Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Ironman is chasing me

How Monday night's dream began and ended I don't recall.

What details are vivid include a dark evening in a major metropolis. Perhaps it was New York City. Soft glow from hundreds of streetlights and light being cast out from the windows of street-level storefronts warmed what darkness nightfall had already brought.

Shoppers took their time walking from store to store, bundled underneath winter coats, hats and gloves. It was Christmastime.

A picture-perfect, peaceful night suddenly went chaotic.

Loud, crashing booms shaking the ground every two seconds warned of an inescapable evil approaching. A glance towards the city's skyline revealed a pale green, robotic monster towering over the tallest buildings headed their way.

Cries of terror could be heard from the people as they began fleeing for their lives, easily abandoning the gifts they carried and quickly clutching their children's hands.

I was among them. I joined them in their screams and allowed my feet to carry me as far away from this threat as possible.

What became clear to me as I was running was that this monster was only after me. It didn't care if it stepped on innocent people while pursuing me, but it was out to destroy me.

I was scared to death.

The dream ended.

It wasn't until later on that day that I realized what this dream was about.

A few days ago, I made the decision to do an Ironman in 2011. It's been my plan to do it in 2011 since I began tris, but changes in my schedule have held-up my completion of the half iron distance I wanted to do in 2010 which, in my mind, would delay my Ironman.

After my lowest training volume year, mostly because work consumes most of my attention, I realized that the biggest motivator I needed was an extreme challenge again, the way embarking on my first sprint triathlon was extreme to me those two-and-a-half years ago.

I needed to chase Iron (as a fellow blogger titles her blog).

My husband and I discussed this. It would be crazy. It would be $575 dollars. It would be the hardest thing I would ever do. It would be crazy.

He was on board.

Ever since then, I have been frightened, and, as Aragorn says to Frodo in the movie The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring as the Nazgul were chasing him, probably "not nearly frightened enough."

This dream, I suppose, was my subconscious embracing that extra fear to process it.

The monster was the Ironman, probably taking such a large shape because of the Ironman machine from the comics and movies, and probably because of the largeness of the goal.

The peaceful city is how my life is right now, comfortable but busy and it is the Christmas season after all...and then I go and ask for something like an Ironman race to wreak havoc on my tidy existence; almost a little like how Dan Akroyd's character in Ghostbusters summoned the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Since this decision, I have thought a lot about the phrase chasing Iron; how I'm now officially chasing that Ironman goal. The fright of failing and/or injury on race day has become very real.

But here's to hoping that I needn't be as frightened as Frodo really should have been. Afterall, it was just an imaginary monster chasing me in my dream. The Nazgul chasing down a Hobbit for the Ring of Power really happened.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm mentoring again

After taking a few months off to focus on work, I've decided to pick up mentoring again on Beginner Triathlete.

I really like encouraging women who will be taking this journey for the first time in 2011, so I'm limiting the group based on those conditions.

If you or someone you know is interested in being mentored or even becoming a mentor, here is a link to the forums. They haven't released the mentor threads yet, so you'll have to check back over the next few days to see when they've gone live.

Please be sure to read the instructions thoroughly before committing as a mentor. If you do want to join a group as a mentee, my best advice is to hurry! They fill up very fast.

Here's to a great 2011!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Please vote and share: How did your season go?

As I look back on my season, it certainly didn't go according to plan.

I thought I'd do at least five triathlons and I did one. I thought I would complete a half ironman. I finished a half marathon instead.

So, I'm curious to see how everyone else's season went. Vote over to the right and share the details here!

Happy offseason training!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Look what I got for 30 bucks

A poster on Beginner Triathlete wanted to know where to find a good deal on a trainer. I responded by telling him about the great deal I got on an adjustable fluid trainer back in September from Nashbar.

I paid $135 for a $329 trainer with the discount they had on the product plus an additional 20% for the Labor Day holiday.

I went to Nashbar to check the exact name of my trainer to share with this poster and noticed they were having yet another special: 72 items at 72% off.

I had a little money to spare so I decided to see what all I could buy for $30. Including shipping and tax, for $30.42 (OK, so I went a little over budget) I got the following items:
  • A frame pack bag - $4.94
  • Two pairs of Wigwam socks - $2.69
  • A rack strap - $1.43
  • A  balaclava - $4.49
  • A set of arm warmers - $5.04
  • A 24 oz. water bottle - $2.51
  • And a 2008 Tour de France water bottle - $1.34
Not too shabby, huh?

When I got home from work this evening, my husband had put a box on the kitchen table. Before changing into my comfy clothes, I grabbed the nearest pair of scissors and began taking everything out of its packaging.

So, the burning question is, of course, which item am I most excited about? That answer is easy: the balaclava.

Though I looked like a clumsy ninja when I tried it on, it really is a practical piece of gear for cold weather running and biking and I've been eyeing them for a couple years.

If you're a triathlete or cyclist - heck, even a runner - you've got to check out Nashbar. They've got a good reputation, are very quick to ship and have incredible prices.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rest in peace my first pair of running shoes

To say that I ran too many miles in these shoes is as hardcore of an understatement as saying that three-time Ironman champ Chrissie Wellington "sure does trains a lot."

I should have bought a new pair about a year-and-a-half ago. Heck, I've put close to 600 miles in the last two years alone - NOT including dog walks.

It was, however, through my recent longer runs that I began to see the strong correlation between the decomposition of my shoes and the possibility for injury. I began to notice an aching in the balls of my feet and just felt less supported the longer I ran.

Because the guy from whom I'd bought these shoes did such a great job of helping me decide which ones to buy to begin with, I went back to his shop. I ended up getting the New Balance shoe that replaced the 858, the 850. So far so good.

Maybe I'm just sentimental. Nah, it's really more likely that I'm just cheap, but I definitely had grown fond of those shoes. They were with me during my first triathlon, both on the run and on the bike as I didn't have clipless then. They've been with me through good and bad times of training and have carried me through three seasons of triathlon. Last but not least, they helped me finish my first half marathon a month ago.

So I take this opportunity to say farewell and thank you - and, of course, to say hello to my very sweet, very solid, new running shoes. I look forward to hundreds of miles together, just not as many as with my last pair.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just under 600 isn't too shabby

You win some, you lose some. In my case, the scales tip toward the losing side when it comes to racing.

However, they easily tip toward the winning side when it comes to stepping out the front door, trying something new and roughing it out in a new challenge.

I ran my first half marathon Sunday, a challenge I assumed I would undertake someday as I've crept into the welcoming world of triathlons and endurance running. I had no idea that it would would be so much fun, though!

I had two goals: 1) to finish the race and 2) to come in around 2:45. I met my first goal and came in at 2:48 so I consider goal #2 met.

I placed 7360/7944 overall and came in 695/752 in my age group. I placed above 584 people, but we all still won over those who never started. Great job, fellow half-marathoners!

I got there 1.5 hours early, taking a 15-minute nap before walking the eight blocks to the start line. Where I parked put me right by the finish line. I figured it would be easier to walk eight blocks before the race than after the race. I was actually able to reserve a parking spot online the night before so that was a very nice option to have.

They had us separated into four separate corrals based on time. I was in corral three. It took five minutes to reach the timing mat after the gun went off.

What a fun start. I was surrounded by not a few dozen people like in a triathlon, but by 15 thousand people. There existed both an energy and a solace that I found in that moment.

I had been concerned about a pulled muscle behind my knee that's been giving me pause the last couple weeks, a strain in the ball of my feet and about my hamstrings and glutes really cramping up toward the end.

I never suffered the first two and my hamstrings and glutes didn't wait until the end to start hurting. I would say that happened around mile 2! Mile 2! They did get a little worse toward the middle of the race, then the pain stabilized for several miles, only escalating the last couple miles.

I figured I could run slowly with the pain or quicken my pace and allow the music to help with that. I chose the latter...and it was fun starting to pass people.

I had to stop and stretch at least 10 times to help with the soreness, though. I would say that added a good five minutes to my time.

I was very proud that I didn't walk hardly at all. The only times I walked were when I was grabbing a drink from my Fuel Belt and I did walk two to three minutes of mile 11 as my legs started hurting more and as I prepared to quicken back up for miles 12 and 13.

They didn't have markers at every mile and I'm so glad of that, or at least none that I could see. It would have been depressing if I had. (Yes, I'm the girl on the treadmill who covers the clock with her towel.) I was just a little more than an hour into it and, given my pace up to that point, figured I'd be coming up on mile 6 soon. The next mile marker read "Mile 5". Mile 5? Are you kidding me? I was excited about being almost halfway there. That sucked.

However, later on I figured I was coming up on mile 8 and the next mile marker read "Mile 9" so it balanced out.

As I finished mile 11 and embarked upon mile 12, that officially became the longest run of my life. I'd only gone 11 miles in training and it had only been once.

I flipped through my iPod to find some fast songs to help get me through the last bit. I couldn't believe that in a few minutes I was going to have completed a half marathon!

There had been live bands stationed all throughout the race and hundreds of spectators stood by to cheer us on. I didn't know any of them. It didn't matter.

When I got to that last say quarter or half mile, there must have been thousands of people along that finish section. That was super, super energizing. I picked up my pace and starting passing people, realizing that each of those people just a few steps in front of me would turn into numbers in the final results that I'd rather see behind not in front of me.

I crossed the finish line and I officially became a half-marathoner. There were several individuals handing out the finishers' medals. I chose the guy wearing military clothing to hand me my medal, just so I could thank him for his service.

The run is usually my best in a triathlon, so I'm a little disappointed that I was a complete BOPer, but I've slowed down with my pace quite a bit this year for some reason.

However, as a friend reminded me, there are fewer triathletes in the world than runners, so I'm choosing to take that to the bank. Thanks for those words, Alice.

Also, I just finished a half marathon and ran the entire thing. I'm going to give myself a break.

What a production! That event was a massive, massive undertaking and these guys were on the ball. I can't wait for next year! I'd had a question about packet pickup about a week before race day. I e-mailed the coordinator and the RD actually e-mailed me back...within a couple hours. Very impressive.

I suppose I can stick that 13.1 sticker on the back of my truck now. In the meantime, I'll just stick it here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

So, a half-mary is my big race of the year

One thing led to another and...and...

...I ended up only doing one triathlon this year! I did do an indoor one in January, but it was in the off season and doesn't count.

I was planning on a few, of course, but my job has really ended up consuming a lot of my time. I'm not complaining a bit, though. I absolutely love my job and the hours I spend devoting to it. It's a trade-off.

I am excited about doing my first half marathon on Sunday. I feel prepared and not really all that nervous. That, I suppose is the wonderful part of being a triathlete. All the gear, the transitioning, the disciplines, etc. can not only consume your thoughts, but also the trunk of your car. Going from three disciplines to one almost feels like a sigh of relief.

I'll be sure to post a race report after the big race.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No shortage of advice from drivers

Partly inspired by a blog post from last year, I wrote this column for one of the papers for which I work. It's about how friendly automobile drivers are to bikers on the road.

Sometimes I feel like Al Gore reminding us he's an environmentalist when I talk about being a triathlete.

Though my friends may smile and nod their heads, I imagine they must be thinking to themselves, "Oh, boy. Here we go again."

Well, here we go again.

My latest bike ride reminded me of conversations I've had with other triathletes and bikers who occasionally ask me, "Isn't Highland County the worst at being biker friendly?"
I am quick to respond by telling them that I just don't see it that way.

For example, the first time I rode on U.S. 50 out of Hillsboro a couple years ago, a Ford F-150 slowed down to 35 mph as it passed me.

I suddenly noticed a shaking fist appear outside of the passenger side window. It was hard to make out the exact words, but I'm pretty sure I heard, "Good luck with yourself, lady!" It was a nice pick-me-up as I struggled in the grueling 90 degree weather.

And just the other day, the woman driving a red Neon yelled out: "Go straight to..."

To read the rest of the column, click here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Montana sky over a Buckeye lake

They say a Montana sky can change at the drop of a hat...but I live in Ohio!


The tiny ripples in the water glistened underneath the rising sun. An easy breeze blew off the sandy shore.

It was Sunday morning and the day of the inaugural TREK Women's Triathlon in Ohio at Buckeye Lake.

It would be a day that would go down in history as my favorite open water swim in a triathlon. The water temperature was perfect (80), there was no chop and - a smart, smart move on the RD's part - there were several minutes spaced between waves, giving those of us who are slower less of a chance to have to fight off more people as they caught up with us.

Though it had started out sunny and beautiful, it began becoming somewhat overcast by the time I had gotten to mile seven or eight on the bike... and then I felt it. A wet drop on the skin of my arm. "Please, Lord, hold off on that rain. Please, please!"

I didn't mind racing in the rain, but I was very worried about my bags in Transition that contained my cell phone and camera getting soaked through and frying my digital livelihood.

When I got to Transition 2, I just re-situated my belongings, threw an already wet towel over top it all, continued to pray and started my run.

The Lord was clearly answering my prayers with a no. The rain was absolutely not letting up. Acquiescing to the reality that I had done all I could do under the circumstances to protect my electronics, I made the decision to let it go.

I was, at this point, completely soaked, my clothes and ball cap utterly saturated with what had been falling from the sky. So instead of avoiding the water puddles on my route, I jumped in them! What an opportunity to have some extra fun!

I finished my race, passing several women at the very end and was so proud I'd finished another triathlon.

I grabbed my belongings, ate a couple peanut butter sandwiches under a tent and walked the one mile trek back to my truck - in the pouring rain.

Ten minutes later, as I was driving west, the rain suddenly stopped and the blue sky reappeared.

Of course it did.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A little more action, please

To admit that I've, er, slacked on my training the last few months is difficult. Between adjusting to a new work schedule and dealing with the offseason blues, I've let myself go.

It had been a couple months since I'd gone swimming...and a couple months before that...and, yet again, a couple months before that.

About 75 yards into my swim this morning, it hit me like a ton of bricks how having not swum these last few months had begun to really take a toll on me.

I thought, "Well, I was shooting for a thousand yards, but I'll be lucky to pull out 200!" It was around 200, actually, where I began to feel better. My energy was up and I was able to get to 700. I could have gone further, but I realized that starting so hard out of the gate would not be a good idea so I cut myself off.

I'm disappointed that my training had subsided, but the lemonade out of lemons story is that seeing myself struggle so hard with something that used to come with such ease, forced me to realize just how in shape I was and how far I have come.

So, here's to being thankful for a bad period in my training, because it will, I'm sure, renew my current and future training for the rest of the season.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

This fantastic quote came to mind this morning as frustration began to manifest itself as quite the grumpy disposition. A walk with my dogs on a blue-skied, warm and breezy Saturday morning ended up being the starting point for a downward spiral of negative thinking.

I had been pondering how much my training bites right now. It's intermittent, it's intensity is inconsistent and it's - well, it's embarrassing. I'm a triathlete afterall, not a dog walker.

Midway through the walk, I realized a quiet soreness in my hamstrings. This surely wasn't from all the running I'd been doing lately. Then I remembered something I'd done earlier in the week.

I had been having a conversation with my husband as we were both sitting on the couch. During our talk, I told myself, "Just get up and start doing some squats. Just do a few and keep listening." So, I did. The soreness I experienced this morning was the result of those squats and my disposition soon changed to match the sunny skies above.

You see - to me - the soreness in my hamstrings was a thank you from my body in having gotten off the couch to do just those few squats instead of waiting around for a perfect time to do them, and other exercises, all at once...because it likely would not happen.

One thing I did not incorporate at all last season was strength training. When I only had a certain amount of time to train and I needed to choose between SBR or strength training, I chose SBR. This season, I did not want to put it on the back burner again so I decided to incorporate a few, important exercises like pushups, crunches and squats.

I completed Day 1/3 out of Week 1/6 in the Hundred Pushups challenge and never got further. In my mildly obsessive-compulsive mind, I needed to have built a perfect scheduling structure in order to do them at all. Because I need to drop at least 10 pounds, I wanted to do the strength training before doing any SBR. The trouble is, my schedule never afforded it and I never did anymore pushups.

Here is my point: My perfect set up would be to spend 30 minutes, three times a week doing strength training before I do cardio. I just don't have that time. My alternative (good) set up must then be, do these activities - intermittently - throughout the day, because right now, I'm not achieving any benefits at all.

Here's to hoping that throughout the next few weeks, my body will have sent me many more thank yous on behalf of other muscle groups.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A financial and fun gift all "tried" in to one

In my last entry, I ranted about the approximate 50% increase in a race fee. I have since discovered some good news.

There is a local multisport store and a timing chip company who have partnered together to offer races for 10 bucks a pop. That's right, 10 bucks!

You do have to be a USAT member, though. No problem. Already am.

There is no swag, no food, no drinks, no awards. No problem. Will be bringing my own and I never podium anyway.

They're offering five of these races throughout the summer on Wednesday nights at the same state park. Our tri club trains there every Saturday in all three events, so it'll have the feel of a training day, just with a little more pressure to speed up in Transition.

In my quest to save money, I plan on doing at least three of these, and am very excited that they're giving folks this opportunity.

I'll let you know how they go.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm just not that into it afterall I suppose

It was going to become my tradition.

My first triathlon was a women's only, .25-mile swim, 12-mile bike and 2-mile run. It was the inaugural Tri for the Cure and it was a life changing day for me. As soon as I finished the race, I began thinking of finishing it the next year - with better times.

I signed up for it again the following year and killed it. I improved my time overall by approximately 25%. Another great day at Alum Creek.

I was planning on always doing this triathlon no matter what my schedule, to establish it as my own, little, triathlon tradition.

I went to register for it recently, wanting to take advantage of the early registration prices, only to discover that the early registration fee, that had been $45, was now $65.

So much for saving money.

I understand costs go up for businesses. I understand that 75% of the money goes toward a good cause. I understand that, compared to other regions in this great country, pricing for triathlon registration fees is very good to us here in Ohio.

I also believe in the free market. This is a good race company, but they've increased the price past my threshold. So, as a result, I have taken this race off my schedule.

If I were to sign up for this Sprint race on race day, the price would be the same as my half iron distance race later on this year.

So much for a tradition being born.

I'm optimistic, though. Another jewel of a race could catch my eye, or I might just do an open water swim race that I might not have done had this been on my schedule.

Give me a cloud, I'll give you a silver lining.

Give me a price increase like that, I won't give you my dollars.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware the ideas of March

My good friend Melissa blogged about the Ides of March today and her confession that she'd accidentally typed in "ideas of March" into Google served as a source for a little mid-month inspiration for me.

I am, therefore, embracing the typo and offering a lesson, not only to you, but to myself:

Beware the ideas of March.

March is a strange time for us triathletes. The winter is opening the back door, ready to walk out. Springtime has its grip on the front door, ready to open and enter once Winter takes its final steps.

March is a little bit of both Winter and Spring, but really not much of either.

The excitement that the season ahead holds can make us want to do crazy, crazy things. As we get a taste of the warmer weather, we begin to imagine all the races we'll conquer, all the personal bests we'll set and how we're really going to get up early and train in the pre-dawn hours of the morning.

All of those ideas are great, but it's important to step back just a little and get realistic. For me, I want to do two races a month, but since I'm training for a half iron distance race, that's just not practical. I want to get up early in the morning and train, especially as it gets lighter outside. The reality is that I'm not a morning person - at all - and I must adjust my life to get the training done in the evenings.

So, follow your own Marching orders, just beware of the ones that run you into the ground.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ironman challenge and last minute me

I have all kinds of excuses (weather, sickness, change in job schedule), but the fact remains I'm short of my goals.

You see, I'm doing one of those train the Ironman distances in a month challenge: Swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles. Right now I'm at:
  • 950 yards (or a little over a half mile) for the swim
  • 64 miles for the bike and
  • 12 miles for the run
Oh, and I have until Sunday to complete it. So, here's the plan.

I'm taking a spin class Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I'm averaging about 20 miles per class, so that'll nudge me right over the goal and then some.

On Tuesday and Friday, I'll run 5 miles each day and on Sunday I'll finish out the remaining 4.2 miles.

On Thursday, I'll swim 1,500 yards and on Sunday I'll finish it out.

I'm running out of time on this challenge, but by golly I AM going to make it! (That's right. You just read someone use the phrase "by golly.")

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I joined the Pod

I'm heading in to my third season of triathlons. When I first started researching this sport, I quickly learned that audio devices (we'll just call 'em iPods for the purposes of this post) are illegal in a race and you can get penalized if caught using them. I also quickly learned to train like you race.

So, because you can't listen to an iPod during your race, I didn't want to train using one because I didn't want it to throw me off come race day.

With it being so cold and my reluctance to venture outside increasing, I started going to the Y to hit the treadmill. As usual, it's difficult to go even a half mile before I begin to daydream about the belt malfunctioning and me fatally hitting my head.

This boredom presented a dilemma. Because I'm training for a half iron distance, I need to be putting in more mileage and if the treadmill's the most practical place to get it done, I needed to find a way to make it work.

I decided to revisit my iPod philosophy.

I've heard so many say how much easier it is to get through a treadmill run with an iPod. Despite my aforementioned reasons for not using one, I went to Best Buy and purchased an iPod Shuffle.

WOW! Why did I wait so long? The first time I used it, I found myself at mile three with the desire to go even further! The only reason I didn't is because I had to get ready for spin class.

What a gift! I feel like my training has a sense of renewal and I'm hopeful about keeping up my running mileage the remainder of the winter.

Maybe I'll ditch the iPod when I go back outside running, or just practice running without it a couple weeks before a race.

What I will do is never, ever head to the Y without this little buddy in my pocket to keep me company.

Thank you all you technology people!

Friday, January 22, 2010

That's why I don't like rest days

I had written this on my GOTRIbal blog, but thought I'd bring it over here.

For me, the tragedy of a rest day exists not in not taking it but in taking it.

Unfortunately, I'm either on or off. When I get into a training groove, I rock it - for days. When I have to take my rest day (which IS, of course, absolutely critical), it's quite difficult to get back into my training.

First night: Legitimate rest day.

Second night: I really need a night to catch up on housework.

Third night: Gary's leaving for a couple days in the morning and I need to make sure he's got all he needs.

Fourth night: Gary's out of town tonight, so I'm just going to veg with the dogs on the couch.

RIDICULOUS...but that's how it goes. It is, though, not how it should be. I just need to find a nice place in the middle...

But, tonight, the middle's going to be on the couch between the Great Dane and the Yellow Lab.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CamelBak water bottle giveaway

I've got an unwrapped CamelBak water bottle to give away. I bought it from L.L. Bean back in December to reach the minimum for free shipping. By the time I bought the water bottle, I only had to pay $1 more. Not too bad for a buck, but I don't really need another water bottle - even a really nice one like this.

Anyway, here's how you can earn points:
  • 3 points if you post about this giveaway on your blog (leave a comment letting me know you did).
  • 2 points if you start following me.
  • 2 points if you Tweet about it and leave me a comment letting me know about said Tweet.
  • 1 point if you just started following me and leave a comment for this post.
  • 1 point if you follow me already and leave a comment for this post.
You can have one chance to win, or up to six to eight chances to win. The choice is yours.

What are you waiting for? Enter the drawing today, start earning your points and this handsome baby could be yours!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

GOTRIbal interviews me

I was excited just to get the call. I was humbled to have been asked the question.

It was Tanya Maslach, the founder of GOTRIbal, the awesome new organization aimed at empowering women through the journey of endurance sport.

Tanya was working on GOTRIbal's next monthly newsletter and she wanted to interview me for it. I told her yes and we scheduled a time for the interview.

You can read the short story here.

Chrissie Wellington is a big part of this group, too, as you can immediately see on the home page of its site. If you do any kind of endurance sport, triathlon, running, biking, etc., please come on over and check us out at

Thanks, as always, for stopping by!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...