Monthly Archives: June 2007

6/27/07 Stage Fright

Wednesday.  Had a nice easy swim this morning.  That was a nice treat.  Tomorrow we have only a 30 minute run.  We are getting ready for Tupper Lake Half Ironman this weekend.  I’m glad for the rest.  Yesterday, however, I had a strange morning.  I left for my usual walk up to Central Park, jog up the Westside to meet Charlee and Mary at the reservoir.  It was definitely warm and humid yesterday morning (nothing compared to last night though).  At first I thought it was the air that was making it difficult for me to breath, then I realized that I was experiencing anxiety.  Over what?  Over the race I guess. 

I was exhausted yesterday.  I could barely move and do two laps around the reservoir never mind the pickups we had to do.  (3 on, 6 off, 6 times each loop).  I was just not there.  I wanted to go back to bed.  I was cranky.  I was tired.  I was feeling not very confident about any race.  Ironman, half ironman — a game of tiddly winks.   I was just collapsing under a burden of stress and tiredness (mostly tiredness).

I knew it was irrational.  I had felt pretty good over the weekend and on Monday I did a Pilates Session with Elly where we just stretched, stretched, stretched.  It didn’t matter, I was still tired.  I had been rehearsing the IM race in my head (trying to visualize any rough spots and how I’ll handle them.)  I kept getting overwhelmed with the time cutoffs.  What if this happens?  What if that happens?  I don’t have a lot of room for error.  Everyone is coming to watch.  What if I blow it?  What if, what if, what if?!?!?  The stress was getting to me. 

The only other time I could remember feeling like this was when I had to play in the divisional playoffs one year out at the US Open courts in Queens.  I had played out there many times before and I’ve played in plenty of playoffs and tournaments in my day.  But usually I am on a side court and nobody comes out to watch — we are amateurs afterall.  This time I was on a court out at the National Tennis Center with bleachers and plenty of room for people to watch.  I was playing singles so I didn’t have a partner to turn to and about 20+ people showed up to watch my match but they were all cheering for the other gal.  She had her entire entourage and they were leaning on the waist-high fence watching me.  It was awful.  The court seemed to get bigger and bigger as my racquet and I got smaller and smaller.  My opponent looked like she was ten miles away.  Every so often ll of a sudden a huge yellow ball flew in my face and I swatted at it like it was a giant bug. I couldn’t snap out of the state of overwhelming stage fright.  The small crowd cheered when I missed.  It was awful.  I can’t even tell you what happened during that match — I’m sure I lost because I can’t imagine I won a playoff with that kind of attitude!  I just remember what that felt like to be helpless and on the defense.  I wasn’t tough enough.

I guess I am feeling the pressure of everyone coming to watch my Ironman.  What if I don’t do a good job?  What if I double fault?  What if I don’t make a cutoff?  This is such classic sports psychology 101 that I’m shocked I’m even going through it.  I know the right attitude I have to have is a winning attitude (in this case finish.)   I have to visualize and be confident.  I have to adopt the attitude of not only am I going to finish, I’m going to win.  There can be no question, no doubt.  She’s going to rue the day she ever stepped on the court with me.  This game is mine, this court is mine, this day is mine.  But sometimes it is just not that easy….

If I was coaching someone in tennis I would tell them that they have to focus on the ball in front of them.  They can’t think about the next point or the last point.  There is only this moment, this place, this point, this ball.  And then there is the next ball.  Even though you have to construct points you have to react to this one ball.  I most often miss the point when I am inflexible.  I want to drive the ball to her backhand but this ball is not the right ball for that shot.  If I am impatient I go for it anyway which usually results in a miss or setting her up for a better shot.  Instead, I should take my time, hitting one, two, three or more shots until that perfect ball comes my way.  That’s the ball that is meant to be put away.  That’s the ball that is supposed to go sailing cross-court deep into her backhand pocket just inches out of her reach.  But waiting for that ball is the hardest part of the game for me.  I’m nervous that I might not hit one, two or three good balls so I better get it over with.  Confidence.  You have to KNOW that ball is going over and coming back.  You can’t HOPE, you have to KNOW and wait for it.

One of the reasons that I am feeling nervous is because there is no rematch.  It’s taken so long to get here that it seems unfair that the entire Ironman experience boils down to one day, one try, one attempt.  How about 2 out of 3?  Even if I wanted to sign up for a backup Ironman they are all sold out.  I would have to wait another year for another shot at it.  So much can go wrong!!  (This is when I start using statistics — out of the 2,000 people who started the race x number finished so the probability is I will succeed, not fail.)  But then I start to worry about all the little things, cramps, flats, falls — anything can happen out there.   There is an expression “Any given day, any given athlete” usually it is followed by “can win.”  But I think Any given Day a million things could go wrong.  I don’t have a big window for mistakes or mishaps.  I’m using up most of the available time with just racing.

So there, that’s the source of my anxiety.  I know what I have to do.  I have to start with the positive mantras.  The positive visualization.  (The good news is I consistantly can visualize the end of my race so that bodes well…)  I know I have to start to visualizing winning.  I have to know that this is mine.  There can be no doubt, no second guessing.  Just focus on the ball in front of me.  This swim stroke, this pedal stroke, this step.  That’s how you get to the finish line.

Namaste
“You have stage fright, it never goes away. But then I wonder: is the key to that magical performance because of the fear?”
Stevie Nicks

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6/25/07 Knackered

Monday.  One day, after a particularly brutal practice, one of our coaches (who had actually coached another team BEFORE  that practice) said “whew, I’m knackered.”  I remember thinking, what a great word.  We don’t use that word in the States — it’s definitely a British word but I have to say it is one of those words that are satisfiying because it sounds like what it means.  Knackered.  Wiped out.  Totally tired.  Me.

I had a great weekend. A lot of emotional energy invested in my Saturday workout which always leads to an extra-tired Monday.  Of course, now that it’s over I realize it was not quite as big a deal as I had made it out to be, but I have to say when I finished I was genuinely pleased with myself.  I told my coaches that I felt like I had put another notch in my badass belt.  (I’m not sure how many notches one needs in their badass belt to complete an Ironman but I figured one more can’t hurt.)

On Saturday, my teammate Eric and I took the hour subway ride to Brighton Beach to meet the team for a 10 a.m. swim in Coney Island.  I’m always a little thrown when I go to Coney Island.  I wake up amidst high-rise apartment buildings and honking taxi cabs and a mere subway ride away my toes are in the sand listening to the sound of the ocean and seagulls.  The entire day was a reminder of the rainbow of backdrops available in New York City.  As we walked toward the boardwalk I was trying to read the signs printed in Russian — happy I could still read them but didn’t remember what half the words meant.  

The water was ice cold when we first got in but like our time at Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, after a few minutes you get used to it and it’s swimming as usual.  Our little group swam together – -Marisol in her water cast (what a badass — broken wrist and she is swimming in the ocean?),  Rob, Nacho, Michelle, Dan.  Honestly, the swim was just another swim.  I’m not terribly fazed by waves, tides, things floating beneath me — this is all old hat to me now.  I just swim.  I miscalculated the time a little because when the coach casually swam circles around me (that’s not an expression, he literally swam in circles around us) I said “I have to be back in 50 minutes” he said “well you better book it because you have to get to that second beach umbrella and you’re not going to get there at this pace.”  Ugh, I was trying to save myself for my big run but okay, I sprinted to the end.  Good news is I have no problem whatsoever in the water.  Not so good news is I’m still not so fast in the water…  Oh well, enough worrying about the swim — it’s going to be what it is going to be. 

The big event for Saturday was to run back from Coney Island all the way into Manhattan.  We were not running a straight line up Ocean Parkway either, we were running along the water, past the Verazano bridge and up the westside of Brooklyn.  We had cue sheets.  I had a maps I had printed of every neighborhood (as I am often lost).  I had my leaking camelbak (cannot figure out what it is that I do wrong to make that thing leak), my gels, my mp3 player — everything I needed to get me through my 16+ mile run back to the city.  (17 miles to the end of the workout, 16 miles over the bridge).  I changed quickly and handed my bag and wetsuit off to Stephanie as I headed out for my run.

I started out feeling okay, a little nervous.  It was like going on an adventure run.  I did not know the course, I had to be self-sufficient because I did not know where I would find aid (water, bathroom, etc.)   I had to navigate through neighborhoods in Brooklyn that were not shut down so I could run through the streets.  I had to run on the sidewalks, watch for traffic, run around people shopping, eating, walking….   This was not a Central  Park run.  I really wanted to do this run because I knew it would be a challenge and if I managed to make my way through, this it would be a testimony to my state of badassness.  (my new word).

I started out running on the boardwalk on Coney Island.  I remembered  the Brooklyn Half and my little fall on the wooden slats.  I tried so hard to be careful, but alas, once again I went flying down the boardwalk, landing flat on my face.  Not a single person offered to help me (unlike the Brooklyn Half where several people rushed to my aid.)  I picked myself up, checked for injuries and announced to the gawkers — “Not to worry, I’m fine, thanks!”  They just stared at me like I was another lunatic.  I could tell I bruised my elbow (not to mention my ego) but I was fine and kept on running reminding myself to pick up my feet.

Back on the streets I was able to find more confident footing.  After taking a wrong turn about 1 mile in (follow the service road, the directions read — I went left and followed a road down to a dumpster instead of right along the highway)  I found a raquet club where I could get some more water and use the bathroom.   I remember playing at this club with Bogie (my tennis coach) a couple of years ago so I remembered where the women’s lockerroom was and just headed in like I was about to play.   Nobody cared — it’s Brooklyn, not Manhattan.  I freshened up for a quick minute and got some extra water.  I was quick but it was a defnite stop.  Then back on track to find the pedestrian path that followed along the water under the Verazzano bridge.

This stretch along the water was a great place to run.  I felt a little headwind, but I’m learning that headwind is a great way to practice my lean.  The little extra resistence really helps to give me the confidence to lean more into the run.  I saw a couple of my teammates and our coach stopped with me for a quick second giving me some encouraging words.  The most striking part of the scenery for me were the beautiful sailboats gliding throughout the water.  This is New York?  This could be any harbor along the coast and I had to wonder who these people were that had apartments in New York and beautiful sailboats to take out for a Saturday sail under the Verazano bridge.  How do I get to meet them?

Exiting the river path I start to run through more residential neighborhoods.  I was glad I had my maps because I got nervous a few times when I didn’t see the street names I was expecting.  A stop at a bodega, crowded with Saturday morning bagel procurers and I was back on the streets heading towards the more industrial section of Brooklyn.  This was one of the sections I had been worried about.  I had been worried that it was going to be deserted and dangerous.  For some reason in my mind I had imagined dark allyways and gangs hanging out on the streetcorners.  It was nothing like that.  It was bright, sunny, perfect weather and it wasn’t deserted at all.  A lot of car mechanic shops and people just working.  Nobody even looked up at me.  My biggest problem is that I was hitting every single red light and even though the traffic was not bad it seemed that there was always at least one car coming so I had to stop.

The starting and stopping became the hardest part of the run.  The effort it takes to start up again increased with every stop light.  I had to will myself to start again but I began to understand the necessary technique.  Just start with the tiniest of jogs and once I started that extra-small jog movement, within three or four steps I could go into my normal jog (I can’t really call what I do running…)  Starting a jog at the bottom of a hill was very hard.

I ran through a variety of neighborhoods — some were just gorgeous.  I recognized one neighborhood that I had visited about 20 years ago when I had a friend who lived on Nevins street.  Beautiful section but the sidewalks were not that wide and people were walking and families were on the sidewalks so I had to really negotiate my way around.

When I made my way onto 5th Avenue in Brooklyn I started to see a lot of unique little shops and I was dying to stop and browse but I didn’t.  I made note that this would be really fun to come back and poke around, shop and eat at some of the bistros that were looking oh so very good.  (Would anyone know if I just stopped and had a glass of white wine and a fritatta?  Oh I can’t WAIT to be able to spend a weekend day that way!)    I was also thinking if I couldn’t finish the run I could always go to the Brooklyn Museum for the afternoon but so far I was feeling okay so I kept going….

I stopped at Subway Sandwich shop to get more fluids.  As soon as I stopped I realized that my quads and calves were really cramping.  I bought a juice and water and took a few seconds to slather my legs with Tiger Balm — that helped tremendously and I will be carrying a vat of Tiger Balm with me on the run for Lake Placid.  Quick stop over and I kept going.

Once I got through all of the numbered streets on 5th Avenue and started to see the named streets I knew I was getting close.  I made one more stop for fluids as I was not sure exactly how much further I had to run.  I knew I just had to find Dean Street and I would be almost there.  A quick turn onto Fulton and then onto Adams.  This was all a very busy business district.  Shopping, offices.  (Note to go back and check out that Fulton Street Mall!)  Dodging shoppers was now becoming a honed skill.  The sidewalks here were much easier to navigate then the choppy neighborhood sidewalks I had just passed through.

When I turned right on Adams street, my heart lept.  I saw the top of the bridge.  Then I saw the most beautiful sign in the world.  “Pedestrian and Biker Pathway for Brooklyn Bridge, Enter here.”  I felt high.  Like someone had just given me a huge bouquet of flowers.  I needed to tell someone.  I needed to document this momentous occasion.  There were no people around, just a bunch of cops directing traffic.  I crossed the street and as I was about to cross into the bridge pathway there was a female policer officer standing there.  I couldn’t help myself.  “Officer” I said “I just ran here from Coney Island.”  She looked at me like I was a nut.  Then I said “I just had to tell somebody that I ran all the way from Coney Island and when I cross that bridge I will have run all the way into Manhattan.”  She was so cool, she burst out laughing and said “well, then you Go Girl!  Good for you.” and pointed to the pathway to the bridge.  I was so happy I just had to tell someone and she was the closest person.  I’m so glad she had a good sense of humor.  I know, I am a total nerd but my heart bursting I had to share with someone…

I hit the bridge about 3:30 minutes into my run.  This was not such a great time speed-wise because it was only about 15 miles into the run.  But considering the terrain, the lack of aid — I was fine with it.  I had made it, and the time frame really didn’t matter to me.  It wasn’t a race, per se.  For me it was more of a personal quest.

When I got onto the bridge I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the bridge itself and the magnificent views of Manhattan and the harbor.   I didn’t know what to take in first.  The suspense cables rising above me, the boats in the Harbor below me, the looming wall street buildings in front of me, the hundreds of pedestrians on the bridge.  It was absolutley amazing.  I started to walk over the bridge.  The coaches had said once I hit 3 hours I didn’t have to run anymore but I figured I would just walk up the bridge.  The swarms of pedestrians intimidated me a little, the boardwalk-like wooden planks intimidated me even more.  I was more afraid of falling now that I was tired.  I did a brisk walk up the bridge pausing for just a minute at the top to try to take it all in.  It was like the bridge was Mt. Everest and I had reached the top.  I knew I had done something special and unique and although I wasn’t fast and I didn’t “nail the run” I had made my way, one block at a time around through all different neighborhoods and here I was standing at the top of the world looking down.   I was very proud of myself.  Not that many people can say they’ve done this.

I ran down the opposite side of the bridge just so I could say I ran into Manhattan.  I started down towards the westside, got about halfway and realized I was done.  It was 4 hours.  I’ve met the mission.  I didn’t have to go any further to prove anything to anyone including myself.  I walked back to the subway and went home.  Completely and utterly satisfied that I had done a good job. 

Could I have done better?  Maybe, next year if I do it again, I’ll be more confident of the neighborhoods and what I have to do, but then it wouldn’t be such a challenge.  Part of the challenge of this workout was taking on the unknown.  There were no mile markers, there were no race volunteers handing me water or telling me which way to go.  I didn’t even have teammates to follow (although I did see Michelle and Jaime for a bits during the run.)  I really felt like I had earned a badge of honor — a notch in my badass belt.

When I got home there was not time to rest on my laurels because I had to get ready for the 80 mile bike ride we were doing the next day.  I concentrated on getting a good amount of food in my body as soon as I could.  I actually ate some turkey on a sandwich which was a huge event for me — I ate poultry — it was for athletic purposes only!!   I went out to a birthday dinner, ate some pasta, came home, slept and got up for our ride.

 I was exhausted on Sunday morning, not enough sleep but I had to meet everyone to ride.  I was greeted by a flat tire on my bike.  Had to make two tube changes, met the gang on the other side of the bridge and we rode toward Bear Mountain.  I felt pretty good for the first 60 miles of the ride.  The last 20 really started to fall hard.  When we reached the final set of hills on the bike I knew I was finished.  I made it to the end of the bridge and I was done.  Fried.  Finished. Pooped. Knackered.  I was so happy that my weekend was finished.  I did everything they asked me to do.  It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t impossible.  That’s what I’m coming to learn.  Very little is impossible.

Last night I reflected on my weekend and my upcoming races (Tupper Lake this weekend, Lake Placid three weeks later.)  Am I ready?  I don’t know, I keep falling back and forth between, yes I can do this to Oh My God,  what have I gotten myself into?  I know from experience playing tennis that I can’t allow myself to enter a match with any doubt in my mind.   If my serve is in a funk I cannot even think about it for one second otherwise it WILL fall apart.   I know I have to put on my game face starting now.   In tennis when I am down set point I always say to my self “excellent, what I do best is come back from behind.  This game is mine.”  Most of the times I win that point.  I may not win the match.  But I win that point.  I can’t go into Tupper Lake thinking “oh God the first two miles are uphill.”  I have to say to myslef “excellent, what I do best is attack a hill.”  It may hurt but I’ve done harder.  I’ve done longer.  I’ve done Mohonk.  I’ve done Hook Mountain.  I’ve done hill repeats running and biking at Ranger Station.  And now I’ve done Coney Island to Manhattan.  I may not be fast but I have strength and fortitude.  I may be knackered, but I’m a knackered badass.

Namaste

p.s.  This workout was dedicated to my friend Amanda….

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6/23/07 Foreign Travel

Saturday.  Quick entry as I’m off to Brooklyn for my big day.

I’ve been slacking on my swimming.  Wednesdays are just so tough work-wise that I can’t seem to get anything in.  I should’ve made Wednesdays my rest day at the beginning of the season.  Thursday we had our bike and I had every intention of getting into the pool — never happened.  I had even moved my Pilates session to Friday to make room for the swim.  Never happened. 

I did go for a walk on Thursday night while Steph was doing her run.  Was kind of weird to just walk along the river.  That was strange — you mean people just come out and enjoy the water and walk along the river?  No sweating?  No breathlessness?  How weird!! It was good to let my mind go and just move without having to take my heart rate.

Yesterday morning I promised Steph I would meet her at the pool.  I knew I had to get a couple of strokes in — I’m beginning to lose my feel for the water.  I only swam for 45 minutes (knowing I had a big day on Saturday).  Then I had my pilates session with Elly.  She really went to town on my abs.  She was throwing everything at me.  New exercises, old ones — do-the-same-thing-now-with-one-leg-in-the-air-and-one-hand-tied-behind- your-back exercises.  I have to say although I don’t have any problem completing the exercises, I am able to isolate and contract my abs for the entire session.  I find however, when she makes me do a zillion roll up/downs and toe taps before the teaser routine, then it’s a real killer.  Obliques still remain the most challenging.  “No cheating” Elly keeps reminding me.  I manage to find a zillion other little muscles to help me up instead of just using those tiny side muscles.  Good session, we got a lot of stuff in.

Today is a big workout.  I think I’ve gone a little insane because I’m actually looking forward to the challenge.  We are going down to Coney Island where we will swim for 1 hour.  Then we will run all the way back to Manhattan from Coney Island.  We’re not running a direct route either, we run along the river under the Verrazano bridge (beautiful there) and up along the west side of Brooklyn then run over the Brooklyn Bridge and over to the West side Highway.  16 miles to the Westside highway via the route they are giving us to do.   This is RUNNING, not biking… lol  I printed out maps so I wouldn’t get lost (I won’t have anyone running with me which I am strangely okay with).  I’m treating this like my own little adventure race.  I’ve never done a run where I have to check a map to make sure I am going the right direction.  Of course this is not particularly dangerous as I will be running by subway stops and I can just jump on the subway at any time (or grab a cab), but in my mind I’m pretending that this is some exotic, foreign local and I have to find my way home.  I hope they speak English…

So I’m all set, I have my mp3 player loaded with Bon Jovi (I’m on a kick), my cambelbak loaded with infinit, gels and sportsbeans, cue sheet and maps, tiger balm, tylenol, metrocard, money and passport.  Ready to take off on my adventure.  Hope I make it home before dark.

Namaste

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes relayed to me once by a WW friend.  Remembering this quote helps me to align my actions with my intentions.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
Andre Gide

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6/21/07 The Last Interval (31 days to IM)

Thursday.  Whew, were did this week go?  Yesterday was a crazy day — tons of work to do.  I managed to get a 1 hour bike in when I rode down to meet my student nutrionist for our last meeting.  She gave me a printout of my food diary breakdowns with some notes.  I told her the cookie and milk experiment seemed to work.  She said she had discussed with her teacher about the delayed reaction to my glycogen stores and he said it made sense that I would have a delayed reaction.  Basically the longer you take to get glycogen back into your muscles after the workout the longer they will take to recover.  It’s kind of like the glycogen gates close.  If you don’t replenish them in the hour after the big workout, the more time passes the harder it is to get glycogen back into your muscles.  By the time twenty four hours go by, my body is screaming because it wants more food in order to get whatever it can into the muscles.  If I can get the glycogen into the muscles while the gate to my muscles is still open (that 1 hour window) I will not have those shaky days two days later. 

This week the cookie-glycogen restore seemed to work.  I’ll try again on Saturday after the big workout.  We’ll be swimming down at Coney Island and then running all the way back to the city.  Cool, no?  I can’t wait to say that I’ve run from Coney Island to my apartment.  Yeah it’s 17 miles but I can do it at my pace.  I’ll practice my 9/1 run/walk, have my camelbak hyrdation and I’ll have my mp3 player loaded up with some tunes.  Not even worried about it.  (How weird is that!?!?!)

I had so much work to do yesterday I couldn’t get to the pool so I had to move Pilates to tomorrow so I can swim this afternoon.  This morning we had our group bike.  Our last overgearing session of the season.  Our last chance to give it all we’ve got.  I worked really hard but I brought Tina my race bike not Sylvia my road bike.  I was going to bring Sylvia but I had meant to change her tires so those thick gator tires were not on there and I didn’t have time and since I had just rode Tina yesterday so it was too easy to just grab her and go.

Even though I ran out of gears again this morning I really tried to put some weight behind the pedals and really push it.  The park was crowded but somehow I managed to find my own space to push past everyone.  I hit a new max speed on the little downhill past Engineer’s gate.  31 mph!!!  I’ve never hit that.  I hit 26 mph a lot but I’ve never seen 31.  Basically it’s the 12/27 — I run out of gears – -and if I really just put my hamstrings into it I can really hammer in that section.  I would never pedal like that in a triathlon, but for the overgearing exercise I need to push it as much as I can.  (It’s exhuasting but it’s fun in a weird way).  I even pedalled most of the way down Harlem Hill which is good for me.  I put everything I had into the 3 loops of overgearing (we did 1 loop of warm up and 1 lower loop cool down so that’s not bad for a morning workout — almost 26 miles in an hour and half.)

So that’s it for my overgearing and bike strength building toward race day.  I’m definitely feeling stronger than when I started back in November.  I’ve done everything I can to upgrade my bike (one final upgrade coming later this week.)  I’ve done everything I can to follow the program so now I just have to put my trust in the process and that everything will come together race day.   If I don’t make the bike cutoff (which I will make) it will not be due to lack of preparation.

Next weekend is Tupper Lake half Ironman so that will be a test of how hard I can push now.  This will be the first time I am doing a half ironman where my intent is not to “just finish.”  I am 100% confident that I can go out there and swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13 miles so now the question will be, how much courage do I have to push?  Am I willing to get out of my comfort zone and push it to limit?  Am I willing to be willing to put it on the line?  I hope so.  I am looking forward to giving it everything I have.  I am not looking forward to driving up to Lake Placid…. again!! 

So that’s it for now.  On a scale of 1/10 I’m feeling pretty good — about an 8.  I’m trying to get enough rest.  Eat right.  Take my vitamins.  Stay out of trouble and get ready to rumble.  Count down begins 31 days to Ironman!!!  Long time from July 2005 when I declared my intentions to do this race, but I’m almost there!!

Namaste

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This is me, Lake Placid 2005, declaring my intention to do the race in 2007!!!

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6/19/2007 The Last Half Mile

Tuesday.  Lots of interesting results to report.  First, how did the cookies and milk go?  I think well.  I was okay yesterday and so far today.  Eating normally — nothing crazy.  So looks like nutrition student might be onto a good thing with the cookies and chocolate milk.  I’m going to make up a batch of Melissa’s oatmeal/nut cookies and have those on hand instead of doing the store bought ones.  Now that I know I can actually stomach something after working out, this could be the road to good stuff.

This morning I did my running workout with Charlee.  Went well. But before I tell how that went I have to go back ino a little history….

Picture it.  Late summer 2005.  I’m training for my first marathon.  I’m running 4 times a week — twice a week with Leukemia Society Team in Training.  It was a warm night and I was out with the marathon team doing our Tuesday night speed work.  Coach Ramon had us time ourselves running from the mile marker at East 72nd street to the other mile marker before Tavern on the green.  I remember I’m running with a little pack.  I remember a gal who I was trying to keep up with — tall Russian gal, Elena I think.  I remember the other gal Catherine who beat us every time.  It is basically downhill so we could run our fastest.  I remember thinking blood was going to pop out of my veins I was working so hard.  Finally timed mile 10:38.  A record for me.  I remember being ecstatic — sign of good things to come. 

But as the season went by and the Marathon came and went.  Winter turned to triathlon season and triathlon season turned to Ironman season, I never saw the 10:38 again.  Not once, not even close.  I began to think it was just lore.  A false memory.  A legend in my own mind….  I had that one race where New York Road Runners tried to tell me I ran an 11:15 but I knew they were wrong — by an entire minute.  I had my watch and my splits which showed I ran a 12:15.  I grew to distrust clocks, watches and timing chips.  I didn’t believe my 10:38 any more.  If I had done it once, why couldn’t I ever do it again?  Yeah sure I saw some 11:15’s during a race — usually running down Cat hill or something equally easy.  But on an all-things-equal terrain, 11:30’s were my best good pace.

So today when I got to the park Charlee asked me what my goal mile time was…  I said I didn’t know, She seemed disappointed — ‘how about a 10:30?’ she offerred.  I choked on my orange energy drink and laughed.  An 11:30 maybe but no way to a 10:30. “I think it’s in there” she said.  “okay” I said, “I’ll be happy with an 11:15, and THRILLED if I can manage to break an 11 but I can’t promise that.  I can just try.”  “Okay, let’s see.”  Poor Charlee, she was so optimistic it made me sad to bring her back to reality.

We warmed up to Engineer’s gate and we started running, picking it up fast.  My lungs were not really cooperating but I was giving it my best effort.  Definitely having a hard time controlling my breathing — too fast and too shallow.  We pass the half mile marker and Charlee asks my heart rate.  I look down and give it to her but I’m stunned to see 5:14 on my watch.  This kind of throws me as I am not quite able to manage my body and do math at the same time but I think that is heading for a 10:30.  Oh, my God, I think.  I might actually hit the 10:30.  We keep running, running, I am hurting and finally we hit the tree.  I hit the watch and look.  Unbelievable.  A 10:24.  Woo hoo!  We high five. A 10:24,  we broke my record!!!  I was happy but in a state of disbelief and disappointment.  No way could I do that twice in one day.  Charlee says “I think we can hit 10:15.”  She’s on a misison.

I knew I had done my max.  I knew I had done more than my max.  I really didn’t want to dissapoint her but I knew that somehow I had managed to kick something somewhere that was going to require the greatest of luck to find that exact combination to hit even the 10:24 again.  I told her I didn’t think I could replicate it.  I just spent it all on that one mile.  She said “Don’t send out limting thoughts to the universe.”  or something like that, I had a ringing in my ears and a wonky tummy so my memory is kind of fuzzy.  She talked about relaxing my breathing and I tried to exhale extra long and get an inhale that would go deeper into my stomach.  Then she had me visualize the number 10:15 on my watch.  As we neared Engineer’s Gate my Heart Rate spiked up a little because I got nervous.  Before I knew it we were running again  — hard.

Before we even hit the 1/2 mile marker every ounce of my being wanted to stop.  I just couldn’t hold onto this pace — too hard, way too hard.  I’m going to explode.  “Keep going, keep going” Charlee is yelling at me.  “Turnover, lean, arms back, relax the breathing, relax into it, lean, Lean, LEAN!”  I just couldn’t do it.  I wanted to stop but Charlee was yelling at me to keep going.  I didn’t look at my time at the 1/2 mile marker because I knew it would stop me cold.  If I saw the time I would come to a halt.  I just had to hang on with every tendon in my being.  Second mile 10:33.  Wow!  That was still faster than my previous record of 10:38 (which I don’t even know anymore if that was a record or not!)   10:33 that’s not bad, that’s great!  Not as good as a 10:24  but it’s still great for me.  I felt bad that I let Charlee down but I knew a 10:15 was just unrealistic.  We were happy with the 10:33.  That was the second best mile I had done in two years!!  We should be happy.

“Okay, one more time.  This is it, this will be your last timed, hard-effort mile of the season.  Let’s give it all you got, leave nothing.”   For some reason that perked me up a bit.  The last time of the season?  YEAH!!  I know we’ll have a few intervals here and there but no more timed miles on the reservoir.  This was it. Of course I know I have to run 17 miles on Saturday but I will GLADLY run 100 miles at my regular pace vs this one mile at a 10:30.  This was so hard, it hurts to run this hard.  My heart and lungs want to die.   But one more time and that’s it?  I just didn’t want to go out as a slacker.  I wanted to leave the reservoir and I wanted to just kill myself and see if I could hit that 10:24 again.

As we near Engineer’s gate we start talking about the wheel – get those feet turning over like a wheel.  Right!  The wheel I forgot about that.  So we took off and I’m aware that we are passing people which I would normally back off but now the wheel is going and I’m leaning and Charlee is yelling “that’s perfect running form! perfect!”  For a couple of seconds I feel it.  I feel the lean.  I feel my legs going out behind me.  I’m giving it absolutley everything I have and I see people passing me looking like they are jogging.  I don’t get it but I stay in that place.  It’s like I’m leading with my hips — can’t quite explain it but I know I’m leaning right and I see how I normally would be leaning backwards but now I’m not.  “Lean more, the more you lean and pull your arms back the easier it will be to go faster.”  Charlee is yelling the whole time.  My lungs are at max but they are better than the first loop — I think the air is going deeper.  I cannot move my legs any faster.  They are at max.  This is the first time my lungs and my legs are at max together.  This is so hard.

“Pull ahead of me, Pull me” Charlee is yelling.  I try but I can’t, I’m going beyond my max.  There are no more gears and I’m not at the 1/2 mile marker yet.  “Keep going” she’s yelling at me.  Then she says “This is the last half mile that you will run at your hardest effort in ten months of training.”  I don’t know that does something to me.  I can’t slack off.  This is my only moment I have to prove how hard I have been working.  I don’t have any more speed to give it but I don’t slack off, I just keep pushing.  I just keep thinking, I’ve been training since November, this is it.  There is no knee pain, there is no asthma, there is no excuse.  If you fall over dead, so be it, just push all the way.  Everything is crying.  My lungs, my legs, even my eyeballs hurt.  Then we hit the tree.  I know it’s the 10:24 again, I just know we beat that 10:33 and then I look down at my watch and my heart stops for a second.  It says 10:06.  I press the button (not fast enough because final recorded time is 10:07.)  I look at Charlee, “what? what was the time?”  She wants to know.  I can’t even tell her.  I am sure I did something wrong.  This can’t be right….  10:06 I tell her.   Whoo Hoo she shouts and we high five.  

I still can’t believe it.  I’m quite sure that I can’t replicate it.  It was kind of the meeting of all the right elements.  The weather was not so hot or too cold.  My knees were not hurting.  I got a fair amount of sleep.  I didn’t have the scary munchies the day before so I think I was nutritionally sound.  I was hydrated, I had tiger balm all over my legs and I had remembered to take two Tylenol 8 hour for the first time in months.  So everything was aligned.  I don’t know if I will ever be able to do it again and I know I can’t do it for anything longer than a mile, but now I have it documented and I have a witness so if I ever question what my fastest mile ever was I can call up Charlee and say “was I dreaming? Or back in the summer of 2007, did I really run a 10:07?”  She’ll say “yep, that was right before you finished your first Ironman….”

Namaste

“I run on the road, long before I dance under the lights.”
Muhammad Ali

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6/17/07 Milk and Cookies

Sunday.  Ahhhh the ultimate in luxury — all of my workouts for the weekend are complete and until Tuesday I don’t have to do a thing!!! 

Thursday we had another overgearing workout.  I brought Tina and with her new cog set.  Didn’t work too well — it was too easy.  I can now spin pretty well in my hardest gear.  On Sylvia in my hardest gear I’m really working hard.  This week I basically just put my pedal down and Tina shot off.  Kind of defeats the purpose of an overgearing workout which is to build muscle.  It was nice though to not have to work sooo hard to keep up with everyone on the warmup loop.   But I know the right thing to do is to bring Sylvia next Thursday to get the most out of the workout.  (Don’t you hate it when you KNOW the right thing to do, but don’t want to do it?)  The guilt, the guilt — just pull out the clunker and get the workout done.

I had a pretty good Pilates session with Elly after the bike session.  Poor Elly is really trying so hard to make me cry, but I’m getting stronger and it’s getting pretty hard.  Basically she is giving me a lot of reps to do.  I definitely feel it towards the end but I plow right through twelve reps of something I could barely do two of nine months ago.  Even the full teaser routine is no longer a groaner.  So I know I’m getting stronger.  I still struggle with the obliques.  Currently this is her favorite exercise to make me suffer.  The device is called the stability chair and the feet are on springs.  So as you crunch up your arm comes up with the springs.   If I don’t get my balance just right — boom, over I go.  Then I cry.

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Friday I couldn’t get to WW — too much work to do.  But I did have another good meeting with my nutrition student.  We talked about my ravenous binges that seem to happen a day later after a huge workout.  Her theory is that I’m simply not replacing my glycogen stores soon enough after my big workouts and my extreme hunger is just my body’s way of trying to compensate days later.  So she suggested that I up my post-workout consumption and try to get something with more carbohydrates and even some sugar in it.  I really don’t have any desire to eat right after big workouts so I know this is a problem for me that I’m not replacing ENOUGH after a workout.  8 oz of lowfat chocolate milk is just not cutting it.  She actually suggested something that might tempt me liek a cookie.  A COOKIE?!?!  Even two, she says.  You mean like a cookie, cookie?  One that you would just go to the store and buy?  Or are you talking about one of those fat-free pieces of cardboard/air they pass off as cookies?  You mean those things that are totally taboo and against every book from the dawn of diet?  Yes, she says, those cookies.  Have your chocolate milk and eat a couple of cookies too (this is if you can’t stand your recovery drink).  Obviously she would PREFER I eat something else that is more nutritious, but since I simply don’t want to eat after a workout and this is one way to get me to eat — offer me contraband!!  Genius if you ask me. 

So Friday night I went to the grocery store and stood in enemy territory — the cookie aisle.  I stood there facing my foes — the cookie shelves.  For mmy entire adult life I have avoided this aisle.  I heard the Keebler elves whispering “shhh, look who’s here, haven’t seen her in years….”    The Mallomars were wooing me  — “well, heloooooowww there.”  (I  know that Mallomars are the Devil’s tempting tickets to a hell of hippiness.)  I knew there were two kinds of cookies that I love and are not THAT bad for you.  Ginger Snaps and plain old Oatmeal cookies.  They are not good for you by any stretch of the imagination, but as far as trans fats and total fat grams go they are not the worst.  I also have been eating Fig Newtons on my long bikes (two for each 56 miles) and those are not that bad for you either. (Though I reserve them for long training rides only.)  I started putting boxes of cookies in my basket. 

First the Ginger Snaps (I thought even I couldn’t resist Cold Chocolate Milk and crispy Ginger Snaps after a 100 mile bike) — into the basket.  A little shudder.  Then a box of  Oatmeal cookies — plain — these might be good to bring for after the swim but before the bike.  I started to feel a little dizzy.  I was in unknown territory here.  Okay, okay.  I’m okay, I’ve just put two boxes of cookies in my basket and the earth did not open up and swallow me whole.  I have to have my Fig Newtons for the bike ride and so far I have only been eating the Fat Free Fig Newtons so I figured I better just stay with those.  Into the basket.  I now have three boxes of cookies in my basket.  I look up and down the aisle — I hope nobody I know sees me. 

Then I see them.  They don’t say anything.  They don’t have to.  They are that powerful.  The Arch Enemy, Archway Dutch Cocoa Cookies.  Would I eat those after a workout?  No probably not — too much chocolate if I have them with chocolate milk.  Would I eat them during a workout?  No probably not — too sugary and I wouldn’t want them.  So I wouldn’t eat them for a workout, I wouldn’t eat them for recovery so they shouldn’t go into my basket right?    Right, so off we go to check out — me, the Fat Free Fig Newtons, The Ginger Snaps,  Oatmeal Cookies AND The Archway Dutch Cocoa cookies.  They are sitting in the basket gloating.  They are so smug.  I hate them just for their smugness. I swear they jumped off the shelf and into my basket — I didn’t even touch them.  And, then, just as I was exiting the aisle, I looked down and saw a box of Low Fat Honey Grahams already in my basket trying to hide behind the fat free yogurts — lame, how can a box of Graham hide behind yogurts?  “HEY!” I said, “HOW did YOU get in there?”  The little bumblebee on the front of the box just smiled at me.   Either my student nutritionist was brilliant idea or I was gong straight to hell.  I tried to check out as quickly as I could as I placed box after box of cookies on the checkout stand.  I saw the checkout clerk look at me — it was brief, but she looked.

Saturday was our Swike – swim/run.  We were to be on the deck at Asphalt Green at 5:45 for our 2 mile time trial (I can’t swim 2 miles in 1 hour so I knew I was just going to do the best I could).  The kicker was, this time we had to ride our bikes there and they had people to watch our bikes while we swam.  (HUGE shout out of thanks to Dear Dana who got up at that unGodly hour with her friend to come watch our bikes!)  

My swim wasn’t anything spectacular but I was steady.  I definitely wasn’t any faster than before they were all 10 minute 400’s.  But, to be honest I hadn’t been putting in the time in the pool and I was not killing myself because I knew we had a big bike ahead of us.  Right toward the end of the practice I was nearing the end of the lane when all of a sudden I felt a huge wallop right between my eyes.  It took me a second to realize what it was — it was foot — specifically the heel of a foot kicking me smack on my forehead between the eyes.   It was the bridge of my nose and top of my eye socket that stopped that foot from going into my eye.  I was stunned.  It felt just like someone served a tennis ball right into my head — the room goes dark and you start to swoon.  I yanked off my my goggles and I think I’m hearing people say “are you okay, are you okay?”  Yeah, yeah, I’m okay I’m saying but I can’t focus on anything — the room is kind of spinning and all I see is water and I feel for one second like I could just let go of the line and drift off….  Instinctively I knew I was okay though — it was just my eyes hadn’t caught up yet. It’s like when you are fast asleep and someone throws the brightest light on and you are trying to see but nothing is coming into focus.  That same feeling of yeah, I know I’m okay, it’s just going to take a second to find which way is up.

The poor gal who whacked me felt terrible.  I think only she and I will ever know the total force with which she whacked me.  It was hard.  I know she knows how hard she kicked.  (Frankly I am impressed with her strength — I don’t kick anywhere near that hard.)  But from tennis I also know that getting mad at the person who hit you is silly — they feel terrible already (I know I’ve hit people before) and of course they didn’t do it on purpose.  On the tennis court you might want to shake them up a little and make them feel bad so you can get a few extra points out of them, but this was not the case.  I saw my coaches hand stretching out to me and I took it to get to the wall.  Rob is right behind me saying “yeah, I know you’re fine but let’s be more fine at the wall.” 

My eyes begin to uncross.  Then the coach says “Now you know what I am going to say, right?”  I really thought he was going to say to get out of the pool and take the rest of the day off but I didn’t want to do that, I wanated to do the bike, so I just kept saying “I’m fine, I’m fine, really.”  But instead he says “this can happen on race day, now get your goggles on and get right back into your rhythm. C’mon you’re tough.”  Yeah, right, of course he’s right.   I’m fine what the heck am I doing?  (Later I relfect upon the hilarity of my thinking the coach would tell me to get out of the pool and rest.)  I get right back into my stride and I find that I swim immediately right back into my regular stroke.  There is no pain, no dizziness, I really am fine now.  It was just a temporary shock to the system.  And he’s right, I’m going to get bashed around race day and I’m probably going to get a heel in the face.  I’m used to getting kicked in the stomach which is annoying, but nothing is worse than in the chest — that REALLY hurts and keeps on hurting for awhile.  So in a way my teammate did me a favor.  I know now if I get kicked in the head, that I really can keep on swimming.  In the end she suffered much more because she kept apologizing to me.  I was really over it, but the guilt lingers on — I know, from tennis.  I still apologize to my ex-partner Robin for nailing her in the back of the head when I served in a match — TWICE!!  It’s a terrible feeling.

Then we get out of the pool and onto our bikes.  I wore my trishorts to swim and bike  so I was out on the bike pretty quickly.  (Great note, my good ole trishorts were comfortable for the entire bike ride so that’s what I’m wearing for Lake Placid!)  I rode up over the bridge with the gal who kicked me and a couple of others — it was nice riding with them.  A lot of fun chatting along the way.  I waited for my regular cast of characters – -Michelle, Rob, Nacho and Jamie (we miss Sunshine ’cause she has a broken wrist.) Pretty soon we split up and it’s just me, Michelle and Rob riding up the side roads of 9W trying to find some place called the lemonade stand that is going to take us off toward Harriman.  We don’t find it so we just keep riding until we are heading up a hill to Bear Mountain.

Up until this point I’m not really seeing a big difference in my new cog set.  As a matter of fact I was spinning up one hill and it wasn’t until I got up it that I discovered I was still in my big chain ring.  (Would help if I shifted to my smaller chain ring for easier spinning, duhhhh.)  Michelle asked if I felt a difference, I said “nah, not really.”

Then we hit one long grind of a hill heading towards Bear Mountain Bridge.  About halfway up it I realized, hey I’m not dropping my cadence to below 50.  I’m not killing my knees.  I’m still going 6.6 mph, but I’m still spinning and I’m not having a heart attack.  So I yell to Michelle “NOW I feel it, here, this is the difference, I point to my gears hoping she gets what I am talking about.”  It’s not that the extra gears are going to make me faster up the hills — they are not.  But they are going to make it easier so I am not burning my quads and hamstrings.  Mission accomplished — the 12/27 was doing it’s job.  This is not going to be my prefrred combination for a race like St. Anthony’s or even riding Central Park or doing Montauk.  But for going up to Bear Mountain or doing the Lake Placid course (twice) I think they will come in handy.  I have to be careful to not just go into the 27 automatically.  I did find that sometimes the gear or two harder were still okay and to reserve that 27 for when it’s really hard.   It really is a Granny Gear.

When we got to the top of 9W where it turns off to the Bear Mountain bridge we head up to the Bear Mountain Inn parking lot for refueling.  “I’ve never been to the tippy top of Bear Mountain where there is supposed to be a circle and a lot of motorcycles.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, we are so close, would you guys want to do that?”  Rob said he had done it before and it was hard, Michelle said she was game.  Two guys told us how to get up there, we had to go take a right onto Perkins Drive.  So after refuelling we took off.

Perkins Drive is about 2 miles up with an average grade of about 6% (I looked it up).  The grade is not so tough it is the grade WITH the distance.  A 2 mile climb and after about 1 mile I’m thinking — okay, who’s idea was this?  Every turn I kept thinking, this HAS to be the top.  Nope, keep going.  I decided I was going to blame Rob because he knew how hard this was and didn’t try to stop my bad idea.  We slogged it up to the top.   A couple of times I had to stand just to give my butt a rest.

When we got to the top it was nice but I don’t know if it was worth ALL that effort.  On the ride home, hills that are normally no problem were suspicously hard.  Rockland Hill was a pain in the patootie.  I was using my Granny Gear to get over speed bumps.  I had turned into a lazy slug.  I guess my nutrition was slightly lacking.  We stopped for water at a deli.  Rob eats half a Snickers bar.  Life is soooo unfair.  A Snickers bar?  Aren’t those illegal?  “I only eat half.”  He says.  Half?  You only eat half?  What do you do with the other half?  “I throw it out.”  I look at him in disbelief — our relationship to food is soooo different.  I go inside and buy a snickers bar and ask the clerk to cut it in half.  I give half to Michelle and I eat the other half.  Eh, it really didn’t do it for me.  I think it’s missing the mystique of being in the fridge after midnight — that’s when I would want the snickers bar, not when I’m hot and tired. 

I’ve come understand that THE BONK comes in many forms.  Sometimes it’s obvious — the headache, the fatigue, the muscle strain.  But sometimes it is more insidious than that.  Coach Earl once said to us, “if you are in a race and you start to think about quitting, you’re bonking — eat.”   So I think I was having that kind of bonk — just bored, don’t care, so what.  There was nothing to keep me interested so I decided to concentrate on things like my burning feet.  In my entire biking life I’ve never noticed that my feet were too hot.  Suddenly this was unbearable.  Another version of bonking.  I just didn’t care.

Michelle and I get back over the bridge (to be honest riding over the bridge wasn’t as awful as I remember…)    She has to go uptown and I head down Riverside.  But now the late afternoon thunderstorm is brewing.  As I’m riding down Riverside Drive I see the dark clouds in New Jersey and I hear the thunder.  Then I see the lightening hitting on the water.  I think maybe the storm is not coming this way — it’s staying in New Jersey.

I’m minding my own business when a bunch of Sunday riders with baskets on their handlebars pass me (they might have been girlscouts).  Okay, okay, I’m riding too slowly.  I refuse to look at my bike computer — I know I’m pedalling like 12 mph.  Then a huge clap of thunder and I see a lightning bolt hit the water closer.  Uh oh, I’m going to get nailed by this storm.  I start pedalling like my life is depending upon it.  I’m sailing up the little inclines of Riverside Drive.  I blow past the girlscouts and I’m pedalling like a mad woman.  I am pedalling harder and faster than any race I ever done.  Harder than St. Anthony’s.  I don’t know if the thunder storm had cleared people off the road or what but I was flying.  I hit light at 96th street and it turns green just as I’m sailing down the hill (I never hit that light green) and I fly up the little hill there.  At the top I see my mph say 20 mph.  Up the hill.  I’m pedalling so hard and every minute or so there is another crack of thunder.  I can feel the storm breathing down my neck.

I’m counting the block — 63 street — 1 mile.  The thunder rumbles and I feel a few pelts of rain.  Oh please God, I just can’t take a thunderstorm.  I am riding through the street construction like one of those bike messengers — dodging and weaving my way through traffic and taxis (normally I’m overcautious).   53rd street, clear.  I have an entire lane to myself.  I’m pedalling so fast even Tina is shocked.  Definitely more drops.  Another crack of thunder.  It’s literally chasing me down 11th Avenue.  I get to 44th street and pull in.  One block from home – -I beat the storm!!  I beat it.   Take that!!! 

I get into my apartment and see the storm let loose around me and then it is gone in minutes, obviously it is just running it’s way downtown looking for some other victim to harrass.  Then I realize, geesh for someone who could barely pedal 12 mph out in New Jersey you certainly booked it down Riverside drive.  Lesson learned, no matter how low you think the tank is, there is probably  just a little more gas.

Finally I’m home and I go to the fridge to have my milk and cookies.  I can drink the milk but I’ll be honest I really didn’t want the cookies.  But I ate 3 ginger snaps and found them to be quite good.  I decided to drink a second chocolate milk and eat 3 more ginger snaps — that had to be enough at least until I made some dinner.  I made some pasta with veggies and had that within 1:30 of my getting off the bike.  So that should be enough to restore my glycogen to my muscles…  We’ll see.   I went to bed very early because frankly I was zonked — I had been up since 4:30!  Long day but a much longer day was a mere 5 weeks ahead.

This morning I had to run for 1 hour 45 minutes.  I woke up feeling creaky.  I didn’t know how I was going to run.  I had to haul out the mp3 player for this one.  Amazingly enough when I got down to the river and started to run — my legs just did it.  I didn’t have to stop and although I wasn’t speedy by any stretch of the imagination, I was able to isolate my core muscles and conjure some form of Chirunning.  After about 10 minutes I felt absolutely normal.  Unbelievable.  This was actually good news.  If I can run 1:45 fairly easily the day after a 1 hour swim and a 103.83 mile bike ride that’s not too shabby.  I actually even picked up the pace in a few spots.  I ran in to one of our coaches out there (I swear they plant themselves around the city to spy on who is doing what.)  We had a nice chat and then I went on my way.

As I was heading home I had the strangest sensation come over me.  It was brief — left as quickly as it came, but for one second a thought crept into my head….  You know what?   I may be able to do this Ironman afterall….

Here’s to milk and cookies.  BTW, the Archway Dutch Cocoa remain unopened and I think I’ll just put them in the closet for now.

Namaste

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6/13/07 Shifting Gears

Wednesday.  Had a “fun” run last night — not!  Torrential downpours and I ran right through them.  Actually wasn’t that bad — just wet.  If I have to choose heat over rain, I choose rain.

We ran up the east side of the park, across the 102nd street transverse and then across to a track I had never seen before.  Slightly less than 400 meters.  We did 1 fast, 2 slow loops, 4 times.  Then we did 200 meters fast, 400 recover 4 times.  I didn’t like the 400 meter intervals — thought they were too hard, but believe it or not, I didn’t hate the 200 meter intervals.  They were short enough that I could try to run fast and not die.  Then I ran back from the 102nd street transverse to Columbus Circle.  I don’t know what the total mileage is but I ran for nearly 2 hours plus the walk to and from Columbus Circle.  I had no problem putting in that distance or time (speed another story).

I had another terrible food day yesterday.  Couldn’t stop eating all day until about 4 p.m.  Now this morning I woke up with an upset stomach and now I can’t eat at all and haven’t been hungry all day.  Go figure, no winning this war with food.  It’s exhausting….

Had an interesting lunch hour at the bike shop.  I went to get my new cog set for my bike Tina.  I’m moving from an 11/23 to a 12/27 to give me more gears to get up the hills in Placid.  I took the new and improved Tina for a couple of loops around the park.  Gears seem to shift just fine.  I can’t really tell how much easier it will be to get up the Placid hills becuase I don’t usually go into my easiest gear for Harlem Hill — now I have several more gears to go into that are kind of overkill for Central Park, but come race day I hope I’ll be happy with my investment.

Because Tina can never be straight forward….  Half way through the course at Lake Placid I started to hear a very annoying dinging sound everytime I pedalled.  It would come and go.  The harder I would pedal the more I would hear it.  I tried to figure out what the heck it was.  Something was hitting my chain but if I stopped pedalling but kept the wheel spinning the sound would go away.  I asked my mechanic to try to figure it out. 

We put the bike on the rack and we couldn’t replicate the noise.  Thinking it had something to do with my cadence sensor, he put a different wheel on my bike and I took it for a spin.  No luck, still ding, ding, ding.  It drove me crazy in Lake Placid on the second loop (wasn’t making the sound first loop.)  We couldn’t figure it out.  Finally he took my bike out for a ride to hear the sound for himself.  He came back smiling — ‘your pedal is broken.’  He popped on a new set of pedals and I took the bike for a spin.  No more ding, ding, ding and the whole rotation felt smoother.  Unbelievable, I must have been pushing and pulling so hard on those hills I cracked my pedal!!  I never even heard of cracking a pedal, but I managed to do it.

So now Tina is all fixed up and ready to go for our 110 mile bike ride on Saturday — right after our 2 mile Time Trial swim (which I won’t be able to finish because they only let us swim for 1 hour but I’ll do as much as I can.)  I have to admit she was riding very nicely.  I was warned that my shifting my seem jumpy when I move to the 12/27, but honestly it feels a little smoother to me.  What do I know?  I got a lot of riding in at lunch just testing out the bike.

Tomorrow the move bike practice from 5:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. in the park.  They want to get us in and out before other people because the park is turning into a zoo.  At least we’ll get one full hour in before it becomes crazy.  Not looking forward to being up at 4:30 to be in the park at 5:00 a.m. but I gots to do what I gots to do!  Race day coming up soon.

I’m feeling okay, a little tired today but I’ll go to bed early. 

 Namaste

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