Monthly Archives: November 2007

11/29/07 To Bike or Not To Bike

Thursday.  Well I’m definitely feeling on the mend.  Still have plenty of annoying symptoms but I feel better than I sound.  I managed to do my “one thing” yesterday and get my fruits and veggies in.  Today I’m doing that as well adding in getting enough water so I’m graduating to “two things.”  Yesterday I was hemming and hawing about whether it was okay to go out and try to run.  I really wanted to get some exercise in but I was afraid of doing something stupid.  I think this is a constant dilemma during winter training — when is okay to workout if you are not feeling 100%?  Am I being smart or soft?

My daily Prevention.com email came just in time with the topic about when it is okay to workout with a cold.  Read the full article here The short version is:

Exercise okay if you have…
runny nose
sniffling and sneezing
scratchy throat
Skip the workout if you have…
fever
body aches or headache
vomiting or diarrhea
chest congestion and a cough

Of course my big goal is to keep myself well between now and Saturday but I really, really wanted to work out too. My friend Melissa has declared me an official running addict which I find hysterical.  She was trying to talk me out of running yesterday and resting instead.  It was humorous to observe myself trying to justify that it was okay to go for a run.  I was basically saying  “I MUST go for a run!  I must release my 12 minute mile!”  ROFL, what a joke.  When Melissa and I started this whole training gig in May of 2003, rest assured “Having” to go for a run had a different meaning. 

Prevention.com cautioned, however, that it was important to reduce the effort.  Okay, I figured I could do that.  Melissa gave up arguing with me so that was one obstacle down, I was on a roll, lol!  I thought I would run out to the pier and back.  Just something to get some fresh air and sunshine.   I was going to do 40 minutes of easy running.  My legs felt pretty good and I made it out to the end of the pier with no problem.  Unfortunately on the run back I started to feel like I could push it a little. 

Sometimes my imagination gets away from me and I like to pretend I’m Paula Radcliffe and that I have skinny, long legs and run fast like she does, lol.   (My friend Melissa looks and runs more like Paula Radcliffe than I do, but this is my imagination party so……).  All of a sudden I realized I was breathing wayyy too hard and the cold air was in my lungs and starting to burn.  I knew I had pushed too much.  My inner athlete cautioned Whoa, Nelly, let’s not go crazy you have a big race on Saturday and once the cold goes into your chest it’s all over.  So I stopped and walked home after 30 minutes of running (but I really could have kept going).  All together I was out in the air for 1 hour (with walking) and I figure that was something — something unspectacular but something, nonetheless.

I was not planning on going to bike practice this morning because I figured it would be freezing and I wouldn’t feel well.  As it turns out I woke up at 4:30 and didn’t feel terrible.  I checked the temperature and it was 43 degrees, BALMY!  I wasn’t going to miss riding in near-summer weather.  Who knows how many more weeks we have before I’m stuck inside on the trainer.  I took some cold medicine and popped a couple of Cold-Eeze (get the kind with Zinc I think they work) and took off to the park.  I really enjoy my Thursday morning rides and if I figured if I started hacking or something, I could always just drop out.

I volunteered to join the second group to even everything out.  I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up but they were actually riding slowly at first.   The coach was good, he was really trying to get everyone 100% comfortable with moving in and out of different formations.  It was much more about technique and formation than speed. So we moved from single pace line into double pace line and back several times.  The group was pretty good and we did the usual repeats of Harlem Hill — it was a suspiciously maintainable pace — at first.

On the fifth time around Harlem Hill I felt my cleat was not secure in the pedal.  I’ve had this problem before.  I wear out my left cleat because I unclip  much too much.  (One of my goals is to start unclipping with my right foot as well.)  I decided that I would take one second to reseat my foot so I unclipped and clipped back in.   I swear if that took five seconds that would be a lot.  But in those five seconds, I lost the rest of the group going up the hill.  I killed myself to try to catch up.  I couldn’t catch them.  They remained five seconds ahead of me.

I figured for sure I would catch them on the downhill.  Nope.  They had already dropped the one slower person a ways back so now they were really picking up speed.  I knew one of the guys is literally the fastest guy we have on the team.  If he was driving that train, no way was I catching them, but I would die trying.  I put into my big chain ring and pedalled as hard as I could.  I don’t what the speed was, but it was certainly fast enough to catch most people on the downhill.  They remained a constant distance in front of me but I just couldn’t close that gap. 

We hit the lower loop and I was getting frustrated because they were so close but they had the power of the paceline and I didn’t.  I knew it was going to be harder and harder for me to catch them but I was going to keep trying.  I stayed in the big chain ring and I glanced at my computer.  92 RPM in the big chain ring.  Okay if I can’t catch them going 92 RPM in my big chain ring, I’m not going to catch them.  Then the fast group blew right by me.  I didn’t think fast enough.  At the last second I thought to try to jump on the back of their train figuring they would give me a “lift” to catch my group but I was a second too slow and found myself pushing even harder to try to catch the train to catch my group.

Thank goodness my inner athlete chimed in.  What the heck are you doing?  It’s a Thursday morning, recovery week and you are sick.  Is this the time to prove you can catch up?   Right, right, what was I thinking?  This is not a race, it’s a workout.  If there was a sure fire way to get myself sicker I was doing it.  My legs felt fine and except for the fact that I couldn’t breathe through my nose I was breathing okay too but there’s a fine line between pushing the envelope and sealing it.  Back off, you got a good workout in already, say ‘Uncle’ already and call it a day.  Okay, okay, Uncle.  I cut out and headed home.  But I’m going to get new cleats for my shoes today.

So for now I’m going to try to stay  low and tomorrow maybe do some indoor cycling.  If my cold is better I will try to get to the pool.  Saturday is my big day and I want to do the best I can on the 15k in Central Park.  This is going to be my benchmark race for the rest of the season.  I want to go in as fresh as I can so I will establish a good barometer for later when I’m faster and running like Paula Radcliffe through the streets of Lake Placid.

Namaste

So in my mind’s eye, this is what I look like running…. ROFL

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11/28/07 Just One Thing

Wednesday.  I’m sick.  Blah, blech.  This stinks.  I woke up Monday morning with a cold.  The whole works — fever, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing…  So that must have been part of why I was feeling so terrible on Sunday at Van Cortland (that and a bunch of hill repeats).  Oh well, such is life.

I thought I felt  a little better yesterday so when the sun came out I headed to the park for my run.  Made it halfway through the workout and then it felt like someone hit me with a baseball bat and I was out.  I stopped dead in my tracks and all I could do was look for the closest exit to the park.  I managed to walk down to the Delacorte theater.  I hung out in the bathroom for a few minutes trying to decide if I needed help to get home but decided I could stumble to the street and find a cab.  Very strange feeling to be too out of it to even walk home.  I felt the fever come back and I was pretty sure that’s what did me in.

On my walk out of the park I couldn’t help but think I was being quite melodramatic.  Am I REALLY that sick?  C’mon or am I acting so sick because I told myself I was sick?  I kept trying to “think” myself well.  Think you are healthy and you’ll be healthy.  Think yourself sick and you’ll be puking in the bathroom of the Delacorte Theater.  C’mon, toughen up buttercup my inner conviction commanded.  It was convinced I was talking myself into being sicker than I was.  Yeah, yeah, so you have a runny nose and watery eyes, big deal, lots of people work out with worse than that.  Buck up!!  C’mon just jog down to Columbus Circle.  “TAXI!” and a wave of my hand was the only response from my inner athlete. 

I was out of it for the rest of the day.  I took some daytime cold medicine not realizing there must be caffeine or something in there because it made me feel loopy and WIDE AWAKE….  I had a hard time falling asleep last night.

So I’m a bit of a mess.   Big ole cold, can’t really work out to my max (but this is a recovery week so better now then next week at training camp), the idea of cooking or menu planning just makes my eyes roll back into my head.  Talk about the super challenge.  How to keep it all together with holidays, feeling under the weather and not being able to work out to full potential?  Any one of those can be a strategy zapper but all at once?  How easy it would be to just cave in and let it all go.  What the heck, I’m not super woman afterall.  I’ll admit last night I didn’t eat too healthily — I just sought out warm and comforting food.

his morning though I had the strangest vision.   I remembered the movie “City Slickers” where the character Curly sits on his horse and raises one finger to Billy Crystal and says “One Thing.”   Weird, I have no idea what made that come to mind but it made sense,  Yeah, Just one thing, I thought.  We say that all the time at Weight Watchers.  Sometimes it is just too much to think about the 8 healthy guidelines, planning, shopping, chopping, tracking, measuring, working out, drinking water…… Sometimes it is just too much and you have to pick just one thing.  If you can pick just the one thing and master that then you might look to adding a second.  One thing, hmmm, yes, maybe that I could do today, just one thing.  Don’t try to take it all on.  Figure out your one thing.

I decided that today my OneTthing would be 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.  If I do nothing else, make sure I get those in.    Anything above that is bonus.  I would like to get a short run in today if I feel a little better.  I would like to get some core work in.  I would like to get my billing done and make some headway on my paperwork.  I would like to plan my food for tomorrow.  But all of those things will wait if I can’t get to them and I’ll be okay as long as I get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in today.  So I will focus on that and hopefully once I get that one thing under control I’ll be strong enough to pick another thing.

I decdied that this would be a great strategy to use to get through the holidays.  Maybe I can’t take on all the parties and festivities  and be perfect — why set myself up for that kind of disappointment?  Instead maybe I can take it one day at a time, one meal at a time, one thing at a time.  Just one thing. 

Namaste

From the movie City Slickers:

Curly: Do you know what the secret to life is? Holds up his index finger. This. One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean nuthin.

Mitch: That’s great, but what’s the one thing?
Curly: That’s what you gotta figure out.

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11/25/07 Hitting the Dirt

Sunday.  I feel like now I am officially in the throws of the holidays.  Thanksgiving down, 100 parties to go.  Hate to sound Grinchish but can I just say thanks but no thanks?  I have work to do and all these parties are blowing my routine.  I would also like to ask why does everyone feel obliged to throw a party in December?  What’s wrong with the rest of the year?  Like March, what’s wrong with the month of March? Nobody throws parties in March.  Perfectly good month.   Instead we lump  the parties together into one month that can’t possibly hold them all.  Finally January comes and everyone calms down.  I can’t wait for January.  Normalcy.  Seclusion.

Thursday we had an unfofficial workout before Turkey dinner.  We had a small number of people show up to ride in the park.  I was surprised to see anybody show up and alarmed to see that only the fastie-fast people showed up (well faster than me people).  I was nervous about keeping up with them but I think the coach held everyone back a little for me.  I felt a little guilty but then I figured, well, it’s Thanksgiving, they should be a little generous on the holiday.  I have to say everyone was very nice and it was a great way to start the holiday.

I had a lovely quiet Thanksgiving with my family, in CT.    I tried very hard to not overeat but I did drink a little too much wine and broke down and had a second piece of pie later at night.  Okay, okay, I’m not perfect (or even close).  I went to my WW meeting on Friday and took my lumps being up 3.5 pounds over the past two weeks (I knew after our trip to Maryland I had not been even close to on track so I was going to pay the price.)  This week is a really critical week to get right back on track.  It’s not the falling off that hurts, it’s only not getting back up…  So I’m back-up and on-track.  I took Friday as an extra day of rest.  This week is actually supposed to be a more intense week (next week is our rest week) but I kind of needed it and as it turns out, Saturday was a big workout so I’m glad I did.

It was cold Saturday morning.  Really cold.  35 degrees and windy.  Ouch.  I had to meet the team over the bridge at 9:15.  I decided to ride my bike instead of driving because I was worried about return traffic (there was none).  So I rode over the bridge to meet the team.  We then rode down river road (cold) to Ross Dock.  We hid our bags with running shoes behind some bushes and proceeded to do three, twenty minute out and back repeats of Ross Dock (1 hour total).  It was steady state effort — try to keep your heartrate the same going up hill and on the flats….  I think I did okay but I certainly didn’t ride as fast as the rest of the team.  The nice thing about out and backs is that everyone ends up back together at the end of the interval.  We had all nice people come out and I was once again impressed with the caliber of people on the team — they are all great athletes and super nice people.

After our 1 hour steady state we did 15 minutes ATTACKING the Ross Dock hill.  I got 3 repeats in during the 15 minutes.  It was really hard to attack the hill, I gave it my all.  I tried to stand a little, but I swear I do better sitting and the goal was to get up the hill the fastest way you can.  I see how the best riders attack it by standing, I’m not good enough to do that yet.  More work to do.  On my last repeat one of my teammates came up and rode next to me to encourage me to get up the hill.  Very nice of him but I was well aware that I was working at 1,000% effort and he was at about 2%.

After our hill attacks we ditched our bikes and did a 45 minute run.  The assignment was to run the stairs but I took one look at them and had visions of me falling down them in a second.  I told the coach I didn’t want to do the stairs and he was very supportive and let me do repeats of the road on the hill instead of the stairs — not sure that was much of a break.  I did two repeats with long out and backs along the river.  The first time up the hill I was barely moving — I was just trying to get my toes in front of one another.  Very hard. When I hit the flats I did much better.  Second time up was pure grit to get up there, it was all I could muster to get to the top.  Almost killed myself to do that but I did it — my legs were toast.

Then I had to ride all the way back home.  Almost everybody else drove their cars over.  I really don’t mind the ride there and back, it seems so much shorter than it used to be.  I rode back with one of my new teammates and had a nice chat. Nonetheless it’s at least a good 12 miles there and another 12 back.  So I left my apartment at 8:15 and returned home at 12:45, a long day on my wheels and feet.

Today my plans for an easy run kind of busted.  I was supposed to have company today but they all cancelled.  That left me free to run in the Pete McArdle 15k in Van Cortland park.  I don’t know what made me think I could do that after yesterday’s workout, but I called Colleen and went to the race anyway.  I was worried that it would be such a small field and that I would be so slow, so Colleen offerred to run with me.  Slow, ha!  I would have paid extra for slow!

The course is called a trail run but they are really groomed trails — more like dirt paths than what I would call trail.   Normally, I would have thought great for running until I found out it was 5k course to be done 3 times — that alone is torture to do 3 repeats of the same route.  Half the course is flat out on a track and the other half is uphill and downhill — not sure which was harder but it was hard.  I couldn’t catch my breath and I couldn’t run.  My hamstrings and quads were killing me I couldn’t find a bit of energy anywhere.  I finally made it out to the end of the first 5k and I just quit.  I didn’t even have to think about it.  There was no way on this planet that I was going to get around the course one more time never mind two.  I was wiped out — physically and psychologically.  Colleen had been trying to pace me but I think even she saw that I was not doing very well and she didn’t give me any flack.  We agreed that I had just done too much the day before and trying to tackle this course with a tired body was too much for me today. 

I think this is my first DNF (did not finish) except for Lake Placid.  I can’t actually remember another one (though maybe I have and just can’t remember.)  I would have thought I would feel worse about not finishing, but frankly I am so sore and so tired that it wasn’t really even a decision to be made.  It was a no brainer.  Too much for me to take.  Had I known yesterday that I was going to do the 15k today I would have done the lighter bike workout (would that have made a difference?  I don’t know).  The brick hit me like a ton and I’m just not in good enough shape yet to tackle two hard efforts on two consecutive days.  I officially forgive myself because I’m so tired I’m going to fall asleep anyway (do I forgive myself or simply do not care?).  Colleen was great, we promised one another to live like monks for the coming week so we’ll come back to kick karmic butt on Saturday at the 15k in Central Park.  Sometimes you can only do what you can do. 

Namaste

When we fall on the ground it hurts us, but we also need to rely on the ground to get back up.”

Kathleen McDonald, “How to Meditate”

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11/21/07 Triumph

NOTICE:  If you are not getting your blogs emailed, please resubscribe (link on the right).  Computer glitch and all that….

Wednesday.  Man, I’m tired today.  Just can’t shake it so I’m taking a day of rest.  Just not enough rest and I’m heading into a heavy season of festivities and frivolities so must rest when I can.  The problem with being tired is all other systems fail because of it.  Food, exercise, work, communications — if you are tired it makes an already challenging task that much harder.  Fatigue starts the downward spiral of depression, lethargy and weight gain….  Oh well, Happy Holidays!!! LOL

I had a lukewarm workout yesterday.  I did everything and tried as hard as I could but I just couldn’t get the umph in my step.  I say umph because I was watching the movie “Happy Feet” the other day (desperate attempt to think light) and one of the lines was “Now what makes up Triumph? First part is Tri and then then what?  Yes Umph!  You have to follow up your tri with an umph!”  I really laughed at that because as simplistic as it is, that line is true.  Try all you want but you better put some umph in it.  No triumph without umph!

I ran up to the reservoir and did two loops with three, 600 meter pickups in each loop.  The fastest pace I could get to was an 11:30 and I could barely hang onto that — like I said, no umph…  But I did it and that’s something.  I really pushed myself as hard as I could — there was only so far I could push against the brick wall.  Was glad when it was over. 

I really can’t do anything today.  I am declaring a personal holiday.  Enough.  I’ll try to rest a little and be rejuvenated for tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll try to do a bike ride before the turkey tryptophan settles in.

So tomorrow is Turkey Day.  Lots of food, lots to be thankful for.  Thankful for my friends, family and health.  I have everything I need and am extremely blessed.  Now the only thing left to do is put some umph into it.

Goals for the coming holiday season.  Stay focussed — don’t let one holiday turn into a holimonth.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Feet.

Namaste

p.s.  Looking for a great movie to watch over the holidays?  I recommend “Home for the Holidays” with Holly Hunter.  I watch it every year and it never fails to make me laugh….

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11/18 JFK 50

[Technical difficulty note:  I’m sorry that my server lost some of the emails for people who subscribe to this blog via email.  If it seems like you are suddenly not receiving your blog emails (and still want too) just click on the link on the right side of this page to subscribe to the blog via email.  Sorry for any inconvenience but I don’t store the emails anywhere (and obviously the software doesn’t either!)  Of course, if you have received this entry via email you are fine.] 

Monday.  Last week was a crazy week with little time for much.  On a scale of 1-10 I would say I have been practicing about a 5 in food management and a 5 in workouts — I’ve done most of what was assigned but did not execute to my max.  Time to pick up the effort all around as holidays approach.

On Tuesday night I went to the team run workout. I did 1/2 mile intervals at marathon pace, 1/2 marathon pace, 10k pace and 10k again with recovery in between.  They gave us the choices of 1/2 mile or 3/4 mile intervals.   I think I did the exercise okay because of my times and heart rate intervals but I should have gone for 3/4 of a mile to push myself a little more.    I did hit 163 on my HR so that was great for me.

Wednesday I was pretty sure I was going to get rained out from Thursday’s bike workout so I did 3 loops in the park, nothing to write home about.  First lap 21:30 and two laps at 23 (had to stop on each loop for one thing or another). I wouldn’t call it close to race effort, but I practiced efficient pedalling and seat in the saddle time.  I was well aware I was chickening out from standing. I didn’t swim which felt a little weird to not get that workout in at all.

Thursday, as it turns out, we did have practice afterall so I headed out to the park.  It was a lot harder than the workout I gave myself on Wednesday.  All the standing I had tried to avoid the day before came back to haunt me ten-fold.  It was a lot tougher workout, but good. 

A couple of us hit the road on Thursday afternoon to head down to Maryland to cheer for Charlee in her first 50 mile race — running race!!!  The JFK 50. 

I missed my WW meeting on Friday because we were travelling.  I was pretty sure I was up and I really didn’t need to go in and have that put in my face either.  And just to make sure I was up, I ate extra bread, french fries, fried food and assorted unhealthiness all weekend.  Pizza, beer, egg and cheese on a roll, oh my God, did I really eat all of that?  Yes, yes, I did — it was scandously decadent, I even had pie…. No, not all in one day, but over the weekend it was hard to find a salad (okay, I didn’t look too hard either….)

Friday I did a ride in Maryland.  I found a couple of cue sheets on the Internet and turns out the area where we are staying has a lot of historical significance and good countryside for riding.  The terrain was rolling hills and I got a chance to practice more standing.  [A big hint from one of the coaches on Thursday morning when I told her that I was having difficulty standing again after sitting back down, she told me to engage from my glutes and hamstrings first and not to initiate the lift from my quads.  Sounds obvious but that’s not what I was doing, I was trying to initiate from my quads and would get a ripping pain down the front of my quad.  Her tip worked and that was great to practice.]

The temp was about 45 degrees with about 18 mph winds (I’m making up that number but they were pretty severe winds).  I was pleased to find that I could dress warmly enough but the winds made the riding very difficult.  A good workout but very trying and challenging on many levels.

We got a chance to drive a bit of the marathon course so we would be able to follow Charlee (our JFK 50 mile runner) around the course (we in cars, she on foot).  The hills!!! OMG, courses don’t usually seem as bad when you are driving them as they do when you get out on your bike or run the same course  — the hills often then seem much worse.  This time, however, the hills seemed huge even in the car.  “Yeah”, confessed Charlee, “I didn’t really do my research when picking this race, it’s pretty hilly.”  We all laughed but I think each of use were thinking, hilly course, PLUS the trecherous trail running.  How the heck was she going to get through this course?  She was hoping for 10 hours but I was hoping that she just remained standing by the end.

Saturday we all got up early and started our caravan.  Ten of us in three cars with maps to follow Charlee (as well as Kim and Kerri, two other friends who were also doing the race).  When we got up in the morning it was 35 degrees.  It was sooooo cold I didn’t think I could stand around to cheer, how the heck was she going to run in this weather? But she did. 

It was really cool watching the runners come up the first hill.  Just knowing what these people were about to undertake made me look at each one of them with deep respect.  I kept staring at them thinking what makes you tick that you are willing to run up that freakin hill and THEN proceed to keep running 50 miles?  The hill they start out running was unfairly gigantic  — give ’em a ten mile warmup for goodness sakes, it’s not like you don’t have 50 miles to fit hills in….  I scoured their faces for looks of panic or fear — none of that.  The front guys were really intense — all business.  Then the next section was all smiles.  Smiles?  What are you people nuts?  Do you not see that huge hill you have to run up?  Okay whatever floats your boat.  This is a picture our teammate Stella took.  We were standing at the top of this hill watching the runners come up.  Behind us is a hill three times the size that they have to keep going up, and up and up.  This is just the start!!

jfkracestart.jpg

We had it easy.  After the runners passed we would jump into the warm car, go forage for some coffee or food, drive ahead to the next viewing station and wait.  In the beginning there were few spots to view because they were running in the woods.  Our second viewing spot was out in the middle of a small field.  The runners would come barrelling down the mountain in the woods.  We could see them through the trees, weaving their way down.  I could make out people making little hops and jumps — must be rocks they were avoiding.  Then they were unleashed into the field where everyone was standing around cheering…  This is about 1:40 into Charlee’s running.  We’re standing around shivering and the runners came through the field peeling off their layers and handing it to their friends and families.  And soon we saw Charlee, coming through the field looking like a champ, followed by Kim and Kerri.    This is one of my favorite pictures that our friend Stella took. 

through-the-woods.jpg

Everyone  looked in good shape.  We cheered as they entered back into the woods — not to be seen again for miles.  Okay, back in the warm cars. Someone saw a coffee shop and we sat around getting egg sandwiches while the runners continued to navigate the woods and rocks. Good for them, could I have a little more coffee please…

Our next stop was significant.  Thats where many of the runners would change their shoes from trail shoes to running shoes to get on the towpath for the majority of the run.  It was very exciting to watch the runners coming out of the woods into the parking lot.  Only problem is I didn’t understand how they were running.  There was quite a drop from the woods to the parking lot.  And the exit seemed crowded with very large rocks.  How the heck were they running over those rocks?  I trip on the Coney Island boardwalk, how did they do 18 miles of this?  (Flashes of my run in Tupperlake when I took a spill on the 1/8 of a mile in the woods that were clear and marked — these people were running on portions of the Appalachian Trail — not groomed paths!!)  I was thinking that I would probably have to sit down on the rocks and shimy down, there would be no way that I would run out that exit.  And yet, here came the runners, barrelling out of the woods, jumping over the rocks like they were nothing.  I felt unworthy to be even watching….

Then came our Charlee, bounding out of the woods like the rest of them.  We were like a pit crew.  Sitting her in a chair, she changed her shirt, shoes, race number.    I like this picture.  Charlee is taking off her over-tights (so she can run in just her shorts now, Cliff is pinning the number to her shirt, in seconds Becs will be yanking the pants off and Charlee will be gone…)

Her knees were bloody.  Charleee?  What happened?  “Lot of rocks, I fell six times.”  She grabbed water and whoosh, she was out of there in a flash.   I can’t transition in a triathlon that fast!  She did a wardrobe change, shoe change, number change, grabbed food and was out back on the road in about 2 minutes.  Kim right behind her and then Kerri.  Off to the cars for us, anyone hungry again?  lol

The rest of the cheering became really fun because they were on the path that runs along the Potomac.  Flat, thank God!  Charlee had different people assigned to be her pace people (I was there for moral support because I can’t run a 9:30 minute mile so the most I could hope for was to catch her on one of her 1 minute walk breaks).   It was supposed to have started to rain in the afternoon and I was worried with the cold weather (it got up to a whopping 45 degrees) that it would be too difficult for her to run.  I didn’t tell Charlee, but I had been having visions of her freezing during the run and shaking.  But my visions did not come true at all.  Every time we saw her she looked better than anyone else around.  Posture up, cadence great, pained look on her face but managing a smile in there.  She was working hard but still remaining gracious enough to thank us all for being there.  Me?  I would have been cursing and swearing….  This is my favorite picture that I took of Charlee and Cliff on the path.  Look how great she looks!

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The day went pretty much like that, we chaseed ahead in the cars, trying to navigate the roads (and stopping for lunch and bathroom  breaks).   Getting there just in time to cheer for Charlee and Kim who were staying pretty close to one another.   I kept saying to the people in our car, “the math doesn’t make sense.”  How can we be at such and such a mile already?  She’s not supposed to be done until 5 o’clock? But I just chalked it up to I must be tired and lost.  (Thank God we had maps and GPS devices in every car….)

Finally we were at mile 46, everyone was getting very excited.  We were all very happy and cheering madly for all the runners that we had come to know at every stop.  Oh there’s so and so, Charlee is not far behind him.  Oh there’s the gal with dirt all over her leggings from when she fell in the woods.  Oh there’s the gal with the bandaged knee — trails of blood streaked down her leg (I remember seeing her when she hit the towpath with tears streaming down her face “can someone help me bandage my knee please?” — they took her to the ambulance, bandaged her up and she went on her way.  Amazing.  And then we saw Charlee, kicking butt.  Running full force, rounding the corner looking better than most.  Oh my God, we were all so excited, she is doing sooooo great!!!  She is definitely going to make her 10 hour goal, easily!!!!  Kim was just minutes behind Charlee, chasing her own PR.

We really had to dash to the finish line.  The way they were looking, we better move fast, they only (ONLY!! lol) had 4 miles to go and if we got lost we might lose them.  We got to the finish and we all had a laugh to see that the finish line ends not only at a school but in a Graveyard!!!  Stella quipped to the paramedics,”so that’s their choice?  Finish the race, get on a stretcher or go directly to the cemetary?!!?!” 

The finishers were awesome, one after another sailing into the finishing line.  Charlee could walk it in to finish under 10 hours, we weren’t even at 9 hours yet.  Soon the clock read 8:56.  I said aloud, this is going to be exiting now because for the next four minutes we are going to see the people chasing the clock to finish in under 9 hours!!  We were all cheering wildly for the runners until someone said  “There’s Charlee!!”   We all looked at each other and went silent for a second.  What?  Charlee is coming in?  Yep that’s her on the bottom of the hill.  (Oh yeah, they make them finish uphill even worse than NYC marathon uphill.)  We all started to go crazy.  No way!!!  She’s coming in under 9 hours?  Can she?  We looked at the clock and looked at how far down she was.  We all shook our heads, no, she can’t make that.  She’s been running for 50 miles, it’s uphill, it will be close but she’ll just miss it, but what an amazing finish.

And then we see her getting closer and closer.  It was like the clock stopped.  The rest of the runners seemed to be standing still.  Everyone stopped but Charlee kept moving, cranking.  We all jumped to action.  Everyone ran down and started screaming to her.   People were running along side her screaming…  Go! Go! Go!   I couldn’t think of what to say so I just said what she yells to me all the time  “I want you to run so hard you are going to puke or have a heart attack!!!”  I know lame but what else could I say to get her butt moving?   She was hauling.  There was no way I could even sprint with her for a second.  GO! GO! GO!   I couldn’t believe my eyes.  She crossed the finish line in 8:58 and 29 seconds.   Un-freakin-believable.

We were all out of our minds with happiness for Charlee and right behind her came in Kim and then a little while later Kerri.  Everyone had been successful.  They had made a plan and executed it perfectly.  Goal set, goal met.  What a great feeling.

We ate some pizza, drank some beer and told stories of the day, everyone agreeing that our gals looked awesome out there.  Of course, Charlee was challenging everyone to do the race next year and we all balked.  Over breakfast the next morning we continued with the rehashing of all the stories (was that Hawaiian women wearing full makeup?  How could that guy be bleeding through his shirt at only mile 8?)  Then of course, Charlee kept insisting that we were all going to sign up for next year.  I said I would have to start with the 5 am start people in order to ever even think of finishing on time.  Some of the JFK runners start their 50 mile run at 5 a.m. in the dark, wearing headlamps.  Many of those same people finish after 5 p.m. also in the dark.  When I finish my Ironman I will also be running in the dark.  Cliff came up with a great slogan “I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE DARK.”  We joked that if I EVER do the JFK 50, Adam will use a bedazzle and stick little flourescant beads on my shirt with that phrase. lol, I loved it!! 

We finally made it home to New York, I still had my assigned 2 hour run to do.  Charlee had given me one of her hand held bottles she had used during the race (a pink Nathan).  The rain had stopped and I was INSPIRED to get my water bottle, put on running gear and hit the westside highwayfor my run.  I couldn’t believe how well I did.  I was convinced that I was drawing JFK energy from the water bottle.  I ran for 2 hours without so much as a pause.  I even think I had a pretty good cadence going for the first 1:40 (I’ll admit I was getting tired on the last twenty minutes).  But I kept thinking of somethinig Iwan had said in his NYC marathon report, when he got tired he tried to run faster so I played around with that a little….  I think it kind of worked, instead of backing down, I tried to push a little harder.   Then I realized that I had miscalculated the time.  I didn’t start running until 3:10, a 2 hour run would have me running  much after sunset.   I had to make the choice to either cut my run short or finish.  So last night instead of cutting my run early, I continued on with a little smile on my face repeating “I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE DARK!”   ROFL

Namaste

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11/12/07 Oh Well

Monday.  Well made it through another weekend, not the “perfect” athlete I want to be but I exercised the “Oh Well” muscle (reference to the Beck’s plan where she says we have to learn to say “Oh Well” when things don’t go as perfectly as we want.)

Saturday I walked up to the park and did a 1:40 run.  That went okay.  I thought for the first 1:10 minutes I was doing really well.  Then the muscles around my left knee started to tighten up and I had to stop and stretch.  After that it was hard to keep up the pace I had been trying to push a little.  At the 1:25 point one of the gals from the team caught up to me (she’s a fastie/fast) and she was really nice to run the last 15 minutes with me.  She kept her right shoulder just 1/2 inch in front of my left shoulder.  I kept trying to even us out and every time I pushed just a smidge harder to get even with her she went just a smidge faster too.  It was funny, it was like I was pushing us but it wasn’t on purpose!!  I thought she was really nice to run with me even if it was only for 15 minutes.  That doesn’t happy very often, believe me!! lol

Saturday night I went out to a party and I stayed out too late.  My own fault.  I was really tired and I should have left much earlier because I knew I had to ride in the morning.  Sunday I woke up exhausted and I had to pack to go to CT for a visit and get my bike stuff all together for cold-weather riding and meet the team over the GW bridge.  I killed myself to get there on time.  I put on my bike shoes and got on my bike.  I couldn’t clip in to save my life.  What the heck is going on?  I knew I was sleepy but this was crazy…  Turns out I was wearing the bike shoes that go with Sylvia and I had brought Tina to ride.   I couldn’t believe it.  There was no way I was driving back to my apartment to get the right shoes and driving back over the bridge and then riding and then going to CT.  Forget it.  I said hi and goodbye to the team (after explaining what happened.)   As it turns out half the team rode on Saturday and everyone who showed up for Sunday were the fastie/fasts.  The A+ riders.  No way would I have been able to keep up with them anyway….  Oh well, I tried.

So I got in the car and drove straight to CT.  I was going over a million different scenarios in my head.  I thought I had running shoes in CT, I thought I could go to the bike shop and get new cleats for my shoes and then change them back.  After awhile I decided I really needed to pull the car over and take a 15 minute nap because I could barely keep my eyes open.  I stopped at one of the rest stops and went out like a light.  I was exhausted.  Totally exhausted.  I needed sleep.    Oh well, just as well that I didn’t ride I needed sleep.

I got a super jumbo deluxe coffee — high test.  Once I got back on the road I did something I don’t do very often (okay I wanted to say I never do this, but that would be a lie…. lol), I drove straight past my exit and didn’t even figure it out until 10 exits later.  What am I doing in the 50’s?  Why are there signs for New Haven, I should be heading North, not further East!?  What the heck did I do?  I couldn’t even believe I did that.  Oh well, I’ll take Rt 91 home instead…

When I got home I said hi to my parents and proceeded to fall asleep immediately.  I was still tired.  Unbelievable.  Finally after an hour nap, I got up to go shopping with my Mom.  I had abandoned all possibility of working out and had declared it an official day of rest.  It was getting freaky at this point.  Nothing was going right.  So no running, no biking, nothing more strenuous than pushing a shopping cart around (and even my Mom did that!! lol)   Then, driving home from shopping, I can’t even believe this, I got us lost!!!  We’re driving around in freakin’ circles in tobacco country.  I know we are going the wrong way, I literally had to follow the setting sun to find our way out of the boondocks.  Who knew there was so much open land to traverse in CT (the state I grew up in, mind you!)  Oh well, we got to see some pretty scenery at least.

 Got home.  Had some dinner, had some wine and at 8 p.m. promptly crashed.  Oh well, I guess I just needed to sleep.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately.  I was worried that if I crashed at 8 p.m. I would wake up a 1 and be up all night.  I was sooo tired I couldn’t even worry about it….  Luckily I slept straight through to 5 am and realized I had totally forgotten about an appointment I had back in New York so I hightailed it home — unbelievable, how did I forget?  Oh well, one misstep after another, this was going to be a long week ahead, I could tell.

I was trying to beat the commuter traffic back to the city.  There is a very small window of time that can turn a 2:15 drive into a 4 hour drive and I wanted to make sure I got on the road asap.  There is only so much distance I can drive without coffee, however, so I pulled over to a service stop to get some coffee.  I stood in a long line to pay for my coffee (refusing to get uptight about it) and when it was my turn to pay the cashier said “just coffee? don’t worry about it, you’re good.”  Really?  Wow, I’ve never had THAT happen before.  Cool, thanks!!  It was a small gesture but just enough for me to think, Oh Well, things aren’t that bad and maybe today will turn out alright anyway.  And it did, made it home in record time.

Namaste

LOL, this was my motto this weekend:

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11/9/07 Feedback Not Failure

Friday.  Good day.  Went to a party last night and ate first so I didn’t blow my daily points on pizza and desserts.  I even managed to have two glasses of wine with dinner AND stay within my points for the day.  I get extra kudos points for that.

This morning I got up early to go to the gym.  Did my cardio routine (15 minutes on rowing machine, 20 minutes on stairmaster and 15 minutes on the elliptical machine.)  I don’t know what I would do without Madonna getting me through those 20 minutes on the stairmaster.  After a 5 minute warmup we were supposed to do a solid 15 minutes at our fastest sustainable effort which I wanted to be level 5.  It was hard….   I couldn’t stay at level 5 for the whole time, I had to back down to 4 a couple of times but overall I think I did well (if the pool of sweat on the floor was any measurement of effort…)

Then I went directly to the pool and did 35 minutes of drills.  I tried to throw in a good 10 minutes of kicking and finished with just 2 laps of regular swimming, my shoulder was a little crotchety this morning (it was wise to my tricks from Wednesday and wasn’t having any of that.)  But then I did a good 15 minute stretch in the jacuzzi.  I didn’t fit my core routine in today so I’ll try to make that up tomorrow after my run.

I went straight to my WW meeting.  (My overall plan for Friday is to get all my workouts and WW done in the am and then cram all my work into the afternoon.)  I knew I had a weight loss this week, not only because my home scale was telling me that but also because my pants were telling me that.  I also knew that my weight loss would seem a little distorted because I worked out before the meeting.  (That’s why I want to make sure EVERY Friday I work out first, going forward.)  So that’s my caveat while I report my weight loss was 4.4 pounds this week.  I know!!  That’s a lot (maybe even more than is healthy).  Let’s say 1 pound of it was sweat loss.  Next week I may try to do a real sweat loss test before I go to workout — good info to have.

That pretty much clears out my weight gain since Lake Placid.  I’m really happy about that.   It really feels like I can put July 22nd behind me know (well almost, when I swim a mile without stopping, it will all be behind me.)    The big loss doesn’t put me in the clear by any means but it means I’m now officially progressing forward instead of playing catch up.  I still have a lot of work to do but I have to say the last couple of months have felt really rewarding to see some results for all of my efforts.  This may be the fastest I have ever taken off a weight gain.  (I can gain 10 pounds in a one week vacation and take 52 weeks to get rid of it.)   I feel really relieved that I’m not trying to regain lost ground weight-loss-wise.  If I keep going, I’m going to be fitter, faster and stronger than I was last year come race day.  That’s a really exciting prospect.

I have been discussing with one of my coaches some running goals for the winter.  He (and I) would really like to see a half marathon done in a 12 minute mile (soon).  I know this is doable and something to work toward.  (I would also like to see a 10k done in an 11:30).  I’m really ready to put the effort in to lose more weight and work hard to see some results.  BUTTTTT, I’m also going to be very cautious about equating success with a number.  The last couple of weeks I have been really enjoying the process of training.  I don’t want to get caught in the trap of judging myself by numbers alone.  Just like the weight loss journey is not just about what the scale says (success is really determined by how focused and in control I stay moment to moment) fitness is about the ongoing experience not some arbitrary number on a clock.

This measurement of success is not to say we don’t care about winning or keeping score or meeting some numeric goal, it is merely that, a measurement.  (Easier said than done.)  It’s a real catch-22.  How do you get a good result without caring about the result itself?  I think the idea is to work as hard as you can, enjoy the process and the moment and let the end result reveal itself with no judgment.  This very different from saying “I don’t care what my net time is.”  That’s baloney, of course we care, if we didn’t care we wouldn’t wear watches, lol.    It’s leaving the judgment behind.  Whether I run a 12 minute mile or a 5 minute mile, the judgment is what screws with our head.  Whether I win or lose 6-0 or 7-5 doesn’t really matter, the judgment is what eats away at our psyche.  That’s the part we have to put aside.  Feedback, not failure (WW expression.)

If I have learned anything from WW over the last year (and tennis over the last century) is that the end result is only a benchmark to tell you if you are going in the right direction.   If Serena starts losing a streak of matches she doesn’t say “Oh, I’ll never get this tennis game right.”  She knows she already has the tennis game right, she just has to refocus.  But she does that without judging.  That’s the key.  If she loses she doesn’t say “Oh, I’ll never be able to win a tournament again.”  She says “Oh, I better get out there and practice more.”  Weight loss is the same.  If I lose a huge amount like 4.4, that’s only a measurement of today, not a reflection of tomorrow because is a whole new tournament.   It simply means I’m heading in the right direction.

So for me, Ironman too has to stay in perspective this year.   I can’t let it become something it’s not.  I hate to equate Ironman with enlightenment, but I can’t help it.  From Buddhadharma Winter 2007:

Gotsanpa said “As soon as you look for a result, that longing for a result is the sound of the devil knocking on the door.”  The “devil” in this case is, of course, nothing external, but rather an obstacle.

I get caught up in thinking too far ahead all the time.  When I lose 20 more pounds, when I break a 10 minute mile, when I make a katrillion dollars, when I get all my filing done….  These are all the same, future quantities that do not have anything to do with present qualities.  Present qualities are all we can invest in.  And, of course, when you reach any of these goals, they are not enough because the next goal is right behind the last one.

I want to celebrate the small joys.  Yes, I’m thrilled that I lost 4.4 pounds this week — seems a huge loss.  But I’m really happy that I’ve put in the effort, the time, the planning, the tracking and the caring about myself to let that end result reveal itself.  I want to celebrate IM in July, but more importantly, I want to celebrate all the smaller moments along the way.  IM will simply be the “undoing of all the knots.” It will be the revealing of my efforts of my life to date.  

Namaste

“Nothing to gain, nothing to lose…no increase, no decrease…”

Heart Sutra

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