Monday, December 31, 2012

Goals - Schmoals

Acheivements first:
I'm not the best log keeper but according to Training Peaks in 2012 I:

1701 miles on the bike.
111,461 yds in the pool.
577.98 miles on my running shoes.

Seems like a lot to me!

Last year my goals were:
  • get up to the 70.3 distance and then get faster at that distance. Did that.
  • renew my passport and travel where it was needed. Did that.
  • Give blood. Did that once.
  • be more organized and less bossy - perpetual goal.
And now drum roll please the 2012 goals (kidding ... just kidding). Actually the big massive goal is already public. I have 2 iron distance races on my schedule for this year. Ironman France in June and Ironman Florida in November. That's the big goal.

My little brother did something this year that was pretty cool. He did a goal a month. He did things like stretching and not drinking any soda and stuff like that. So I'm going to try a formula like his for this year. I am giving myself the Ironman month's off - or rather I'm making the project of the month the Ironman race.

Here's what I have so far:
Facebook only once a day.
Eat as close to no processed foods as possible.
Catch up with kids scrapbooks. Order photos and put photos into albums
Stretch and Strength Train
Floss every day.
Ironman France.
Write every day.
Update my address book.
Go to bed by 10 every night.
Clean out the closets. Yes "all" of the closets.
Ironman Florida & Throw my own 40th birthday party.
Plan the first annual Stone new years party.

So some of these I might move around some. Also some might change. The way I feel about goals is that it only makes sense to do them if they still make sense so if they seem silly I'll just do something else.

Okay enough of this goals schmoals stuff - I have to go remind my kids that the noisemakers are for outside.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Swimming and my teeth

okay so somewhere in my twitter feed this week was a post from a pro saying she was just back from the dentist and felt so much better having her teeth cleaned removing all the swimmer stains. I thought it was Sara Mclarty but I can't find it so I can't be sure.

I was all AACK ... what... can this be real?

Sadly I can't find the original post to give the person credit for my kind of gross Internet discovery. Because of course, I went home and googled this and sure enough if your pool chemicals are off (and really I think probably most pools chemicals are off sometimes) then you can get brown stains on your teeth. It even has a real name: swimmers calculus.

Luckily it comes off at the dentist and due to my fabulous history of gum issues I'm already at the dentist for a cleaning 4 times a year.

Well yuck!

Read here for actual data from a dentist. Because I'm not a dentist and I don't even play one on tv.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Training for triathlons means a lot of ...


I went out last week and bought more sports bras. Because some of mine had disintegrated to the point of not really being usable.
Sport laundry basket. All fitness stuff goes in here but not wet. Hang to dry so that it doesn't drip on the floor and then put it in here till it's so full nothing else fits or you can't find what you need to exercise. Then put a clothespin on your nose and fling it all into the laundry.

Now I should say that even though I live in Miami my sports bras are always underneath something. Except when I ride the bike trainer alone in my garage I cover up my jiggly post-baby belly. Which is to say my sport bras can get pretty worn out before I have to toss them because they are never a fashion item. But they were past their prime and as I discovered this I was tossing them into the garbage. Then there came a day where my workout was delayed because there was no clean sports bra. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ... this was a problem that needed immediate remedy.
I'm pretty sure when the seams come apart like this it is time to throw it away.

So while picking up my son's holiday present (a longboard) at Sports Authority I looked for a Moving Comfort sports bra. They are my fave. Couldn't find them so I asked and sadly Sports Authority no longer caries them. Of course!

Oh big name giant sport apparel company ... you stink.
So, I bought a Nike jog bra. Now let it be said that other than socks and sweat bands I haven't bought any Nike gear for probably about 10 years because I think it is generally ... crap. But I don't have huge boobs so I've never worried too much about the whole jog bra thing. Plus, I was MISSING my WORKOUT and I was running OUT of TIME before I had to pick up the kiddos. Wrongly I figured what could be the problem?

Well the geniuses at Nike put a big Nike swoosh on the inside of the sports bra. And well lets just say not great. I mean maybe it's fine if you're doing yoga or something but if you're running ... nope. Luckily it was a short run/jog.

Okay so it's off to the local run store for actual moving comfort jog bras. They cost a fortune but in my opinion they are worth it. Plus I feel better having shopped at my local small business.

Put this on the list of things you need a lot of when training for a long course race
Additional plus ... I think I almost have enough jog bras to make it through an entire week before I hit a laundry delay. I'll admit though that I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to laundry in that I don't actually do much of my own laundry unless there is a laundry explosion due to a stomach virus or something. Lucky me.
Another thing that's helpful to have a lot of when you're a parent. Those handy medicine measuring cups. Last week with two kids on liquid medicines I did a lot of rinsing of these cups.

In other news - I swam Wednesday. Lunch swim. It's wonderful - sunny - friendly - and I didn't upchuck my soup that I ate at 11:30.

So then Thursday morning relaxing trainer ride - no sufferfest just slow pedal while watching the first episode of Breaking Bad. Pretty entertaining. Then quick 30 minute slow run because the weather is currently fantastic before 10:00 am when it gets hot.

Today - Friday. It's the end of the world. Not sure what time that happens exactly. It's end of school party day at my kids school. It's also my husband's birthday and perhaps due to the impending end of the earth a bizarre weather day here in South Florida. Perhaps I'll make it a rest day. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

grrrr stupid little bacteria gremlins

Bah humbug ... a little bit.

My kiddo was back at the doctor yesterday to reveal that the 10 day course of antibiotic didn't get rid of her strep throat. Which is why when she stopped taking it ... dum dum dum...her fever came right back.

So we're trying another medicine. Actually we're not at the moment. She wanted to take pills because she doesn't like the liquid medicine. But unfortunately we now know she can't quite swallow these capsules. She choked one down last night and failed at that this morning so we're waiting for the dr to call in zithromax to start again. Meanwhile she's vegging in her pjs in front of the tv.

Like the good parent that I am my son said "my throat hurts" at breakfast so I gave  him some ice water and sent him off to school. Have I mentioned he's allergic to most antibiotics? This could be a pain.

I on the other hand hit the trainer today for 60 minutes and then a 30 minute run. Go me. I need a new sufferfest video because this one has gotten very boring. Such are my first world problems.

In the good news area - I found my heart rate monitor strap which had been hiding in my closet under about 6 fuel belts for weeks.

Monday, December 17, 2012

What got me out of bed this morning

My plan today was the noon masters swim group but yesterday my daughter's fever came back and so that meant child care at the noon hour and therefore (sigh) early morning swim group.

The kiddo climbed into my bed at 2 am and needed more fever medicine. Side note: nighttime parenting is a drag but a required part of the mommy gig.

The alarm went off at 5:30. I was nice and snug under my covers and seriously considered blowing it off. But then a thought went through my veins and I bolted out of bed.
The thought was "@$@#$@#%$@# Ironman France. " And as I mentioned before after that little thought bomb my eyes were open and I unceremoniously rolled out of bed and got moving.

Then I got to the back door and it was dark and chilly (65 degrees and yes I know I'm a wimp) outside and I thought again about just going back to bed but instead I grabbed my run sweater which I had luckily left in the laundry room and I just sucked it up and went to the pool.

Ta - dah. Today I win the battle of the willpower.

For my readers. (Do I have readers?) Here is today's question. I get through about 2000 yards in an hour. Masters practice is an hour. I try to go 3x a week for that hour plus my open water swim on Saturday after my run.

The Ironman swim is just over double my single pool swim amount. I think roughly 4100 yards is 2.4 miles although somebody should check my math. Is this going to be a problem in preparing for the event? Do I need to regularly do significantly more yards in practice?

Options include that I could go to 2 masters sessions on M-W-F but they would not be back-to-back. There is also a 90 minute practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays and of course on the weekends I can do my long open water swims on the key.

Friday, December 14, 2012

And just like that the streak is over ...

Respect the running streak
In my last post I briefly mentioned that I had started a running streak. Oh how quickly the mighty fall. It's true that finding 30 minutes a day to run should be doable for everybody. What's also true is that there are days as a mom where it is hard to make that happen. For me that day was Tuesday (swim practice, pediatric opthamologist appointment, traffic, dinner, sleep). My perfectly awesome running streak attempt #1 was 7 days.

So now it's time to suck it up and try again - with new respect for all of those folks who are out there with running streaks that are unbroken for hundreds of days - new respect.

Well I like to think that if you're not failing your not trying enough hard things so ... moving on! Run streak attempt #2, day 3 today ... no run quite yet although I am in my run attire so there is hope.

Exciting news on the whole Ironman France deal
We have most likely booked our travel ... we decided to meet with an agent and they just called with an itinerary. I do think it's actually not the one we wanted so there might be a hiccup but we'll see. We're also looking at apartments for the week in Nice as our little brood just doesn't fit into a standard European hotel room.  

This alone has of course totally brought back the whole can't sleep freaking out what the F@$#@$% am I doing sensation at night when I should be sleeping. Do you ever get that? For me it goes like this ... Drifting off to sleep happy... happy... sleeping ... aaaack Ironman France - crap - hills - PANIC feeling ... drat I'm awake.

Also last night was the Geminid meteor shower. When the kids went to bed the sky was cloudy.  Alas nothing to see. My oldest kiddo who wants to be an astronomer looked it up online and found out that the peak time was between 10-2 am. Who taught this kid to use google - so inconvenient. So unbeknownst to me she set her alarm for 1:40 AM. Around 1am she climbed into my bed and so at 1:40 her alarm didn't wake her up ... just me. After stumbling around the house half-awake I finally figured out the random beeping coming from her alarm clock and was about to go back to bed when I thought hmmm... I'm up it's a shame to at least not just check it out. I went outside alone and the sky was clear. I waited a few minutes and I did see a few shooting stars. So then in either a great parenting moment or a really crappy one (the verdict may still be out on that when it comes to waking up a 9 year old at 2 am) I actually woke her up and we went out together for probably 10-15 minutes. They are a little tricky to see because they are fast and at first I wasn't sure if I was actually seeing them or just moving my head or blinking or imagining them. But then one will happen more in the middle of the sky and it's very cool. So we did see a few together and she was very excited. Then back to bed. She of course fell asleep instantly - mom, not so much really.

So, today the kid helping me to the car with my groceries told me I looked tired. Awesome!

Training through the holidays
I know that training through the holidays is a challenge. So I'm not too hard on myself when things aren't 100%. That's one reason that   I thought the running streak would be a good idea. I should be able to squeeze that in pretty much anywhere. And all but one day I have. On the not so good side though today will be my first swim of the week. Monday I was home with a kiddo - Wednesday same kiddo had a school party during swim practice. I need to figure out whether I just have to get up early and do the early swim to make sure I don't miss it. The answer to this is yes ... it's not really a complicated question there is rarely a conflict with anything else at 6 am. The problem with the early session is that it's cold out and dark and requires extra motivation. Swimming at noon on a sunny day is like a mini-vacation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Just when you think life is going your way ...

Your kids all get sick and you find yourself going from dr to pharmacy to home and washing your hands every 3 minutes hoping you don't catch the "crud".

Weekend Update
Remember the weekend update from Saturday Night Live - hysterical. This won't be that funny.

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way
My daughter got sick toward the end of last week. Turned out to be strep. The other main contender was influenza so I'm pretty happy it was just strep. Then Saturday evening (read: after the pediatrician's office is closed) my son's scratch on his eye/nose got all yellow and spread bumps ... empetigo most likely. Really gross but we've had it before so I started putting the creme on it that we had from before and took pictures of it throughout the weekend to reassure myself that it wasn't spreading. It's all over his eye - he looks ridiculous and it's contagious so we're off to the doctor in a bit to make sure I'm doing the correct treatment and he can go back to school. (Update went to the dr who freaked out a little bit and gave us an antiviral and we have a follow up with a specialist eye doctor to make sure his rash isn't also IN his EYE. That would be bad. )

And in the meantime ... it's Chanukah. Yes we celebrate all the winter holidays in my house. We are a commercial boondoggle for local stores. But all these kids staying home from the doctor has me waaaaaay behind on the shopping.

Sunday was the official Shiksa Latke day. Which is the day that the family comes over and I make Latke's. I call them Shiksa Latke's because I'm the chef and I'm the shiksa so I think it's kindof funny. For some shiksa is an insulting word so if you're offended ... sorry (actually I'm not sorry but it's possible that I suffer from a female mid-western inborn need to apologize often).

December is a busy month in our house. I'm just going to throw this out there in case anyone has stumbled onto this blog looking for blended family marriage advice. (that would be weird but it could happen, right). If you choose to marry a guy from another religion and honor both sets of traditions during the holidays ... you had better like to shop and wrap. That is all.
latkes at the start. This is the entire reason I own a cast iron skillet. It's the only thing I use it for. I also have a wonderful latke bowl which is a gigantic bowl my sister in law got me for holding all the latke "stuff."

Back to the s-b-r grind
Swim more
Last week was the first week I was back on track training. I did three masters sessions (well in the last one I goofed off for half of it). After Cozumel I came back determined to not slack on my swim training. Be ready for the swim - never skip a workout - except today I'm home with my infected kiddo so I'm not in the pool.  I even swam Saturday on the key - just for 10 minutes or so but the water was freezing. Wet suit practice - yes ma'am.

Bike More

I'm also researching bike training options. As I have stupidly chosen a ridiculously hilly IM course and I live in and insanely flat state this is going to take some creativity. Mostly I think preparing for this bike will take dedication to make sure I bike a lot and that I'm honest with myself that it's going to take 8 hours to complete the bike course so I need to be ready for that. Yup 8 hours.

This is the bike. Notice how it's just one giant hill. Craptastic!
I have one friend who had great success using Computrainer to train on her bike for Florida. She was injured and couldn't ride outside at all. But I have some issues with Computrainer ... let's start with the fact that I think the darn thing costs $1800.00. So let's say I have 6 months to train and I use it 2 times a week (which is a lot actually) that is approximately 48 workouts. If my math works out that's $37 a workout. That seems ridiculous. Plus it doesn't work on a Mac so I'd have to procure a desktop also.

Option two I am reading good things about Trainer Road. This is a web-based option that uses data from your existing devices to give you virtual estimates. I dunno -- it's probably not perfect but then again it's $10 a month ... yes $10. That's a whopping $60 for six months of training. So, I am going to try that. I currently have my step-daughter working on upgrading my dinosaur of a macbook pro so that it will run on that computer and then we'll see how it works.

Lastly, this is the off season down here so people are mainly just socializing on their rides and many people are taking some time off. Especially in my training group where almost everyone has completed their Ironman in November - they are taking a well deserved break. Which is why I ended up riding by myself yesterday. I'm a little proud of myself that even after everybody cancelled I just saddled up and went. I did pair up with somebody I knew for part of the ride back and that did help with the boredom.

I am also planning to change out the cassette on my bike so that I don't have as many easy gears. I'm a little fuzzy on the details here but apparently what I want is a 12-27 and what I have is something else. For some reason I have more of a climbing cassette which will pay off in the mountains. But for training I want to work harder to get stronger.  So figuring this out is on my to do list.

Run more
I also have started a vague plan to run a little bit every day ... I saw something online about a 100 day challenge. So while I didn't officially join the challenge I have run 30 minutes everyday since Tuesday. Well Sunday after the ride it was a lot of walking but whatever. This would be my first ever "streak" ... should I go for 100 days? Should I just do 30? Should I make up my mind already?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What's your normal?

Most people I interact with on a daily basis think I'm a little crazy for the training I do. Heck ... (yes heck, this is a family friendly blog) sometimes I think I'm a little crazy.

But then ...

I learned about Jim Simpson who is about to run his 1,000th marathon. Yes ... thousand.

He's part of a group called the Marathon Maniacs ... I'm not one of them. I did read the criteria but it seemed too challenging at the moment.

And also I met a nice woman in Cozumel. Her name is Susan. She has no website or anything that I can find. But I learned from her facebook feed that she's participated in 18 iron distance events this year. 18!

What's interesting to me is that if/when you choose to do so many of these endurance events it just becomes a part of what you do. When I met Susan she was enjoying her holiday in Mexico with beer and Mexican food even though she'd be racing this huge long event where my friends were being very cautious about their food and stuff. Just makes you think a bit ... well makes me think anyway.

These guys make my crazy seem very normal indeed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ironman Cozumel - report part 2 - just get it done

Again - I didn't race this event just attended. But I learned a lot.

This is my friend Doug walking into transition the morning of the race. Even though it was one of the biggest transition areas I've been in what was most striking was the silence. Participants were quietly readying their bikes side by side with very little chatter and goofing off. The seriousness of what lay ahead was definitely in the air. 

If you follow the sport online you may have read / heard about how the swim was difficult. It was. According to the media office 180 people did not continue past the swim. Rumors put the number much higher. I can't see a reason why the race management would give an inaccurate number but at least one of my friends who was there thinks 180 is really low. Could be - but whatever.

This is a quick video I took at the start. At the very end you can see that the people are struggling to make forward progress against the current. This was the start of the swim and the swimmers also had to do the last half mile against the same current to get to the finish. Apparently for many swimmers it was like swimming in place.

What I learned as a spectator / aspiring Ironman is that when it comes to the Ironman race one of the challenges is taking what the day delivers. In the case of an ocean swim like Cozumel that can be a big time ocean swim with current and chop - be ready for whatever the course can deliver. I felt bad for all the people who didn't get to continue but the other way to look at this is that 2530 participants completed a tough swim and they get to say that they did it on a very tough year.

For me I'm signed up for a race with a swim in the Medeteranean Sea. I need to research what those conditions can be and prepare for that. Also my bike is in the mountains in the summer and my research has already told me that I need to be ready for a cool possibly wet day. Which to be honest doesn't sound like much fun. So hopefully I get a beautiful day.

This is me at the start of the race. It's a cool thing to see in person. I look forward to doing it myself next year.
Ready set go! This is three frames taken seconds apart at the start. Notice the difference in spray when the swimmers all start swimming at once.

Me walking the 5 miles back from the swim start. Not a huge fan of the 2 transition set up actually :-)

The bike - I didn't get much done during the bike except walking back to town and then checking on my friend who missed the swim cutoff.
they use a lot of water!

I don't know who this guy is but I wanted to take a pretty picture of the bike and so I did.
A suggestion for families traveling to Cozumel for the race. This hotel had the BEST set up for families watching the bike course. Just fyi.
If I do this race I'm putting my family here.

So, this blog is about triathlon and marathon and my life but before I got obsessed with that I was a photographer. It's my training. I had "taken a break" starting about 3 years ago. Really just did nothing - hung up my camera. But I have to admit - I enjoyed covering this event. I didn't do a spectacular job at it because I was half cheering my friends and half working but not getting paid or anything so really just cheering for my friends and taking pictures. Ahh but the switch is back on ... what does that mean. I dunno. But I did really enjoy it.

As I took a break for dinner runners made their way through the dark around the course.
This is what the finish line looks like as you run through it. The bleachers are full on both sides of screaming folks. It's cool.
The Finish Line
The mass start and the finish line are definitely the two main images I already had in my head before I went. But it was also good to see the condition that people were in when they finished.

I was at the finish line for about 3 - 4 hours.

I saw people finish smiling and hooting and hollering and dancing. I also saw people really uncomfortable and injured and even a few collapses.

Without a doubt I hope to be a finisher with a smile.

I think that more than anything being ready for this race comes from being honest about your training throughout the year and being mentally prepared.

Two of the most successful finishers that I know were actually woefully under trained. Interestingly both of them had crashes during training and came back to race. While you would expect that they would have had dismally hard slow races they mentally prepared to be uncomfortable during the race due to their lack of training. I think that their mental preparation made a big difference because they finished very strongly. They finished ahead of faster people with more training. It was amazing to watch. But I still don't want to crash :-)

Getting my head in the game
During November I've known a lot of people who competed in Ironman races between IM Florida, Arizona and Cozumel. Some had great experiences and finishes and others didn't.

I didn't train with all of them so I only know what I know but for some I really got to see the mental side of this race.

As a result my nickname should be WAFFLE. Yes I'm racing in Nice, nope I'm pulling out. Next day Okay - France is on. Later that day - nope no way not gonna happen. At this precise moment I'm proceding with going to France preparing the best that I can and knowing that there is a reasonable chance that something will happen and I won't finish.

So, I'm also signing up for Florida :-) Hedging my bets.

This part of the post is kind of rambly and may not make much sense. Lessons I took out of this that I hope to keep with me as I train for my own races include:
  • Be honest about my training. When you're doing group training you have to be careful to make sure you don't confuse your training with what others are doing. If I go out on group rides and draft the entire distance my solo ride will be much harder race day. If the schedule says 3000 yards and I only do 1600 I need to be honest with myself about that. If I skip a bike session I can't be expecting to get better.
  • Nobody can do my race for me. I train with others and they are all different levels and training for all difference races. But I have to keep in mind that on race day I have to be able to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and then run 26.2. So if somebody says hey the water looks rough I think I'll pass I need to keep in mind that that might be okay for them but I have to decide for myself to do my workouts. Swimming in rough water is something better to prepare for than to avoid. Riding in the wind is a skill to prepare for not to avoid. Nobody else is training for 10,000 feet of climbing. I have to do that myself. I have no idea how that's gonna happen.
  • Knowledge is power. Discomfort when it comes as a surprise is unpleasant but if you're ready for it you can perhaps work through it. I know people who stopped racing this year from leg cramps and migraine headaches and also those who continued racing on a broken bone and after collapsing and getting medical care. As I watched it unfold I honestly wasn't sure which way I would go if something like that happened to me on race day. I'm not sure if I can know until it happens what I would really do. But I think that the more prepared you are mentally for the race and the discomfort it brings the more likely you are to finish. So my woefully inadequate self analogy is with running at the end of a long race my legs tingle and go numb when I'm working really hard - not sprinting so my chest is fine. It's a mental decision for me that I know intellectually that my legs are actually fine and I can ignore the symptom. So, I need to prepare as much as I can. I know I get freaked out with contact in a swim so I need to practice for that. I don't yet know what will happen to me on 112 miles followed by a marathon so I need to try to figure that out :-)
  • Commit to finish. If the race doesn't go your way and you are slower volunteers will start to ask you" do you want to go on?", "Do you want to stop" the temptation is probably really big to stop but here's where I think if you are mentally prepared to finish no matter what you will find a way to continue. I'm not saying continue if you are at risk of injury. But for me if I have an 8 hour bike in France (ouch my butt hurts just thinking of it) then the marathon may be slow and I may be finishing in close to 16 hours. The volunteers are going to want to go home and that's okay but I want to finish. So I plan to prepare for that myself.  
  • My last lesson is embrace the pain. I am definitely one that when I feel the discomfort that goes with speeding up I can convince myself to back off. And then I run a mediocre race and kick myself for that. The more I can push myself to be on the threshold of discomfort the more I'll be ready for that feeling on race day.
And that's it - now off to do something else like shower and eat lunch and take my kids to the dentist. Oh right and buy holiday presents :-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ironman Cozumel Sherpa Report - part one

This weekend I went down to Cozumel in a whirlwind trip (down Saturday - Back Monday) to watch my friends compete in Ironman Cozumel.

I have read somewhere a suggestion to see / volunteer at an Ironman race before you do your own. I think that's a good suggestion. I learned a lot that I hope will help me prepare for my first race by watching my friends do this race.

The weather was the big story of the weekend with high winds and currents making the swim a big mess and the bike a beast. But to start I'm going to share some general tips.

First, if anybody finds this post and is considering going to Ironman Cozumel I want to share this travel tip.

Traveling to Cozumel
Spend the extra cash on the flight into Cozumel - not Cancun. Yes, yes it is more expensive and yes yes you can take a taxi to the ferry and it is a nice ride over to the Island. But I found flying into Cancun to get to Cozumel was a huge pain and here's why.

The shuttle to Playa de Carmen (where the ferry to Cozumel leaves from) is at least an hour and a half maybe more with traffic. Then you manhandle your luggage (Bike box ... perhaps) down to the pier and onto the Ferry which is 45 minutes and then you manhandle your luggage to your hotel. It takes forever and you have to repeat it on the way back when you're exhausted after the race.

If you ignore my advice then I suggest using Best Day Travel for transport to and from the airport. They were reliable, easy to find and everyone spoke perfect English.

Next ... General tips for spectating an Ironman race.

Spectating / Sherpa Tips 
  • Be prepared for a long day ... a really long day. I was up before 4 and finally made it back to the hotel around midnight. I really think the thing to do is bring a folding chair to be comfy. I was super jealous of the people with chairs.
  • Pick your spot and park it!Scope out the race course the day before and make a plan for where you will be watching for your racers. I was moving all around and that made it harder to figure out where people were and where they would be.
  • Spectating gives you a headache.Pack Tylenol or advil - your medicine of choice because scanning endless participants for your racers will maybe give you a headache. My headache could have been from the endless ringing of the cowbell.
  • Kids or no kids at the race?Kids ... this is a tough one. It is a really hard race for kids to watch because it's sooooooooooooooo long. I did see young kids up at the start and also at the finish late into the night. But I can't imagine that it was much fun for them really. On the other hand what can you do if you the spouse want to be at the finish and you brought your kids with you? It's really a challenge - everybody just has to have their own plan.
  • Know how to connect or choose to disconnect. Tracking your athletes. In Cozumel we were really challenged for access to online tracking. It was really hard to figure out where people were during the bike. Have a plan. My plan was a bad plan.
  • Finding people on the bike course = impossible. Know that during the bike it's like a big vacuum of informationlessness. I saw my swimmers go out onto the course and I saw one on the bike course. But then the next time I found them was heading out onto the run. 
  • Where is Meli? Randy? Janeth? Communicating with those who aren't with you is also a challenge. Bring a way to recharge your phone. If you are at an International race try to figure out what this means for how you will keep in contact with those who aren't there. I was getting texts and facebook messages all day but I couldn't even see them until hours later when I was back in the hotel with wi-fi. 
  • They hand out IVs at these races like candy. You should have an idea where the medical tent is and have a plan for how long you will wait after you think your racer should pass a certain point to check the medical tent. For example on this course we estimated around 2 hours for each bike split. When one racer was over an hour past that we really started to worry. This was the biggest challenge of my day when people were ending up there and I just was informationless about where they might be.
  • Where's my husband? Make a plan for meeting up at the finish line. In Cozumel it was crowded but not overly so and family members were able to get through to see their athletes if they knew where they were going. But it was really confusing. The finish line is a big area and the athletes cross the line and then stay in there a while (food, t-shirt, photo, ice bath, massage). Once you leave you can't get back into the finish chute so many athletes stay there to meet up with others who are racing. Since I had a media pass I was able to go back and forth between my friends and their families to help them find each other. 
  • Expect the best but plan for the worst. Last but not least as an athlete / spectator / sherpa team make a plan for what you will do if you are pulled from the race. It's not anything you want to plan for but it's a good idea to have a plan. For example if you miss the swim cutoff how will you get back to your hotel? Athletes won't have phones or money or anything and they might need help or just a hug. This day didn't turn out at all like they thought it would for about 1/3 of the people I knew who were racing. From not making the swim cutoff to broken toes, endless vomiting on the bike course, and the most unexpected - sea lice in the eyes. Things can go wrong so make a plan. I had no plan.
Lots more later ...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Training Thursday ... again on Friday

Open business items
At the moment in Miami it is marathon season. So for the foreseeable future Triathlon Thursday has been renamed ... training Thursday because there might be more running than anything else.

Today's update is a day late because yesterday I had cut and trace duty in Kindergarten. It's a good thing I'm not a Kindergarten teacher. I was super annoyed cutting all the slices of paper by the end of my shift. So afterwards I had to come home and veg.

Still missing a bit of my mojo
I also ended up skipping my run yesterday because it was already 8 o clock and super dark and I was tired.  The long and the short  of it is that if I don't do my workout early or have an evening training session (like group track) I won't do it. This is a long standing issue with my workouts which resolves itself when I get my lazy but out of bed at 5:30 am.

This shirt arrived in the mail from France this week. Just holding the package made my heart go pitter pat. It says France-Nice on the back so I can't just say ooooh any IM next year.  Hopefully it will help kick my mojo in gear.
I am really a little freaked out about signing up for Ironman France. I'll admit that pretty often I'm considering backing out. But then again I just say to myself ... just do it, you're already registered.

So far I'm the only person I know at the starting line for France. This is a silly thing but I might be too social to enjoy that solo of an experience. I watched my friends finish in Panama City, FL and there was a whole armada of them. They rode up together and they knew they were in it together. So, this is something I have to mentally tackle on the way to France. I'm thinking a few solo 6 hour bike rides will probably let me really know how I feel about being alone that long a time.

I definitely have a new house rule which is that I will not register for races just after 90 mile bike rides. That is a bad idea. Of course I think at that point that I can just do anything. And also ... I'm wrong about that. There is definitely a limit to what I can actually do and we might just see in a few months if that limit is 8 hours on the bike in the mountains.

This is part of my training group. Four of them (not me and not the guy in the back) are racing Ironman Cozumel next week. Also note my super cool Rev3 bike jersey. I love it.
Next weekend I'm going to wing it down to Mexico and be a sherpa for the Cozumel crew. There are like 30 people going from Miami for this race. Since it's a flat course people like it. So, I'll be there to see them go through the whole race day which is something I've never done. I'm putting that down as mental training for France ... file it under "what have I gotten myself into."

Thinking ahead
It's time to make a 2013 plan. Shortly after taking this picture I wrote France down on the page. So there's that. Miami Marathon is probably also on there. Ragnar, maybe. What else ... dunno. I think the pieces will come together in December.

Other random thoughts - 
I raced Rev3 Florida a few weeks ago. This year it was the same date as Miami 70.3. I thought that was an interesting choice. But now they've announced the date for 2013 and I believe instead it is now the same weekend as Ironman Florida. Ironman Florida sold out in about 1 minute with open registration so  a lot of folks didn't get in. Will Rev3 announce an Iron distance for Florida? Hmmm ... I have no idea and also no inside scoop.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday is okay when it's a holiday

An empty house
I have been very lucky to have lots of family in town recently. I love having a full house. This past weekend we had a very full house with my husband's family all staying over. It was great and like all family visits I'm also happy it's over.

Still a bit on the mend
I sort of think I'm all better but I am actually still a bit congested and have the nighttime coughing thing going on still which totally sucks. However, I did get in the pool Friday. I said I would and I did. Not the early morning session but the noon session which may be my plan during cooler weather. I'm not sure yet. The pool was certainly empty enough. The water is plenty warm but it is a weird feeling that the air is cooler on my arms as I swim. It's not unpleasant though - just different. Later I worked out some other muscles by ice skating at a birthday party with the kids. My calves are still sore.

Saturday I took off. There was a bike on the schedule but there were also house guests and birthday parties and ear piercings to take care of and therefore ... I skipped said bike ride.

Sunday I ran slowly with the group heading to Cozumel. They are tapering and I am slacking and therefore we were all on the same pace.

Miami Man
After the run - breakfast and then volunteering at Miami Man - all day. That was fun but also exhausting. I saw my blogging buddy Christina on the run looking very determined. She went on to take 2nd in her division! Woot Woot! I did also get to cheer on my friend Rachel in her first 70.3. She worked hard for her first finish. She thought she missed the cutoff for the bike course and still went on to do the run. I think she was wrong about the cutoff because her results posted and there were a lot of folks who finished after her. I still am impressed by her gumption that she kept going.

It was also interesting to see how people looked coming through the course. I was on the run so I didn't see them on the bike but some folks are in great shape and others are working so hard they look super unhappy.

Its remarkably easy to tell who's in trouble on the run when they are coming toward an aid station. There is, of course, the death march shuffle which gives some people away. But also there were a lot of people who had spittle thickened and white at the corner of their mouth which I think is probably from dehydration and mouth breathing but I really don't know. When I saw that I would try to make sure they got a full cup of liquid because I did not think it was a good sign. Also the confusion is interesting. When you ask a runner if they need something and they are clearly confused ... it's not a good sign. However as a participant familiar with that fuzzy feeling late in the race I tried to get some calories into those folks because that's what helps me most then.

I filled up approximately 10 zillion cups of Cytomax (disgusting stuff in my opinion). My back is a little stiff from bending that one inch forward to fill the cups for an extended time. After being out there all day I have even more respect for volunteers at the long events. It takes a lot of commitment to stay all day and keep working. I'll admit I did goof off for a big stretch toward the end of the day.  There were others who managed to dance and sign and cheer ALL-DAY. Those are super volunteers.

Miami Man had been on my potential race list ... in fact I entertained the idea of jumping in to do the full 70.3 because my last race was shortened but I'm happy I didn't. I'm not sure if I want to do this race actually.  I'm not sure if I like the course. Plus it's the same size in participants as the Rev3 race but I just don't think it's as organized. Maybe I'm being picky ... people who race it do seem to love it.

Volunteers ROCK!
So as a policy I always thank volunteers as I race. Well not during the swim because I'm not sure how I would do that. I always read that you should that I should thank volunteers and so a while back I started thanking folks and I just keep doing it. I thank police officers at intersections on the bike and run and also at the aid stations. I'm definitely going to keep doing that because volunteering really is hard work and also I really am thankful for people out there when I race.

Up Next!
Stretching is in order for today and lifting those heavy things outside ... what are they called again ... oh right, weights.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Slacking big time

These past two weeks I've taken recovery to a whole new level.

Admittedly the first week I was down for the count with a pretty severe head cold. So, I did the best I could do which was ... nothing except lie in bed and go through Kleenex like crazy. After a few days I moved up to also going through cough drops like crazy. I might have been a tad grouchy. My husband would not use the word grouchy his word would rhyme with itchy.

Saturday I was feeling better so I did my long run which was supposed to be an hour but my Kleenex was toast by 20 minutes so I cut it short to merely 45 minutes. I felt okay other than the constant running nose. So I planned to do Sunday's 3h30 min bike ride.

Sunday - daylight savings time. Oh the joy. I was, of course, up an hour early. Oops. I caught it while still in bed because I had my phone nearby which had the correct time. All of my various electronics were near the bed because I had stayed up late to watch the finishing video of my friends who raced the Florida Ironman in Panama City. All of my friends did AMAZINGLY well and it was terrific to watch them cross the finish line.

Back to jabbering about me. So it was chilly for the bike ride but otherwise a beautiful day. However, I learned that I was not fully recovered from my cold and that I was entirely too snotty to ride well. There was even a short and pretty hysterical lesson in how to shoot a snot rocket from my riding buddy Enrique. I declined to snot rocket because I think boogers on my arm are ... gross.

I actually fell back from the group which hasn't happened in what feels like a long time. Thank you to my buddy Alberto who got me back to the group. So that was humbling.

Since then I've been resting. My chest still feels tight. And I just haven't found the motivation to get back out and train. Yesterday I thought I'd swim ... I hung up my swimsuit the night before, I shaved my legs, but I didn't go. This morning was my first run. It wasn't great. The first 1/2 mile was especially frustrating but by the end I found my rhythm back and I felt better. I did have a total coughing fit about 5 minutes after I finished so I'm still a little on the mend.

Thinking about biking. I really want to work on being a stronger cyclist. I am a lot stronger than I was so I don't want to ignore that. But I want to be stronger. In my age group at Rev 3 I was 14th out of 18th on the bike. Yuck! I also don't like being afraid of things and so I don't want to be afraid of the wind again. Doing the ride probably helped with that because now I know I can do it. So the brain is working overtime here what should be the plan to get better. I know that part of the the answer is ride more, ride faster, ride harder, ride more. So I have to figure out how to make that happen. Suggestions - tips, ideas, all wanted and needed.

Tomorrow I'm going to swim -- I swear it :-0 . Sunday I'm going to cheer for my friends racing MiamiMan! And in case you're curious next up for me is the Miami Marathon. I'm not actually registered yet but my plan is to run the full.

Last thing - Check out my buddy Christina's new blog which starts with her Ironman Florida race report. She is crazy fast. Also since I train with her I'll just back up what she was saying about not training. She really didn't train much these past few months and she still pulled out a faster Ironman split than I'll probably ever see in my life.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rev3 Venice Florida - Race Report

This race report has been a tad delayed because I was sidelined ... am still sidelined a little bit by the worlds worst head cold. I had thought it was allergies from dust/mold in the hotel room but it turns out it was a funky funky virus that sunk it's teeth into me starting Sunday morning - yup race day.

The Big Story - SANDY

The big story with this race is the weather. Sandy cruised through the Atlantic off the East Coast of Florida a few days before the race and kicked up the surf something fierce.

We arrived in Venice on Friday - when we left Miami early Friday the weather was ridiculously bad, windy and wet.
This was the rain on the way from Miami to Venice. Yuck.

The Amy-nator on the bike rack getting a good soaking.

In Venice it was nice and sunny and breezy. We went by the pier where the race would be and the surf was really kicked up. After dinner I walked out to the end of the pier with my kids and was definitely thrown off guard to see at least 5-7 foot rollers toward the end of the pier.
The AG dolls with the birthday girl were all dry for the ride.

 Before the race
Saturday we planned to go to the practice swim but it was cancelled due to high surf.
This was the surf Friday. This may not look like much but it's so much more than it should be. See way out there at the end of the pier. Big waves.
for comparison this is the ocean in Miami a few days before notice no rollers or breakers and the gulf is normally more mild than this.
again - here's the gulf on Friday by the pier. See all the white ... that doesn't belong in the gulf that's all from Sandy's winds. Admittedly in other places like NJ or the outer banks this is nothing but for us it means winds and rip currents.

Then we planned to ride our bikes from the hotel to the race site to check our bikes and attend the pre-race athlete meeting. Also my neices and nephew did the Little Rev Race which was a lot of fun.

The ride over scared me pretty feircly. About 2 minutes into the short ride we went over a canal bridge and I caught a gust and thought I was being blown into traffic. I am not terribly brave on the bike and when the wind grabs my not to  deep aero wheels I feel totally out of control. So I was freaked. I stopped twice to gather my wits and keep going. My brother did try to encourage me to calm down but fear is fear. I really was wondering if I would be able to race the next day.

I made it to the race site where we immediately learned that bike check in was delayed because it was too windy. So we hung out and talked to other racers. Watched the little rev race which was super cute and listened to the Athlete meeting where we learned that the decision about the swim would be made 2-hours before race start.
during the race meeting the sheriff described the city of Venice like this. "Florida is known to have a lot of senior residents. Well all the parents of those seniors live in Venice." Ha! It was a good joke.

The bike mechanic was busy changing peoples wheels out from the deep aero wheels and I talked to a nice girl who was my size who had recently raced in Amelia Island. She said she had never been so scared in her life with the wind. That sounded like how I felt and I decided then and there to change out my front wheel to the stock wheel for the race. Luckily I had brought it with me.
in my pjs after cake putting on my race tattoos. You have no idea how confusing putting your age on your calf is. It's upside down and backwards. Too funny. My daughter helped me get it right. I almost made my age 36. But that's okay I met a woman in the morning who instead of 40 was 04. Ha!

We finished out the day with dinner at an Italian restaurant and birthday cake in the hotel for my daughter because it was her 9th birthday. I changed out my wheel and also decided not to use my aero helmet just because it's new. My decision was just to stick to what I knew so that I could focus on my mental state and not give myself any excuses to tackle this race head on.
Cake in the hotel room!

I went to sleep praying the wind would slow down over night.

Race Day
I slept on the pullout couch and slept lightly waking up every hour or so. I finally got up at 5 and was very congested, my eyes were swollen and my throat was scratchy. We had all been puffy in this hotel room so I blew my nose and washed my face with a super hot towel and headed down for some hot coffee at breakfast.  I also checked the weather - winds 21mph.

I kept trying to think of visual ways to show how windy it was in photos because ... it's invisible. But 20-30 mph of wind is really windy.

At breakfast we learned from another racer that the age-group swim had been cancelled. Start would be a time-trial start onto the bike. I wasn't suprised. My brother was bummed because he can swim through anything and it would give him some advantage. But he also knows that there are lots of people who don't have his swim skills so he understood the reason for the call.
notice the flag. It was windy.

So we killed some time and then headed over to the race site. We dropped off our stuff in transition and went for a warm up on the bike. I was thrilled with the difference with the smaller front wheel. I felt totally in control of my bike and I was ready to race. I was also sniffling a little bit so I tucked some tissues into my tri-suit.
In transition our numbered spots even had our name on them. It was super cool. I took mine home.

The start
We watched the pros start their run which was fun. They are so tall and fit - and of course, crazy fast. Then we lined up and one by one we ran into transition and headed out onto the bike.

The Bike
I was super excited to get on the bike because I now had my skinny wheel and I wasn't afraid to ride. I was ready to buckle down and go. So I hopped on the bike and went. Right from the start the wind was apparent but not bad because it was mostly behind us.

I was immediately sniffling from what I thought was my allergies from the hotel room. But I was making good time for the first 15-20 miles. We went through what was a section right by the beach - it was the most beautiful section of a bike ride I've ever done.

We also went over some bridges which was nerve-wracking for me. At the end of the second bridge I caught a crosswind which knocked me a good 3 feet to the side and really made my heart pound.

I was first passed by my friend Nick. Then Janeth who gave me good advice and Marty who made rocket noises. Then Jeremy my brother.

Then we turned into the wind and it was just relentless from then on. It was noisy in my ears it was hard endless grinding on the bike and I just felt like I was getting nowhere. I was going 13-18 mph (the 18 was not happening often) and I should say that while a lot of folks passed me I passed a lot of people with my 13 miles an hour. It was nuts.

Around mile 25 I realized I wasn't fighting allergies - I had caught a cold. Bummer. and gross too. My gloves were pretty covered in snot. Gross I know.

There were three water/ supply stops during the course and volunteers at every corner. The volunteers were AMAZING! One benefit of an older community for this race is that instead of high schoolers we had seniors as volunteers they smiled, they rang bells, they cheered - it was awesome. Plus they were everywhere. It was tremendous.  In comparison at Motivation Man in June I saw one group of cheering folks on the whole bike (there I somehow missed the one bottle exchange - don't ask).

I was concentrating on taking in my calories (3 bottles of infinit, and 2 gus for the course) and I realized around mile 40 that my morale was low and I was having trouble thinking. I had just passed my brother - who had a flat but I didn't know that then. I needed to refill my hydration bladder and eat my gu and they were all on the right side of my bike. I'm not great at getting to things on the right side of me. So I actually stopped and made sure I filled up my bladder, ate my whole gu, blew my nose and started again. I normally wouldn't do this but it was the right thing for me in this race because even with all my calories it was a really hard day.

In other news my tri shorts and I are not friends. These are Sugoi shorts and they are my coach K kit but man are they painful. They will not be making another race appearance for a race this long. No way. Ouch!

Around mile 50 I actually started thinking that I might not continue on for the run. I've never had that thought during a race but that's how hard this was for me. But then I just sucked it up and went on.
Finally off the bike!

And just like that the bike was finished. I've never been so happy to be off my bike.

The Run
In transition I went to my bag and found tissues. I fully accepted that I had a little cold at this point. I grabbed all my Gu and went.

The run was flat and pretty there were plenty of water stops with ice and food and everything you could want. It was windy but on the run that's not so bad.

I remembered my watch for the run so I was trying to keep my pace as close to 9 minutes as possible and I did that all the way.

I don't love loop courses but it is nice to see the family half-way. I saw Nick and Janeth on the course and Jeremy too. I was surprised he hadn't caught me on the bike and it motivated me to keep my pace up to try to hold him off. Sibling Rivalry - what can I say.

All the runners have names on their bibs so I took to encouraging the folks around me. Just like on the bike the volunteers were amazing. They took their jobs seriously. It's a long day to volunteer for an event like this and they did a great, great, great job. They wore costumes, they rang bells, they cheered us on, they made jokes. I can't say enough good things about these volunteers.

I was worried about staying hydrated so I took water and Pepsi at each station. I ate my gus and even took a powergel late into the course. I walked each water station because I'm unable to swallow while jogging but I tried not to lollygag. Except the last turn-a-round - I walked that whole stretch and really savored it.  I even stopped to go to the bathroom :-) And I still ran 2:10.

The Results 5:26
Okay so my goal was 5:30 and here's a funny thing. I took a goal setting workshop a few years ago and one of the things the woman said was to be specific in your goals otherwise the universe can do funny things to you. Her example was you wish for a weekend with family. Well if you're not specific that weekend with family could be for a funeral. Horrible I know. But in this case I set the goal as 5:30 and I hit it but not really because there was no swim. The universe works in funny ways.
The best cheering crew. The master cheerleader Amanda is behind the camera but it's her who gets all the kids to where they are supposed to be on time and wearing the cute shirts.

I'm really proud of my run. I didn't know if I could do a 2:10-2:15 half after a long bike but I did and it was a really tough bike and I was a little sick.

I'm also proud of my bike. It wasn't amazing or anything but I got it done even though I was afraid. And it points out a huge weakness of mine. So now I can work on those weaknesses. Riding in the wind and better bike control skills.
Here's my brother and me after the race. I was actually chilled in the wind ... or maybe I had a little fever who knows actually. But happy to be with my family and to be finished.

And also by luck I beat my brother by 2-3 minutes. Okay so he got a flat. but I'll take it. Happy Birthday to me!
cool medal, cool race, great swag. Good times.

Other general stuff
This is a great race location. The town and the volunteers really were amazing. The course is very pretty ... I mean some of the bike is just highway and highway is highway but for 56 miles you're gonna get some bland spots.

Rev3 puts on a great race. They were troopers from the start about the weather. They really are nice people and this was a fun time. You can really tell that they are doing this for the racers. When you ask a Rev3 rep a question - you get an answer and not the run around. We asked why bike check-in was cancelled and they said we're afraid the bikes will fall over and be damaged. It was a hassle but seemed honest.
This is me picking up my kids to run through the finish. I cannot tell you what a great thing it is that they encourage this at Rev3. It makes a huge difference to me. My kids LOVE it. LOVE it!

There were just under 500 racers for this event. I'm not sure how many they need to repeat this event but I do hope they continue here because I'd do it again for sure.

In Closing
So if I had one this was my "A" race for the year. I built my endurance for it and I had a big goal. I can't say I hit the goal but I think my training definitely paid off. I know that I wouldn't have been able to complete that bike as I did without all the training. I'm not rushing to sign up for another 70.3 before 12/31 instead I'm recovering from my cold. The 5:30 goal still stands for next year.

And just for fun here's the Age Group video Rev3 put together and I'm in it! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Traditions - worrying about the weather before the race

Well the caravan has headed out for the West coast of Florida for rev3 Venice. This is my last race for the year.

Of course, if you are watching the weather you know Hurricane Sandy is hanging out off the coast pelting us with sideways rain and 20-30 mph winds (possibly gusting to 50 mph!) Not ideal race conditions. I'm trying not to panic about the weather. Sadly, this year that has become habit.

Looking back this year almost every race after Nautica (April 1st), has had ridiculous weather before the race. Motivation Man - crazy rain till hours before the race. One trilogy it rained hard until seconds before the start. The Key Biscayne half-marathon well that was horrible rain and wind through the whole race actually. Then Escape to Miami also crazy rain and wind the whole day before.

So in theory the storm should move North and not be a big factor on Sunday. But if it doesn't quite do that - well it could be interesting on race day.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Triathlon Training Thursday - again on Friday

Making the self-imposed Thursday deadline for the blog post is something I haven't been so accurate with lately. oops. Oh well.

This week's lame excuse is construction in the house that had the computers all covered up with plastic and also my family arrived for vacation / Rev3 racing.

So, that's exciting. Yesterday we all sat on the couch reading the Rev3 athlete information on the couch. I chose this race for 2 reasons. First, I think the Miami 70.3 course is yucky (the races are the same day), and second but more importantly to me the Rev3 advertising was that the race was family-oriented.

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law emailed the organizers asking was their a playground near the tranisition area and the response we got was a little vague so we were both a little concerned that maybe it wasn't going to be so kid friendly in the end. But the athlete packet was filled with things that are for the family / kids to do. They are having trick-or-treating at the expo (come in costume even), a family adventure race (we're not sure what that is but it sounds like fun), and inflatables to play on near the finish line - plus and this is a biggie for us, a family finish line. That means that without breaking any rules my kids can run with me over the finish line. They love that, I love that and so I'm glad they have it.

Race expectations:

My official goal for this race has been and still is 5:3x. That means anything in the 5:30's so if I hit 5:39 I'll be thrilled. This would be a massive improvement from my first 70.3 and it is a long shot. Why is it a long shot? Well because if you take my recent results at Escape to Miami and extend that to this longer distance it's 5:59. Sadly, that's not the way these things work as the distance gets longer you don't just usually hold the same pace. You usually slow down.

There are a lot of other things that could happen that would work together to not hitting that goal and so while I'm striving for it I'm not emotionally invested in the absolute result.  That being said here's how I hope it plays out.

Swim 40 minutes
Here's hoping for a freak cold snap between now and next Sunday that doesn't bring wind or rain so that we can wear our wetsuits. It's not likely that this will happen but in a swim this long the wetsuit makes a pretty big difference so here's hoping. Also, hoping for little to no surf or current or even a favorable current (which is impossible given the course.) Lastly, the course has to be correctly measured and have enough buoys out for me to swim a straight line. This is I think a smaller race so I could be swimming by myself out there and I tend to swim in not a straight line if I can't see the next buoy.

T1 - 4 minutes
I'm allowing a little extra time here than I think it will take for things like taking off a speedsuit or wetsuit.

Bike 2:59:59
I hope to break 3 hours on the bike. That's the long and short of my goal right there. In order to do this I'll have to stay very focused on the bike and keep the speed up the whole way. Also, a headwind for any significant portion of the course will make this harder but we'll see. Holding 20 mph on the bike is pretty crazy fast for me. My time at my last 56 mile race was 3:01 but in truth the course was a little short according to my watch.

T2 - 4 minutes
Again allowing for extra time and not forgetting to reapply sunscreen.

Run 2:03
Here's the wild card. How much can I expect to be able to run for those 13.1 miles. I walked a lot of my first 70.3 half-marathon which resulted in a not excellent 2:41 time. It was extremely hot. This race will be warm but nowhere near as hot as mid-summer. Still a freak cold-snap would bring this much closer to reality. But can I crank out a 2 hour half-marathon after biking 56 miles? I have no idea. That's the truth. In order to do this I will have to really stay super focused and be willing to be in a very uncomfortable state of pushing hard for the run. This is honestly something I'm not terribly good at doing outside of race days so for example in yesterday's run when I got miserable I slowed down. I'm better at pushing myself in races but I'm not super great at it even then. So, I don't know how this will feel on race day. So we'll see. I am thrilled beyond any imaginable feeling that it's a one loop course. I hate running past the finish line when I still have to do 6 more miles.

That equals 5:38:53 Ahem ...
So that's the goal. I believe a lot in making big goals and then going for it. This is one of those that I'm not sure I can do and I so I won't be crushed if I don't make it as long as I feel like I gave it a good shot. It's going to be fun to race with my brother. He'll probably crush me time-wise but I like race with him. Almost my entire family will be there and that's always the best. Hopefully I remember to pack the t-shirts.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Triathlon Training Thursday - again on Friday

This week has been nutso crazy because of construction at my house. That's actually good news because it means perhaps I've moved past the stage of the perpetual construction delay. On the flip side the dust and the banging are enough to bring chaos to even the most organized mommy and I'm not that organized even.

In the triathlon world I've entered into the taper phase which always makes me edgy. But I'm doing a lot of stretching and generally feeling pretty good.

Oh, and I lost my mind and registered for Ironman France-Nice.

Yup - holy crap.

What makes that even more crazy is that I live in a totally flat state. So, training is a mismatch. But I do actually have a friend who did the race this year and loved it. I keep saying to myself, "Benji did can I."

There are a lot of moments when I'm pretty sure this was a super-dumb decision. Then that passes and I get excited again. I hope it all works out okay.

This is a picture of my front door in progress. We are awaiting inspection of the "beam" to proceed. Please cross your fingers and toes that we are allowed to install the rest of this door today:-)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Triathlon Training Thursday - 3 weeks and counting

I'm gonna make this quick because I got stuff to do other than this blog post. Mostly I need to go bang out my tempo run but I'm delayed while I charge my watch. My Garmin 305 is giving me the most trouble charging. I plug it in and instead of charging it turns on. If I don't notice it just hangs out there being uncharged and when I pick it up ... no charge. Annoying - very annoying.

Last week most of my training buddies went out to race Augusta 70.3. They all did really well. It's a huge race but it looks like a lot of fun. I might put it on the "want to do" list for next year. But really next year is all up in the air still so no promises.

While they were gone my husband was also out of town. So, I did my long run (which wasn't so long) on Friday, took Saturday off to be a single parent, and then I did my bike ride solo on the trainer Sunday. I moved the bike trainer into the living room, got up early and was all ready to watch some crappy movies and pedal my little heart out. But then ... the kids both got up at 6 am.

I know ... seriously they need to learn to sleep in.

So, I did a total of 2.5 hours on the trainer but it was a lot of start and stop. For example I stopped to make them breakfast. And also the movie ended up being some kids movie that I've already forgotten but really that's not what I had in mind as entertainment. I was bored silly. My training plan had a 4 hour ride but my friend Janine told me 2.5 hours on the trainer is like 4 hours of real riding. I'm pretty sure my trainer session was not equivalent to 4 hours of riding but it was the best I could do.

I have made both swimming workouts this week which is good. Yesterday I did get the barfies half-way through the workout. That hasn't happened in a while. It wasn't a terribly hard workout and so I'm not entirely sure what was up. I got plenty of sleep the night before ... but I didn't really eat well the day before and I think that might have set me off. To be honest my stomach was unsettled when I woke up. So, whatever - I hopped out of the pool onto terra firma for about 2 minutes. Did not actually barf which is always good and then finished the workout. Swimming ... it's just not my comfort sport.

This post could use some photos ... but uh ... there are none. Okay better update next week. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Some fun things

So these images have been going around but if you haven't seen them they are worth sharing.

It's also fun to know that he was totally able to fund his project. It's a tough thing to get funding for creative projects and this is a good one so I'm glad it worked.

And this is a video of a bike exchange during a race. You might have to watch it more than once to see what's happening. I did. Speaking as someone who's afraid to try this mount even once I find it super impressive.

Now I'm back to my day as a school mom. Kindergarten as it turns out is a full-time job!

Friday, September 28, 2012

An update in the whole Ironman selection process

Allrighty so I was decided Vineman was the way to go. But then ...
  • I learned that there was a pretty big 70.3 on the same course on the same day. I hate, hate, hate running marathons when there is a half on the same course. It's just mentally tough when you see 95% of the participants turn off for the finish and you're not quite halfway.. I wondered whether I would feel the same way through the full distance (yup probably).
  • I was having a little bit of trouble convincing my training group to do the Vineman. Training alone is not so much fun for me.
  • My husband has a co-worker who has done an Ironman and he said Vineman wasn't a good choice for me since I'm coming from Florida I should choose a flat course. (Okay never mind that I have what 50 friends who've done Ironman races around the world - my husband knows one guy and so that word is gospel ... whatever, spousal support is really important in this endeavor). The irony of the flat course choice continues ... wait for it.
  • And lastly several people asked if I didn't want my first race to actually be an Ironman - I actually don't think I care about that to be honest. As long as it's a well done race I'm in.
So, I came home from my long run last week and my husband said, "I think you should do the Vineman half and the Florida full." These were his exact words. I couldn't believe it. I am so over the moon that he's supporting me in this journey.

But as it happens at post run breakfast the training group had been discussing races. They had been bouncing around the following races: Ironman Nice (in France), Lake Placid, Coeur D'Alene Idaho.

So I told my husband about those options. Idaho didn't much excite him, Lake Placid was so-so but France he was pretty excited. Of course France is a hilly course. But since it's in France my husband is less concerned that it's a bad choice for me. See the irony? He did say I should check with my coach. So, I will.

So, we're back to the drawing board a little bit. If I want to get into Florida I need to go up there and volunteer this year. So I'm checking the volunteer signups. Stat tuned because anything could happen.