Monday, June 30, 2008

I just woke up.

It's 10:30am, and I just woke up.

The Bug is already down for his first nap. Matt laughed at me when I came downstairs.

But I was EXHAUSTED. And I just don't sleep well when I'm not at home, so I had 4 days of butt-whoopin' followed by not much sleep. And that equals a lazy Monday morning, so I figured now would be a good time to recap.

I'll add pics later, as I really didn't take many. I mean, why on earth would I take pics with my 2002 digital camera that's heeeeuuuuuggggeeee when I have James and Steve around? So I'll just direct you to those pictures as they come in.

Wednesday I packed up and delayed leaving as much as possible...not because I didn't want to see all my friends, because I was SOOOOOO excited for that. I was SOOOO excited to meet my teammates, too. But I was so NOT excited to leave Matt and the Bug. And, as predicted, I stood in the basement to say goodbye I cried like a little baby. The Bug looked at me with that "should-I-cry-too?" look so I stopped as much as I could, but I realized I would just cry a bit in my car and that was going to have to be okay. I've never left him overnight before. I don't even like to leave Matt but this was even worse. I read somewhere that having a baby is like having your heart walk around outside your body, and I guess that's the closest I can come to explaining it.

So I drove. And I decided the best thing to do would be to play fun tunes and talk to my buddies. I called IronJohnny, my training bud from the first Ironman for both of us, and told him where I was going. He told me all about his IMUSA training and we shared stories. And I felt better. I talked to a few other friends, too, and despite hitting a major storm in western Ohio, I felt better.

Before I knew it, I was in Chicago. The stupid thing was that I filled up right near my house and then forgot to fill up at the last station in Indiana, which meant that as I pulled into Lincoln Park I was coasting on fumes. Which then meant, of course, that I was going to pay the most insane price for gas I've ever paid. Ugh. But my little car made it from Cleveland to Chi-Town on one tank! Yay Chewy!

Jacks and I got the car unloaded and brought all my stuff up to her apartment. We caught up like we had never left and like we still lived in our house from Miami, the Nuthouse. And I was reminded of how awesome it is to have friends that you can just pick up with like five minutes have passed no matter how far away you are or how much has changed. This is true about my WIBA friends; many of whom I hadn't seen in a year and a half, and we've all changed tremendously, yet we could still ride, swim, and run like we did it last weekend.

You just need friends like that.

Thursday I woke up and drove to Vision Quest in Lake Bluff for testing with Robbie Ventura. Yeah...the real one. The one who rode with Lance and stuff. Needless to say, I was a bit intimidated. My buddy and teammate Stu was there to help document (thanks, Stu!) and I also got to meet Coach Emily! CycleOps was also there and I got to meet some really cool people who work for what I'm convinced is the coolest company on earth.

Robbie was SO nice and down to earth. You would never know how amazing he was if it wasn't for the posters all over the room with him and his teammates. I even forgot my running shoes and he let me wear some of his! Super nice. Within a few minutes I didn't feel quite as intimidated as I did on that drive up.

I did the LT test and got my finger pricked every 30 watts. It was awesome to see how my body was reacting to the stress and what it would mean for my training. Robbie explained everything to me in simple terms and I am amazed at how scientific this process is. Sure enough, at a certain point, my lactic acid skyrocketed, and that's how we determined my power zones. I am already a HUGE fan of training with power; it's everything that for me heart rate training was NOT. I'll be writing more about that as soon as I get a chance.

When the test was done, Robbie took me into another room with Stu and Emily to do a strength test, or as I refer to it, a Lack Of Strength Test. Ugh. I clearly know what I need to work on. I was frustrated at times, and even had to bite down pretty hard on the upper lip. I just know that I was pretty strong before The Bug and now I feel a little back to square negative one. But, that's life, and I'm not going to whine about it's time to just change it. So I will.

I finally made it back to Old Town in the city and Jacks and I figured out a place to go to dinner with our buddy T-Bone. We didn't even head out until pretty late, so I didn't know if I'd get to see any of my other buds I was going to try and meet up with, but I did! My buddy Chris came to meet us and so did my other friend Chien...and my super awesome friend Mouse! We ate lots of food, laughed a lot, and drank a lot of sangria. It was SO fun and so good to see them!

Friday Jacks and I headed up to Madison which took a little longer than anticipated. I remembered my first drive up there with ESpeed and Wil and how afraid I was of what I'd encounter when I got there. This time was different. The fear wasn't there as much--there was an odd familiarity to it, perhaps like if you step into your old high school cafeteria and you remember what it was like to sit there and what you were like back then. I wondered what it would be like this time. How would Madison be different to me?

And it was. Totally, 100% different this time around. But in a good way.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What 9 1/2 Hours in a Car Will Do to Me

Had soooooooooooooooo much fun this weekend.

Am soooooooooooooooo sleepy.

Realized that 9 and a half hours is really too long for me to drive. 6 were by myself. I started resorting to such measures as to roll down all the windows (manually, because my car is hoopty) and sing whatever my iPod threw at me. My favorites were:

Chik N'Stu by System of a Down
Billie Jean by The King of Pop and my fave, MJ
Poprocks and Coke by Green Day
True Blue by Madonna
Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard--at this point some headbanging was involved

I thought about all the fun I had with my WIBA friends and my BFF Jacks this weekend, and how smelly the laundry was in my car, how amazing it was to meet freaking Robbie Ventura and how cool he was, how fun it was to meet my awesome coach, how sore I am, ruminated about what cheese curd might taste like, thought some about the maneating mosquitos in Wisconsin, and how much gas and tolls cost me this weekend--which made me throw up in my mouth a little bit-- how much I wish I could see my WIBA buds and awesome teammates more often, how that IM course is just tough--plain and simple, how far I've come so far, and how much I couldn't wait to get home and hug my boys.

And finally Western Ohio was behind me and my exit came.

And I ran in the house, saw Matt and Jackson, held my little guy and just cried for about 5 minutes.

Which made Jackson a bit confused, so I tried to tell him it was because I was happy and then he giggled and pulled my hair.

More to come, but for now, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs are calling.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The hard part is getting in the car...

I'm all packed and ready to go.

I am so excited to see my buddies in Chicago and Madison this weekend for WIBA! And to meet my new teammates! And to ride and run on the Ironman course again!

But what I'm not excited to do is leave this:

Oh boy. This should be an interesting 5 1/2 hour drive...

For those of you heading to WIBA, I'll see you there! Can't wait!

But I have a feeling this ride will be a little sniffly.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Best Brick EVAH.

Okay, I know this is easy for some of you but in the words of Billy Madison "It was HARD for me SO BACK OFF!"

(kidding) ;)

Did a ride today of 28.4 miles and crazy negative split it for an average of....

20 miles per hour!

For the first time EVER!

(I've never, ever seen anything resembling a 20 on my bike computer. I've seen 2, but not 20.)

My average heart rate was 153, and I definitely felt like I was pushing it a bit, but I know I could have gone faster, too.

Then hopped off, and maybe it was the adrenaline, but I had a good little brick run...sludged through the first mile at 9:32 but then ran the 2nd at an 8:45 pace and felt FANTABULOUS AND LIKE I COULD GO FOREVER!

Don't you just LOVE it when that happens?

Well, actually, I don't know, because it's never happened except for today.

But maybe it'll happen again! Boo-yah!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Opening the Box

Well, so a few more days have gone by...

I had to go to good ol' Middletown to see my baby cousin Jamie get married! So. Fun. Literally, remembered holding her in my arms when she was a baby. It was so good to see my family.

I haven't had much of a chance to write anything down this past week. Let's recap why:

1. Hubby ROCKS and surprised me with Jack Johnson tickets with Best Friend, too!

2. I did 10:37 of workouts last week. Yahooooo! That is a lot for me. I know it's small taters for some of you out there, but it was fun and hard at the same time. I'm getting a lot in early in the morning before The Bug wakes up and then squeezing some more in later when I can.

3. Had Brick #2 with the EvoKids on Saturday--they did SO awesome and have already really improved! They just rock. And I'm working on getting another buddy's trying to work some magic with me, so I'll keep you posted!

4. In my spare time, I've been doing this:
So yeah. Writing's been on the back burner this week.

But I owe you a story of my fitting, so I intend to do that! I am a woman of my word.

I need to give MAJOR PROPS to the guys at SPIN Bike Shop in Lakewood, Ohio. Especially John and Greg--John did my fitting and Greg is the owner of the shop. What awesome guys! They hooked me up with an amazing bike, and that's for sure. I really appreciate everything they did to help me out and get me set up with my new team bike! Thanks, guys! And if you're in the Cleveland area, check them out!

So, I went to get fit on my new bike. I felt strangely like I was going on a blind date. I walked in and saw it....

But first I saw my buddy, TriEric! My Iron Bro! He had agreed to take time out of his day to help me document the fitting. He also provided lots of advice, as usual. Thanks, buddy!

The first thing I did was meet John, who would be doing my fitting. He, Eric, and I helped pick out a saddle. Then John explained everything we'd be doing for the fitting...he was going to take a million measurements, do a few flexibility tests, use some crazy contraption that was like a giant human protractor to figure out some angles and cosines and tangents and whatnot, and somehow this would all make the world's most perfect bike.

Whoa. I felt waaaaaay outta my league. But I could tell John really knew his stuff, so that made one of us! Whew!

I changed and put on my shoes and sat on the bike for a little warmup.

I immediately could tell this was different. I've been riding an entry-level road bike with aerobars stuck on it. This was a whole 'nuther ballgame, and it just felt different. My body was in a totally different position and the shifters worked really well! My shifters get stuck a lot on my old bike (Arcaro). But I love 'er. We had many years of history...six to be exact, and although we had our fair share of fights, she took me all the way to Ironman.

Everything about this ride was just sleeker...and I was in a completely new position. I wondered what this would do with my riding. Hmmmm. I guess I only can go up, huh?

John put some extra support on my shoes, which I didn't even realize was possible. But I have noticed my feet have changed since I had The Bug. I guess that's what carrying a ton of extra weight around will do. My shoes felt so much better when John was done putting supports on them under my new cleats! Eric helped me pick out some new cleats that were a lot bigger than my old ones. I could already tell the difference in power I was getting from my pedal stroke.

So John did his magic and took the angles and made the cuts. I sat there, slack jawed, in awe that this thing was really mine. I know that this did not come for free; I take this position on my team very seriously and I intend to honor the investment they've made in me and the gamble they've taken on me. This Time Machine reminds me that I owe them. Big time. And I intend to work my butt off to make my team proud and give back as much as I can to the triathlon community.

I got home and literally COULDNOTFREAKINGWAIT to take my bike for a ride. So I did...

....for an hour and a half.


You know when you've been running on your trusty running shoes forever, and you just keep running in them because you love 'em and don't even realize how worn they are until you put on a new pair and you go, "Wow...I didn't even know they were that worn down."

It was kinda like that.

I've realized over the past week and a half that I've been riding every second I can get that maybe I wasn't as bad of a cyclist as I thought I was. The times I've been averaging with the same heart rates I was holding before are consistently 2-3 miles per hour faster. Thursday I went 43 miles faster than I've ever gone in my life on any bike split of any distance, with an average heart rate of 143.

This thing is amazing, and I am still absolutely in awe that I'm allowed to touch it.

So here it is...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

An early birthday surprise!

Friday pretty much felt like my birthday AND Christmas all rolled into one day as I got my new BMC TT02...and promptly told Matt I'd "just go for a little ride..."

only to ride out to LORAIN .

(Which is not just a little ride.)


I have to give you the whole story--from a fitting that I can only compare to the fitting I had for my wedding dress, down to the maiden ride, my first brick with the EvoTri Kids, and then yesterday's AMAZINGLYFANTABULOUS ride. But I don't have time right now.

Because, Matt surprised me this morning with another early birthday present. That being two tickets to go see Jack Johnson tonight in concert!


So tomorrow I'll tell you all about my new ride! After I hit the bike early with the kids again tomorrow--yahoo!

Man, this summer rocks. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day the most patient, kind, best diaper-changer without complaining, raspberry-giver, burping contest challenger, guitar-hero rock star playing, metalhead lullaby singer, giggle-inducing, caring, and loving Daddy ever.


Your Little Man

Thursday, June 12, 2008

EvoTri Battle of the Schools News!

Well, I guess I should rename... It's not "Battle of the Schools," as of now, due to legal headaches I didn't anticipate, it's just going to be school singular. Nonetheless, I've been working on some stuff and am very excited to start putting it into motion this week. I've got a good crew interested and hopefully what I do this year will lay some good foundation down for next year. And I can then get some other schools on board and have the legal mumbo jumbo down!

So basically, my initiative for EvoTri was that I wanted to get kids involved in triathlon. I'm getting a crew together here for the first time on Saturday, and I'm so pumped. I've got a good mix of swimmers, runners, and kids who just want to tri but don't really play for any team right now. I'm working with our girls cross country coach who is a triathlete (and my former swim coach when she was in high school and I was in middle school--how's THAT for nuts?) and she's been awesome. Here's what my summer plan looks like!

Saturdays: Brick workouts! We're going to start with a 30 minute ride and a 15 minute run, and tack on a little each week. Most of the kids are nervous about this. One of the swimmer girls claims she "can't run." I'm excited to see how they progress!

Wednesdays: AM spin/core class! This is going to be fun. It's something that the cross country coach has set up and will be a great cross training workout for the kids. Plus, my core could use some help, too. :)

Open Water Swims: I'm working on at least one and hopefully two of these. This is where the biggest legal headaches are. Hopefully I can get the waivers squared away and get two dates set for this soon. I think all the kids can benefit greatly from this, as we all know how different the open water is from the pool, you know?

Mini-Clinics! I'm working on doing one or two mini clinics on transitions or maybe a little bit of bike maintanence/nutrition. These will probably be after the bricks on Saturdays.

Our Two Races: July 20 Huntington Sprint Triathlon and the August 10 Greater Cleveland Triathlon! These are both sprints that are local and well-run. I know both of the RD's and they are fabulous guys. The kids can do one or both of the races depending on their schedule. They seem really excited about this! It makes me get really excited, too. :) And, I can still fit in my training for Steelhead while I'm getting these kids into triathlon, which totally rocks. Thanks, Coach Emily!

Oh, and you know what else makes me excited? My bike is ready TOMORROW. It kinda feels like Christmas Eve. I got fitted on Monday, but that's a WHOLE 'nuther post!

Anyway, I think this is a good start and I'm very excited about it! Hopefully it will go well this year, these kids will get bitten by the tri bug, and it will grow next year. I'd like for next year to have more schools and also somehow get the families involved of the kids--maybe a sort of "parents vs. kids" along with the "school vs. school!" Although, I tell ya what...ain't no way I want to be swimming or running against some of these guys....yikes! I might be creating monsters, here... ;)

Bring on the summer!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Very Definition of a Bad Idea

No, it wasn't that I wanted to celebrate my friend's birthday at lunch. Nor was it the fact that she chose the restaurant. I mean, it's her birthday. She's the queen.

It was not even the fact that she chose the Original Pancake House...which I've decided is pretty much my favorite place to go out to eat ever because they have PUMPKIN PANCAKES AND THEY ARE SOOOOOOOO TASTEEEEEEEE.

It wasn't even that I tried to get something kinda healthy. That was a good idea.

It was the 3000 meters I swam afterwards. That, my friends, was a bad, bad idea.


Monday, June 09, 2008



Whirlwind week/end. Soooooooomuchfun in Indiana, but a little rough coming home last night and not getting into bed until 2, and then turning around and heading to my sauna of a classroom again. Doh! A few more days and then I'm chillin' for a few months. Awesome!

So I was thinking during my workouts this weekend (first open water swim for me--yay!) about how much my head game has shifted lately. Part of that is, undoubtedly, due to my brain being rewired as of last October 2. Maybe some of this is just me being officially in my 30s and staring at my 10th year of teaching. (How did that happen, by the way?) I'm fascinated with the mental side of training and racing and it makes me long for the days when I got to teach Psychology as an elective. So. Cool.

It seems like there are really two major schools of thought out there. The first, and major one, that I hear a lot about is HTFU. Which means, loosely translated, Harden the Freak Up. (Some words have been changed. :)

Yes, yes....we may hate to admit this, but us triathletes are a notoriously whiny bunch. Waaaaah, waaahh, waaaahh, my heart rate, the weather, the wind blew at me, someone looked at me funny, the guy in front of me farted in my face, a piece of grass blew the wrong way, the water was too wet, etc. And I know that, from time to time, I am totally guilty of said whining. Hence the HTFU phrase. At times, necessary, no? Now, no disrespect to those who make this their #1 philosophy. There are a million and one ways to do something, and some HTFU'ers do extremely well focusing on this motto. Hey, you know what? I am a firm believer in that you do WHATEVER works for YOU.

I have come to accept, after much fighting and banging my head against the wall in my past 30 years, that HTFU does not work well for me.

CTFO does.

This means, again loosely translated, "Chill the Freak Out."

As evidenced with my two races thusfar this season, when I CTFO, I do the best. Perhaps this is because I put a great deal of pressure on myself already (which is the theory College Friend devised this weekend as we were discussing the subject). College Friend is a fantastic tennis player and played 4 years of varsity doubles. She said how it's similar, and she had to adapt since when you play doubles, you are two people who must play like one. Sometimes her partner would be a HTFUer, and sometimes they would be more of a CTFOer. So she adapted so that they could focus as one unit. That would be really hard to do, I think. I guess that's why she's really good at tennis and I'm the world's worst. :)

But in triathlon, when I have, in my head, said, "Okay, self. You're going to start going as fast as you can, for as long as you can, and as hard as you can, and have as much fun as you can" I have ended up with 19 seconds shy of a 5 year old PR in a 5K, and a 5+ minute PR in the half marathon.

When I obsess and stress about this heart rate and that heart rate, this temperature, this result or this split and make that the driving force in my race, I just--plain and simple--don't do as well. Sersly--for cryin' out loud. My paycheck does not depend on this, you know? For most of us out there, it doesn't. This is a hobby. This is not definitive of my self-worth or character.


It is one of many pieces of who I am, and I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can. At the risk of sounding too-Pollyanna-ish/Thoreau-ish, I'm just gonna CTFO and enjoy being out there with my health and my friends and enjoy every start and finish line I'm lucky enough to be at.

Unconventional, I know. From what I can gather, most triathletes seem to be HTFUers. But it works for me, so I'm gonna go with it.

Coach Emily and I discussed this and she said that she sees similar patterns in her swimmers that she coaches. Sometimes they get so caught up in the numbers they forget that they CAN do it. If they just let go of the B.S. and extra stuff and just go hard, they do well, and they hit the numbers they were so focused on anyway.

So, I guess I'm going to keep training as hard and as often as I can, and in a race I'm going to start fast and then keep getting faster.

Let's try it this way, self. Let's see how this goes.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Because, really, open-water swimming is overrated...


And so is cycling outside?

Or, I guess another way to look at it is, I REALLY am going to need to get some cold-weather cycling gear...

April 5, 2009.