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,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My insurance policy . . .

This is what is has been all about. This day. November 21st. Well, it is actually Nov. 20th, but tomorrow is what it is all about. I have done all the training, eaten all the right foods & not gone to the after-work happy hours.

So, time to put a smile on my face & put my head down and get this race done. Become the Ironman that I have been training so long to become!!!!

Well, I've got my jammies on, my bike is in transition, run & bike gear bags are where they belong. Now all I have to do is sleep - ha ha ha.

This photo is "my insurance policy" - my training calendar for the past year. It is what I have to keep in my mind tomorrow. I've got this. I can do it. (That's what Chrissie told me!!!)

Much Peace & Love,

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dear Lord, is it over yet ? ? ?

I must admit, I am tired of training!!! There, I said it. And I am not taking it back.

Of course having said that, I am sure when we hit taper in a week, I am going to hate it. I will be antsy & feel a need to get out there a do something. I also know that when IMAZ is over and my body decides to it can move again . . . I am going to want to get back out there & train. For what? I don't know.

There are a few half marathons in 2011 & some tri's to do, but no IRONMAN! I guess that is a good thing? Or not? It could be something akin to postpartum depression. Just a complete let down. All the training & hard work - the day comes & goes - and then what?

No more fanfare. No more, "When is your Ironman?" No more, "Wow, you look amazing!" - well, ok the last one will still stay around!!

All I know is that I will have to keep myself busy. That means that Vit will have to suffer as well. Sorry, Vit. But you know we stick together like glue! I should also apologize to Lola. Ooooooh, maybe I will bug her to train with me??? (she is cursing me at this point)

Back to me being "over" this training . . . I think I am ready to do IMAZ. Like, let's go. Get 'er done.

This past week, training was rough. Vit & I did a century last Sat (10/23), the Santa Barbara Century. It was 9,600 feet of climbing with steep grades. VERY STEEP. It was the toughest ride I've ever done.

The following day was the Los Angeles Rock N' Roll 1/2 Marathon. I was pretty sure I was going to just have to walk this sucker due to my back & my rubber legs from the bike ride.

As it turns out . . . I PR'd. Who'da thunk it? Not me!! My Garmin was 2:18 and change.

Officially I was 2:21:35. That accounts for my trip to the Porta-Potty @ mile 8.5 to take a major #2. Yes, it took me 3 minutes. Do you know how hard it is to get sweaty compression shorts back on? It's probably like trying to hold onto a greased-up pig. (I have no idea, I just imagine that would be hard.)

Anyhoo, I basically kicked ass! I surprised my own self. I was pretty dang thrilled, too.

Needless to say, it took a few days to get back to walking like I didn't just get off a horse. And, my workouts were a bit "short" - "non existent" - "recovery-like" -
which is okay. Right?

Yes, it is.

From here on out - I am going to get my training done & then taper & then get my ass to Arizona to knock this bitch out.

That's right, I said BITCH! - love/hate relationship that we have.

Well, that is it for now . . . looking forward to the part of IMAZ that includes Chrissie Wellington, Chris Lieto, Andy Potts & Matty Reed. Big names!! I can't wait for them to pass me on the bike & run. It may give me the kick in the bike shorts that I need.

For now . . .
Much Peace & Love,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

T-minus 1 month . . .

I can't believe that there is only one month to go!!?? I have not posted the "T-minus" every month because it was kinda just "not really real".

Somehow, today - one month out - it seems very real. I was looking at my training plan & I am down to 4 weeks of training left. WOW. And, some of those days near the end are taper days.

I won't know what to do with myself on a taper day?

Anyway, on our "T-minus" days . . . Vit always sends out an email letting us all know that it is the 21st of the month. And, we all go back & forth with emails about whatever is going on, etc.

Today was no different. "No, no, no, wait, stop. Can we delay it a little?" "Maybe the four of us can ask them to push the date back." "It's like childbirth, boys. There is no going back. This thing is coming whether we like it or not!"

This goes on & we all laugh.

After work today, I came home & did my back exercises . . . got on the couch with my blankies & proceeded to fall asleep. I asked my daughter to wake me up so I would be ready when Vit came to pick me up for our swim.

She woke me up . . . I told her to call Vit & tell him I was calling in sick - cuz I was way comfy. Obviously, I had to get up & get ready. And, yes I did kinda complain a bit & rumble about how comfy I was & that I would be very satisfied to stay on the couch.

WELL - Vit just started to laugh. Of all the days - T-minus 1 month - I want to just take a "pass" on my workout. Really?

After all the emails today back and forth & I want a pass! HA HA HA. It is one month to IMAZ. It was very funny. Really.

Got the swim done. Felt great.

Now time to get back to my blankies & couch . . .

Much Peace & Love,

Friday, October 8, 2010

Step on a crack . . .

- and they broke their mama's back! That's how it feels anyway. It is not really broken - at least I don't think it is?

So for the past few weeks, Vit & I have been training like mad men(women).
We've been finding new and exciting things to keep us occupied for the 6-plus-hour bike rides - like riding to Santa Barbara & stopping for a little lunch & then taking the train home. That was a nice departure from the mundane & boring. And, this past weekend we had a 7-hour ride that turned into 8:05. We made a wrong turn on our route & ended up (and I do mean UP) going 15 or so miles the wrong way, only to hit a road closure & have to go all the way back!!!

We ran out of water. (Thanks to the Asplundh guys for helping us out & filling up our H2O bottles). We tried to get arrested so we could get a ride back in the CHP car ("Too much paper work," said the officer) - but to no avail. So, turn around & head back out . . . make the correct turn, finally get cell service & get our asses picked up!! After 8-plus hours & 10,756 feet of elevation gained - we were cooked! Note here: THANKS, LOLA, FOR THE PICK UP!!! You rock!

Back to my back: A small tweak to my right sciatic during a bike ride & 2 injuries at work - #1 injury: doing the splits on a wet floor - unintentional, of course. #2 injury: having to catch a patient who fainted & lift him into a reclining chair. There were 3 of us girls in a small area when he went down & we had to catch, lift & pivot! That would be the straw that broke my back.

It is not really "broken" - I am in really bad agony. I am trying physical therapy, Bikram yoga (until the doctor told me not to do any stretching or twisting) & ice. Oh - not to mention pain pills on my bike rides!! Don't worry, not heavy duty narcotics, just the mild stuff that keeps me from getting off my bike, crying & wanting to toss my sweet Penelope over a cliff.

I finally went to see one of our doctors at work. He took X-rays & ordered some Prednisone (that makes me CRAZIER than normal) and says I need to schedule an MRI.

Now we know from a previous post that I have back pain . . . but this has been the worst I've had. So much so, that I took H.R.'s advice & have decided to take 4 days off training! GULP. Well, some swimming. But let's face facts - I am in a lot of pain, I am feeling "blue" due to this & I have to halt my training 6 weeks out of Ironman.

This makes me one ornery gal.

But, after a nice discussion with H.R. Pufnstuf, I was reminded how important it is to get to the starting line of Ironman in one piece & healthy. No matter how hard it is to miss sooooooo many workouts, the fact remains that I have a lot of training under my belt.

The other fact remains: that if I have to WALK my 26.2 miles, then so be it. I am going to complete the son of a bitch!!!

Because I have worked hard & know that I can do it. And because I have the support of my family & friends.

I have to know that even though this sucks shit right now, I will get through it. Even though I have some days where I just question whether I really want to or not? Is it worth it? Have I done all of this to get to the starting line in horrible misery with my back?

I sure as shit hope not.
Really, that's all I can say.
Thanks for listening & reading.

Oh, and one more note . . . I do not believe that this was caused by my children stepping on a crack!

Much Peace & Love,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

132.3 . . .

No that is not my current weight, thank you very much. I am, due to my intense training schedule, under that number at this time.

Rather, that is the number of miles that Vit & I rode on 9/11!

We had a 5-1/2 hour training ride on our schedule, but since we were going to La Jolla to do the La Jolla Rough Water Swim on Sunday, we thought "Hey, let's just ride the bikes there on Sat., swim on Sunday & call it a weekend?" We also had a 3-hr. ride on Sunday, but we just rolled that into the long ride! It turns out that La Jolla is kinda far away . . .

I am not going to give a rundown of the entire ride . . . just would like to say that it was a very nice day. We got to ride through Palos Verdes, which is some beautiful coastline!! I felt like I was in Northern California. Gorgeous.

We also got to ride through Wilmington, not so gorgeous. But, still full of its very own sights & sounds!!

We eventually made it to Oceanside - 8-1/2 hours of saddle time - total of 132.3 miles!!

My longest ride ever!! Vit's, too. We thought it was a really good training ride in preparation for IMAZ.

Oh, and the swim on Sunday was good, too. My hubby kicked butt. So did Vit . . . I did pretty good, even though I did cheat & wear a wetsuit. I guess technically it was not cheating, but I do not officially get a "time" for the swim. I really didn't care, because this was a training swim for me. And I plan on wearing a wetsuit for my Ironman. I felt no need to swim in butt-ass cold water just because everyone else did!

It was me & one other woman who wore a wetsuit - okay, she only had one leg.
Alright, so the physically challenged woman & I wore a wetsuit. I still don't feel bad!

Overall the weekend was a fun one. A really great training weekend.

We decided that this is the type of training weekend that we like - a lot. It takes us away from what can sometimes be "mundane" training. It adds some spice - some variety.

That's it for now.

Much Peace & Love,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What comes around, goes around . . .

Remember how I was so excited about running "all 10 of my miles"? Well, not so much anymore.

My knees, mostly my right, have taken a very strong stance on this whole thing. They have decided that running those miles was not so fun for them & they are pissed!! In fact, walking is an issue for me. It is more like "gimping" - an audible thump, thump, thump with my right foot. When I stand up, I have to take a second to get my knee to cooperate with me. It is quite painful.

My workout today was supposed to be an hour and 20 minute run. There was no way!! So, I decided to go to the gym & do the Precor elliptical - that lasted half an hour. OK, next. Treadmill with incline - no running. That also lasted half an hour. Very painful. It will have to be aqua-jogging for the remainder of the workout.

"Frustrating" is the word that comes to mind.

"Scared" is the other word that comes to mind.

"Worried" is yet another word that comes to mind.

If this is what happens with 10 miles, what will happen for 26.2? I may not be able to run all of those miles . . . let alone walk.

There is also the little matter of all the training that I still have to keep on doing.

What am I doing to my knees? Nevermind - I know that answer. Screwing them up - A LOT!!! Like, knee replacement time.

Just let's wait til after Ironman. Please.

Actually, how about we wait for another 30 or so years!!

Maybe it will be time to stick to smaller distances and/or aquabikes!

For now, I will have to take my Ibuprofen, ice & rest when I can.

Aquajog & walk. Maybe try some trail running. Or break my runs up into smaller runs.

Oh, and I am going to see the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow for an exam & some x-rays.
Update to follow. All I know is this sucker hurts!!! Grrrrrr . . .

Much Peace & Love,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cocktails & Cupcakes . . .

That is what I am renaming the Santa Barbara Triathlon. I know it doesn't convey the sense of a triathlon with the name "Cocktails & Cupcakes"(C&C), but it might attract more people???

Well, in my head (scary place to be), that is what I call it!

Yesterday was the C&C Triathlon, which I did for the first time in 2008.

Back then it was called the S.B. Triathlon. Well I am happy to announce that this year I managed to shave approximately 10-11 minutes off my time from 2 yrs. ago!!! It would have been more, if not for the yucky swim conditions & the resulting ultra-long T1 time.

It was a foggy morning, air temp in the upper 50s. There were three of us there to race: me, Vit. & H.R. Pufnstuf. And, we had the wonderful spousal support of my hubby & Lola . . . and a new "jock strap", The Queen! She was ├╝ber-excited to be there to see the throngs of people who thought it was fun to get up at the crack o'stupid, swim in cold water for a mile, ride hills for 34 miles & then run 10 miles!

I think she was excited to NOT be doing it. Please note that The Queen has done a few sprint tri's & is still a newbie. We are working on her . . . Mwahahahahaha!

Vit started his wave at 7:15. Between that time & my wave - 7:45 - the wind picked up & it was nasty cold. When it was my turn in the water, I was really more concerned with being so cold out of the swim that I would not be able to function. I should have been more concerned with the choppy, nasty, ucky waves that were slapping me in the face for the entire swim!! O.K., I am slightly dramatic . . . it was really only 2/3 to 3/4 of the swim! Seriously, it was a difficult swim & definitely was more demanding of my energy. I was 6 mins. slower on the swim. And it wasn't just me: everyone of my peeps - Vit, H.R. and me - was slower!

When I got out of the water, I felt beat up . . . not really tired, but like, "Who the hell pissed off the ocean god" - Oceanus is his name . . . I think - "& made that swim a churning stew of hell?"

I got over that & made it to T1 . . . where I was FREEZING my ass off. I had a lovely time wrestling with my arm warmers and socks to get them on my body. My hands were little icicles. I actually had a really fun time with Lola & The Queen looking on & taking a ton of pictures of every facial expression imaginable. I kept thinking that my time in transition must be bordering on "way too friggin' long." As it turns out, it was!! Like 5 mins. or so. Hilarious! I love that.

The bike was as wonderful a roller coaster of ups & downs as I remember from last time. I did take extra care on the downhills & rode strong in the saddle on the ups. I managed to shave off 2 mins. from before. Not as much as I'd hoped for, but I felt strong. And, that is really all I can ask for. Well, I would like some diamond solitaire earrings!!

Off the bike onto my favorite part - the run. My T2 time was about the same, no biggie.

The special thing on the run for me . . . a first of firsts . . . I ran - RAN - all my miles!

I have never, ever, ever done that. Never ran 10 miles. Never ran 6 miles. Never really ran consecutive miles without walking some of them. Never. Ever.

And, I felt mostly pretty good.

I was quite thrilled to see Vit early on in the run, which meant he was hauling ass. He was having a great day & I was happy to see that he was almost done!

Son of a bitch!

I mean - I love that guy!!!!!!

H.R. was a bit further back, but he looked happy & strong.

All in all, I took 15 mins. off my running time from 2008. w00t w000t!

Now if we can get back the extra-long time from the swim & T1 . . .

My final time has not been posted, but I know I was somewhere around 4:43-and-change-ish.

Happy to be done with all this mishigas - it was time for . . . say it with me . . .


That's right. On to lunch with everyone & then dessert, baby.

For now, I am resting after a 500-yd. swim this morning & a rest day tomorrow - then back to the Ironman training. I believe we have 12 weeks to go!! I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

So for now, keep on keeping on . . . wear your helmets when you ride & remember to always laugh at your friends in front of their face! Not in a mean way, but in a "life is too short, let's have some G-D fun!!" way.

Much Peace & Love,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vineman Aquabike 7/24 . . .

Yeah I get it, it's been about a month since I did this race, but I must tell you how I did. And, how much fun I had. I think I had fun because I knew I did not have to run 26.2 miles after the 2.4 mile swim & 112 mile bike ride!!! Not that it wasn't nerve-wracking for me! And not to say that it wasn't difficult - only it was kinda nice to know that when I got off that bike - I was DONE, baby!

So, here is a little race report:

Got up nice & early, had a bit of coffee & a peanut butter sandwich with agave sweetener. Made sure I had all my gear ready & we headed down to the Russian River.

It was a kinda cold, muggy & misty morning. I get into transition and set up - the usual - except for the running gear!! Then it was time for the Porta-Potty line . . . more than once. I hate that freaking line. I would love my own private bathroom with aromatherapy candles & running water with nice-smelling soap! Right? I know, I would never come out - the race would start & I would be on the pot, sitting there reading Triathlete magazine!!

Anywho, the water temp was supposedly around 68 degrees & I had decided on a sleeveless wetsuit. My wave went at 6:55 a.m., and let me tell you . . . my wave went @ 6:55 a.m. The race organizers really were on the mark with their start times. We got in the water & off we went!! Everyone was hootin' & hollerin' about, "Yeah, let's go!" and, "Go get 'em!" and then the gun goes off & we start swimming. As you know, this involves hitting, kicking & gnashing of teeth. You are gonna get hit in the face!! Deal with it!!! Apparently, no one told the guy in front of me . . . baby! And, I did apologize.

The swim went well. I felt strong, I found a nice line & just swam. There were parts of the river that were shallow & people were walking. I stood up once to pee. I just can't pee & swim at the same time. I did start noticing my arms getting cold on the 2nd loop of the swim. But other than that I was good.

Out of the water, I ran into transition & I was absolutely freezing! Shaking, teeth chattering, frozen-to-the-bone COLD. I managed to get my wetsuit down to my ankles, but I had to get my arm warmers on 1st! Then off came the rest of my wetsuit. I was able to put all my gear into a bag & pass it off to my hubby, so I did that. On the bike, we were able to mount at the bottom of the hill. No way that was gonna happen for me without falling over. I was way too cold. So, I walked up the hill, got on & off I rode.

Not much to say about the bike. Nice scenery. Rolling hills. Roads that were not that great. A couple of hills - Chalk Hill - two times. And some rolling hills just for fun. It did start to warm up, but never got really hot. I did, at times, feel like getting off the bike & asking someone to give me a neck massage. That's normal, right?

I also felt like getting off my bike & putting on ten layers of chamois. My girlie bits just needed a break. But, I pressed on & finished strong. In fact, coming down the finish "chute" I was up out of my saddle because I was excited to be done & I wanted out of my saddle. There was a woman in front of me on her bike & my husband thought I was trying to beat her to the finish line. I did not even see her!!

The only issue I had with this Aquabike was we had to dismount 20 feet before the finish line and run across with the bike. After all, there was a full Ironman going on & others had to do the run! So it felt a bit "uneventful" crossing the finish line. On the other hand . . . I was done.

And that felt good. As a matter of fact, I felt good. Not too beat up. I even tried to do a bit of running back to the car . . . eh, not so much.

Overall, the race went well. The support along the course was fantastic & luckily the day was not terribly hot.

Overall, very happy to have this under my belt. Very happy to have my hubby there along the way to support me - and, of course, the support from friends & family back at home.

OH, let's not forget the best part of the day . . . the 32-oz. beer at the end!


Much Peace & Love,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Let me take you down . . .

because I went to Strawberry Fields! Well, it was actually a sprint triathlon, but it was Strawberry Fields all the same. A bunch of us had decided it would be fun to all get together & do a triathlon. Most of my peeps signed up for the Olympic distance, but seeing as this was my first tri of the year AND I am just starting my official IMAZ training program, I signed up for the sprint. This was gonna be fun!! Vit, G-Money, H.R., Wriggle Worm & Help Me were all gonna be there.

I was my usual excited & nervous all at the same time. I am not a huge fan or even a small fan of ocean swimming. So, that was not thrilling me. The swim was only 400 meters. In reality, it was only approx. 300, at best. But, the water was cold & I ended up swimming the whole time with my head out of the water. The entire swim took me 5-plus mins. with the run up the beach into transition taking 4-plus minutes all by itself. So, it appears as though my swim time is over 9 minutes!! Oh, well. I felt like I was finally getting used to the cold water - it was time to get out.

Got my bike, out onto the course & felt pretty good. It was just barely over 11 miles. That took me 38 mins. I was happy with my ride because I felt nice & strong. Hell, it's 11 miles . . . even I can push it a little bit!!

Back into T2, got my running gear on & off I went . . . again, I was feeling pretty good. When I exited the transition area I saw Wriggle Worm (who had on his "game face") and Vit as they were coming into T1 for the Olympic event. I was so excited. I tried to give a little high five to Vit. I missed. When I turned to continue my run, I caught an edge on the concrete aggregate on which I was running & I hit the ground - HARD! My visor fell off, I scraped my hand, my right knee, my right hip, right side - basically. Spectators around me gasped & asked if I was okay. I jumped up & said, "Oh, I do this all the time!"

In actuality, I felt kinda disoriented. I thought I ripped my tri shorts & was mostly concerned about that. When I looked at my right hand it was just a big ball of dripping blood. I did not know if I should cry, stop or what???

I saw my hubby & Lola, showed them what happened . . . and decided to just do the 5K run. I had enough adrenaline on board that my hand did not hurt until after the race.

So, I rolled my hand into a fist & was happy with my 12 min/miles. For me, this is good.

My overall time was slower than I would have liked, but given that I did feel good & did have a potty break - I am gonna take it & shut up. Good job, me!!!!

Much Peace & Love,

Monday, July 5, 2010

Set up like a bowling pin, knocked down gets to wearing thin . . .

Dude, every time I get one step closer, I get knocked back down. I hate to sound like a whiny-ass titty baby (WATB - for future reference) BUT, it just pisses me off.

I had this great training schedule planned for the 4th of July weekend. I was going to start out with a nice long bike ride on Saturday, then have a big, long swim on Sunday, followed by the usual 4th hoopla & then another ride on Monday. This would set me up for the four weeks out from my Aquabike. I had this all planned out and I was feeling good . . . until 2 a.m. on Saturday morning!!

That's when I was struck with a nasty stomach bug. I thought I was dreaming that I had a horrible stomach ache & had to puke - when in actuality, I DID have a horrible stomach ache & I DID puke!!

Oh my goodness, was I in pain. Then a few hours later . . . came the other end. You know what I'm talking about. And NO, I am not sorry about the visual!!!

Needless to say, all my training plans flew out the window (with the exception of an hour-and-a-half on the bike trainer with Vit that we did Monday).

I was sad that I had to miss a 75-mile ride with G-Money & Wriggle Worm on Sat morning. :-(

Whatever this viral bug was/is . . . it really kicked my ass - hahahaha - seriously.

Ya know, I know that some people have a lot of other crap (hahahaha again) that they go thru in their training & I wonder if they feel the same way? I don't feel sorry for myself, but it does get me down a bit. Because the progress is there, then I feel like a roll backward.

Just frustrating. But, gotta keep pushing forward & keep looking at my goal - yeah, I say it A LOT . . . and I will keep saying it. For myself, mostly.

Thanks for listening & reading. Time for me to trot along now (that's for you, Vit).

Much Peace & Love,

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I am such a mental case . . .

When I first decided to do a triathlon I just thought there would be a swim, a bike & a run. No big deal, right? Well, I've since found there is a 4th aspect to triathlon, which is nutrition. The longer distance you do, the more attention you need to pay to what you put into your body relative to your output; you will burn more than you should put back in to your body.

I really only did sprint triathlons until I jumped up to the Santa Barbara Long Course - I completely skipped an Olympic-distance event altogether (by the way, I am way off course of my thought process here, but bear with me . . . ) so my nutrition did have to change somewhat. It mostly had to change because I was essentially training for an Ironman, but I wasn't "training for an Ironman"! I was just hanging out with some of my favorite people on the planet, who happened to be actually training for an Ironman. So, if I wanted to hang with them . . . then this was what I had to do!

Thus I learned that nutrition was a major part of my triathlon life & I had to pay very close attention to it.

What I did not really have to pay close attention to was the mental aspect of all of it.

For instance, let's say Vit & G-Money had a 6 a.m. training swim of 4,500 yds. Well, I would much rather sleep in or maybe just swim 3,400 yds instead . . . after all, I was not training for anything in particular.

Don't get me wrong; I did 6-7 hour bike rides, swam & even did long runs. But there were definitely days I would take a "pass."

Well, now there are no "passes" to be had. There are no sleep-ins & no short swims. There is only hardcore, nitty gritty, teeth-gnashing pain & suffering!!!!

O.K. . . . maybe not so much all pain & suffering, but let's face facts: some days are just downright tough. Some days require all of my concentration to remind me of what my "big picture" is: What is this all for? I signed up for this & I need to be enjoying every minute of it. The good - the bad - the ugly.

Recently I read in one of my triathlete magazines that we should work on "quieting our mind" - this way our muscles can focus on working. I have been able to do this. It works pretty well. Except for the one tiny problem that I have . . . I can't seem to shut my mind up for very long!! I pretty much talk constantly to myself - both out loud & in my head. I will sing songs to myself. I will tell my legs to keep on moving to get up the hill. You name it & I tell it to myself.

When I get really ticked off, go ahead and try honking at me . . . I dare ya!

Seriously, the 5th aspect of triathlon is fo sho the mental training it takes to get to race day - let alone what it takes on race day. I have never done a full Ironman but I have done a 70.3. And there were parts of the race where I felt like I was going a little cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Today I trained indoors on my bike with Coach Troy. We rode in Louisville, Ky. It was a lovely day. We rode 3 hours, 26 minutes for a total of 75 miles. (Sure wish I could do that on the street!) My BFFTPFL Vit was out of town so I was on my own, which is good training since he will not be by my side during my Ironman. It started out a bit shaky, eased up, then I had to pee, got OK again, I tried to quiet my mind, that lasted a few minutes, tried different hand positions, peed again, drank, took nutrition, etc. In other words: I really had to mentally push myself to get through this one. I did it & felt really good in the end. (Well, not "the end" - if ya know what I mean . . . )

I know there are going to be a lot more days like this - especially as the training really starts to increase. I am still unable to run due to that dang ankle injury, but I am doing physical therapy & started aquajogging. Keep your fingers crossed.

I am going to be paying close attention to keeping my mind quiet & working on my mental training. I can see that it is ULTRA important, so it will be worth the investment of time - and in my case, energy - to work at SHUTTING UP!!!! and just training.

Let's get to it . . .

Much Peace & Love,

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Haiku - actually a LAIKU ("like" a haiku) - to you. . .

Let's do the Mud Run
I made it just half a mile
Then I rolled my ankle.

I missed the dirt hole
only to roll into another dirt hole
where I rolled my ankle

It all happened so fast
I could not believe what just occurred
Landed hard on my knee

Got up took two steps
Realized quick it was not gonna happen
Said just go without me

Turned quick on my heels
Had to go against the other runners
To make it outta there

The tears started to roll
Been two straight years in a row
This run has injured me

I have taken an oath
To never return to this race again
Except as an enthusiastic spectator

There are things to do
Much bigger fish that I must fry
To get to Ironman Arizona!

Much Peace & Love,

Monday, May 31, 2010

OMG, Where has the time gone? . . .

I don't think I can even re-cap what has happened since my last post, which was Sunday 4/25. On Monday 4/26, I woke up to get ready for work. Did the usual - ate breakfast, got my lunch ready, took a shower. After my shower I had a bit of time, so I sat down on the couch to use the computer for a few minutes, when all of a sudden I had a feeling of being "really, really" tired . . . and that is all I remember!

I had a period of 30 minutes of no memory. Next thing I recall, I was in the E.R. @ Holy Cross Hospital & a nurse was sticking a needle in my arm to draw blood. I do kinda recall being in the waiting room & seeing a television & asking, "Why are there two guys and two telephones on the TV?"

So, I guess what happened is I just passed out . . . ??? My hubby found me with my head back, mouth open & just out like a freaking light. He got me up, into the bedroom, got me dressed & into the car . . . to the E.R.

He did not call 911 because apparently I was responsive, even though my speech was slurred, I was seeing double & could not walk.

I don't even want to get into the whole entire thing - suffice it to say that after 2 1/2 days in the hospital, tons of expensive tests & consultations with different doctors, all they found was an "cortical irritation in the left frontal lobe." That is what the EEG showed. So, not really quite a seizure, but not quite sure what the hell it is?? They decided to put me on a medication that helps with migraine headaches - which I do get - and also is for seizures.

The good news: the treadmill stress test I did was so normal that the doctor was just bored waiting for my heart to do something exciting. Way too normal!!

So there was no stroke, no other cardiovascular disease & no electrolyte imbalance.

I personally believe that it was stress. I suppose you know that stress does kill. Or maybe, like Vit says, I just needed a 3-day nap. In the hospital.

After all, when we got back from Italy, I had horrible jet lag for over a week. Then we had some family "issues" & finally there was the loss of a really great person in my life.

What do you mean, stress? I did not feel stressed. I felt fine, in fact. Or maybe I needed a 3-day nap - in the hospital.


Since then I have felt fine. No other episodes. I have been trying to listen to my body. When it is tired after work - I will take a little nap & rest before my workout. (By the way, I did take the week off of workouts per doctor's orders . . . )

I am trying to train smarter, take my vitamins and eat really healthy - even if that means drinking that green powder crap that gives me gas!

There is so much more to talk about, but for now . . .

Much Peace & Love,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

On a countdown to Wildflower . . .

Vit & I have been training like mad men for next weekend. Yesterday we rode 51 miles to McGrath State Beach. Nice little ride that is mostly flat-ish. I like this ride because it is a lovely olfactory experience. I especially love the cilantro that grows in the Santa Rosa Valley, then the sweet smell of strawberries & next is what I believe to be broccoli - or maybe cauliflower? - whatever it is, it just fills up your nose with a delightful array of smells. As we ride, the strawberries are about 15 feet from us - separated by a concrete ditch. I just want to jump that sucker & grab some. I also imagine having some farmer come out and fire a shotgun in my general direction - so I just stay the course with my head down and enjoy the smells.

The only issue I have with this area . . . a freakin' head wind that is coming from the Channel Islands area. Oh well, good mental training. "Oh no, I really like to keep my head down, pedaling my little legs as fast as I can & only go 13 miles an hour! Really, I do!" . . . NOT. Again, mental training is just as important as the physical aspects of training.

Today we did a triathlon. I like to refer to it as the Porter Valley/Granada Hills Sprint Tri.

We swam at the country club pool (shhhhh - we snuck in), drove back to Vit's to hop on the bikes for a 16.60-mile ride, and followed that with a 3-mile run. I believe it was a PR for both of us.

I know we had a PR at T1 (Vit's house) - where he brewed up some coffee for my personal consumption & I had to wait for my wonderful hubby to bring over a jacket for the ride.

It was a good prep to get out the tri outfit and do a little "race" in it to make sure all will work well - fingers crossed.

Next, the bikes were dropped off for a tune-up & overhaul to make sure they are ready for next week.

Now it will just be up to me. I am nervous about this course. I hear it is a hard & hilly one. My wave does not go off until 9:30 or so. Which puts me on the bike somewhere after 10 a.m., and then the run at approx. (good Lord willing) around 2 o'clock-ish. I can only hope it is not very hot. Running in the midday heat can be no fun. BUT - again, it will be a good mental training regimen for IMAZ, right?

I also worry about people having to "wait around" for me to finish. Stupid, I know. But it is my silly thing. So, for all y'all who have to wait for me, please bring some comfy shoes, extra food & water so you are comfortable at the finish line.
And, thanks for being there for me!!

Wish me luck. I am just going to do what Vit said: "Just pretend it is another training day."

I will do my best, Vit.

Race report to follow.

Much Peace & Love,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The medal is covering up his black coq . . .

Yes, you heard me right. Poor Vit wears his new beautiful jersey he bought in Italy - in the Chianti region - which is why there is a coq on it. A black one at that. And if you look at the photo, you can see what I'm talking about.

Technically, the word for "rooster" in Italian is actually gallo, but that does not work as well for my purposes! I mean, it's me we're talking about.

Well, not much else to say here.

Oh, well, o.k. - Vit & I did the Breakaway Ride today in preparation for Wildflower. It was a tough 62 miles of loads of hills.

It was cold & windy & threatening to rain, but thank goodness, it never really did. I was not looking forward to going down Decker Canyon if it was rain-slicked again. (See How's about a white-knuckle kind of ride? from February 28.)

All in all, it went well. It took us approx. 4:42:42. Approximately.
And, I was happy with that time, given I've been on vacation for 12 days and had the worst case of jet lag since my return.

Next weekend Vit & I will get another long ride in before Wildflower & then start to taper.

For now, that is it. I have lots more to blog about - like the Italy trip - but am super tired right now.

Much Peace & Love,

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Blood, sweat & tears . . .

that has been the recipe from which my workouts have been made these past few days. This is no problem if I am by myself, but when I throw my BFFTPFL (maybe not after today?) in the mix, it makes for a crappy training day for both of us! Probably because mentally when I am down, I am bringing others down, too.

So, I try to stick to myself - don't talk, keep my head down & just ride. Except there is NO communication with my riding buddy. Not just small talk, but the basics: safety issues, what the goal of the ride is, etc.

"Hey, I'm gonna roll thru this stop sign!"
"Hey, how about we do a few more repeats on this hill, cool with you?"
"Hey, I am just down in the dumps right now, thanks for bearing with me."

I simply failed both of us by not doing these things!!

Back to my recipe . . .

There are so many stories of people who conquer triathlon training & Ironman. They overcome big hurdles. Prosthetics for extremities, heart transplants, cancer - you name it, they are out there, they have done it! These folks are amazing, heroic even.

But what about the 45-year-old with the raging hormones that she has only moderate control over? Medications, acupuncture, meditation - even working out: all the things that are supposed to be done, still do not stop the bleeding . . . do not stop the uncontrollable crying while riding up hill repeats . . . do not stop stubborn-ass pride from getting in the way of talking to your best friend!

Now, I do not want to minimize the amazing folks who overcome the major curve balls that life has thrown at them. But I think that this issue of hormonal imbalance needs its day in the sun.

And, I do not feel sorry for myself or anybody else. WE are out there giving it our best. Even when our best feels like a shitty training day or even a shitty race.

I just think I would rather say,

"Wow, I am really tired today because of my lung transplant"

instead of,

"Fuck, I am tired today because I am bleeding like a stuck pig & have really bad cramps"

It just sounds better, right? You don't go to do your Ironman and say, "I'm crying because . . . that guy passed me on the bike? People at work are stupid? I am letting my training partner down? Hell, I don't know WHY I'm crying?????"

I did learn that even though I want to stay in bed, cover my head & shoot some people dead . . . that I will just muddle on through these "monthly" inconveniences. Even if I have to stop at the park, go in the bathroom & just sob!

I also learned that I better just talk to my BFFTPFL and let him know what is up. And that, maybe, I should have a training day (or 3) that I just do all by myself.

And, I learned that if my little monthly visitor decides to join me at IMAZ, I will go ahead & follow my recipe & do it with blood, sweat & tears!!!

Perhaps you think this is a pity party. Maybe it is, but I do feel better writing about it. I do feel better knowing that Vit will be there through thick & thin. Whether he likes it or not!

Mi dispiace, Vit.

Well, here comes the rain. I am glad I got that ride in!!!

For now . . .

Much Peace & Love,

Sunday, February 28, 2010

How's about a white-knuckle kind of ride?

I have never been to the infamous "Rock Store" (RS) in the lovely Santa Monica mountain range. So it was understandable then when Vit mentioned doing a ride on April 11th that was part of the ToC - stage 8, to be exact - I jumped on it. It is one of the Breakaway Rides.

The problem for me was that I had never been to The Rock Store!! I had this idea in my head that you rode up this major hill & it "topped" out at this really cool hangout.

I was wrong! Not about the major hill, but about the fact that The RS is just sorta in the middle of the hill! You continue past RS, and that is when the "real" steepness begins!

Now, it was not horrible, but I was working hard, fosho.

I was very excited about the fact that in a couple of months I would get to watch the ToC fly by me. I was searching for places to park the car & wait for Lance and the rest of Team RadioShack go by, a spot for me to scream & yell & run alongside the bikes so I can be on TV, hee-hee-he. Seriously, look for me with a pink tutu on my head!! Tracer Gaga, baby.

Anyway, back to the ride: We started off on the "warmup" part of the route and did one loop of the ride. (ToC riders will do 4 loops, totaling 109 miles.) This was just a bit of getting my feet wet on these hills; I do not want any surprises on the Breakaway ride. And since Vit has been to the RS - without me!!!!! - I really just wanted to ride with him. Even though he did the ride with another woman, he is still my BFFTPFL (Best Friend Forever Training Partner For Life!).

The ride went well. It was very scenic & there were a ton of other cyclists on the road. We crossed over Kanan Road & continued along Mulholland Drive to Decker Canyon aka Route 23/Westlake Boulevard. Decker Canyon is a 2-lane canyon road that is narrow, steep and technically challenging to the cyclist - especially if the road is WET. Since we had a torrential downpour yesterday, it was wet! This is where the "white knuckles" come in. I was "feathering" my brakes, going as slow as I possibly could & trying to shift my weight to the back of my saddle.

I felt the back tire slip just a bit. And at one point I felt like I wanted to have brakes on my pedals . . . like I just wanted off this scary-ass roller coaster ride! Some chick/dude rolls right past me as if we were cruising on the beach. She/he came up on me so fast that it scared the crap outta me - not literally - I felt like I lost my focus a bit & really had to get my head back in the game of making to the bottom still on my bike without any road rash on my ass!!!

I had to remind myself to relax my shoulders. I was getting some neck pain.

By the time we made it down to level ground, my hands were shaking & I really needed a Valium and a cocktail! I settled for a gel & water . . . for now!!!

The funny part of this whole thing? I signed up for the Breakaway 62-miler that will take me around the loop TWICE. As you may know, that will be TWO times I have to go down Decker Canyon.

Pray for me, people!!! Pray that the day is beautiful & dry. For if it is not????
I am getting off my effing bike & walking my butt down the hill - TWICE!

I have attached the download from my Garmin for your viewing pleasure.

So, for now . . .

Much Peace & Love,

p.s. Happy safe cycling to you!

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Untitled

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So far behind . . .

I must apologize for such a long time gone. There has been a lot going on since my last post. I have been training, working, taking care of my family AND doing some races!

I also went to Las Vegas with The Girls, for a 50th birthday bash; came home with bronchitis and no money. BUT - I had fun!!! I cannot discuss it, of course.

I did the Inaugural 13.1 Marathon on January 10 and I had a PR!!! (personal record) Yay, me! I also had a blister on my toe - but I had a PR!

There was more training in there . . . then I did Surf City Half Marathon on February 7 and I had a PR!! A new PR. Yay, me! No blister this time.

In all this running stuff I am experiencing some "new" pains. For instance, right calf tightness - painful - all the way down to my achilles. Not sure if it is my running style - I think that's what they call it? Also, some hamstring pain & right-sided iliotibial band problems. Mostly muscle pains. Normal? Not sure . . . I am not really a "runner."

Oh, well. I am going to consult a running coach. (Will let ya know how that goes . . . )

Then I did the Tour de Palm Springs. I rode the 56-miler in 64.93 miles. It was a beautiful day. No wind, and snow on the mountains. Very nice. I will think about doing the century next year.

Oh, did I mention I had a sinus infection? Well, I did. So, I had to go on antibiotics & missed a week of training.

And, when I started feeling better . . . I actually took an extra 2 days of recovery! That is a HUGE step for me. I sure as shit hope it helps. I can't keep being sick.

So, back to training now. Getting ready for Wildflower Long Course on May 1. Scary!!

In the meantime, I am planning a trip to Italy with the family & close friends Vit & Lola. It will be a blast.

That's all folks!!!

Much Peace & Love,

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Took a whole lotta tryin' . . .

- just to get up that hill!!! But, I am movin' on up. So what if I am still oh-so-slow! I mean, to the point of wondering, "Am I ever going to get faster going up these effing hills?"

But, maybe that is not the question to ask myself. Maybe I need to ask, "Am I getting any stronger?"

Well, coming back from knee surgery & I am 6 months out . . . I think, "YES," I am getting stronger. But, stronger SINCE surgery. I want stronger as if I never HAD surgery!! hahahaha.

I just need to keep on training like nobody's business. I have signed up for the Palm Springs Bicycle Tour. The 55 miler - not quite ready for that century!!

So for the time being, I am going to keep my head down, my ass in the saddle (or out, whatever is called for) and the wind at my back! At my back . . . Ahh, if only! A girl can dream, can't she?

Much Peace & Love,