Saturday, May 31, 2008

This week has been a little nuts. I think of it as the "storm before the calm." All hell seems to break loose the last 2 weeks or so of school, and meetings, grades, paperwork, projects, and tests just pile up like crazy. So, I'm trying to squeeze in my workouts as much as I can.

It doesn't help that JayZ (who, from now on will be referred to as what I actually call him--The Little Bug) decided it would be a perfect week to test how fast Mommy and/or Daddy can come running in the night. We've come to the conclusion that this is just a little "I'm-almost-8-months-I-wonder-how-much-I-can-manipulate-them" testing. We (gasp) decided to turn the monitor off. My buddies with kids at work think we were crazy to still have it on, but, I don't know, what if something HAPPENS? At 1:37am? You know? ;) So it feels somewhat liberating to relinquish the monitor chain. And, we all slept like babies last night. I still can't believe how bit he is and how fast these past 8 months have gone. How does he already look like a little man? Could it be the 3 haircuts he's had already?! Or perhaps the fact that he's not yet 8 months old but comfortably wearing Size 18 months clothing? Sigh.....

I've also had a little trouble squeezing in the workouts with the Mommy Guilt. Like right now, it's Saturday morning, and I should be riding. But I didn't get to see him before school yesterday since I kissed him goodbye in his crib at 5:20am so I could hit the pool, and then after school I was wiped out and left around 7 to see a movie with Best Friend. So today, I just really wanted to hang with him. He's playing in his walker now and zooming all over the place. As soon as Matt gets up here I'm going to hop on the trainer for 2 hours, watch Lost, and then also attempt a 1 hour swim. Ugh. Tomorrow I have an hour run, a 45 minute spin, and then a friend's shower. It's hard to fit this all in, but I guess I should be pretty happy that I'm getting most of it done for now. As soon as the schedule frees up I won't have any trouble.

Things on the training front are going OK...I am anxiously awaiting my new ride, which will be here in a week! Yahoooooooooooooooooo! Swimming is coming along, although I was pretty humbled in the water last week. I deserved it, though. I had been on a pretty long hiatus from the pool, and it showed. Let's just say that Mugsy the Pug could have probably beat me in the 100 yards. Yeah, it was that bad. But this week felt much better, and for some reason swimming speed seems to come back a lot quicker for me. I'm hoping another week or two and I'll be right back up to where I should be.

Well, I hear Matt, so it's time to try and get on the trainer! Here I go...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I've been swallowed by a gigantic work monster time to blog...arg...

Just gotta get through it, though! I know, I can't complain. In 2 weeks I'll be off for over 2 months.

Just gotta get through the next two weeks.


That and for the past two nights Jay Z has, for no apparant reason, gotten up and fussed lots. Like, last night, it was about every hour. Ugh. Missed my run this morning and slugged through it this evening. Tomorrow's swim should be interesting. I NEED to sleep. If he's up all night, I might have to push it to Friday.

But, you know what? Things still rock. 'Cuz guess who started to crawl today?

Two more weeks...and it's me, and my team, and a summer full of training and good times.




Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Move Along

Okay, so I did it. It rocked. It was a blast. And now I have to move on.

I've got a half ironman to get ready for. And, hopefully, another PR to shatter.

But that is going to require some serious work. Mostly on my bike.

I've always known I was a decent swimmer--not record breaking by any stretch, but I feel pretty good in the water and can git-r-dun without too much worry. And I've been sort of forced to see myself now as a pretty decent runner. Again...emphasis on the word decent. Not fantastic, but I can pull it out and do okay. I'm not standing on any podiums, but, you know.

The bike is another story. I know it sounds silly...I try to explain to my students how the bike is the hardest for me, and inevitably someone says, "How hard can it be? It's a bike."

I know. Believe me, I know.

I think this is why I am super stoked to train with power this year. It's no secret that I don't heart HR training. Mostly because I feel like it's always held me back. I'll be getting tested at VisionQuest soon, and I am so freakin' curious of the results. Because, seriously, who holds a heart rate of ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY ONE for an hour and fifty minutes and feels fantabulous? It just doesn't make sense. Hopefully I'll get some answers. My max heart rate must be about 397 or something.

So I think power will be a good thing for me.

So when I'm looking at where I stand, proportionally, my run and swim are about at the same level. But the bike? Oh geez. Pa. Thet. Ickkkkkkkkk.

So, I've been getting back into getting up early this week. I haven't said much about it here but, for several reasons, it was really, REALLY hard for me to get up early during most of this second half of the school year. And, eventually, I decided I needed to let it go. It worked, and now things are much better. And you know what? After a morning swim yesterday and a morning spin today, I realized the following things:

  • My mommy guilt for working out virtually vanishes. Because JayZ is still asleep. He doesn't even know I'm working out. So I'm not missing anything. Except his cute little snoring that I could listen to all day, but that's another issue.
  • I can catch up on the Daily Show and Colbert on the trainer, or my favorite podcasts from InTransit, Tac Boy and The.Bigun, Simply Stu, and GYGO. Again, no mommy guilt. It's just me! My time!
  • Holy crap does it make me SUPER DUPER PRODUCTIVE. Yesterday I even had time to hit the local coffee joint for a tasty brew before work--and still made it to work 15 minutes early.

So, I think this former sleep-in junkie turned early bird during Ironman training and then back to getting sleep whenever she can will be turning back to the dark side of morning workouts again.

Oh, and I've been working on my initiative for EvoTri, too, and I am getting some great response. As soon as I firm a few things up I'll tell you all about it!

Well, that's about all. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must move along.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Perfect Day

So I guess I'd better post something here before I forget any details. Because yesterday was perfect. It was, in 6 years of road and tri racing, the best I've ever, EVER felt during a race. So if I don't write this down I'm afraid I might forget it.

Hands down, the BEST part of the race was having TriShannon there. My partner in crime, my training buddy from my first sprint triathlon...thanks for coming all the way out here for this race, Winks! You rock.

Okay, let's see here. I guess I'll just rundown the weekend.

Friday after school I went with JayZ to pick up TriShannon (aka Winks) from the airport. Then Matt, JayZ, Winks and I had dinner at the Winking Lizard...mmmm. I had a tasty Hoegarden (however you spell it) and a nice big grilled chicken spinach salad (my favorite) and we all split spinach artichoke dip. Delish.

We then headed home and watched the season finale of the Office. Yeah. Crazy Friday night, huh?

Coach Emily gave me some great visualization exercises which I did before I drifted off to sleep. I pictured all the different parts of the course and feeling strong.

Got up and headed downtown to meet Daisy and E for a quick run with some pickups to race pace and hit the expo. I felt really good and like I was just chomping at the bit to race. I guess that's what a year and a half off of racing long stuff will do to you. We had a yummy lunch with the best cornbread I think I've ever had at the Chophouse. Then we headed to the expo.

I went to the pacer booth to see Kara (my running coach since 2002--not to be confused with equally awesome Coach Emily) and pick up the VIP passes for the brunch downtown for Matt. Kara handed me the passes...and also said, "I have a few things for you" with a smirk on her face. She then handed me three pace bands. One for 1:50, one for 1:45, and one for a 4 hour marathon. With a smile, she said, "Just in case." I kind of laughed but then she explained to another friend why she was handing me those bands.

I kind of feel like she's one of the few people who I really take seriously and listen to when she says things about my abilities. Because, she knows me very well. She was there the day I walked into Second Sole and met Canada Jenn and said, "I think I'd like to try running and stuff." Even though I had already finished my first marathon at that point, I was clueless. She guided me to my first half marathon in Athens, and then a PR at the River Run, followed by a 56 minute PR at my next attempt at a marathon in Cincinnati in 2005. Kara knows the numbers. She knows pretty much the results of every race I've ever ran. She knows my VO2 max. And she has consistently told me that I haven't seen anything close to what she knows I can do as far as times go, especially in the long stuff. She said that again, and I really listened this time.

So when she handed me the 1:45 pace band and I saw how much she really believed I could do that, it meant something to me. Because she really knows.

And I think that's when, in my heart, I just knew I would do it the next day. I would have a huge PR and a great day...I just sort of knew at that moment.

Later that night we had a fantastic pasta dinner at Arrabbiata's near my place. We came back, chilled out a bit, and went to bed.

The alarm went off at 4:57 for me (which was really like 2:57 for poor Winks) and I heard JayZ fussing. I went in and gave him his pacifier and he drifted back off to sleep. I kissed him goodbye and kissed Matt goodbye, too.

I had a tasty breakfast of 2 cinnamon Eggo waffles with peanut butter (yeah, that's weird. I hate syrup and don't like bread either, so I put PB on my waffles. It works for me.) and had a half a cup of coffee. I then called JenC and we made plans to meet at her office downtown near the start line, which was AWESOME. See, it was about 48 degrees and pouring at this point. Winks was pretty angry about it since it just doesn't rain in Denver. I was okay with it, since I'm used to running and racing in the rain. But we both agreed it affected our mood a bit. I started to wonder how the cold windy weather would affect me. I hoped it would be OK, since I always prefer cold over hot. Thanks to JenC for providing us a nice warm place to change and use the potty! It was great to see her at the start and finish!

We lined up and stood in the windy rain. It was probably about 50 degrees or so at this point. I found my pacer for the 3:40 marathon group and the plan was to stick with him as long as I could. If I felt it, great. If I wasn't feeling it, I'd just take the day as it came.

The first few miles were pretty quick. I peeled off my long sleeves at mile 1 and tossed them to Kara and her hubby Tim, but I'm pretty sure he didn't even see it. Oh well! That's what a throwaway shirt's for, right? The mile markers seemed a bit off in the first few miles. I tried to go by their splits instead of what my Garmin said. I figured their results are what counts so I should go by that. I'll put them both here though just to see how much it added up at the end.

Here's how it looked:

Mile 1 8:21

Mile 2 7:49 Whoa, we're goin' pretty fast. Um...should I worry?

Mile 3 8:55 (Garmin said this was 1.04)

Mile 4 8:07 (Garmin said this was 1.02)

(a lot of miles 3-4 were gradual uphills along the Shoreway)

Mile 5 7:47

At this point, when my Garmin said 5 miles (and not the race course), I was 34 seconds off my 5 mile PR.

Whoa. I started to get a little nervous. First off, my pacer was all over the freakin' place, God bless him. Would I be able to keep this up?

Mile 6 8:33 (Garmin said this was 1.02)

According to my watch, I hit the 10K mark at just over 50 minutes. A HUGE 10k PR for me. According to the race course, I hit it in just over 51. Still a PR by 4 minutes. Sweet! I took a gel here, and planned to take another one at 11 miles.

Mile 7 8:17

Mile 8 8:33 (Garmin said this was 1.01) Ooh. That mint-chocolate gu which is so tasty when I'm going slow wasn't sitting well with me. Ugh.

Mile 9 8:39 (see what I mean? ALL OVER THE FREAKIN' PLACE)

Mile 10 8:47 (Garmin said this was 1.03)

At this point, the rain had subsided and I was still just feeling great. Allenjel was running with me and looking strong in her BQ quest. I saw on my Garmin that my average pace was well under 8:24, and I started to play the numbers game. I knew if I didn't blow up, I was going to PR big time. I tried to think to myself, "just three more miles. You can do anything for three little miles."

Mile 11 8:22 (Garmin said 1.02) Do I take a gu? I feel great...and the last gu didn't sit well with me. Agh! Decisions, decisions. I have 2 more miles to go. Can I gut it out? I decided yes. I didn't want to take a gu and have my stomach rebel on me at the last second.

Mile 12 8:19 (Garmin said 1.03) At this point, I could almost taste it. I was running with a huge smile. I was going to do this. I was going to come in well under 1:50! My average pace was 8:17 according to my watch. I figured even though I wasn't lining up to the course numbers I was still safe. I told Allenjel to go get her BQ, and then turned off to the half course to head back to East 9th street.

Now, on a side note, I thought we weren't allowed to wear headphones. I swear I read that somewhere. I knew I would really benefit with some kickin' tunes in that last mile but I didn't want to violate any rules, so I didn't bring it.

I SAW TONS OF PEOPLE RUNNING WITH HEADPHONES IN THE ENTIRE RACE. Grrr. If you're gonna have a rule, then enforce it, you know? Kanye could have really helped me out in that last .75 miles. I was tired and I was alone, so I tried to just go as hard as I could. I was smiling the WHOLE time. The crowd support was WAY better than I remembered it the two times I've participated in this race, and I was happy for my little hometown marathon!

There's the balloons! And the music!

I started to laugh, and ran to the finish line. I stopped my watch and had a look!

Watch said 13.25 miles. 1:50:08. Average pace 8:18. Which, of course, the distance and pace don't mean squat since the only results that count are the race course's splits.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww shoots. You mean to tell me I missed sub-1:50 by 9 measly seconds? Arg! Maybe I should have looked at my watch in the last quarter mile, but I didn't want to. I was just smiling like crazy and soaking up the moment and the energy of the finish line. So I won't trade that for those nine seconds, you know? I knew that the course didn't care what my Garmin said and the course time would stand. But I have to admit that it seems a little bit off. It was even stranger when TriShannon and JenC's Garmins also said EXACTLY 13.25 miles. Oh well! Regardless, my previous PR was 1:55.18. So this was over five minutes of a PR for me. The official results are 13.1 miles in 1:50.08, which is an 8:24/mile.

I was kind of dumbfounded.

I just stood there for a minute laughing.

And then I heard my parents! They came down to see me and snapped a few pictures. I called Matt to see where JayZ and he were. Turns out a police officer directed them DIRECTLY ONTO THE RACE COURSE and he was pinned by runners for 50 minutes. Arg! Poor guys. I told them just to head home and we'd go out for pancakes later. I know he felt bad because he really wanted to be there.

As he was frustrated and telling me what happened, I said, "Hey!" He stopped and said, "What?" I said, "I did it. Can you believe it?!" And he said what he always says. The same thing he said, in his soft-spoken way, when I got my James Madison Fellowship, when I finished Ironman, and when I made my team:


One of the 589,965,145 reasons why he's the best guy ever. :) Thanks, Matt, for always believing in me. Always.

I found TriShannon and JenC and then even found TriguyJT! TriShannon was dealing with some serious leg pain. She soldiered through and still did fantastic. And JenC had an unofficial PR or, according to the race course, darn near close to a PR despite riding 3 hours yesterday! I am so proud of my friends!

Now here's the really strange part.

My average heart rate?



Do I have the heart of a jackrabbit or something?!?!?! Gah! And I didn't bonk. Or feel bad at all, really. Just a bit tired and my stomach was a little queasy, but that's it.

Mega props to anyone in my age group who can BQ. I can't imagine holding that pace for another 13.1 miles. It would take me a lot of miles, a lot of time, and probably no triathlons. Just running. LOTS. So right now I'm not really seeing that on my radar.

But I do feel pretty good about breaking 4 hours in the fall! :)

I looked up the official results just to see what they said. I ended up finishing 25/278 in my age group, which I usually don't even pay attention to. But I saw that I was 25th and realized that, for the first time EVER, I broke the top 10% in something long with a big field. That absolutely shocked me. I never thought I could do this well in something long.

But really, nothing much has changed.

I remembered this later that day, when my buddies asked how the race went and I told them. They asked "What does that mean?" when I told them my time, so I tried to explain as short as I could. "Oh. Cool." They said. And then we all turned our attention to the Cavs and to drinking some beers.

It's funny, how sometimes in our heads (or at least just in mine) we get so caught up in times and stuff. But in the grand scheme of things, unless our paycheck depends upon our race times which, for most of us, it doesn't, it really doesn't matter that much. I could have ran a 2:37 today and my friends would have still said "Cool." one cares that much but me, you know?

For me, the most exciting part of the whole thing was for me to see that time. For me to see the results and really understand what they mean. For me to see how far I've come in 7 months. And, for me to smile when I think about what I'm going to do this summer and how happy I am to race again.

Doing this for me, and only me, is how I roll. When I block out the hype, it yields my best results every time. I'm going to try and remember this throughout this season, as undoubtedly not every race will be flawless.

The sun came out literally as soon as I crossed the finish line yesterday. My mom snapped this picture of my two buddies right after we all gave each other a big sweaty hug.

I can't wait to see what the rest of this season holds!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Maybe I should have a kid every year

Hooray for pregnancy blood doping!


7 months post-partum, and over a 5 minute PR.

Wow. I'm kinda still a little shocked.

And I had enough in me at the end to dance to "Hey Ya" at the part where it says "Shake it like a Polaroid picture."

At 5 miles, I was 34 seconds off my PR. At the 10K, I PRd by four minutes.


When I take the pressure off myself a bit, it seems to work for me.

And had a wonderful time with TriShannon and JenC, and even got to meet TriguyJT, too!

It's gonna be a great season!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Grand Experiment

...which is what I'm calling my race this Sunday.

It's an experiment, and I don't really know how it will go, but I've done all that I can and plan on enjoying whatever the day throws at me. I'm just glad to be out there, and with friends to boot!

The details are, quite honestly, not as important to me at this time. I know what I have trained for, the heart rates and paces and numbers and miles, and I will throw myself into getting that when that gun goes off. I tend to do better when I relax a bit, step away from the buzz, and take the pressure off until I'm standing there in line and hear that gun. Unconventional, I know. It's why I stayed as far away from Ironman Village as I could in '06. Just how I roll, I guess.

The pressure has been on in another, much more important way this week. I got another call. Another biopsy. Another diagnosis of cancer for someone I care about very much. I'm 30 years old, and I'm angry. I'm angry that I've had way too many of these calls. That I've already had two funerals this year. That I'm seeing too many of my friends, eyes red and voices shaking, dealing with these calls.

I'm scared that someday I might have to do the calling.

Suddenly, race day is seeming less of a fear or proving ground and more of a declaration...of my health, my friendships, and my hope. I'll enjoy every second because I know how lucky I am to be there, to put a number on, and to have a race day.

And that's it, really.


UPDATE: Stage 2, with a 90% survival rate. Not as good as Stage NONE, but as good of news as we could get. I still might have to get Mouse's cross stitch project, though. :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wheel Mooch

First, I made it! They made it! Yahoooooooooooo

Now, I get my mornings back, so I can fill them with more workouts. Sweet!

Went for a ride today with Aimee, TriEric's wife. She had 3 hours and I had 1:30 to do, so she rode over to my place and then we headed to the park from there. It was really fun and we had a great ride, despite me being a total wheel mooch.

Wheel Mooch: noun. One who clings frantically to the back wheel of a cyclist, holding on for dear life in the draft, while the aforementioned cyclist does all the work. See also, TriSaraTops. Commonly used: Wow, that TriSaraTops is a real wheel mooch.

When all was said and done, I managed just over 27 miles, which would be my farthest ride outside to date. Yay! Special thanks to Aimee for letting me tag along, and for not minding my total wheel-moochness.

I definitely notice that my hill ability has pretty much gone down to nil, although it's slowly getting better. Apparently, pregnancy blood-doping doesn't work for me cycling hills like it does running. Boo. What this means, is that I really just need to head into the valley, by myself to avoid all humiliation, and just climb up some hills in my granny gear until I get better. It will feel a little bit like this:

"Thank you sir, may I have another?"--Kevin Bacon in Animal House, and TriSaraTops getting spanked as she granny gears up a hill

But, alas, it must be done.

Having a few buddies over for some s'mores tonight--yum-o! First of the season. A great way to celebrate no more AP test (until next year)! Tomorrow will be my last long run...8 or 9 miles, with 3 at race pace. I can't believe next week will be the race! Then it's REALLY time to hit the hills and pool, which times up nicely with me getting my life back after Friday's test. Woot!

I just love May. Minus the allergies, of course. But that's a minor detail. :)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Coming up for air

Taking a brief moment to post a few momentary, random thoughts:

  • My students are SO ready and I'm pretty excited for them. They are finally understanding that they can do it. It rocks.
  • Subway cookies might be the most delicious treats on the planet.
  • I had 2 absolutely rocking runs--one with JayZ yesterday and a great fartlek run in the rain (again) today.
  • My Nutter girls ALL PR'D and I am SOOOOOOO PROUD OF THEM! And of Mr. Lush, too--he PR'd and went sub-2! Yahoooooooooooo to my girls!

Looking forward to the race--can't believe it's just around the corner and my girl TriShannon will be here soon! Boo-yah!

Okay, that's all--gotta run! Get me to Friday....

Monday, May 05, 2008

Partyin' Like it's 1912

The AP test is this Friday, so I doubt I'll have time to post this week...or do much of anything. I will be lucky to squeeze in my workouts here and there.

Not surprisingly, I tend to look to the past for inspiration. My students are freaking out on me as they approach their "race day." I try to tell them that if they've been doing what they should have all year, they will be more than fine on Friday. Cramming for the AP test 4 days prios makes about as much sense as squeezing in a 20-miler four days before your marathon.

I'm making them little notes with Smarties attached that have one of my all-time favorite quotes on it. Exhibit A:

"The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, who strive valiantly; who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spend themselves in a worthy cause; who at best, know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if they fail, fail while they are daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." --T. Roosevelt

For many of them, the cards have been stacked against them as they deal with serious issues outside of school. I want them to know how proud I am of them for making it to test day--regardless of what happens. They have grown tremendously and I consider myself lucky to witness this.

Sometimes, getting to the starting line is overlooked. Often, getting to the starting line is a task in and of itself for many reasons, and one that should be celebrated. Sure, there are standards of "success," whether it's a 5 on the AP test from the College Board or a sub-10 hour Ironman. But, ultimately, I want them to understand that success must be defined within. Your goals and dreams may be up for discussion, but they are not up for negotiation. Ever.

For me, the goal is the journey. I am so grateful to be able to stand at a starting line in less than two weeks, and with one of my best friends there, too. Sure, I could have done more over the past seven months to prepare for one standard of success--time. But at what cost? At one that, at this point in my life, I'm just not willing nor have any desire to make.

I am very nervous and excited to enjoy the day and share it with friends. For me, that will make my race day a success.

Have a wonderful week everyone--see you after I get my life back on Friday!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

14 miles--check!

And in the POURING rain, to boot! But it was about 65 degrees, so that's not too bad. Made for wet, heavy shoes, though.

I ran the first 7 easy and then tried to knock off 50 seconds or so per mile for 6. I did 4. The last two, well...I was just outta steam. I did the last 3 easy for a cooldown, but I had to estimate the distance and time because my Garmin battery died after 11.5 miles. Man, how did I ever run before my Forerunner? I am such a dork with the data!

I'm not gonna lie. Part of me wondered, how on earth am I going to do all 13.1 miles faster than this? I am panting like a dog and I'm freakin' EXHAUSTED. Can I do it? But I've now ran three separate times OVER the distance. I know I can go the distance...but from there, I have no idea.

I don't know. I guess we'll find out. But race day always has a little magic to it, right?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Never, never, NEVER buy a gift from

The WORST customer service EVER. EVER EVER EVER.

They screwed up the shipping and sent the gift to me, and refuse to acknowledge the mistake or credit my account. Now I have to purchase packaging and reship it myself.

I informed them I was going to post this everywhere I could and also write a letter to the manager (since they refused to let me speak to one). So, here it is.

HORRIBLE company. Cute gift, though...but don't buy anything from them unless you want a lot of headache and to be out extra money!

/end rant/