Monday, May 20, 2013

5 weeks or one month till Ironman France - and oh yes I was attacked by a bird while swimming

I leave for France June 19th but that's still 5 weeks away.

I know - I don't understand it either. Just go with it.

I was attacked by a bird while swimming
This is of course the big news of the week. Sadly I did not take any pictures so my words will have to do.

Many of my training mates were off in Haines City slogging it out in the heat - I mean racing Ironman Florida 70.3. Not me - I was here. Luckily so was my buddy Jim. The plan for the morning was 10 miles then a 1.5 mile swim.

The run was uneventful. Also because I wasn't alone it was faster than normal. I really do wish I could convince myself to run faster alone but I'll take what I can get.

The swim started out really well. The water was great. We swam out 7 buoys (yes, here in Florida we have a permanently marked measured course ... yes you should move here) and turned around and came back.

Between buoy 2-3 I thought I felt something nibble my toe. I stayed calm and kicked harder for a few strokes to discourage whatever animal had confused me for a snack. And then it bit me.

I turned around and found one of these behind me. It's a cormorant.

I have always operated with the understanding that I'm (this is the royal "I" including all other humans near me in the "I") the biggest thing swimming around out there and therefore all other marine life will most likely ignore me. Jellyfish don't count because they don't have brains and therefore if they are in the water ... I try not to be in the water because they can't be avoided and they hurt a lot.

This little bugger had not gotten that memo. He was about 2 feet from me giving me his little beady eye. It was creepy. So I yelled at him, "Go Away!" And then I swam like hell for about 25 yards in the direction of my fellow swimmer Jim. I was kicking like mad to discourage this fowl from biting me again. Didn't work.
Here's another picture. In his little brain he's probably thinking mmmm your toes look delicious.
Each time it bit me was on a toe. And it didn't break the skin or even hurt very much. But it did seriously creep me out. So now I took a new tactic which was basically to scream at this bird like a banshee and flail about. Part of my master plan was to splash the bird. Which in hindsight is stupid because it lives in the water and didn't care at all about my splashing.

These birds swim under the water. So I would give me it's beady eye and then go under water where I couldn't really see it - probably looking to take a bite out of my clearly delicious toes again. I could practically hear the soundtrack to Jaws playing and I would scream and splash and it was generally a ridiculous situation.  It's okay to laugh because it was pretty ridiculous.

At some point Jim popped up and asked, "is this bird following us?" I said yes and explained how it bit me. He did what I probably would have done which is looked at me like I was a little crazy and swam off- calmly. I in turn decided to swim frantically towards shore. 

I was in full-fledged panic mode and after a few strokes when I had to stop to ... well breathe. I then realized the bird was going after my friend instead of me.  While it doesn't make me a good friend I'll admit I was relieved and I then actually flopped onto my back in full survival float mode and tried to get my heart to stop pounding out of my chest.

Then I head Jim yell, "Hey, it bit me!" I was of course a little validated that he now knew I wasn't making it up. And then somehow he got the bird to actually fly away and he swam on. I don't know if he hit it or if it was his deeper voice that scared him off. But what I do know is that where my friend Jim is one cool cucumber - I was a mess. I swam the rest of the way in about 2 feet deep right next to shore because every shadow, every piece of sea grass I saw and touched even the little swells in the water I was sure was that stupid bird back to get me again. 

Seriously these things only happen to me.   Since I didn't have my camera I drew you a picture with the doodle app on my phone. 
Those little black things are my goggles and yes I was wearing a green swim cap.
 Other less exciting training news
This was my second 18+ hour training week in a row. Yes I am tired. I ran 18 miles Saturday. 10 in the morning and 8 in the evening. For the second run I sported my new lululemon running skirt - didn't love it. I know how is that possible - everyone loves them. I dunno the skirt sort of smacks me in the legs. I feel that one should not "feel" ones running shorts. I also have this new little in-hand water bottle. It's a little annoying but perhaps not as annoying as the around the waist bottles. 
I know if my family truly supported me they would be there to take the picture of me in my skirt. But nooooo they were at "dinner." seriously where are their priorities?
Then Sunday was a 5 hour recovery ride. Yes "5 hour + recovery ride" in the same sentence. It means I rode slowly and easily but still for 5 hours. My coach stressed the not fast part with capital letters and lots of !!!!!! So, I listened. Also my legs were really tired so it wasn't really possible to push without discomfort.

It was fine. I set my timer to beep every 7 minutes and took sips of Infinit then and what do you know I managed to drink all my Infinit.  I will admit I'm pretty sick of it at this point but that's neither here nor there because I've got another 5 weeks of Infinit goodness on the bike.  

I continue to have toe cramps on the bike. My bike trainer thinks it's my shoes that I would benefit from a larger toe box. Maybe. I think it might also be from tired muscles. Either way I now understand why people complain about cramping - it hurts a lot.

At the end of the ride I had some heat rash on my thighs. This is mysterious because it's not totally under my bike shorts that this happens (note the fab bike short tan line) and it's on the top of my thighs. I don't understand it. I also don't like it. Today I'm wearing pants and applying cortizone cream. Hopefully it goes away on it's own. 
Say it with me, eeewwwww.
And that's pretty much it. Today is a rest day. I was tempted to go and swim anyway but I'm gonna go ahead and rest since I can. Did I mention I'm tired? Also, I feel that keeping the heat rash out of the sun is best. That's based on nothing except that it's a little embarrassing and so it should be hidden from sight.


  1. Fantastic art! I especially like the way you can see it's from an app :)

  2. Excellent blog you’ve got here.It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!! Please check out my site.
    Adult swim lessons