Monday, March 30, 2009


I've come to realize, over the past 18 months now, that good enough is sometimes good enough. And me at 85% is still better than some people at 100%.

There will always be people greater and lesser than you. With more time. More money. Less obligations.

Some with a road much harder, and some with a road much easier.

But part of the reason I love this sport is because it's such a good metaphor for life. Triathlon is, simply, what you put into it. You are ultimately competing against yourself. You know your strengths, and you know your weaknesses. A good triathlon is hard by nature; there's no such thing as an easy Ironman. Or 70.3. We don't really want it that way, to be honest.

That's not why we're here.

In the midst of this whirlwind past four months, I've burned the midnight oil getting work done only to get up at 4:45am to work out, so that I could kiss my little boy and feed him his oatmeal before I went to work. So that I could take him to the park or read him stories after work. It's easy to feel like I'm not accomplishing enough. It's in my nature to do so, and I think it's in many of our natures as well.

Am I good enough?

Am I doing this right?

So I fall down occasionally. Dinner gets burned or sometimes comes from a box. A workout gets cut short. Papers get a check mark.

But every once in a while, I get a reminder that I am, indeed, doing this right.

Watching my Bug run and laugh.

Crossing the finish line at the Columbus Marathon.

Getting off my bike at Steelhead.

I'm reminded again and again, that I'm capable of more than I know. That as frantic as my days can be, I'm lucky enough to do all of it by choice. There are many people out there who would love a job right now--any job--and I have one that I love. There are some who can't run around the block, and I get to run around the French Quarter this weekend.

So all of this has me just kinda thinking this time around.

Under normal circumstances, i.e. SUMMER TRAINING, I'd have my game plan all ready to go and a clear gauge of what I wanted to do on each discipline. But I really don't this time.

I know, without a doubt, I haven't spent as much time in the pool as I'd like to. In the summer, I live in the Lake and the pool, but it's been rough getting there more than twice a week. I've ridden outside twice in the past four months. My running is strong, but will it be strong after 56 miles?

But experience has got to count for something. That's what I'm banking on here. This will be my fourth half-ironman distance. Maybe I don't need my training wheels as much anymore.

Bug will be 18 months next week, and his favorite thing to do is run run run and climb and jump as much as possible. And he squirms whenever we're outside and I'm holding him, or when he wants to go down the stairs. He just wants to do it himself. I'm sad to admit it...but...

...he doesn't need me like he used to.

And I know that this is how it goes. They get bigger; they want to run. Run to the school bus and to football games and play practice and then to college halfway around the country. And you have to let them go, and trust that you've done the best you can. That you've done all you can. Even if you don't feel like it's enough.

Because if you've done your job, than you have done enough. They will take it from there.

I'm going to put my faith in my training, my experience, and my growth over these past 4 months. I know I haven't done everything, but I've done everything I possibly could have without sacrificing the amazing things I've got going here.

As I casually mentioned today that they'd have a sub for a few days to my students, one asked why. I told them. They asked a few funny questions, including, "Are you going to win?"

I laughed. "No, Nick...I'm not going to win."

He seemed a little puzzled.

"I'm not going to win," I attempted to explain. "I'm going to beat me."

And with that, I'm off to New Orleans.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Just got back from "running" more errands. Which means pushing Bug while I go to the post office, And by "et. al," I mean stopping by Malley's Chocolates to create a "sampler" of eggs.

(You an appetizer sampler. But with eggs. Chocolate-covered ones. Mint, Raspberry, Cherry, and Peanut Butter. And I'm splitting them with Matt so we can see which ones are best. Someone needs to do quality-control for the Easter Bunny, OKAY?)

This week was one of those where I felt like I was hit by a truck at work with SCHTUFF to do. For all those of you that speak Teacher, it was the END OF THE QUARTER. And STUPID me had the kids turn in projects and take tests the last two days.

*bangs head against wallwhywhywhywhywhydoIdothistomyselftenyearsshouldhavetaughtmebetter*

The good news is, the projects were awesome. I'm always amazed at what kids do if you give them a little wiggle room for creativity. I had a few kids make documentaries about D-Day, the Holocaust, and one made one about her family friend who fought in Europe. They were sooooooooooooo cool.

Bad news--I spent LOTS of time after school grading and grading and grading some more. But I think it's finally done. Yay!

So I shipped my bike Monday afternoon so it could go to Sweet's place...see, my team is taking a Clark W. Griswold style van and DRIVING to New Orleans for next weekend's race.

They are leaving Wednesday, so my bike had to be there before they left. Well, turns out it's there already! Which is great and all, except for one thing. It's 50 degrees here and sunny which means that not only will you see an abundance of Cleveland-ers out in t-shirts and flip flops, but IT WOULD BE A PERFECT DAY TO RIDE. Arg.

So, Thursday I did get in a tough ride at the last Spin/Second Sole Trainer Session--I cut the intervals down a bit but still went the full 2 hours. Then, afterwards, we had pizza and beer. Tasteeeeeee. Plus, they gave out goody bags with schwag in them! Can't beat that. The only trouble is that I had to ride a spin bike because mine was gone. (sniff sniff. tear.)

And let me tell you, it was NOT COMFORTABLE. Ouch. I definitely paid for cheating on my baby, my BMC. I think I pulled a little muscle in my left leg, so I'm going to really take it easy. And, uh, my legs weren't the only things that hurt, if you know what I mean. Ouch ouch ouch.

So, I don't plan on cheating on my baby anymore. I hope he doesn't hold a grudge. Right now he's in Illinois, and isn't there some rule about area codes and stuff?

Anyways, this week will be a little nuts as I prepare to fly out Friday morning. I'll do one more wrap up post before the race if I can, and lay out the plan. This should be interesting, to say the least! I am just flat out not used to racing this early, and something about it feels really wierd. Kinda like I'm celebrating New Year's Eve on September 9th, or something. But I just have to remember I've been putting in a lot of hours for quite some time now, and this will be my 4th half ironman distance, and experience has got to count for somethin'. You know?

Here's to the adventure!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Second-Guessing Time

Tomorrow, I tune up the bike and then get ready to send it out on Monday.

I've never sent my bike anywhere before.


I'm sure it will be fine, but this control freak is going to have a little tough time packing it up and then walking away.

Not sure what to expect at this race, and maybe that's a good thing. I've never done a race before while having no open-water swims, 2 rides outside, and training in the cold when the race will be warm. I'm excited, but also realistic. I need to be ready for the heat and humidity and my body is not acclimated like it usually is. So, I'm going to have to be extra careful with nutrition. I'm a crazy mad salty sweater as it is. Hopefully things will stay in the 70s, but I'm not really even checking the weather. I learned not to after IM Wisconsin '06. If you're going to check, check the hour before you head out. Otherwise, not worth it.

I haven't gotten to the pool as much as I'd like to, but I feel fine in the water. I haven't rode more than 2 hours at a time, but they were always 2 really intense hours. So, this should be interesting. My running is the strongest it's ever been, and there's a teensy part of me that says I should screw the 70.3 and try for a 1:45 half marathon, or throw a few more long runs in and go for a 3:45-3:50 full. But, I'm sure this is just the 2 week jitters combined with a totally different training experience than I have had in my last 4 half ironmans.

I'm ready...I know I am. I think I just have the taper blues or somethin'. Hopefully tomorrow's run will fix it...and another CSU win would be nice, too! (even though I didn't pick them to win next round)

Whatever the day throws at me, I'm going to give it my all and see what happens. That's all you can do, right?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Too much of a good thing?

Is there such a thing as too much cyber-interaction?

I dunno...I have a blog and stuff, but for some reason I'm thinking I'm gonna pull my facebook account. Just a few things that have gotten me a bit worried. When I signed up a while back, I didn't know you could restrict privacy and all that jazz until after the fact. I guess the thing I like about here is I'm in charge, you know? Not so much a fan of not being in charge of, if I drop off the FB radar, don't be offended, K? I still got mad love for ya.

Plus, I just like to write. More than a sentence. So I'm sticking around here FO' SHO'.

Holy crap, I leave for New Orleans in 2 weeks.

And holy crap, I need to find a bike box. And figure out what to do with it. Fast.

Hoping to get one more ride outside before I A) find a bike box, B) figure out what to do with said box and C) send my bike somewhere. So, Saturday, if you're listening, 50 degrees or so would be splendid. K, thx.

Had a fantabulous swim yesterday. I wasn't sure how good I'd be since I haven't been to the pool much (story of my past few months--see, if it's not in my basement, it's hard to do), but I busted out my fastest 100 that I can remember for some time. Scwheet. Don't worry, it still wasn't THAT fast...but fast for me. For post-14-year-old-me, I should say. :)

Alright, so we need to figure out how much off the radar we're gonna drop, and all kinds of bike logistics, and squeezing in a few more rides and...uh...I'd better sign off here before I get all kinds of overwhelmed.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Running Errands

This morning, I ran on the treadmill and watched 24 (standard operating procedure for a Tuesday).

And that was supposed to be my workout for the day, but it was SO. GORGEOUS. OUTSIDE. so I decided to run some errands.

Me, Bug, and Matt RAN to CVS to get some diapers. Then, we RAN to the park so Bug could play on the boat and climb on the castle and go down the slide. Then, we RAN home--jogging stroller full of diapers, a water bottle, some Sharkies, and a giggling boy.

And that's the most fun I've had running errands. Ever.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chasing Boston

Sunday, I went for a run.

It was still a little cold, but not a cloud in the sky. Lake Erie has thawed out, and the blue of the sky met the whitecaps as the wind came off the lake. I love to run on the lake, following the water. It's one of my favorite places to ride, too. Lately most of my training has been alone, and I am really enjoying it that way. It's good to have company once in a while, and I'm lucky to have a few good partners nearby. But sometimes it's best for me to just be alone. Just me, the lake, the sun, and the iPod.

It's been three years now since I trained for the Ironman. Scared out of my wits, I built a whole year of my life around that day. I needed people then--people to help me, to pace me, to wait for me at the top as I blinked back tears and cursed hills on my bike. I was a newbie in every sense of the word. That summer, I met an amazing group of people. We had this thing--this big scary monster called Ironman--and we rallied around each other.

lights go out and I can't be saved
tides that I tried to swim against
brought me down upon my knees
oh I beg, I beg and plead

Sunday when I ran, I remembered that spring. How scared I was. How I didn't know if I had it in me, but I wanted it more than anything.

tiger's waiting to be tamed

Certain songs make me think of Ironman. It came on, and I was reminded. With each step of the pavement, I remembered the fear. The sheer and utter fear that motivated me through that summer.

confusion never stops
closing walls and ticking clocks
gonna come back and take you home
I could not stop that you know now

As I ran, I remembered all the emotions. This was the song in the highlight video--the free DVD you get the next day. And as my feet hit the pavement scenes flashed in my head to the music. Finding Al's note in my bento box. Holding Tracy's hand as I got in the water. Peeing my neoprene pants for the first time ever. Seeing my knuckles turn blue from the cold. Wearing the trash bag for the marathon. Hearing, "It's bloody cold!" The feeling I got when I knew I would make it.

oh nothing else compares
oh nothing else compares

What I know now, three years later, is that I left that fear on those Madison streets forever. Ironman allowed me to let go of my fear, of every second I doubted anything. Part of me is the same girl I was three years ago, but part of me has been changed forever. It's a moment I remember much as I did in a high school stadium wearing a white gown one June evening 14 years ago, at an airport on the down escalator one late summer day in 2001, an August afternoon in 2004, or a sunny October day almost 18 months ago.

I'm at peace swimming, cycling, and running alone now. Now what motivates me is seeing how far I can go--but this time, not out of fear. I know now without any doubt that I can do anything I dedicate myself to, even if I fall down a few times. I enjoy the lonely road, and don't really miss the races at all. A few here and there are just perfect for me. I'm at home on Lake Road, chasing the water and the shadow girl, knowing that my little man, big man, and furry four-legged man are at home waiting for me.

home, home, where I wanted to go
home, home, where I wanted to go

I'm about to end this "season" I've trained for. It's my August now. It's go time. And when I come back, I'm going to chase Boston. And it will take me a while (most likely a few years), and probably a few fantastic falls along the way. But I know without a doubt in my mind I'll catch it.

Because with just me, the road, the lake, and the boys...really, that's all I need.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

So, Thursday I rode in the South of France


Well, kinda.

I did my Thursday night spin class again--these have been ROCKIN' as far as preparing me for New Orleans (which is 3 weeks from tomorrow, kids...yikes). I tell ya what, I never work that hard on my own. No way, Jose. Me in my basement for two hours means spinning and kinda zoning out and that's about it. No matter how hard I try, I just don't duplicate the ridiculous effort that I get on Thursday nights. My watts hit 500 this week! Something about having some friends to suffer with you in a room with great tunes seems to really help me focus.

So we've been having themes lately to mix it up. A few weeks ago was 80s hair night. A few buddies even came with wigs and sequined headbands! Then we did ladies night, and last night was the 6th stage of Paris-Nice complete with a map of the elevation and the "estimated times" we'd reach each climb. Andy, our fearless leader, did a great job of making us feel like we were in the peloton and racing the 182K stage. There were Cat 3 climbs thrown in, too. For this triathlete who has never ever ever done a cycling race before, it was pretty fun! Thanks to the Spin-Second Sole Multisport Team for putting on these great workouts! And, the free beer and good conversation afterwards was the icing on the cake. :)

This weekend, I've got a solid bunch of training sessions to get in. Today, when Bug naps, I'll do a 2 hour ride with a 20 minute runoff. Tomorrow, I'm going to run for 1:30 and then swim 3000 yards when he naps. Three weeks from tomorrow, I'm jumping in Lake Ponchartrain (or however you spell apologies to the lake) for what will be my first open water swim of the season--in a race. Interesting. It is pretty cold today, so it looks like today's spin will be inside unless it warms up by 1 or so. Right now it's sunny and gorgeous but 20 degrees. I totally underestimated how cold it was when I went up to the kids' resale at an area school and braved the crowds to get Bug a sweet tunnel to crawl through for five bucks and an awesome Indians outfit for Opening Day for three bucks!

(Ahhhh, good deals. Me love you long time.)

Anyway, I've almost made it. Things are clicking. I'm really tired, but feeling like I'm getting pretty strong. Been putting in a lot of extra time at school and it paid off for my AP students. They just rocked their last test, and I think they're starting to see that taking this harder class, pushing themselves more than anyone else who's taking the easier US History, and generally suffering more has made them stronger and ready to take on the big test in 32 school days.

So, I'm just going to get through this one workout at a time, one session at a time...and pretty soon it will be time to pack up my bike and get this party started.

Gotta go crawl through a tunnel in my basement now! ;)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Can I call that a hill workout?

You know what's crazy hard?

Pushing a 28.5 pounder in a not-very-aerodynamic jogging stroller in the wind while attempting to do 3X6 minute repeats of your half marathon pace dropping down to 10K pace.


A lot harder than I remember back last March, when my little Bug was just about 15 pounds...

How is he already so big?! Man, this is going fast...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Empty Hallways

I rode outside yesterday for the first time since our freak 70 degree day on December 27th. I was really, really excited to ride outside. The goal was 2 hours--hopefully beating the storm--and then maybe a little runoff.

But it was not to be.

Because, I sucked.

There's really no other way to put it except that I. SUCKED. Now, I know the wind was blowing and it was raining a bit and blah blah blah. But I just could barely push any watts and felt like I was on empty pretty much the whole time. I still made it about 1:40, but I came home and crumpled up in a ball on the kitchen floor to attempt to stretch while being accosted by a pug and tackled by a 1 year old.

It was very much a disappointment. Not in the ride, but in me. In fact, it really freaked the crap out of me. I have been having such good workouts lately that I guess I just expected to ride like the wind, and when I didn't, I was a little worried.

What if this is how I ride on April 5?

Now, the more pragmatic side of me has kicked in and reminded me of no taper, high volume, a busy week at school, and all that stuff. But what really reminded me was watching Bug last night at a benefit dinner.

My friend's husband was killed in an accident in October. It was awful. He was a wonderful person and left behind a son and a daughter as well as an amazing wife. He was a scout leader for his son's Boy Scout troop, and they had a benefit dinner last night in his memory, so we went with many of my work friends to show our support for her and to honor his memory.

There was this really long hallway when you got there, and to Bug it was the greatest thing ever. I wish I would have had a camera to capture the look on his face when he saw nothing but a long, empty hallway in front of him. To Bug that means, "RUN RUN RUNRUNRUUUUUUNNNNN!!!" and it was pretty exhausting chasing after him. And every once in a while he'd fall--I mean WIPE OUT fall--and each time he'd just get back up and run again, full speed ahead, not caring about the bump on his lip or scratch on his pants.

To him, a fall is just part of the run. It's just a little time away from the joy that is forward motion.

I was reminded of many things last night--one being how when you say goodbye to your loved ones in the morning with a quick kiss and maybe a hug, that that is sometimes it, and there's no good reason for it. And another being that all of us, at one time or another, were in rooms with big long hallways. And we smiled and ran ran ran as fast as we could. And usually fell. And got up and kept running.

I've got a few more weeks of my long empty hallway ahead of me. I hope I can capture even just a tiny bit of his joy when he is running down it.

And as our hallways go on for years and years, and some are cut short for inexplicable reasons, may we all be smiling, dusty-knees and all.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Feeling Like Spring

Yesterday, I did a swim. 100s at race pace, and then 400s where I did the first 100 5-10% below race pace, 100 easy, 100 at race pace and 100 5-10% above race pace. I was tired, because I'm doing a lot of training right now. But I can't help but feel at home in the pool. Each 100 had its purpose; each one received my full attention.

Each one had its purpose.

As I glided through the water, I saw the effects of a bright and sunny, but still very chilly day. The sun was shining through the windows and I saw my reflection on the bottom of the pool. I was a little shocked to see the swimmer shadow version of me...I looked lean and strong, much like my runner's shadow that I'm always chasing outside. It's slowly warming up here, although I'm sure we'll get at least one big snowstorm. I'm not used to feeling like this in March, and by "this," I mean pretty damn strong.

One month from today I'll do a half ironman, and I know I can't control a lot. I can't control the humidity or heat, for sure. But I tell you what--I am as ready as I will ever be for this race. It's been rough getting in the hours, but I've made every hour I could do count. Every 100, every mile, and every spin session had a purpose. There was no "junk" in this plan. There's no "junk" in me right now, except for the occasional reward of Mitchell's ice cream.

(come on, a girl's gotta live a little)

I am very excited to travel to a race, to see my teammates--all of them--and to see a city full of such history and music and food I can barely stand it. I feel like this race will be more of an experience than usual. And I'm thinking of my goals, but at the same time, that's not my main thought right now. I'm just thinking of how much fun it will be to ride in a new, exciting, culturally and historically rich city, with friends and with my loyal training partner.

I've made every moment I could get to prepare count. Every single moment.

I'm almost ready for this new race.