Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nothing a little pixie dust can't fix . . .

Today was the Inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland. And, of course I just had to do it. And, I HAD to dress like Tinkerbell - duh!!

Plus, this was going to be the first big thing I got to do since my 5th knee surgery!! It turned out to be a beautiful day at Disneyland.

The race started @ 5:45 a.m. and it was a bit chilly, but the day was predicted to have a high of around 82 degrees. So, we were not worried. Even though it was 48 degrees at the start, there were people who were dressed like it was 4 degrees below!! They had long pants, gloves, hats & goose down parkas. "Heat stroke" was what I was thinking.

Oh - and the WE is me and my Beckies: Becky C & Becky Lee. We were all dressed alike in our beautiful Tink outfits. As were the 1,000s of other women - and some men. As it turns out, there were about 11,000 women and approx. 900 men!!! Like the announcer said, "Smart men!"

There were men dressed as Peter Pan, men dressed as Tinkerbell, men dressed as "other types of fairy-type characters." It was not boring, to say the least.

We walked most of the race - due to the fact that I have not been running. Although we did some running & some flying - we are pixies, after all!

Anyway, the day went great!! We spread pixie dust all over everyone to bring them peace & joy & happiness. I got to the finish line & felt like I could do another 5 or so miles.

And - I had no knee pain. It was a nice to feel that way after a half marathon.

Maybe it was the pixie dust!!! Whatever it was - I will take it.

Can't wait 'til next year!

Bring on the green!

Much Peace and Love,

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Here I go again . . .

Last weekend I went to a very scary and exciting place - no, not just in my mind, but a real place. I went to Tempe, Az. Which is not only home of the ASU Sun Devils, but once a year is home to Ironman Arizona. Place where I did my very 1st (and only) Ironman.

One of "my boys" - who shall remain nameless - decided it was a good idea to go volunteer at IMAZ. Now, I had already been thinking of making the journey to Tempe in order to cheer on some of my friends from the book. And, there was going to be a book signing, too (can't pass that up!). P.S. - Order the book & read it . . . it's pretty dang good.

So, it made sense to go ahead and volunteer. I could cheer friends, hang out with my boys & get a cool free t-shirt. It's a win-win. Oh, did I mention - get to see some pros race?? That is also fun.

So, what the hell is so dang scary about going to Tempe? Well, anyone who knows how Ironman registration works knows that if you volunteer you get to have the privilege of standing in line early the day after the race in order to sign up for next year's race - the privilege to sign up & to pay $682.50, to be exact! Now, this is a great opportunity, as these races sell out fast. Those who volunteer get to sign up before it goes to the general public/online registration.

This pretty much guarantees "the volunteer" a spot for the following year.

Still not scary? What? That amount of money - hours spent standing in line - getting to do an Ironman next year???

Oh wait . . . back that thang up. Say what?? Why would a woman such as myself, who just had her 5th knee surgery, whose doctor told her running was bad for her - sign up for yet another effing Ironman?? Not a sprint-distance tri!! Not an Olympic-distance! But a full-blown, "Let's train for months & have to run & end up doing another LOOOOOOOONG-ass Ironman race!!"

Who did this to me? Whose idea was this? Vit? Pimp Daddy Jay-Z? Or was it H.R. PufnStuf and Big Dave? (my vote is those 2 SOBs)

But - cold, hard fact is that I am the culprit! I stood in that line & I paid that money - and now, I am officially signed up for IMAZ 2012.

And, I have a ton of my boys who are doing it with me. Let the party begin.

P.S.: The race sold out in less than 10 mins.

That's it for now . . .

Much Peace & Love, TracerX

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The 5th time's a charm ? ? ?

Yes, a question mark. And I know it may sound bizarre, given that I've had four knee surgeries already. Three of them have been ACL reconstructions. Yet somehow I doubt that this truly is the last knee injury and/or knee surgery I am going to have.

I will say that it is getting old - the "it" being me (LOL) - that I am having this "every-other-year" knee injury that requires surgery, I think this time in particular due to the fact that I was just running on the treadmill. I was running approx. 11-min. miles when I felt a small pop and pain in my left knee.

This was not the gut-wrenching, sickening kind of "pop & pain" that I've had with the other knee blowouts, so naturally I thought not a whole hell of a lot about this incident. Three out of the four knee injuries have been traumatic in origin - the other was sheer stupidity! I mean, what 42-year-old broad races a 12-year-old track runner? Starting from a sprint position? Who does that shit? (she says, raising a hand in the air shyly, slinking back hoping not to be seen)

No trauma and no stupidity.
Now I'm just perturbed.
It's all in the genes.

The usual ensues with a doctor visit (we think it's just a meniscal tear).

I continue to train. I continue with my new addiction - Crossfit. (this is to help me gain strength for my tri's)

I have even cut back on my running and . . . gulp - I have dropped out of one of my favorite triathlons - The Santa Barbara Triathlon (long-course).

After 5 weeks of waiting it out, the pain was not going away.

Hello again . . . it is now 10/29/11 and I have since had that MRI on the left knee AND have had surgery!! A week ago. It went great!

As it turns out I tore my medial & lateral meniscus AND my ACL!! That makes #4. But I refused to go through the ACL surgery. So, just clean up the meniscus & we are done.

Another quick side note - end of Sept., I tore The ACL in my right knee. Maybe because I was favoring the left knee?? So, that made #5.

Five torn ACLs on two knees!! Three on one knee. These are great odds! I am going to strengthen my quads & try my best to take care of these wittle knees o' mine.

Enough for now . . .

Much Peace & Love, TracerX

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Aloha from the Big Island . . .

So very excited to leave a damp, cold and rainy day in Los Angeles to hop on a plane for Kona. Coming to the Big Island for "vacation" - at least that's what Vit & I told our spouses - when in reality we were here for The Big Show!! In our language "the big show" is The Ironman World Championship. The mother of all triathlons . . . here on the islands. However, the original Ironman did not take place on Kona, but rather on Oahu. Okay, enough history - these posts are short and sweet, because after all, I'm on "vacation."

So, uneventful flight - layover in Honolulu - then on to Kona. NOTE: major weather change from L.A.!! Warm, balmy & breezy. In fact, one might say - downright tropical!

Car rental, hotel (Hilton Waikoloa Village) where I have to completely unpack and feel "moved in" and then it's down to the venue to see some of my friends. Ya know - Chrissie, Crowie, Rinnie, etc.

Of course none of them is around, but we did find out about a gathering that was being thrown by Macca a/k/a Chris McCormack. So, after getting our "sea legs" about town, we grab a bite to eat and head out to find this so-called party.

After giving up and getting ready to turn around, lo and behold - we see the Clif Bar flags on the outside of the house!! We have made it.

This is basically about 20 or 30 or so people hanging out, drinking beer & chatting with Macca.

I walk in and find him (like I do). I give him a copy of my book - well, the book of which I am one the subjects, You Are An Ironman, by New York Times writer Jacques Steinberg - and I sign it for him. Thanks to my wonderful friend Vit, we find out Macca is signing more books in town the next day and I tell him I will be by for a "book swap": one of mine for one of his. "Sure," he says.

It's on. So we hang out - like we do - and then realize that Terenzo Bozzone is also at the party. So I go up to him - like I do - and give him a hug (he just had achilles tendon surgery and can't race) and we chat for a long while & have a beer!

I have new friends!!!

My first day in Kona is grand so far. My hubby, Vit & I are rollin' with the big dogs. Let the party continue!!

Aloha for now. Got the Underpants Run to do - that shall be a blast.

Much Peace & Love,

Friday, May 13, 2011

Two, two, two firsts in one . . .

My first flat tire during the race & my first (and hopefully last) DNF! I know you're asking yourself, "In which race did this occur?" and, "Say it isn't so?"

Well, my faithful followers (speaking of which - Pendong, where the hell are you???), it was Wildflower. I came back to redeem myself for missing last year and not doing the Long Course, and this is what I get?

Technically I should have stayed in bed - er, the sleeping bag. I was not feeling well at all. But because I am a-"SS" (studette or stupid) - I got up to do this race. Let's face facts, I had an axe to grind with this course. I needed to see what the fuss was all about. What is this thing they call "Nasty Grade" that I had to climb on the bike? Or how horrible is this run? Steep hills that are sooooo steep that one must walk? Ha! I say.

Or not . . . I started the race with an extremely stuffed-up nose & a very tight, congested chest. I hurt. But I could not back down. Of course I was PISSED! Why the heck did I have to get this now? Don't answer.

The swim was rough - a lot of wind. Of course it was windy & choppy. Why wouldn't it be? Me not feeling well = tough swim. LOL

The bike ride was good, believe it or not. I was feeling strong. My legs felt strong, but my chest wanted someone to rub Vick's Vapo-rub all over it. Oooh, and take off my aero bars to replace them with a humidifier. Can you imagine?

At any rate, the bike ride went off without - wait, with only one hitch: the flat tire. Cruising down a nice hill where I had to brake a bit, and felt the sickening feeling of the back tire swerving around. Luckily, there happened to be a support tech fixing another rider's flat tire - which makes me wonder: was the evil Dick Dastardly out there throwing nails on the course?? Hmmmm.

Yeah, I know it's a cartoon, but life can be like a cartoon (so says I). And, I was riding Penelope Pitstop - and you know how Dick feels about her.

Ya know, Nasty Grade wasn't even that bad. And I found out later that the support guy put my tire on and it was rubbing on the wheel some . . . so, technically that ride was harder for me than others! LOL, again.

It did hit me at mile 53 on the bike that I was feeling really crappy. I knew I was not going to be able to do the run. So, after a "come to Jesus" talk with myself and a few tears - I decided I was going to have to quit the race.

I flew down Lynch Hill right into T2 and saw my running shoes.

I decided I would just go ahead and put my shoes on and give that dang run a try (this is the "S" for stupid).

I got everything on and started to run out of T2 when I saw my saving grace, my athletic supporter, my editor . . . my husband! I ran and hugged him, crying and asked him to tell me it was OK to quit!!

He said it was OK. Lola said it was OK, too.

And that was that. My race was done. DNF.

Now it was time to go watch my Vit & Pimp Daddy Jay-Z finish this race.

I guess I will have to wait 'til next time. Third time's a charm, right? See ya next year?

You'll just have to wait and see . . .

Much Peace & Love,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Donkey shins . .

Darling, donkey shins. In other words, THANK YOU! Thank you to all of my peeps. My friends & my family.

My wonderful family who had to put up with so much - all my time away, the meals that I did not cook (well, I don't really cook that often to begin with - but still)

I have two teenage girls who really enjoy having their mother around. They consider me one of their best friends - (sound of palm of hand slapping face) - wake up!! Who has teenage daughters who "enjoy" hanging out with their mom? Unless mom is taking them shopping for something, right?

In reality, my girls are amazing! They have been very supportive of my training. They have helped with cleaning & cooking and grocery shopping. They are incredible. My loves, I thank you with all of my heart! I could not have done it without you! I want you by my side always - ALWAYS!

Friends . . . a multitude of them - all of whom are phenomenal. But Lola stands out as simply "outstanding". She wasn't only there for her husband Vit, but she did double duty by being there for me, too.

There were the pick-ups from the long bike rides (like the time we got lost, rode over 10,000 ft. of climbing, 8 hrs. of riding, ran out of water) or when we really were just too exhausted. The trips she made to El Pollo Loco to get us BRC burritos & Diet Cokes. Ooooh, the baking of the delicious muffins. The warm blankets while we watched triathlons on T.V. (and, she let us WATCH the triathlons!) Coming out to the races & not just being there to watch, but run around & take pictures, ring that cowbell & scream her head off.

Even as I write this, I get all misty-eyed thinking how important it was to me for Lola to be there in Arizona. I really was on pins & needles waiting for her to get there two days before the race. I was way more at ease when she finally arrived. She didn't feel good - but she was there!! I thank you with all of my heart & yes, I could not have done it without you!

Then there is my editor, who happens to be my husband. Again, without him I could not have done any of this. I can basically apply everything I said about Lola & apply it to my hubby - minus the muffins & BRC burritos. But, he did have the binoculars & walkie-talkies so he and Lola did not miss a thing.

He got all the perfect photos, the "woo-hoo's" & high fives as I went running or riding by.

He was also instrumental with the foot massage, neck massage and my oh-so-important popcorn & Fudgsicles!! Don't ask . . . lol.

And, of course, there is Vit. What can I say about Vit? He is to me what Samwise Gamgee is to Frodo. He is THAT important. I could not have grabbed that golden ring without him supporting and pushing me the entire way. The only difference is . . . I kept my golden ring - I did not throw it into the fires of hell! Ya get what I'm sayin'?

Much Peace & Love,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I am an Ironman . . .

It is official. I did that 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride & 26.2 mile run in Tempe, Arizona!! This indeed makes me an Ironman. Well, that and the fact that I did it in under 17 hours - 15:07:38 to be exact.

At this point I am sort of dreading writing a race report. Mostly because I'm afraid that I will get off track with all my details. Oh, what the hell . . . here goes everything.

I had slept fairly well, which surprised me. I thought I would be a bit more nervous and not get much sleep. Set my alarm for & woke up @ 4 a.m. Vit & I had decided to get down to to the transition area a bit after 5 a.m. Even though it opened at 5 & we are totally neurotic & usually get there right when it opens . . . we decided to "loosen" up a bit. After all, our bike & run gear was already down there. I got myself dressed. Made my peanut butter & pumpkin butter sandwich. I had been concerned with having to eat - with other big races I have a tendency to be anxious, so choking down a sandwich was going to take a bit of time. As it turns out, I was very hungry & managed to chow that sucker down!! G-Money sent a text saying he was going to Starbucks & did I want anything? Want anything? From Starbucks? This is an Ironman!! Not a leisurely Saturday morning meeting with friends. Good God, man.

Actually, I was concerned with just how calm I was feeling. With a few more things to gather, I was ready to get down to transition.

Down at transition I had a few thing to put in my bike & run bags that I had forgotten. Went to the Porta-Potty for the 1st time. Put air in the bike tires. Found G-Money, who had managed to lose his timing chip - already?

Then it was time to get in line - again - for the Porta-Potty.

I am sure I've mentioned in past blogs the importance of #2 prior to a race? Well, let me say it again . . . way important!! One of the last things I want is to be in the water with my wetsuit on and have to take a . . . well, you know. It brings a whole new meaning to "dropping the kids off at the pool."

Thank goodness I was able to drop the children off at the pool several times!! I felt so much better.

Then it was time to get slathered up with the Body Glide & get the wetsuits on. I gave my kisses to my family & friends & headed for the starting line.

The jump in the lake was a really moving experience for me. It literally was "jumping in with both feet" - this was the culmination of all my hard work, anguish, time away from my family, healing of my injuries & my victories. I gave Vit a hug and wished him luck. I welled up & let the tears flow for a few seconds. I did not want to stand around too long thinking about how cold the water was or that it was 3 feet or so til I hit the water. And people seemed to be procrastinating. So off I went. Done. In I was. I started swimming toward the start line. I knew where I wanted to position myself. I also knew that I wanted to take in every moment. The way I was feeling & the way the clouds looked. It was kinda dark & overcast. People were everywhere - in the water, out of the water. I looked up at the bridge and out of the kajillions of people, I saw my daughters!!!! I was so filled up with joy - I spent the next 15 minutes blowing kisses, waving & saying "I love you" in sign language - that I forgot to be nervous. Basically, the cannon fired & I just swam.

The swim was uneventful, other than I swam a little to the right, then a little to the left, then back to the right again & so forth. Just trying to get away from some of the masses. Kinda worked. At any rate, when I got out of the water, I had a hard time running into transition because my feet were like blocks of ice. My T1 time was a bit long, but I was not concerned.

Onto the bike, feeling good. Saw the family & friends. I would like to say that the bike was as uneventful as the swim, but no such luck!! Major wind. Rain. And even some hail thrown in for good measure. But the WIND!!! WOW. It was strong.

Out on the Beeline Hwy., it was like being on another planet. Riding uphill at 18-20 MPH, turning around expecting to fly down fast & being hit hard with wind and rain and 10-13 MPH. Suffice it to say, it was windy. Really windy. Did I tell you how windy it was?

Sidebar: Friday the 19th, 2 days prior to Ironman, they held a Q & A with some of the pro triathletes who were participating at IMAZ, one of them being my role model, Chrissie Wellington. I was determined to get a picture with her. So, I made sure to ask a question . . . get noticed, ya know?

As the session came to an end, I positioned myself to get behind where the pros were sitting. I told Vit to have that camera ready! The time came, I was ready & sure enough I got to talk to Chrissie & I got my picture with her!! It was so amazing to talk to her. She put a fire in my belly & calmed me all at the same time. She is super cool.

And, because of my conversation with Chrissie, I was able to put the "wind" in perspective. It was windy & rainy & hailing on all of us. So I just had to keep reminding myself to enjoy everything about the day.

But still, it was windy.

After my 7 hours & 2 mins . . . I was off that bike. And, rather than racking my bike myself - some amazing volunteer just took it! Honestly, I just let that bike of mine go. Ran over, called out my race # to another amazing volunteer and ran into the changing tent.

There were so many people just changing outside the tent. The place was packed. I needed to get inside that tent.

Thanks to yet another amazing volunteer, I had a spot inside the tent. (She had asked me if I wanted to change outside, which I had to decline, as I needed to get naked from the waist down. Nudity is grounds for being DQ'ed in Ironman.)

I left T2 feeling pretty good. After all, I only had one more leg of my Ironman to complete - just a little 26.2-mile run.

The minute I came out of the transition, I was hit with a wave of good wishes. Everyone telling me, "Yeah, Tracy!" (my name was on my bib) and "Good job, Tracy!"

It felt so great. I was a rock star! Look at me - I am gonna run a marathon now! After the paparazzi left me alone and the autographs were signed - I was off. That probably set me back several precious minutes. But I knew I could make that up with my lightning fast run time . . . oh my god, I am getting tired of my own bullshit.

I did have fun. The run was not so bad for the 1st 10-11 miles, at which point my body just decided it was done running. So, we walked. And my body & I decided to keep at least a 4 MPH pace. I did what I could do. I counted my steps. I pumped my arms really hard. Talked to anyone who would listen to me. And, wondered how I was going to manage to run down the finishers' chute.

Somewhere around mile 25 - I figured it out - I was almost done. I could start running. And so I did. I managed to run the rest of the way . . . got near the finishers chute, made that left then another left & there I was - tears streaming down my face, the biggest smile, my arms thrown up in the air . . . I was high-fiving everyone.

I wanted to soak up every minute of this moment. The noise, the lights, Mike Riley announcing my name . . . I was an Ironman! I crossed the finish line & had someone reach out & pull me over to them. They said, "You did it! I knew you could do it!"

And, I got a big hug & kiss from this person. It was the cherry on my sundae - Sunday!!

That person was Chrissie Wellington. She had returned at the 14th hour to greet the folks who took twice as long as she did.

She remembered me . . . me - TracerX!! I was over the moon.

The following hugs & gallons of tears that were shed by myself, friends & family afterwards were the best ever.

For those of you who have done an Ironman, you know this feeling. Overwhelming emotions. It all culminates here - at the finish line. Months of training, knee surgery agony, time away from my family - it is so worth it, right NOW!!

So, after all that is said & done . . . there is no way I am doing another Ironman.

Until, Ironman Cananda in 2014.

I guess that will be a whole other blog!!

I'm also trying to concoct a way to get really fast so I can qualify for Kona.
Any ideas???

So, that is it for now?? See ya soon.

Much Peace & Love,