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.
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.


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!


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.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Call Me Crazy

A new personal best for me this morning … I started my run at 3:55 a.m. this morning. While the rush of trying to get ready for work and the kids to school on time immediately after my 18 miler pretty much sucked at the time, I feel so freakin great now, knowing my long run for the week is behind me! Now, I might need a Red Bull or a wake up call this afternoon, but I will cross that bridge this afternoon.

I am actually planning to take Friday as a vacation day to do my long brick for the week as this weekend is packed with soccer, a baptism and a baby shower! The epiphany that I could use a vacation day to do this ride lifted all the weight off my shoulders of trying to figure out how to fit in everything in such limited time. Plus, it will be nice to spend the entire weekend with my family, instead of spending nearly an entire day (e.g. half of my weekend) training.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

One Lucky Girl

I am one lucky girl - and someone even told me as much on Saturday (more on that later).

I am lucky because ...

I have the most amazing and supportive family. It takes a lot of personal sacrifice and commitment to train for an Ironman, but even more than that, it takes a lot of family sacrifice and commitment, especially as the hours ramp up. I work full time and my training hours are like having a part time job on top of that. Come November 7, I can say without hesitation that while I might be doing the 140.6, when I cross that finish line, I will not have done it alone. Thank you Ironsherpa Family!

I had a minor bike crash on my long ride this weekend and was able to get back on the bike without a scratch on me. My bike survived ok as well, with a couple of scratches, but nothing serious and I was able to get back on the bike and finish the 35 some-odd miles I had left on my 100 mile ride as though nothing had happened. The crash happened as we were approaching a light and I looked up at the traffic (to make sure the cars saw me) that was trying to turn left into the shopping center I was passing on the shoulder. My bike wheel veered into a joint in the concrete and the next thing I knew, my bike was on top of me. I didn't even have time to think or brace for the crash. The guy I was riding with told me at the end of our ride that I was seriously lucky and that crash damage could have been much worse. He kept checking my arms for scratches that were not there!

I am overcoming a case of Laryngitis that I developed on my trip this week, but nothing too serious. In fact, I was able to get all of my workouts in while on the road. I am so thankful for my health and the ability to train and race. I am also proud of myself for getting my workouts in, including doing 250+ laps in the short hotel pool and running a total of 41 half mile laps (multiple runs) around the hotel property.

That there are single digit weeks to IMFL! That's right, we are down to counting weeks on one hand! I am also thrilled that there are just 2 weeks until the taper!

Mileage for Week Ending 10/4/09
Swim: 7500 yards in 3:00 [2 workouts]
Bike: 165 miles in 9:33 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Run: 43.5 miles in 6:35 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Total Time: 19:08

Here is hoping that my hard work has properly prepared me for IMFL and that my luck continues to help me get to the finish line.

Happy days and safe training to all!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

September in Numbers

Wow. What a month! With taper just around the corner, I think this will go down as my biggest training month in preparation for IMFL, although October will be close.

There was a time that I would have said this sort of volume was not possible, but gradual increases and consistent training over 2 years has me in what I feel is the best shape of my life.

September's Totals:
Bike: 35h 43m - 622 Mi
Run: 23h 09m - 152 Mi
Swim: 15h 16m - 39,624 Yd

Total Time - 74h 08m