Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year In Review

2009 was an incredible year for me personally. I turned 30 and accomplished two big goals - a sub 4 hour marathon and an Ironman finish. It is easy to lose perspective when you are living this lifestyle -- at least for me -- and I sometimes have to take a step back and remind myself of the awesomeness of the feats I tackled this year.

The good thing about perspective is that is keeps me humble (I hope!), reminds me not to rest on my laurels and in the grand scheme of things, reminds me that these endurance sports I enjoy so much are hobbies. I know that I am not curing cancer or inventing something that is going to change the lives of millions ... but I am changing my life and hopefully setting a good example for my boys.

So, as this year draws to a close, we will be celebrating the end of a memorable year and toasting to even better things to come. The best to you and yours for 2010!

Mileage for 2009
Swim: 286,862 yards or 163 miles in 116:09:00 -- approximately the distance from Houston to Austin. 3x the volume of 2008!
Bike: 4058 miles in 240:14:00 -- approximately the distance from Houston to Lake Tahoe and back! 3x the volume of 2008!
Run: 1451 miles in 219:38:00 -- approximately the distance from Houston to Baltimore (I could have run to see Trishie!). A 60% increase from 2008!

Total Time: 577:33:00

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Off the Bench and Other Musings

Good news: I was partially released from the PT to do everything ...

Bad news: ... but running. I am out of my running shoes until January 9. In the mean time, I think I am going to have to start a love affair with the Elliptical machine.

With my new freedom and my PT's blessing, I hit the pool this morning. It was my first time in several weeks to swim and as such I thought I would feel phenomenal, gliding through the water after coming off a week's rest.

Umm, no.

The good news was that I had not forgotten how to swim, but I definitely didn't feel like a fish. It was a good reminder to me on why I don't take time away from the pool. I have decided I need one of these to keep me motivated in the pool.

I did hit the deck and do 5 sets of 10 push-ups immediately after my swim ... the pool was empty, otherwise, I probably would have been too intimitated, but I was really happy with myself afterwards.

With my second season of triathlon behind me, I want my focus this upcoming year to be on getting stronger (hence the push-ups) and ultimately working smarter, not necessarily harder. Goals/resolutions for 2010 coming soon ...

Mileage for Week Ending 12/27/09
Swim: 0 yards in 0:00
Bike: 16 miles in 1:00
Run: 16.4 miles in 2:30[2 workouts]
Total Time: 3:30

And for your reading pleasure, How to Train for Triathon without Getting a Divorce ...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the Bench

Despite some improvements, my PT put me on the bench Wednesday. To his credit, we tried active recovery. I am just not improving enough and as I overcompensate, I am feeling pulls and strains in other places, like my calves (really, the soleus muscle). The last thing I want to do is get a season ending injury before the season starts!

I have been ordered to take a week off of EVERYTHING. No swimming, no biking and definitely no running! They really don't want me to do anything that engages my legs. They almost begged me to just take the entire week off (no yoga, no pilates, etc) and to just do the excercises they gave me.

Rather than being frustrated, I am going to enjoy the time off a la Steve in a Speedo and spend the quality time with my family. I will do the strengthening exercises and stretches and maybe some core work and push ups, but that is it. I am confident that if I am good for this week that when I go in for my evaluation Tuesday morning I will be cleared to at least swim and bike again. I have a feeling that they are going to suggest additional time out of my running shoes though ... (let's face it, I am really only doing 5 days of nothing as it stands since I biked Wednesday at lunch before PT).

So, how do I feel about all this and what does it mean for the Rocky Raccoon 50?

I have mixed feelings, to be honest. I worked extremely hard for nearly 2 years straight to get to Ironman. I got there injury free and had an amazing race. I can see the big picture and I am not going to be selfish. Being an athlete means respecting my body, and as the PT reminded me, this is not my source of income.

I still really want to do the Rocky 50, but I will not be broken hearted if I have to miss it ... definitely not like I would have been to miss Ironman. It is all going to depend on how much time I have to take off and the improvements I make in that period. There will be other opportunities to do an Ultra and the practical person in me is happy because I haven't actually registered for the race yet (I was waiting to see how my recovery progressed).

Gluttony, here I come! Good thing New Year's resolutions are around the corner ...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Recovery Week

Ahhh ... recovery week. I would have loved to do some swimming or biking this week, but I just couldn't find the time and I didn't want to break my no doubles rule this month. I find it funny that I couldn't find the time, when in reality, that really means, it just wasn't as important to me this week as was sleeping in, the demands of my job and Christmas shopping! I really am trying to take this off season stuff seriously!

I am looking forward to having some time off from work in the upcoming weeks so my big running weeks won't feel so demanding. I have also not been as respectful to my body as I should be -- no stretching, foam rollering or PT this week. I am working on my resolutions for 2010 and this will definitely by one of them. You have to take care of the body that works so hard to deliver the results you demand from it. My training resolutions for 2010 will definitely center around that theme.

Mileage for Week Ending 12/20/09
Swim: 0 yards in 0:00
Bike: 0 miles in 0:00
Run: 38 miles in 5:45 [4 workouts]
Total Time: 5:45

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And the verdict is ...

Tendinitis of the anterior tibial tendon in my left foot.

What does that mean? It is likely an overuse injury, but the podiatrist was not overly concerned. A prescription for an anti-inflammatory and directions to heat, rub, and ice [repeat] later, I was out of the office within 10 minutes. Note, he was specific that I could continue running. He said that while it might hurt, I was not going to cause any long term damage by continuing to run. He said I should be mostly better in 3 weeks ... the count starts now.

I am also battling a case of what may be piriformis syndrome (per my PT). Again, likely from overuse, but the right combo of stretches and massage seem to be doing the trick.

Note for the record - I am committing now to seriously cut back on my running after this ultra (which will put me in the range of normal for most triathletes!). I think that will make a big difference in how I feel as I start the tri season.

Keep moving forward ...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hypochondriac

Am I the only one?

I am the antithesis of the person who ignores symptoms for weeks or months on end and finally ends up at a doctor because things have gotten so bad they can hardly walk. I feel a pain once and I immediately make a mental note. If I notice it for more than a couple of days or a week (depending on the level of pain), I am seeing a doctor – period.

Doctors love to hate people like me. They love me because, well let’s face it, they make money off of people like me. They hate me because I am high maintenance, especially if they tell me something I don’t want to hear, not that anyone has yet. Hey, that is what second opinions are for. Okay, I am joking about that part. Sort of.

Good news – I am back up to full running mileage this week (according to my ultra plan) and my long run of 24 miles this week was not too painful. My average pace was 9:12, faster than I needed to be running, mainly because I was running with a group I don’t normally run with because my training partner was out of town. I did have moments of pain, but nothing consistent and the stretches and manual manipulation that the PT is doing seem to be working. Side note – my hubby thinks it is funny that every time I talk about what the PT does with his hands that the conversation is full of double entendres. See above sentence as an example. It makes me giggle.

So, why the post title? Well, first I am currently seeing a PT. That in and of itself should be enough said. However, a new pain has snuck up on me as well. It is on the top of my left foot where my ankle/leg hit my foot. Interestingly enough it doesn’t really hurt while I am running, but afterwards and in regular shoes. The pain is not intense either, but annoying enough that I notice it, so I scheduled an appointment with a podiatrist this afternoon to get some answers. I have a feeling he is going to laugh at me, but better safe than sorry! Side note 2 - I told my hubby I scheduled an appointment with a podiatrist this afternoon, and he replied, “why?” My answer: “Because my foot hurts, why else would one go to a podiatrist?” He laughed.

For the record, my training partner thinks I am crazy for going to the doctor all of the time – what do you guys think?

As you can see from my weekly numbers, I am taking the off season seriously and actually skipped the pool altogether this week – for the first time in 1.5 years!

Mileage for Week Ending 12/13/09
Swim: 0 yards in 0:00
Bike: 12 miles in 0:45 [1 trainer ride]
Run: 56.5 miles in 8:45 [5 workouts]
PT: 2:00
Total Time: 9:30

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rev3 Codes Are Now Available!

Come on, I know you want to try out a Rev3 race!

These races are put on BY triathletes FOR triathletes. They pick the best, family friendly and spectator friendly venues around, plus offer great schwag to boot! They are passionate about offering a phenomenal race experience, you will not be disappointed!

If you have been debating pulling the trigger on signing up for one of these races (any of the distances), now I am giving you an extra incentive. $10 off! Who doesn’t love a bargain?

Use code Trakkers102 when registering on Active.com to get your discount.

Here is the Rev3 Race Schedule:

Knoxville – May 8 & 9: Choose from OlympicRev or HalfRev
Quassy – June 5 & 6: Choose from OlympicRev or HalfRev
Cedar Point – September 12: Choose from HalfRev or FullRev

They are also working on LittleRev races for the kids -- this company really is super family friendly!

Monday, December 7, 2009

One month post Ironman and the Sunday Report

I can't believe it has been a month since Ironman! I guess that is one thing you can always count on - time passing.

My post-Ironman glow has not yet faded and I am happy to report that my fortune (see the acutal fortune in my blog header) still rings true for me. "In dreams and in life, nothing is impossible." It is such a great reminder when things get tough, especially after a long run that felt harder than it should have, for example. I don't think I could even think about attempting an Ultra if I didn't believe it to be true though ...

The weeks post-Ironman have been spent in recovery and slowly ramping up my running mileage, along with visits to the PT office.

Sunday Report[s] -- I really missed riding this week!

Mileage for Week Ending 12/06/09
Swim: 2000 yards in 0:55 [1 workout]
Bike: 0 miles in 0:00
Run: 48.5 miles in 7:35 [4 workouts]
Foam Roller and PT: 1:00
Total Time: 9:30

Mileage for Week Ending 11/29/09
Swim: 2500 yards in 0:55 [1 workout]
Bike: 40 miles in 2:30[5 workout]
Run: 34 miles in 5:20 [4 workouts]
Other: Hot Yoga in 1:30 [1 workout]
Total Time: 10:15

November Totals

Like most things post-Ironman, I am playing catch-up.

Here is the month in review:

November's Totals:
Bike: 16h 31m - 275.5 Mi
Run: 15h 30m - 97.5 Mi
Swim: 5h 37m - 15,336 Yd

Total Time - 37h 38m

My goal for December -- no two-a-days! There will be plenty of time for that once tri season starts in the Spring.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Say It Ain't Snow!


I can hardly believe it -- but it snowing right now in Houston, TX and it is supposed to snow all day!

Those of you in the Northeast, Midwest and Great White North will get a kick out of this ... schools were released before Noon, my doctor called to cancel my afternoon PT appointment and even my office is closing at 12:30 due to inclement weather!
We are going to play in the snow this afternoon!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The #1 Question

Can you guess what the #1 and #2 questions that I get asked post Ironman Florida are?

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Have you guessed yet?

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Drum roll … the #1 question that I get asked now that Ironman Florida is behind me is, “What’s next?” This is usually followed closely be the #2 question (often before I have answered the #1 question), “Will you do another Ironman?”

I will start with the short answer. Yes, I plan on doing another Iron Distance race. I have caught the fever, love the lifestyle, enjoy the training (most days at least) and am looking forward to watching my endurance base grow with time.

My “A” race for 2010 will be the Rev3 Iron Distance Race at Cedar Point on September 12. This is a Trakkers sponsored race and I am really excited to meet the rest of the 2010 team, meet some of the new incredible sponsors including First Endurance and Tri Swim and of course, race with a Trakkers device!

Rev3 prides themselves in putting on family and spectator friendly events, something that is important to me, and because the races are put on by amazing world champion triathletes, you know it will be top notch!

Ok, so back to the #1 question, “What’s next?”

I should be focusing on my weakness, the swim, but the thought of spending endless hours in the pool this winter is, well, to put it nicely, m i s e r a b l e. I actually do enjoy swimming, but I have to drive to the pool and I can run from my front door and bike at the gym at lunch at work, so swimming takes more effort. I will definitely swim during the off season, but I will spend the majority of my time doing what I love – running. My training partner and I are 85% sure that we are going to do the 50 mile Rocky Raccoon trail run on February 6. This will be my first Ultra.

I am currently ramping back up my mileage while also trying to respect the recovery process. I have been visiting with a Physical Therapist for some deep rooted dull aching in my Piriformis that I experience while running and twinges of knee pain I experience while cycling – both started after Ironman. My current diagnosis is nothing serious … simply that I am super tight and have a slight muscle imbalance on my right side

So provided I continue to heal, recover from IMFL and ramp up my miles, I will do the 50 mile trail run. With Rocky Raccoon and Cedar Point as the anchor dates on my calendar, I am working to fill in the blanks between the two events and for the Fall after Cedar Point. I am not used to my last A race of the season being so early in the year!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

IMFL - The Run

As I crossed the timing mat at the Run Exit I couldn’t help but smile. I knew without a question that I would become an Ironman tonight. I felt great and was confident that I could run the entire marathon, but also knew that I had enough time to walk if I needed to, so there was no pressure!

The run was a two loop course, 13.1 mile loops (6.55 miles out and 6.55 miles back).

The start of the run included a short jaunt along condo row before turning to start the run towards Andrew’s State Park. At the turn, I saw Douglas holding a “Run Forrest Run” sign and got a quick kiss and a fist bump before heading out to really start the run.

My legs felt phenomenal and it took a lot of discipline to make myself slow down to run 10:00 minute miles. My goal for the run was to keep it over 10:00 minute miles at the beginning and under 10:30 minute miles at the end. I am used to running fast off the bike, so the beginning felt s-l-o-w. Discipline.

My first loop of the run was congested with runners on their SECOND lap! I felt strong and a handful of fasties on their second loop passed me, but for the most part I was passing a lot of runners. At this point into the run I didn’t see many walkers or folks doing the IM shuffle. I was hopeful I would be running this same pace on my second lap.

My nutrition strategy was to take a Clif block every other mile, starting at mile 1 and to take water at the aid stations, until something else “called” to me. I have never trained with coke or chicken broth, but many athletes told me to listen to my body and if something sounded good, not to be afraid to try it (starting in small doses, of course).

Around 4 or 5 miles into the run I met someone who was also on his first lap and running close to my pace. I wish I could remember his name so I could look up his finishing time. Anyhow, we chatted for a bit (well, mostly I chatted) and we ended up running together for several miles.

The state park was the quietest part of the course, but thankfully, having run the course at the Gulf Coast Tri in May, I knew what to expect. The Ford Motivational Center was set up in the middle of the park and when I ran over the timing mat, two things happened. First, I was excited to know that my supporters watching online were getting their first update on my marathon progress and second, a message from my family came up on the screen saying “Go, Mommy go!” This was a great motivator and pick me up in the middle of the desolate park.

As we exited the park on the first lap, chatting away, we passed a couple of athletes hitting the 20 mile mark on their second loop. They jokingly asked what I was drinking because they wanted some since I was in such a good mood. I replied that “this is supposed to be fun, right?”, and that I hoped I was still in such a good mood on my second lap. I made myself take a mental snapshot of how I felt at that moment because I wanted to recall those feelings when I hit this same spot on lap 2.

Somewhere around mile 8 or 9 I lost my running buddy when he walked through an aid station and I ran through it. It was also starting to get dark at this point, so I picked up a glow necklace as I made my way towards the end of the first loop. The first/last mile of the loop is where the crowds begin to form again and this section is the easiest to run through because the music, clapping, high-fives and encouragement almost carry you. There were women dressed in leather with whips, men dressed in bikinis, little kids holding their hands out for high-fives and what seemed like thousands of spectators lining the streets.

As I approached the turn around, several spectators said things like “bring it on home” assuming I was on my second lap. I didn’t let it get me down though because I knew I would get my turn. After the timing mat at the turnaround, I stopped at Special Needs to pick up the awesome light saber that Kathleen gave me before the race. I was so thankful to have it because it was so much darker on the course than I expected.

I looked for Douglas too, but did not see him and that stressed me out. I hated the idea that he might be out there waiting for me and worrying, since he missed seeing me. I had to keep on going though, so I pushed the idea out of my head and reminded myself that Douglas would figure out what happened. All said and done, Douglas wasn’t even at the turnaround. He thought the run course was a one loop out and back (13.1 miles each way) and because of that he was worried about trying to see me at the halfway point and making it back to the finish line. I should have known that he was tracking me on Ironman.com on his phone, so he knew when to expect me at the finish line.

Next time we plan to coordinate specifically where he will be and when so that there is no confusion. We’ve never had a problem finding each other before, but there were so many spectators and it was so loud and dark, that is was difficult to find people in the crowd.

The first mile of the second loop flew by, as expected because of the crowds. I was giddy to be starting my second loop, knowing I was less than 13 miles from becoming an Ironman. I saw a couple of people I knew on the first lap and I was excited to see them again and cheer for them. There is something about seeing a familiar face that really puts an extra spring in my step. Around the 15 mile marker I made the last potty stop of the race and I was particularly grateful to have the light saber because the porta potty was pitch black. Ewww.

By this time in the run, there were a lot of walkers and I was passing more and more people. The volunteers and aid stations were fantastic and created excitement in the darkness in areas where there otherwise were not a lot of spectators. I was feeling strong, although I was starting to feel the miles. My pace for my perceived effort was decreasing and I made a concerted effort to pick up the pace within my pre-established guidelines. My goal was to make it to the 20 mile marker and then see if I could pick it up (however little!).

My training partner and I run a 2 mile loop around my neighborhood. We have run up to 18 miles on this loop and we regularly run 10 miles twice a week. When I hit the 16 mile marker, I thought to myself, “This is just a regular Tuesday morning, 10 mile run. I run those in the dark too. Piece of cake!"

Around this same time I decided I would try some flat coke instead of water at the aid stations. It sat just fine in my stomach and I decided to stick with it. I am not sure if it helped anything, but it certainly didn’t hurt.

I also decided that thinking about being tired was not going to help anything, so I started repeating (out loud), “Just keep running. Keep moving forward” over and over and over again to myself. I seriously repeated these two phrases for 8 to 10 miles. I knew my body could hold the pace and if my mind was otherwise occupied, it would have no choice but to go along with the program. The first part of the mantra is borrowed from Dory from Finding Nemo, just replace swimming with running. The second part of the mantra is borrowed from Meet the Robinsons, and I only thought of it because of the sign that Douglas made me earlier in the day.

I also repeated on occasion something I read on Beginner Triathlete – “It only hurts if you care”. One of my goals for Ironman was to run the entire marathon, so repeating this mantra kept me focused on that goal. I did, surprise, surprise, try to say hello and/or good job to anyone I passed and anyone who passed me. I got several looks for talking to myself, but I was still running, so I didn’t care!

Amazingly, before I knew it, I was entering the park again. This time it was dark. Seriously dark. Dark as the inside of a cow, dark. I was shocked by how dark it was and ultimately, how dangerous it was for the athletes. I was extremely grateful for my light saber as it definitely helped guide the way. Next time I will probably also keep a head lamp in my special needs bag.

I passed the timing mat and the Ford Motivational sign again just before hitting the 20 mile marker. I recalled how I felt just over 2 hours before and was pretty excited that my mood was equally as positive. With just over 6 miles to go, running a 10:xx something minute pace, I knew I had just over an house before crossing the finish line. I remember thinking to myself, I can do anything for an hour …

I thanked God when I exited the park and the darkness and put my light saber back on my belt. I was nervous about tripping while running in the darkness of the park, so I was happy to be running again in just the regular dark of night, with illumination provided by random street lights, car head lights, homes, etc.

The next miles were more of the same. Coke at every aid station. I was sticky from having it spill on me as I was running through the aid stations. Coke falvored Clif blocks every other mile. Mantra on repeat: Just Keep Running, Keep Moving Forward. Every once in a while, I would groan from a random pain in my legs and I would remind myself that “it only hurts if you care.”

I can’t accurately describe the excitement and adrenaline that kicked in when I hit the 24 mile marker. 2 miles to go. One loop in my neighborhood, or what we like to call the “Victory lap”. This mile marker was also around the time on the course that we were starting to get a few more spectators. Having people cheer for you and tell you look strong, makes you feel strong too.

I hit the 25 mile marker and ran into a woman who was running about my pace, if not a bit faster than me. I had picked up the pace a bit at the 24 mile marker and decided I didn’t care how fast I was going (I knew it was sub 10:00s at this point) because I knew I had enough juice left to get me to the finish line. I ran for about half a mile with this woman and we chatted a bit, but mostly kept to ourselves and focused on the finish line.

We were passing lots of spectators now who were cheering for us and we started to pass music too. We passed a stereo playing Katy Perry’s Waking Up in Vegas and we both started singing along at about the same time. It really made me smile and I picked up my pace even more.

After the brief singing break, I started repeating my mantra again. We had about a half mile to go and my pace was picking up even more. The girl that I had been running with wished me well and I wished her the same and I took off for the final stretches. I moved my light saber to the back of my tri shorts , threw my glow necklace to some spectators, and took my sunglasses from the top of my hat and put them in the pocket in the back of my tri shorts because I didn’t want those items in my finisher photo.

Somewhere shortly after, I heard something fall, presumably my sunglasses, but it was really dark and I turned around briefly and couldn’t see them, so I kept going. They were inexpensive sunglasses that were scratched up anyway, so they were not worth the search time. I guess I could have gotten a penalty for abandoning equipment, but then again, it was too dark to see them!

When I made the final turn on to the main road before the finisher chute the streets were lined with spectators. It was surreal – there were so many spectators on both sides of the road, it was wall to wall cheering people. I had no idea where Doug, Kate and the boys were going to be, so I was on alert for them.

I reached the turnaround point and crossed over a timing mat before entering the finisher’s chute for the last 100 yards of the race. It was so wonderful to turn right to the finish instead of having to start another lap. I definitely felt compassion for those near me who were about to start their second loop in the dark.

This is the 100 yards I dreamed about for 9 + months of training. 3, 4 and 5 am wake-up calls, six days a week to swim, bike and run. Endless hours of riding. 18, 19 and 20 hour training weeks. This was the moment that I always visualized … except it was louder and far more crowded!

I was overwhelmed by the lights after running in the dark for three hours and the spectators were so loud, I had no idea where to look for my family. I tried to take it all in, but it was passing too quickly, and I still hadn’t found Douglas. I heard Mike Reilly say, “From Houston, Texas, you are an Ironman!”, but I didn’t hear my name. It almost felt like a dream … and that was it. I crossed the line and I stopped running. I meant to raise my hands and smile for the finish line photo, but I was still in search mode when I ran out of real estate to look for Douglas and crossed the line, so I forgot to raise my arms.


A guy named Mike was my finish line catcher and the only reason that I remember his name is because he was wearing a name tag. He immediately congratulated me and asked how I was doing. I responded that I was fine as he walked with me to get my medal , finisher shirt and hat. When we reached the photos, he asked again how I was doing and whether I needed to go to the medical tent. I confirmed that I was ok and he held my stuff while I took my official finisher photo – I was smiling from ear to ear.

Mike gave me back my stuff and congratulated me again and he asked me if I needed anything. Hmmm … I had one major question for him, probably the most telling of how one feels after an Ironman, “What do I do now?”. Mike pointed me to the food and massage areas, gave me hug and he went back to help another finisher. Thanks, Mike!

While I still felt sort of dazed and a bit overwhelmed because of the crowd, I was on a mission to find my family. It took about 10 minutes of searching and borrowing multiple cell phones to no avail before Doug spotted me. I was so freakin happy to see him! He confirmed that everyone saw me finish and that they were screaming for me like crazy, but they were sitting higher up in the bleachers, which is probably why I didn’t see or hear them. He also confirmed that Mike Reilly did say my name, even though I didn’t hear it.

After our reunion, I went for the massage, which felt heavenly, and then I was reunited with the rest of my family. After hugs and kisses all around, we made the nearly 1 mile walk back to the condo … so, it was really 141.6 miles! After leftover pizza and a handful of cookies, I had the best night sleep of my life!

Run: 4:30:14 -- 10:19 pace

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving full of love, laughter, family, friends and everything else you are thankful for!

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for ...

My incredible family who love and support me unconditionally, no matter what crazy idea I may come up with next. My boys (all 3 of them), what can I say, they complete me. My friends who can always make me laugh. My chocolate lab, Indy, the best cuddler ever. My health and fitness, that made a dream come true this year. My job. My church community. My sponsor, Trakkers, who has some incredible things in store for 2010. The triathlon community, including Beginner Triathlete and all of you in blogland.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

IM Celebration Party

The last installment of my IMFL race report will be posted soon, but I want to take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to acknowledge a couple of fellow triathletes and do the weekly rewind.

Going Iron
First, Brittany kicked serious butt at IM Arizona today by finishing in just over 11 hours! She was 9th in her Age Group! She is one hell of a triathlete and an Officer in the Army as well. I had the opportunity to meet her at Redman and she is as nice as she is fast. Brittany was supposed to race IMFL but one of her soldiers was killed in the line of duty. I am so proud to have women like Brittany serving our nation. Thank you for your service and congrats on a fantastic race!

Second, Trishie is racing IM Cozumel this weekend and she is going to totally rock it! I absolutely love her blog and know that we would be fast friends if we lived in the same state. She is one of the few people I "know" that is more organized and even more of a planner than I am, and she is funny to boot! Good luck this weekend, Trishie!

Weekly Rewind
I am struggling to reconcile my need and desire for recovery, the guilt I feel when I skip a workout and my desire to do a trail race this winter. Plus, I love to eat, so I need to do something not to gain 5 pounds!

This weekend Doug threw me a purposefully belated 30th Birthday and Ironman celebration party. It was so much fun to celebrate with friends and indulge in margaritas and Mexican food. Check out this awesome cake Douglas made me too!

My Iron Sherpa
Birthday / MDot Cake
Mileage for Week Ending 11/22/09
Swim: 2500 yards in 1:00 [1 workouts]
Bike: 28 miles in 1:30 [2 workouts]
Run: 22 miles in 3:15 [3 workouts]
Total Time: 5:45

Stretching / Foam Roller: 1:00

With the weekend festivities behind me, it is time to end the bender!

Friday, November 20, 2009

IMFL – The Bike

What a beautiful day for a bike ride! The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the wind was blowing (so I don’t really know if the birds were singing, because I couldn’t hear them because of the wind!) …

The bike exit was surrounded by cheering spectators – I felt like I was starting a leg of the Tour De France. Of course, Douglas was there holding a sign based on my fortune cookie, “In Dreams and In Life, Nothing is Impossible”. It was a good reminder as I was setting off for what turned out to be nearly a 7 hour bike ride!

Starting my 112 mile tour

The first half mile or so is on S. Thomas Drive where many condos are and the main staging area for the race, before turning onto Front Beach Road to start the first real stretch of the ride. I knew that the rest of my family would be waiting for me at the Shores of Panama so I took this short section nice and slow so that I could wave to my boys and to my mother-in-law, Kate. It was great to see them as they were sleeping when I left in the morning and I didn’t know if I would see them again before the finish line.

When I turned on to Front Beach Road, I attempted to settle into my bike and get mentally organized for the ride. I didn’t feel quite right on the bike, but I couldn’t put my finger on what the issue was. I felt like my power was slightly off, but I was holding a good pace at the right effort, so I stayed positive and kept pedaling.

About 15 miles into the ride I got worried because my right leg was starting to feel like it does when my sciatic nerve acts up. It hasn’t done it since the Gulf Coast Tri, ironically enough, on the same course. I remember thinking to myself, what is it about this course?!?! Thankfully though, I shifted my aero position a bit and after another 10 miles or so, the feeling was gone, never to return. I was also thankful that despite swallowing a bit more salt water on the second loop of the swim, my stomach felt fine. My power still felt just slightly off, but nothing to get worked up about.

I took my first porta potty stop at the second rest stop and also used the time waiting in line to stretch a bit, which I think helped my right leg pain. I hated that I had to stop and wait in line, but this girl just can’t go on the bike.

By this time, the head wind was really rearing its ugly head and my average mph was dropping considerably. I was pretty disappointed by this at first, but I reminded myself that it was a beautiful day and that I was fulfilling a dream, whether I was riding at 16 mph or 18 mph (or sometimes into the wind, well below that …). I was also getting hungry, something that I was not expecting, so I ate 3 Clif blocks to help stave off the hunger. The Clif blocks and the Infinit worked like a charm.

Special Needs snuck up on me around the 50 mile marker (conveniently around 3 hours into the ride) and I debated about whether to stop. However, by this time in the race, it was obvious that I was going to be going longer than 6 hours, so I pulled off to grab the extra Infinit powder I put in my Special Needs (“just in case”) and dumped it into the concentrated bottle that I had just finished. I also dropped off my arm warmers. Just as I was about to dump the bag back into the pile, I felt a piece of paper.

I didn’t remember putting anything in the bag, so I pulled it out to see a sign from Douglas and the boys that read, “Keep Moving Forward.” It was exactly what I needed at that moment! The quote is from the Disney Movie, Meet the Robinsons and it is about overcoming adversity. I cried the first time I saw the movie and I love the quote – I didn’t realize at the time that the quote would play an integral part during the marathon that was yet to come.

I assumed that the course would mark the halfway point with a timing mat and I was getting really nervous when it felt like I had been riding forever without seeing a sign or a timing mat. I ride with my computer on time, not distance, so I was relieved when I hit mile 60! I also had my first emotional experience of the day because for the first time since the bike exit, handfuls of cheering spectators were on the course. It was so neat to watch their excitement, especially as their athletes were approaching. Shortly after this, I stopped for the third time (2nd potty stop) and had 3 more Clif blocks to help keep the hunger at bay.

At mile 65, on a slight downhill portion of the course, I was surprised to see my family waiting for me! I was not expecting them out on the bike course, so it was a major pick-me-up. I actually had to turn around and ride back to them because I had passed them by the time I realized who it was! Had Douglas not called me back, I probably would have kept going, mostly because mentally my brain was locked in the “Keep moving forward” mode. It was great to gets hugs and kisses all around and to tell Douglas about the wind. They decorated the Suburban as Lightning McQueen, which I am sure was fun for the other riders as well! So creative! After one more kiss from all of my boys, Douglas told me where to expect the out and back and I was off.

Lightning Suburban (Tyler is crying)

Turning around to greet my #1 fans

And I'm off ... again!

Douglas later apologized for holding me up, thinking if I had not stopped I may have broken the elusive 13 hour mark, but as I told him then, this race was not about a couple of minutes and I was happy to have my cheering section on the bike course.

I rode on in a just-saw-my-family high until I turned into the wind on to the worst stretch of road of the entire course. There were cracks/bumps every 3 feet that jolted me for miles. I rode on the edge of the road on the white line (there was no shoulder) in an attempt to get away from the shocks. The wind was really just adding insult to injury at this point. When I saw the turn around and the timing mat (finally!) I was beyond thrilled. The road conditions on the ride back out were just as awful, but with the wind at my back it just didn’t feel as bad.

At this point, I was starting the countdown to get back to transition. I was still in a good mood , despite my readiness to get off the bike, and I chatted with people I passed and with the many people who passed me . When we got back to the Intercoastal Bridge (the only real hill on the course), I was thrilled to see the 100 mile marker. 12 miles to my running shoes! In training I did a lot of 45 minute spins / 15 minute runs at work on the spinner and treadmill at lunch. I always marked these workouts as 12 miles on the bike (to be conservative), even though there is not a distance computer on the bike, so I was confident that in a mere 45 minutes I would be handing my bike to a volunteer!

The last stretch back on Front Beach Road was physically tough with the wind and my feet were killing me (not something I had experienced in training either) but it was also very exciting. The anticipation of starting the LAST leg of the race was nearly electric.
I had worried for months about experiencing some sort of mechanical failure on the bike that would take me out of the race, so to be so close to the bike finish without having experienced any bike issues at all was a major relief. I definitely thanked God for looking after me and keeping me safe on the bike course. I later heard about an incident where a car hit a cyclist and several crashes – there was nothing like that near me, thankfully!

When I made the turn back onto S. Thomas we were again surrounded by throngs of cheering spectators. I had the biggest smile on my face as I searched the crowd for Douglas. He was waiting right near the bike dismount with a sign that listed each leg of the race with the respective distances, with the swim and the bike legs crossed out. The bike ride had taken longer than I thought it would, but it was done and I was ready to run!

Bike split: 6:52:08
16.3 mph

So happy to see the bike finish!
Side note: It wasn’t until much later that evening that a possible reason for my lower than expected MPH came to light. Douglas picked up my bike from transition and rode it back to the condo and promptly informed me that I had been riding with a slight brake rub. Rookie mistake. It was an ever so slight rub, just enough for me to feel off but now I possibly know why. Did it affect my bike split? Who knows, and I am not going to dwell on it because I still enjoyed every minute of that windy ride! For the record, I did check the brake in transition, but it was only after braking that it shifted too much to one side and created the rub.

I got off my bike, handed it to a waiting volunteer, trotted over to the T2 bags, called out my number and received my bag from yet another volunteer. Then it was off the changing tent where another extremely helpful volunteer opened my bag and handed me everything that I needed. I did a quick change of my socks and shoes, changed out my helmet for my visor, picked up my Garmin and grabbed my nutrition before exiting the changing tent. I made a pit stop at the porta pottys in transition because there were no lines and I didn’t know what I would find along the course … and then I was off to run a marathon!

T2: 5:37

Monday, November 16, 2009

IMFL – The Swim

I got a great night’s sleep the night before the race and woke up feeling rested and ready to race. I started the day with 2 packets of maple flavored Quaker instant oatmeal with cinnamon sugar and managed to eat two-thirds of it. Then it was off to body marking, dropping of my bike nutrition and my Special Needs bags before heading down to the beach for the swim start. I even volunteered to take someone else’s Special Needs bags (he was waiting in the long porta potty line) to the drop off area – nothing like starting the day off with some good karma!

At Body Marking
I ran into several people race morning, including IronBob, Raymund, Kimberly and Augie. It was great to see familiar faces and share in the pre-race excitement.

After getting everything situated, I put on my Body Glide and sunscreen before putting on my wetsuit. It was giving me a hard time, but I finally got comfortable with a little help from Douglas. Then it was down to the beach to prepare for the swim start. I was surprised at how calm I was as we took a couple of photos and as I made my way to the athlete corral. There was a lot of nervous energy on the beach and I kept waiting for it to hit me, but as I stood there all I felt was ready.

In Athlete Area
Waiting for the Swim Start
We listened to the National Anthem, I ate 3 cola flavored Clif Blocks and I got one more good luck kiss from Douglas before the cannon fired and the race clock started. I lined up on the far right of the beach and swam diagonally towards the last buoy. This definitely added to my swim time, but I was happy to not be fighting with other racers for space in the water. It was also nice that there were still enough other people who also took this path that I never felt alone (imagine that with 2500 other athletes in the water!).

National Anthem

Pro Swim Start

Age Group Swim Start
I'm on the far right
This is what 2500 people swimming in the Gulf looks like
The first lap of the swim felt awesome! I kept thinking to myself, “You are doing an Ironman today!” … and it was not in an oh crap! voice but in a giddy school girl, excited voice. I was shocked when I reached the first turn buoy and managed to avoid the cluster that invariably occurs there. Before I knew it I had made the turn to head back to the beach. I felt like a rock star in the water!

It is no secret that I am not the best swimmer out there and I was apprehensive about swimming in the Gulf, but I was actually really enjoying myself! The water was beautiful and clear and I even saw a school of fish before I hit the last sand bar. When I hit the beach I saw Douglas screaming for me and holding a sign that said, “Just Keep Swimming”, which of course made me smile from ear to ear. Unfortunately, the end of the first loop also marked the end of the feeling good in the water sensation.

Exiting the water after the 1st loop


Everything the first lap was, the second lap was NOT. It seemed to take forever to move down the beach to get back into the water to start the second lap and start swimming again. I was happy for the opportunity to have some water in between laps, but I had not swallowed much salt water at that point, so it was really just to rinse out my mouth. The racers in front of me seemed to be taking their sweet time to move along the beach and I felt like a sardine in a school of fish, stuck and not able to break away. I was frustrated because I felt like I was losing precious minutes. I took a more direct line along the buoys for the second loop, hoping that the fasties would be gone and that there would be fewer people in the water to wrestle with. There was more contact on the second loop, but nothing traumatic.

The big issue on the second loop was the surf and chop that had come in and I felt like I was swimming in a choppy Endless Pool. So, not only was I starting to swallow more salt water but I felt like I was making zero forward progress towards the buoys. I kept my spirits up though and tackled the buoys one at a time because it was very important to me to enjoy every moment of my day.

Sure enough, I slowly but surely passed each buoy and before I knew it I was on the beach. I started removing my wetsuit and running up the ramp to the transition area. The ramp was crowded with people on both sides and I was almost overwhelmed by the mass of people and the noise … so much so, that I nearly missed the wetsuit strippers. Thankfully, they found me and had me lie down to remove my suit. It was definitely organized chaos. They had my suit off in no time and I was off to T1.


Swim Lap 1: 42:19
Swim Lap 2: 44:51
Total Swim Time: 1:27:09

Our transition bags were laid out by number and I was told to scream my number out as I approached, but there were so many racers that the volunteers were too busy to help everyone. I finally made eye contact with a volunteer in the right area and got my bag. Then it was off to the super packed changing tents.

Volunteers searching for T1 Bags
The tents were standing room only and had it not been for a volunteer who saw my overwhelmed look as I was searching for a place to sit and asked what she could do to help, I probably would have gotten frustrated. Thankfully, Kathy from BT (although I didn’t know it at the time), helped me into my arm warmers and handed me the rest of my gear while also packing up my swim gear. I was so thankful for her help!

My T1 time was pretty long for me, considering I did not change clothes, but I am not sure what I could have done differently, given the crowding and the long run from the beach into transition.
After leaving the changing tents, I had to run all the way to the back of the transition area, only to turn around again, grab my bike from the waiting volunteer (that part was super cool!) before heading to the bike out exit.

My bike rack with volunteer at the ready ...T1: 8:46

And just like that, the swim was done and I was off for a little bike ride …

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One Week Post Ironman Musings ...

... and yes, I promise a full race report will be up this week!

In the mean time, I thought I would share some of my thoughts on Ironman, a week later.

I think that one of the reasons that I have delayed writing my race report is that I don't want the Ironman journey to be over. The entire experience has been surreal and I feel like the whole thing has been a dream and I am going to wake up and have to do the race again. I am actually a bit sad that it is over and I may even actually have a taste of what is commonly referred to as Post Ironman Blues.

To be completely honest, crossing the finish line was almost anti-climatic, in part because the race was not as hard as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, it was extremely challenging, but it was not the impossible feat that I once that it would be.

It took about 12 hours before I came to the realization that it is because of this amazing journey that I was able to cross that line. In April 2008 when I started down this path, Ironman was a dream, a seemingly impossible dream.

Somewhere along the way I lost perspective about how far I have come. Somewhere in the process of Ironman training, 15+ hour training weeks became the norm and I forgot that just a year and a half ago I couldn't swim 25 yards. Perspective is exactly what I needed to appreciate the magnitude of what I have accomplished.

I now believe, like many others, that the training is harder than the race itself. In my experience, the consistent training, focus on race day nutrition and pacing my race to my ability level allowed me to execute what, for me, was nearly a perfect race.

I was probably the happiest athlete on the IMFL course on Saturday and more than one person commented on my constant smiles. What I have learned from Ironman is that the journey is the reward. So, yes I am a bit sad that this leg of the journey is over, but Ironman Florida is just the first leg of what I hope is long and fun journey in triathlon and endurance sports.

The other big surprise for me has been how great I feel and how easy the recovery has been. I think I expected to feel like I was hit by a train, but after the initial tightness directly after the race, my body has bounced back like a pro! I woke up Sunday morning feeling like a new woman and was even chasing my kids on the beach by sun down.

I also feel very fortunate ... I am not sure if you all were following the weather, but Hurricane Ida brought some serious surf into Panama City Beach on Sunday and they even closed the beaches. By Monday, it was windy and rainy, a far cry from the clear, sunny skies we had on race day!

Finally, this post would not be complete without the Sunday report:

Mileage for Week Ending 11/08/09 -- Race Week!
Swim: 8836 yards in 3:12 [3 workouts]
Bike: 146.5 miles in 9:01 [4 workouts, 2 bricks]
Run: 37 miles in 6:10 [4 workouts, 2 bricks]
Total Time: 18:23

Mileage for Week Ending 11/15/09 -- Recovery Week
Swim: 1500 yards in 0:30 [1 workout]
Bike: 61 miles in 3:30 [2 workouts]
Run: 4.5 miles in 0:45 [2 workouts]
Total Time: 4:45

Stay tuned for detailed a race report and photos this week, plus an update on Team Trakkers 2010!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

IMFL by the numbers

$550 - race registration fee
2423 – number of triathletes that started the race
1239 – number of first timers that started the race
18 – DQs (most like penalty was drafting)
41 - DNFs (did not finish)
5 - bathroom stops (3 on bike, 1 in T2, 1 on run)
24 - Cliff Blocks (3 before swim, 6 on bike, 12 on run)
1,494 – calories consumed of Infinit on the bike
2 - chafing spots (wrist from Ironman wristband on the swim, armpit)
8 – number of family sightings
11 – number of personalized signs
-- Just Keep Swimming (Swim Loop 1)
-- Anne Moore – 2316 – Go Mommy Go! (Bike Start) - Tyler
-- Anne Moore – 2316 – Ride Hard IronMommy! (Bike Start) - Andrew
-- In dreams and in life, nothing is impossible (Bike Start) - Douglas
-- Keep Moving Forward (Bike Special Needs)
-- I’m so ‘cited Mommy! (Bike – Mile 65)
-- Lightning McMommy (with eyeball posters on the Suburban) and racer # 2316 (Bike – M. 65) -- 2.4 Mile Swim, 112 Mile Bike, 26.2 Mile Run = MDot! (Bike Finish)
-- Run Forrest Run (Run Start)
-- We love you! See you at the finish line. (Run Special Needs)
-- Next time we see you, you’ll be an Ironman! (Run half-way)
3 - pairs of socks (1 went unused)
15 (give or take) – number of Ziploc bags I used on race day
2 – number of times I was hit in the face on the swim
5 (give or take) - swallows of salt water
1 - lost item (sunglasses on the run)
3 - hours running in the dark
Countless - Number of times I repeated, “Just keep running, keep moving forward” on the second loop of the run
22 - hours in the car to/from FL (1600 miles on the GPS)
$240.07 - amount spent at the Ironman store
13 - numbers of items I now own that say IMFL (4 gifts, 2 finisher shirts, 1 finisher hat, water bottle, pint glass, stickers, socks)
10 -Number of MDot purchased (2 hats, trailer hitch cover, race belt, 3 magnets, 2 tattoos, and 1 decal)

Receiving an Ironman Finisher Medal .... Priceless!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ironman Florida – Quick Race Report

13:03:52
A full race report is forthcoming, but I want to spend some time on the report so that I can really capture how I felt on each leg of the race. Stay tuned for all of the gory details …

In the mean time, I am in a surreal bubble right now … I can’t believe that the race is over and that I am officially an Ironman! IMFL was the perfect first Ironman and nearly a perfect race.

The highs:
- The first loop of the swim -- no mosh pit, just clear water and what felt like a great stroke (starting down the beach made all the difference)

- Getting a surprise note in my bike special needs bag from my family, “Keep moving forward.” This is a quote from the Disney movie Meet the Robinsons that I love and it was exactly what I needed. Seeing my family on the bike course about 20 miles later was a great treat too!

- Running the entire marathon … and doing it in 4:30!

The lows:
- The second loop of the swim – the chop started and it was not nearly as “easy” as the first loop. My splits were almost even though, considering the run along the beach required to start the second loop.

- The headwind on the bike and my pace. I know I am a stronger biker than my bike split and the only thing that makes me feel better (or worse) is that I realized after the race my brake was slightly rubbing. Not much, but enough to make a small difference. Maybe.

What I wish I had done differently:
- There are lots of places in my day that I could find 3 minutes and 53 seconds to break 13 hours … skipping a potty stop, not putting on arm warmers, trying to adjust the brake, etc. I am NOT going to pick apart my race though.

- Slow down near the grand stands, walk if needed, to find my family. I looked but was overwhelmed by the number of people and the noise. We didn’t coordinate ahead of time where they were going to be and I couldn’t hear them screaming for me over the crowd. I didn’t hear Mike Reilly say my name, but I heard him say, “from Houston, Texas” and Douglas told me that he did say it. I am looking forward to video so that I can hear it myself.

- Raise my hands and smile when crossing the finish line. I was thrilled but I had a deer in the headlights look.

- Coordinate with Douglas where to meet afterwards. Athletes get shuttled off in an athletes only area and the crowd made it difficult for Douglas to quickly get to me. There were so many people and I spent 10 + minutes looking for him and not knowing if he even saw me cross the finish line. It was a major bummer at the time.

Overall...
I am cloud 9. I hit 2 of my 3 goals, and got very close to the third in my first Ironman.

Goal 1 – Finish: Did it!
Goal 2 – Run the entire marathon: Did it!
Goal 3 – Sub 13: Next time!

I was planning to post something the evening of the race, but when I got online to login I was so blown away by the sweet note from Douglas that I decided I wanted to keep it as the top post for a couple of days.

I got emotional several times during the day, but I never cried … but I was overcome in reading my husband’s sweet note. His unending love and support made this journey possible.

Race Stats
Overall Place: 1423/2423
Overall Time: 13:03:52
Division Place: 49/95

Swim Overall Place: 1755
Swim Division Place: 65
Swim Lap 1: 42:19
Swim Lap 2: 44:51
Pace per 100M: 2:18
Total Swim Time: 1:27:09

T1: 8:46

Bike Division Place: 68
Bike Overall Place: 2026
Bike Pace: 16.3 mph
Bike Time: 6:52:08

T2: 5:37

Run Division Place: 33
Run Overall Place: 807
Run Pace: 10:19
Run Time: 4:30:14

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Gushing Pride of a Husband.....

Anne Moore, you are an Ironman!!!!! Let me say that again, ANNE MOORE, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!!!! I can’t really say that I am surprised; you told me years ago that you would like to try this some day. What I heard when you said that was; I WILL do that one day. I never had a doubt in my mind that you could or would do it; it was just a matter of time.

Baby, I can’t tell you how proud of you I am. You are the most driven person I have ever known. When you set your mind to something, you have this magical way of making it happen. It didn’t matter how many 4 and yes 3 o’clock mornings, rain or shine, you got your training hours in. I know I have complained some about the hours and tried to guilt trip you once or twice (wink, wink) but I will always be your biggest fan, bar none. I love that you make things happen, it is the one thing I admire most about you.

I think the most amazing thing about this whole endeavor is that neither I nor the boys have felt neglected the whole time. You have juggled your work, training, and home responsibilities flawlessly. And I have been bragging on you to anyone who will listen for the entire time.

So anyway, congratulations! You will never know how proud I am of you. You are the best at everything you do and I still can’t believe how lucky I am that you picked me. I love you so much, My Ironman.

--Douglas

Friday, November 6, 2009

Follow Me On Race Day!

If you want to track my progress on race day, go to www.ironman.com and look for the live event coverage for IMFL and go to the Athlete Tracker. You can search by name (Anne Moore) or bib # 2316.

Bike is in transition. Transition bags have been dropped off. Pre-race pizza dinner is done. Clothes have been laid out. Special needs bags are packed. Morning bag is ready. Infinit is cooling in the refrigerator. Timing chip is on my ankle. Sunscreen is ready to be applied. Practiced changing two tires. The only thing left to do is get a good night's sleep ...

Tomorrow is going to be a long day, but I am committed to enjoying every moment of my 140.6 miles! There are 1239 first timers on the course tomorrow, so I will be in good company.

Ironman is as much about the journey as it is about the race itself. I have logged the hours and I am ready to finish this challenge!

Good night, everyone!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Strange Sense of Calm

It was a beautiful day in PCB today. The seas were mostly flat and I had a great 1.2 mile swim on the course. The surf report shows there may be more swells on Saturday.

While I was hoping for calm seas, I know I can swim in the chop and that was one of the reasons that I did the Gulf Coast Tri in May here ... I wanted to compete in rougher conditions to be mentally prepared if those conditions presented themselves on race day.

Other than choppy seas, the weather forecast is perfect! I am looking forward to biking 112 miles under patchy skies in 70 some-odd degree weather and then running as the sun is setting and as the air cools off.

I picked up my packet today and saw the finish line and my heart skipped a beat, knowing that the next time I will be there I will be an Ironman. There was only excitement, no nerves as I got my race number and transition bags. I have a strange sense of calm for the time being.

I went to the race meeting this evening and had a raging headache, which made me feel a little nauseous, especially when I saw the size of the crowd and imagined the swim start. With the headache thankfully gone now, I have reminded myself that I can control my surroundings by starting down the beach and waiting a minute before entering the water.

Tomorrow morning I will do my last short ride and run before Ironman and packing my transition bags. I plan to get up early to get that out of the way so that I can spend the day relaxing with my boys, trying not to think about Saturday.

Be present. Live the moment.

Thank you for the good luck wishes, I will race strong knowing that I have so many people rooting me on, near and far!

Crowded Athlete Meeting (and that is the people you can see, there were a ton more to the left and right of the frame and in the hall with me)



I'm Official


This Morning ...


Andrew, playing on the beach


Tyler was running around like a mad man ...

I'm Here!

I've arrived!

10.5 hours in the car and 3 stops later, we arrived in PCB yesterday around 4 pm. Got into the room as the sun was setting over a FLAT gulf! The weather was warm but not hot and it cooled down with the sunset, but it was not cold.

We went to Iron Bob's for dinner and I got to meet a couple of fellow bloggers, Kendra and Melissa. It was neat to meet in person people I have been following online. Then it was to Walmart to stock the condo -- it had been decimated by the Ironman community.

The forecast this week is the same every day, so here is to hoping that race day is as beautiful as it is this morning. I am headed out shortly for a swim where I hope to meet a large Beginner Triathlete crew and then I will hit Ironman village to pick up my packet and check out the expo.

I am looking forward to an afternoon on the beach with my boys!

View from our condo:



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

PCB, Here I come!

I am officially on vacation!

Work was super busy and productive today, which was good because I didn't have any time to think about the race. I went straight from work to a parent-teacher conference for Tyler (my 2.5 year old), who, small mom brag, is doing very well and is "one of the most advanced in the class". I then raced to the polls to do my civic duty and made it with only 15 seconds to spare. Talk about a full day!

So, now it is 8 pm and we just finished dinner. I am going to be up all night packing, but come 5 am we will be on our way to Florida!

I am really looking forward to meeting Iron Bob , Kendra and others tomorrow night.

Our condo has wifi so I will definitely be updating the blog every day with my Ironman experience. PCB, here I come!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bouncing off the Walls!

I have to be honest, I have been wondering what this “taper madness” everyone refers to was all about, because it really hadn’t hit me. The last two weeks I have been tired and even the shorter hours didn’t seem to be helping.

Well, I woke up this morning after a very restful weekend feeling well rested and energized – with more energy than I have had in weeks, make that months! I can’t remember the last time I was not struggling for energy at 3 pm, but not today. I am bouncing off the walls. I am perky, positive and upbeat … and I think I am annoying everyone around me, myself included! It is Monday after all …

I had a great swim this morning (my last with my Masters group before heading out) and a good spin on the bike at lunch. I am making an effort to hydrate too, something I have not been great about the last several weeks. I am not sure if the renewed energy is the excitement of race week (can you believe it is really here?!?!?) or the results of a good taper, but either way I will take it! The only good thing about working Monday and Tuesday this week is that I am staying off my feet and being forced to rest and not stress. If I had taken Monday and Tuesday as vacation I think I would be climbing the walls at the house!

I have already double checked my reservation this morning, verified we have wifi, finalized my travel folder, and added to my list of things to pack.

Bounce, bounce, bounce!

I am also getting lots of emails wishing me luck and people stopping by to see how I am doing … I know that these are small gestures, but they mean the world to me!

If anyone has any last minute advice, I would love to hear it too!

Oh, and I have to mention that my best friend Allie sent me the most thoughtful birthday gift! She scoured my blog to see what I needed and sent me the halter style cycling jersey that I have been wanting! I can't wait to wear it -- incentive to get back on the bike this spring!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

October in Review

Even with the taper, October will go down as my largest month in IM training.

It's funny, because I seem to be training all.the.time, but all said and done, my training made up only about 10% of my available time in October (75 hours vs 744 hours in the month).

October's Totals:
Bike: 38h 14m - 652.5 Mi
Run: 25h 19m - 166.25 Mi
Swim: 12h 00m - 28,800 Yd

Total Time - 75h 33m

I keep waiting to get nervous but so far I am pretty calm ... anyone want to bet how long that lasts?

Aging Up

Well, it's official.

I have been racing all year with "30" in sharpie on my calf (thanks to the USAT rule that you race as your age as of 12/31) and as of today the age on my driver's licence will match the age on my leg in Florida.

I think doing an Ironman is going to be an awesome start to my 30s!

I started this morning by sleeping in until 9:30 -- with falling back, that was like sleeping until 10:30! I am going to spend the rest of the day relaxing (a pedicure is on the agenda) and celebrating with my family, oh, and getting organized for FL too!

Happy Birthday to me!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

One Week

I woke up this morning at 7:00 a.m. and as I walked into the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for my bike ride I had a realization ... that exactly one week from that very moment I would be getting into the Gulf of Mexico to complete this journey.

A journey, that fittingly, started nearly a year ago (November 2) when I registered for IMFL. I remember shaking with nervousness when trying to register, not fearful of what I was about to embark upon, but fearful that I would not get into the race!

So, with my last workout of the week behind me (Sunday is a rest day), it is with great pleasure that I look at my training plan and see only one thing left on my schedule -- RACE WEEK!

Mileage for Week Ending 11/01/09
Swim: 6800 yards in 3:00 [2 workouts]
Bike: 80 miles in 4:45 [4 workouts, 2 bricks]
Run: 22.6 miles in 3:18 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Total Time: 11:03

In keeping with the theme of mental preparation, I took a look at my log totals to remind myself that I have logged the miles, followed the plan and I am ready!

In the year since registration, I have:

Logged 305,026 yards or 173.3 miles in my Speedo.
Spun 3742.5 miles on my wheels.
and
Run 1,538 miles in my New Balance

I am ready!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What do I write about?

Trishie blogged about Wordle and I thought it was really cool ... it makes a random image with the words from your own writing, whether it is a blog or a paper.

Here is the Wordle art work generated from Iron Dreams (click to enlarge):

Wordle: Irondreams

Oh, and even more exciting than that - single digits to race day! Woot!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

2316 is ready to race!

Bib numbers were assigned for IMFL today and I am #2316!

There is always a lot of excitement around this announcement ... not that the bib numbers themselves are all that exciting, it is the excitement of knowing that the assignment of bib numbers is just another sign that race day is almost here [as if the countdown clock approaching single digits didn't scream that fact to me already!]

Next week at this time I will be double checking my lists and finishing up my packing for Florida. There is much to be done in the next week, but once all of the packing is done (packing = stress) I am going to make a deliberate effort to take a deep breath and enjoy every moment of our vacation and the Ironman experience.

I am sure there will be butterflies, but I am ready to race!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mental Preparation

This was the conversation at my house at 6:00 am today:

Doug (Iron Sherpa)- How long are you riding today, when do you expect to be home?

Anne - 4 hour ride, 30 minute run. I should be home by 1:00.

Sigh.

Next weekend I am riding Saturday morning though so I can sleep in on my birthday (Sunday).

Doug - And the Sunday after that you will be an Ironman!

Anne - Wow (major goosebumps)!!


My goal this week is to get organized -- it is time to make packing lists! I will be packing before I know it and given that it takes me forever to pack for a 3 day business trip, I can only imagine how long it will take me to pack for Florida! I think it is going to be a challenge to fit stuff for 5 people for a week's vacation plus tri gear in our Suburban -- thankfully, we won't need to take strollers this time, so we can save some space there!

To celebrate the first week of taper, I attended an IMFL Taper Party and I got to meet several people that I have raced with or chatted with online / through Yahoo Groups. It was great to put faces with names and I hope to run into some of those familiar faces in FL!

I also spent some time focusing on how far I have come (literally, in mileage!). Kristin (The Lazy Marathoner) did a post before IMWI in which she counted how many times she had done the Iron distance in each sport in training leading up to the race.

I remember thinking at the time that it would be a major confidence builder to think of the cumulative training in those terms. So, I did a little Excel magic and discovered the following:

I have swum the IM distance nearly 62 times, I have biked the IM distance nearly 33 times and I have run the IM distance nearly 45 times in training.

When I think about it in those terms, what is one more time? :)

I have also been fighting a bit of a head cold, mainly congestion, so I went to the doctor on Friday to make sure it was nothing more serious. I didn't see my regular doctor, but I was lucky that the doctor who did see me was an athlete himself and was understanding of my situation. He confirmed that I do NOT have the flu and told me to take Mucinex ... but he also gave me a prescription for a Z Pack, just in case! I am happy to have it as insurance.

Mileage for Week Ending 10/25/09
Swim: 7200 yards in 3:00 [2 workouts]
Bike: 116 miles in 6:45 [4 workouts, 2 bricks]
Run: 31.7 miles in 4:47 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Total Time: 14:32

Oh, and Happy (early) Halloween!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bring On The Taper!

What.A.Weekend!

I think that this last weekend was the busiest weekend that I can remember in a long time. What does the weekend of busy mom and triathlete look like?

Friday night: Meet friends at pumpkin patch. Take photos of all of the kiddos in their costumes. Dinner and ice cream. Home after 9 pm.

Saturday: Up early to run 20 miles. Straight from run to company picnic with whole family. Spend day at picnic, run errands and then dinner with training buddy and his family. Home after 9 pm.

Sunday: Up early to do a 7 hour brick (6 hour bike, 1 hour run). Home in time to shower before babysitting for friends and making dinner for my parents, who come over every Sunday to see us and the boys. Asleep right after boys.

Whew! [Note: this would not be possible without my incredible husband who is also an amazing father!]

Needless to say, my closet is a mess, the mail is piling up and I am so ready for this taper! The good news is that I feel ready. I know in my bones that I can finish this race. I have “seen” the finish line on many runs and bike rides. I have practiced my nutrition. I have logged the hours. All there is to do now is let my body recover by dialing back the hours so that it can be at its peak performance in less than 3 weeks.

I am going to do my best to not worry about things that I cannot control (like weather, although good vibes for good weather would be greatly appreciated) and spend this time in a productive way – packing lists, spending time with my family, sleeping, and not gaining 5 pounds by still eating like I am logging 20 hour weeks, etc.

What does a perfect race day look like to me?

One where I cross the finish line.

Preferably with no injuries, no mechanicals, no rain and the wind at my back!

Mileage for Week Ending 10/18/09
Swim: 7000 yards in 3:00 [2 workouts]
Bike: 167 miles in 9:56 [5 workouts, 1 brick]
Run: 46.7 miles in 7:19 [4 workouts, 1 brick]
Total Time: 20:15

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I heart nice people

Let's face it ... most people I know are tired of hearing about Ironman (except my Iron Sherpa family, who is just tired of me being MIA!). They have heard about it for months (and months and months) and most people have stopped asking how training is going, etc. That is one of the reasons that I blog and that I love Beginner Triathlete ... safe places to drone on about triathlon!

I completely understand that this race is important to me but that other people find it slightly crazy. I try not to talk about it with people who are not really interested (like my poor co-workers) and I try not to go overboard with details when someone does ask me about it (although, I admit, sometimes I have a hard time reigning it in ... the random person at the gym does not need to know about the number of calories I consume per hour!).

With IMFL just around the corner now though, more and more people are coming out of the woodwork on a daily basis and are starting to ask me about the race again (and no, not because I reminded them). One of my customers asked me today to remind him the specific date of the race -- he wanted to be sure to put it on his calendar so that he could send prayers and good thoughts my way on the day of the event. I was blown away by this nice gesture!

... and thank you to those of you who "listen" to me vent/obsess on this blog and on BT and provide endless advice and encouragement, it is all very much appreciated!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

One Week Until Taper!

Well, this week of training did not quite turn out as expected, and while I was disappointed at first, I made the most of it and am happy that I managed to log all of the hours, despite the weather. We triathletes have to flexible, right? The good news is that the bad weather did bring Fall weather to Houston! Now, let's hope the cooler temps sticks around -- minus the rain, that is!

I ended up breaking up my long ride into 2 rides, although I still logged a respectable 3:15 straight on the trainer on Friday after my rain out ride. I don't know how some of my IMFL buddies log 5+ hours straight on the trainer! Mr. Iron Dreams was happy because I managed to clear the DVR of all of my sinful teeny bopper shows like Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, 90210 and Melrose Place.

One more big week until the 3 week taper begins. My taper hours are still respectable hours, but coming off these 19+ hour weeks I think 14.5, 11 and 5.5 hours respectively will leave me feeling rested and ready to race! With Kona behind us, IMFL is the next IM on the calendar.

I ordered more Infinit (again!) this week, as well as a new tri top, arm warmers and a box of Clif Shot Blocks. I also paid for the PCB condo in full since we are less than 30 days out now! Next on the to do list -- packing and transition bag lists!

My Pei Wei Fortune Cookie: "In dreams and in life, nothing is impossible."

Right before my youngest son was born, my older son, Andrew (2.5 at the time) got a fortune cookie that read "a small gift can bring joy to the whole family" ... I saved it and it is framed with his memory box of hospital stuff. I am definitely saving this fortune as well!

Mileage for Week Ending 10/11/09
Swim: 7800 yards in 3:00 [2 workouts]
Bike: 156.5 miles in 9:15 [6 workouts, 1 brick]
Run: 44.75 miles in 6:53 [5 workouts, 1 brick]
Total Time: 19:08

Have a happy and safe training week!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Athletic Gear by Women for Women

One of my favorite bloggers, Kelly (aka TriMommy) is doing a give away for a $30 GC for Whooha Gear. Go to her blog and check it out!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Seeking Cover

So, I took a vacation day today to get in my long brick and was disappointed that rain was in the forecast. I figured I would get in as much as I could and brave the weather, if needed. Well, 1:20 into my ride I made a quick pit stop to fill my water bottle at the Monaville General Store (small town 30 minutes outside of Houston). I got back on my bike with intentions of riding back to my car, so I wouldn't be too far from it if the weather got bad. Well, not 2 minutes later, the temperature dropped 20 degrees and the wind gusts started, and with it a light rain.

I immediately got nervous. I was 20-something miles from my car with not many opportunities to seek shelter. The die-hard in me wanted to brave the weather and be a bad ass, but my sensible self who wants to make it to the IMFL starting line decided to turn around and call my endlessly supportive husband for a ride back to my car. It was absolutely the right decision today. The rain and wind only got much worse and I can only imagine how that wind would have knocked me around.

So, I am sitting in the comfort of the Monaville General Store waiting for my Ironsherpa to save the day. I think he was so just happy that I made a smart decicion. So, it looks like I will be spending some quality time on the trainer this weekend to make up the difference. I will log the hours, but I don't think I will be able to make myself sit on the trainer for 4+ hours straight. We'll see ...

No matter what happens, I know in my bones I made the right call and this one ride is not going to make or break my training. It is the consistency over the last year that will make the difference come race day.