Saturday, March 28, 2009

A 2 Verve Day

The sound of the alarm woke me but the sound of ice pellets hitting the window made me want to stay in bed. On the schedule was a 1:30 run with 30 sec. to 12 minute surges (90 sec. to 3 min. recovery) followed by a 30 min. easy spin and then later a 30 min. swim. The treadmill was NOT where I wanted to start the day. I have made peace with riding on my trainer, but the treadmill...NEVER! I decided to stall the decision and see if the weather would make a gore-tex run a little more reasonable a bit later.

I usually go to spin class on Saturday mornings and then clean and do simple maintenance on the bikes for a membership trade-out. It is a sweet deal and I'd rather take the class than just go clean the bikes some other time so at least some of the sweat I mop up is my own. So, I drank Verve #1 and went to class. I had to remind myself to stay in the moment and enjoy the ride and let go of impending treadmill dread (while also keeping the effort easy since I was adding another hour to an already long enough training day).

I admit I spent most of the ride thinking of ways to re-arrange my training so I wouldn't have to run inside. I could swap Sunday's long ride with today's run but the forecast still threatened ice and snow and a low of 19 tonight which could make for a just as likely chance I'd end up on the treadmill anyway. After class it was sleeting hard...UGH!

Once I got home, after navigating the thick slush through the iced over windshield, I knew it was time to suck it up and climb aboard the gerbil machine. All in all it wasn't so bad. The mix of surges made for a good distraction and I got to watch some quality public television which included learning how to make a wooden wine bottle stopper and how to select a good table saw (it was either that or The Care Bears). I finished up with an easy spin on the trainer while touring some gorgeous gardens in France.
After refueling and resting for a while I sucked down Verve #2 and headed to the pool.

I don't know why I get so worked up and anxious about some of my workouts. Again and again I am amazed how time passes and the effort eventually comes to an end. I love being on the done end of a workout and once I am there it sure makes getting it started worth it!

I've been hibernating (and silent) for quite a while and I am so glad Spring is here (although you wouldn't know it by going outside today). I am going to Duathlon Nationals in Richmond, VA at the end of April with my Coach, Karen Buxton. I can't afford missing any workouts after my most off off-season I have had for many years!

I'm contemplating Verve #3 as the next dreaded task of the day is taxes!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Longhorn Half Recap

October 6, 2008

I'm on the road back to Kansas. It's a rainy drive from Dallas so far this morning. Yesterday the weather was perfect! The water temp was just wetsuit legal and there was enough cloud cover during the rest of the day to keep it from being a scorcher.

I am infamous for getting in one or two last potty stops before getting to the start line just in time and yesterday was no exception! Parking was a bit of an issue to say the least after we waited nearly an hour at 5:30 in the morning to get into the parking lot! The start was delayed a couple of times to ensure the racers were able to get set. I used the time to go thru the porta potty lines a few extra times. Unfortunately I could not hear the announcer any more once they moved from transition to the swim start. Heading over to the swim I heard them announce that wave 5 was next. UH OH! I am wave 6!!!!! I pulled up the wetsuit (the 20 year old relic) squeezed into my hot pink cap and licked my goggles as I ran down the hill weaving my way thru all the other racers lined up for their turn (there were 16 waves). It couldn't have worked out better! I made my way to the water entrance just as all the other pink hats were wading in. I tread water to the far start buoy and the gun went off in less than 60 seconds. No time to get nervous or was just time to swim. I focused on my rotation and getting that extra bit of reach before that elusive catch. I didn't get too beat up and stayed more relaxed than I ever have before in a race. I was amazed when I made the turn around the last buoy to head to shore...what...that's it? I've never thought I wouldn't mind going further before. Of course afterwards there was a lot of talk about how the swim had to be short.

I couldn't wait to get on the bike...I just love to ride! Driving the course the night before, there were lots of turns and several nasty cracks and swells on the roads thanks to the drought. I felt good and thankful for a chance to get to play on the roads in Texas for a while. Starting out it was thick with other riders but I steadily moved up and it started opening up more. I was riding smooth and steady and strong. I know I was grinning. At about mile 22 I noticed I was falling back a bit from those I have been going back and forth with. I felt good but I just wasn't able to go as fast as my effort should have taken me. I pushed harder but was still being passed by those I had already passed...what the heck?!?! Was I getting a flat? While slowing and going up a hill I noticed a rubbing sound. I tried to survey my bike from the aero position but all the bottles and gear are in the way to get a good look at anything. The rear brake did look suspiciously close on the left side but I kept riding since i couldn't tell and thought I could just ride harder. I finally decided to pull off and adjust the rear brake. It was definitely rubbing! When I got going again I felt like I was moving again. On another hill however I heard the rubbing sound again! What the heck?!?! It was the front brake this time!!!!! Once I shifted that one I was at about mile 42. I was suddenly catching up with all the riders that had passed me. I couldn't make it back up to those I had been riding around the first 20 miles but at least I was moving again. I had to push on the run! I was amazed when running my bike into transition that there were absolutely no bikes racked on my rack yet. Cool!

Heading out on the run I felt pretty good. My coach told me to ease into the run and be strong and steady. I tried to settle into a quick and steady pace and just keep on keepin' on. The aid stations were great and the volunteers excellent! There were even a few bands sprinkled along the course. It was a 2 loop course and I always find it fun to make note of things on the first time around and say “I'll be back”. I love to pass by a spot again and say “I told you I'd be back!” I know...I know, it doesn't take much to entertain me. Time just amazes me. I know that whatever discomfort I am feeling if I just keep going I will pass by those places again and eventually find myself where I am trying to go.

I wish I could say I stayed strong and steady the whole run but I found myself fading a bit on the 2nd loop. I just kept chugging along but some of the athletes I had passed early on were returning the favor. I did get to fist bump Batman and warn the Joker along the course. It's not every race you get cheered on by superhero's. I was surprised when I hit the 12 mile mark and was able to pick it up a bit, what's a mile.1 after 69.2!!!!!

My new most favorite post race treat is a mango ice..Yummy!!!!! I also got to get my picture taken with a real live Longhorn. He seemed rather oblivious and bored with the whole situation but I thought it was pretty cool!

I ended up 2nd in my age group which I was absolutely thrilled with! The gal that got first flew by me on the 2nd loop of the run and there was NO going with go girl!

During the awards I asked someone to take my picture on the podium and then I didn't hear my name announced. I felt a bit like an idiot! Somehow I didn't hear my name or it was mangled beyond my recognition. I was able to pick up my award and goodies later (a timex ipod control watch and fuel belt...sweet!) but no podium picture.

When I got my bike out of transition and spun the back wheel it was still rubbing a little bit. Dangit! I felt so good on that ride I would like to know what my time would have been without braking for 20 miles! Those bolts are going to get some serious tightening!!!!! It was a bumpy course that bounced around my more!

My note to self after this race is to remember to reinforce the holes on the race # from now on. I have ripped one side of my number off of my number belt the last 2 races and it is really annoying!

The highlight of the entire weekend was getting to see Mary Eggers. I hope she will forgive me for hugging her after the race and squishing her strawberry ice!

I have a couple of weeks to hang out in Kansas and then if everything falls into place I will be off to Tempe, AZ for the Best of the US race on October 26th. It's starting to feel more and more like Fall here so I really hope I can escape to the warmth of Arizona!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Austin 70.3 or BUST

Friday morning I hit the road for Austin. It’s hard to believe its October already. The weather has actually been beautiful here but I can’t wait to get to Texas and feel the heat again. I am definitely a warm weather girl! I just checked out for the Austin weekend forecast and the low Saturday night is 66 with a high of 89 on Sunday…mmmmm delicious!

Wow, I’ve got some catching up to do here on my blog! I have started posts many times but keep getting distracted. Following my Coaches workouts is about the only thing in my life I seem to be consistent at and able to complete lately.

I have spent the past several months playing, training, racing, and traveling. If I could be on the road every weekend I would. I just love to escape and see what all is out there.
Alas, my freedom is coming to an end and on October 13th (lucky day) I will start back on a real job as a programmer for the State of Kansas. Fortunately it will be only 32 hours a week. I tried for 24, but to get benefits I had to bump up to 32. Hopefully I will still have time to work my Vemma business and of course train. Having a set schedule again will be good for me and I will be making more money so I can keep traveling!

Races since my last post:
WIN for KC Women’s Triathlon – Smithville Lake, Missouri - August 9, 2008
What a blast! This was my first race with a swim post dead arm syndrome. It was only a 500 and was not pretty but I survived. Once on the bike I was able to make up the time and just had to hold on for the run. I love doing all women races. The support and enthusiasm of all the participants and volunteers is beyond fun and energetic. The race director, Clay Myers-Bowman, runs one heck of a race.

Accenture Chicago Triathlon – August 24, 2008
I am absolutely amazed how they were able to handle that many athletes! I’m glad I tried the elite wave but next time I think I’ll go back to the age groupers, at least then I have a shot at drafting someone on the swim! It was a very lonely in the water after everyone left me. After the swim I realized I could not get out of my wetsuit. I still don’t have the arm strength after my nerve injury to get that T1 top over my head. It was quite a wrestling match in transition! I have never been so glad to finally be on the bike.

NEMO Triathlon – Kirksville, MO – September 7, 2008
I love this race! The venue is great and there aren’t any races run better. I opted to wear my 20+ year old bibjohn wetsuit (it has aged remarkably well) so I would be able to get out of it. I have never swum so zig-zagged and crooked due to fog on the water and in my goggles. I felt strong on the bike but noticed that the road started getting extremely bumpy. BUMMER…a flat! Luckily I have been racing this year carrying a can of Vittoria Pit Stop. I had used it once on a training ride and was quite impressed. Unfortunately the hole was fairly large and foam was spewing out. I thought my day was done. Then I figured what the heck I’ll start riding and see how far I get. That stuff is amazing! Once I got rolling it sealed up and I was able to keep riding. I felt better on the run than I have the past couple years and managed to finish 1st in my age group even with the flat. Kristen Moore was there and blew away the field! I have loved watching her get stronger and faster these past few seasons. She has a fire and passion for the sport that is undeniable!

Irongirl Duathlon - Bloomington, MN – September 21, 2008
This race was on my birthday (#39) and my goal was to break into the top 3 since they give AWESOME stuff! I was back a ways on the first run but managed to make my way up to 3rd on the bike. Thankfully the 2nd run wasn’t any longer and I was able to squeak away with 3rd. It was an absolutely beautiful day that couldn’t have turned out any better!
Jerry MacNeil of Best of the US Championship Triathlon was there and invited me to represent Kansas on October 26th in Tempe, AZ! If I can swing it…I’m there!!!!!!!! How cool would that be for my first and last race of the year to be in Tempe Town Lake!

Up Next…Austin 70.3 – October 5, 2008
By golly I am bound and determined to complete a half ironman this year! That DNF at Kansas 70.3 must be redeemed! I am also totally excited to get to see Mary Eggers who will also be at Austin!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Time to Break the Silence

July 26, 2008

This morning was the Prairie Punisher Duathlon in Gardner, Kansas. It was nice to finally complete a race from start to finish. It was a small race but they do a great job putting it on. Last year it was a qualifier for Long Course Du Worlds, but this year it was back to just a short du (5K run, 27.5K bike, 5k run). It was so foggy during the race that on the bike I only knew I was on a hill because it got harder to pedal! Thankfully, the fog also helped keep it cool. I would like to be able say that my legs felt quick and light but trying to turn them over quickly was a struggle. No more excuses, it's time to start doing some speed work!

My last 2 attempts at races resulted in DNF's or rather DNS's since I was not able to swim due to a freak nerve injury that left my right arm useless and my breathing restricted the week before the Kansas Half Ironman. I did not want to miss an Ironman event just down the road from where I live. My Coach, Karen Buxton from North Carolina, was even staying with me and doing the race. I had not swum for a week and Coach and I did a pre-race swim the day before at the race site. I thought I was having a panic attack but it turns out I just could not breathe because my intercostals were not working due to my nerve issue. I have never been scared in the water before. That night I tossed and turned knowing that I probably would not be able to swim, Race morning came and I got swept up in the usual pre-race prep and anxiety but there was a cloud of doubt. I rubberized and made my way to the start. When my wave started I was ready to go. I was proud of myself for doing several dolphin dives to get myself beyond the shallows and then tried to settle into a stroke. The first several strokes felt OK and then I realized I was going to have to slow to catch my breath. I slowed and then knew I was going to have to switch to breast stroke. I could not catch my breath and I wasn't even to the first buoy yet. I pulled off to the side and tried back stroke. It was not meant to be. I stopped to tread water and watched my wave pull away. Looking at the course in the distance I knew I could go no further without putting myself in jeopardy. I was not going to put myself in a position to have to use the water safety personnel and take them away from someone else who found themselves in an emergency situation. I turned and slowly made my way back to shore. A man on a jet ski came by to check to see if I was OK. I told him I could not breathe and he suggested I take off my wetsuit top to eliminate the compression...hmmmm...why not. I peeled off the T1 top (handy that I have a 2 piece wetsuit) and he would hold it for me. I headed back out and had the same thing happen. This time I turned around for good. I got my wetsuit top back and handed over my chip. The last of the waves were still starting as I walked out of the water off to the side.

I was doing OK until I saw my parents and Jeff walking towards the beach and then the tears welled up and fell. My first DNF in 20 years. I have always been able to overcome any nagging injuries and tough it out, but this time it would have put my life in jeopardy. Triathlon is about pushing your limits and finding what is inside you that you did not know was there. It is also about respecting those limits and honoring the voice inside that knows when it was not meant to be.

I went to collect my gear and ended up talking to Don and Kristine Herron who were waiting for their team swimmers so they could do the bike. They suggested I just wait a bit and then get on my bike and do the ride anyway. Wow, I could do that. No one would stop me, I look like a racer I just don't have a chip anymore. I had a blast just riding without any pressure. I pushed myself but also enjoyed encouraging the other racers. It was a different perspective starting off the bike at the back of the pack. I was inspired by all of the athletes pushing themselves out there on the course. I also spent the time trying to spot my Coach, Karen Buxton, as well as my friend Karen Yokley who came back from California to do the race and several other friends on the out and back sections of the course.

Knowing I was not on the clock put a whole new spin on transition. I walked my bike to my spot, took my time getting on my running shoes, actually packed up my gear and put everything in a large trash bag due to the impending storm. I loaded my pockets with my car keys and camera and slowly made my way to the run exit even stopping at the porta potty. I would like to know what that split was! I ran most of the first loop. It was slow going in that I was unable to take in a deep breath without taking several short inhales. I could only go as fast as I could get enough oxygen for. My car was parked along the course after about 6 miles so I stopped and got my stuff to head to the shower building I had scoped out during the run.

The dark clouds moved in quickly and I had to scramble to get my bike out of transition before the rain started. They ended up calling the race and stopping it early due to the approaching storm. Weird that I didn't start and many of those that did didn't get to finish. I knew I wouldn't finish but I felt for those that could have but weren't allowed to.

The next weekend at Hy-Vee I knew the swim was probably not in the cards. I had been looking forward to this race since last year when I strained my calf at the start of the swim. I wanted to redeem my performance. Due to the flooding in Des Moines the venue had to be changed and up to a few days before the race it was going to be a duathlon. I was so excited that I would actually be able to do the whole race since there was no swim and I would not have to DNF again. My heart absolutely sank when I got the news the swim was back on. I had tried to swim the day before heading to Des Moines but I still could not breathe. It was so weird in that as soon as I would submerge my chest in the water I could not take a deep breath. The water pressure doesn't seem like it should make that much difference but it sure did.

Listening to the radio on the drive I heard an ad for the IndyCar race that was in Iowa. Hmmmmm, I wonder where. It turned out to be in Newton about 30 miles from Des Moines. I called the chiropractor that my friend Libby and I have been going to the IndyCar races for Vemma with. He said to come on over and he and his acupuncturist would throw all the treatments they had at me to see if I could be mended. I ended up spending several hours at the Iowa Speedway getting pulled and stretched, snapped and popped, and poked and prodded. Between treatments I got to watch some practice laps (I just love the sound of those cars!), wander around the garages and pits and get an Iowa Speedway pin to add to my collection. I felt relaxed and limber but the nerve communication to my arm and intercostals was on it's own schedule.

On race day I knew not to even bring my wetsuit and I was thankful I didn't have to swim since it was a bit cool. I waited in transition and had the unique perspective of watching the race from in the pits. It was fascinating to watch the do's and don'ts of T1 from inside the fence.

Once most of the racks were clear I headed out on the bike and tried to push it. My breathing was pretty good on the bike and I felt fairly strong. I was limited again on the run by my stutter breathing. It made for a strange rhythm with 3 breathes in and 1 breathe out. UGH! It was amazing that they pulled that race off with all the last minute changes and I give lots of kudos to the race directors, personnel, volunteers and everyone else involved. The logistics were a nightmare to say the least but it was a quality race and venue and the age groupers and Pro's were able to swim and bike and run ...or at least bike and run!

I have to admit that I really enjoyed having an excuse not to swim for a while and I found myself pulling away from the spotlight of triathlons. I had won a free entry into my favorite race, the Shawnee Mission Triathlon in Kansas City on July 13th, but as it approached I knew I would not be ready for the swim yet and that is not a race I would be satisfied with just doing the bike and run. So, now I have two DNF's and one 'no show' to add to my record...YUCK! My arm and breathing have slowly gotten better and I still have some extreme weakness in my right arm with external rotation and overhead lifting but it is getting stronger. The worst was when I went to a physical therapist and he commented on the 'amazing atrophy' in my right scapular area and showed it off to some of his colleagues. There is nothing worse than being an athlete and having my body dissolve and not being able to do a damn thing about it but wait and hope the nerve regrows and refires so I can rebuild. A couple of weeks ago my breathing while running became normal again and now I am limited by my legs and not my oxygen uptake. I'm slowly building up my swim again and now just dealing with an arm and back that gets tired and achy. It felt good to race today and although I felt pretty sluggish I can work with that.

The next race on the radar is an all women's sprint tri in Kansas City and then Chicago at the end of August. I hope today can put some fire back in my belly and make me hungry to be competitive. I can't say I'm excited about bringing up the swim, but that is normal, so hopefully I'm back!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Different Kind of Racing

June 3, 2008

I have been distracted by a different kind of racing lately. I had the opportunity to travel to Indianapolis, Indiana and attend the Indy 500. I went with my friend and business partner Libby Dalcamo. We got to go behind the scenes to assist the chiropractor of the racers and pit crews share Vemma and Verve with his clientele. What an amazing experience! On Friday we had pit passes and were able to see all the racers and pit crew up close as they got in a few practice laps. Unfortunately the weather turned very wet and a bit chilly. Bummer in that the practice laps were cut short and the race scheduled for that day was postponed to Saturday, but it was a bonus in that I got to wear my appropriately Vemma orange Ironman Arizona finishers jacket! Since it was slow I got to meet some of the pit crew. One was going to put some flames on Townsend Bell's helmet. Flames? I LOVE flames! I asked if it would be at all possible if he could cut some out for my helmet too! He said he would and send them to me, so hopefully I will have them for Kansas 70.3! How COOL is that!!!!
We were able to talk to several people about Vemma and Verve, but Danica didn't need an adjustment while we were there...bummer.

Getting to be there for the Indy 500 was just incredible. The jets flying over, Jim Neighbors singing and the sound and feel of the cars along with the masses of fans from every walk of life. I called several people to let them hear what I was experiencing. It was fun to watch car #99 and know that I would have matching flames. Libby and I had to leave at about lap 150 so we could get out before the masses and hit the road back for Kansas. We were listening to the race on the radio when Danica's day was ended by being run into in the pits. That really stunk! I did pick up a Danica shirt while I was there. It is just so cool that a woman gets to go that fast!

Last weekend I went out to the Kansas 70.3 race site and did a 3 hour brick. I rode for 2 hours on the bike course and then ran an hour trying to figure out the run course. I love the bike! It has several long steady climbs and rolls through the Kansas countryside. The roads are smooth and the descents are fast! The 3 out and back legs will make for a good challenging race.
I think I figured out the run course. It is 3 loops that wind around through a few campsites. I am a bit concerned about how congested it could get. We do run by several outhouse buildings in the campgrounds so that could come in handy. There are a few hills but no killers.

After my brick I went to an open water swim put on by the new triathlon club forming in Topeka. There is a YMCA camp with a lake perfect for swimming. I have ridden by the entrance to the camp for years but had never been there. Since I didn't have a swim on my schedule I just played around and swam with the slower swimmers doing their first open water swim. It was a good turnout and hopefully more sessions will be scheduled.
This Thursday night is the charter meeting for the new triathlon club, the Topeka Triathletes (T squared for short). The group helping form it is really making it take shape. After 20 years of triathlon it will be so fun to have a local club. Somehow I got selected to be on the news yesterday to help promote it. Stefano, who has really been the organizing force of the club, and I appeared on the 4pm local news in a 4 minute spot. I can't believe I did that! It was actually kind of fun and it was neat to see the inner workings of a news station. I have no idea what I said, but Stefano said I did a good job and he did too.

I am headed to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend to help out at the Indy race there. I just love the sound and feel of all that speed! I sure wish I could have my own pit crew at my races.

Update: June 13, 2008

It's official, I am an IndyCar race junkie! I spent last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway for the Learjet 550 and had a blast. We got to talk to a lot more people about Vemma/Verve and watched the race from the top of the trailer in the infield. I got a bit dizzy turning around in circles watching the cars go around.

I picked up my Coach, Karen Buxton, from the airport yesterday after she flew in from North Carolina for the Ironman Kansas 70.3 race this weekend. It should be a fun weekend! Hopefully the weather will cooperate on Sunday and the storms and tornado's will stay away. Last night Coach got exposed to Kansas weather as we found ourselves taking cover under a bank drive thru as the torrential rain and hail came pouring down and the tornado sirens were going off! We were both a little bummed after the storm passed that we didn't get to see an actual funnel.

Tonight we are putting on a transition clinic at the Topeka Tinman Triathlon race site. Tomorrow we pick up our packets, drop off our bikes in transition and get ready for Kansas 70.3! I am excited but am actually dealing with an unexpected injury that leaves my racing day a bit unsure. Last Friday, my right arm suddenly decided not to work as it should. It turns out I have TOS, Thoracic Output Syndrome. Basically the nerves that pass from my neck to my arm are being squished between my clavicle and first rib. I've got my 3rd PT appointment today but still have numbness and extreme weakness in my right arm. Should make for an interesting swim. I will try it out in the pool today and see if racing will be an option. Hmmmm, maybe I can still get into Buffalo Springs if Kansas was not meant to be.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Playful Spirit

May 20, 2008

I am at the brand new HyVee grocery store in Topeka. I'm snarfing down some chicken and veggies with lo mein noodles trying to reverse the low blood sugar crash I let occur.

My fortune cookie is a keeper this time:
“Your playful spirit heals and inspires others”.
That puts into words perfectly who I want to be.

I got home last night about 7:30pm after dropping my Mom off in Lawrence at the end of our road trip to Memphis in May. Not long after I pulled in, Jeff and I headed back out to the local Sonic Drive-In for a burger. Going out to eat in the car seems like a strange thing to do after being on the road all day, but in a way it was like extending the trip and having Jeff along for a while. It was such a fun experience hanging out with Mom for a few days, but Jeff and I have been traveling to races for so long together, I hope this was the exception and not the norm this season. However, the next race that Jeff is not able to go to I would love to travel with Mom again or maybe my Dad and I can hit the road!

My Mom is the one that got me to start my blog and it was a lot of fun to come up with topics that I could post. I should have made her type as the miles went by.

We talked a lot about business strategy as I am embarking on my own business with Vemma. You can check out my website link along the side (
After spending almost 10 years in a cube as a computer programmer for Payless Shoesource, the few social and business skills I have are severely lacking. The cube served it's purpose at the time to keep me isolated and insulated from any social situation. My training and racing during that time was my escape. I could just go and do and not have to think or pretend I was someone I was not. For many years I went to races to be in awe and inspired by all the other crazy people out there doing what I loved. I kept to myself and observed and soaked it all in. Everyone at all those races gave me something to carry me to the next. I tried to be an anonymous participant and it was hard for me when people started to know my name. It's not that I didn't enjoy and look forward to seeing familiar faces, but for me triathlon was an escape from uncomfortable situations and I didn't trust my social skills to be comfortable.

Now that I am 'living out of my box' a whole new dimension has been added to my triathlon world. Camp HTFU was a HUGE groundbreaking experience for me. It took a lot of guts for me to put myself among a group of women athletes who before I would only observe in awe and amazement. What could I possibly contribute. I knew that it was something that I did not want to miss and I would just have to relax and be me...the real me. I'm still figuring out who that is but I have found that it's just not worth it to sit back and only observe. For years I swam and biked and ran but only this year have I started really enjoying the fellowship and friendship that comes along with it.

My focus going to Memphis in May was more on seeing my friends and making new ones than just going to race. I got to see Elizabeth Fedofsky and her husband Chris, Liz and Eric Ott, Jennifer Meyer and Kristen Moore just to name a few. I also got to meet my DFT teammate Robyn Karlage and even Ashley Long's Mom!

On my pre-race brick I met Mike Zinn from Texas. Mom and I then rode along with Mike and his wife Carol and Yorkie, Rocky, to preview the bike and run course. We put his bike in my car so we could all fit in his. I almost had a chance to upgrade to a P3 Carbon when they drove off in search of Italian food after dropping us off. When Mom and I got back in my car we realized it was a bit crowded. Luckily I had given him my business card and sure enough, about 10 minutes later we got a call and they were headed back to get the bike. It was way too big anyway. Mike is a star in the 60-64 age group and is currently being coached by Dave Scott!

My only race goal going into MIM was to try and break an hour on the bike. The 2 times I have done the race before I was within a minute. As I rode I tried to stay focused and remind myself that at any one moment in time all I have is one pedal stroke...make it count! There was a bit of a crosswind and not near enough tail wind, but it is such a fun and fast course. I'd have to call it a 'Grinner'. Alas, there were a few times I caught myself not focused on the goal and ended up 36 seconds over the mark. That was a few seconds closer than the other times, so I'm not complaining. I'm hoping to get Mom and Dad and Jeff to come for next years attempt. Then we can stay and check out Graceland and all the other things one should do in Memphis.

Next up on the race schedule is Kansas Ironman 70.3. It is so neat that there is going to be an Ironman 70.3 race practically in my back yard! My Coach, Karen Buxton, is going to come for the race and stay with me. We are going to have a Transition Clinic on the Friday night of race weekend (yes, Friday the 13th) in Topeka at Lake Shawnee. The local Topeka Tinman Triathlon is on Saturday at Lake Shawnee and then Kansas 70.3 is on Sunday in Lawrence. If anyone is going to be here for 70.3 and would like to come to the clinic on Friday let me know!

May 21, 2008

WAHOOOOOOOO! I just got an email from the Chicago Triathlon and I am officially entered! I had procrastinated a bit too long in entering and it was closed online. I sent in the entry just in case I could squeak in. The newsletter also had an article about the Beauty of the Brick which quoted HTFU's own Jen Harrison!

I'm back at HyVee eating more chinese food and my fortune this time is “Your help will be needed by a close friend”. Tomorrow I hit the road for Indianapolis, Indiana with my friend Libby. We are going to talk to the Indy Race Car Drivers and Pit Crews about Vemma!!!! The Chiropractor that contracts with Indy and works on all the drivers and pit crews at the races has decided that Vemma is the nutritional product that he believes enough in to endorse. At the last race he was at, his 80 foot gym in a trailer was parked next to Danica Patrick in the infield. I just might get to meet Danica...HOW COOL IS THAT!!!! It's too bad I don't have an HTFU t-shirt or bumper sticker or something to give to her. She is definitely fast enough and tough enough to have earned it!

It is amazing the opportunities that present themselves when you get out of your box and stop just observing!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

When I woke up this morning I just wasn't ready to get on my bike yet. Jeff had to go into work at Noon so I wanted to spend some time with him and I really just wanted to get the paper and eat my oatmeal. I finally went downstairs and got on my bike when Jeff left for work. I am so spoiled by my Computrainer! Soon I will venture outdoors but everything is still setup for my riding pleasure in the basement. It just seems wrong to mess with it and besides it was really windy and a bit chilly out. By the time I got in my 2.5 hour ride + 15 min easy run it was almost 3. I was going to go to Lawrence to spend some time with my Mom, but she was enjoying just puttering around and suggested I use the time to get stuff done and we'll get together another time. I certainly have stuff to do.

Last weekend at the last minute I decided to sign up for and do The Race For Sight in Columbia, MO. It is a sprint triathlon with a pool swim. I had thought about just going up to watch, but after talking to a couple of friends doing the race I really wanted to play too! Once I entered, I was absolutely giddy. I had no idea what my body would think of a hard effort 3 weeks out from IM, but I was going to find out. Going to Columbia was also a good test to see how I would handle traveling and racing on my own without Jeff along since he had stay home and work.

Jennifer Meyer, a triathlon coach in St. Louis ( was also making the trip alone so we met up at packet-pickup. This race always has an elite division that in the past has done the race 2 or 3 times in a row while the age-groupers go once. This year we found out that the elite's were only going once. Well, this got Jennifer's attention and for some silly reason she turned to me and said “If you do it, I'll do it”. Say what?!?!?! I'm 3 weeks out from IM and have not done a speed workout since before Du Worlds last October. I've got none, nada, zippo, zero, zilch speed in my legs! Jennifer has been training hard and has been getting stronger and faster over the last few years, so yes, she should go elite. But me? That would be nuts! Jennifer scoped out the other elite entrants and she thought there was a shot at the $ that paid 5 deep. There were a few 16-17 year olds in the division and her logic was that even if they could swim and run they wouldn't have the bike legs that take a few years to develop. I followed her logic but pointed out they could be young blazingly fast phenoms.

I gave in and into the elite division we went. The real advantage of being in the elite division is that you get to start first and split a lane instead of having to swim the pool serpentine and duck under the lane lines like the age groupers. That also meant that it would not have a chance to warm up any outside before we had to run out and get on our bikes.

At least Jennifer did buy me dinner (the traditional Subway sandwich) as payment for roping me into this. Throughout the night I found myself breaking out in spontaneous giggles at the absurdity of the move to elite. No matter what happened in the race I would have a story to tell!

Race morning it was 45 degrees which I was not that thrilled about. I had a jacket and gloves at the ready in T1 and my toe warmers were on my shoes. The pool at the University of Missouri is absolutely gorgeous (it almost makes me want to swim). Waiting for the race to start we notice the youngster phenoms. They are from Chicago and are all wearing sleek 2XU trisuits with their names on their butts. They even had a team cheer before hand which we quietly countered with our own 'Go older women!' since the rest of us were in our 30's and 40's.

The race favorite was definitely Kristin Moore. It has been so fun to watch her develop into the rock solid racer she has become. With Jennifer Harrison as her coach out!
The swim was a long course 400 so I only had to count to 8. I was surprised that I didn't get left behind right away but after the first 200 I was dropping back a bit. The hardest part was climbing out of the pool and trying not to look like an idiot in front of the other 600+ athletes waiting for their turn to swim. It is a long run to transition but luckily the effort disguised the cold. As I was pulling on my jacket, Jennifer Meyer was leaving transition yelling “I'm going to freeze!” and I noticed she had opted not to put on the shirt she had planned to. Poop, I suppose I am in the elite wave and should tough it out too. I threw the jacket down and just went with the gloves which I put on while I was riding. I had no idea what it would feel like to try to ride hard but I knew it would be short. When my legs started to burn I panicked a bit but then remembered that's what it is supposed to feel like. During IM when I felt any burn I backed off.

I was actually able to pick off a couple of names on butts and just barely made it back to transition before Jennifer. Starting the run I was in 5th but I knew Jennifer was faster so it was a matter of time. Once Jennifer passed me there was a name on butt ahead that she caught and I was hoping I would catch too, but she went with Jennifer and I didn't have any more gears. I ended up 6th just out of the $ but Jennifer got 5th and $100! Kristin dominated the field and won easily.

I was very surprised that I was able to stay as close as I did. There definitely is something to having a very large base. IM gave me the base and now I just need to add in some speed and find those gears that I just don't have quite yet.

After the race Jennifer graciously offered to buy me one of the fat free vanilla cappuccinos that I had been raving about. Luckily Columbia has a QT, so we headed there before she went East and I went West. I had to get home as fast as I could so I could get online and enter Memphis in May!

Another reason Mom put off having me come over for Mother's Day is that she is going to come with me to Memphis! Jeff has to work next weekend so Mom and I will hit the road. On the way home we are going to detour to Hot Springs Village, AR to see my Grandpa who recently turned 90! It should be an interesting trip.