Monthly Archives: May 2006

5/31/06 A Little Help From My Friends

Wednesday. Yesterday was a tough food day. I promised to track everything I was eating. By 3 p.m. I had used up all my points and I was still hungry. It was looking grim. I didn’t want to track anything else — I just felt like ordering in some food to just get rid of the hungry feeling, but I knew if I wanted to work with this new coach I had to track my food. So I called in my WW buddies and asked them for help. I asked them to swap food journals on Friday and they agreed. It helps me to know that people are expecting my report. Also helps to declare to the universe my intentions.

I kicked myself this morning because I was throwing away the empty bags from my grocery trip and found I had left a bag of carrots in there. Carrots!! That was what I needed yesterday. Why didn’t I think of that? A big bag of carrots, I could have noshed on those all afternoon for 0 points. Duh. I kept going to the refrigerator and although I found lots of 1 point foods, I was out of points and I couldn’t see any 0 point foods. Finally at 10 p.m. I was so hungry I decided to just go to bed. Now I realize I need to look up a list of 0 point foods on WW and fill up my kitchen. I drank all of my water, took my vitamins, ate my veggies, had my milk products and had my olive oil so I followed all of the healthy guidelines except for the points part. Oh well, have to find my successes somewhere.

I remember my friend Julie saying to me once that the whole key to WW is to fill up on 0 point foods like big salads and veggie soups. I eat a lot of salad but that doesn’t really seem to fill me up. I’m going to load up on some tomatoes and cucumbers today. I love those and I do find cucumbers to fill me up (and empty my pocket book — so expensive!!)

I bought a couple of ironman training books this weekend. I couldn’t resist buying Dave Scott’s triathlon Training book even though it is actually 20 years old. I am a fan of Dave Scott, and no it’s not just because he is easy on the eyes! I have heard him speak a couple of times at Team in Training events and he has given me a couple of good tips over the years. So I decided to buy his book just to see what he had to say. I was shocked to find how current his book really is.

Reading his book was like a summary course on everything I have learned over the last 3 years. Everything I have learned is in this book — and there is still tons of stuff in there that I haven’t learned so there is more to go. But the number one reason I think this book is so interesting is because of the part where he writes about Lactic Acid.

A couple of weeks ago an article about Lactic Acid was published in the New York Times. If you didn’t get a chance to read about it, click here.. This is supposed to be such ground breaking news that lactic acid is a fuel, yet in Dave Scott’s book from 1986 he says exactly that. Click here to read his section on lactic acid in his book. I think the book is full of real-life experiments and tips that Dave Scott learned in the trenches. I think it is amazing that his book stands the test of time considering when he started doing triathlons it was not an established sport — more an endurance test than a race. It’s been a fascinating read so far and I’ll be sure to share more tips as I read through.

So today I am going to play an hour of tennis and try to get a 1 hour swim in (lots of good tips in Dave Scott’s book on swimming as well as an article from triathletemag if you click here.) Did you know that Dave Scott was a swimmer first? He was teaching a master’s swim class in California when he heard about the ironman. Did you know he did his first Ironman swim in 50 minutes? 2.4 miles in 50 minutes? Holy Tomato, I did 1.2 miles in 49 minutes. Don’tcha love how I like to compare myself to people like Dave Scott? LOL

Okay you want to know another reason I like Dave Scott? Check out his typical breakfast:

“A typcial day for me begins with a breafast of a couple of packages of shredded wheat cereal with about 3 tablespoons of plain nonfat yogurt, drowning in nonfat milk. Along with that I have a couple of bananas, a couple of pieces of dry whole wheat toast (no salt, no sugar, no butter). My second course is a half-dozen rice cakes and two or three apples. I like to eat a hearty breakfast.”

You gotta love that!

Namaste

“If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just finish the race. It’s up to you.” Dave Scott

(okay, busted, I’ve used that quote before but it was a long, long time ago.)

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5/30/06 Have a Heart

Tuesday. Did I just finish a half ironman? You would never know it if you saw the lamo run I did this morning. 1 hour by the hudson river and I kept dropping to a speed walk. My legs are just tired — I’m tired, it’s been a week already, what’s up? I don’t think it’s the 1/2 ironman, I think it is allergies or something. Or maybe I need to go to a massage or pilates or something. I felt like I was dragging bricks along. I don’t have the strength to gut through a bad run like that — I opt for speed walking. I’m strangely exhausted and don’t know why… sinuses? Vitamins? Iron?

Had a high calorie weekend in CT (what’s new about that?) Low blood sugar, pizza, wine — everything converged for a not-so-nutritious weekend. The only real workout I got in was marathon shopping on Sunday (that’s marathon as in all day shopping not shopping for a marathon). And I did 1 hour walk in the woods on Monday (which was interesting because I actually got lost in the same woods I have played in since I was 2 — not too swift). I’m glad to be back and starting my new routine. I got up this morning and had a good healthy breakfast and then off to my wog.

I dug out my heart monitor this weekend as I am investigating new training methods and this appears to be a popular tool. Of course I have every little gadget and gizmo known to the triathlon world and it was more a matter of choosing which device I would hook up instead of whether I had one or not. On Sunday I had performed the exercise tests to determine my max heart rate and I ended up with a max heart rate of 160. My resting heart rate is 30 so I thought 160 sounded pretty high until I looked at the chart and that’s the LOWEST max heart rate they list. When I did their exercises in the book (you climb stairs for 3 minutes and then to seated squats for 1 minute) my heart rate came out 113. Then I had to add a fitness factor — I picked average because even though I exercise a lot, I had a hard time picking “excellent” as my fitness factor. I think Average is about right.

Yesterday I did some hiking in the woods and tried to walk briskly. My heart rate waivered between 80 and 100 which according to my chart barely reaches zone 2 which is temperate. Hmmmph, what are they trying to say? I don’t work hard enough? (Memories of Coach George yelling ‘chop, chop, chop!’) Hey there were a lot of bugs in the woods and rocks and roots and creepy crawly things I had to watch out for. I couldn’t run in that mess!

So this morning I took my heart monitor out with me on my run/walk. I took the first 8 minutes to do a slow jog to the grassy area of the westside highway. My heartrate stayed about 100 (or lower). Hmmm, that’s not even in my temperate zone. Then I stretched for a good 5 minutes because my legs felt like lead. Then I started jogging (my running = most people’s jogging). When I was in my I-can-go-like-this-all-day mode which I use for things like 20 mile runs my heart rate was at 124 which they consider the Aerobic zone 3 (70-80% of max heart rate) and I think that’s where they want me to be. In order to get into zone 4 which is 80-90 I have to get over 128 – 144. At 130 I was pooped so I slowed down to a walk. I think I stumbled onto a big problem. I don’t think I can run much faster without getting into the danger zone. But I also think I can use the heart rate monitor to make sure that I don’t “accidentally” slip into the temperate zone (also known as the watch-i-can-take-a-nap-and-get-my-workout-done-at-the-same-time zone). Man, I would have loved to have had this thing on during the first 4 miles of Disney — I bet I was in the red line zone.

I am in talks with a new coach about possibly taking me on as a client. If she takes me on I think she is going to expect me to know my heart rate so I don’t want to look like a dummy. I don’t think today was a good measurement of my heart — or my fortitude. She also wants to see two weeks of my food journal. Gulp. So this morning I had to start tracking. Wouldn’t it be great if they made a watch that started beeping at you once you’ve consumed too many calories? “Put down the donut, you are in red zone, you are in red zone.”

Namaste

“The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.” Buddha quotes

lol, just had a funny picture pop into my head with Buddha sitting under a tree checking his heart rate monitor for an enlightenment reading.

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5/27/06 Two Words

Saturday. Had my WW meeting yesterday. Good meeting bad weigh in. I knew I would be way up and I am. I can’t tell how much of it is water weight/flying weight but i’ve put back the 5 that I was down before I left. I do feel a little heavier but I also don’t really feel 100% back to normal. I’ll do my best to try to have a light week and see if it doesn’t bring everything back down.

One of the topics that came up in the meeting is the topic about two words that mean success to you. Our leader’s two words are patience and perseverence. To her, those two words summarize what the weight loss (fitness) battle boils down to. I was a little disappointed when I heard the word patience because quite frankly that is just one attribute I don’t have — patience. Never had it, doubt I ever will. I can’t sit around waiting for anything. Everyone in the room seemed to agree with her and I started to think ‘well maybe that’s my problem, I’m just not like everyone else.’ Then another woman spoke up and said for her it was “persistence beats resistence.” She said she didn’t have any patience but she had persitance. Phew. Someone else like me.

I have and always have had tenacity. Once I start something, I will keep on it until it is finished. My problem always has been starting. To me patience is waiting for something to happen — it requires no action on my part. Persistence is sticking with something until it is finished — requires my attention — that I can do. I may have lapses, but I can stick with it. This fitness thing is frustrating because it is never seems to be finished and unfortunately from what I understand it never will. We have a lot of lifetime members at our meetings. They’ve been at goal weight for a long, long time but still come to meetings. Fitness is a journey not a destination. It is not a place I get to one day and say “done.” Its a place I go to every day — it’s the place I live — and I keep forgetting that. It’s in the small choices. It’s not in that one bag of chips. It is not in those two bad breakfasts I had at Disney (oh yeah, that’s exactly why I gained so much weight from two bad breakfasts.) It is the sum of all the little bad choices and the difference of the little good choices. I just beat myself up over all my bad choices and ignore the good ones. Which lead me to understand what my two words have to be: Forgiveness and Persistence.

For me, learning to forgive myself is the biggest challenge I can overcome. Bigger than any weight loss, bigger than any race result. I have 45+ years of little voices in my head saying I’m not doing it right, telling me I’m not good enough — not fast enough, not thin enough, not smart enough, not enough. Intellectually I know I am fine the way I am, but spiritually my actions don’t reflect that belief. I don’t extend myself the kindness that I extend to others. I just never cut myself a break. Ever. And that is the key to unlocking my true potential — letting myself just be what I am and who I am. Just letting it be. Forgiving myself and being persistent about retrying — over and over again. Like quitting smoking — just keep trying until it sticks and don’t beat myself up over it.

I was explaining the two words to my friend Mo last night and she told me her two words — Grace and Gratitude. I thought that was interesting because Mo really is the epitome of Grace and Gratitude. She always carries herself with aplomb and dignity — even during the worst of any race. (She doesn’t do the overdramatic Quasimoto stuff I do.) She doesn’t complain about her races or performance. She let’s it be what it is — not a judgement but a blessing. She is grateful for the ability to be out there. She knows herself and what she is out there for. She knows her two words. I’m still learning. I’m still learning to forgive.

At our meeting we also did a visualization exercise. Our leader asked us to remember a time when we picked ourselves up and moved forward. I couldn’t think of anything. She said to think of this time and how we felt moving forward. I still couldn’t think of anything. Then she told us to physically brush our arms as if to say “pick yourself up and brush yourself off.” I still couldn’t think of any time when I’ve done that. She said this is an illustration of anchoring. Next time you are feeling stuck, brush your arms and the feeling of that time will come back to you. I still couldn’t think of a time when I felt like I was moving myslef forward. Everyone else kept nodding their heads as if they had found a time. I was behind as usual.

After the meeting my friend came up and asked me about the race. I told her about my flat tires. (Turned out to be a bad rim tape by the way!) All of a sudden it occurred to me. That was my time when I was down and picked myself up! That was the moment of my race when I was really proud of myself. It was a bad blow and I didn’t let it get me down, I remember saying “don’t panic, just deal with this calmly” and I did. First no tire lever, I kept calling out for one. Then I got one. Then it was hard because the stupid chain kept kinking up but I just stuck with it. Then the CO2 cartidge wouldn’t work but I didn’t give up. I remained calm and just kept trying. It would have been easy to tell that police woman to call a SAG wagon but I didn’t. I did it myself and kept going. It was going to be my moment of glory — a 3:15 on my bike and it was ripped right out from under me at mile 52 and I didn’t let it get me down. I didn’t shed a tear and I didn’t yell, stamp my feet or shout. I just got down to business and changed the tire. I like how I handled that. So now when I’m feeling I can’t do this weight loss stuff or exercise or whatever it is — I will think of that moment. That is my moment of moving forward. I think I’ll hang a tire lever in my kitchen to remind me of little steps. Keep patient it will happen. Zippers break, tires pop. (One of the guys said that before a race and it always sticks with me.)

So today I will do one thing and one thing only. Forgive myself and say good job. Hang in there. Small choices. Patience and Forgiveness. Let me know what your two words are — I would love to hear.

Namaste

I have a little prayer written on my inspiration board. It gives me a little lift sometimes when I am feeling overwhelmed:

Dear God,

So far today, I’ve done okay.
I haven’t gossiped, or lost my temper.
I haven’t been greedy, crabby, mean, nasty,
selfish, bitchy or overindulgent.
And I’m very grateful for that.
But dear God,
in a few minutes I’m gonna get out of bed,
and then I’m probably gonna need a lot more help.

Amen

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5/26/06 The Woman in the Mirror

Friday. Ugh, have to go to WW today and I feel like a Macy’s day parade float. I always feel that way for a couple of days after getting off a plane. Bloated and blah. I need a vacation from my vacation. Slept from 9:30 to 6:30 last night (with only 2 toss and turn sessions) which for me is coma-like conditions. I guess I was still tired although my muscles have felt ready to go since Wednesday. So today I think I’ll do a little spin on my bike when I go pick her up from the shop. (Several people have mentioned to me that the multiple flat tires sound like a spoke is poking through or the tire tape is screwed up — I didn’t think to check that…)

So my friend Colleen forwarded me a link to enduranceradio.com to listen to Lisa Smith-Batchen speak about hydration during endurance events. (You can check out her website at www.lisasmithbatchen.com). I thought she made a couple of interesting points including recommending Bikram Yoga to get used to working out in the heat. Ha! So all that suffering might have helped a little after all. (Although I did not do as much Bikram as I had planned and really, I kept hanging by the window trying to suck air out of the crack in the window jam so I’m not sure I qualify as a real Bikram student…)

I listened to her pod cast. I think I did mostly what she talked about, but I’m pretty sure if she was my coach she would have meant for me to be running and not walking through most of a half-ironman. It’s hard for me to come to terms with my own limitations but it is something I am working on — both the limitations and my ability to accept them. My reaction after many races is why couldn’t I push myself more? I accept the first 4 miles of my half-ironman as I had to walk because my heart was racing so hard. But what about after that when it calmed down? Why couldn’t I get myself to run on that craggy grass? Everyone else was doing it (okay, not everyone but a lot of other people). Once my heart felt better, why couldn’t I push myself to find that place where I just feel like I can run forever?

As far as Bikram I think what it did help me to deal with is my reaction to the heat. Granted it was not as humid or hot as Bikram (Bikram has a minimum of 102 and is very humid) but it sure felt that hot. In Bikram you don’t do any fast movements. Everything is slow and deliberate. I think the heat forces you to do that. But I kept seeing all those people running during the race and thinking — I simply cannot do that. That’s when I get mad at myself that I’m still not where I want to be weight-wise. If I was lighter, younger, fitter, faster, shorter, taller, upside down — I’m sure things would have been different. Arghhh — I am not the perfect specimen I want to be and coming to terms with that is very hard. In my mind I am 22, when I look at pictures and see that haggard old face and drooping arms I just look in disbelief — who is that old woman in the mirror?

I think what I appreciate about what Ms. Batchen-Smith said in her pod cast is that endurance sports allow you to get to know yourself in a way you don’t get to do in everyday life. In every endurance event (at least for me) there comes a point where I have been forced to look into a mirror and have seen a different reflection of myself. I know during my first triathlon, although I was even heavier than I am now, I saw the reflection of a potential athlete. I saw someone who wouldn’t quit. I saw someone scared she couldn’t do it, but knew she would die trying.

At different events I have seen different reflections in that mirror — some of them not so pleasing. St. Anthony’s this year, for example, I saw the reflection of a quitter and I wasn’t that pleased with that reflection at all. I didn’t quit, but I saw the consideration of quitting training for the half-ironman and that’s something I never thought I would see in myself. Compare that reflection with the reflection from the previous year when I never even got to look in the mirror because I was so fast (for myself) that I just kept looking at my watch saying “I can’t believe this, I can’t believe this.” Now I can believe it and want to be even better.

At Disney this year I saw a little forgiveness in the mirror. I saw someone who was going to take care of herself in what she thought might be a life-threatening situation. So although I didn’t run very much of the race (which bruised my ego) I didn’t get sick and I recovered very quickly from the race. I lived through it and for my first half-ironman that was my goal and I have to remember that. For Sept. 10th at Firmman I want to run all 13 miles — that is my goal. I want to look in that mirror in Rhode Island and see a steady pacer — I’m not looking to sprint through it, just find a comfortable pace and stick it out for 2:45 and finish that run. I have great confidence in the swim and bike now. I will leave improvement on those for next year. I need to get my run up to the same confidence level. Yeah, sure I wish I had a faster swim but bottom line is I don’t sweat the swim and if I have to give 10 minutes to peace of mind I’m okay with that. If my biggest worry on the bike is to not go too hard — that is an ironic challenge for me and I’ll enjoy that. Between now and Sept. 10th I have got to put in some good mileage on my feet and get that half marathon down solid (I thought I had, but I guess I was wrong.)

A couple of us stayed in Orlando to play around at Disney for two days which delayed the onset of post-event blahs. I think right now I am emotionally and physically low because there was so much energy put into that event. I have been training since January for that half iron-man and before that the marathon and before that the 13 other triathlons I have done. I am proud of all the events I have completed. I am proud of my half ironman not because of finishing it but because I didn’t quit. In my mind those two different things. Finishing it would have meant I just went along at an easy pace and didn’t have to stress (that’s how many of my races are). But the flat-tire and heart/heat challenges pushed to me face stress in that race and I am proud of myself for not quitting. I am proud of myself for not even considering it. I liked how I talked myself through that and for that I am happy. For walking, I am not. But I can’t change that and I have to look forward to the next race.

My big challenge for the summer is to train myself for Firmman. This will be my first big event I train myself for. No team in training to tell me what to do. I’m going to take out my magazine articles, my TNT workouts and the Triathlete Bible I have on my bookshelf and work on my training plan. I have the Circle of Friends 10k coming up on June 11th and I would like to try to get that race in under a 12 minute mile — I would like to see that 11:19 again for the entire 6.2. For the summer, I want to put together a training schedule that includes once a week speed work for my run and once a week long distance run and then maybe an extra run after a bike. I want to run 13 miles like it is no big deal so I think I am going to train for 15. I want to feel so confident that when I look in the mirror on September 10th I will see something I have never seen before — the potential to be a runner.

Namaste

We haven’t had a good Maya Angelou quote in awhile so here’s one for today:

“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self.”

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5/24/06 1/2 Ironman results part 2

(This is part II, scroll down to read part I or click on the part I link on the right)

Wednesday. When we last left off I was rolling into my T2 on the rims of my flat tire. 12 mph was the top speed I could manage without my bike veering off course and turning was impossible. When I saw the bike dismount mat in sight I got off that bike as fast as I could. My friends were all there cheering for me, but I was pointing to my back tire trying to tell them my story in one pathetic look on my face. My beautiful 3:15 shot to hell by two flats. I thought of Donald and his terrible Westchester ride with 3 flats and a toss over the handle bars. I got off cheap.

I got into transition and I decided I was taking my 10 minutes I had allowed myself. I needed the bathroom and I needed sunscreen and I needed to wash my hands that were layered in bike grease. At this point I knew I wasn’t going for time I was going for completion. The heat was out in full force. It felt strange to take so much time in T2 but I knew I had another 3 hours in front of me and quite frankly I was in no hurry to throw myself out there into that heat. I wanted to make sure that everything I needed was in place. This was the part that was going to hurt the most. 3 hours in the sun frying like a tortilla chip.

One of the coolest things about transition (besides the bike mechanics and water coolers they had) was the sunscreen sprayers. This was the big leagues in my opinion. They stood there with huge bug sprayers filled with sunscreen. You just went up to them, stuck out your arms, shut your eyes and they sprayed you down with sunscreen. Fancy. Sure beats trying to squeeze lotion onto your back and poke around hoping you are finding the right spots. Unfortunately, I ran out of things to do in transition (splashing my face with ice water, wiping grease from my hands) and I had no choice but to head toward transition a mere 25 yards from my transition spot — the run out. So, with much ado I passed through the gates to hell. Hell. HELL.

I had heard about the course. I had read about the course. But, I’ll tell you right now, I’m a little thick when it comes to course descriptions. People can tell me excruciating detail and I just don’t process it. All I hear is up down, round, left, right, hill, flat. My head just buzzes and I really don’t have a clue. So although I had been prepped, I was going blind into the abyss — ignorant into the test.

The first thing I was aware of during the first loop is that my heart was beating so fast it felt like it was on top of my chest instead of in it. I had never felt that in any race anywhere and I knew that was bad. I thought it might be a heart attack or something. Yes it was hot, but this was something else. My legs were heavy but I was used to that during transitions. I was not used to my heart beating that fast. So after the first 1/4 mile I decided to walk until my heart stopped pounding. I still hadn’t seen all of my team mates pass me, but I had expected it wouldn’t happen until the run. So I was heading out into the heat expecting to be alone and walking by myself. I wasn’t even speed walking. I was just contemplating whether or not this was something that might literally kill me and I was trying to assess how bad it was.

After a little way into the run course I saw my rumble girls at one of the intersections and I had to apologize “I’m sorry” I said, “I’m not going to be able to run this, I can’t stop my heart from beating, I can only walk.” They were so encouraging “don’t worry about it — just do what you have to do.” I was demoralized. I’m walking already? I felt like I was letting everyone down. Everyone who had come to cheer for me, my teammates, the people with Leukemia, the people who had died from a blood cancer, those four little girls, Marie-Eve who endured ice baths and a million other untold horrors to become a survivor. I couldn’t even run the first mile of this race? Just shoot me.

I remembered one thing the coaches said — the road turns, don’t run the turns, run the tangents. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I hoped it would save me a few feet. I saw the other runners running the curves in the road and I just started walking as fast as I could in a straight line. I passed one person shuffling while I did a speed walk. Then I remembered that woman in the marathon who was walking so fast it was the same speed as my shuffle. So I decided to try to walk as fast as I could.

My heart was still pounding and scaring me a little. Was it the heat? My nerves from the bike? My cold? A reaction from my abuterol inhaler? I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I couldn’t run, I couldn’t even speed walk for very long before I felt my heart trying to bust out of my chest. So I just did what I could. I tried to do 1 minute run, 1 minute walk but it wasn’t working. My heart was simply beating too hard.

There was no escaping the heat. Not even a measly little tree for the first 3 miles. Every step I took I kept thinking “I have to do that 3 times?” (The course was three loops.) Then the pavement ended and we started to run on a grassy trail. It was not a smooth trail either, bumpy, slanted, full of dips and holes. I’ve never run on a trail like this. Now they want me to run out and back on this? Three times? Shoot me. Please just shoot me now. At this point about ¾ of the people were running but there were a couple other people like me who were just walking. It was all I could do to keep going. I just kept praying “God, please don’t make this crummy trail be the place I die.”

At the intersection of the two out and backs the Rumble Girls (now called the Pink Ladies by everyone on the course) were waiting and cheering, I just kept shaking my head as if to say not good, not good. They were upbeat and cheering for everyone.

Then we started our second out and back on yet another grassy trail. I just wanted to cry. Another grassy trail? At least on pavement I can get some traction and move. On the grassy trail I felt off balance and didn’t want to run at all. My misery was deepening.

Every ¾ to 1 mile they had an aide station. The aid stations had everything, water, Gatorade, ice, sponges, pretzels, bananas, oranges, powerbars. At every station I stopped put ice in my hat, dipped my sponges – one under each shoulder, one in my bra and one on my neck. I didn’t care if it was overkill to stop at each station. If my heart was beating that hard that meant something was wrong and I was not going to have a heart attack for any medal. I took a water and Gatorade at every stop and just kept sipping them until the next stop. Finally after mile 3 I was able to pick up my speed walking. Soon I hit some pavement and my speed walking turned into a little shuffle al on its own. Then finally there was some shade through a wooded portion with paved trails. Thank God! There I saw coach George. He asked how I was doing. All I could do was give him two thumbs up because my voice had left me. All the dry heat had dried out my throat and with my cold I guess it just took my voice away. I could barely whisper. But I let him know I was not dying and proceeded on.

Once I was through the wooded trails we came into the village. There I saw Tim one of our St. A’s teammates. He was cheering and lied and told me I looked great. The people going straight were headed to the finish. Another arrow pointed to the right for people doing loop 2 and loop 3. I gulped. Oh my God. I barely made it through that one loop. How in the world was I ever going to make it through the next two? There one of our teammates Sean (who had done a different race) had set up a cheerleading station. He went crazy when he saw me come through. He was so crazy I had to actually crack a smile. Despite everything somehow I had managed to make it through the first loop. 4+ miles down.

Then something strange happened. My heart stopped pounding. I was walking through another wooded area taking in another hatful of ice and mouthful of Gatorade and my heart just relaxed. I don’t know what made it happen. The last mile I actually was kind of jogging a little so it wasn’t the exertion. The last mile had been in the shade so that must have been it. I started out on the road again and now I was able to break into a shuffle for a minute or two at a time. I saw my rumble girls again and they said I looked much better. But then I had to go run onto that grassy out and back again. I just stopped and walked. I didn’t have the energy to fight with the bumps.

When I made it back around to the Pink Ladies again they were jumping up and down and they had a surprise for me. As I passed them they handed me a pink bracelet for completing my first loop (well actually it was more than one loop but who cares?) I was so happy to get it. It was like my green band at Disney. Something to work toward. They put it on my wrist and now I was to start out on the next out and back on grassy bumps. Donna kept yelling out “you’re doing it! You’re doing it!” Coach Earl was there and asked me how I was doing. I told him I had felt terrible the first loop and about my heart but now strangely I was feeling better – not up to running hard but I didn’t feel like I was going to die. He said that was normal and I would feel even better on the 3rd loop. I doubted that, but I decided to believe him because the alternative was not so great.

Then next out and back I noticed that many more people were walking. Actually more people were walking than running. I saw most of my teammates go by. Sometimes I was shuffling, sometimes I was walking. Nobody looked particularly perky. It was just a hard course. I felt better now that my heart had stopped beating and my fear of dying subsided. Now I knew I could finish this race – it wasn’t going to be pretty. I was going to have to walk most of it, but at least I could now try to put some plans into place. I had been timing my miles they were all 18 + minute miles between the walking and the stopping at the aid stations and bathroom breaks (a lot of hydration). I decided that I had to start where I was and the first step was to get the next mile down to a 17 minute mile while still stopping at the aid stations.

So that became my goal, just try to get to the next mile marker as fast as I could with whatever means I could. I started pumping my arms and speed walking. Then the speed walking turned into a little shuffle. I was passing a lot of really fit looking people. I knew I looked a mess. I didn’t care I just had to finish this race. Mile 9 – 17 minutes. Yahoo! Now I just had to get my 17 down to a 16. That became my focus. I laughed a little thinking that I was TRYING to get to a 16 minute mile. But the reality was, that was where I was. Everything is relative. On that day a 16 minute mile was something I would be proud of.

Finishing loop number two I saw all the same people. Now Missy was out there. Rock star that she is she had finished already. I saw Tim again. He was clapping so hard I thought he thought I was finished so I put up my finger to let him know I had one more to go. OMG, one more to go? Are you kidding me? That’s just cruel. But I knew it had to be done. There was no turning back. Just suck it up and finish it out.

I was feeling well enough now to run for a couple of minutes at a time. Then I walked through the aid stations. Again when I went through the village I saw Sean going crazy again. I thought poor guy, he doesn’t know that I will be another hour before I get back here. But I appreciated his spirit. As I ran by one woman said “that’s a perfect pace honey, you just keep that going and you’ll be done before you now it.” I knew it was a perfect pace but I also knew that once I hit the grassy spot it would be gone so I decided to just enjoy that one moment when I was actually running. Out of my 13.1 miles I had about ½ of a mile where I was probably doing a 12 minute mile and I was proud of that.

So here I was on loop 3. Never thought I would get there. I didn’t want to do it again. Now I knew the awfulness that awaited me. But my friends were out there and Ilona hadn’t passed me yet so I was going to at least stay out there until she caught up to me. I had seen her on the out and back on loops one and two and was quite sure she would catch me now.

I saw my Rumble Girls again and said “hey where’s my loop three bracelet?” They said it was coming. I was a little disoriented so I didn’t know exactly where I was. All the out and backs were a little confusing. (I thought maybe it was designed like a Mickey Mouse head and ears).

Loop 3 just about 95% of the people were walking. Dragging. I was just concentrating on my speed walking/shuffling. I saw Steve. He didn’t look good. I knew he had been sick. I shouted to him to keep going. A couple of people ran by me with last minute bursts of energy. I just knew I had to keep going to finish this thing.

Finally I saw the Girls again and they had my bracelet. Whoopee! 3rd loop!! That was going to be the last I saw them until the finish. Now I had to head out to the final grassy part and finish out the race. I saw Ilona. She looked like she was fading. I shouted to her that we were going to finish this no matter what. She nodded unconvincingly. A lot of people were looking like they were about to drop. I was actually starting to feel better. I thought I felt a little breeze for a moment. I just wanted to get to the final stretch of pavement. I thought I might be able to run the last mile and half all the way in.

At the last water station they had a guy standing there with an analgesic spray. I had him spray my back and calves on the 2nd loop and it helped a lot. I was hoping he was there again so he could spray my calf that had just cramped. Hallelujah he was there and sprayed away. I took a final handful of pretzels and tried to run the last mile and half in. I made most of it. I had to walk a few steps in there.

Then I saw my team waiting. I knew it was over and the spray was kicking in so I didn’t feel any pain. I saw Donna and Stephanie and Michelle. Everyone was clicking pictures. I saw everyone and then I saw the finish shoot. It was still up!!! Yeah!!! I got to run the carpet all the way through and the announcer even called my name. Big hugs and kisses all around. I was so glad it was over. I knew it was not the best race. I had come in with the slowest time for my team but I had finished. Steven and George came in behind me and then Ilona. She made the cutoff too. We had both been a little worried about it. Had I started in a later wave I wouldn’t have made the cutoff. Of course if I hadn’t had a bunch of flat tires that would have made a difference too, but the reality is you play the hand you are dealt. This race was about flat tires, heat, 18 minute miles and just finishing. The next one is about redemption.

Namaste

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5/23/06 1/2 Ironman Results Part I

Race Report. Part I.

Well I’ve finally finished my first ½ ironman. It wasn’t pretty but I finished before they pulled the finish line down. I think my final time was 8:36. If I subtract 30 minutes for technical difficulties my time still would have been 8:10 – far off from my projection of 7:35. I learned a lot about myself during the race – that I’m better at some things than I thought (which came as a surprise) and need A LOT of work in other areas (which did not come as a surprise).

When we last left off I had told you all about my fabulous party thrown by my friends and hosted by fabulous Donna. Stephanie, Donna and Michelle turned out to be not only my angels throughout my entire race but angels for a lot of other people too. They are now famous in the history of the Disney Half Ironman race log.

We arrived on Friday after some minor flight delays (not too bad about 1 hour) and immediately picked up my bike. I was a little disappointed to find that Tina got a little banged up in transport – one of the brand new decals was smooshed and she had two scuffs marks on either side of the aerobars. I was having a hard time figuring out how that could have happened unless she got dropped on both sides AND something got dropped on top of her. After the longest check-in in the history of hoteldom, we got her into the room and we headed out to get my registration packet. I was even more disappointed to find that I had a sore throat coming off the plane. Oh no, not again, I forgot that I get a cold every time I fly. Geesh, why did I not add airborn to my checklist?!?!?!

Here I am getting ready to put my bike in transition:

Registration for the half ironman was just about the same as a regular tri – only difference is you have to have your own timing chip strap (which I thought was weird). They give you the chip but you have to have your own strap. The other difference is they give you two race bibs – one with your first name on it and one with your last name on it. You are to wear one on the back for the bike and one on the front for the run. I thought that was cool because I remember at Lake Placid that is how the real Ironman competitors wore it. I felt excited that I was one step closer to being one of the big guys.

My big secret weapon for the weekend was having Stephanie along. Not only had she done the same race the year before, but she was also an event planner for many years and is very familiar with Disney properties. Later on that turned out to be more than helpful to me – let’s say critical.

On Friday night Stephanie, Donna and I went out to a fun little restaurant for Tapas and it was a nice relaxing evening. Unfortunately by that time I was aware that my cold was going to hang around and we went on the search for food and medication. Thank God Stephanie had a car because once you are on Disney property there is no getting off. You can go to any other resort or park but they are all Disney and you are stuck with their meager selection and not-so-meager prices. We stocked up at Publix so I had everything I would need for pre-race food and drugs.

Saturday we all convened early for a practice swim in the lake. We got about twenty minutes in before the Disney police came and kicked the entire team out. Then the race officials showed up and said they would disqualify anyone who stepped back into the water before the race. We were all stunned because it was on the schedule that there would be a practice swim. I guess the race officials cancelled the swim but forgot to tell us. Regardless we got a chance to stick our heads in the lake. The water was warm, clean and flat, flat, flat – no 4 foot swells there. At that point I already checked off the swim in my mind. 1.2 miles – no problem.

We walked around a bit and visited the extremely over priced expo. Already the heat was rising and the prediction for Sunday was it was going to be even hotter. Heat — my enemy, my nemesis, my golem. I was checking the weather forecast every couple of hours hoping for a weather flash. “Warning, unexpected cold front to hit Orlando – pull out your sweaters.” No such flash…. Just sweat pouring into my brow as I was standing in the shade ordering another lemonade. I had never hydrated so much in my entire life. I basically had some beverage in my hand all day Friday and Saturday and every time I checked my urine color I was dismayed to find that it was not as clear as I wanted it to be. (AND I had been hydrating all week long before hand). But I just kept drinking, drinking, drinking.

On Saturday night we had our pasta party. This is when the team gets together to carbo load and hear some inspiring stories and get pumped up for the big race. It was a much smaller event then previous pasta parties but in a way that was good because I wanted to go to bed early. The mission moment was delivered by a 12 year old girl with A.L.L. who had raised $12,000 on her own. She talked about the years of Chemo treatment and all of the side effects. She talked about the group of four girls she met in the hospital when she was first diagnosed. All four of them now dead from the disease – she was still 2 ½ years away from recovery. We heard a not so-inspiring speech from a coach from another team and then our coach Earl got up and was his usual witty self. He gave a short, funny speech with some good tips like “if you like it lube it” and be an “aquaholic.” I think it was just what everyone needed.

Stephanie, Michelle and Donna (hereafter called my “Rumble Girls”) gave me a lovely card and a triathlon t-shirt that said “Finish what you Start.” I thought that was very appropriate. I knew I would start – and once I started there was going to have to be some natural disaster to stop me (as it turns out even a couple of disasters couldn’t stop me.) They also gave me a card from my friend Melissa who if you’ve been following this blog you know has been at all my big events with me starting with my very first triathlon at Disney in 2003.

At the race in Disney in 2003 we had to finish the 6.2 mile run by running two loops of the lake at Epcot Center. I remember entering into the park and looking at that lake like it was the biggest freakin’ lake on the planet. I remember saying “two times? Two times I have to run around that?” I didn’t believe I could do it. After you completed your first loop they gave you a little green bracelet to prove you had finished the first loop and were starting your second loop. Of course as I was on my first loop everyone was passing me with their little green bracelets already on wrist meaning they were heading home and I still had another loop to go. When I finally got around that first loop I ran to the woman who was holding the green bands with my arms outstretched – I want that green band, I want that green band. I still remember that feeling of relief. I got my green band, I got it!!! On Saturday night in my card from Melissa she enclosed her green band from Disney 2003 for me to wear during the race. I almost started to cry. Okay, right now I am crying.

After the party everyone was about to break up when our honored teammate Marie-Eve wanted to say something to the team. So we all stood around her as she told us her thoughts about the heat we were going to endure the following day. She told us that during her treatment she had such a terrible fever that the doctors were very concerned for her. I don’t remember the number but something well into the hundreds that even I knew meant terrible trouble. The doctor’s tried everything to get her fever down but nothing would work, finally the doctor said to her “Marie-Eve you are going to have to break this fever yourself, there is nothing we can do.” She said she would try her best. Can you imagine that? I would be delirious in that kind of fever. But Marie-Eve was cracking jokes.

Soon they were so concerned about the fever because it would start “cooking” her internal organs so they put her in an ice bath. Literally an ice bath. Must be something like a big tub and just poured ice all over her and made her sit there to try to cool her body temperature. I just couldn’t imagine (little did I know that I would be doing my own version of an ice bath soon!) But Marie-Eve stuck it out and eventually the fever broke but was then replaced but the chills. Severe, bone-wracking chills. There was nothing they could do to get her warm and they would pile blankets upon blankets upon her and her mother and sister would lie on top of her to try to keep her warm. These bouts of chills would last for about two hours and she had several a week for a couple of weeks. Later a doctor told her that the energy she lost during one of these bouts was the equivalent of a marathon. Can you imagine running several marathons in a couple of weeks? Can you imagine how drained you would be? She couldn’t lift her head to sip a cup of water – her mother had to do it for her.

All Marie-Eve prayed for was one hour of being pain free. Nothing more than that one hour of relief from this horrific pain. Soon she had that. Soon she felt strong enough to sit up and actually have a moment of relief. Then all she prayed for was to be released from the hospital. It took some time but she got there. Then she prayed for one more thing at a time – to go to her family’s cottage, to go back to work, to go back to her friends, to back to her life. One by one, she got all of those prayers answered. Finally she said to us that now her prayer was to finish the half-ironman. That’s the same person who was in an ice bath and who had her life balance so precariously on the edge. She was not only on the honored teammate but she was doing the race with us! I knew she was going to kick butt because she is a great athlete. Those were magical words to me. I knew no matter how bad it was going to get out there (and it was going to get bad) it couldn’t be as bad as the chemo, the fevers, the chills or the pain of going through Leukemia. For those four little girls who died and for Marie-Eve’s inspiring determination and survival, I could haul my fat ass 70.3 miles and not complain about it.

Later I found my Rumble Girls in the Disney store having a grand old time trying on different hats for the race. They wanted to come up with some hats to wear for the race and after much deliberation we found some pink cowboy hats that they could wear to cheer. (Of course pink for Tina). Finally I pried them out of the store because it was time for me to get to bed and try to knock out this cold. They stayed with me and got my bags all packed for the morning. We had a lot of laughs getting me ready – their good humor lightened my load a lot. Little did I know that when they left their mischief continued.

I woke up race morning at 3:45 and grabbed all my stuff and headed to the lobby. I opened my door to find it had been plastered with posters of encouragement. Not only my door but the hall floor and all the walls leading out of the hotel were covered in “Rumble Girl” and “Good Luck” signs. It was pretty funny but I figured I better pull them down before the hotel management saw it. (It appears that Disney is a don’t-break-the-rules type of place.

I took the bus with the team to transition at 4:20 and we arrived just as it opened at 4:45. I had picked a great spot for Tina the day before. Everyone else had crammed their bikes near the exit of our row so they could have a speedy exit. I opted to risk the .01 extra second it would take me to get my bike the 20 feet and took the last spot at the end of the row. Now I had tons of room to lay out my stuff and everyone else was crammed into their spaces.

I laid out my stuff and was pleased with my organization and then I did my ritual checking of the tire pressure. To my horror I found I had a flat tire. A flat tire?!?! How did that happen?!?! The race hadn’t even started and I had a flat. Don’t panic, don’t panic. I just kept telling myself. You know how to change a flat. Yeah but I never got around to changing one on Tina. I was worried. But I took my time and took out my tools and then I discovered to my horror, I had no tire levers!! OMG!! No tire levers? I need a tire lever to get the tire off. Don’t panic, Don’t panic – plenty of tire levers around, just borrow one and deal with the issue at hand. I saw Ilona and borrowed her tire lever. A couple of people saw me changing my tire and gave me sympathetic encouragement. No big deal, I kept saying, I’m good at changing tires, no problem. Thank God I had thrown that extra CO2 cartridge in my transition bag.

It took about ten minutes but I got the tire changed. I was worried that I had now used one of my two spare tires (you should always have two with you out on the race) but even more worried that I did not have tire lever to bring with me. Don’t panic, don’t panic – ask Stephanie to go get one while you are swimming and then throw it over the fence onto your transition station while nobody is looking. (You are not allowed any outside assistance during the race and that includes in transition – nobody can come in and help you or hand you stuff.)

After getting body marked and doing a final check of my transition station, I headed down to the beach. I ran into Coaches Earl and George. They told me my “Rumble Girls” were down at the beach waiting. When I got down there I saw that not only did they have the pink cowboy hats on but they had pink Mickey Mouse t-shirts. They looked great and I had a big laugh. I told them I needed another spare inner tube and a tire lever and asked Stephanie to go get them and toss them into my transition area while nobody was looking. Okay, so give me a penalty point for that one but I assure you I was not in danger of knocking anyone out of the competition for that one.

I had a great wave start 4th wave in. First the pro-men, then the pro-women, then the disabled athletes, then the 45+ men and women. First time I had ever been in a co-ed wave start but I didn’t care – it was going to give me more time to finish the race and I would be needing it. I looked out at the buoys and saw that it was pretty far out but I really wasn’t worried. I have total confidence in my ability to swim – not fast but I do enjoy it. I was looking forward to an opportunity to pull everything I had been practicing together – keeping my feet together, rotation on the right side, breathing early, pulling harder.

When the horn went off, I took off and started to swim. Everything was going fine, I was trying to find someone to draft off of, but every time I moved in closer to the buoys I ran into someone flailing their arms or kicking wildly so I had to move out to where I could swim. I got kicked around a little in the beginning, but then I found it to be fairly smooth sailing. During the final stretch to the finish line I had my familiar feeling of wanting the swim not to end because I was really enjoying it. But alas, the finish line was ahead of me and I had to go in. Swim done. No problem whatsoever. As I got out of the water I looked at my watch and it said 49 minutes. 49 minutes? That stinks! I was hoping for 44 or better. And that did not include the time it was going to take me to run into transition. I timed that as another 1:27. Pooh, even though I had estimated 50 minutes for my swim I didn’t REALLY want 50 minutes for my swim. Oh well, I was still on track it didn’t matter and I truly enjoyed the swim. In retrospect I guess my problem was I was swimming a little off course too often and I will have to dig in next time and swim closer to the buoys and not so far out.

Ran back to transition feeling very good. Good, good, good I thought. My heart rate was feeling fine and I got into transition and got out fairly quickly. I saw a bunch of people cheering and off I went. I lost a glove early on but that’s okay, I had new extra tape on my handle bars and I was going to be in aero anyway so it didn’t matter. Before I knew it I was out on the bike course and pedaling away. I looked down at my computer and it said 20 mph. I thought “whoa, slow that down you have a long way to go.” But my legs didn’t even feel like they were pedaling – no effort at all so I just decided to let them find their own pace. As long as I did not feel like I was putting through too much exertion I would let them go.

The coaches told us in each part of the race to do the first part easy and then if we were feeling okay to accelerate a little in the second half. You can’t regain energy so if you spend it all in the first half you are not going to get it back in the second. So I was very cautious in the first half. But I never saw my speed go below 17. It stayed pretty consistent at 18 or 19 and often at 20. I just couldn’t understand it. I was in the big chain ring. I wasn’t even trying hard. So I figured I would just go with it. I had predicted a 3:30 and if I could stay at 17 I would get a 3:30. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I passed the 25 mile marker and I was at 1:19 which seemed ridiculously fast for me. What was going on? I thought my bike computer must be broken. This can’t be right.

The course had a lot of turns – even more than St. Anthony’s. I was a little cautious around the turns even though everyone else was speeding right through them. I didn’t care – I had time to spare, I was ahead of my estimate and saw no need to blow it by killing myself going around a turn. I just kept pedaling away.

It was a strange feeling for me. Even though I was riding very fast EVERYBODY was passing me. Usually I start much later in the race and I spend a good amount of time passing people. But in this race because I had started at the front of the race there was nobody for me to pass. Everybody who was passing me was someone super fit and super fast. All were riding 23 mph +. I decided to not be worried about it but a little voice inside me said “you could keep up with them if you wanted to – you could ride harder.” But I resisted. I wanted to stick to my plan AND I knew I had another 30 miles to go.

The course had some rolling hills but nothing to cause a break in stride. The hills were not terribly steep – they were longer than steep and I found that I never had to drop below 10 mph which meant they were not steeper than Harlem Hill (where I drop to 8 or 9). But for every uphill that means a downhill and I took advantage of them and let it rip.

There were several switch backs along the course so I was able to see anybody catching up to me. I did not see any team in training people for a long time until I saw Missy coming like a speed demon. She was pedaling so fast – must have been 110 rpm easily. I was sure she was going to catch up to me but I just kept pedaling away. Very comfortably I wasn’t even really racing. I was so far ahead of my estimate that I figured I would take the gift and use it toward my run time. At the next switch back I saw Missy again – she was still behind me. Finally there was a third switch back and I didn’t see Missy. I realized that she was probably so close to being behind me that I missed seeing her in the turn around. I laughed and started to pedal a little faster because I knew she was going to catch me soon.

Finally we were at mile 50. Missy passed me and shouted out “way to go CC you held me off for 50 miles!” I laughed and told her to go get ‘em. Then Lisa passed me – she was grinding her pedals not the fast fluid strokes Missy had. I was watching how everyone pedaled – I could tell the people who were doing it right vs. the people who were doing it the hard way. A race marshal passed by and looked at me but I knew I was doing nothing wrong so I just kept pedaling. There were so many people out there violating the no drafting rule that I was sure this guy was busy giving out penalties. I saw packs of people riding together for miles – they refused to give way to the person trying to pass them and they created their own little testostrogen filled clusters.

I was so excited to pass mile 50 and realize the I was on my way to a sub 3:15 bike ride. For me that would be great! I was grinning from ear to ear. Not only was I going to beat my 3:30 estimate, I was doing it easily!! I could do another 56 miles like this no problem! But then, as soon as the marshal passed me my bike went out of control. Yikes! What was going on? I couldn’t hold the bike still. I was skidding all over the place. I managed to clip out before I was going to crash and I pulled on my breaks. Geesh, what was going on? I looked down and sure enough I had a flat tire!! The back tire was flat as a pancake. Oh Lord. Now what?

I refused to panic. I had rehearsed this. If I get a flat I will calmly and patiently fix it. But 4 miles from the finish? C’mon God, that’s just cruel. 4 miles? I had to admit I thought about just riding it on the rim but I couldn’t keep it straight so I said I had to fix it. Then the horror. I realized that I never put the tire levers that Stephanie had bought me into my bike bag. I was stuck out on the course, 4 miles to the finish with a flat and no tire lever. I was in big trouble in big Disney. I didn’t know if I could change a tire without a tire lever and I was going to find out – the hard way.

I tried to use the screwdriver on my multi-tool but I couldn’t get it to work. I was stuck. I started yelling out to passing cyclists “anyone have a tire lever?” Half the people didn’t respond, most said no, one woman said “it’s in my saddle pack, can’t get to it.” I was screwed. Time was passing. I saw my beautiful 3:15 slipping into the black void. I was standing there baking in the sun, sweating in my helmet trying to figure out what to do. I didn’t know what to do other than keep calling out for a tire lever. Finally a guy, number 76 I think, stopped and gave me his tire lever. He ended up falling over because he couldn’t clip out which lead me to believe he was a new triathlete because he was nice enough to stop and fell over doing it. I thanked him profusely, he was so cool about it. Ten minutes later I had the tire fixed and after struggling with a kink in the chain for another minute and struggling with the stupid CO2 cartridges I was on my way. 30 minutes gone. Ouch!!! But that’s okay I kept telling myself. I was 15 minutes ahead of my projection so I’m really only 15 minutes behind. You’re okay…..

I start pedaling. I hear some weird clicking noise. I can’t make out from where. Is that the back tire? No I think it’s from the front? I realize it is probably my wireless computer sensor clicking against the fork. Oy, what to do? I looked at my speed, 16 mph. Okay, at least you are moving, just keep going, 4 miles you can make it. Just get to the finish of the bike, that’s all you have to do. Now I’m feeling my back from bending over to fix the tire without stretching. I’m starting to calm down a little. I kept telling myself “good girl, you fixed the flat, you got back on track, that’s what a triathlete does – never quit.” Then I saw my odometer pass 54 and I said just two more miles, just two more miles. Then the unthinkable…..

A second flat. Obviously there was something in the tire that I couldn’t feel (I did check for foreign objects but I must have missed something in my haste to get out of the sun). Now I was in a dilemma. I yelled out to one of the people on the side, “how far to the finish?” “About a mile and half I think” she shouted out. Okay, that agrees with my computer more or less. I could run it in for a mile and half but who am I kidding? I am in my bike shoes and my run is my weakest link. I had to make an executive decision. I had a another spare and a tire lever but I had used up my two CO2 cartridges trying to get them to work. (Later I find out the threads on my CO2 holder were striped – yikes). So I decided to just ride to the finish on the rims of my fancy new bike that had now failed me in two races – both times five minutes from the end. Oh Tina, how could you do this to me? What did I do to deserve that?

To be continued……
(Sorry Cliff, I know you hate that…)

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5/18/2006 Daring to Dream

Thursday. Day before I fly to Florida. Of course first thing I do when getting up now is check the weather forecast and Sunday is supposed to be 94. Gulp. The record high for that day in Orlando is 96! 86 is the average. 86 would be great. But I will do what I have to do. If it means walking more of the run then that’s what I’ll have to do. I don’t know sitting here in my somewhat chilly apartment (have the terrace door open and it’s on the chilly side) I think ‘sure, why not? I will just run slowly.’ But then I think back to how hard it was to run the NYC marathon and it was only 72 degrees. The longer you are out there the hotter you get and I am predicting quite a few people are going to pass out. I won’t pass out but I won’t let myself get sick either. If I start to feel nauseous or faint — I’m just going to stop until I can keep going. I am going to hydrate so much that I’ll float to the finish line (but making sure I am taking salt in as well.)

So last night I had dinner plans with Steph, Donna and Michelle. As it turns out when I got to the restaurant they had planned a little party for me and my other friends were there as well Rhonda, Robin, Barbara, Robina, Martha, Donna, Margo and Jeanne. So there were twelve of us taking over a lovely area of the lounge at the restaurant English is Italian noshing on the most incredible food. Then they brought out a cake with “Rumble Girl Rumble” written on it. I almost started to cry. That was the sweetest thing I had ever seen. I couldn’t believe they did that. I don’t think anyone has ever thrown a surprise party for me. Usually I plan my own parties so it was such a shocker. I was really touched and felt extremely blessed to have such great people in my life. I mean I have really great friends — top shelf all the way.

All the food there is about as fattening as you can get but I had known for a week I was going there so I ate lightly during the day and had a good swim session. I figured if I was ever going to eat there the week of a half ironman was the week to do it. I had a couple glasses of wine (again with the tummy ache so I think I better just let that go for now.) I think I’m more nervous than I am letting myself feel (.01 seconds still running through my mind at all times.) The wine does not seem to be agreeing with my tummy as much as it agrees with my mouth. Tonight we have book club and normally I would have a glass of wine with them but I think I better call a moratorium until after the race. They say tonight and tomorrow night are the most important nights of sleep I can get before the race. Saturday night even if I go to bed at 9 p.m. I still have to wake up at 3:30 so I won’t be getting much sleep.

Every night for the last week I have been having triathlon dreams — I wouldn’t call them nightmares more like bad dreams. I have been dreaming things like missing the start, not being able to find my goggles, being in the wrong transition area. Every night there has been a different dream. I’ve had these dreams prior to races in the past. I’ve dreamt I went the wrong way on the course (found myself riding through my high school?) I’ve dreamt that I’ve simply stopped in the middle of the race because I forgot I was racing and everyone starts yelling at me to get going. I’ve even dreamt I was in the middle of a tennis match when a slew of triathletes came racing through the courts and I realize I’m supposed to be doing a triathlon not playing a tennis match. Let’s just say there is a lot of pre-race anxiety.

For me, most of the pre-race anxiety comes down to thinking I’ve forgotten something. In triathlon there are so many parts. Goggles, caps, race numbers, running shoes, shorts, singlet, hats, gloves, sunglasses, cycling shoes, helmet… oh yeah and a bicycle. Not to mention your gus and gels and powders, lotions and potions and pills. There is a long packing list. And if you are going away you have to remember to pack all this stuff because wherever you are going probably doesn’t carry your favorite flavor of cliff shot blocks or carbo-pro. I have a checklist of triathlon stuff to which I have added my own extras like an inhaler, contact lens solution, and chamois butter (for a more comfortable bike ride don’t leave home without it.)

Compare all of this equipment to a tennis match where I throw a hat, sneakers, racquet and balls into a bag and I know I can get through a match. That is not to say that my tennis bag is not full of a lot of stuff — you never know what you might need, but the bare minimum for a triathlon is a lot more complicated than a tennis tournament. And WAY less complicated then a road race where all I worry about is my feet and my head. I’ve attached a copy of a triathlon check list in case someone doesn’t have one. It is a great idea to just have one sitting next to your suitcase and as you think of things put it in and check it off — makes packing much easier. Click Here for checklist.

Had a good swim session yesterday. Coach Neil had me breathing on both sides and practicing things like knocking off my goggles and floating on my back to put them back on. That was actually a good thing to practice — the first time I didn’t do it right and I realized I need to take the one extra second to shake out the last drop. His point was be ready for anything. You don’t want to be taken off guard no matter what happens. We practiced skipping breaths which is a good technique to slow your heart rate down (sounds counter intuitive but it stops you from hyperventilating). We also practiced breathing to the other side at which I thought I was terrible but he swears I am just fine. I feel like I am bobbing up and down — he says I look the same as the other side hmmm….. I found if I did a little stronger pull I was able to swim to the other side more easily. His point is if the sun is in my eyes I may want to breathe to the other side. I’ll probably just squint.

So today is finishing up one more project Yeah!! Then pack, pack, pack. My brother is coming to visit this afternoon and then tonight I have book club. I’ll try to get a good night’s sleep and then I’ll be off to Sunny Florida in the morning. Sweet Dreams. G.U.L.P.

Namaste

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.”
Paulo Coelho

right, fear of suffering is worse, fear of suffering is worse, fear of suffering is worse……

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