Yeah, there’s a jellyfish and shark convention going on this summer, so I’ve been out for a few weeks. A few weeks ago, I was going to try and swim in my wetsuit because there was a seriously jellyfish issue and tons of people were getting stung.¬†Then my friend posted this picture.

Yeah, a few miles from where I swim.

Yeah, a few miles from where I swim.

I basically had a panic attack. I know sharks are out there. I KNOW that, but this summer in the ocean is weird and these pictures were taken VERY CLOSE to my house, in the inlet, and a few miles from where we swim. I decided against swimming, which is good, since both the ladies I was going to swim with got stung up, even with full wetsuits on.

Me. Totally me.

Me. Totally me.

So I’ve been to the pool and have been swimming on my swim tether at my house. I have to say it’s going well. I can swim for 90 minutes without dying and being sore. I’m not fast, am not getting any faster, but, barring¬†any weird race situations,¬†I think I should be able to finish this swim in 1:45 or less and feel good.

BIKING.

Ahhh, biking. This is relatively new for me, this thing called biking. I’ve found to enjoy it, minus the cars going two millimeters¬†away from¬†me at 55 mph. I knew that I needed to really gain some strength on the bike. I’ve put in a lot of hard intervals, long rides, and it’s finally starting to pay off. I can now do 80 miles at 18+ mph after a tough week of workouts. This past weekend was the biggest confidence booster where I went 82.5 miles in 4 1/2 hours then ran 6 miles with every other mile at a tempo pace with negative splits, ending on a sub-8:00. Yeah, the legs were shredded after that workout, but I think I felt a rush of what it was like to really push yourself past the zone of uncomfortable. I pushed harder in that workout than I probably have ever, for sure harder than any other brick workouts. All I could think was that the harder I push, the stronger I will get and the better I will feel when I race.

The road. The road that goes for miles and miles and miles.

The road. The road that goes for miles and miles and miles.

One thing I really enjoy about biking on Sunday mornings is seeing the gorgeous sunrises. I’ve been so blessed to have good weather so far, but the sunrises? One of my favorite things. I love the sounds, the bugs as they welcome the morning and then move into the symphonies of summer. I’m out there for hours and hours, so at least I have something to listen to.

This holiday weekend, I’m heading to central North Carolina, where there’s HILLZ. Oy, I’m not used to hills, but it’s time to do what it is that scares me, which is a 100 mile bike ride in da hills. Yup, that’ll be me on Monday. Wish me luck. To say that I’m intimidated would be a pretty big underestimate.

Running.

I haven’t missed running. I’m getting long runs in, but I haven’t enjoyed them. Why? Because I can’t breathe. I’m losing 85% of my fluids in ten minutes of running. It’s so humid. It’s so hot. I know, it’s summer, fall is coming, but I dread my long run on Saturday because I know I’m going to soak through 2 pairs of my running shoes and be so covered in sweat, I look like I just got done with my swim. I miss you, cool weather, and I miss enjoying my running. This makes me re-think trying to get into the Chicago marathon because running in soup at pace is just, well, not fun!¬† BUT, like I mentioned before, I’ve pushed past the comfort zone, and even when my legs are tired, I have sweat coming out of my eyebrows, I push. I have a marathon to train for after IM Florida, and every little bit faster and stronger I get now will only help me later when it’s time to push the gas to the floor.

So there. That’s the deal. Focus. Drive. Hard work. It’s been fun, I’m truly enjoying this crazy thing, and I look forward to the next few months. It really has been a journey so far.

 

 

 

 

Categories: anything is possible, beach 2 battleship triathlon, being epic, Boston Marathon, coaching, half iron distance, interval training, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, no fear, open water swimming, qualifying for boston marathon, swimming, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

New Limits in an Epic Year

Well, hello there again, strangers. Today marks the first day of school for many parents, and I find myself here with a mimosa glass of cold water, finally able to sit down, guilt-free mind you, and write a post! The first day of school is normally bitter sweet for me, as is the last day of school. I LOVE having my kids home during the summer and school breaks, but there is something to be said about having uninterrupted hours to do the stuff I need to do to make this house clean and run like a well-oiled machine without finding the room I just de-cluttered all re-cluttered within five minutes because the kids are home. I don’t know what it is, but they’re just messy. Truth be told, I’d much rather have a messy, loud house full of kids, their friends,¬†and their clutter, than a clean, quiet one, so I am a little sad about¬†school starting.

I thought the best way to catch y’all up is to make a list, because I LOVE lists. I especially love to cross stuff off lists and am one of those who will write something down that I’ve already done simply so I can cross it off. I never said I was good at time management….

So here goes. Here’s a list of things I’ve been doing, in no particular order of importance.

**Ironman Florida is ELEVEN weeks away. I have to admit, when I saw that on the calendar just a minute ago, the word, “Holyfuckingshit” just flew out of my mouth. Sorry, mom. In reality, I have less than 11 weeks left. Gulp. Training has been kicking butt. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but it’s not supposed to be easy. I’ve had good swims, bad swims, good bike rides, awful bike rides, awesome runs, bad horrible sweaty runs. That’s the name of the game, but I can say that I’ve done my training and I’m feeling really good about it. I’ve pushed myself to new limits I never thought I could do (and still walk – it might be weird looking, but I’m walking). I’m loving it and can totally see why people get addicted to endurance sports.

**I started a company. Yes, I’ve hinted about this, but finally, FINALLY, I got my ducks in order and launched Epic Running Company, LLC.

EPIC Logo FINAL 2

This is something I never thought I would or could do. But it materialized just this year when I asked myself, “Self,¬†why the hell not??!” My focus is¬†a middle school running program I started, but I’m also interested in helping adults reach their running goals. I currently have one client, and he’s currently kicking butt in his marathon training. I love watching people push themselves past something they never thought they could do.¬† The program at the school will be starting on September 15th, and I’m so excited, I am giddy just thinking¬†about it!

**I rode 80.55 miles on my bike in 4 hours and 19 minutes.¬† That’s an average of 18.7 mph, y’all, and for me, that ain’t no joking around. That’s a limit I never thought I’d cross. Granted, I had intervals during the ride, and they certainly made me feel every single cell in my¬†legs as they screamed for me to slow down, but I didn’t slow down and it made up for me wanting to throw my bike into the Cape Fear River the prior week during a very challenging century ride.¬†Two weekends, two completely different rides.¬†That’s training.

**Athletes¬†talk¬†about things like we are babies/infants. We talk about pee, the color of it, if we got to go poo before a long workout, how much we eat, WHAT we eat, what we drink, how much we drink, how much, salt, sugar, everything we consume, what we wear, all that sort of stuff.¬†I would hesitate to bring this up, but hey, THIS is the bread and butter of athlete-speak, right?¬†So here goes. Yesterday,¬†near the end of my ride, I experimented with peeing in my bike shorts.¬†Other people do it and it seems like such a handy time-saver. I wanted to give it a try and see if it’s something I could do during the race. I found that yes, yes, I could do this if¬†I really needed to NEAR THE¬†END OF A RIDE, and I’m not to the point of being able to pee ON the bike (I just sat on the ground and let it go as I ate my Uncrustable), and I’m not sure, after 40 or so¬†years of training myself NOT to go on myself, that I could¬†even¬†pee while riding my bike (without falling over) if¬†I wanted to. Anyway, here’s what I liked and didn’t like.

I like that I didn’t have to walk into the¬†spidery, web-filled, mosquito-infested woods to pee, possibly baring myself to an innocent person “looking for morel mushrooms” or something equally treasure-like only to find a biker’s butt. “Hey mom, you’ll NEVER guess what I found in the woods today.” Peeing in your shorts completely eliminates uncomfortable run-ins like that. Also, you don’t have to wait in line to pee. Bonus. Go in your shorts and then “accidentally” spill your water, conveniently rinsing it off. You get some relief, AND you cool yourself down. What I didn’t like about it is that there was pee in my shorts.

Yup. Even though they're black pants, there's pee.

It collected like I was wearing a wetsuit. I didn’t like that and was baffled about how spandex can be waterproof (although we know I’m not talking about water).¬† So anyway, I might try it again, but am concerned with how the runoff is handled. I assume we all know where it goes, since most of us are familiar with gravity, but I won’t know until I try. I’ll be sure I’m riding solo, so if you’re one of my biker buddies, don’t worry.

**Sweating. I’ve never sweat so much and have reached new limits in how many pairs of shoes I can soak through during a long run (right now, it would be two in 14 miles but I really needed 3). Seriously, I’ve never done so much working out in humid, gross, disgusting coastal North Carolina. I can usually find a loophole in running or doing something that causes the entire liquid portion IN my body to come OUT as sweat. But there’s no loopholes in Ironman training, that’s for sure.

sweat

**I can change a flat tire on my bike in less than 10 minutes. I’ve had LOTS of practice – 7 flats since the season started for me in May. This has caused a new level of stress during the ride, probably for the people I’m with as much or more than myself, and I’ve developed situational Tourette’s Syndrome that features the “F” word.

This was me. Or a nice version of me the last flat I had.

I’m not proud, but I’ve decided I’m over it and it’s almost funny. I now have new tires, new rim tape, and new tools, since the old ones broke and¬†were “gently tossed”¬†into a ditch in Pender County when I had a flat and it took 4 of us 20 minutes to just get the tire off the rim. That was fun. But now I am confident that if I get a flat during the race, I can change it quickly and be on my way. That’s a skill every biker should have.

My favorite quote.

My favorite quote.

**I’ve truly embraced this quote: “If you want something you’ve never had, then you have to do something you’ve never done.”¬†I live and breathe¬†this quote. I’ve cried, I’ve bled, I’ve thrown stuff, I’ve sworn, I’ve been so tired, I¬†forgot what I was saying in the middle of my sentence, but I’ve kept going.¬†I know it’s only going to get harder, but the beautiful thing is that we can adapt. We change to accommodate the difficulty that will come. It’s going to get really hard with school, two kids in two sports, husband training for a marathon, and my training, coaching, and a house to run, but this is what life is, isn’t it? Isn’t THIS what we’re supposed to be doing? Having fun and making memories along the way, doing things we never thought we could?

I smile thinking about this year, the things I’ve been able to do, the experiences I’ve had with my family, and it really is going to be the Epic-est year.

I’ve¬†embraced¬†uncomfortable-ness like never before.¬†¬†And there’s absolutely nothing that will make me stop.

 

 

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, interval training, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, no fear, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Well Hello There

I can’t believe time has gotten away from me so much that I haven’t posted in a month. I was on vacation in Missouri the last time I was here. With training and my kids at home and plenty of fun/work to be had, I figured the one thing that could be left off the list¬†is my blogging. So I didn’t blog. I’ve read a lot of¬†your¬†blogs, not even taking the time to “Like” them, so I am sorry if I seemed to have dropped off the radar,¬†if anyone pays attention to those things.¬† Instead of trying to catch up on the last month, which would only leave us all breathless and a little overwhelmed and my fingers worn down to nubs, I figured I could just recap a little of my vacation and tell you that my training has been going really well.

Ironman Florida is only 13 weeks from this coming weekend, which is a frightening thought, but my workouts have increased so that¬†the extra load is¬†almost unnoticeable and very doable. (Next weekend’s workouts have been posted since I started this post and I take it back.) I’m at that point in training when riding my bike for 3 hours is considered an easy, short ride. Sort of like when you’re in marathon training and 13 miles seems easy and short.¬† The beauty of it is, is that I am having a great time and enjoy the time I am training.

The last time I posted, we were finishing our week with my parents near Branson, Missouri. We had a great time, but the weather certainly didn’t cooperate and we spent a lot of time dodging rain and storms instead of playing on Table Rock Lake. My parents love to cook, and it’s GOOD, so we ate like kings while there. Bonus. We left one early morning and headed up to Ames, Iowa, so I could meet the now-THREE time Ironman, Kecia from Push My Limits. I wish I hadn’t been so worn out from the 8 hour drive, but I was so great to meet someone I had only known through blogging.

 

Kickass Kecia and Moi meeting in Ames

Kickass Kecia and Moi meeting in Ames

After that, it was crazy ironic that also in Ames were my best friend from high school (and one of the few people I frequently correspond with), and two other friends from high school. I met up with them and we laughed as we talked about old times way back in¬†school. It made me thankful I wasn’t in high school anymore (boy, we thought we knew everything, as teenagers do), but wishing for those days when responsibilities were low and fun was to be had at any moment.

My BFF Sonia, Cory, Adrienne, and Moi

My BFF Sonia, Cory, Adrienne, and Moi

We stayed in Des Moines that night, and I was able to talk to my friend, Sonia, at El Bait Shop, a cool little bar in downtown Des Moines, a little more before fatigue from travel got the best of me.

The next morning, we headed to Field of Dreams. The weather was perfect and everyone was in a good mood. When we got there, we looked around, bought some stuff at the gift shop, and headed to the field to play catch. Of course, my son had to ask my husband, “Dad, wanna have a catch?” as Ray asks his dad at the end of the movie, inevitably causing us to break out in tears. As my husband says, “I’m a weepy old bag.” It was a grand moment, to be at THE field of dreams and play baseball with my husband and kids. I don’t know how long we were there, but it was perfect.

Field of Dreams movie set in Dyersville, Iowa

Field of Dreams movie location in Dyersville, Iowa

We packed up our gloves and headed towards my alma mater, The University of Northern Iowa. We headed to the gift store to get some UNI clothing and look for a replacement for the stuffed panther I got 22 years ago and sleep with him tucked into my arm still to this day. No success on the panther, but I did find some good deals on UNI clothes – score! We walked around the entire campus, and I showed my boys where I had classes, and answered their burning question of “Did you kiss someone at the campanile at midnight?” since I had told them that was the homecoming tradition. I also had to explain what homecoming was since it’s not a big deal where we live like it is in Iowa. We headed towards downtown Cedar Falls, which was absolutely cute and beautiful and had really come into its own since I had left back in 1996.

The campanile at UNI

The campanile at UNI

After not exercising for two days, it was time for me to get a long run in. The morning we left Cedar Falls, I went for a 10 mile run that ended up being an 11 mile run because I got turned around (lost). Thankfully, I checked my bearings with some very nice ladies at a flower shop to be sure I was going in the right direction only to find that I was not going in the right direction. They sent me down a road that wasn’t safe for runners, so I ended up going the LONG way back, but it was a beautiful, cool morning filled with the sounds of wrens and robins calling each other, something that I have missed a lot since moving away from Iowa four years ago.

When we got on the road, it was about four hours until we got to our last destination, Sioux City,¬†before heading back home. “Operation Surprise” was in full effect as we neared. My kids spent the earliest years and pre-school days there with some of the best friends we have ever had. The parents knew we were coming, but the kids did not. Heh, heh. I love surprises. When we walked into the back yard full of kids who didn’t know of our impending arrival, the looks on their faces was priceless. What was funny is how much all the kids have changed in the years since we have seen them. Sort of sad too, since I’ve missed it and I miss them desperately, but it was just good to see them all. We drove around to see our old neighbor, house, the places we used to hang out, and some of the new things that have come to town. It was a lot of fun, but honestly, I didn’t miss it as I thought I would. In fact, I only missed the people there, and nothing about the place made me feel sad to be gone. It’s quite evident that I am totally in love with Wilmington and North Carolina.

My best friends from when we lived in Iowa.

My best friends from when we lived in Iowa, the ones who taught me about adult friendship.

Over the next three days, we caught up on¬†each other’s¬†lives, let the kids reconnect, which took all but twenty seconds, and had the best time hanging out. We played cards, we sat in the driveway around a fire, we drank too much beer, we ate too much food, and we watched as the kids ran and ran around just being kids. During this time, I tried to get some exercise in, but I decided my friends were too important to cut our nights short so I could get to bed at a decent hour so I could get up before the scorching hot sun came out in the morning. I got in a few runs, but they were not good. Oh well, I knew I was going to hit training hard when I got home and I knew I wouldn’t regret letting it slide while visiting our friends.

The kids ran around and had so much fun the three days we visited.

The kids ran around and had so much fun the three days we visited.

When it was time to go, I was ready to head home. We had one more stop though, dinner with my cousin who lived near the airport we were departing from in Kansas City. It was so good to see her and her family, to reconnect and see her kids, and talk about our grandmother, who we used to visit together for a week during the summer as kids.

Two weeks after we left Wilmington, we came back home to Wilmington after a very EPIC trip. We flew 1800 miles and drove 1800 miles in our rental car, we swam, we talked, we ate, we drank, we saw so many places and people, some for the last time, and we thoroughly enjoyed our two week trip in the summer of 2015. It was tiring and expensive, but it was so worth it.

Have you ever had a huge, epic summer trip as an adult or kid?

 

 

 

 

Categories: being epic, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, running, swimming, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mish-mash and Nash

IMG_7874

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

Spring Really IS Here

 

azalea

You know it’s officially spring here in Wilmington, North Carolina, when the Azalea Festival arrives. It’s a time when everyone in town can 1) Party like it’s 1899, 2) Eat fried anything, 3) Go to concerts that would never normally come to a town this size, and 4) Watch a 3 1/2 hour parade.

azalea1

There’s the¬†parade, carnival, craft shows, garden parties, a bunch of stuff I’m not invited to because I’m not a belle, more stuff I’m not invited to but is put in the paper, probably to make everyone NOT invited jealous and WANT to be invited, which makes the entire Festival one of those “I really want to be a part of this thing but I really don’t know how or why”, and concerts. Alan Jackson was in town last¬†night, and tonight, it’s the rap god, Nelly (and my son would have said, of course it’s not the rap god, THAT’S Eminem), who will be donning the “big” stage. There was plenty of “wha?” when it was announced that Nelly was the festival headliner. I mean, this Azalea Festival is all about southern belles and gentlemen, spring flowers, and¬†fried oreos,¬†so what does Nelly have to do with THAT? Because he brings in a LOT of people, that’s why, and there’s no way in gold teeth that he would ever come here at any other time. Hey, maybe he likes azaleas…

It hasn't gotten too hot because he still has his clothes on.

It hasn’t gotten too hot because he still has his clothes on.

So last night, when everyone was donning their cowboy hats and boots way down yonder by the Chattahoochee, I was at a home run derby, getting eaten alive by flying jaws. Tonight, when what I suspect will be a different set of people will be getting hot in here but hopefully keeping their clothes ON watching Nelly, I will be at a different field, yet again getting eaten alive by flying jaws, watching my son play soccer.

THE Azalea Queen

THE Azalea Queen

Last year, we went to what we now call “the longest parade in world history” on that beautiful Saturday morning, which was three and a half hours of watching five floats go by, followed by ten minutes of watching the people across the street because there was nothing coming down the street, followed by five more floats, followed by ten more minutes of watching the people across the street (repeat no less than twelve thousand times), and then finally, finally, FINALLY, the Azalea Queen float comes down the street, which is when we went to the carnival and spent $20 for a¬†glass of ice water with a cup of sugar and a lemon’s worth of juice in it and resisted the urge to buy a fried tenderloin on a stick with Kurly Fries for a “great deal” of $75. All served with a smile. This year, we will be at the soccer and baseball fields for our entire Saturday, which is part of the deal when you have two kids in sports. In honor of the Azalea Festival though, I just may have to spring for a $2 hot dog.

So in my last post, I had mentioned that word “cry” and I was upset about something. Simply stated, I was sad about my marathon goal. I’m¬†over it, but get bouts of sadness every once in a while. I’m allowed.¬†I STILL have a post to post on that one, but there’s been a lot of stuff cooking here in my house, and it ain’t the Food Network’s fault this time. And it’s not actual food cooking. Except for when I make dinner of course. So sometimes, when there’s a lot going on, I do this:

deer

Yes, the proverbial deer in¬†headlights. ¬†It’s all good, and I really CANNOT wait to share what’s going on, but I need to get my ducks in a row first. After I get done staring at the wall and going buh buh buh. Let’s say that this youth coaching thing is getting bigger and my vision is now a very distinct possibility.

As for my workouts, I’ve ridden my bike the last few days, simply because 1) that’s the workout I planned and 2) I had no choice yesterday. Storms rolled through the entire morning, and as much as I like to bar-b-que, I do NOT want it to be me, so the only option I had was to ride my bike indoors. I absolutely LOVE storms, or at least not the ones where you head for the basement, and yesterday’s was like therapy. Rain, thunder, more rain and thunder, for hours at a time. I kept the house perfectly quiet while I cleaned, and it was perfectly soothing. My version of a bath in lavender.

Anyway, I’m headed to the pool today, which is almost like going to get my teeth extracted, because it’s PERFECT outside. BUT I know what I need to work on and my legs are tired, so I don’t want to do too much, plus I have a brick planned for Sunday. You know you’re tired when you walk up the stairs and need to pause and take a breath. Yeah, I need a day off. That will be tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend, every one, and I hope you are enjoying spring!

Do you enjoy spending your weekends getting eaten by flying jaws? Does this make you think of sharks like it does me?

 

 

Categories: being epic, coaching, follow your dreams, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, swimming, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Epic-est Year

Did anyone else¬†get the January blahs last week? Sheesh. The sun disappeared, which really has a tendency to make me feel like a zombie and it sucked the will to write out of me. And my computer and WordPress haven’t been getting along so when I type, it is literally as slow as a manual¬†typewriter, minus the¬†White Out.¬†Last week¬†was weird. I felt like the aforementioned zombie, but¬†I also felt pretty good. I turned the corner on that pesky self doubt thing, my workouts have been spot on, I had an energizing meeting with my coach-to-be, and¬†I realized that I’m going to have a freaking awesome year.

Maybe it was my post-800 run¬†when I thought about the year as a whole and I actually said, “Wow, it’s going to be the epic-est year!”. While I know that’s not a real word and I can’t win Words With Friends by fitting it onto a triple letter, triple word space, it’s my word of the year. I’ll tell ya why it’s gonna be the Epic-est.

But¬†first, here’s the rundown on my workouts.

Monday was a post-17 mile easy run of 4 miles. It was raining that day, but it was one of those great rain runs. I was surprised at how good I felt after rocking out 17 miles at 8:42 pace the day before (the self-doubt day).

I was nervous Tuesday. I had 6 x 800’s at 3:40 maximum and a 400 recovery between. I was anxious. It was cold and windy. I headed to the track and ran a nice mile warm up. I was alone and sporting my new pair of hot friggin’ pink Adidas Boosts (Salt, they really do have a boost!!). I turned on my good playlist and started my first 800. Bam. Second 800. Bam. Then third. I was half done and I was averaging 3:33. What the hell was I so worried about??? Another “aw shucks” moment for me when I worried so much for no reason. Then came the last 800 and I ALWAYS try to knock out the last 400. Bam. 3:28. And I felt good, not depleted, not out of breath entirely. Sure, my hands were going a little tingly, but that’s the fastest I’ve gone in a while. It felt delicious. I ran a mile warm down to make the total workout 6.5 miles. I felt exhilarated and confident.

6th 800 time. So happy 'bout that right there.

6th 800 time. So happy ’bout that right there.

Because I had to switch up my workouts and shift my Saturday/Sunday running to Friday/Saturday, I¬†planned to do a tempo run on Wednesday instead of Thursday. I ended up running with a new and awesome friend, Melissa,¬†and didn’t do a tempo run. I was hesitant about having two really long runs back to back (actually three counting the week before the 17 miles) and then having two speed workouts back to back in between those long runs. It pretty much goes against everything “they” tell you to do, so I didn’t freak out. It was a good 6 mile run, especially because of running with someone else.

Thursday was to be my day off, but because I hadn’t gone to the pool yet¬†and I committed myself to go swim at least once a week, I headed to the pool. I think I’m making maybe a teeny bit of progress, but I know there’s a long road of improvement ahead of me. I swam 1750.

I like my hair.

I like my hair.

On Friday, I had a 9 mile marathon pace run. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but I was hoping to average 8:30 if I could. I was happy to finish feeling well¬†and calculate that I ran the 9 miles in 8:13 or better average. I can literally feel my training and see the progress in the workout data.¬† I almost freaked out when someone kept following me, but <sigh in relief> it was just my shadow. It’d been so long since I’d seen her, I forgot what she looked like.

Saturday’s run was¬†19 miles. And this was Meg’s Miles day, in honor of a runner who was killed by a drunk driver while on her morning run.¬†¬†I was nervous because I know that when you get into miles like that, there’s going to be some discomfort. Aren’t we runners goofy? I also knew that I was lucky to be able to run.¬† I ended up meeting with someone new from the Wilmington Road Runners since we were at the same goal pace (9:00) and both had long runs and I’ve decided that I need to branch out and¬†meet other runners. Running alone when your other friends can’t run or have different paces can be so… lonely. ¬†Let’s say that the run wasn’t easy, but it was so nice to run with my new friend, Amanda. We chatted the entire time, which is a long time to talk to someone you’ve never really talked to before, so it was awesome. We saw one of the most beautiful sunrises ever, and I know I was mindful of Meg and felt very happy, no matter the miles or time or anything. I was alive and I was running.¬† When I was done with my 19, Amanda had another mile to go, so I stretched and drank my chocolate coconut water. Mmmm, good, I love that stuff. When Amanda was done, a bunch of Road Runners came out to cheer her on (how freaking awesome is THAT??), and we ended up chatting with a bunch of them for a LONG time. My stomach told me when it was time to go, and I swung by a friend’s house on my way home to pick up her tri bike to test out. My plan was to soak in the pool when I got home, but I was cold, could not warm up, so I didn’t think it would be a good idea to get myself even colder. I did miss the soak, but my long hot shower was pretty awesome. The rest of the day was spent doing yard work and chasing the kids around the yard and jumping on the trampoline on the couch. It was a good, tired feeling, that unique “I did a long run and feel like crap but I did a long run and I am awesome hear me roar”. Because I technically had two long runs in one week, I logged in just over 61 miles for the week. Roar!

Me and my new running buddy, the cool Amanda

Me and my new running buddy, the cool Amanda

So what about this year makes it the epic-est? Well, maybe because I believe it will be epic, so it can’t NOT be epic. Mind over matter, we create our own happiness, right? The day I decided it was going to be the epic-est year, my husband and I agreed. Epic. That’s our theme. We’re going to go big, go crazy (as much as two responsible parents can anyway), do what we want to do, be what we want to be. So what does that entail for me?

First, my husband is turning 40 in a few weeks. It’s going to be an epic time. He has no idea what I’ve planned for him, and I really HOPE he likes what I’ve planned, but I’m intending for his birthday to be unforgettable.

Then in March, I’m running the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon to try and qualify for Boston. I’m not going to get all self-doubty on you here, but I’m nervous about it, but then again, that’s ok to be nervous about it. It’s a big thing to try and do. I KNOW I can do it, and I just hope all the pieces come together that one day to make it happen. I’m going to have a great race and do my best, and that’s all I can do.

In April, it will be a first for me to take a trip with a bunch of girls. Many of them are going to run the RNR Half in Nashville, but I’ll be sitting by the sidelines cheering on the runners. We’re going to go out and have a great time in a city I’ve only heard about. Epic.

We are going to our 24th Dave Matthews Band show in May. Epic. Will we ever tire of our love for Dave? Nope, doubt it!

This summer, we are going to visit my parents in Branson, Missouri, where we will play on the lake, go to Silver Dollar City, zip line, and have as much fun as our pocketbooks and ab muscles can take. From there, we will head up to see our old friends in Iowa, ones we haven’t seen but once since moving away in 2011. The kids are so excited to see their first best friends and I know it’s just going to be a blast. Allthewhile, I will be training for IMFL. And I’m EXCITED about it!

My kids are going to be in different sports, doing things they love, and they are going to be epic. We’re going to do all sorts of fun things on our adventures too.

Coaching. I’m going to coach this spring, the Kids Run the Nation and Stride, and this fall, I’ll be coaching middle school Stride (or I may end up trying to start a track club through the school – haven’t decided and don’t know what’s possible yet). It’s going to be awesome!

This fall is going to be the epitome of the epic-est for me personally, since I’ll be taking on Ironman Florida. In fact, I’ve already had a dream about it, visualizing the beginning and the fact of just being there. While the dream I had cannot be considered a realistic visual (I assume we wont be starting¬†from a house boat – maybe that was from seeing someone mention the Alcatraz tri and they start from a house boaty thing) I thought it was so cool that¬† my thoughts of IMFL have already manifested themselves into a dream. I will be working with a very positive and experienced coach who I know will lead me to IM success. There is no room to question my success. It WILL be epic. I’ll be training all summer, all fall, and it’s going to get nutty in here. I’m going to be tired, grumpy, and working my butt off, but it’s going to be a journey with a destination I would have never imagined.

On my short recovery run with the pup, Scarlett

On my short recovery run with the pup, Scarlett

Along the way, I know I’m going to be running, biking, and swimming with some amazing people. I’ve already branched out and met more amazing people just this week. I think my husband (check out his blog HERE) and I are going to team up and do the Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 relay. I mean, how epic is THAT?? For him to just say, “Ok, I’ll run the marathon¬†for you.” That’s damn cool. He’s the best. I’m also trying to decide what other events to do in prep for IMFL. The possibilities are endless, but unfortunately, my pocketbook is not, so will have to decide what is the best for training and what will maximize our training dollar.

So anyway, my year is already shaping up to be damn epic and it’s only January. And yes, I know I used my entire year’s worth allotment of the word “epic” in this one post.

Any EPIC name suggestions for our B2B 140.6 relay team???

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, being epic, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, ironman florida, marathon, running, triathlon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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