Kinda like swimming

March 28th, 2012

I’m head long into week two of ironman training.  All has gone reasonably well so far.  This week I have about 120 miles on my bike, random running which includes a track workout and three days of swimming.

My plan was to lift, do yoga and swim all winter long.  I have weaknesses and I was suppose to hone all that stuff right to the perfect tip.  Did I?  No!

Which brings me to this morning and the pool and the time trial.  Time trials always makes me nervous. It’s hard freaking work.  I don’t really like going balls to the wall for that long of a period of time.  This morning’s time trial consisted of 3x300s as hard as you can.  You time each 300, get 30 seconds rest between them and then they better be within 15 seconds of each other or the time trial isn’t valid.

The entire “deal” with warm up and cool down really only takes about 30 minutes, but it’s hell while it’s happening.

Here is the breakdown of what went on this am in my head:

1st 100: Oh yeah, feeling good, no problem, you are liquid fast and sleek and efficient and super quiet…keep it up.

2nd 100: Ummm, it’s getting hard to breath in here.  Can anyone see my arms, I can’t really feel them as the blood is starting to pool in my core.  Oh but my legs, wait my legs, I feel those and they seem to feel like logs that are dragging  me to the bottom of the pool and drowned me slowly and painfully.  Are they even moving right now?  Am I swimming or just flailing?  Clearly flailing.  Is the lifeguard coming yet?

3rd 100:  Oh good, the feeling is back in my arms but I really can’t breath, is there something caught in my throat?  Why is there no air?  Why am I moving so much slower? Come on, you can go fast.  Who are you talking to?  You.  What?  Fuck off, this sucks, where’s my coffee?  You should have stayed in bed. No…no…no you can’t talk like this right now, you have 50 more to go.  Shut it, just tell Welle to F-off.  It’s only 50 more, come on, suck it up and don’t be so weak. Done.

30 second rest:  Arms flopped up on pool deck, DEEP LABORING BREATHS, quick drink, repeat all over again 2 more times, ONLY WORSE.



Totally busted up

March 2nd, 2012

Last year’s racing season was EPIC to say the least.  It will never occur again in my lifetime.  To start the year PR’ing at Boston Marathon, sandwich four half ironman races (including the World Championships) in the middle and end with the New York City Marathon in November, was exhilarating, unbelievable, utterly ridiculous, hard, fantastic and totally awesome on so many levels.

I only have random pictures and really no blog posts to show for it. Sorry, I was on my bike, or running or maybe in a lake.

I had a plan, a two year plan of how racing was suppose to go.  The plan I set out for myself has me signed up and heading to Ironman Canada in August. Not only to head there, but to work my way towards a Kona slot.  I decided after much deliberation that this race was my best shot.  I’m already signed up and my bike even has transportation to Canada.

But today, four months after the end of that amazing ride in 2011, I’m a bit of a physical wreck.  The entire left side of my body, hips down, is not working right.  I have a hamstring that never stops hurting and has no power, a pelvis that is utterly wonky, the back of my knee is so tight it feels like there is a tight wad of cotton stuck in the joint and my calf hurts when I run.  My PTs have me relegated to the pool, aqua jogging and swimming but only with a pull buoy (my arms are going to be so fierce) in hopes of keeping my pelvis in alignment for just one week.  Everyone thinks this all stems from my pelvis.

Being a person who likes control and who doesn’t like the fact that her two year plan is not going according to plan, I’m trying to remain calm.  It feels dire, unfixable, possibly impossible. If it IS possible, at what cost?  I can’t defer the race to next year.

While having a pity party earlier in the week I told my friend that this is a pretty hard fall from grace.  Her response, “Don’t worry, it’s going to be ok, you’re just on a grace hiatus.”

I think I’m going to try that on and see how it feels for a while…a Grace Hiatus.


Racine Race Recap

July 20th, 2011

For all of you just dying to know the details of last weekends race, here it is.

The swim:  I started right on the front line.  This can go one of two ways, you can get run over and smacked around or you can stay out of
the way if you are fast enough.  I’m just cocky (or stupid) enough to take the risk and it paid off.  I stayed away from the mosh pit and had a fairly easy non bumpy swim.  The one draw back for me in going off the front is that I then know how many people are ahead of me, I knew there were at least 8-10, this is where I become a head case, I need to let them go, not chase them down and just race according my race plan not try to hunt them down at this point.  My race plan was to just simply get into a good rhythm in the swim and at about 3/4 kick it in.  It was going to be too hot of a day to lay it all out in the water.

People were idiots getting out the water.  It was so clear and so shallow for so long that people stood up and ran through the water for waaaay too long.  I hadn’t hit my watch so I had no idea how my swim even went. I was tired but not spent so checked that leg off as good.  The run to T1 was a long way up a sandy beach and into the transition area.

The bike:
Hoped on my bike, legs felt a little tired from the start which is always normal for me.  My hope is that the feeling will just go away
after I start moving.  It did.  My goal was to avg 21 something.  I knew I had to catch some of the woman in my AG so I just hunkered down and looked for them.  The problem was I couldn’t find many.  The winds picked up depending on which way you were riding, head wind, cross wind then you had wind at your back and had to take as much free speed as you could.  There weren’t many hills and if there were they never really had a big down hill, which was a bummer for the way I bike.

My nutrition plan was going along just fine until I didn’t feel like eating anymore.  It was about mile 30 I started to get sick to my
stomach, I realized I wasn’t sweating anymore, I got chills up my legs and I didn’t have to pee (I usually pee 3 or 4 times at a 56 mile race).  I got passed by 3 woman in my AG, that just pissed me off.  I tried to stay with them, couldn’t, then just decided to stick to
my plan and my pace and came in right where I wanted to be time wise. I started stretching my legs out with 5 miles left and my quads
started cramping.  At that point, I knew the run was going to be hard.

The run:
I started running out of the shoot and my legs seized up.  My hamstrings and quads just locked up and I had a side stitch on my left
side.  I stopped all together and stretched and tried to remain calm. My first 3 miles where suppose to be 8’s and then 7:40’s for the last
10.  I was dragging my legs through mile one at 9:45’s.  Then the next 2 were at 9:30’s and I knew it was not going to get much better from there.  I never have ever thought about DNF-ing (did not finish) a race but at that point I knew it was over.  I knew there was no way I would have the legs to get top three, it was done, it was over, itwasn’t going to happen.  Why bother?

Mile 3 I decided to recalibrate my thinking, I was going to just run the best I could for the day and call crossing the finish line of this
one good enough.  I walked through every water stop and couldn’t take in enough fluids.  At this point I’m still feeling like I going to
throw up, I could get liquids down but if I even put an ice cube in my mouth I would gag.  I just kept running from water stop to water stop
and trying to fill back up what I was loosing every step of the way. The last three miles I picked it up, ummm not much, and then crossed
the finish line not even know how long it took me and not really caring.

That race was rough on all levels.

Di ended up taking 3rd in her AG!  We hung out for the awards ceremony and then waited for her to get her roll down slot to Vegas, she only needed it to roll down once.  They started calling my coaches AG for roll downs and it rolled down to him and he  got in.  I was still thinking there is no way that was going to roll down hill far enough…but it did, I started crying.  And then Di got her turn.

It has been a lot of hard work ALL YEAR to get to this spot and for all of us to somehow get to the World Championship 70.3 race in Vegas is crazy and awesome.

For the love of jMatt

October 15th, 2010

Here he is in all his glory…crossing the finish line in Kona.

Way to slay those lava dragons jMatt!

2B or not 2B

October 3rd, 2010

I knew, when I signed up last year to do an ironman, that I wanted to have a coach.  I wanted this coach because I knew that I could readily destroy myself and my race by manhandling my own training regimen.

So I started asking around and quickly came up with a few coaches to talk with.  After a few brief exchanges, it was clear who the most responsive and diligent candidate for the job was and in addition to that, he had a small posse of woman my age that were training for the same race.  In my mind, the combination of the two, was the perfect compliment.

The deal with having a coach is that you have to trust them.  You have to have faith that what they are asking you to do, will reap rewards down the line.  Sometimes that’s hard to do, especially when you know lots of (highly competitive) athletes, doing lots of things and all those things might be different than how your coach is doing it.  You can choose to trust or you can drive yourself crazy wondering if they are skinning the cat the wrong way.  I chose to, as I call it, drink the Welle-Aide.  Needless to say, that trust paid off for me this year.

After all the time and workouts and emails and discussions and races, when it was all said and done, my coach Scott Welle, deserves the highest of praise.  He has made me a much smarter, savvier and wiser racer.  He has made me stronger mentally.  And, he has made me pretty bad-ass-mean physically.  If you want specifics on how much time I have shaved off my race times this year, I can give that to you.  But know this, I am A LOT faster, after training with Scott.

If you are looking for a coach, contact him.  He does loads of other stuff besides training crazy people like me, so check out his web site (you will quickly find out he likes information–don’t be scared).

After 9 months with me…he gets my stamp of approval!

Thanks for the great season Welle!

Look at your own risk

September 24th, 2010

When I signed up to do the ironman, I really wanted to keep track of all the hours and miles I logged, we well as, how much it actually cost me to do the race and all the training.

I am pretty sure I could figure out the hours and miles, it’s located somewhere in the deep recesses of the Polar software system that kept track of every fricking beat of my heart and foot strike that I took over the past 9 months.  Alas, I don’t feel like digging for it…hey Welle, get on that will you?

I did however, keep track of my expenses.  So, if you are at all curious about how much it might coast you to do an ironman keep going.  If you have done one and don’t want to know, look away.  If you have a wife or a husband or a significant other or mother that doesn’t want you to do one, certainly don’t show them this.

Drum roll please….

Gear Cost: $4, 298.47 (this does include my new bike, bike maintenance, running shoes, new helmet, needed apparel, etc)

Race Registrations:  $800

Physical Therapy & Massage: $2497. 38

Hotels and stays in Madtown:  $850

Race & Training Nutrition:  $450 (Gu, Heed products, etc.)

Babysitting:  $245 (plus lots of free babysitting from friends and family…so this could be a whole lot worse)

Coaching: $1,475 (this is from Jan-September and includes Ironman Camp)

Total Cost of doing the WI Ironman:  $10,615.85

Coming in at 11 hours and 35 minutes…Priceless!


September 22nd, 2010

Who knew this would take me this long to get this out.  I got a little side tracked organizing SurlyFest on my return.  Which, by the way, was an absolute blast and went off without a hitch, thank you very much.

But…I am sure what you really want to hear about is if I actually made it out of Madison in one piece, right?  So buckle up or get a cup of coffee or maybe a bottle of wine, this might take a while.

I wish I could have had a recorder, taping my thoughts throughout the entire race, so I could download all the “crazy” that went on in my head for 11 hours and 35 minutes because really, if you didn’t know it already, there is lots-o-crazy in there.  And being so very social, like I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut, my coach as well as my friends were a little worried that I might self implode with all that silence.

As far as the race, I did a pretty good job following the plan my coach and I talked about.  With the exception of the run, it gets so dark in there in my head when I run.  That said, I also may have biked a little too fast to get the speed that I really wanted on the run.  Oh well, rookie mistake, even though we talked about it at great length and I knew better.  What can I say, I had Jon’s race helmet and some speedy race wheels, it’s like wearing a sexy dress or f*&% me boots, you just feel so good, so invincible.  I couldn’t help myself.

I knew this was going to be an emotional day and I was bound and determined to just have the best day possible, no matter what was thrown my way. So instead of giving you a play by play, I’ll give you some of the emotional highlights.

The swim, with about 2.500 people treading water while the national anthem was being sung, was amazing. I do usually cry at national anthems, but not today.  My coach and I went out by the buoys and tried to file in according to our race pace, it was nice having someone there I knew, at least for that fleeting moment.

Then the cannon went off, it was like being in a cage match with a bunch of seals.  I was expecting rough waters but it was even more physical than I ever imagined.  I had arms on my back, shoulders, legs and people simply trying to pull past me.  It had to do in large part with where I started, which I knew, but why not go into the eye of the storm?  I swam next to my coach for the first leg and then just found a nice pace and kept moving forward.

At the second turn, my dad showed up.  I had the same feeling a while back and the flood of emotion made me start to weep into my goggles.  I knew he would show up at some point, he would have so been there to see this.  When I started training back in January, he was still here and while training continued on, he died.  So I knew that the culmination of this race would bring with it thoughts of my dad, of loss and simply, a lot of emotion.  And as quickly as it came, it was gone.  As was the swim.  2.4 seemed to fly by and off I went out onto my bike.

I swear, every time I was out on a training ride my friend Ellen would call.  It became our joke and I always answered the phone with a, “SERIOUSLY, I am biking!” and then I would burst out laughing.  So on the course, somewhere in the distance, I kept hearing a very Pavlovian bell, which immediately made me think of Ellen, which made me think of the fact that she was at home thinking of me, which made me start to weep, yet again.  Which then lead me to think about how lucky I am to have such an amazing group of friends and family that supported me through this entire endeavor , it was almost too much to take. The tears would come and as quickly as they came, they were gone.

When thinking about how emotional this race was going to be, I always saw myself breaking down at the finish line, not breaking down during the race.  I found myself amazed by the surge of emotion and when it would come, I simply tried to let it wash over me and move on.

I was biking pretty hard but feeling really good, so I was just going to keep going.  At mile 40 I bumped into Jeff Steel and talked so much I ran my bike off the road, that could have been disastrous.  He suggested I move on as to not hurt myself.  At mile 60, as I was descending a hill at 40 miles per hour, I knew I had fallen pretty head over heels in love with this race and I knew right then and there that this was not going to be my last ironman. At mile 80 I could no longer get down my cliff bars and started dry heaving over my handle bars. At mile 82 I realized I was tired for the first time.  At mile 104 I hit a bump so hard that my handle bars fell down at least three inches, good thing there was only 8 miles left.  For those of you dying to know if I peed on my bike…YES, three times.

So with a few miles left, doing better than I ever imagined on that hilly of a course, I finished up, handed my bike to the volunteers and headed into the transition area, where I change one last time and gather everything I need for a 26.2 mile run.

The plan, 9:45-10:00 min mile pace for the first 6 miles then drop to 9:00 for the rest of the race.  Well, I kept looking at my watch and it said 7:45 min miles, so not ok.  So I spent the next three miles trying to figure out how to lumber along to get to the slow speed I was suppose to be going.  It’s hard with people yelling and cheering and all the excitement and you’re just so damn glad to be off your bike seat and onto the next event.

I honestly couldn’t believe how fast everything was going.  I kept looking at my watch throughout the day and the hours kept ticking by, now here I was, running.  Already, running.

The high points of the run: I finally got to talk with people and I saw almost everyone I knew once or twice, including all the people that came to cheer (thank you for being there!), yeah that was the best part.

The low points:  I felt like I was going to shit my shorts for about 26 miles, one of my toes felt like it got a shiv stuck in it and then hot liquid shot out around mile 19, which caused a bit of a problem with my form.

Then the little nice voice in my head showed up.  I had 6 miles of the run left.  I knew if  I only ran 10 minute miles I could still be under 12 hours.  Remember the goal pace?  It was not 10 minute miles.  So that sweet little voice, that normally is not sweet at all but nasty, is telling me I am doing such a great job that I don’t have to go any faster.  That I have worked hard enough and I will still do better than I thought.  Who was this devil in sheep’s clothing?  He was totally right, but still, I knew it in my core there was more to give but wanted to listen to that little voice so much more than push harder.

The end of the run is up State Street, which is a slight incline and if you look up you see the Capital in all its glory.  You hear thousands of people cheering, there is no way you can’t smile while you take it in.  There is one last water stop right at the base of the Capital, I wasn’t going to stop, I was so close to the finish line.  But in the blink of an eye, I realized my race was going to be over in a few minutes.

As that realization hit me, I stopped running.  I stood there, looked at the Capital, the sun shining down, the beautiful day, I turned and looked at all the people, thanked the volunteers and soaked every last ounce of my first ironman experience up.

Then I threw my cup on the ground and finished the race.

I ran through that shoot with more energy than I ever thought I would have for spending the entire day swimming, biking and running.

What a day, what an experience.

I have so many people to thank.  Without all of you and your support I could not have crossed that finish line.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Here are all the photos!

I love Penn Cycle

September 8th, 2010

I’m going to say it again…I LOVE PENN CYCLE!

I’m sorry Gear West, you don’t really care about me and I have moved on.  Ok, unless you have what I need and then I guess I need to go back to you but I try really hard not to need you.

Sounds like a bad relationship doesn’t it?  Or maybe the realationship I had with my bike that didn’t fit that I bought there.  ANYWAY…

This is Rich, he’s the manager over at Penn Cycle.  I bought my new-wonderful-amazing-fast-hot bike at Penn Cycle AND they fit me on the right size, imagine that!

Rich is holding up race wheels.  Those race wheels are now on my bike for the big race, for free.  Those wheels cost more than my bike, I better not mess them up.  The one draw back, if I flat, there really isn’t a way to fix it. I know, I can feel your worry.  Don’t, I’m trying not to.

How did I get these you ask?  Cute, fast (in a racing way), funny, chatty, hot Di was at Penn getting new bike shoes and told Rich I needed some for race day. Sure enough, he told Di to have me give him a call.  So I did.  And while I was one the phone with him, I told him that I was pretty sure that if I had just walked in and talked to him, he would have NEVER handed me a pair of very pricey racing wheels.

That kinda stuff just doesn’t happen to me.  I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m funny and I have a great personality, but I don’t get free shit from boys.  I am at least glad he found that conversation funny because it could have been very weird and awkward.

Of course, I also found out he liked Surly, so I felt that the least I could do to repay the favor was to pay him off with beer.  I’ve never seen a bigger smile on someones face than when I walked in with a bunch of Surly under my arm and handed it over, along with my bike.

Thanks Penn, may these wheels make my travels very fast.

Vicki Update

September 5th, 2010

Vicki just got word from her doctor, who read all her MRI results from every part of her body, and it looks like her knee is fine.  No breaks or tears, just one big’ol bruise and if she can tolerate the pain, she won’t do any damage to it by running on it.

Her wrist, which they thought was a hairline fracture, turned out to be a complete break along the radius.  Since she feels jarring while on her bike, the doctor wants to cast it.  So Wednesday, 4 days before the race, she will have a cast put on.

How bad ass is that going to be?  I hope she gets a glow in the dark one.

So YES, she will be doing the race with a cast.

Bumps in the road

September 3rd, 2010

This ironman race is NOT for the faint of heart.  Anything can seem to happen, in the blink of an eye.

The day we came home from Ironman Camp in Madison, Jackie forgot her bike was mounted on the top of her car and ran it right into the garage.  Needless to to say, it broke in two, IN TWO!  So three weeks out from the race, she was on the hunt for a new bike.  Not really the thing she wanted to be doing.



Last weekend, when we were all on our Clover Leaf of Death ride, the LAST hard ride of training, 15 miles into it Vicki went over her handle bars.

Out cold for a good 30 seconds, just laying there in the road still as a stone.  Her wrist is broken, her body is scraped up and they are is still trying to figure out why her knee swelled like a blow fish.

She is getting run through the paces; x-rays, MRIs, pulling, prodding.  She is doing everything she can to move forward and YES, still complete the race.

These are the moments, after all the months and miles and sweat, that you sometimes hit.

You can either be torn apart by them and quit or move forward and persevere.

Let’s hope the rest of the days leading up to the race are smooth sailing.