About Me

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Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Friday, June 30, 2006

Ecstasy in my 12-Miler?

I normally do my long runs on Saturdays, but since I'll be out of town this weekend (yay!!!), I wanted to tackle the run early so as to feel the sense of relief one feels when you put aloe on a sunburn. Pure and utter ecstasy! Unfortunately, I felt far from pure and utter ecstasy this morning when the alarm went off at 4:45am. A little groggy from early morning workouts this week and drinking wine with my late dinner last night left me wanting to stay in bed...Fortunately, I was meeting Scud, Cindy, Lisa and Thon at Runtex at 5:30am. It was my idea to run on Friday so I absolutely couldn't bail! I was just happy that there were others who wanted to do the same thing.

The entire run was kept at a comfortable pace, but we did the challenging 12 mile Scenic Course backwards for a little change. That meant that the Exposition hills came early and often. I think I was being cursed at that moment by everyone for switching the course around. It didn't help that we saw a huge snake (dead I think) by the side of the road. It wasn't easy, but it was a relaxing run. Lisa, who is new to gazelles, commented that you really get to KNOW your running partners at 5:30am. She's absolutely right. There are no filters. If you feel crappy, everyone knows. Hell, if you have to crap, everyone knows. There's intimacy in being so raw...Much like a sunburn. You feel every ounce of pain until you cover it up with ointment (I can't believe I typed an "oi" word). I felt sluggish and groggy until I covered it up with my breath and sweat on the hills. Now, I really can leave town in pure and utter ecstasy!! I just have to finish packing now...

12 miles approx.
9:00 min pace--good recovery pace after the Mile Repeats on Wednesday.

No word on my bike yet! Still hoping for the best.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

My Baby's Sick

If you read my entry from June 19th about the Eagleman Race Expo, you learned that there was a while where I didn't think I would be racing the next day because, for some reason, the hub of my wheel was scraping against the fork of the bike when we reassembled it. Something just wasn't fitting correctly. The wonderful on-site mechanic from www.tri-speed.com worked a miracle and somehow got a small separation so that there was no rubbing. Well, I went to ride yesterday for a bit and I noticed it was rubbing again. Yes, it's been over two weeks since race day and I'm just now getting back in the saddle (literally). The front wheel just doesn't fit right in the fork. Instead of fitting in the center, it is stuck towards the left brake. I'm speculating that the fork was bent in shipment to the race. This is so not good. I took it into Jack and Adam's last night and they appeared to confirm what I was thinking. The fork may be slightly warped. He also confirmed what I was thinking..."It ain't good." I left "the mango blur" in intensive care with the doctor/mechanics at the bike shop and they said they would take a look at it and see what they could do.

So, while you're praying in thanksgiving for all that is good and you're praying for world peace and an end to hunger and hatred, say a little selfish prayer that the "mango blur" is only suffering from a sprain and not a broken bone. I don't think a cast will fix it.

On a better note, swim class this morning was great. Several people were back after their races this weekend and shared their own personal victories and horror stories. We did lots of warm up drills with and without fins. Our main set was a 300 at 85% effort (6:45 for me) and 6 x 50s on the :15 interval. Basically, I was swimming the 50s in about 1:00-1:02. Not bad for me...
Total workout= 2700m 5:45am-7:15am

We also have a T3 Happy Hour tonight after work. Since I don't really know many of these people, I'm planning on stopping by and sharing a toast. It's hard to converse when your head is submerged in water for over an hour and the only conversation you share between sets (and breaths) is, "I suck at this drill. Why don't you go ahead of me."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Full of Speed

Dare I say it was a little chilly this morning when I headed out the door at 5:30am for my Gazelle workout? It wasn't so much cold as there was no humidity in the air. It was a fabulous crisp morning. I don't normally dread these workouts, but today was a little different because it was my first "speed" workout in about two months. We were doing mile repeats at Zilker Park. Between tapering for Boston and tri training, I really hadn't done any speedwork. I was a little afraid to find out just how much speed I had lost in the interest of gaining more endurance for the longer races.

We started at Runtex and warmed up 1.6 miles to Zilker Park. After out drill set (skips, shuffle, high kness, butt kicks, strides, etc), we gathered so that Coach G could break us into different speed groups for the Mile Repeats. These mile repeats aren't like doing them on the flat track. It's a one mile loop with inclines, declines and turns. There's even a pretty good size hill on this loop. We alternate directions so sometimes we go down the hill and sometimes we run up it. It definitely has a way of stirring up the lactic acid like shaking a Coke can! Somehow (with some poking and prodding from Amy), I was put in group B with some speedos like Tom, Frank, Amy, Lee and others I don't know. I wasn't sure I could hold my own.

Mile 1: 6:54..Too fast and coach let us know it. The good news is that it didn't feel that bad.
Mile 2: 6:53..we ran up the hill on this one. At least we're being consistent.
Mile 3: 6:53..Is anyone else hurting because I am! I definitely felt that one.
Mile 4: 6:48..This was our last one and I was quickly running out of gas. It definitely hurt even though I was faster than the previous ones. I know I didn't have another one in me at that pace.

Even Group C behind us were coming in in the 6:30 range. Today's workout showed me a couple of things. First, I didn't lose any strength. These repeats were faster than ever and I was able to hold on to a steady pace. It also showed me that my first repeats were too fast. I wanted to run in the 6:30 range for the last one, but couldn't do it.

I was thrilled when he stopped us after four repeats. It was a hard workout, but a fulfilling one. Just like life...hard, but fulfilling.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Swim and Core Day

My Mom says my posts are too long and complicated so I'll make this one short and sweet. Of course, this comment also comes from a woman who has no earthly idea how to use a cell phone, because she also thinks they are too complicated. I'll take it for what it's worth. (love you Mom!)

I started back officially to T3 Swim workouts this morning at 5:45am. I'm going to tackle the swims in the morning as much as possible this summer and fall. I swear I almost turned back around and headed straight back home and into bed. I spent the entire commute dreading getting into the cold water and being the slowest. However, I then spent the majority of workout absolutely loving it (ok-except for any freaking kicking drill!) I especially love swimming with fins because it's the only time I feel like I'm getting anywhere with speed and grace. I say any sport that you actually need to wear apparatus to make you look like the animal you're emulating proves that it's not a natural sport. By the time I put on a black rubber wetsuit, swim cap and fins, I pretty much look like a whale! Maybe tomorrow I'll wear a gazelle costume to run class in order to move quicker! I don't know what I'll do to cycle faster. Buy a tandem and strap Lance Armstrong on the back?? God knows he's somewhat of an animal!

Class ended at 7:15am and I swear I didn't want to get out. The morning was that beautiful. It's good to be back and I have to hold onto that feeling everytime I'm dreading it.

Tonight, I actually had the good fortune of having NOTHING planned after work. I did, however, do a 45 minute core workout complete with arms, legs and abs work to the beats of the latest podrunner podcast. I'm swear, if you want to get lost in a workout and make the time fly by, download some of these great mixes at www.fitpod.com or www.djsteveboy.com . They keep the HR thumping.

I'm off to do the real sexy glamorous things like unloading the dishwasher, dusting and putting laundry away. I'm inching ever closer to getting my place on the market so I must prepare (i.e. make it spotless).

Monday, June 26, 2006

Tri-ing to Get Back Into The Swing of Things

Congrats to all who did wondrous works at Buffalo Springs Half-Ironman and Ironman Couer d’Alene this past weekend. Your stories and adventures continue to inspire!

I’m so cheerful and anxious to ease my way back into regular workouts. In addition to one or two smaller races that I may do this summer, I’m DEFINITELY doing the Ironman 70.3 World Championship Race in November in Clearwater, Florida. (i.e another Half-Ironman). It’s such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not to be passed up! The good news is that I have a good base and I’m definitely not starting from scratch. Intense workouts can wait for a month or two only to commence during the blazing months of August and September…not a fun time to be outdoors past 7:00am in Austin, Texas. In the meantime, I’m easing back into my regular Gazelle Running Workouts and Swim Practices bright and early in the mornings.

Went swimming on Friday and just took it easy…Lots of drills, balance work, kick boards (which I hate), etc. It felt refreshing not having to battle waves and jellyfish from the Eagleman. I’m selfishly happy to read Desiree Ficker’s account of the swim pretty much mirrored mine, except for her swim was about 30 minutes faster than mine!) See her recent blog post about that race. Oh yeah--and she came in third place.

I did the 14-mile Mt. Bonnell run with the Gazelles on Saturday morning. It was blissful hanging with one of the largest clusters of runners in a long time including Amy F., Mike, Thon, Richard, Jay, Jan, Brad, Shannon, Leslie, Susan, Emily and so many others that have been missing from my daily routine for a while. Everyone seems to be feeling good and upbeat about their Fall/Winter races. All was great until Jay threatened to sing “Jesse’s Girl!” Actually, the first 7 miles were pretty miserable under a blanket of intense humidity. Finally, with about 5 miles to go, the skies let loose with a welcomed solid downpour. It cooled things off and actually made the run go better. While I’m not fully recovered, it felt good to “get the lead out.”

I’m happy to say that I sat on my ass most of Sunday. Well, not really, but I didn’t do a lick of exercise. It was strange to not even get out of bed until 9:30am. I was out until a whopping 1:00 am the night before having gone to see the “Journey Sing-a-Long” at Alamo Drafthouse with some friends. What a blast!!! It reminded me that I can be human and social for a change.

I hit the Gazelle workout again this morning for more plyometrics, sprints, hops and other balance drills. Overall, we ran about 6 ½ miles including the long warmup and the long cool down run.

I’m beginning to feel alive again!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Happy Boithday Mike!

Yes, I'm aware that I misspelled "Birthday." Read on...

Went to a surprise birthday party the other night for my Running Hubby Mike. He FINALLY hit the Big 3-0! What a baby :-)

A great time was had by all and his real-life fiance Hava did an amazing job of picking the location, wrangling a bunch of strangers and getting us there for a proper surprise.Unfortunately, the hostess was escorting all 12 of us to our table as Mike and Hava were walking in the door. Therefore the "surprise" element was revealed at the hostess stand of a very crowded restaurant. It certainly didn't spoil a great night however.

Now, one of the things my friends know about me is that I hate words with the "oi" sound. There's just nothing pleasing to the ear when you're talking about putting on an ointment! eeewwwww
However, I will say to Hava, "Thank you so much for picking out an incredible, fabulous, tasty MOIST cake!" (I'm cringing as I type!)

Happy Birthday Mike! I dig being your "running wife."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Dorky Triathlete Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a mediocre triathlete who dreamed about being a World Championship Racer. Sorta…

For those that are even remotely interested in getting a slot in this year’s Inaugural Ironman 70.3 World Championship Race in Clearwater Beach, Florida, pay attention.

Prior to the Eagleman 70.3 in Maryland, I had given zero thought or consideration to the World Championship Race (i.e. Mini Kona) this November. Like most average competitors, I just wanted to survive the race with dignity and pride. Having read over the race materials, I know that they had slots available for both the Kona Full Ironman and the 70.3 Race in Florida, as well as other Ironman races. Those were the pages that I typically skipped over when browsing through my race materials. Quite frankly, I didn’t (and still don’t) really know how the system works.

I have however learned three things since June 11, 2006:
1.) If your friends encourage you to watch the awards ceremony and drink a beer with them after the race, do it.
2.) You don’t have to be #1 or #2 in your age group to be awarded these coveted positions. In many cases, you just have to be present, willing and have $250 in your checking account.
3.) Sticking around late and being patient is often the key.

You see where I’m going with this.

Each age group had a certain number of 70.3 slots and that number was based on the amount of participants within the age group. For Women 30-34, they had 7 slots. For men 45-49, there were like 13 slots. Crazy, I know. Ideally, those slots would go to the Top 7 (or 13 or whatever) athletes within that age group. Of course they would. Those are the athletes that deserve it. However, as you can imagine, a couple of things happen. Lots of people aren’t really “in the know” about this event yet and they don’t stick around for the awards ceremony. Some of those athletes aren’t interested in going. Some of them are training for other races. Some of them don’t want to spend the money on travel, lodging, etc. Some of them just don’t care.

Shawn and I kinda fell in the “I’ll never get a slot because I’m not fast enough so why bother” category. If it weren’t for our friends Tracy and Bob, we wouldn’t have hung out to watch the Awards anyways. However, they started talking about these available slots and how much they wanted to get one. Hell, they’d already booked their hotel in Clearwater Beach! They invited us to drink some beers and hang out just to see what would happen. Ummm…okay.

Well, even though the Eagleman Race was INCREDIBLY organized and wonderfully executed by all race staff beyond all expectation, the awards ceremony was not. I direct a race and know how incredibly difficult and hectic it is on race day. The Race Director who was handing out the slots quickly in order to keep things moving, wasn’t corresponding well with the folks who were at tables keeping track of slot counts and certificate distribution. For a while, it was slightly chaotic. Most age groups were going down to the middle of the pack to get slots filled. Some carried over to other age groups. There were even a couple of instances of, “Is there anyone here in this age group that would like a slot?” For a while, it looked like we were all in like flynn! Tracy and Bob definitely got in and it looked positive for Shawn. They were ecstatic! At the time, all of my age group slots were accounted for so I was just hanging out with my peeps when a race staff person came out to the line and said that it looks like we have 2 leftover Female 30-34 slots so if you wait in line and hang out, they might be yours.
To make a convoluted and confusing story very short, we waited and waited. Race staff was getting frustrated because numbers weren’t matching up with different age groups. People were arguing over times and getting slightly perturbed over the disorganization. We just quietly sat in line and bided our time for over two hours—literally. A race official confirmed that there were two open Female slots. He later retracted that and said he made a mistake. They were Male slots. (even though they repeatedly said they were Female slots). Technically, only males could take a male slot. The whole time I’m thinking, “Do I really care about this? I’m freaking exhausted and sore from this race I just put myself through. The thought of doing another is a little overwhelming at the moment.” The other part of me continued to grow more and more excited as the afternoon wore on. “This is the FIRST EVER 70.3 (Half-Ironman) World Championship Race. While it’s new and relatively unheard of now, this thing will catch on and as soon as people figure it out, it definitely won’t be easy to get into! Essentially, this may be my only chance to compete in a race of this stature.”
It literally came down to two people left with one available slot. Me and my boyfriend Shawn. We were the last two people standing. There was still confusion as to whether or not it was a Male or Female slot. Everyone else who was interested in going had walked away happy. We were making jokes about the odds of this happening and it did. I offered to give it to another 30-34 woman so that it wouldn’t come down to the two of us.

To this moment, I’m not really sure why Shawn insisted that I take it. I was more than happy to be his cheerleader. Perhaps it’s because he’s that unselfish. Perhaps he doesn’t really care about racing this event. Perhaps he thought it was more important to me than it is to him. Perhaps because I beat him by over an hour!! :-) (I had to honey) In any event, I walked away with the final Certificate Slot for the Inaugural Ironman 70.3 World Championship Race.

The Moral of the Story: Even Middle-of-the-Pack Racers can be Champions.
The Other Moral of the Story: Fairy tales can come true. I learned that I have a real-life Prince Charming.

Good Luck to those who are racing and interested in getting slots in Kona or Florida. It can be done!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Now What...

I'm scared. I started this Blog/Journal as a homage and way to stay honest for my Boston and Eagleman training. I'm proud to say that both of those events are successfully "in the can." Now, almost like clockwork, I find myself asking, "Now What?" I'm utterly scared to death of having nothing on the calendar. Since I started participating in these endurance sports in 2001-2002, I've always had something else on the calendar. I'm not defined by the sports. I'm driven by them in many ways. At this moment, I'm not exactly sure what's next. Dare I say it? I'm slightly burnt out at the moment. Ironically, it's not the physical pressures, but the mental exhaustion. Both the Ironman 70.3 World Championship Race and the Dallas White Rock Marathon are up in the air at the moment. They are slated for November and December respectively. While that's plenty of time to train effectively, both also fall during the time of my peak time as Race Director for Austin's "Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot." It's a 5 mile/1mile/Kid's K event that attracts 10,000 people on Thanksgiving morning. It's an undertaking of enormous proportions for about 6 weeks in October-November. Training for two major races, working, Managing the Race and maintaining healthy relationships is almost to much to think about. I continue to work through it and weigh the pros and cons. The main thing to remember is that I do all of these things (including Race Directing) because IT'S FUN! I love it!! As long as it stays that way, I should be able to manage.

In the meantime, I'm slowly but surely getting back into the swing of life and attempting to find some balance between work and play. I'll officially start running with the Gazelles again on Monday morning and take it from there. I had a wonderful 7 1/2 mile jog this morning with Richard and Thon. It was great catching up with them as we shared our frustrations, worries and goals for the upcoming months. It also felt good running with no real agenda!

I received this humorous email today from my friend and very first running Coach Monica. It made me giggle and think.


1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.

14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

17. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

19. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night."Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."----Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Eagleman 70.3 Actual Race Report (a week later)

A few photos are attached to this report.

Race Morning

Anticipating traffic back ups, we left our hotel early and arrived in transition with virtually no problems at all. The main thing I remember about race morning was how chilly the air felt. Yikes! I was jealous of those who had worn long pants that morning. Luckily, I had a jacket and proceeded to my bike area.

As you first enter transition, you walk past the elite and pro area. Badmann was already on her trainer warming up on the cheetah. Meanwhile, I was still shivering and rubbing the sleep from my eyes wondering what the hell I was doing here.

Now, I’ve done a slew of triathlons, but apparently I don’t know much about “transition etiquette.” I had racked my bike correctly (opposite direction of the one next to me so as to gain as much space as possible), but I had apparently set up my transition towel on the wrong side of my bike. How did I know this? Because when I got back from the porta-potty to grab my wetsuit a race official was standing next to my area and the athlete next to me was pitching a fit about where I set up my towel. Basically, the official looked at her and was like, “Um…work it out.” This age grouper very condescending explained to me that I should put my towel under HER tire as it is much easier to get out. At first I wanted to be a bitch right back, but I was like, “You’re right. I don’t plan on winning the race today, but if it’s more convenient this way, let’s move it.” Turns out, she was right. I honestly thought it was proper to put my towel under MY wheel so as not to disturb anyone else’s space. You learn something new everyday.

The Race was due to start at 7am and my wave wasn’t taking off until 8:03am, but due to traffic snarls, they postponed the start by about 10 minutes or so. I was dreading that much lag time, but I used it to my advantage to continue to eat, drink and use the restroom a couple more times. I also took the opportunity to watch the pros finish their swim and exit the water. I knew right away it was going to be a tough swim judging by their exit times and the expression on some faces. The first guy was out in 25 minutes which is insanely fast, but still two minutes slower than the year before. I still had about 45 minutes and the wind gusts were just beginning.

Well, it was time for the coveted F 30-34 age group to be corralled. There we stood in all of our nervous anticipation glory. The sun was now up over the horizon making it difficult to see the buoys. We were to keep the buoys on our left at all times making it even more difficult for someone like me who tends to breathe more on the right. We made our way into the water as the Race Director announced that the current was calming down slightly. Audible cheers and yells were heard at this joyous news. They didn’t last long as the horn blew and our faces were firmly planted in the salt water of the Chesapeake Bay.

I should’ve known this body of water was called the “Choptank River” for a reason. There were many times I felt like I was being tossed around like a rag doll. I remained calm the entire time, but it didn’t take long to feel a sense of frustration as opposed to panic. Sighting was difficult and I sensed that I was already losing some ground to other age groupers. The turnaround point was to swim around a sailboat that was firmly planted at the end. Turns out it wasn’t firmly planted. You could see it swaying back and forth in the chop. I made my way around the “half-way” point and began to head back towards the shore. This is where it felt like an eternity. At least I could see the large yellow buoys now and the shore line in the very far distance. As I punched the water, it would punch back…A classic case of 2 steps forward, 1 step back. I would breast stroke for a while to see if that would help. Nope, I’m still virtually swimming in place. Not only was I discouraged, but I was pissed. My “sub 6:00 hour race” was literally flowing out to sea along with the rest of me. I hadn’t planned on being out here this long and exerting this much energy. How much would this affect me later? Plus, my arm hurts like a bee sting. Did something sting me or bite me? I was actually nervous that I wasn’t going to make the 1hr 15 min swim cutoff time. I was trying to stick close to the buoys, but it appeared that a lot of other swimmers were being pushed by the current to the far right. Maybe they saw a buoy that I didn’t see. I bobbed up and down for a few moments to make sure I wasn’t being thrown off course. After what seemed like 40 days and 40 nights, I was within meters of the finish. The water grew colder and muddier as I approached the ramp of volunteers. I swam a few more strokes and swallowed the nastiest gulp of mucky salt water on my way up. At any other moment I would’ve probably thrown up. I was just so relieved to be out of the water, that I swallowed it and probably smiled that I had made it through. I looked at my watch: 49:58…Yikes. It was 10-12 minutes longer than I had planned, but far less worse than I thought. Like I said before, there went my 6hr goal. Or so I thought…. Click here for photo as I exit water with Chesapeake Bay goop on my face!

T1 and The Bike

As suspected, the bikes on my rack were sparse as most F 30-34 were already into battling the head and crosswinds. I definitely wasn’t the last, but it wasn’t the performance I had hoped for. Such is life…I methodically went through the transition. quickly felt my tires and was relieved that they were both still full, grabbed my stuff and off I went.

My normal cycling strategy is to be slightly conservative and save the bulk of my energy for the run. I had planned on a 3hr20min-3hr30min bike ride in my mind. Having never ridden or driven the course (I like surprises), I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Race Director was right about two things: it was flat and it was windy. It was also surprisingly quite scenic. We were in a Nature Preserve afterall. I made a conscious decision early on in the bike that I wasn’t holding back. I was going to pass as many people as possible just as soon as I established a rhythm. 56 miles is a long freaking time to think about things! I was very methodical about my nutrition on the bike. Power Gel in the first hour, ½ Peanut Butter bagel in hour 2 and Clif Blocks in Hour 3. I wanted a variety so as not to overdose on Gels. Surprisingly, it all fit in my handy little Bento Box. I would also alternate liquids at every water stop. I started with one large bottle of water and finished it. I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade at the next drop point, and so on…Once again, it was a smooth way to mix and match the nutrition. Surprisingly, I never had to go to the bathroom and I never felt dehydrated.
So, at this point I was looking for any person up ahead that even remotely resembled a female. I was so pissed that my swim set the tone so I was going to change it on the bike. I ducked in aero and began my little pursuit. I was on a mission judging by this photo. Naturally, I was being passed by people who were on similar missions, but I was sticking to my plan and doing quite respectively. Wouldn’t you know it? My bike computer was on the fritz so I never really knew what my speed was. In my mind, I was hoping for 3hrs20min. There was a short stretch where I got to see some of the pros on their way back. Damn, they were hammering. The sun was out, but it wasn’t that hot. Perfect. Lots of cross winds and headwinds…NEVER a tailwind! Actually, I’m sure there was, but you never notice those. The time passed quickly. Instead of counting miles, I counted hours. Three hours didn’t seem as bad as 56 miles. Plus, since my computer was malfunctioning, I never really knew where I was anyways. I was so excited when I neared the end. I could see runners on the course and the crowds picked up. I could hear the announcer in the distance. I pulled into the transition dismount area and hit the button on my watch: 3hrs 03 minutes…Holy cow! I was back in the game!! I didn’t know it at the time, but it was an 18.3 mph avg.

T2 and Run
T2 was smooth. I could’ve shaved a little time off, but I was having trouble getting my ponytail through my hat. You’ll see in the picture that I eventually gave up. As per usual, the first mile or so off the bike felt so strange as I adjusted. Miles 1 and 2 were 7:40pace! Slow down sister…My original race plan was to run a 1:45 Half-Marathon or about an 8:00 per mile pace. I was going out of the box too fast and even though I felt strong, I knew better than to think I could keep it up for 10 more miles. At Mile 4, I took a Power Gel. The race course was a fabulously flat out and back. By this time, we were even being graced with some cloud cover. I gave a quick “shout out” to the skies above for showing some mercy on this race day. The Power Gel was a much needed pick-up as I could start to feel the exhaustion kicking in a bit. My mission was still in full effect. Try to pass as many people (i.e. women) as humanly possible. I started slowing down—8:15s, etc.
I saw Ohio friends Tracy and Bob on the run course. Quick “Way to gos” were exchanged. I saw Shawn who was a couple of miles behind me on the run. By Mile 9, I was definitely starting to get low on energy. I took another Power Gel and dug deep to maintain the pace. The last mile was great and I was so relieved to still be passing people who were digging just as deep. I could hear the crowds and spectator cheers. As I headed towards the finish line, I was so happy and tired, happy and tired, happy and tired…I knew I was blowing my time goal out of the water. I crossed the finish line and hit my watch. My run split was 1:44:40. A perfect 8:00 min per mile pace. A sense of relief as I near the finish.

My overall race time: 5hrs 44min 08sec

Monday, June 19, 2006

Saturday, June 10th: Eagleman Race Expo

Saturday, June 10th: Race Travel

It’s a shame to be this far away from home and not do something touristy in Baltimore. So, before we hit the road towards Cambridge/Chesapeake Bay area, we drove to downtown Baltimore and spent a couple of hours at the National Aquarium observing sharks, squids, fish, penguins, turtles, frogs and other mammal and amphibious creatures in their “not so natural” habitat. I couldn’t help but think about how I’d have more space to swim the next day than they would. Little did I know at that point that I’d wish for a smaller space to swim! We cruised briefly around the outskirts of Annapolis at the Naval Academy, but didn’t even park the car for a couple of reasons. #1) I woke up feeling pretty awful that morning…sore throat, stuffed up and runny nose, sinus congestion, etc. I felt pretty terrible and it was all I could do to muster the energy to sight-see. #2) I was starting to get a little anxious about getting to the Race Expo that afternoon. The race was the next day and we still needed to grocery shop, go to the expo, get our race packets, assemble our bikes, make sure they worked, check them into transition, attend the mandatory race meeting, find a “safe” place for dinner and then drive the extra 40 minutes to our hotel and attempt to get a good night’s sleep. Needless to say, I was starting to get into “race mode.” I will say that if the event would’ve been on Saturday, I probably wouldn’t have started it. I was feeling that bad at the time.

I’m so glad it was just me and Shawn because he’s such a good balance to my internal anxiety. If we would’ve been traveling with other athletes, I know I wouldn’t have been nearly as relaxed as I was that afternoon. Other than feeling crummy, I was in good spirits. After stopping at the Food Lion for the necessities of peanut butter, bagels, bananas, Gatorade, pretzels and the like, we made our way towards the race area.

Saturday, June 10th: The Race Expo: Out of Our League

The nerves started to build the closer we got to the Expo and Race Site. Why? Because you could see other bikes mounted on cars and SUVs, no doubt headed to the same destination. Why is it that everyone else’s bike seems so bad-ass? I’m intimidated by these machines even though I’m proud of the recent performances of my Kestrel. This was my first long-distance race on this bike. Would it hold up for 56 miles? Please God…History says, “No.” At Buffalo Springs in 2004, I went through 4 tubes and 1 tire (thank God for SAG vehicles). At Vineman in 2005, I flatted again and blew 15 minutes changing my tire. I hoped beyond belief that this bike would end the bike bad-luck streak. It had been good to me in training and racing up to this point. She only had one major performance left. Just get me through the next day with no mechanical issues.

We got to the Expo, took care of our numbers and strolled around the vendor booths for a bit. At this moment, I was feeling “out of my league.” The insecurities were loud and clear. “You don’t belong here.” “Look at those REAL athletes.” “You don’t have the right body for this event.” This was, afterall, an Ironman KONA and Ironman 70.3 Qualifying Race. The best of the best were in attendance. In fact, the best of the best was next to me in the form of Natasha Badmann. She was sitting on the staging area signing a few autographs for those that noticed or cared to. I admired from a distance in that 3-year-old who sees Santa Claus kinda way. She is the pinnacle of this sport for women. How cool is that? Not many young basketball players will ever get to converse with Shaq and here is our Champion hanging out with all of us. Part of me wanted to do the whole photo/autograph thing, but I opted not to. I had enough to be nervous about.

We began putting our bikes together in the parking lot. Let me just say that the weather was absolutely superb and predicted to be even better on race day. Sunny with highs near 80. In the past, it had easily surpassed the 90 degree mark so there was definitely a sensation of relief among the athletes. Other than heat, Eagleman is also known primarily for its windy conditions. Well, Mother Nature would win this “rock, paper, scissors” battle. We’d get good temps, but she’d get the gusts that she wanted, upwards of 30 mph in certain spots.

I got an empty pit feeling in my stomach as Shawn was taking charge of assembling my bike. Why was it squeaking so much up front? It just didn’t seem to “fit” and I couldn’t see why. The back brakes were rubbing slightly, but what the hell is happening up front? Did I get my handlebars adjusted correctly? Who knew? I was more concerned about what was happening to the front tire at the moment. Shawn looked more closely and it appeared that my wheel hub was rubbing against the fork. We surmised that the fork bent a little during shipment. It wasn’t noticeable to the eye, but there was definitely a change. I wanted to throw up, cry, throw the bike, laugh, walk away, whatever. I immediately got the, “Why does this always happen to me” self-pity lament. We headed over to the bike mechanic area to see what they could do. At this moment, I wasn’t sure if I was racing or not.

THREE WORDS YOU NEVER WANT TO HEAR A BIKE MECHANIC SAY: “That’s Not Good.” That was the general reaction of the first mechanic before he directed us to another tent. Turns out he was working on the elite athlete bikes. Of course, it made me feel even worse knowing he was working on pro bikes and had that reaction when looking at mine. It’s like a doctor looking at an open wound and grimacing about how gross it looks. We took it to the next tent and the folks from http://www.tri-speed.com/ put this powerless woman’s mind at ease. He spent time with the Mango Blur (as I like to call her when I like her), made some tweaks and adjustments, filled her up with air, tested the gears and pedals to make sure there was no rub and sent me on my way. To this moment, I have no idea what kind of Harry Potter spell he cast on my bike to put it back in alignment. I’m just thankful and relieved that it appeared ready to ride. We hopped on and gave it a test ride to the transition area and all felt and sounded well. No squeaks, no rubbing, handlebars felt good, pedals felt tight. It was out of my hands now. The nauseous feeling was passing only to be replaced by normal pre-race anxieties about not being properly trained, hydrated, fueled, etc. Guess what?? There was nothing we could do about it except eat some pasta! We found a local Italian/Greek Restaurant (your guess is as good as mine as to how those two go together) who was having a pasta buffet. Upon inspection, it all appeared bland enough to consume. As much as I love pizza and cheese, it was hardly what I wanted or needed. I settled on a couple of servings of rigatoni, pasta salad and greek orzo.

After a long-day, this little sicky needed some rest so we drove to our hotel is Salisbury and eventually made it to bed around 10:30pm and awaited the 5:00am wake-up call. I hoped that I would feel better on race morning. I popped a Claritin and Advil Cold and Sinus and hoped for the best.

Pre-Race Report: The Travel Day

I finally began to write out memories from last week's event. I'll post them in a series of paragraphs (so as not to overwhelm!) as they are written. I've decided to take another low-key couple of days before ramping up any mileage for sport. I want to readjust back to work and the "One Ton of Fun" information that I missed in the last week. The Ironman 70.3 World Championships are in mid-November and the Dallas White Rock Marathon is in December. Therefore, I don't have to really start getting serious until July. I'm going to spend this week going easy, doing some yoga/pilates, riding my bike for the fun of it. Wow...what a concept :-)

Without further adieu. Here we go from the beginning, including the really mundane parts...

Taking Off Friday, June 9th: Barely

For those that have traveled and shipped bikes across the country, you know how cumbersome and nerve-wracking it can be. How ironic that we spend heaps of money and time getting our bike fit just right only to take the whole thing apart to travel across the USA. For those of you that heard my interview on “Get Your Geek On,” Episode #21, you heard the ramblings of a panic attack in progress about the act of shipping my bike and packing it properly.

Well, as per usual, we got to the airport with relatively little time to spare. Yes, it was my fault. I can’t even make up any lame excuses like hair or makeup drama. I just didn’t leave work as early as I had hoped. In any event, we made it to the airport and because we were shipping two large bike boxes, we had to wait in the endless line to check in and pay the extra freight. At this point, we were pretty convinced that we weren’t making this particular flight. The airlines have been rightfully strict about closing the flight a half-hour before take-off and we were treading on the borders of that time limit. We got up to the ticket agent and her first reaction was one of, “Sorry-you are S.O.L.” We immediately started to conjure up alternative plans. Can we at least get the bikes shipped? Later flights? Suddenly (and for no apparent reason), she kicked into team-player mode and started expediting our boarding process. Seriously, other passengers were already being told they were missing this flight and this wonderful woman was in stealth mode to get us on board. Somehow, by the grace of the American Airlines Angel, we made it on our flight en route with Baltimore as our final destination.

Friday night flowed smoothly from that point. Our bikes made it seemingly in one piece to Baltimore and we loaded everything up in our rented SUV and headed to our hotel near the airport.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Official Eagleman Photos Posted

Yikes!! Thank God it wasn't a beauty contest!

You'll notice the one wetsuit photo of me with dirt all over my face. That pretty much sums up the finish line of the swim after battling the waves for what felt like and eternity.


Our Tour of Dead Presidents continues and ends today. SO far this week we've seen the homes and subsequent burial grounds of Presidents Washington, Madison, Jefferson and Kennedy. If there's time today as we head back to D.C., we may visit the Fords Theatre where Lincoln was shot and later died across the street. Morbid?? Maybe... Fascinating?? You bet! Who wouldn't want to see the bloody pillow where he laid his head?

There's no doubt that I'm leaving Virgina/Maryland/D.C. with a renewed interest in American History. Oh hell, who am I kidding? I didn't give a shit about it the first time! Maybe some of the history will stick now! It was humorous as we went for a small job this morning along the streets of Colonial Williamsburg. As we're in our Asics Gel Nimbus Shoes and Cool Max clothes, the "townspeople" were meandering by with their colonial garb and bread baskets. Are you supposed to say "good day?" It was definitely a blending of Old America and New America. I'll take New America any day!

I'm also leaving this area with about 4-5 extra pounds (I suspect) that must find its way off my waistline. It certainly doesn't take long to do damage! I will say that the "death by chocolate" dessert at Trellis Restaurant was worth it though!

Back towards D.C. and then Austin.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Yes, They have computers in Colonial Williamsburg

Just a quick note from Colonial Williamsburg and the home of the College of William and Mary. We're here for the next two days for more relaxation and education. The weather has been amazing. Highs in the low 80s...If only I could take this home with me.

We just finished our first jog of the week since the race. When I say "jog," that's exaclty what I mean. We were just testing the waters and doing a short trip around the campus. Plus, I couldn't find my jog bra so let's just say I didn't have the "equipment" to run long (or short, really).

We'll probably get the bikes out tomorrow and go for some leisurely miles as well...

More from our Nation's Birthplaces soon! By the way, this part of the country is more beautiful than I would've imagined. It's strange going into bars and restaurants where you can still smoke, but this is the home state of Phillip-Morris afterall.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Our Forefathers Would Be Proud

Thanks everyone for the comments and well-wishes! It's probably not great that I did an interview with "Get Your Geek On" and then disappear for a couple of days! Actually, Shawn and I are travelling this week and finding access to the internet isn't always easy or convenient. I was glad to read that Chis Legh (the winner and mega pro "gatorade commercial guy") also thought the race was tough.

We spent the last two days in Washington D.C. on foot and tour buses absorbing more US History than I ever thought possible. On top of that, Shawn went to High School in this area so I got the childhood home, high school, "this is where I had band practice" tour as well. We're both still on our respective highs from Eagleman. We love triathlon so much because you can push your body to the limits, exercise continously for up to 7 hours and still wake up the next day and feel "decent." Usually after a marathon, everything aches to the point of utter pain. You know what I'm talking about. Remember trying to walk downstairs? Post-race, the main pain I'm feeling is the horrible sunburn on my back where my jersey lines are and the chafing on my arms from my wetsuit. I didn't expect to be in the water for almost 50 minutes!! Ok--I admit, I'm also feeling a little saddle-soreness, but all in all, we both feel great.

It's also hilarious that every time we pass a body of water and park, we comment that it would be the perfect Swim and Transition Area!! Yep, we're a little obsessed at the moment, but enjoying every second.

Right now, I'm catching up at the Public Library in Charlottesville, VA. This is the home of UVa and also many more historical homes of Presidents. We're going to hit Monticello, Montpelier, walk around UVA campus (yes, Shawn went to school here for a few years) and hit some wineries. It's raining now, but we actually hope to get a nice slow jog in this afternoon!
Back to Austin and reality on Sunday...

Will check back when I can. Thanks for checking in and I still promise to post some photos and a full race report soon. Probably when I get back to town...

For those getting ready for Buffalo Springs, my best advice is pace youself on the bike. There are plenty of flat areas when you want to pick up speed, but save your legs for the climbs and the brutal run. As a recall (it's been a couple of years), there are 3 major climbs on the run and the rest is unshaded and HOT!! It sucks the energy right out of you. Just conserve what you can for the run...I plan to avenge that course someday since I ended up flatting 4 times!!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Eagleman Has Landed!

I'm absolutely beat, but preliminary results are:

Swim: 49:58 I was totally trained, but COMPLETELY unprepared for the 3 foot waves in the bay. The Race Director called it the hardest swim ever. Even the pros were 5-6 minutes off from their usual times. It became more survival than swim for many of us.

Bike: 3:03 ish (18.6 mph avg) It was very windy today, but the course is flat, flat, flat. I spent the entire time in aero.

Run: 1:44 (8:00 min pace) That was exactly where I wanted to be for the run.

Total time with transitions (which I don't have memorized at the moment)

My previous best was a 6:22 so I'm thrilled! Believe it or not, it was still only good for 32nd in my age group out of about 80. I guess that's what happens when people like Natasha Bahdmann and Chris Legh do this race.

Believe it or not, in a strange twist and turn of events, I also received a slot to the Inaugural Ford Ironman 70.3 National Championship this November in Clearwater, Florida!

Full Race Recap coming soon...Bottom line--it was a good day mainly because I didn't drown :-)
this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, June 09, 2006

Off to the Races!

We're off to Maryland for the Eagleman 70.3 Race!
Thanks for the well-wishes. I'll carry them with me on Sunday.

Right now, they're predicting a perfect day with highs in the low 80s. After the race on Sunday, Shawn and I are spending the rest of the week on vacation traveling around the DC, Virginia area. Looking forward to the rest, both mentally and physically.

Bring it on!

Thursday, June 08, 2006


My intention of this photo was not to show my amazingly padded breasts, although they do look surprisingly round, perky and, well, "cushioned." My purpose was to show off one of the coolest gifts I received today from my friend Martha.

Martha is a friend, former co-worker, excellent massage therapist and author of one of the most inspirational spiritual fiction novels called "Mama Jimmie's Lessons from the Heart." She dropped by my office to give me a card and this way cool tank top. It's a great reminder of how we should all live our lives; or at least try to.

She enclosed a good luck card for this weekend's race and this is what she said.

"May your body defy the gravitational pull and allow you to soar!
You go Bitch."

I'm grateful for friends like Martha.

Enough Said...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Hay is in the Barn

'The Hay is in the Barn," said my friend Cathy on Monday night after swimming in Lake Travis.


"Why are you freaking out about getting in your workouts this week? You're supposed to be tapering and resting. Your race is on Sunday. Besides the hay is in the barn. You've done the work."

She's right. The Hay is in the Barn. There is nothing more I can do from a training standpoint to make me race an better, faster or stronger on Sunday at the Eagleman Half-Ironman Triathlon.

I'm trying to relax and take care of obligations the rest of the week. In lieu of swimming tonight, I came home and paid bills, did laundry, took care of some work projects, wrote out a couple of birthday cards, laid out my clothes, watched "Good Luck and Good Night" and even taped an interview for the "Get Your Geek On" Triathlon Podcast with the Kahuna and Iron Wil. Even Iron Wil commented that I needed to calm down and relax!! I found this humorous coming from one of the most driven, determined, obsessive athletes I've ever come across. I think what she and Kahuna are doing for the world of triathlon and podcasting is amazing and far-reaching. I'm not sure when my segment will air, but I'll definitely post it when it does...probably this week's episode since we talked about this weekend's event.

For now, I'm just going to continue to relax and mentally prepare for the race. This is my 3rd Half Ironman so it's not unchartered territory. However, every race is different and although the distances don't frighten me, the hardest part of a 6 hour endurance event is making sure my nutrition plan is secure. I don't go 6 hours without eating when I'm idle at my desk all day, let alone being in a constant state of physical activity! One cracker and a bottle of water won't get you through.

The Hay is in the Barn.

I ran this morning with Gazelles and we did a 7 mile fartlek interval run...15 min warmup, followed by 12x 2min fast/1min slow.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Let the "One Ton of Fun" Begin!

I’m not sure which is more humorous…Watching the Governor of the Great State of Texas (Rick Perry) ride into Runtex at High Noon with his spandex cycling shorts and “Hotter than Hell” Cycling Jersey—or—the fact that I agreed to be a Coach and Motivator of Runtex’s newest program called “One Ton of Fun.” I got a nice chuckle from both, but still think it’s amusing to see one of the most powerful men in our state with helmet hair, cute anklet socks and a sleek cycling tan. Most Rural Texans and Ranchers would be appalled at the sight of our “wussy” Governor in stretchy pants. Political views aside, I think it’s pretty cool and motivating.

In any event, on Monday, May 29th I heard about a new program started by Paul Carozza at Runtex called “One Ton of Fun.” Basically, they’ve got 10 very overweight local celebrities (think Katz Deli owner, Mangia Pizza owner, Travis County Sheriff, Radio Personalities, etc) and the goal is for each of these celebs (and their recruited team members) to lose a collective amount of 1 ton of weight before Thanksgiving. They are also called to race sponsorship money for “Big Brothers, Big Sisters.”

See article: http://www.statesman.com/life/content/life/stories/health/05/29fitcity.html

The celebration will culminate at the 16th Annual Turkey Trot 5 Mile Race on Thanksgiving Day. As soon as I saw the article, I knew I wanted to participate in one way or another for several reasons:

1.) It’s an opportunity to continue my passion of motivating and coaching others to a fitter way of life.
2.) I’m the Race Director of the Turkey Trot and I saw it as an excellent Public Relations component to this event—Race Director as Coach and Motivator…you get the concept.

The Turkey Trot is one of Austin’s largest Races and this is my 4th official year at the helm thanks to the wonderful folks at Thundercloud Subs. Organizing a 5 mile race for 10,000 people is incredibly daunting, but very rewarding. I meet with City Officials, Police, Race Production crews, Sponsors, Volunteers and Parks and Recreation people on a weekly basis for a couple of months leading up to the event. This coaching opportunity for the “One Ton of Fun” is a Natural progression for me.

We’ll meet with our team at least once a week and go on walks, swims or bike rides. It’s also my responsibility to outline a very basic weekly workout schedule. In addition, they meet regularly with Doctors and Nutritionists. The impact of this program could be far-reaching in my opinion. I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of it. I’ve been assigned to Coach Rob Baylon and his team. Here’s the best part. Rob Baylon is a well-known Food Critic in Austin. His job is to eat rich food for a living!! Challenging indeed, but fun.

The inaugural meeting was inspiring and humorous. I was in the midst of incredibly powerful and influential people and, yet, they were there to get assistance, inspiration and motivation from us! What a strange turn of events.

This Fall, I’m not sure how I’m going to juggle my real full-time job, training schedule for the Dallas Marathon, Race Director Duties and Coaching obligations (among other personal stuff like selling a house and moving into another one). I do know this. The more goals I set for myself, the more I achieve. The more I motivate others, the more motivated I become. The more time I can give to others, the more rewards I receive

I’ll be keeping everyone posted and up to date with both the Race and the One Ton of Fun Project. In the meantime, I’ve got a race in 5 days that I need to start packing for! Let's hope this race is also a ton of fun!! I’m off for a quick bike ride!

Monday, June 05, 2006

6 Days--In Decent Form

With six days to go until the Half-Ironman Triathlon, I ended the day feeling like I’m in good form, in more ways than one.

Today was the first workout and official kickoff for the Gilbert’s Gazelles Fall Marathon Training Program. Last year, I was the newbie…the freshman who would be mocked and shoved in the locker. I wouldn’t join this group by myself and enlisted the partnership of my pal Mike. We stuck together during every workout. We were side-by-side for tempo runs, long runs, fartleks, track workouts. Everyone assumed that we were a couple. Hence, he earned the righteous title of “running hubby,” much to the dismay of his fiancĂ©e! But hey, I knew him first, damn it! In any event, I feel like I’ve come so far in the last year. I’m no longer scared or intimidated. I’m still in awe of people that I train with everyday, but in less than a year, I’m proud to say that I accomplished my goal of qualifying and running Boston. Now, I feel like a “veteran” coming back this year. My form is good and I’m running injury free. I’m a Sophomore now, with a lot to learn, but a little machismo and confidence to guide me. We did a circuit workout this morning, which was the perfect workout for race week. Nice, easy mileage to the track and then lots of core strengthening with step ups, sit ups, push ups, squats and lunges. Instead of taking the short way back to Runtex, Tanya and I took the longer 2.5 mile route and enjoyed the sunrise over Town Lake. Yep, I’m in good form for the race.

Tonight’s swim didn’t go as smooth, but my focus on form pulled me through a tough swim. Instead of hitting the T3 workout (mainly because I’m tired and really feel the need for taper and no more speed work), I went out to Hippie Hollow with my friend Cathy for an Open Water swim on Lake Travis. Let me preface for those that know anything about Hippie Hollow.

this is NOT ME!

It’s a “clothing optional” area of the lake. In fact, click on the link at your own risk. Not only is it a popular hangout for nude sunbathing, young kids, gays/lesbians, curious folks and perverts, it’s also a perfect location for swimmers (with suits and neon swim caps) who want a good open water swim. It’s buoyed off allowing a good safety zone away from the ski boats, pontoons and sailboats that circle Hippie Hollow on a regular basis looking to catch a glimpse of wieners and boobs. Hey, what can I say, “been there, done that!” In any event, there were about 15 swimmers who had no interest in whether a certain body part was pierced or circumcised. We were more interested in getting a good workout. Well, just like wieners come in all shapes and sizes (as I saw very clearly), so do waves…I’ve never swam in water so choppy. I had an incredibly difficult time finding any semblance of a rhythm or breathing pattern because of the waves. I kept switching breathing sides to minimize water intake. Because I was slightly panicked, I focused on form and just really tried to keep it clean. It really was one of the toughest things I’ve done more from a “fear factor” standpoint. There weren’t a lot of people around and there certainly weren’t lifeguards. I would stop every now and then to make sure I was still heading in the right direction. Somehow, I was. It was one of those swims where you don’t feel like you’ve covered any distance, but you get out of the lake and go, I swam that far?? Wow!! All in all, I swam for about 40 minutes and that includes my stopping and bobbing in the water occasionally to get my bearings. I always read about the squalls and waves in ocean water swimming and could never imagine it until tonight. I had to keep my mind focused on other things or I could’ve easily gotten motion sickness from the waves. The coach said it was approximately a mile. Not bad considering there were many moments I thought of abandoning all together. At least I know I can put in the time to get the swim done. Even though I was slow and the water was a tad tumultuous, I was ok with my form.

Back to the whole Hippie Hollow experience for a second and how it relates to my form. Let’s just put it out there…There are some “interesting” bodies out there and plenty of different shapes and sizes (in more ways than one!!) God knows my body is far from perfect. In fact, I’m the person that can finish a marathon and make a comment about my fat thighs or my belly goo. I look at race photos to see how fat my arms look. Believe me, I’m not pontificating about how wonderful my body is compared to everyone else…just the opposite, in fact. In a way, I’m envious of people who can just bare it all with no pretense. As horrific as it can be, it’s also a beautiful self-fulfilling thing to be so comfortable in your own skin. Although my body form has morphed a lot in the last few years (from size 14 to 4), I still have a ways to go from a comfort level. I have been nude at Hippie Hollow once, but I took my suit off after I was in the water. Maybe someday, I’ll have the self-confidence to walk around and be proud and content of who I am.

Until then, I’ll keep working on my form inside and out!!

The day ended in perfect form with a gorgeous, cloudless sunset over at the Oasis Restaurant. I haven’t been out there in a while and the view is spectacular. Every night when the sun goes down, the crowds applaud and the restaurant rings a bell. It’s like New Years every night. It was one of those, “I’m so glad I live here” nights.

Let’s hope I stay in good mental and physical form through the 70.3 Mile Race on Sunday…1.2mile swim, 56mile bike and 13.1 mile run.

The Beauty of Naps

One of my favorite authors of all-time is SARK. Her childish approach to life through the use of color, imagination and succulence always serves as a great reminder of how life should be lived—wildly, creatively, passionately, JUICY. I have about 6 of her books and revisit them on a semi-regular basis to get the creative juices flowing. In the midst of living my life with passion and exploring the things I love, I find that, with that, comes a certain sense of routine. So, while you’re trying to live wild and free, you also have to compartmentalize as well. In order to fit everything in, you have to stick to a routine or a semblance of a schedule. I’m the first to admit, that I have inner anxiety (that manifests itself outwardly) when my routine is thrown out of whack.

I’m happy to feel the Half-Ironman training winding down this week. As much as I love the training and the long hours, I can definitely sense the need for a little break. My mind is tired and my body is tired. This past Saturday, Coach G had an information session for his Fall Marathon Training Group, followed by a 10 mile run. It was a hot one and I was feeling it immediately. I ran primarily with Lesley and Susan, both of whom I’ve been acquainted with for several years through various training groups around Austin. We were bringing up the rear of the pack and perfectly fine with that. The 10 miles seemed to drag, I must say. Again, I think it was my body’s way of sending some “not so subtle” signals. It appeared that hydration was also an issue because I just didn’t drink enough that morning or the day before. Usually, a 10 mile run just flies by. Not so on Saturday…While I had planned to just run at this 8:30-9:00 pace the entire time, my inner racer kicked in at Mile 7. It was a combination of wanting to be finished and also wanting to really test myself when I’m physically and mentally spent. I picked up the pace and ran 7:20s and 7:30s for the last 3 miles and finished with some strides. Because Thon and Richard had other obligations, we skipped stretching and headed straight for breakfast tacos (priorities!) Well, that was a mistake because my hamstrings have been brutally tight ever since. Keep this in mind: Stretching is much more important than tacos. (Repeat 100 times or until it sticks)

Back to SARK for a moment. She has a book entitled, “How to Change Your Life Without Getting Out of Bed.” It’s the ultimate nap book. A lot of people perceive naps as something only children need. It’s a weakness. It shows that you’re not getting enough sleep. It shows that you’re lazy. WRONG!!!! A nap to me signifies so much more. It represents silence in an insane world. It’s a chance to recharge the batteries. It’s a way of shutting down mentally and physically even for 30 minutes. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of health. I really try to nap as much as possible. Well, that certainly wasn’t a problem on Saturday. I was spent after that run. I didn’t even shower. I laid my towel on my couch, plopped down, opened a magazine, promptly closed the magazine (and my eyes) and proceeded to nap for almost two hours!

I was awakened by my awesome friend Jill who called to find out what time she should come over to help with my landscaping. God bless this woman!! I know NOTHING about plants, flowers, bushes, etc. She came over and spent 4 hours with me digging up tree roots, dead stuff, trimming tree branches and going to Home Depot to buy some plants. I’m a total fish out of water in the landscaping department! She was a huge help and we got part one finished on Saturday.

So, after Saturday’s landscaping excursion, I actually laid down AGAIN and slept for another hour before heading out to a concert that night. Again, I think my body was very much telling me that it had hit a wall that day.

After a good night’s sleep (even after two naps, I slept for a full night!) I woke up Sunday morning and Jill came back over to help me finish. It was four more hours of pretty intense physical labor. Actually, she did more of the work. I actually had to head back to the store to get more plants and a few other things. This is why I never want a house with a big yard. A small patio turned into a two-day 8 hour project. I can’t even imagine spending all weekend mowing the lawn, etc. I’d much rather spend the time on my bike or in the pool, or having brunch with friends—or napping.

Shawn and I finally headed out at 5pm on Sunday for a 25 mile bike ride. Our “flat” ride turned into a hilly ride on Loop 360. It was hotter than hell outside, but our intention was to ride in the heat to prepare for next Sunday’s race. We were out there for about 1hr 40 min and that was plenty for me.

Although I didn’t get an official nap on Sunday, it was a relaxing day for the most part. After reading this blog, my Mom wonders when I actually have time to clean my house and do all of the necessary chores. She’ll be happy to know that in between naps, workouts, eating, going to concerts and gardening, I vacuumed, did laundry and even performed a couple of small household repairs.

I’m proof positive that the more sleep you get, the more you can get accomplished!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Cap Tex Tri Pics (thanks TTUTRI)

Because I'm such a lame-0, I'm stealing TTUTRI's candid photos from the Cap Tex Tri . The official photos still aren't ready! ThanksJeff for letting me steal...


More on my nap-filled and garden-filled weekend soon!

Friday, June 02, 2006

That which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger (I hope)

For some reason, I’ve been having trouble getting up early this week. Even though I’ve been going to bed at a decent hour and I’m sleeping soundly, it has still been amazingly hard to drag my butt out of bed and get going. I’m having those sleeps where you look at your bed the next morning and it still looks made except for the little area where I slept.

Other people have been making the same comments this week. I know I’m still pretty worn out from Monday’s race. I exerted more effort than I thought and my body appears to be saying, “Whoah sister. It’s o.k. to chill a bit.” Perhaps it’s the humidity and allergies right now in Austin. Whatever the reason, I feel like I’ve been in slow mo for the last couple of days.

It was raining yesterday morning which helped clear some gunk out of the air. I was going to go to 5:45am spin class, but couldn’t get up. I ended up going to the gym around 7am and doing a 50 minute interval workout: 5 min on the spin bike, ½ mile on treadmill, 20 situps, 20 pushups, repeat 4 times. Nothing too strenuous, but it was good to have the variety.

This morning I actually got up early and was at Barton Springs by 6:40am. Originally, I was going to meet Amy from T3 there to practice open water drafting. She rightfully expressed concern that after a rain, the natural Springs can tend to get…well…icky. Well, she was right and probably the smarter of us to postpone the swim. I got in the water and all appeared to be ok. I could see some algae, but really nothing more than usual. I took the fact that the pool was open and people were swimming as a good sign. I started my first lap and as I got towards the end of the pool where it spills into the lake, things started to get really murky and for about 20 yards, I was swimming in a haze of green fuzz until I reached the end. It took me by surprise and I just focused on keeping my mouth shut. It made breathing a slight challenge, but I tried not to ingest excess water when I took my breaths…yuck, yuck, yuck…I told myself that if I encounter this during the race, I’d have to keep going. Suck it up sister!! Making the turn wasn’t much consolation since I had to swim through it again. By the time I got back to my starting point, I had told myself that I wasn’t going to die. I may sprout a 3rd arm, but I would be ok. Besides, people were still swimming and I wasn’t going to wuss out. I proceeded to swim 4 more laps for a total of 2000m total.

Coach Chrissie was actually starting her swim as I was getting out and we discussed workout strategy for next week. I’ll do a full workout Monday and then a shorter one on Wednesday. We leave for Maryland on Friday so I hope to get a small practice swim on Saturday at the race site. Nothing more than about 15-20 minutes.

The sun was coming up on this beautiful, non-humid morning, so I decided to follow my swim up with a 45 minute run around Town Lake. I popped on the PodRunner music and let my mind go. I also did something I’ve NEVER done before. I ran with just my shorts and sports bra, leaving my abs exposed for the world to see ! Usually, I’m waaayyyy too self-conscious to have my belly goo jiggling, but I just didn’t care this morning. Actually, I cared, but I realized that at 7:30am, most of the hard core runners were already finished for the morning so I probably wouldn’t see anyone I knew. Fortunately, I was right. Even if I would’ve seen someone, I was in such a trance from the music that I probably wouldn’t have noticed. The 45 minutes ended quickly. I felt strong enough to do more, but it was late and I really do have to give myself permission to chill.

Plus, my sinuses were a little achy. Shit, hope it’s not the Revenge of Barton Springs algae!