The Mary Sellke Year of Fun 2013…

April 14th, 2013

Yeah, what the hell does that mean?

For the past three years I have taken to spending much of my extra time (and money) training for Ironman and or marathons (those however seem to be more of a bi-product of Ironman training than actual ability to be a solid marathoner). Those years took a tremendous amount of dedication, time, focus and energy.  At certain points in training, it took me away from my family, eight hours on a bike in Wisconsin can do that. It also took a great deal of support from my family, to which I am so grateful, I could not have done it without them.

All that said, I would not change anything about those three years, with the exception of I wish I had been fast enough to make it to the World Championships in Kona but you can’t have everything, right? Or maybe let’s just say, that fight might not be over yet.  But, it is for this year.

This year is all about encompassing adventures I like, have wanted to do in the past, training that doesn’t take up too much time and most importantly these events must be done with my friends. Events and races are great but sharing them with friends is so much more satisfying.

Yesterday started off  the year of fun with the Fred Kurz 10 mile run.









It is a small little race out in Wayzata that fit perfectly into training for a half marathon in a few weeks. The only problem, our spring has left us with snow. The Luce Line ended up being a single track snow compacted trail run. It was hard, kinda horrible and absolutely great to be out there with Becca and Di.











The hardest thing about this year, I have no idea how to put it all together into a solid training plan. It’s diverse to say the least. Here’s the schedule so far:

Year of Fun:

Minnetonka 1/2 Marathon

Lake Minnetonka Sprint Tri

Tough Mudder


If you wanna join in a piece of that, I would love to have you. If you have an additional race you wanna do, let me know, I might be game.



November 24th, 2010

I have been fighting a bit of knee trouble these days, so I decided to take some time off of running, thinking that would solve my problems.  Since it has not, I starting seeing a Chiropractor, her name is Dr.Thuy Katzenberger and she is the fiercest little woman who inflicts the most amount of pain, I have ever met.

I always love it when you go in and try to get one thing fixed, full well knowing (or maybe not) it is stemming from something else all together.  Here is the email I sent my coach of the rehash (from my perspective of what Thuy (pronounced Twee) said to me.

What is wrong:
1.  My pelvis is the biggest issue.  I actually stand with my pelvis tilted way forward which causes a whole host of alignment problems. Also in the position that I am in all the time, it does not allow for my hamstrings to be used to their full potential.  Instead they sit there contracted and shorted up because they are not allowed to be in their normal state.  This pelvic tilt also has my lower back in a constant contracted state, which is no good.  All of this pelvis stuff is causing my gate to be funky.

PLAN:  I have to retrain my pelvis to live in a different position.  I basically have to stand shoulders back, butt out, then breath and try to relax those muscles.

2.  My feet.  She was appalled at the state of my feet, their wear pattern, how crocked my toes are and the callouses I get.  I have some very strong muscles in my feet and then I have some that have atrophied.  She wants them all in play and wants my foot to strike differently.  Which supposedly it will once the pelvis is fixed.

PLAN:  Straighten my toes out (I’m not exactly sure what kind of Chinese voo doo can help with this, but let me tell you it hurts) and she wants me to walk around in Vibrum 5 fingers 30 minutes a day to get all the muscles in my feet working.  She feels that walking around in these is better than any exercises she could give me.

3.  The knee.  Again an alignment/weakness issue.  I’m asking muscles to do things they should not be doing because the others are not up to the task and I just keep burning through to the next stabilizer muscle.

Thuy said that my pain progression from IT band to other side of the knee is exactly what happens right before you tear your lateral meniscus, which usually happens suddenly due to something stupid like tripping over a sidewalk or rolling over a stone.  The constant ache in the back of the knee is all my muscles just trying to keep their shit together.

PLAN:  Get in alignment, strengthen hamstrings.

4.  Weaknesses:  hamstrings and glute medius.  My glute medius is like jello…I am hoping for a better ass in 2011.

PLAN:  I have hamstring exercises to work on and glute work will come later.

5.  Balance:  I forgot what she said about this besides the fact that when asked to balance on one foot for 10 seconds I begin to shake, which someone in my physical condition should be able to stand there for a good minute before this happens.

PLAN:  Go back to bed and wake up in a different body.

This is what I get for asking my 40 year old body to race hard.  Better get on it, the start of marathon training is just around the corner.

Get’n right down to it

August 27th, 2010

Here we are, the LAST hard week of training before taper starts.  Honestly, I can’t believe it.  I feel like I am on the highest point of the roller coaster ride, right before the cart engages and you hear and feel the jarring of that last loud CLICK, right before free fall.

Last weekend was spent in Madison at Ironman Camp.  It was a great learning experience and I walked away feeling confident that I will cross the finish line (yes, that is my goal for this race anything above that is just frosting on the cake).   Here are the photos from the weekend.  You will notice that there is a lot of Surly beer hanging around, thanks Omar!

It became our mascot and training aid, I mean really don’t you think Surly and ironman races go together?

Anyway, here is what this last week looks like:

Mon – Do something. Easy.

Tues – 1) 4-6 mile Clearance Run. 2) Pool interval swim (50s, 100s) and plenty of technique work.

Weds – 1) Track Workout 20 400’s at 1:36 with 1 minute rest in-between. 2) 50-60 Foundation Ride.

Thurs – Open water swim @ 5:45am. 10 beach repeats (1/2 mile swim to the beach, beach repeats are .2 miles each and back to the beach we started from).

Fri – 1) 20 mile Foundation Run at 3pm (which is the time we will be starting our run in the race)  2) Optional easy pool swim to shake the legs out.

Sat – Clover Leaf of Death bike ride, plan on 70-80 miles of hell!

Sun – OFF

Almost there.  I’m going to say it again, I can’t believe it.

What have I done?

September 18th, 2009

I have tried to write this post several times.  To no avail I have either lost it or run out of time trying to edit it.

That must mean something right?

What it means is you get to read T-odd’s rendition of the weekend.  Don’t stop before you get to The Gary Project.  It is just pee in your pants funny.

And yes, we did sign up.

OMG we signed up!

Off to school

September 1st, 2009

This was yesterday.

CT had just rolled out of bed and wasn’t ready yet.

PJ is set and ready to roll.  In fact, she ran onto the bus so fast that I had to go on after her to kiss her goodbye.

KP was all ready but had to wait another day for school to begin, but got to visit for an hour and hang out with his new class mates.

All in all, the day went pretty smoothly.

And today…KP headed off to his first day of ALL DAY Chinese Immersion Kindergarten (didn’t even want to stop for a photo-can you tell by the blur?).

With his big brother giving him ample instructions before leaving the door, his big sister taking his hand as they stepped onto the bus together and his wide anxious eyes waiting for all the new adventures to begin, I am sure this day too will be great.

Unless he goes insane because he has no idea what the teacher is talking about.

I’ll let you know if that happens.

Pain is weakness leaving your body

July 27th, 2009

I’m going to thank the 14 year old wrestler, who was our bus boy the day before the race.   We met him when we were chomping down burgers in Taylors Falls.  He was wearing a t-shirt that held the quote “Pain is weakness leaving your body”.

And let me tell you, I used it yesterday during my half ironman race, when I was down and almost out.  I shut my eyes on mile 9 of the run.  I wanted to go home.  I wanted to quit.  I decided to chant the above quote instead…until the pain went away.

That was my darkest moment of the race, the rest of the race actually went VERY well.  So, I’ll start from the top and give you the highlights.

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the wind was light.  Many of my regular tri buddies were there to stake their claim on the day.  I find racing with friends sooo much more fun than going to a race alone.  I guess that makes me a racing extrovert.  I like sharing these experiences and not struggling alone.

Cousin Catherine was there, she asked me to help her with her zipper.  It was about 5 minutes before the race, everyone had been kicked out of the transition area, there was a thread that was stuck, I freed it and then the zipper pulled up and came right off.  I broke it. The panic in her eyes was horrible.  I felt horrible.  She had an alternative…shark skin…not sure what that is, I’m too cheap, but she had something, thank god.

My swim went fine.  Per usual, I panicked around 3 minutes in.  My legs feel like tree stumps, I feel like I can’t kick and then I can’t breath.  I took a moment, did a few breast stokes and then started counting.  ONE, TWO, THREE.  On three I would breath.  Mindless.  I got to the half way point and realized I was under 15 minutes, that was good, REAL good.  If I could do the same on the way back I would be 4 minutes less than last year.

When I got out of the water…my watch read 30 minutes and some odd seconds.  REAL GOOD!

The transition went fine, off on the bike I went.

I chose to ride with less water and electrolytes than usual due to some bottle drops and assistance along the course.  This plan seemed to work out great!  Every 15 minutes my timer would go off and I would drink or eat something depending on the time.  Thanks to Nathan, I also added in some leg stretching every 45 minutes…thanks Nate (oh and thanks for the use of your AWESOME goggles, I loved them).

56 miles is a long ride and I found myself have conversations with MYSELF.  The best one just so happened at mile 20.  I was rolling along, looking at the fields, the sky, the cows and said in my head…”So, what do you want to talk about?”  And that right there is when you realize, this is a long race and that you can only laugh at the insanity.

Around mile 30 of the bike ride a woman passed me.  I don’t take kindly to woman passing me.  I don’t so much mind if a fast guy passes me BUT a girl passes me, and I have a serious issue.  So, this chick passes me, then I pass her.  We go on like this for 15 miles.  I take her on the hills, she’s sloppy.  She takes me when I am trying to pee on the bike (that means slowing down and trying to squat on my saddle at around 19 MPR).  The 5th time she past me, out of my mouth very quietly slides, “WHORE”.  I was so shocked that I said it out loud, I murmured,  “OMG, that is so  mean, I can’t believe you just said that.”  Then I laughed at myself.  Again, talking to myself.

I came into T2 fast, feeling good, seeing my family.  Hopped off my bike and ran in.  I had to pee.  OH YEAH, pee!  So, I was having GI issues on the bike.  I tried to pee on my bike, SERIOUSLY TRIED.  I let out a touch and then would be overcome with the sensation that I was going to shit myself.  That was enough to alter the course…I would need to stop on the run.  That meant the need to bike faster to the finish because I knew I would be wasting time in the bathroom.

Off on the run I went, happy the bike was over.  My legs started cramping.  I have not figured out how to fix this issue.  It happens every time.

I wanted to run 8 minute 30 second miles.  Around mile 1.5 I was altering my goals.  The legs were cramping.  If I kept it slow it was going to be ok, if I went faster than 9’s I was sunk.  I started timing my miles, full well knowing if I did 10 minute miles I could still beat my last years time.

At mile 2 I stopped, walked to the side of the course and stretched.  The emergency volunteers descended on me immediately.  I told them I was just stretching and they moved on.

I knew my family and Becca (who took 1st in the Athena group, WAY TO WIN THAT!)  would be at mile 6.  I couldn’t wait to stop and tell them how badly I wanted to stop and then they could slather me with sun screen or hug me or take me home.  Needless to say, they were across the road, yelling at me and telling me to keep going and they were not going to break my stride…I kept going.

Mile 7-9 was hell.  JMatt showed up on his bike.

Do you know JMatt?  Or Fast Matt as I call him.  Yeah, he got 2nd in his AG and 7th overall in the sprint.  After doing a half iron race the weekend before.  Needless to say, he was on his bike, riding across the street and telling me I looked good, my ass looked good (he says that to all the girls and was nice enough to tell this old lady it was still holding up) and that I was crushing it.  I SO WAS NOT CRUSHING IT right then and there.

I did not like him being there for a bit, then he just rode, did not make me talk and just gave me all good thoughts.

A girl in pink ran by me, he told me she was in my AG (age group) and that she was my pace bunny and I shouldn’t loose her.  At that point it did not matter, I could not keep up, she kept going, I did not.  I struggled.  As I said before, I wanted to give up, sit in the van, have someone just bring me home.

Then I tried to find the calm.  The calm I know I have.  The ability to know yourself because you have the experience.  The calm you know you have if you dig deep enough when you are spiraling out of control.

I hit mile 10 and I knew it was up to me to beat my own time.  I could either do it or not.  The gear I did not know I had, showed up.  My stride picked up, the cramps left and by mile 12 it was do or die.  It was up to my very own grit to finish this bitch.

I ran down the street and into the park, where you go off road, around the bend and end on an up hill.

I took it as hard as I could.  Adam was yelling at the top of his lungs.  KP almost ran into me as he cheered me on.  JMatt was at the top, along with the woman in pink, who I never thought I would see again.

I overtook her at the hill and sprinted to the finish with a time of 5 hours and 7 minutes.

I have never worked so hard in a race that I have felt like I was going to throw up…I almost did.

My goal, 5:10.  I did it.  I ran the best race I could that day, in fact, my best half iron race ever.

Did I want a top 3 finish in my AG and bring home a trophy, yes.

Did I get it?  No.

The competition was deep.  The top 3 were elite racers who finished in 4:30 and THAT is crazy and awesome.

I will never be there.  Even as a stay at home mom I don’t have that kind of time or ambition.

But what I will be is a great example for my kids.  Even though I didn’t get in the top 3, I did my best and that is all anyone (including myself) can ask.

I my very humble opinion, I rocked that race and am more than pleased with the outcome.  In fact, I am proud of myself.  All that extra worked paid off by 7 minutes.

It has been a GREAT season!

Oh yeah and the new tires…they made me faster.  THANKS!

Quiet Dawn

July 23rd, 2009

This morning around 7:00, the house was very still, everyone asleep but me. Then KP came walking down the steps, still stretching the sleep out of his body.

As the sunlight from the bathroom lit up half his little body I looked at him in his quiet state, in the quiet of the morning and a flood of emotion washed over me.  How big his little body had gotten, how cute he was, how funny was his hair splayed in all directions, and than that crooked smile that turned into a shy “oh no you’re looking at me” look.

At that moment I fell in love with him all over again.

Down the hill

July 20th, 2009

I’m staring down at my training calendar and guess what…it is the last week of training.  Where has the time gone?  Did I really do all that was written down on that thing?

The beauty of the last week of training is it’s such a little amount of work, that it’s almost like cheating or it’s like you’ve been given a gift for working so hard or it’s just the mind fuck you get after so many hours on your bike, in the water and in your running shoes.

Here is what my last week of triathlon training looks like.

Monday:  swim-2×400 yard sprints with 45 seconds rest in between.

Tuesday:  run-just run

Wednesday:  bike-15 minutes at 40 km speed

Thursday:  run-10 minute run at 10 k speed, swim-just swim

Friday:  NOTHING

Saturday: NOTHING

Sunday:  Race Day and we will see how well this training plan worked this year.

Monday:  BonBons and spaop operas

Santas in town

April 23rd, 2009

So I had a long bike ride yesterday.  I chose to do two laps of the trails around our house for ease and due to time constraints.  It was pretty windy out and several times during the ride I found random strangers drafting behind me.  For some reason this made me mad, like seriously people cut your own wind, if you’re going to use me at least say HI or tell me your name or something.  Needless to say, it just gave me more vigor so I would speed up and try to shake them.

One particular drafter however, was delightful.  He initially passed me at a street crossing and when he did, he was a vision to behold.  I would put him at about age 65 with very white hair sticking out of his helmet, a beard, a tight white sleeveless shirt, red tights and over the tights were tight spandex black biking shorts, a black fanny pack which carried jingle bells that you could hear if you were close by and he donned roller blades, very fast roller blades.

So I call out that I am passing on the left, he hand gestures for me to go ahead and then sticks with me for a good five miles.  I am on a bike, going about 19 miles per hour, he is on ROLLER BLADES.  He takes me on a hill and as he passes he tells me what a great pace I have going.  I tell him I love his jingle bells.  He tells me its to keep his elves in order because they don’t really listen.

Then off he flew.

Just one week ago

March 14th, 2009

Last weekend’s long run:  15.5 miles of joy, happiness, excitment and disbelief that I was back at the long runs and feeling this good.

This weekend’s long run:  16.72 miles of hell, back pain, ankle pain, sluggishness, negativity, and wanting to walk at only 5 miles into the run.

Oh the sweet ups and downs of training.