I am an adventure seeking wife and mother first! Travel, and endorphins are my best friends. I will try anything once, unless I know
I would be in danger. I have a crazy love of God, running, triathlon, the outdoors, dirt, wine, friends, good Vegan food, Yoga,
animals, happiness, and life! I truly believe the only limits in life are the ones set by ourselves. So get out there and expand the limits!!
~~Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Beginning of a Beautiful Story

Trying to take in every moment of this IM journey I have been on, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
 It is really coming down to the wire, as we only have 29 days from today.  Funny, that back when we started training, the days seemed endless, and it felt like Ironman would never get here.  Now I sit, 29 days out, and the time is flying by.

The Good:  Training has been wonderful on my body, mind and spirit.  I have met some of the most amazing people that are truly coming out of the hibernation of a Coeur d’ Alene winter and into Spring training.   You know who they are.  You see them biking and running the course…talk to them, and hear their stories of their IM journey, be it their first or many.  I love hearing the stories.  Hearing their passion.   Seeing their excitement, feeling their joy, and seeing their tears…some happy, and others not.  Their stories uplift me, give me hope, and I am in awe of every one I hear.  Every single one is different.  Same race, told 100 different ways.  You hear training strategies, fueling options, injury prevention, you name it, someone always has some great advice.  Because it truly is an individual sport.  Your own ride…  Natalie and I met a guy yesterday on our 5-1/2  indoor  (yes, I said indoor) training ride, who is battling bladder cancer.  Peddling away on the bike, in super shape, great attitude, smiling and laughing with us, with his own story to tell.  Another man…. that is 67 years old, doing his second Ironman.  I told Ken, I couldn’t wait to see him at the finish, either him cheering me in, or me cheering him in.  Sixty-Seven!!! I pray that God allows me to be in that sort of shape when I am pushing 70!  What an inspiration.  We met quite a few people yesterday on this “ride” we were doing in the gym.  People stopped by asking about Ironman.  Some giving us funny looks, being that we had to hit 2 one-hour Spinning classes, plus 3 ½ hours on the bikes around the Kroc Center.  We were teased by the staff, who thought we had either gone crazy, or were thinking about taking up residency in their facility.  None-the- less, the rain got the better of the day; we drew the short straw and had to hit the bikes indoors. Better that, than risk an injury this close.  Our butts ached, we were stinky, but still happy to be on this journey, and both happy to have a great friend to train with and laugh through it all day!

The Bad:  Well, for one, that 5-½ hour ride yesterday.  Weather difficulties, are always a “suck” But you do what you can do, and keep going.  Improvise, catch a break when you can, and keep moving.   You can always swim, and run in the rain…biking is a whole other thing.
Time…always hard on everyone.  Natalie says her husband is ready to “stop being the wife and Mommy at home” Agree.  My family, as great as they have been, are ready for some sort of normalcy, back into our lives.  Although, when asked yesterday, if this is our last Ironman, both of us simultaneously answered, “NO!”  Not even close, I would say!

The Ugly:  Bad nutrition days, stomach aches, gas, bloating, feeling “pukey”...and actually puking. Strained muscles, tight IT bands, calf knots, dehydration, sore shoulders, and neck….the list goes on in this category.  All so worth it in the end.  It all works out.  You find what works nutritionally.  Unfortunately it is by trail and error, so some days things work great, others, not!  Also, there are the tired feet, ice baths (which I actually love, while others hate) cold lake temps, flat tires, bike wrecks, and just the tiredness, of training so hard 6 days a week.  But again, worth it.  I finally found a remedy for my insomnia…training for an Ironman.  Cleared it right up.  Sleeping like a baby!

All in all, this amazing chapter in my life has been spectacular.  One I will never forget.  It is up there with getting married, and the birth of our three kids.  It’s huge!   I feel “ready.”  We have one more week of peak training, ramping up.  Next Friday and Saturday will be our last long bike, and run days, and then we taper for our race.  So many emotions flood me when I think about that day.  Think about each aspect of the course.  Mentally preparing myself for the unknown.  I remind myself, to take each piece at a time.  Two swim loops, two bike loops, two run loops.  Each separate.  Each it’s own “race” in the big picture.   I imagine running down Sherman Ave to the finish.  My family and friends locally, and from MN & WA waiting.  Gives me chills, and butterflies, and tears.

ALL of it, worth the good, bad and the ugly.  Also knowing as much support as we have all had from friends and family, which is HUGE, and I am forever grateful for…WE are doing this.  On our own.  WE did this…..and this is OUR journey, our story, alone, unlike anyone else’s.  We have each put in the training hours, the time, the sacrifice for this.  It really comes down to that.  Each individual. Each aspect of their race…they own it.  We own it.  I own it!  And we should be proud of ourselves.  I cannot wait to have my “story” of this race to share, when my time comes.

~~Life’s Journey Is Not to Arrive At the Grave Safely In a Well-preserved Body, But Rather to Skid In Sideways, Totally Worn Out, Shouting, ‘holy ****! What a Ride!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A real pain in the.....

Time off has to be the HARDEST thing about training and racing.  I talk to some people that LOOOVE their days off.  I do not.  Never have.  I was just talking to a training partner of mine about the 3-week taper we have for Ironman, THREE weeks.  This will be the longest taper I have ever done.  God help me.  I don’t taper well.  I get crabby, anxious, moody, lethargic, and a little depressed.  I wander around my house wondering what to do with my day.  Especially after my long training weekends, which are now up to 6-7 hours on Friday & Saturdays and climbing.  Having to go down to 4 hours and less….. That will be horrible for me. Complete torture.
Another time off issue I have is for injuries.  Which I am in the process of this week.  For 2-3 weeks now I have been having a calf issue.  Not sure what happened.  During my ½ IM I felt a small Charlie Horse cramp, which subsided after a bit, but has now decided to take up permanent residency in my inner left calf.  What the heck?  I have asked Charlie to leave now, that he was an uninvited guest.  That he could mosey his little self to someone else, or better yet, just take a hike...but NO!!....for some reason, he is loving my calf as a vacation spot. 
 I am having regular, weekly massages, icing it, rolling on my roller, using my Stick on it, wearing my compression socks, but to no avail.  This week, I decided I needed to take it easy.  PFFT!  And now, here we are on Wednesday, and I am going crazy.  My workouts have slowed. I am swimming and biking, but haven’t run since Saturday when I did 12 miles.  I KNOW, I KNOW…friends say this is ok, but really it is making me want to scream.
I am seeing a guy tomorrow that has some type of “magic” he is going to use on it.  I am at my wits end.  Ready to try anything.  Acupuncture, voodoo spell (HA!) calf replacement…..Ok I am getting out of line, but really?  Why now?  And why is it so hard for me to take a rest?  I am like a crazy person with an addiction.  Only mine is to running. 
I am really trying to stay positive about this, and know it will turn out fine.  I will continue onto race day, pain or no pain, but want to be feeling in tip-top shape.
My question to all of you is how do you get through these days?  Be it, from an injury, or a taper?  How do you occupy that time and space in your mind?  And I am willing to take any suggestions on the calf.  So if you have some advice please tell me.  I am willing to listen to anything…..unless you tell me “more time off!!”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother Runners

  I think the older I get the more of a sap I am.  Maybe it’s because there are many days that I am training, and have a twinge of guilt in me about time away from my family.  I know that every Mom needs her time, and it is a good and healthy thing to do for yourself, but my time away some days seems excessive.  My Fridays and Saturdays, are no less than 5-6 hour training days.  That’s a lot.  When other Mom’s are hangin’ out, playing with their kids on the weekend, I am on a bike for 5 hours.  Or running for hours.  Guilt.  It’s something I have battled with ALL of these months of training for Ironman.  Something I have battled with anytime I am away from my kids.
Some days however, I need to step back and really look inside, at where the guilt is coming from.  Certainly not from my family.  I guess as a Mom, it’s hard to have “me time.”  Being 100% invested in your kids and family, is in our nature. And we are selfless.  Time for ourselves gets put on the back burner,
But then, I have days like Mother’s Day.  And here is where the sap in me comes out.  We got up on Mother’s Day, and headed to meet some great friends for breakfast.  It was early, and our kids were excited.  Even our teenagers, coming off late Saturday nights!!  Breakfast was awesome, and we came home to hang out together.  The kids then proceeded to hand out my gifts and cards.  The cards…the cards were magical.  They were beautiful, but the things my kids wrote in them to me touched my heart the way nothing else could.  My son Jeff said things like, “thank you for being so devoted to me. It’s that devotion that made me the man I am today.”  My seventeen year old daughter Mariah wrote how much she is like me, and that she LOVES that.   That we are just like twins, and she is my “mini-me” and is so proud of me. That she thanks God everyday for me.  And little Alli; that I am always supportive, that I am always there for her, and that I care so much for her. That I am adventurous, beautiful, and love laughing.
They are proud of me, encouraging to me, are my biggest fans.  Of course reading every card, and every word that they wrote, made me cry like a baby.  They admire me.  I guess when I am feeling that guilt creep in, I need to realize that even though, I may not be right there with them at that moment, they know I am always there.  And through training I am showing them fortitude, dedication, and being a good, healthy, roll model to them.  I am showing them, first hand about setting goals, dreaming big, and reaching for the stars.  Setting your mind to something, and going for it.  Anything is attainable, be it your first 5K, marathon, triathlon, Ironman or Ultra-marathon.
Next time I am training, I will hold their words close to my heart.  I will know that even though I may be out swimming, riding or running, they are actually right out with me, in spirit.  I am not leaving them behind; I am carrying them right along with me.  They are cheering for me.  Looking up to me, and have pride in me.  No guilt can slip in when you have huge fans paving the way for you.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Half Ironman!!

So frustrating when training falls apart.  For me, it causes such mental anguish it is ridiculous.  Saturday was all planned out to be the day I would race my mock ½ Ironman.  Being that the 70.3’s fill so fast, I could not find an actual race to get into, I had to do the training as a mock, and that was fine with me.  I had put in the work, and did the taper (which is always HARD for me, and a whole other subject) all for my ½ IM on Saturday.  I was ready, and excited as I packed up everything on Friday.  Went over my nutrition with a fine-toothed comb.  I also did some good meditation on Friday.  Mentally preparing for this day.  I was a little nervous, as I would be for any race.  But I was ready.  I can do this!!
I woke up on Saturday to the foulest weather.  The wind was howling, and gusting.  The rain, pouring.  I sat and watched.  Turned on the news thinking MAYBE it was going to let up.  My heart was sinking.  Weather said it would be getting worse as the day went on.  Winds gusting harder, with thunderstorms.  I sank.  I kept thinking, maybe I should just go.  What if race day is like this?  The swimming and running in the wind and rain, no big deal.  Even the biking.  But the new bike.  Agh!!  I just do not have the confidence on the new bike to ride on slick roads, with wind gusts.  I considered taking my road bike, but REALLY need to be on the new bike as much as possible.   A friend told me, if it’s like this on race day, you suck it up, but why risk a possible injury or crash for a training??    True!!  Good advice.
 I decided to back out, and headed to the pool.  At least I could get in a good swim.  What?  The pool looked like they were holding a convention in it.  Each lane 10-12 people with others in the water at the edge, hanging out, waiting their turn for a lap.  I walked out.  Defeated!  Sad!  Broken.  So much preparation, for such a letdown.  I sulked for hours.  I watched Ironman St George, which made it worse maybe.  I was sunk. 
It took me a few hours to get it out of my system.  The pity party needed to come to an end.  I re-vamped the plan for the next day.  Weather was looking better.  Windy, but no rain.  I can handle that on the bike.  Fighting one element is much better right now than several.  The only thing was that Greg & I had registered for Bloomsday 12k in Spokane, WA, Sunday.  I had to scratch that.  What a fun race to be missing, but I really needed the ½ IM.  We gave our kids our registration (I know that’s a no-no) and they ran with Greg’s Dad!!  Woo Hoo!
Sunday, when I wok up the sun was out.  The wind was blowing, but the sun was out!  We headed out to the pool.  I got a lane, BY MYSELF, and started my swim.  Greg sat on the pool deck, thank goodness, counting my laps.  I didn’t even want counting to be in my head.  I could just swim.  And it was fabulous!  Out of the pool.  Had a gel

1.2 miles, done!

Onto the bike.  Greg and I met friends, and headed out on the bike.  I had my nutrition packed, and was a little worried about my Perpetuem, since it had given my stomach such grief the week before.  This time…I SIPPED my 2-hour bottle, and it was awesome.  Nutrition on the bike: One 2-hour bottle of Perpetuem, one bottle of Heed in my Aero bottle, one bottle of H2O, one small bite-sized Snickers, 1 gel and a ¼ of a Almond butter and honey sandwich.  It all worked.  My stomach felt great!!  The whole 56 miles was awesome!  The wind was super annoying, and ALWAYS seemed to be changing directions to create a head wind, but over all it was great!  Greg hung in there for the 56 miles with me, thank goodness again, because it can be a lonely road if you are on your own.  

56-mile bike, done!

We met another friend for the run.  I changed, and we took off.  WOW, my legs felt like I had brick shoes on.  Which is normal.  I need to do more prep coming off the bike in the last 2 miles.  Standing, stretching, clipping out one side to stretch, and then the other.  And of course, spinning out in a high cadence.
It took a good 2 miles for my legs to feel normal.  And we got into a more normal pace.   Slower than I am used to running, but I expected that.  The first ½ of the run felt pretty good.  I got into a good rhythm.  Nutrition kind of fell apart on the run a bit.  I only brought 2 gels, Heed and H2O.  And not enough. My friend, Corey, running with me was asking why I don’t eat solid food on the run?  Ummmmm….my gut would HIGHLY disagree with that idea.  As he is chomping down Gummy Bears, gels, chocolate chip cookies.  What the heck?  He made me promise to start training with and trying some solids over the next couple of weeks.  He suggested, brownies with espresso, boiled baby red potatoes covered in sea salt.  I am going to give it a try this week.
  After the first ½ of the run, we turned around, and I was starting to feel tired.  My feet were getting tired.  I got a cramp in my calf, so we sped up to work it out, that didn’t work so we slowed to a fast walk.  Cramp gone, whew!  I had a USAT coach tell me early on, to train with some walking during the run.  He laughed when I told him that I didn’t plan on walking any of the marathon during IM.  He said 90% do, and I needed to train accordingly, or IF/WHEN I needed to walk, it would be really hard for my body to start running again.  I know what he means now.  Picking back up the pace after walking a bit, was tough.  My legs felt heavy, and tired.
  Mile 12 I was starting to get REALLY tired.  You know, that trick your mind plays on you, when it KNOWS you are almost to the finish.  Your body gets tired, but your mind is excited.  That’s how I was feeling.  At 12 ½ miles I really started to pick up the pace, going to kick out the last ½ mile.  Faster, faster.  I told Corey, only .30 to go, so lets turn on the heat.  He then told me, we were going to run and extra ½ mile past the 13.1.  OH MY GOSH!  Again, my body said, OH no…you are finished.  I told Corey, no way.  He said to give it all I had.  That last ½ mile felt like death.  I wanted to cry.  My legs were on fire, and I told Corey the wheels were about to come off. 

My heart was about to pump out of my chest.  He kept pushing me.  Wouldn’t let me look at my Garmin, because I knew my HR was high.  Last ¼ mile full sprint at 4:42 mpm.  4:42????  Where did that come from?  I have never hurt so good! 

13.1 (well actually 13.5) done!

I was finished, and I SO needed that day.  From feeling utterly defeated to gratitude, jubilation and success!!!

After we were done,  I had a Recoverite, stretched, came home, took a 10 minute ice bath....YIKES!  Had a good dinner, shower, put on my recovery socks (thanks Michelle) hung with my family and Bloomsday kids
Jeff, Ellie, Dad & Mariah.  WAY TO GO, Bloomies!!

 and hit the hay, tired, but smiling!!!

70.3 Done!  Ironman….I can feel you breathing down my neck, and I am ready for you!