Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Progress

I had a great ride today. Auntie came over to hang out with the Punks. I headed out hard, trying to maintain over 16 mph for the first 5 miles. I checked at 4.7 and I was averaging 16.2. After that I tried not to focus on my average and just rode. I'm trying to spend a lot of time out of the saddle. I found pre-tri that when I was trying to climb a hill (specifically Killer but really all hills), my muscles would burn almost immediately when I stood up. So, my goal is to try and stand up despite the terrain, just to get used to it. I can't stay up for as long as I want, but I did intervals. I don't think it's going to take long to feel significant progress.

Speaking of progress, I also found that I am climbing hills much more easily. Hills I thought were really challenging a few weeks ago I am getting up without even pausing. A few weeks ago, I had to stop and rest (not walk, but rest). In some cases I am pretty much sailing up them, in others I am definitely fighting up them. This feels great.

Speaking of great, head over to the new Health Hacks Podcast and check it out. It's the Beta Episode, and it sounds great. A good group of people, a good energy, good fun, and some really good information. Say hi while you there, and let them know what you think.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Keep on Keepin' on

Just a real quick exercise update.

Saturday
I went for a bike ride. The 1st 4 miles seriously rocked. I was pushing it and really felt great. I averaged 16.7 or something. The plan was to do 15 miles. I was going to really push it for the 1st half and then take it easy- maybe do some long hills. My bike a'started clunkin' at mile 4. I'm not sure what the hell is going on with it. I was trying to do a lot a standing and really push my legs. Once the clunking started I was just getting by. I did another 4.something frustrating miles home.

Sunday
Running Buddy and I headed out for our usual 3.1. Turned out to be a junk run. We stuck with the 5/1 for 1.5 miles, then we pretty much walked. Neither of us felt good.

School starts on Tuesday. Running Buddy is a teacher. This means morning runs are on my own. I hope I can call on my reserves and pull up some stamina and some drive to keep it going on my own.

I need an Ipod. I really do.

Friday, August 25, 2006

So There are Athletes, and Then There Are....

Have you seen this? You must have.

This is such a beautiful story.

I apologize for ever bitching about my pace, my lack of _________ (confidence, skill, patience, clothes, drive, strength, blah, blah, blah.) I especially apologize for bitchin' about the Punks.

So, there is a saying around our house, "dead Dads aren't much fun." This is very true. However, Dads who rock the world like Dick Hoyt deserve to be read about. Maybe even more than once. Maybe even more than twice. Dick Hoyt and his son Rick inspire me.

Tell me about someone who really inspires you... Really, tell me. Please?

(Oh, and Rob- if you say me- you are so dead.)

I can't wait to run tomorrow.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Event Snaps

Here are a couple snaps of the big event:

Here I am swimmin'. Yeah, right there. See me?

My orange butt exiting the water heading to the transition
area. I was running so, so, so fast it was hard to get a picture! ;)


And moments from the finish line. Notice how small the path is. Not entirely
inconceivable that one might run right past it. You can see that, right? Right?

So, not fabulous pictures. Rob apologized that he wasn't the best photographer. He was a little wrapped up in the moment. Chris got a lot of great video footage... which of course will require a ton of editing!

For those who are asking "what's next," maybe a 5k a week from Wednedsay. Then I am looking towards one last sprint this season, 1/4 mile swim, 13 mile bike, 3.4 mile run on Sept. 23. I'm sticking with this distance and 5k races for the forseeable future. I also plan on looking into some training plans and find a realistic plan for moving forward not backwards during the winter. Considering how I hate the dreadmill, this will present a challenge.

What's next for you?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Done!

What a weird day. Here goes:

Alarm goes off at 5:45. 5 minutes later, I'm up and dressed.

The race started at 8 am, so I gobbled up a bagel with sunflower seed butter and downed a bottle of Propel. I poked around a little and headed out the door solo. The friends and fam followed shortly after. During the ride I listened to music and noticed how many cars were carrying a bike. I got to the park a little before 7, and the cars were a'lined up a'waitin. It was nearly 7:30 when I was parked and taking my bike down. The nerves kicked in.

At the transition area it was so hard to find an open spot to rack my bike. Some of the early folks were a little less than open to sharing "their" space. I swear it was like their transition areas were set up on beach blankets. A guy finally scootched his stuff over 1/4 of an inch and I jammed my bike in. How dumb did I feel when a 9 year old had to tell me to try putting the front of my bike seat up on the bar. Doh! There were so many beautiful racing bikes. The hybrid and mountain bikes really were few and far between. I'm not ashamed to admit I had bike envy. So, blah, blah, blah, I get my postage stamp sized area all set up and looking purty.

The fam arrived and I said hello and gave kisses all around. A few finishing touches and I headed down to the water... with my specs on. Goggles over specs? Uh, back to the bike and then with a little prayer that no one would crunch my glasses (I forgot my case), I headed back down to the beach.

The race dude gave a little (or incredibly LONG) confusing course overview. I managed to get my cap on and I was adjusting my brand spanking new goggles when... SnAp!! Yup, 2 minutes before the start. I curse and scramble to tie them securely. Phew, another little prayer that they hold.

And we're OFF! I stayed pretty far back at the start and let the mighty athletes find their place. I got into a rhythm and was sighting well when BAM! (are you enjoying my sound effects?) A swift kick in the head from a large male foot. Maybe not sighting perfectly. I was a bit rattled and gulped a couple-too-many mouthfuls. Yum. I switched to breaststroke and got back into a rhythm with great visibility... and I was passing people... swimming breaststroke! For the rest of the race I alternated between breast and free and felt pretty ok. Out of the water I got a few low-fives from the Punks and the hubby, ditched the cap and goggles with them and headed up to the bike. Rob said I looked really strong coming out of the swim. I was startled to see a 9:xx time when I crossed into T1. Considering things were cramped, T1 went well. Quick dunk of the feet to rinse the sand off, socks, sneaks, bike shorts, shirt and helmet and I was off, running the bike out of the transition area. Not super fast, but fine.

I felt a little nauseus pretty early on in the bike but was cranking along pretty quickly (for me- mind you the oh so beautiful bikes are whizzing by me at an alarming rate). Mile 4, here comes Killer. I did ok. I shifted down into granny gear and by chain kind of klunked out. I thought I lost it, but it re-engaged. I rode a little more and then pleupht! I was in good company, that mountain was a killer. I did see quite a few folks fight up it and it was great. Really inspiring. It took longer than I expected to recover my breathing, but there were some nice down hills and some managable up hills. I was still nauseus and not moving quite so quickly. I saw lots of dead frogs, a couple chipmunks and a freakin' porcupine along the side of the road. I figure I was about 10-15 minutes behind my goal on the bike. This surprised me. With the exception of Killer, I thought I was a bit more prepared. I came in and racked my bike, dumped my helmet, grabbed my do-rag, hugged the Punks, dumped a water bottle with them and shot down the trail into the run.

Very quickly some cramps started. I slowed to a walk and focused on my breathing. I damned the bagel I'd eaten and tried to maintain a fast pace. I walked a good bit and chatted up the folks that passed me as they were headed back in from their run. They all mumbled, "You, too" or something. One guy initiated a high five/good work thing as he passed me. Nice guy. The first mile was a trail run. The path was very well maintained but there were soft spots that I just don't feel on the road. My legs felt good but I couldn't shake the damn cramps. I only sipped the water and Hammer Heed drinks at the 1st and second mile aid stations. Oh, after the 1st mile mark we were on the road for a short bit. I was maybe 20 yards back on the trail when I heard some persistent horn beeping. I turned and saw a Jeep and assumed it was some folks offering encouragement. Nope. There was a woman leaning out the window trying to ask me for directions. I shit you not. I motioned toward my race number and turned to continue. They kept beeping. They kept BEEPING!

About a half mile out from the finish the guy right behind me started chatting with me. He even introduced himself and we shook hands. Anthony. Funny. This is the kind of thing I loved about the Danskin. The support. The girl power- although Anthony and a few others offered me some people power. In my mind that's what this shit should be about.

I was gearing up to "finish strong" as the end approached. I was running through the cramps and really pushing my pace. Then I missed the freakin' turn off for the finish line. I ran right past it and was so confused. I had to ask someone where the f'ing finish line was and run BACK to catch the turn. Shit. The good part? Rob saw me- so my cheering section started screaming like mad from somewhere behind the trees. It was so great to hear them. It's hard to finish strong when your eyes and throat are welling up.

The official times won't be posted until tomorrow, but I think it was about 2:14. Biggest thing I walked away from the day (performance wise only) having learned is not to be intimidated by the swim. I can hold my own for that distance.

It was amazing to have my family there cheering me on. I can't... yeah. And our friends and their fab kids. Chris got a lot of video, and maybe some snaps? Not sure. They all were so supportive and so very nice and loud. Not just for me, for everyone that passed them. That was a beautiful thing for my kids to learn.

I'm sure more thoughts will come, and possibly a picture, but for now... goodnight.

Typos/Grammatical errors? Too bad, too tired.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

2 days

I'm feeling pretty good. For the past few days I've done some easy rides and longish walks. My knee has been a little funny so I've been doing advil and ice. Overall my list of inspirations has stuck with me and I am not too stressed out about the event. The weather looks fine, low 80's although the humidity is on its way back up.

I am really looking forward to experiencing the day. My only other tri experience was 3 years ago in Massachusetts with a Danskin sprint. Have I mentioned that I loved it? Great girl power stuff, totally encouraging, and Sally Edwards (super star triathlete) always finished last so there goes that fear. I've spent more time preparing for this one and although the distances are a little longer I feel more ready. Then, I did it with my sister but had no cheering section. Now, I go at it alone, but my fam will be there to cheer me on. I hope the kids are at least a little bit engaged in the whole race atmosphere and aren't bored stiff waiting for a glimpse of me during transitions and at the finish. How will they know I'm coming? It would stink if they waited around for so long and then missed it. Baring an unforseen broken chain or flat tire they will know about when to start looking for me, I guess. Our friends the Brogans will be joining us, too. I'm counting on Chris playing the role of official photographer. I'm excited to experience another tri event. It will definitely be different. It's much smaller and there will be boys there.

I really hope I can keep this attitude throught the next day and a half. Tomorrow will be packing, laying out my transition area and pre-registering. I expect some nerves and I am a little worried about falling asleep on Friday night. I have some falling asleep issues anyway, but the night before something big?? Yeah.

I'm glad the week is almost over.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Career Mom Radio

GNM has launched the Beta Episode of Career Mom Radio. This is still a test show- please do send in your thoughts and ideas on the show. This is going to be really, really great and this episode has a nice introduction to some of the contributors. Give it a listen!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Inspiration

Are you bored yet? I am tired of writing and feeling down about myself, and of my fear of not succeeding, and of worrying about coming in last or not finishing the Wildbear.
I've been struggling to get over the mental hurdles. This here post is another step in that direction.

In no particular order here are some thoughts that are pulling me up:

  1. Aidan told me last night that he wants his next post to be about exercise. He and Clay both ran around the block with me last night before my run. Aidan seemed fascinated by his sweat and his racing heart. After my run he raced around the house, first 6 laps, then 5, then 10. I timed him. He talked about how good he felt all night. My kids are learning from my actions.
  2. John "the Penguin" Bingham continues to use run/walk intervals.
  3. This Runners World article was very reassuring.
  4. The way that I perform in this race will not be the way that I perform in the same race next year.
  5. I'm doing it.
  6. I just read Will (the race director's) blog, he wrote:
    After the morning meeting, we shot up to Range Pond for a site visit... Seeing the park in the summertime today reaffirmed my initial belief that this is one of the best possible venues for a race. Our goal for this week is to begin marketing the heck out of it around Portland and try to get as many first-timers as possible. I have to admit, though, there is one hill on the bike course that is a beast. The course map and elevation chart will be posted on the website in the next few days.
  7. I might have to rest during the hill. SO WHAT? It really is a scary hill... it's not just me. It's a freakin' beast.
  8. Someone has to finish last. If it's me this year, then maybe next year it won't be.
  9. It's only exercise. I am doing now what I wasn't doing last year. I feel better than I did last year. I gripe about not loving exercise, but I have had some moments on the bike that I have really enjoyed. What I thought might never happen has... I've come to really need exercise. My body will eventually catch us and show improvement.
  10. Have I mentioned my kids?
  11. Last, but never least, could my husband BE more supportive?
Thanks for sticking through my self-pity and blah, blah, blah. Your comments rock.

I think I'm back!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006

HA!

Last night my brick was rained out. Not a light summer drizzle, but a holy crap that was loud storm. So, did I climb on my dread-mill? Did I make alternate arrangements?

Nope. I ate an ice cream cone while listening to Fat Guy Gets Fit, (!) read a couple blogs, read my I just cant put it down book (thanks to Mia for the suggestion). And then I went to bed. Oh, not early so as to be rested, but how'd it get to be so late? late.

Ooops. So tonight I'll juggle a finally Friday evening with the fam, a lawn mowing, and a bike ride. No big.

Tomorrow will be big, though. I'm doing a dry-run of the race course. I don't actually have the run route, but I'm tackling the killer hill. I'll make up a run route.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New Purchase

I bought a tri suit on Ebay. Here's a headless picture of me modeling it, aren't I looking fit? If all goes well the suit will arrive in the next couple of days and I will have time to test it out. My plan will be just to throw on a tank to bike and run in. It matches my sneakers. How cute. (Purely coincidence, I assure you. I am still not a girl- just cheap)
GEL-FORTITUDE™
Geesh, when you look at them side by side they sure do clash... I told you I'm not a girl.

My Son

Aidan is featured in an article written by Chris Brogan on Lifehack.org.

How cool is this?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The (Unofficial) Results Are In

The "race" report:

So, my running buddy picked me up and we headed into Portland. We were both a little nerved up, especially when we heard that the Beach to Beacon (10k race that was held last Saturday here in Portland) winners were rumored to be there (it turned out that the 6th place runner was). We decided that our goal was to finish in under 40 minutes. We also decided we weren't going to stick together the whole time. If one of us felt driven to either push on or fall behind the other person shouldn't feel obligated to match pace.

A few things: it was quite warm but not super hot and not very humid. I have never run in the evening. I have never run a 5k. We've been run/walking 10/1:30 minute intervals for 3.1 miles. We decided to scratch that and try and run the whole thing. I'm estimating that there were 40 or so runners. We jumped in towards the back of the pack and we were off.

It's hard to keep your own pace when you are in a pack like that. I knew I was starting off a bit too quickly. I think our 1 mile split was 10:30. That's pretty fast for me (I know). At about the 1.25 mile marker I wished we'd stuck with the intervals. I went a little further and had to take my 1st walk break. Buddy went on ahead. My mouth was so dry. I run with gum to avoid this, but tonight it didn't work. My mouth was so so so dry. I contemplated asking a stranger who was walking for just a little tiny chug of their water. I didn't.

I started running again after 2 minutes or so, but I just couldn't get a rhythm. Nothing felt right. My number was flapping around. I struggled to find a good pace and found myself doing shorter intervals- brisk walk and almost sprint. Not a good approach. It was really windy and it was blowing right towards us. My hat blew off crossing the bridge at about 2:25 miles. I don't love the hat and it turned out to be a big pain in the ass, but I didn't want to be a litter-bug, so I went back and got it.

Buddy was in sight and we were pretty close to the finish line. I thought it would be cool to catch her and cross together. I almost did it. I crossed less than 10 seconds behind her. We were both pretty pleased with our times, but not at all happy with our race. Does that make sense? We didn't feel good doing it, but were ok with the end result. I think we decided next time to do the intervals.

Unofficial time: 36:43 (11:38/mile)

Here we are, with times to beat and performances to improve upon: I am in the middle, running buddy is on the right and running buddy's friend is on the left (she kicked our butts with a time of 33 minutes)

Flash back: 14 Months ago

My sister was visiting us from Connecticut. She asked then 3 year old Clay if he would show her where the clothes dryer was. He brought her into the bathroom and announced:

Here it is (pause).
And that's the wetter (points at the washing machine).

Kids are sources of endless entertainment.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

11 days and Counting

Just Training:

Easy short swim mid-day.
Brick: 10 mile bike at 14 mph/ 1 mile run 13:14
My legs felt like lead the whole run and the calf pain was back (right side of my right leg just above my ankle). I had to stop a couple times to walk briskly.

Tomorrow: my 1st ever 5k

Monday, August 07, 2006

Check Out My Kid

My eldest has discovered the wonderful world of blogging. This is his creation, I only helped with the technical piece. He researched all of the information and decided what facts to include.

He is so smart and I am so proud of him.

Check out: Information About Stuff

Aidan is a HUGE fan of comments!

(you gotta love it).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

NO! NO! NO!

I am so sickened by the very idea of Oliver Stone's World Trade Center. I get that 10% of sales opening weekend will go to WTC charities (Hello... 10 p.e.r.c.e.n.t. of one weekend). I get that it is supposed to be about heroism not terrorism. But it is about terrorism. Shit.

I see a clip from the news after the attacks and I am immediately brought back. Hell, I don't even need a clip- they are all burned forever in my mind. I just need to call it up, and I am back in front of the tv. I sucked up every speck of information as it was happening. I was obsessed. I can't believe it was 5 years ago. Everything changed. Who doesn't know someone who died? Who doesn't know someone who ran from the rubble? Who doesn't know someone who worked at ground zero? 6 degrees or less, I bet. I know people from each of those categories. I was aquainted with a family who flew on Flight 11. An uncle (in-law) ran. A dear friend was there day in and day out. Everyone knows someone.

So, a movie. A motion picture. I am not a fan of disaster movies in any form. All of the war movies? Not for me. Do they have their place? Yes. But this? It's too close. It's hard for me to believe that enough time will pass to gain "historical perspective." Freedom of speech, blah, blah, blah. They have every right to make this movie. I know I don't have to see it. I thank the modern technology that allows me to fast forward through the trailers. Is it just me? Will you see it?

I keep wondering: how do the survivors feel? How do the families of the victims feel? How do the people who worked in the morgues for months and months trying to identify pieces and parts feel? How do the folks who suffer from PTSD feel?

Isn't it too close?

News Flash

It's hot. Everyone, everywhere is talking about it. I tried to run this morning. Of the 3.1 miles I might've run 1.5 of them. I was poorly hydrated and my luna bar just sat in my gut like a rock.

I think we are going to the beach this afternoon. Rob will meet us there and we will stay through dinner.

My bike goes in for a tune-up today. Isn't it strange that I will miss it? I hope to have it back by Friday.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Today's About the Bike

I drove the bike course for the tri today. You know, in my car. By the time I finished I was completely intimidated. I felt weak and scared. I stewed about it for awhile. You see, there is this killer hill around mile 6. The ride as a whole felt really long.

So tonight I followed the training plan and headed out after a small dinner. My goal: 20 miles, any speed. The temperature was in the high 80s and so very humid. I was well hydrated and pumped up. I should definitely mention that during dinner my family was training, too. They practiced over and over again how they would cheer for me during the race. Over and over. So, I rode out of the driveway to a loud cheer and then I tackled some nice hills. I felt like I hit the first 14 miles harder than the the last 6- when I checked it turned out I averaged a pretty slow 12.9 mph. I was a little surprised it wasn't faster. It felt like it should have been faster. Keeping in mind the heat and the distance I decided to lighten up a little and simply complete the last 6 miles. 20 miles at an average speed of 12 mph. I'll happily take that. Oh and killer? Bring it on. (ok, I'm talking large here, but my plan is to climb that hill in a training ride next week. I. won't. walk.) So, I drove into the driveway and popped out of the saddle and did a lap around our little block. It stunk. Like, um, a dead skunk buried in a pile of cow shit. I'm totally cool with that. It still felt good to finish.

Sidebar: My bike seat offers a whole new view of the streets of Maine. In a word: roadkill. I really have to thank the powers that be that I am sitting here blogging and not dead in a gully. With every bump over a squirrel's skeleton or a raccoon's tail or *shudder* the other stuff, I squeezed my eyes as tight as could be... and just drove on. So, yeah, I am pretty dang lucky.

I was also scheduled for a swim today and I did it. It was uneventful. I have been thinking about where I want to be in the start. I don't want to get in other people's way, but I don't want to be boxed in either. Hmmm... It seems a lot of triathletes are intimidated by the swim. I don't mind the open water or the distance (the distance is so much more managable when you remove those pesky pool walls and ditch all of those turns). I get caught up a little when I remember the crowd and how I felt to be swimming so close to so many other people. Kicking others and being kicked. Not having any space to get around a slower swimmer but feeling the person behind me swimming up my butt. I have another swim tomorrow night.

Any thoughts on deciding on your proper starting position?

PS: During tonight's ride I mooed at some cows that I passed and baaed at some sheep. I really was glad to be out there.