Monday, November 14, 2011

We're back!!!

Iron Team has started again! I am super excited. I mean it was great going home from work every day for 2 months drinking a bottle of wine and eating pizza, but I am glad to be back on a healthy schedule.

So far this week, I swam three times, took a spin class, went running four days, and did core twice. Now my butt and legs hurt, but I am super happy.

We have a great new team, and people keep joining every week! We got two new people sign up this weekend! 

If you have been thinking of joining, I would definitely come to one of our free workouts this month!

And watch this video to get inspired!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ironman Canada Part 3

So the third and final leg of the race was beginning and it was hot! I saw a temperature sign and it said it was 32 degrees, which is 90 degrees Fahrenheit and this was now after 4:30 in the afternoon. I started the run and saw Team Embo again right as I left transition. I was super happy they had made it back in time...they were everywhere that day!
I decided I was going to start the race running for 4 minutes and walking for 1. It was super hot, but I felt good running for the 4 minutes. I was however running very slowly...but I thought, as long as I conserved my energy now, I would have enough to get back from the turn around at 13.1 miles.

As I ran out I caught up with Kristy and we ran and walked together for a while. It was good to be able to talk to her, but eventually we got split up due to different bathroom stop schedules. :) As I got farther out on the course I began to see my friends running back in. When I was at about mile 7.5 I saw Dave running back in. I gave him a big hug and kept going. Then I saw Liz about a mile later. Liz and Dave had a bet, that if she beat him, he was going to pay her $1200 for her entry to the race (because she had bought a community spot). I told her Dave was just a little bit ahead and she should pick up the pace. She ended up catching him at mile 24, and made him sprint the last two miles in. He ended up beating her by only 55 seconds! They finished in 12 hours and 43 minutes.....meanwhile...I was still on the run course, jogging away in the heat and sun.

At one point I realized I was wearing a visor and I had a part because Jasmine had braided my hair and I needed sunblock for my part. At this point it was probably about 5:30 or 6, so I probably didn't really need sunblock, but I think I was a bit delirious and I started to freak out. I asked spectators if they had any sunblock and they didn't. But then I remembered that my chapstick had sunblock in it, so I took it out and put chapstick all over my head. :)

At about mile 10 I started to get cramps across my stomach. I was a little sad because this hadn't started until mile 20 when I ran my first marathon last June, so I was worried I was going to not have a very pleasant last 16 miles. So I decided I would walk for 7 minutes to see if I could get rid of the cramps. See when I am running, even if I decide to walk for longer, I always have to decide ahead of time how long my walking break will be. If you don't decide before you start walking when you are going to go back to could end up walking a lot more than you need to.

So after 7 minutes I decided to switch to a 1/1. I wasn't feeling too great...the sun was still out, I hate being hot, and I was super hot. I walked 1 minute, ran 1 minute all the way to the turn around at 13.1 miles. (Except the hills...I walked the hills...I figured why waste energy).

Jim and Serg and Luis were at the turn around and it was so great to see them! They put a bounce in my step, and took the kitchen sink I had in my back pockets. I had 2 power bars, power blasts, GU, my heart rate monitor that I had to take off because it was too tight, my sunglasses, body glide, my Epipen. Basically you name it, and I had bouncing up and down in my back pockets.

I felt so much lighter after handing all that stuff off, and as I began to head back to the finish line I kept thinking: "I've done 13.1 miles before, I've done this, I got this." The sun started to go down and a volunteer on a motorcycle came by and handed me a glow in the dark necklace. I met a girl named Sarah and we began to run/walk my 1:1 together. But by mile 16 I started having to pee a lot. I hadn't peed once on the bike, and I think that scared me, so I drank a lot of water on the run, and I started having to use the port-a-potty at every water stop (about every mile). At this time I realized now that the sun was down, I felt better, and I could actually run from water stop to water stop. So I started a little routine...I'd pee at the water stop, get a cup of chicken broth and a pepsi, drink them both, then run to the next water stop: over and over again.

It was kind of cool to run at night, just watching the bobbing glow-in-the-dark necklaces strung out in front of me. As I came to the end of Skaha Lake I found Team Embo again. There were just 6 miles left and seeing them made me so happy and gave me energy!
6 miles was all I had left, and it was all flat...I thought "wow if I was running 10 minute miles I'd be done in an hour." Too bad I was running just under 15 minute miles, so I had a little less than an hour and a half left. I just kept telling myself that I had run 6 miles before when I was totally exhausted and I could do it again...and you know what, I did! I don't remember everything I was feeling running in those last 6 miles, but I know my legs were really beginning to hurt, I had to pee all the time, and I was getting pretty nauseous. But at mile 24 I decided to take my last GU since it had 2 times the caffeine. I thought it might help me with a little burst of energy. As I came in and saw the finish line my cramps came back across my stomach.

At Ironman Canada they are a little mean, so when you see the finish line you actually have to take a left, and run away from it for another mile, so I turned left and was thinking I would run in the whole last mile. Of course my cramps didn't like that idea, and I realized that it would probably be better to walk a little out in the dark away from the crowds and be able to finish strong. So I walked a little ways to the last turn around, and then looked at my watch. I had about 9 minutes to make it to the finish line to finish under 16 hours. (Funny how my goals changed during the race...but even though they changed it was always good to have a goal, to keep you going).

I came into the shoot and I wanted to do a shout out to my Iron Team (and show Phil and Tony that they were spelling at the sprint boys, I am never going to stop harassing you about that!). So I spelled: IT, but in the video online I did the I a little too soon, and you can't really see it. Oh well.
I crossed the finish line! I completed my first Ironman in 15 hours, 54 minutes, and 19 seconds.

Ironman Canada Part 2

So I ran out of the water and got my wetsuit stripped off. Everyone around me was frantically running to grab their bags and get into the changing tents. I was happy to be out of the water, but I didn't feel too rushed. I knew all the people getting out of the water with me were most likely much better bikers and runners than me, so I didn't feel the need to try to change super fast and get on the bike course.

I went in to the tent and a volunteer poured all my stuff on the ground and started handing me what I needed. I put my bike jersey and socks on, then helmet and gloves and shoes, and then stuffed all my food in my back pockets and my volunteer sprayed me down with SPF 50 and I was ready to go. I walked out of the tent and saw all the bikes, like all my triathlons there were tons of bikes still in transition when I got out of the water...and they would all be back there by the time I got back as well. :)

As I was walking my bike to mount it, I heard Team Embo cheering me on from the side parents and my cousins Loretta and Lynda, and their husbands Steve and Jerry, and Steve's daughter Brittnay and her boyfriend Elliot were all wearing bright green shirts that said Go Iron Team and TEAM EMBO. They were very easy to spot!

 So I got on my bike and started riding down Main Street. There were tons of people lining the streets:

The first 40 miles of this race are pretty flat and slightly down hill during most parts. I knew this and originally my plan was to work this hard to get a faster overall time. I figured the hills would be slow no matter what, so if I wanted to make up time, I should do it at the beginning when it was easy. The only problem with this was that as soon as I was on the bike my lower back began to hurt...a lot. Since my foot had been hurting all month I hadn't biked that often and I guess my back had forgotten how to be bent over my handle bars and not tighten up. When I was at about 10 miles into the bike ride I began to think: "wow, this is going to be a very long and painful ride." A little after 10 miles when we were going up a short hill, I realized that I needed to do something about it, so I took one of my vicodine that I had for my foot. I made sure to also drink my electrolyte/calorie drink at the same time, so I wouldn't have an empty stomach.

The vicodine helped some, and the ride became more bearable...I was going downhill and was able to do between 18 and 22 miles per hour. I knew I could push myself more, since everyone else was pushing themselves and passing me, but I decided that I wanted to make sure I finished the race, and finishing quickly was no longer that important to me. As I rode along the beautiful route over 1600 other athletes passed me. And although I am hoping by next year to be a better biker, so maybe only 1200 athletes pass me on the bike, being a fast swimmer and a slow biker has its perks. See, I got to see so many of my friends out there as they went by. Bill passed me and patted my butt. Kaori (my new friend from Japan) passed me and I sang  the only Japanese song I knew to her. Then Dave passed me and I told him how my feet were feeling really numb, and he suggested I loosen my shoes. Wow, that helped A LOT! I guess I should have thought of that myself. The other good thing about getting out of the water early and then being slow on the bike is that every one passing me was so much faster than me, I didn't have to worry at all about getting a drafting penalty. :)

Even though I didn't have a penalty, I stopped by the penalty box right before Richter Pass at around mile 40 to eat my GU and take a little break. Then it was time to start up the first big hill. On the elevation map it says it is a 6 mile 2,000 feet climb. I started up it, and this was the first time on the bike that I was actually passing some people. I guess all those hills Coach Mike had us do during training paid off! I was at the top before I realized it, and thought, wow, that wasn't too bad. Kristie, Helen, and Dana were at the top too cheering me on and someone had really cool loud music. 

Then it was fun downhill and into what they call the Seven Bitches, which I was also told there were 10 of...I tried counting them, but I kept forgetting how many I had done. People kept passing me, but by this point I was riding with people who were about my pace, so it was fun to talk to some people. Then I got to a flat area before the out and back and Team Embo was there waiting for me!

It was so great to see them! Right after that at the beginning of the out and back Aki caught up to me, and we rode together to special needs, where she lent me some sunblock, since I had forgotten to include some. After special needs at mile 72 was when they ran out of water for me...I was told that for people behind me, they ran out at Richter pass and even before. I started to get a little scared, but at one stop they had a hose, so I filled up there, and started trying to conserve a little. By the time I got to the bottom of Yellow Lake at around mile 90 it was super hot (95 degrees), and I was tired, and I didn't have much water....but there was Team Embo again! They had written motivational signs on the road and had even done some body spelling before I got there!
I yelled out at them that I needed water, and they ran across the street to their car and brought me some. Then apparently they got all the water out of their car and started handing it to other participants. Aki was a little behind me at this point and she said they gave her water too. I am really proud and thankful for my family for doing this, but I really think that Ironman Canada owes all of the athletes a huge apology for having run out of water!

So Yellow Lake probably would have been easier than Richter Pass except that it was at mile 90 and it was 95 degrees, and everyone at this point going up it had been without water for longer than they should have it was kind of a challenge...but again Team Embo was there to help me up it. They were at the bottom, and then once I passed they would drive by me and park farther up and wait to cheer me on some more. They went all the way up the hill with me like this, and then once I was at the top, drove back into town and were there when I started my run.

After Yellow Lake I was kind of done with the bike, I had passed mile 100 so I knew that there were less than 12 miles to go, but then I saw I sign that said 14 miles to Penticton. I was super upset...but there was nothing I could do about it...I think it wasn't until I was on Main Street again that I realized I was in Canada and the sign had probably meant that I was 14 Kilometers from Penticton.

So I got into transition after 9 hours and 23 minutes. My official bike time was 8 hours 4 minutes and 43 seconds. I knew absolutely at this time I was not going to be making it in under 14 and a half hours...which had been a very ambitious goal I had had before I hurt my foot at the beginning of the month and hadn't run on it. But I was thinking that I was maybe on schedule to beat IronPhil's time of 15 hours and 27  minutes...but then I got on the run course...and well...that will be the next part.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ironman Canada Part 1

So I know that I have a pretty short attention span, and I assume other people might as I've decided to write about my Ironman in different parts, so you and I don't get bored with my experience...I mean it was a pretty long day, so it's good to break it into smaller parts.

Anyway, I woke up Sunday morning at 3:30am super excited. Not really because I had an Ironman to do, but because I got to drink coffee! On the advice of my coach Tony I had given up coffee and all other caffeine for two weeks, and it had been a hard two weeks. I didn't have headaches or anything, but I have such an emotional attachment to coffee that I would wake up every morning and the first thing I would think was: "I can't have coffee today." Then I would go to work, and I would think: "I can't have coffee today", then I would go home from work and think: "I can't have coffee tomorrow." But on Sunday I woke up and thought: "I CAN have coffee today!!!!!" And although I don't really know how much of a difference it made having caffeine on the course all day after not having had it for 2 weeks, it made a huge difference that morning and I was able to go three times before I even left the hotel room! Woo hoo!

So anyway, Jasmine and Dana and I got ready and then went to the hotel lobby and got on the bus down to the start. We were there early, and I guess we hung out, got our wetsuits on, and got ready for the swim. When it got closer to 7am I went down to the water and got in and swam around a little. Then I went to the left of the crowd of people forming in the water and started asking people how fast they thought they were going to swim the 2.4 miles. I wanted to be behind people who were going to go a little faster than me, so I wouldn't have to swim over anyone. I finally found a guy that said he would do it in 1 hour and 4 minutes, so I stood behind him (about 3 or 4 people back from the very front of the line). I had swam it in 1 hour and 8 minutes at Vineman, so I figured it would be good to be behind someone 4 minutes faster.

Then it was time to start the race. I don't really remember if there was a gun or not, but everyone started walking forward and swimming, so I did as well. I was surprised and pleased at my placement. I didn't necessarily feel a huge pull forward like I was told would happen, but it wasn't crazy. There were a lot of people I was swimming next to, but we were all quite civilized. I didn't get kicked at all, and when I could feel people touching my feet, I would stop kicking, so as not to hurt them. Quite a few times I was stuck right in between two swimmers and we were all going the same pace and were a little too close, so our arms would hit each other, but everyone was always trying to find a clear space, so we would eventually move away from each other. For a lot of the time I could see people all around me, but had my own little space to swim in. I guess I was lucky to start near the front because most of the people knew how to swim straight and weren't zig zagging in front of me.

All in all it was a pretty good swim, but I wasn't pushing myself as hard as at Vineman. There were A LOT more people in the water (3,200) than at Vineman, so even though it wasn't crazy, I was also never alone, so I pretty much stuck to my breathing every two strokes. I also wanted the swim to be over. It's funny because swimming is basically the only thing I am any good at, but I find it the least fun. I was thinking about why this is, and I think part of it has to do with the fact that you can't really interact with people while you are swimming, and you can't really look at the scenery. So I was pretty happy to get out of the water after 1 hour, 11 minutes, and 17 seconds. At this point I was in 798th place out of 3,240 athletes. Pretty good, huh? Well don't worry...that was all about to change...but that will be in the next part of this report. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not What I Expected

I thought I would be so excited the week before my Ironman. I've been so excited all year. I have absolutely loved training and pushing myself. I've been so amazed at what everyone on my team has accomplished. Most of our teammates became Ironmen on July 30th at the Vineman Triathlon. I did the aqua bike that day, and I felt really good. I had a little problem with nutrition on the bike, but once I realized I wasn't getting enough calories, and ate more, then I felt great. I ran 4 miles on the run course and I was thinking, you know, I could do an Ironman today!

The next day I took off and on Monday I ran 10 and a half miles at Lake Chabot. My foot was hurting a little at that time, but it went away once I warmed up. I felt fine on Tuesday, but on Wednesday my foot was hurting a lot. I of course thought I should work through it, so I did my track workout anyway. By that weekend my foot was swollen and hurting so much I couldn't put pressure on the ball of my foot. Since then I 've gone to the doctor's twice, gotten x-rays (no fractures that they can see, thank goodness), and for a little while my foot felt better. But then of course I wasn't careful, and although I didn't run, I didn't really watch out for my foot either, and by last Wednesday it was hurting again.

Now it's 6 days until my race, and I haven't been able to run in 20 days. My foot is starting to feel a little better with all the rest I am giving it and all the ice and ibuprofen, but I can tell it's not 100% and I am still limping. I've been really positive this year, but right now, it just seems like too much. I am so scared for Sunday, because even if my foot doesn't hurt at all, I feel like I am not in shape anymore because I haven't been able to do much besides swim.

Before this happened I was setting really high goals for myself in terms of time, but now I don't even know if I will finish, and that thought makes me so sad. I've worked so hard for this, and it just seems unfair for this to happen right now.

I hate to complain, and to not be positive, but I was hoping by writing this and getting it out there, I would somehow come to terms with my situation. I mean I have always said it is about the journey, not the end, and it's been a wonderful journey. And I guess if this one doesn't work out, then I have next year to become an Ironman. I guess becoming an Ironman means not giving up, even if you don't finish your first event.

But I must stop talking like that, I will finish this event. I will finish it, even if I don't get a medal and I have to run away from volunteers trying to pull me off the course after midnight! Even if I don't get a medal, I will finish this!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Separation Anxiety

I am an addict. I have to admit it. I am having separation anxiety right now. I gave up coffee three days ago...and it's been rough. I mean, I don't feel physically bad, and I haven't gotten any headaches, but I miss it sooo much. I wake up every morning and the first thing I think about is coffee. I think about how much I like the nice warm inviting smell of it brewing in the office. I think about the refreshing coldness of an ice coffee on a hot day, I think about the joy I get from going to Starbucks and getting my tall coffee in a grande cup so I can put extra cream in it.

Coffee is so comforting, it's like I've lost an old friend.

But alas, I should not complain...apparently sacrificing for two weeks will help me on race day. I am so looking forward to my first cup of coffee on Aug 28th at 3:30 in the morning, and then eating all those caffeine filled GUs on the run!  Oh what fun, what bliss! I guess I am also excited about being an Ironman, but I am really excited about being an Ironman that gets to drink coffee!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Running in Water

So I haven't posted in a while. A week and a half ago I did the Vineman Aquabike (2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride) and then I ran 4 miles just for fun. I wanted to write about it because it was super fun, but most of the people on my team did their Ironman that day, so I was much more interested in reading about their experiences. I was super proud of them! Especially my friend Dana, who kept going until 2:30 in the morning to finish the race and become an Ironman.

Then after Vineman I started to get a little pain in my foot and by last Friday it had gotten really bad. I couldn't walk on it, and it was swollen, and by Sunday people started to talk to me about stress fractures and neuroma, and basically I started to think that I might have something really wrong with me, and that I might not be able to do the Ironman. I didn't really feel like writing about that, since one I was probably over reacting, and two I didn't want it to be true.

So I finally made an appointment and got x-rays and saw a podiatrist, and I don't have stress fractures or neuroma! Basically I have just not had proper foot placement and have been putting too much stress on my metatarsals (toes). So they gave me these little metatarsal pads to put in my shoes and told me to stretch my calf and not run until August 28th. :) I will however be running in the water, thanks to Dave Stark who is lending me a water running belt. I don't really know how it works yet, but I am sure I will look very funny, so if you want a good laugh you can find me at Temescal pool in the evenings at 5!

So I guess the next time I will be running on pavement will be for 26.2 miles after I have already been working out for 9 to 10 hours. Hopefully my butt and shoulders will hurt so much from the bike ride, I won't notice any pain in my foot! Well hopefully I won't have any pain in my foot...but if I do, then I can hope for the second best, right?

So anyway, I really feel super lucky, and I hope that the pads and stretching and not running make me feel fresh and new on race day!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Triple Brick

I just finished my first triple brick. This was a 30 mile bike ride/50 minute run/30 mile bike ride/50 minute run/30 mile bike ride/50 minute run, and I have to say I felt great! I actually had so much fun. How could I not have fun when riding with the VOP:
 As well as the VPP:
So anyway, the day started off well...with the VPP riding together...we didn't stay completely together the entire day, but we were all quite close. The first bike loop was easy, and seemed to go by so fast, and I felt great when I got on the run. I ran the whole 50 minutes, I didn't even do my run/walk that first time. 

The second bike loop and run also went really fact I did both rounds in 2 hours and 45 minutes...but by the time I started on my third bike loop I knew that one was going to be slower. And it was...but I still felt really good through the whole thing. I had eaten some pasta before the last loop and I kept thinking I was going to get a stomach ache, but I didn't, and even though I was tired, I felt strong. The last run was a little slower than the first two...but I didn't get any cramps, and I had a really good time. Oh...I remembered to take my salt pills all day long...maybe that helped.

Anyway, today wasn't great because I had a good day working out...I mean that was good, but what was great was all the support we got from the entire Iron Team. Even though there are only 8 of us who were out there doing the triple brick, the entire staff showed up as well as most of the team. They were out there all day at water stops, running with us, biking with us, giving us water and food. They were truly amazing. It really felt like a family reunion, except maybe with a little less mayonnaise and beer. ;)

Just some examples of the cool things people were doing out there that made this just a perfect day:
Phil feeding us cold watermelon, Les filing our water bottles, Marina doing our run with us, Tony giving us his iced coffee, Dana draping wet towels on us, Helen trying to get us to eat healthy and eat some salad, Jen getting the pizza for us, and Sedonia even gave me my own personal baby wipe bath! There were so many more people out there today, I know I have missed more than a few, but I just hope they all know how much I totally appreciate everything they did for us today. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a big, dedicated, caring group of people. I am truly blessed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

So Thankful

Sometimes I just need to sit back and remind myself how lucky I am, and sometimes something happens which highlights it and I am actually in awe of all of my blessings.

This weekend I spent the weekend with so many of my favorite people. First I got to spend the day with my dad and mom and sister and Dizzie for my dad's birthday on Friday. Then Saturday and Sunday mornings I got to work out with my Iron peeps, open water swimming, trail running, and cycling around tiburon. And both Saturday and Sunday evenings I got to see my friends from high school and got to watch two of my favorite things: Harry Potter and True Blood.

As if getting to spend time with such great people wasn't enough, I was really looked after this weekend. On Sunday we went on a 22 mile ride around Tiburon. We had parked in a $5 parking lot where we placed our money in envelopes and then dropped them in a locked box. When we got back from the ride, which took about 2 hours (hey, we were enjoying ourselves), I walked around to the front of my car and found my wallet sitting on my hood. My wallet, that had all my credit cards and picture ID and cash, was just sitting there and had apparently been sitting there, unattended, for the last two hours. I couldn't believe how lucky I was. I mean, money isn't everything, but it would have been really disappointing to have to cancel all my cards, and go to the DMV to get a new license, and replace everything else that was in the wallet.

So if I get a little frustrated, like when Comcast just decides to start charging me $10 more a month than they said they would...I just breathe and realize I don't need to sweat the small stuff. I had a great weekend, with great friends and family, and the blessings in my life far outnumber the difficulties.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"The Situation"

This weekend Iron Team went up to Napa to ride the Silverado Trail. Vineman peeps got to ride about 54 miles and run 10 minutes, and Canada peeps got to ride 108-110 miles and do 15 minutes of running! On the ride we realized there are just six of us doing Canada, so we are a 6-pack...better known as "The Situation" So I am pleased to introduce you all to the members of "The Situation" who will all be kicking ass in Canada in 45 days!
Bill Fanning: biking and running extraordinaire. He is the first P in our VPP!

Maureen Alford: Badass who decided her first triathlon ever would be an Ironman!

Jasmine Barranti: Founder and President of the VOP and the VPP!

Emily Walton: also known as EMBO, if someone has to get dirty, it will probably be her

Aki Lewis: Miracle Lady...nothing can stop her, not even knee surgery!

Kristy Newstrom: Honey Badger #1, you know she don't give a shit! She is going to rock this course!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fourth of July

My Fourth of July weekend was so much fun. My friend Liz and I went up to Sierraville (a small town of 300 people which is located 20 miles north of Truckee). My mom grew up there and we were having a family reunion on Sunday. Liz and I got to stay on my aunt's ranch, which she has set up as a perfect camping spot. She has her trailer and then a dining tent set up. She also has a tent set up with mattresses on pallets, so we didn't even have to bring our own tent. There is a creek running through the property and she has a big BBQ set up and a place for a fire pit, as well as two horses. It's absolutely great!
Aunt Mary and Liz at the ranch entrance

Dining area, fire pit, and BBQ

Our awesome tent

The cute creek

So we went up there Thursday and on Friday we woke up, and got ready for our double brick: 30 mile bike, 50 minute run, 30 mile bike, 50 minute run:

Riding around Sierra Valley was great. Two cars went by and stopped to tell us how great we looked! :)

We were exhausted by the time we were done after 6 hours and 10 minutes, but it was nice to be by the creek at twilight:

The next day we got to ride my aunt's horses:

Then we packed up, went to Tahoe and swam for 65 minutes in Crystal Bay. It was so beautiful:

 And that night we got all dressed up and went to see Super Diamond (the most awesome Neil Diamond cover band ever!):
The next day we woke up and did a 90 minute ride around we didn't go all around Tahoe in 90 minutes, we did an out and back. And then we went for a 10 minute run. Tahoe is gorgeous!
Then it was time to meet the Coprens, so we drove back to Sierra Valley and went to my family reunion in the mountains. Lots of meat, and wine, and just good times!
All in all, I have to say it was a great weekend. My aunt said I can have people come up and camp any time during the summer I am thinking weekend biking/running/swimming camping trip next summer....fundraiser??? Well if I didn't make it a fundraiser people might get confused and think I had been kidnapped by aliens and that they had sent a replacement for me. :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

People Are AMAZING!!!!!

OK, So I haven't written in a while, and I have a couple stories to tell. I will break them up though. I don't know about you guys, but my attention span is not that long, and I wouldn't sit and read a really long blog post, unless it was mostly pictures. So for this post, I will tell you what happened to Dana and I after our ride and picnic at Lake Del Valle last weekend (the weekend before 4th of July weekend).

So the team went out to Lake Del Valle and we had a nice hot ride in the burning sun, mostly up hill:
Something a little disappointing happened on the ride. These stupid guys in a white truck drove past all of us and threw oranges and orange peels at us. 5 of us were hit, and even though no one was seriously hurt, it just made me think poorly of people...but that was soon to change.

After the ride, and a fun picnic with the team, Dana and I packed up our gear and bikes and drove home. We were on the 580 West and I kept looking out the rear view mirror and the bikes were kind of bouncing around on the bike rack. I was driving kind of carefully...apparently Dana just thought I was tired, but I was thinking that I didn't want to pull over and we could probably make it back to Berkeley and then I could tighten the rack when I got to Dana's.

Then I realized I was being kind of stupid, it wouldn't take that long to pull off the freeway and tighten the rack, so why was I risking it? So we pulled off and parked and got out of the car. I went to tighten the strap, and it snapped! Snapped right off and the bike rack fell half way off the car! We were just sitting there staring at the rack with the bikes dangling from it, and I was thinking how lucky we were that it hadn't snapped off on the freeway. Then we were just sitting there looking at the bikes and wondering how we were going to get them home. My small mini cooper was already packed with all of our gear, and even when it is empty I can hardly fit one bike in it, let alone two.

But we didn't have to ponder our dilemma for long. About 2 minutes later, a guy rolls up on his bike and asks us what's wrong. We told him that we were fine, but my bike rack broke and we were just trying to figure out how to get the bikes back to Berkeley. He says it's no problem, and calls his son who apparently has a big jeep and asks him to come meet us. His son then drops what he is doing and drives to Castro Valley and puts Dana's bike in his jeep and then follows us to Berkeley to drop it off! I was overwhelmed with Randy and his son's generosity, and they restored my faith in the kindness of people. Now I just have one dilemma, Dana and I want to thank Randy and his son, but we are unsure of what would be a really good thank you gift. Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tri for Free and Half a Vineman

So after taking off 6 days from training, I got back on the saddle, and back in the wetsuit on Saturday morning for the first Annual Tri for Free, sprint triathlon at Lake Anza. See, they have these sprint triathlons that they call Tri for Fun, and they were having one at Shadow Cliffs that day, but they cost $65, and I don't see anything fun about paying $65 to do a sprint tri. So my friends and I planned our own sprint tri. We swam about a mile in Lake Anza (40 minute swim), then did a very hilly 17 mile bike ride out and back on Grizzly Peak, and then a three mile run. I didn't do the run, so I guess I only did the Aqua Bike, but it was super fun. I really think this should become an annual event. We had great food afterward, and we even got T-shirts!

Then today a lot of the Iron Team (plus Dave and Alex) did one of the Vineman loops. I started out the ride falling off my bike before we even started and knocking down my friend Jenn. 

Now I may have matching scars on my knees!
Well after that, things did get better, the ride was nice, even though I got lost twice. Word of advice, don't forget to take a copy of the directions, do not think you are going to just keep up with people, because everyone can kick your butt, and then you just have to ride around the valley asking random people if they know how to get to Chalk Hill or if they have seen other riders in green and purple!

It was super hot out there today, says it was over 90 degrees. I was so hot and tired when I got back to the parking lot after 4 hours and ten minutes, I went straight to my sandwich, and started eating it, and drinking a coke, when I realized a lot of the girls weren't around. I asked where they were, and was told they were all running!  Oops...I guess we were supposed to run after the ride. Another word of advice, running after eating half a sandwich and coke in 90 degree weather after a 57 mile bike ride is no fun! But hey, I kept telling myself at Canada I won't be done with my bike until 4 or 5 in the afternoon, so I won't be running in the heat at noon!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Survived the East Bay Century!

It's already Wednesday, and I have been thinking about writing about last weekend, but I keep putting it off. But if I don't do it now, I won't ever do it.

So last Saturday was our East Bay Century ride. 97 miles of pure torture, including about 8,000 feet of climbing. I had been looking forward to this ride, because I like to be challenged, but my body wasn't in the best condition on Saturday. I got sick last Monday, and by Saturday I wasn't feeling too hot. My doctor had given me an inhaler to use because she said I was wheezing a little, but she didn't tell me not to do the ride. So Saturday I woke up after only 4.5 hours of sleep and got ready for the longest ride of my life (not longest in distance, but in time).

The weatherman had said it would be warm and sunny, but for the first 50 miles we were riding in the fog/clouds/ and wind.

Our first 10 miles were spent climbing to the rangers station on Mt. Diablo. It took me about 2 hours, which means I was going slower than 10 miles per hour! I felt so sick and I couldn't breathe well. I used the inhaler, but I kept thinking that maybe I was wearing myself to thin. Maybe I was pushing too hard. I didn't want to push myself to the point of exhaustion and then not be able to continue with my training, but I also didn't want to give up. I was having a huge debate in my head.

Part of me thought it would be best to pull out of the ride, and go home and sleep all weekend, and wait to train until I felt better. But I really didn't want to give up, because it was such a big event, I wanted to do it, and be able to know that I had done a ride that was that hard. At the ranger station I began to cry, because I was sure that I was going to have to quit before the ride was over, because of how I was feeling, and I was really disappointed in myself.

But when I got off Mt. Diablo, Grace caught up to me and we began biking together. We were talking and having fun, and she would wait for me when I had to stop and take my inhaler. She let me draft behind her when I was tired. She even found my street for me!

We had just turned on to Redwood here. I was still considering skipping the Three Bears, or getting sagged in. But the funny thing is, I began to feel  a little better. We were taking it slow, and having fun, and I think I had hacked up most of what had been in my lungs. Not pretty....Grace was super nice to stay with me. I was quite disgusting that day.

And then Tony comes riding up. Actually a lot of people came riding up because they had 2 start times. Slow people started at 6:30 and fast people started at 7:30, so by about mile 45 all the fast people were catching up and passing us. So Tony rides up and chats with us for a while. I complain that I am sick, and then he tells me he is sick too, and describes all the symptoms I have...phlegm, tiredness, sore throat, etc. But the thing was, he wasn't complaining about it, but just telling me because I asked. He was in such a good mood (like I guess he usually is) and then he went on up the mountain in front of us. So then I thought to myself: I am either sick enough that I need to stop now and get sagged in, or I am not that sick, and I can do this, and if I can do it, then I need to stop complaining and feeling sorry for myself.

At that point I decided I was going to do the whole thing. Grace and I were having a really good time, and I didn't want to leave her to do Three Bears by herself, and I was actually feeling a lot better. The sun had come out, and I had made the decision to be happy, and that helped me feel better.

Eddie ended up catching up with us too, and we took on the Three Bears (all six of them). We may have been going slow enough for me to take pictures while we were riding, but we did them all, and then we did Pig Farm Hill, and the Reliez Valley (which is NOT a valley but a big, mean, long hill), and made it back to our start in about 10 hours and 20 minutes.

I was super tired when I was done, but so happy that I had stuck with it. Now I know if I can do that sick, I can totally do an Ironman healthy...that being said. I know it might not have been the best decision to actually stick with the ride. I need to take care of myself and get healthy, so I can continue my training and actually complete this thing. SO I am taking 6 days off of training, Sunday to Friday, and I am going to go to bed early and rest. And hopefully I will be rested enough to start my training again this weekend.

Monday, June 6, 2011

My First Marathon!

I am still in a little bit of shock...I just ran a marathon yesterday.

This weekend was great. I flew down to San Diego on Thursday night and hung out with my brother and his wife, Kathy. Kathy and I went to the expo on Friday and picked up our race bibs:
I had lied on my application saying I would finish the race in 4 hours and 30 minutes, when I was really aiming for 5 hours and 30 minutes, but I wanted a lower number than last year. :)

The night before the race I  made homemade spaghetti sauce, with turkey instead of beef, in order to be more healthy. I've realized that I have begun to eat like crap, since I've been working out so much. But that probably doesn't give my body the fuel it needs, so I am going to try and make healthier decisions when eating from now on. It's about making sure I feel great when I do my events, not about being able to eat whatever I want just because I train so hard. I want to feel really good when I am doing Ironman Canada...and I think it will help to eat right. I am also thinking I will give up alcohol for the month of August.  I think it will be good for training...and after that I should be a pretty cheap date. ;)

Homemade spaghetti and southwestern salad...weird combo, but it worked:
 So the morning of the race, I got up at 4:15 am. I had put all my stuff together the night before, and I actually got a fairly good nights sleep. It's weird, I didn't feel that nervous. I knew the race was going to be more than I had ever done (the longest run I had ever done was 18 miles), but I also knew that with all the great coaching and training I am getting from Iron Team, that I would be able to do it...even if it was super hard.
When John dropped Kathy and I off, we did what everyone should do when they are at an event with 40,000 participants: we got in line for the bathroom:
I actually had to go three times before the race started. I was worried I wasn't going to be able to start in my corral, but I found a line that was going quickly, and got back to my corral just in time to start on time.

So now for the breakdown of the race.  Like I said, I had never ran more than 18 miles before, but when I had done those 18 miles I had felt pretty good. I maintained an 11 minute 45 second mile throughout the whole thing. So before the race started, I thought if I could just maintain that pace for the whole thing I would be pretty happy with my race and would come in somewhere around 5 and a half hours. But then the race started, and there were so many people, and I was so excited, and I felt soooo good, since this was the first long run I had done without having done at least a 7 hour workout the day I started running faster than the pace I had been planning on. I stuck with the run 10 minutes/walk 2 minutes, but when I reached the first 5K at about 33 minutes, I realized I was going faster. But it was so much fun, and I didn't feel like I was pushing myself too hard, so I just kept at that pace. Or tried to...I think I was still good at 10K, but after that I started to notice that each 5K was getting a little slower. 

Now it's hard for me to do math when I am working out, but I kept thinking if I was doing 11 minute miles then I would have been doing 5ks in 33, then 66, then 99 minutes, etc. Anyway, I was still feeling good at 20K and when I passed the 13.1 mile marker I thought to myself: "Wow, if I had just signed up for the Half marathon I would be finished...that wouldn't have been a very good workout." At this point I was still feeling great, and was happy to see that I was at about 2 hours and 20 minutes, which meant, I could possibly get in under 5 hours. 
Me at mile 14: I still look super happy!

Then at mile 16 my legs started to feel heavy, and there was this huge long out and back on the most boring street ever. No view of anything except the other runners coming back in. I knew I had to go out to some unknown point that I couldn't see, and come all the way back. I also thought it was weird that my legs had started to feel the run, because when I did the 18 mile run, I hadn't felt bad at all. Now of course I realize it was probably because I had been running faster than I had run before. I know...bad me, I totally did not get negative splits at this race.

So at that point, when I realized I had 10 miles left to run, I switched from 10 minute run/2 minute walk to a 4/1 ratio. When you are tired, the thought of running 10 minutes sounds incredibly hard, but I found that running just 4 minutes seems somewhat doable. 

When I got to mile 18 and I was back from that out and back...which is weird, it must  have only been about 2 miles, but it felt like 50, I saw that I had done 18 miles in 3 hours and 20 minutes. That was 14 minutes faster than I had done it in training. I knew there and then I really, really wanted to get a sub 5 time. So I went up and over the bypass and started running by Mission Bay. I didn't feel half bad, and when I got to mile 20 (where they were passing out GU, which I grabbed a whole bunch to stick in my back pockets...cause I really like them and knew at some point I would want them) I remember Margo telling me: "It's a 20 mile warm up and a 6 mile run" So I started to speed up on my 4 minute runs...I felt great for the first 4 minutes, and then by the second one (after mile 20) I started to get a little cramp in my side. I've never really gotten cramps while running since I started training for I thought I should just slow down a little and breathe deeply. It would get better during my 1 minute walk, but would come back by the end of each 4 minute run.  I remember some people talking about how cramping means you don't have enough salt, so I took out a nuun and put it in my water helped a little. I really wanted to walk at this point (for longer than my 1 minute), but I knew if I did I would never make it in under 5. So I kept pushing myself. I kept telling myself: "If you think you feel bad now, just think of how much worse you are going to feel doing this after 112 mile bike ride" and "just keep doing it, it's only 6 more miles, you can do anything for 6 miles, you have done 6 miles exhausted before, you can do it now." 

I think the only way to get through the last 6 miles of a marathon is to keep telling yourself, you can do it. That got me through to mile 25. At miles 25 I saw I had 15 minutes to run 1.2 miles. I was thinking I could definitely do that, and I should probably stop the 4 minute run/1 minute walk and just run it in, to make sure. But for some reason, during that last mile, my cramps spread out across my entire upper abdomen. It was a pain I had never experienced before. I stopped and walked for a little bit. But I kept looking at my watch and I didn't have time to walk in my last mile. My legs weren't hurting me anymore, so I wasn't worried about injuring myself, it was just so painful to run. I started holding in my stomach with my hands, pushing down super hard, because the pressure made the pain go away a little bit. 

I was so close to the finish line, I could see it, and here the music and I wanted to be able to sprint it in like I did in the shoot at Wildflower, but I couldn't let go of my stomach. Of course then I saw my brother right before the finish line, and he had a camera, so my vanity was able to help me do, what my willpower wasn't, and I lifted up my arms to get a good shot: 
So that looks like a smile on my face...but my grimaces of pain often look like smiles!

I crossed the finish line in 4:59:09, and really the one thing that kept me going that last mile was that I knew I had put in the work that day, I had worked hard all day I wasn't going to let one last measly mile do me in! Of course when I crossed, I bent over wheezing. It was hard to breathe, and I've never felt like that before in my life. I felt like crying because I couldn't breathe well and was doubled over in pain, and none of the volunteers were even coming over to help me. But I kept breathing, and in about a minute or two, I could breathe normally again. Thank goodness!

The first thing I did when I was done (besides eat a banana) was tell my brother I wanted to go soak in the Bay. I thought tons of people would be there, since I couldn't imagine what it would feel like if I didn't soak my legs in ice cold water for 20 minutes. But when I got down there, I was all alone. Those marathoners don't know anything about recovering!
Of course, I am still in a lot of pain today, so I guess it didn't help completely...But I am sure I would be much worse off if I hadn't gone for a dip.

All in all it was an amazing day. I learned that I can run 26.2 miles! And that I can enjoy most of it.
It's time to hang my medal up on my windowsill with the other ones...although I feel like this one should have a special place.
Kathy (who totally kicked my butt) and me with our heavy medals ;)