Posts Tagged With: open water swimming

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

Ironman Florida 2015 – Pre-Race

Spoiler alert! I finished Ironman Florida on Saturday!!!! Whohoooo!!!!! I’ve been thinking of how I would write this post, and honestly, I have no idea where to start without having it be fifteen huge posts all about it! I can say that the experience was overwhelming for me, in a good way. I’ll start at the beginning.

All decked out.

All decked out.

We left home on Tuesday so we could get to Florida on Wednesday. It was my husband,¬†our two boys, five suitcases and backpacks full of crap (which turned out to be four too many), my bike, and of course, me. The travel went well, and we got into Panama City Beach early afternoon on Wednesday. We checked in our hotel for one night, then I went to get my race stuff. Ironman Village is pretty cool. I’ve never been to a big race like this, only marathons and Beach 2 Battleship, which, to me, is just not the same. People seemed calm, the vibe was good – not electric, but good and happy. I wandered around a little, met the Base Performance guys, bought a race belt, picked up my IM stuff, and bought a few things at the expo. I had no workout that day, so we did do a lot of walking, wandering, and absorbing.

All registered and checked in!

All registered and checked in!

On Thursday morning, I met a few fellow Without Limits (our coaching team) guys and we went for a swim in the gulf and an hour bike ride along the course. The swim was great, the water was warm and clear, and the bike felt good.

Doug, me and Phillip

The weather was warmer than I had imagined it would be (mid 80’s with very high humidity), and it really bugged me, but I had to wrap my head around it, absorb it, get mad about it, obsess and worry about it, then I got over it and made a plan to deal with it. HYDRATION was the name of the game. We moved hotels, and I got busy eating and making up my transition bags. I was glad we had a hotel close to the village, as there really wasn’t a place to park nearby and the city was on top of towing anyone who tried to park anywhere but a legit parking space. I felt so bad seeing cars with bikes on them get towed off to jail. My family had a nice dinner at a restaurant on the water, and because of the daylight savings time change four days before, coupled with a time zone change, 5 pm seemed like 7 pm, so around 7-8, we hit it goodnight.

On Friday morning, I woke up at 4:45 (which felt like 6:45 to me) and realized that 24 hours from then, I would be racing. I wasn’t nervous. Where were my nerves? Did I spend them all on worrying about the waves, the heat, everything else? I don’t know, but I was pretty darned calm for what I was about to do. We all got up, ate some breakfast, and headed to the beach so the kids could play and I could get a short swim in. The swim felt good. I mean good. The water was very calm, warm, and the strokes just felt natural, not tiring or what they sometimes do. I was feeling it, and I was really happy about that. We let the kids play a while, especially since they had been trapped in the car and following me around for a few days, and we headed in to clean up.

As we jammed to my IMFL playlist, I finished getting my transition and pre-race bags ready, and around 11-12, we took my bike, Diggy, and all my crap, down to Ironman Village to turn it in. The one thing about Ironman that I wasn’t expecting were the number of volunteers and the seamless process they had in place for registration and check-in. It was extremely orderly, the volunteers were great and informative, and within just a few minutes, I had dropped everything off in its proper place and scouted out the transition route. No nerves still. Maybe it was because I knew I¬†had adequate training, maybe it was because I knew I could handle what was to come, I don’t know, but I just didn’t get nervous. I was excited, yes, but not nervous. I had a good feeling about the race.

Walking all my stuff to IM Village

Walking all my stuff to IM Village

That afternoon, there was supposed to be the Ironman Underwear run, which never really happened for reasons I’m unsure about, even though I had painstakenly purchased Wonder Woman undies then decided for something less revealing and¬†got some¬†Star Wars boys boxer brief things at Walmart.¬†My boys were both registered for the IronKids¬†.75 mile run that started and ended at Ironman Village. I wanted them to feel they were a part of the festivities, and they were pretty excited about being able to finish under the IronKids banner and get a pretty cool medal.

IMG_9386

Too bad the big one’s eyes are close! They rocked the run, that’s for sure!

They knocked the race out, and we then headed back to the condo. After a nice chat with my coach, we grabbed the football and went to the beach to relax and play. It was just gorgeous out, and playing with my boys was a great way to end the afternoon.

Playing on the beach at sunset. Perfection.

Playing on the beach at sunset. Perfection.

On Ironman Eve, my husband and I left the kids at the condo in search of a big burger.¬†That always suited me well for marathons, so I thought it was a¬†good idea to stick with what works. We found a good one at a cool new place close to the hotel, The Wicked Wheel, and took it back to eat with the boys. Two seconds after I sat down, the burger was gone. ūüôā I got my list ready of the things I needed to get done before I left in the morning, thanked my boys for all their support over the last several months, and we headed to bed.

One thing I did NOT do, was drink a bunch of extra water. I had been drinking water, had a Gatorade at the expo the day I rode my bike and sweated out a bunch, and had not had coffee or any soda that week, but I didn’t drink extra. One thing I did before Boston was drink and drink, which who knows, may have had something to do with me running low on electrolytes during the race.

When I woke up at 2:45 am on Saturday, I found my nerves. All of them. They packed a punch, too. I laughed, and was happy I hadn’t felt that way before that morning. My hands were shaking!!! Does it make sense if I say I had nerves but no anxiety? I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be nervous, at least just a little bit, and I certainly was a lot, but I wasn’t anxious about doing the race. I knew I had to break it up into pieces and get each piece done before I could move on to the next, all while being sure I thought about the big picture when it came to nutrition. I ate my toast and peanut butter, and went to lay down until it was close to leave for the Village, at 4:15. When we got to the village, I took my nutrition bags and filled up my bottles on the bike, checked my two transition bags, and then realized I couldn’t find my phone. I knew I took it from my husband as I went into the transition area, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Tears. THERE was my anxiety!!! I knew it was just hiding from me!!! I fell apart. But I doubt it was about the phone.¬† Deep down, I knew we would get it back that day, and I didn’t think any of “my people”, the triathletes or volunteers, would steal it. But it gave me a reason to bawl, which made me feel better.

Ready to go on race morning.

Ready to go on race morning.

It was time to head to the beach and for my husband to go get the kids. We decided to splurge on the VIP experience for them, so they wouldn’t have to fight to find a place to see me like they did in Boston. By the time I got to the beach (I was warned there would be a bottleneck and they were right.) That was the time I wish I would’ve had a buddy to hang out with. I was surrounded by thousands of people, but I felt very alone at that moment. When I saw the beach, full of people ready to watch the rest of us race, I got excited. I saw that the waves weren’t small, but it didn’t seem too choppy like it gets here, and I knew my ocean lesson was worth getting. I was confident I could handle this. For the first time, I was confident about the swim. I WAS CONFIDENT ABOUT THE SWIM. Something I never could imagine.

IMG_9405

I was confident about THAT!!! Who’d-a-thunk that??!

I looked and looked for my husband and kids to no avail. I had a bag with some things in it, so dropped it at the morning bag area. They said the National Anthem. Still no hubby. Boo. The physically challenged athletes were on their way. I borrowed a stranger’s phone and found that my boys were indeed in the VIP tent. Whew. I just wanted to know they were there, which was the theme of the day for me. Seeing them made me calm, made me feel ok, and of course, made me happy.

Because the water temp was 77 degrees, it was not wetsuit legal. They allowed wetsuits, but we would have to wait ten minutes after the non-wetsuit people were on their way, and we would not be eligible for awards or Kona slots.¬† Yeah, no problem for me!¬†I knew I wanted to wear mine so I didn’t waste extra energy that I would need to get over the waves and fight the current. I was afraid I would get too warm and it would drain me for the rest of the warm day, but it was a risk I was going to take.

It was time. My Ironman was about to begin.

 

 

 

Categories: anything is possible, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, open water swimming, swimming, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 Relay Recap

Team “This was her idea” completed the Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 on Saturday. I did the 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike, while my husband ran the 26.2 miles to the finish.

FullSizeRender

Four score and seven years ago…ha, just kidding. My alarm rang at a bright (it was actually really dark) and early 4:00 am on Saturday. I had a list of things I needed to get done before my sister picked me up at 5:15¬†and took me to T1, where I would drop off the special needs bags, T1 bag, and got my bike all pumped and ready to go.

They passed inspection.

They passed inspection.

The time flew, and it was time to head to the swim start via trolley. I was lucky to find my friend, Alisha, who I’ve ridden bikes with and was doing the full 140.6 on her own. And spoiler alert, she finished in a screaming fast time of 12:45! When we got to the start, we came upon several others we knew, so it was so nice to have company while we waited.

Ready to go!!!

Ready to go!!!

I’m so tired of peanut butter. It’s definitely my go-to sandwich topping and I normally eat two pieces of bread with peanut butter before long bike rides. Not Saturday. I hate a BUNCH of small pancakes before I left home, then some Clif Shot Blocks and an Uncrustable at the swim start, probably 20-30 minutes out. My nerves never really hit, even as we made our way to the start line, during the National Anthem, prayer, and as the countdown began with “Lose Yourself” playing in the background. It was windy, and I was nervous about that part, but I was ready to go. I couldn’t believe what 750ish people all ready to swim 2.4 miles¬†looked like. That was a LOT of people to swim with.

B2B start

B2B start

After the horn sounded to start, I let many people start and walked across the sand¬†into the water, jogged, then dove in. The sound of so many arms and legs working through the water was cool. We would be swimming down Banks Channel for quite a while, then hang a left into Motts Channel, a right, then head to the finish. I knew the current was strongest in the middle of the channel, and I tried to get to the middle as soon as I could.¬† When I was,¬†I noticed we were flying. The swim was going to be fast. That’s when my head started hurting. Damn.¬† I bet my goggles were too tight. Well, nothing I could do but finish the swim and let the headache go away, as it always did. But first, I needed to experience typical “mass start” swim inconveniences, such as getting kicked in the face by a moron who was cutting across all the other swimmers, probably because he wasn’t sighting. I called him a name, readjusted my goggles,¬†then went back to it. In the meantime, I was kicked, hit, and had others hit my legs and feet while swimming. Nothing major though. Good. I needed to know what that felt like, because I know for sure that Florida is going to be about ten times worse, or more. I stopped several times from a strange sort of bottleneck that emerged where two people were blocking me and I felt it would take more energy to go around them than just keep going and let itself sort out. Soon, we passed by the half start. Then I saw the turn buoy, and it was coming fast. As soon as I passed the orange triangle, I took a¬†left and angled a little left of center since I knew the current would bring me right. Once we got into Mott’s Channel, we flew along again, and the navigation marker pole came up so fast, I think someone actually¬†ran into it. I aimed towards the finish ladders, and was soon there, but stopped kicking to pee ūüôā Twelve years later, I was ready to get out. My friend, Stacey, was working the medical tent at the swim finish and I was so happy to hear her cheer for me as I got out of the water. One thing that made me surprised and happy was that there were tons of people left in the water. For someone who freaks out about being last all the time in group swims, I was just thrilled to be in the main crowd of people. Whew!!! Swim time: 1:05.02 (my normal 2.4ish mile swim is 90 minutes, so that’s how fast the current was).

From swim finish to T1, about a 300 meter jog.

From swim finish to T1, about a 300 meter jog.

Two words: Wetsuit Strippers. Then we went through warm showers to get as much as the salt water off our bodies as we could and headed for a little jog to T1. I heard my name called out so many times, I saw my sister, and it made me so happy. Do crowds really know how amazing they make athletes feel? I felt like a rock star as I ran with my wetsuit slung over my arm, dripping wet, and grimacing from the pavement hurting my feet.¬†I grabbed my bag and went into the tent, changed my clothes, put on arm warmers, applied sunscreen and chapstick, said hi to my friend Rebecca, and got ready to bike. I put food in my bag, but I had no time for that and wasn’t hungry.¬†Damn. I had to pee again. But I had already started towards my bike, so figured I could wait until the aid station at mile 21 to go. I found my bike and was headed out for a nice 112 mile ride.¬†I went to turn my watch on, and damn. Battery dead. Oh well, I had my bike computer to go by.¬†T1 time: 9:26

Bike traffic was tricky for several miles. I didn’t want to get a penalty, but I didn’t know how to handle the bottleneck since everyone was pretty much drafting. The vehicle traffic was not blocked off, so it was weird and I wasn’t sure what lane the bikes could be in without getting run over. Hmmmm. Ok, I just followed the people in front of me. Finally, several miles (or what felt like it), the bikes thinned out and we headed out on I-140. We had a good tail/cross wind, so my speed was good. Honestly, wasn’t sure what it was, but I felt good and strong.¬† I did my best to stay back and be sure I could pass the person in front of me before any attempt, and I did a lot of passing. I got passed quite a bit too, but I didn’t care. That meant I beat them on the swim, so I soaked up that feeling while I could!¬†I came upon a few girls chatting side by side, so finally, after a guy tried to pass on the left and hit rumble strips that made his water bottles fall off his bike, I yelled at them to move over and stop blocking. I could have done that in a nicer way, but really, how rude. It’s not like they couldn’t see all the bikes piling up behind them. Another irritating thing was that my headache hadn’t gone away. In fact, I had a raging headache at this point, and no ibuprofen.

Another interesting thing I noticed during this early part of the ride is the “violation police” on a motorcycle going by marking people’s number down for rules violations.¬† They were out in force. The last thing I wanted was a time penalty, so I did my best to not violate the rules, but with the bottleneck, I didn’t know how to actually follow the rules. Something to talk to coach about for sure.

The miles clicked by, and I wish I could have found my “zone”, but I couldn’t since we were using the left lane of an interstate and the right part of our lane was coned off with cars zipping by at 60-70 mph¬†in the right lane. One wrong move, you hit a cone, and bam. Done. When I saw the very large bridge come into view, I knew we were at mile 20 and the bathroom was coming up. Thank goodness because I sure had to pee!¬† I refilled some of my eFuel, went to the jon, and was on my way again. Right into the wind. I’m not sure what the wind speed was, but I felt like we had a straight head wind of at least 10 mph. Someone said it was maybe 15, but I don’t know for sure, but it wasn’t a “light breeze” by any means. I put my head down and pedaled. And pedaled and pedaled. I sometimes get random songs in my head when I bike. I can’t remember the name of the song, and it’s not one of my favorites by any means, but all I know is that part of the lyrics have “when the wind blows”, which I thought was appropriate for the situation.

I am familiar with this route, so I knew of some landmarks along the way. I’m not positive of the speed I was going, but I wasn’t pushing too hard. My legs ALWAYS feel tired when I start out on a bike ride, and they were¬†feeling it at this point. I think we were into the wind for 30 miles? Not sure, but we turned left, where I thought we would find relief from the wind, only to find very minimal relief. Damn. All I know is that I didn’t want it to switch around so we would have a head wind on our way back!

I thought I saw on the map that our special needs was at mile 51 or 53. We passed 53 with no special needs, and I wondered if I missed it? What happened? I didn’t understand, and I was thinking of the Coke I had in there and was anxious to drink it. Along this ride, I learned that I like to eat on the bike. I’d never really done that in training, and I’m not certain why, but I was like a biking food truck. I pulled things out of my bag, put them in the pocket in my bike shirt, and would eat a little here and a little there. Energy beans and shot blocks was what I had first, then I remembered I had some baby yellow potatoes. I dug them out and slowly ate them. Delish! Thanks for the idea, Angela!!

Finally, I saw a commotion ahead and came upon special needs at mile 58. One of the volunteers brought me my bag, and lo and behold, it was a friend of mine, Michelle. That was so cool! Another friend yelled hi to me. So awesome! I was half way through the bike and tired from pushing into the wind so long, PLUS my headache still hadn’t gone away, so I was sort of out of it. I didn’t want to eat the sandwiches I packed to practice with, so that’s one thing learned. I grabbed my Uncrustable, more shot blocks and beans, noticed the line to the bathroom was too long, and headed on my way. A mile or so later, I realized I didn’t even see or think about my Coke in the bag. Damn!!!

We had some tail wind mixed with head wind and side wind the next several miles. My headache was pounding, so over every bump, it radiated up to the top of my head. Oh, it hurt so bad and I could do nothing about it. Mental training was all I could think. A few miles up the road, I passed a biker holding his bloody face while the EMT’s helped him. I said a little prayer for him – that’s nothing anyone wants to see, ever, but especially on someone’s race day. I found out later he was ok and wants to do the race next year, but has no recollection of what happened and why he crashed.

Between mile 70 and 80, I struggled. The road was rough, so every big bump we went over, it felt like someone was stabbing me in the head. I know this is a tough part of the bike anyway, so I let myself cry. Then I sucked it up and carried on, stopping to pee and to get water somewhere along in there. Four stops was all I was going to allow myself.

With about 20 miles to go, I was on a smooth road and the miles clicked off. My legs felt strong, so I started to push a little more. With 12-13 miles to go, we turned south, and had the most amazing reward in the form of a tail wind. I headed towards my finish line, where I would hand off my timing chip to my husband and be done racing for the day. I pushed, I passed, I reveled in our delicious tail wind that was helping me maintain speeds of 21-22 mph. I had my cell phone in my bike bag just so my husband could track me to know when to be in the relay exchange zone (yes, I know I’m not supposed to have a phone, but I didn’t touch it during the race, only having it with me for tracking purposes). He noticed I was coming to the finish pretty fast and got ready to run.

When I headed over the big bridge that takes us to downtown, I got emotional. I did it. My longest bike ride to date, and it was a good one, despite the wind. I had no idea the time, no clue to my average speed, but I learned a LOT, and I had a great experience along the way. Two support crews stuck out in my head – a group of girls dressed as Wonder Woman were following someone, but always had cheers for other racers. There was a HUGE group of people dressed in blue t-shirts out supporting their person at many points. Wow. Those people were amazing to see, the amount of support they provided their person,¬†and they also helped me too. I couldn’t imagine that kind of support!

Coming into T2, where the relay exchange was.

Coming into T2, where the relay exchange was.

I rode into the transition, gave my bike to a volunteer, and quickly found my husband waiting for me. I quick gave him a kiss and the timing chip, and he was on his way. I laid down because my head was pounding, and knew I needed to get something for it before I did anything else. The exchange zone volunteer asked if I needed anything, and actually went and got me some medicine so I didn’t have to get up, even when I told her I could go get it when I got some food. The meds came with a medical person who had to clear me before he would give me anything, which is cool and annoying at the same time, but I got my Tylenol and within minutes, my headache cleared.¬† Bike Time: 6:25:27. Crazy fast for me!!!

Wow. I did it. 2/3 of an iron distance on my own. It wasn’t easy, but was filled with a sense of relief for the things I learned along the way and of pride and of confidence for Florida, three short weeks from that very day. I went to the finish line to see if they would let me have food, only to find tons of people I knew, including my coach. I chatted with her for a bit, grabbed some grub, and headed back to get my bike, change clothes, and watch my husband as he ran his race. Things took a lot longer than I planned, but along the way, I noticed that I felt really good. My legs didn’t even feel very¬†tired, and I knew at that point, I got my nutrition and effort level right on my training ride. I knew I could run after that and that I would be super tired (who isn’t?), but that it was doable.

I’ll leave the rest of the details out since this is long enough, but I knew people about three miles from the finish who were watching for my husband. They alerted me when he was on his way back, so I was ready and waiting for him at the finish to cross that line with him. He wasn’t having a great race and didn’t feel great, but he did an amazing job, and we finished the 140.6 together.

We did it!!!

We did it!!!

B2B Iron Distance Relay Time: 12:09:57

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Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, go for your dreams, half iron distance, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, running, swimming, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 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

Summer is Here!

Wow, there’s a reason why I haven’t written in a long time. I’m too frickin’ busy complaining about how¬†hot it is here. And the only thing I can think of when I think about the hot weather, which has seemed to permeate my thoughts, is this scene from “Good Morning, Viet Nam”:

Training has taken its toll on me, as it has everyone else who has been trying to deal with the sudden emergence of surface-of-the-sun-like temperatures we are having here. Unseasonable? Yes. But there’s nothing we can do about it but pack our salt licks and go on our merry way.¬† I give myself five minutes of “bitch” time, then it’s over and just deal.

This is me.

Why yes, I WOULD like some cheese with that whine.

My kids are back home, which has been nice, yet messy and time consuming. We’ve had a sleepover with three extra kids, and yes, it’s time consuming and messy, but I really like it. It makes me happy. When they were gone the week before, I got a lot done, but I certainly missed the mess and the noise. I missed the snuggles and the night time routines, their socks in the laundry, and cheerios found in random places. It’s good to have them home and to see their friends.

So let’s see, last week was the post-shark bite week when we all flocked to the 93 degree pool. My workout the day I went to the pool was a two hour bike ride, one with friends doing pickups, then a 3000 yd swim. I had no idea how miserable swimming long distance in a hot pool would be. I had to stop a lot to put my arms up on the side like a beached whale, just so, when I put them back in the water, it would feel a tad bit refreshing. That workout took me so long, and since I had gotten up so early, I crashed when I got home and stuffed my face. I took a power nap, and still, that night when we went to have dinner, I would talk about something and then just forget what I was talking about. I think it was just the culmination of a lot of hard workouts in the heat. Acclimation at work.

Last Saturday was the Tour de Blueberry bike ride, in honor of the Blueberry Festival in a small town right up the road from us.

Getting ready to roll....

Getting ready to roll….

I think there were several hundred people there, and I had originally signed up to do the 64 mile ride. With the late start and near-100 degree temps expected that day, I changed my mind and decided to do the 32 mile loop and make it count. The roads were bumpy in some spots, we smelled “money” out on the farm,¬†and I got hit in the face with some HUGE bugs (thank goodness for sunglasses). It was hot and I was tired when I got done, but I felt good about my decision to cut the ride in half. I hadn’t been on a ride with that many people since I did RAGBRAI (a week long bike ride¬†across Iowa)¬†way back in the 90’s, so it was actually fun!¬†¬†I ran 2 miles post-bike, and nearly found myself melted onto the ground. The line for the food was too long, so I just headed home, ate like a pro football player, cooled off, then headed out to get my husband’s Father’s Day present and grocery shop, since he was picking the boys¬†up that day.

Father’s Day was a TON of fun. A special “Happy Belated Father’s Day” to you dads out there! A friend of ours, who’s kids are good friends with our kids – BONUS, took us out on their boat for the day. We parked at Masonboro Island, and we frolicked in the sun (well, it was under a canopy) pretty much the ENTIRE day. We came home happy with big smiles.

Our view. Ahhh, gorgeous!

Our view. Ahhh, gorgeous!

On Monday, my friend and I headed back to the waterway for our first open water swim since the shark incident. We didn’t see any jellyfish or have any other “encounters”, but we were on high alert, and it was nerve wracking. We were glad to be done. Since there was no current at that particular time, I was pleased with 1.1 miles in just over 40 minutes. With all the currents, it’s hard to get an idea of what my pace is and what to expect for Ironman, so I was happy to have a “time trial” of sorts.

I swam again¬†this morning¬†for a long 1.7 miles with a push, and I was a little more comfortable being back in open water, even with another shark incident just north of our beaches the day before. We had a current so my time was at a much quicker pace and I finished in 47:00. I went home to do 16×1:00 bike intervals. It was the hardest I think I’ve ever pushed, and I have to say it was an amazing workout. I’ve never seen 27 mph on my bike, EVER, so that was good, even though it didn’t stay that fast very long! Even with the air turned to 72 and a fan, it was a sweat fest!

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I’m surprised you can’t see my feline supervisors. They’re there making sure I work hard.

My running has been going well, biking is picking up some strength, and well, the swim is the swim. I have one gear (slow), but as long as I get it done, that’s really all that matters.¬† I’m so close to launching my business, and wow, there’s a LOT that goes into starting something, even when it’s pretty simple. I’m working on my husband’s marathon training plan. That has been a lot of fun, well, a lot more for me than for him!! It’s hard to believe it’s already that time when I can’t even wrap my head around October, which is when his race is. Well, it’s our 140.6 relay where I’m swimming and biking in prep for IM Florida, and then he gets to do the marathon. It’s so cool that we will be able to cross the finish line together!

I’ve got a 12 mile run on Friday, swim again Saturday, then a 4 hour bike on Sunday (I’d like to do 70 miles so however long that takes). Looks like the weather will be more “normal” next week, just in time for me to go out of town!

How about y’all? Complain about the weather when it’s unseasonably hot? Do you feel more worn out and run down when it’s hot?

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, coaching, interval training, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, open water swimming, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

It’s Getting Sharky In Here

Boy, did summer come in with a vengeance this weekend. Mid-to-upper 90’s and lows in the upper 70’s. To quote Paul from RunningWild, “Satan is sitting his ass crack smack dab in the middle of North Carolina”. That pretty much sums it up, but¬†I have to be thankful the humidity is lower than usual, although just going outside makes you feel like you’re visiting the surface of the sun.

Things have been crazy busy, good busy, training is going well, and my kids are out of school. They both got straight A’s for the entire year, and I am so proud of them. I did remind them why I bugged them so much about doing homework. ūüôā This week, they’re at their grandparent’s house, so I have a HUGE list of things I want/need to get done while they’re not here. I’m not doing well with my list so far.

I had to do a little dance when I got my Inknburn Boston Jacket in the mail the other day. I immediately put it on and hoped for cooler weather so I could wear it. That certainly isn’t going to happen anytime soon (see above), but one can hope.

LOVE it.

LOVE it.

 

LOVE IT MORE.

LOVE IT MORE.

I’ve been enjoying my swimming, although I had a bad swim the other weekend, due to expectations not meeting reality. I thought it was going to be 1.2 miles with a significant current push, but it turned out to be 1.4 miles with basically no current push, and at one point, it was a current push in my face. It can get frustrating when expectations don’t meet reality, can’t it? I beat back the negative thoughts in my head for a few days before I was “back to normal” again. I do not have time to second guess my swim. There’s no room for it in my training plan, and just as there is in running, there will be bad swim days. Just do your work and move on. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway!

Finish Line of the swim race.

Finish Line of the swim race.

My running has been going very well the past few weeks. I’ve been pulling out some impressive times in speed work even with the increase in temperature, and I think it’s mostly due to the work on the bike. It happened last fall when training for the half iron, so I suspect it’s the case now. I’ll take it!¬†I’ve been riding 60 miles on the bike most weekends, some faster than others,¬†and I’m putting in some good interval work during the week. I honestly think coming into Ironman training after a marathon was good timing. I’m also hoping going into marathon training after Ironman will prove to be a good thing too.

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Before track practice. Sooo pretty!

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some of the most beautiful sunrises the past few weeks.¬† I’ve gotten to know more people through the school,¬†training, running, biking, and swimming. It’s a trip, and I am finally feeling back to myself after several years of stress and moving. I feel settled, feel happy, feel lucky, and grateful for the life I have full of amazing people.

Before Friday's swim.

Before Friday’s swim.

We’ve had a few twists this week. Friday, my friend and I went for a long open water swim in the channel. I made her swim under the bridge (mostly because I missed the boat on where everyone else was starting, but it really did turn out to be a good thing), which she HATES because there’s trolls who live under there and lots of fish hang out in the dark, shaded water. They might be drug dealers, but no one knows for sure. Not long after we successfully swam under the troll bridge, she told me she saw a jellyfish. Ok, that’s cool. I’m down with that. But I wasn’t. Totally wasn’t. At all. The first time I saw one, and you have to know, this was my first “wildlife encounter” during a swim besides seeing those teeny little fish and a skate along the shore, I screamed and started splashing around like a 2 year old. I immediately thought that I would then attract sharks, because they like noises. But I couldn’t help it. I knew these jellyfish were safe and didn’t sting, but it was the thought of it that freaked me out. Things kept bumping my feet, and when I saw one, I tried really hard, but I couldn’t help but¬†jumping a little¬†under water and coming up for air.

I may have behaved a little like this.

I may have behaved a little like this.

I may have let out a few “OMG” or possibly a “Oh, FUCK”, but it was my first wildlife encounter!!!! Then it was like they were everywhere, bumping my feet, getting allupinmybidness. I couldn’t go ten feet without seeing one and I told my friend, “Hey, that’s enough, I’m out.” She guilted me into finishing my workout with a simple, “You’ll regret it if you don’t finish your workout”. Needless to say, I got in some extra cardio with that jellyfish swim. But we got it done, 1.5 miles in 50 minutes, with lots of stopping, screaming, splashing, talking, troll-watching,¬†swearing, and a good push from the current, THANK GOD.

We felt like they were out to get us!

We felt like they were out to get us, laughing and texting all their jelly friends, “Look, we’re making them scream!”

Some other people we knew swam by and I heard a random, “OMG” and “What was that?”, and¬†one of them¬†ended up getting out of the water too. I don’t know how many kinds of jellyfish there are, but one of my friends got stung, I was freaked out by just seeing them, and they were just everywhere, scaring the crap out of us swimmers. I was ready to get back in this week. Until this weekend happened.

We all KNOW sharks live in the ocean. We all KNOW they have to eat. They’re misunderstood creatures, thought to be scary and evil, but they’re just sharks doing what sharks do. I like to pretend there’s some netting, really good netting, or gates at the entry of the waterway where larger fish, except for dolphins of course, cannot come through. It’s like a gated neighborhood. When the hoodlum wants to come in, access denied. But this weekend, on three separate occasions, people were injured by sharks. One was not a major injury, but two of them were. All of them involved kids, and two of those kids will have at least one amputation because of the shark bites.

And people, this happened in my neighborhood.

I swim at Wrightsville Beach, I take my kids to Kure Beach, and good ole' Mr. Shark was chewing on people at Oak Island, barely around the corner.

I swim at Wrightsville Beach, I take my kids to Kure Beach and Ft. Fisher, which is at the southern end of the island, and good ole’ Mr. Shark was chewing on people at Oak Island, barely around the corner.

That’s a little close for comfort. I believe the bites happened near a pier, which makes complete sense considering there’s bloody bait at the pier from fishermen WANTING to attract fish, so I do wonder why they were swimming so close to it. Then again, I have too. And I was going to on Wednesday for an ocean swim lesson in prep for Ironman Florida. I’m not now.

So there’s been a lot of shark jokes thrown around, but when there’s three bites over a weekend really close to home, which defies the odds, it’s time to maybe just be a little extra cautious. I assume two of the bites, and even all three, were from the same shark, but you just never know. I’m not willing to take that chance, especially when, according to one of my coaches,¬†shark attacks occur more during a new moon and a heat wave, two things that we have going for us right now. As for open water, I’m finding out from OTHER people what the jellyfish situation is. Depending on that, I’ll see if I want to swim in open water or head to the pool. As for now though, I’ll just keep assuming there’s some big gates filtering all the sharks from coming into the waterway, and if they slip through, they’re just little guys like this:

He's so cute!!!!!

He’s so cute!!!!!

Or that they’re just trying to help:

IMG_2604

What would you do? Any “wildlife encounters” you’d like to share?

 

 

Categories: interval training, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, open water swimming, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Medication: Friend or Foe?

Another week slipped by since I’ve written and it seems like just a few days. I’ve been pretty busy (I hate using that because really, who isn’t busy?) trying to get a bunch of stuff done before the kids are out of school (and dealing with the events of last week- details below), and getting my workouts in of course.

Ahh, the events of last week. Last week was “interesting”. Due to a mysterious allergic reaction to something the week before, I had to go on Prednisone, and then the dose started decreasing last week. I thought all was good and that I was lucky enough to not have the side effects of the medication, since I heard they could be…um, well, not so fun. THEN last week happened. And I got all the side effects. No sleeping. Hunger. Moodiness. Aggression. All of them. And I was training hard and trying to start a business. It was hard. It was weird. I¬†didn’t like it.¬†It made me feel crazy. I didn’t understand why I was feeling that way after the dosage went down, but after talking to other people who have been on it, it’s pretty normal to feel “slightly off”. Yeah, I’ll just say I felt slightly off. If off feels like this:

 

Thursday.

Thursday.

And then I was hungry. All. The. Freaking. Time.

Everything I could pile into my mouth, I pretty much did.

Everything I could pile into my mouth, I pretty much did.

The good thing that came from¬†this was¬†a 5k race on Thursday night.¬† I didn’t want to run it, had had a VERY disturbing day (as for how I felt, otherwise it was normal), but if you combine eating and aggression, running a race really isn’t a bad thing. I had a crappy attitude coming into it, fueled on Diet Coke and chips only 3 hours before it started (because eff it, WHO CAAARRREEESSSS??!!! See above picture.) It was hot. I swam that morning and it felt like my arms were filled with concrete. Blech. So when the horn went off in the Wilma Dash, a unique women’s only race, I went. I ran. I ran hard. I ran until my lungs hurt. My legs were tired. My mouth was dry. I was sweaty.¬†I just wanted a sub-24:00. Ok, a sub-23:00. And I came in at 22:21, enough to win 15th overall and 3rd masters. I felt a little bit released. Well, let’s just say I felt better.

Look at me on the left all scared like. Maybe it's because he took a hundred pictures and I was just tired of standing and wanted to get my beer back in my hand.

Look at me on the left there all like, “Let me go so I can get my damn beer back before she drinks it.”

Bonus on the night is that the team I’m on, Without Limits Sole Sistas, won largest team and a party at the famous Front Street Brewery. It’ll be like one free beer per teammate, but hey, better than nothing!!!

On Friday, we headed to my husband’s alma mater, Clemson, for my youngest son’s football camp.

Takin' it down.

Takin’ it down.

The Dabo Swinney Football Camp was top notch. My youngest was among the best players and coaches¬†in the nation, filling them with life lessons and football skills.¬† I’ve never really felt a lot of love for any team on my own, and I was very happy to adopt Clemson as “my” team back when I met my husband. Same for the Red Sox. I’m not a die hard, but I’m right there, wearing my orange and purple and white, cheering them on in good seasons and bad.¬† My sons have a sparkle in their eyes when they talk about it, which to me, means a TON of money will eventually be heading the tiger way (which brings on the same kind of hulk feeling when thinking about how much money college costs), but for now, we really enjoy our time there. It hasn’t been often we have time to wander campus and check out the sites in his old stomping ground and spend way too much at the apparel store. While there, I got in eleven miles of hills and even more exploration.¬† Good times, minus the six hour drive and¬†getting home at 11 pm the night before the kids start their end-of-year testing. Hopefully we can get back this fall for the game against Notre Dame, which just so happens to be on my birthday and one month before Ironman Florida. Yes, we really are trying to do it ALL this year!

Death Valley

Death Valley

As for training, I’ve been doing what I can when I can, pushing myself to be ready to start training.¬†Yesterday marked the first day with my coach, Sami, from Without Limits. She’s a 12-time IM finisher and Kona qualifier, and she¬†recently qualified for worlds in the 70.3. I know I’m in good and experienced hands! I’m not a very OCD person (if you saw my house right now, you’d get it – it’s just a mess but I’m sitting here blogging), but I have to admit that all was right and good in the world when I got my Training Peaks email and next two weeks training uploaded. Ahhhh, structure!

I learned a few lessons listening to the coaches at the football clinic and¬†will find so many ways to use them in my training and for coaching. I’m motivated (even without the prednisone), am happy about my choice to push the register button that day in November, and am so looking forward to the journey. It’s certainly not going to be easy, but what journey worth taking IS?

Oh, oh, oh!!!!!!!!!!!!! The word is out, the number is in, and I wanted to let you all know that the UNCW running teams have MET THEIR FUNDRAISING GOAL and can continue on for another year!!!! They were able to raise $255,781.59 IN THREE MONTHS! Thank you for listening to me talk about my local issue and a very special thanks to those who contributed to the teams. They are so appreciative of our support and are already working hard to secure large donations to be able to update/renovate/rebuild the old track and field facility that so many in our community use and probably take for granted. I love running!!!

So all in all, it’s been a good week, I’m “officially” IM training now, and I have a love/hate relationship with prednisone. I’m glad it quickly helped my allergy, but man, it certainly made me feel funky.

Have you ever had “interesting” side effects of a medication? Do you have a love affair with any particular school?

 

 

Categories: coaching, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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 ūüôā

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

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

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