Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Wow. What a year. I have been relaxing and enjoying my family. Cooking collard greens and cornbread, chocolate fudge, baking butterscotch pies, and watching football and playing XBox 360. We've had a wonderful holiday season, and it was totally worth the bulge I am noticing around my waist. ~sigh~
I have good friends and a good sister, though, and they have somehow convinced me to make an effort at getting back at it. Monday I was suppose to run with Holly, but I sorta set the alarm clock for p.m. instead of a.m. Oops. I did make it out later that day, though, and Briar and I ran a fun 3 miles, followed by weights, abs and lunges. I felt like I was totally starting over. Last night, my good buddy, Don, convinced me to make it to his spin class. He preceded to nearly kill me, I tell you. But it hurt sooooo good. So good, that I am going to make it my goal to get to that class every Tuesday night. And believe it or not, I showed up to run with the group this morning at 6 a.m. They were running 10, and I ran the first 5 with them. You wouldn't believe how much fitness is lost in 2 months. A. Lot.



In other news, Christmas was everything it should be and more than it should be during the Great Depression #2. Having two boys, specifically my two boys, just makes the holidays magical. And...getting a new puppy a few days before Christmas doesn't hurt either. It wasn't something I had planned....I just had it in the back of my mind because the kids had decided they needed a puppy to love in order to quit greiving over Wrigley. I wasn't sure if it was a good idea or not, and I also wasn't very keen on spending $300 - $1000 for a golden retriever like they said they wanted. But on the Saturday before Christmas, I pulled into Wal-Mart parking lot and there it was -

"Free Puppies"

I didn't think too much of it...the sign said they were a lab mix...until one of them poked his head up out of the window. I decided to take a look, and I almost talked myself out of it because it wasn't a well thought out and planned decision, and then I said, "Oh, I'll take one." So I picked the one that poked his head up out of the truck at me, and we nervously went on our way. A trip to the vet, a very traumatic deworming process (you don't EVEN want to know), a good bath, and a few good days of TLC and all is well...

I have more Christmas pictures, Christmas video and more...I'll get it out here soon. Happy New Year, my friends!!! Here's to the best year ever-I almost hate to see it end!!! I love you all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jitterbug

I'm getting a little bit jittery. Staying up later and later...trying to find something to expend all this extra energy on. The laundry is caught up. The Christmas shopping is done. My house is clean. We've watched Charlie Brown's Christmas. And Fred Clause. I think I need a goal...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Living it Up

I haven't made it to the trails yet, but I did end up with 3 days in a row last week. Monday 5miles running, Tuesday spin class, and Wednesday 5 miles running with core work. Then it all went to...other things. I don't really remember why I didn't do anything on Thursday. Friday was a snowday, and I was just too dadgum tired to wake up early since I am not on a training schedule, and there was too much to do with the rest of the day to squeeze in a workout of any kind. We took off to Murfreesboro for 4:00 batting practice for the boys, and then Bo had indoor baseball practice from 5:00 - 7:00 while Briar did speed and agility class from 6:00 - 7:00, and we stayed after and worked a little more on defensive drills while we had an open cage. Baseball year 'round - is life good or what?! We ate dinner at Macaroni Grill (I ate mushroom raviolli since they were out of eggplant) and then made our way back home. After the kids went to bed, J.T. and I sat up late listening to country music and drinking wine...resulting in the domino effect which kept me from getting up early to run on Saturday morning. I did get up and out early enough to get started Christmas shopping around 11:00. I pretty much finished up all the shopping except for a couple of dirty santa gifts I still need to get. Staying up late is addictive...and it's easy to fall into the habit when you don't have a 4 a.m. 20 mile run that has to be done the next morning. But you know what, sometimes it's nice to just do what you want to do, too. I've been doing a lot of that lately.

I don't like to be caged up. That's how I felt at times while following such a strict training schedule for the IM. I am more of a free spirit than your typical Type A. I am a perfectionist, too, though. I do like to do well at whatever I am doing...I like to do it right, and I like to do it to the best of my ability. There ensues the conflict. And that also explains while I have no competitive events on my calendar as of yet for 2009 (Other than the Seaside Half Mary, but that will probably be running for pleasure and enjoying the beach more than going for a half mary PR). Like Jumper told me once, we are Type A-. So the verdict is still out as to what my '09 calendar will involve.

Sunday was Holly's birthday party and then the kids' Christmas play at church. SOOOO cute! Then I got a text from Tammie saying they were running 8 at 4:15 a.m. this morning. That sounded appealing, and I thought to myself, "I am going to do that." Until I stayed up until nearly midnight playing with Facebook and then mutilated my alarm clock when it rang at 3:40. I barely woke up at 7:15, and scared the whole house as we all rushed to get out the door in time for school and work. Barely made it.

It's Christmas. I'll get all this worked out after the new year. Life is too good to not be living it up right now...

Holly's Birthday!

Briar - white turtleneck on the back row

Bo the Shepard Boy

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

2 Days in a Row

Finally. I have worked out 2 days in a row. Yesterday I ran 5 miles at lunch with Holly (sub 9min pace btw - yay!) and then did lunges. Today I did spin class. I almost feel the need to start logging again.

But you know what I really feel the need for?

I feel the need for leaves crunching under my tires.

For cold air rushing into my lungs in an anaerobic state.

Layers and gloves and seeing my breath.

As I climb one of the many hills on the trail.

And then glide down it.

Mountain Biking...I think it's time.

I also think it's time to lace up the gortex running shoes and not only bike, but run the trails.

Peace and love...over and out...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Deer Fights Back

I have never understood hunting for sport.I'm not knocking those of you who do; some of my best friends are avid hunters. I just wonder if the hunters ever stop to think about what it would feel like to be walking around in a world where snipers are hidden up in stands just waiting on you to unknowingly pass by...so that they can take you out and stick your head up on their wall and brag to their buddies. This deer actually got to fight back for a few minutes - check out the article:

Deer gets revenge after hunter shoots him

SEDALIA, Mo. – A hunter bagged a big buck in the second day of firearms season, but the kill caused him a lot of pain. Randy Goodman, 49, said he thought two well-placed shots with his .270-caliber rifle had killed the buck on Nov. 19. Goodman said the deer looked dead to him, but seconds later the nine-point, 240-pound animal came to life.

The buck rose up, knocked Goodman down and attacked him with his antlers in what the veteran hunter called "15 seconds of hell." The deer ran a short distance and went down, and died after Goodman fired two more shots.

Soon Goodman started feeling dizzy and noticed his vest was soaked in blood.

So he reached his truck and drove to a hospital, where he received seven staples in his scalp and was treated for a slight concussion and bruises.

Information from: The Sedalia Democrat, http://www.sedaliademocrat.com

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Now What?

It's been just over a month since I became an Ironman. I bought the video for $15 even though I felt that it was quite the racket...

video

Ironman was an amazing experience. The event, as well as my body and mind, far exceeded my expectations. I walked around on cloud 9 for a couple of weeks before my feet ever touched the ground. I had a good week or two at the gym, showing off my M-Dot schwag and getting back to pumping some iron, and then I....sorta...just took a vacation. I went with mom and dad to Memphis for the weekend and got a little action in Tunica. I actually won a hold'em tournament at the Hollywood casino on the first night we were there. That makes two trips to Tunica and two cashes in hold'em tourneys so far. So, yes, I am the poker master...just ask me. Although you wouldn't know it just by looking at me at the tables. My hands quiver, whether I'm holding 7-2 or pocket aces, but the big egos just can't figure out how to read such a thing. When I sat down and paid my money this last time, the egos chuckled and informed me that "it's tax deductible." Ha...as if the first place money wasn't enough to get me fired up, now I had a real reason to win. You gotta love it. ;)

But the good times came crashing down when I got a phone call from Briar...hysterical...telling me that Wrigley had been run over by a car. Mmmm. That one hurt. It still hurts, actually. I don't think I ever realized what a part of our family he had become. He was mainly Briar's baby...Briar had begged for a puppy for years when Santa finally gave in and brought this one to both of the boys 3 years ago. We had grown accustomed to him greeting us when we got home, always loving and forgiving when we had to be gone all day or even all weekend, and most recently to the little sound of his footsteps on the new hardwood floors. At the time, I thought that sound was annoying. Now I know better. It was not annoying. It was music. Innocent music. And that, my friends, is a lesson for the ages. Lest I forget it, I ask you to firmly jerk me back into reality.

So when you get taken down a notch by things like this, you get reminded of what's really important. I don't think I ever made any bones about the fact that, while it's defintely a worthy goal to reach for, training for and completing an Ironman is but trivial in the grand scheme of things in this world. That thought has been reinforced, and I've been making up for all those mornings when I put myself into robot mode and went out for some crazy-long ride or run or swim or combination of the three, instead of holding on to whichever child had made his way into the bed with us...or even holding on to the Iron Widower who so quietly made that Ironman thing possible in the first place.

So how do you go from 4000yd swims, 100 mile bikes and 20 mile runs...to....a 5 mile run here and there? Well, just to be right honest, it's been no problem here. Which is a little scary, actually...that I'm not suffering from endorphin withdrawals or anything of the sort. I'm just enjoying the simple life...as simple as it can possibly get when you have a husband, two kids, a job and mounds of laundry that never go away. If I don't want to get up early, I don't get up. And it's been a month now. I haven't been on the bike since Ironman, and I've only been in the water one time, and that was to help Holly with her swimming.

I have no idea what I'll do in '09, other than the Seaside Half Marathon. I've tossed the idea around of going for a 1:45 there...but unless I start kicking some major asphalt soon, I don't see that happening. I'm just enjoying the lack of pressure. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make certain times and certain distances, and granted, it all paid off when I pulled out that sub-12 IMFL finish, but sometimes it's nice to just take a break. Perhaps at some point I'll come up with a goal that I can get excited about, but for now...

I'm cooking pinto beans and turnip greens, relearning some of that 6th grade math, holding on to the ones who mean the most to me, and making up for lost time...because you can slice it and dice it anyway you like, but it takes sacrifices from the whole family for one to become an Ironman.

I love triathlon, but I love other stuff too. I have goals outside of this sport, and I share goals with my kids that need more attention now that IM is over. Somewhere, I intend to find the balance of staying in good shape while pursuing other goals...or helping my family and friends reach their goals...and reading about you reaching goals.

I have more Ironman pictures to post soon. Until then, peace and love...over and out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Am Thankful

2008 has been a heck of a year. So many things for which to be thankful...

Like my little football player...

And baseball players...

My cowboy...

Fun at the Grand Ole Opry...

The best husband ever...

Wonderful parents...
A sister that is priceless...
Birthday parties...
A family that rocks!!

A sub-4hr marathon...
My first half iron...

And my first full Ironman!!

Oh yeah, and there was fun at Bonnaroo, can't forget that...


And something I've yet to tell you about...winning poker tournaments!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stuff that hurts

Wrigley decided to run across the highway yesterday. At a very bad time. If you have a pet, go home and give it a big hug and let it know how much you love it.

In memory...


We'll miss you, Wrigley.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kickin' Back


So, what have I been up to? Well, I finally spent the time that was needed to deep clean my house. I've been learning about Indians, Buddhism and Hinduism with Briar as he does his social studies homework. I've been cooking! Yes! It's true...I've actually been cooking meals lately! Wendy's and Pizza Hut are probably wondering what they've done to piss me off. I had a birthday party for Bo - he turned 7 years old. I've actually talked to some of my friends lately. J.T. and I had a successful budget meeting to make sure we do not overspend throughout the holidays. We took Bo to a tryout for a travel baseball team and he loved it and they want him! I've been sleeping late when I want to. I've been running 5 milers here and there. I've been running 1 and 2 milers with Briar. I've been doing toning work, situps and lunges - OUCH! I haven't ate any meat or dairy since the Ironman - it's been 17 days and I'm going for 30. I feel great, by the way, and have lost 4 of those 6 lbs I gained during taper. I don't know if I'll stick with the vegan thing long term or not...but it's not so bad...I actually feel really good.

Oh yeah, and we are turning into Mennonites. You see, when we got hardwood floors put in during the summer, I told J.T. to take the living room furniture and do away with it because I was going to replace it with new stuff. He did so, and I was glad, but we never figured in two important things: #1 - I am very, very picky when selecting things like that. Sometimes it takes me months to decide what I want. And #2 - I had no time to go shopping around at every furniture showroom in the south while training for an Ironman. After a few weeks, The Flash started feeling sorry for the kids and brought them a couple of Cubs beanbags so they'd have something to sit on while watching T.V. or playing Wii. Television - that's another thing we are without now. My Charter cable internet stopped working back in September. I called and spent an hour on the phone with them and they finally sent someone out to work on it. It worked for a few hours, and then it went out again. I called, spent another on the phone, they said they would send someone out, and they never showed. This actually went on the entire month of October, and my internet only worked sporadically. I made dozens of phone calls, to no avail. Finally, when I got back from PCB to find that it still wasn't working, I called them on a Friday morning and told them that if it wasn't fixed by the weekend that I was canceling it. They said the best they could do was get someone to come out Monday. I said, "That's not the weekend. Cut it off. And while you're at it, cut the cable television off too. I don't want any Charter services." My thinking was that I would called AT&T and immediately get them to hook up some DSL, and we'd get some sort of satellite television. So, I call AT&T only to find out that they don't offer DSL in my neighborhood. Lovely. I put J.T. in charge of the getting new television service, and he still hasn't done that either. So...we now have no living room furniture, no internet, and no television. All I need is a black dress, and I need to get JT and the boys some black top hats and we could pass for Mennonites! It sure is quiet at our house. I walked through the bare living room the other day and Briar was sitting on a bean bag drawing. A strange site, but I kinda liked it.

Now that IM is over, though, I have no excuse for not buying some furniture. I think that is next on my list.

Speaking of my list, if you are wondering what will be on it in '09, your guess is as good as mine. I'm not even thinking about it right now. I'm just a wife and a mom and a computer programmer. Actually, I do have one thing set up. I'm going to do the Seaside Half Marathon with my friend Mae Anne , Bethany, and a bunch of other friends who are just getting into running and racing. I love to see people catch the running bug...that's almost as fun as racing myself. As a matter of fact - if you are reading this and I haven't yet asked you if you wanna run this half mary with us, consider this your invitation - the more the merrier! It's at Seaside for crying out loud! I am definitely going back to PCB for the Gulf Coast Half Iron in May, but I haven't decided yet whether I'll do the whole thing or just be part of a relay team. I'm not making any big decisions until after the New Year. Until then, I'll run my 5 miles, run with Briar, run with friends, go to spin class and yoga, tone up my arms, legs, and butt that have gotten embarrassingly flabby, tweak my diet, and just kick back.

Will I ever do another Ironman? You betcha. I'm not ready to name the year or the race, but I will do it again someday, provided my family is good with it, and it won't disrupt their lives too much. Indefinitely, though, I have 3 things that come first...I call them J.T., Briar, and Bo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Technical details, logistics and other random info about IMFL

There is so much to talk about when it comes to Ironman Florida that I just can't shut up. There are tons of details that a lot of you probably do not give a rat's ass about, but then you might be one of those people who signed up for IMFL '09, or any other IM in '09, and you might actually be interested in things like nutrition, strategy, special needs bags, relieving yourself on the bike, etc. So this is gonna be a great big post about all that stuff, plus any other random thing that sticks out in my memory about the whole experience.

Nutrition - You all know it's the 4th sport, right? It's huge. I nailed my nutrition at the Half Iron I did back in May...not so much at IMFL...but I didn't totally screw it up, either. My plan/results were as follows:
  • Pre-race Plan: Peanut Butter and Honey bagel and Gatorade Endurance/Water 2 hrs before start. 2 Immodium immediately after the prerace nervous poop.
  • Pre-race Results: Worked great.
  • Swim Plan: Upon the advice of Missy, I shoved a Gu down in my sports bra and reached in through my sleeveless wetsuit after the first swim loop and took the Gu with the water I got from the volunteers.
  • Swim Results: Worked like a charm; a most splendid idea! Do it!
  • BikePlan: On my bike, I had 2 bottles of Infinite in my cages and water in my aerobottle. In T-1 I shoved 2 packets of the Infinite powder into my jersey pockets so that I could mix more before I got to special needs. My Infinite formula has 220 calories per bottle and 426 grams of sodium. Note the high sodium because I sweat like a hog. If you don't believe me, go back and look at my pics and you will see salt stains all up and down my shorts. Anyways, after some trial and error during my long training rides, I determined that I needed around 240 calories per hour, and a small portion of it needed to be solid food because I just get plain hungry out there. I'm a big strappin' girl, ya know...I need some solid food every few hours. So my intentions were to drink 1 bottle of Infinite per hour (6 total) and somewhere along the way consume a peanut butter and honey sandwich to keep my stomach from feeling so empty. I carried along half of a PB&H as I left T-1, and I had another whole PB&H in my special needs bag, along with some Laffy Taffy, fig newtons and Clif Shot Bloks. I also had a package of Clif Shot Bloks in my bento box on my bike for back up.
  • Bike Results: Throughout the first 50 miles of the bike, this worked beautifully. I consumed 1 bottle of Infinite and a quarter of the PB&H by mile 23, where I had to pee really bad. I didn't stop, though, I just stood up, coasted, let'er go, and got back to business. By mile 36 I had to go again and did so with no problem. I knew that I was well hydrated at this point and slowed down a little on the Infinite, ate another quarter of the PB&H, and drank more water. By mile 49, I had consumed another bottle of Infinite, pee'd again and worked on mixing a new bottle. This is where I start failing miserably. I didn't want to stop, so I tried mixing on the go. The powder blew everywhere (in my face) and the resulting drink wasn't as strong as it should have been. I wasn't too worried, though, because I knew I had a whole PB&H in my special needs bag and I would just supplement with that. I got to special needs at mile 56 and took the PB&H, but that was all I took. By mile 60 when I started to eat the sandwich, I was sick of peanut butter. I should have taken the laffy taffy and the fig newtons. By mile 70 I was starting to not feel great. I realized I had just been mainly drinking water, and had ate only another quarter of the sandwich. By mile 80, I realized that I had only consumed 3 bottles of infinite and I needed to have gotten down 4 at this point. I tried to mix another one, did the best I could, but it was weak too (I still refused to stop...the only time I stopped was at special needs to get the sandwich). I ended up only drinking half of that bottle, and drinking water and taking a banana or two from volunteers out on the course to finish it up. By the time I got to mile 100 I was seriously bonking. By the time I got to the end of the bike, I could barely get my leg back over the bike to dismount. In retrospect, I should have had some comfort food on my bike in addition to the Clif Shot Bloks. A mini Snickers or 3 would have been nice. I needed some sugar and something that actually tasted good. The one Clif Shot Blok I put in my mouth had been soured or something, and I spit it out. My total intake on the bike was 3.5 bottles of infinite (Theoretically this would be 770 cal, but since much of the powder didn't make it into the bottle, I'm gonna say 660 cal), 3/4 of a PB&H (roughly 300 cal), and a couple pieces of a banana(40 cal?). That's a total of 1000 calories, and I needed to get 1500 during the 6 hr ride.
  • Run Plan: The orginal run plan was to pack 4 gels in my pockets and take one each hour, plus drink cola when I felt like I need more. Well, that all changed when I could barely stumble to the first aid station. I just wanted food, solid food, anything with calories. I even looked at one volunteer who was holding a plate of fruit and cookies and said "Oh dear, bless you, I am starving!"
  • Run Results: I peed in the porta-a-potty at mile one, then I took a gel when I got to the mile 1 aid station and got water, and then I raided the oranges, bananas and cookies, too. I stumbled onto mile 2, and did the same. I drank gatorade, ate another banana, and another cookie or two. And this is when it started coming back...I ran to mile 3 and took some gatorade, ran to mile 4 and took an orange with ice water (ice water is awesome out there, by the way, but you have to ask for it...otherwise you'll get either water or ice). I ran to mile 5 and took another gel. At this point, I just went with whatever I felt. I ran to each aid station, took what I felt like I needed, then ran to the next. I took the two other gels at miles 10 and 15. Once I started the second loop, I drank cola at almost every aid station, and it worked great. I never once felt like I needed to poop, and I never even had to pee after mile 1 during the run.
Pacing Strategy: Pacing is a really big deal in long events like this. I mean, it don't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you go all out on the bike for 112 miles you're not exactly going to be able to run a strong marathon afterwards. You may not be able to run at all. Maybe the pros can, but I'm not a pro. This was a hard thing for me to sort out, mentally, though, because I feel like I am stronger on the bike than either of the other two events. Respecting the Ironman distance, though, I decided to just go steady in the water, whatever felt comfortable. I really don't have many speeds in the water anyways, so this wasn't a challenge. I enjoyed the hell out of that swim, too, so that helped as well. When I finished up the 2.4 miles in the ocean, I think I probably had more energy then when I jumped in to begin with, although I finished it faster (1:14) than I have ever swum that distance before. So for the bike, I just went about 80% I'd say. I stayed under lactate threshold, but kept a steady cadence. Of course it all went to hell after mile 80, but never I panicked and tried to catch up, I just kept a high candence and knew that I would eventually make it back to T-2. As far as the run, like I told you I stumbled through the first two miles, and then I ran 1 mile at a time. When I was running, I ran at what felt about the same level of effort that I run my training runs with Tim, Lee, Tammie, and all the others. I focused on keeping a high turnover of my feet and relaxing my upper body. I kept wanting to stop and walk at certain times between the mile markers, but I knew that if I could run to each one, I could finish respectably. So I basically shuffled/walked for two miles, then ran 22 x 1 mile runs at about 85% - walking, eating, drinking, and recovering in the between each. When I reached mile 24, I decided I had walked my last step and that I was running all the way to the end...and I'd say I got up to about 95% by the end of that one.

Post Race Massage - I did mention previously that my sister bought me a massage for the next day, right? Just incase you didn't pick up on that, take note. Book one. If you are a sherpa, book one for your soon-to-be-Ironman. It is a must do. Worth every penny.

Special Needs and Transition Bags - I wish I would have put every possible kind of food that I might have wanted in every bag. You have 4 of them: T1, Special Needs Bike, T2, and Special Needs Run. It seemed like everytime I wanted something, I wanted what I had in a different bag. Like the fig newtons...I wanted those fig newtons when I got off the bike sooo bad, but they were in my Special Needs Bike and Run bags, not my transition bags. Bummer. I also thought that mile 56 was too soon for the bike special needs. I personally would have rather it been around mile 70, but ofcourse NA Sports didn't ask me how I felt about that. And I didn't even stop for my special needs run bag. I was feeling good and wasn't about to chance it on anything I had stashed in that bag...I just kept running.

CEP Compression Socks - Ok, I couldn't let this go without an explanation. Surely you noticed the white socks up to my knees, right? What I bet you didn't know was that I broke the #1 Race Day Rule to wear them. Yes, I must confess, I bought them at the expo, and I wore them for the first time ever on race day. I have been halfway wanting them for a while now, but I just wasn't convinced that any pair of socks could be worth $60. However, as I was perusing around the expo I saw them, and I walked up to the guy working the booth and skeptically said, "Do these things really work?" Of course he proceeded to tell me they did and why they did and that I would have a 25% less effort for the same result and all that. I wasn't really buying it all until some guy and his wife walked up and said, "I bought a pair of those the day before Ironman Louisville and I had the best Ironman of my life, and I know they made a difference." Now, here I am, my first Ironman, nervous as hell,standing here, debit card in pocket...so I just freakin' closed my eyes and bought the things. I debated on whether I would wear them for both the bike and the run, but then I got to thinking that I wanted them on the run moreso than the bike, and after peeing on the bike I was very glad to change into them (or anything, really) for the run. Do I think they helped? Honestly, yes I do. Granted, it could be the placebo effect, and I'd never know the difference. But I did feel great during that run. Supposedly they get the blood back to your heart faster, thus more oxygen goes to the heart, resulting in more aerobic capacity. I don't think they "turned my race around" or anything, but they felt great, and I'll be wearing them again for sure! And yes, they were worth the $60.

Wetsuit Chafing: Dude. I never saw this one coming. I body glided every inch of myself before I got suited up...or atleast I thought I did. I never really thought about hitting the back of my neck, but during that second loop of the swim I could feel the rub. And when it was all said and done, I had very big patches of skin that were literally burned off by the wetsuit around my neck. Learn from me - lube up the back of the neck!!! Don't chance it. It hurts, especially when you sweat and the salt runs down in it.

The M-Dot Tattoo: No, I haven't done it. I go back and forth. One day I say "Yes, I'm gonna do it." The next day I say, "I don't know...I really don't want a tattoo showing when I'm all dressed up for a formal occassion." I mean, I want it when I'm out biking and running my ass off, but then I might not like it when I'm all dressed up in dress or skirt and heels. IronJenny says she likes hers even when she is dressed up. I'm not so sure. And it's just so dang permanent. It's so much easier for a man to pull off. So I'm still debating on this one. Maybe one day I'll do it. Or maybe not. While the Ironman is a very special thing to me, and something that will probably somewhat change me forever, I still don't know if it's worthy of a permanent spot on my skin. Did I just say that? Ok, that was stupid...I already have plenty of permanent marks, called scars, on my skin from bike wrecks and such....atleast an M-Dot would be one of purposeful intent, and not an accident. Maybe I'll do it...I don't know. I'll let you know if I do.

That's all I've got for now...I'll probably think of more later!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanks, Guys

I don't need to go another day without graciously thanking all my friends and family for everything you did for me and meant to me in this journey to Ironman.

  • The Iron Crew - Guys, how can I ever repay you? All the emails, text messages and phone calls, the blogger and facebook comments - you all know who you are. Do you all know how much that means to me? I am so humbled by your excitement and encouragement towards my completing this thing. I thought about you all while I was out there...some of you I know personally, others via the internet and email...but you all mean the world to me, and each comment of encouragement served as another piece of motivation for me to go and lay it all out on the line. My training partners - Tim, Holly, Heather, John, Lee, Tammie, Holly J., Don, Kevin, Ben, Tom, Chris, Jack, Mike N., Michele, Amy, Justin, Lisa - thanks for the tough love, guys. You've pulled me along when I didn't think I could go any faster...you've met me to run, ride and swim in the wee hours of the morning, in the hot and humid sun, and in temps so cold our eyelashes have frozen up. You've been there to listen to me complain about "another 100 miler," you've been there to high-five me at finish lines, and you've been there to put notes of encouragement on my car and in my inbox. Thanks just doesn't do it justice, but I hope to return the favors to all of you. And Mae Anne - we haven't got to train enough together yet, but we are going to! That Ironman Care Package you made me was JUST what I needed! And it tickled the boys to be a part of it - I had your card in my special needs bag, and it made me all warm and fuzzy and even more determined when I read it. Jere, Dee, Abby, Missy, Becca, and all the other Excel Triathletes - You guys ROCK! I know we don't get to see other that often, but I'll do triathlons forever as long as it means I get to meet up and hang out with you guys! Trimama, IronJenny, Momo, and Greyhound - your experience and advice made me a faster Ironman, no doubt. Your support, encouragement, and prayers made me a stronger one. Trimama - now go devour IMAZ!!!!! Stephanie, Jill & Joe, Bigun and Di - It was so good to see you all out there!! I swear I ran faster when I knew I was getting close to you! And last, but most certainly not least - my family. Let me make it clear that I would not be an Ironman if it weren't for the love and support of my family. J.T. never complained about my training or my inability to keep the house as clean as I should have. He just picked up what I couldn't get done and told me to get my butt out the door and swim/bike/run. My parents provided the biggest, baddest condo in PCB for me and anyone else who wanted to come down and cheer me on. Holly volunteered on race day to make sure she could be right there on the front row to watch me come out of the swim, and take care of anything I might need. My Aunt Dana, Uncle Eric, Uncle Troy and Cheryl all made the trip to cheer me on. My mom, Holly, and J.T. catered to my every need, and my Dad was always in the right place at the right time. How many times did you guys find me on that bike course?!?!?! I had other bikers out there asking me if I was a celebrity with my own camera crew! You have no idea how much easier it made my day. Briar and Bo - thank you for being understanding and supportive of this whole thing. Thanks for giving up a lot of that early morning snuggle time and the late night movies when I couldn't stay awake. Thanks for being there on that course yelling for me. Thanks for praying for me. And most of all, thanks for believing in me. If you don't remember anything else about this journey, you remember that you can do anything you set out to do. That talk is cheap, but hard work is gold. That you will fall and you will mess up, but it's the one who just keeps getting back up that takes home the prize. That ordinary can be extraordinary. And don't ever let anybody convince you differently.
  • Iron Wheels and Helmet - If you noticed I had on a super fast sperm helmet, and I was sporting some sleek, fast Flashpoint wheels, you were right. They were most graciously loaned to me by my good friend, mentor, and fellow triathlete, Tom Leanza. Tom is a legend in these parts, he finished an Ironman back when there was barely even an aid station on the course. He was signed up and ready to do this Ironman with me too, but he had an accident due to a carotid artery dissection back in May after the Gulf Coast Half Iron. Tom is a person who trully exemplifies the spirit of triathlon. You can't keep him down. He has been very restricted as to what physical activity he can do since the artery dissection, but he has not stopped. It would be so easy for most of us to just throw our hands up in the air and say, "The doc says I can't." But Tom just keeps asking "When can I..." He will be back for another Ironman. I really have no doubt in my mind about that. Tom has helped me in almost all aspects of triathlon. He's educated me on strategy and equipment, he's coached me on how to get faster, and he's let me know when I needed to be tougher. He wanted to be out there on Nov. 1st, and the fact that he couldn't, but I could, really left me no other option than to go out there and burn it up to make him proud.
  • Iron Massage - Listen, if someone tries to buy you a massage for after the Ironman - LET THEM! Holly asked me if I would want a massage when the IM was over, and I told her "Nah! I'll just relax on the beach..." Ha! Nobody had told me that I couldn't relax on the beach if I couldn't walk down to the beach! But Holly was smarter than I was, and she went and purchased a whole 1hr massage for 10 a.m. the day after...and boy was I greatful. That thing was worth a million bucks. As a matter of fact, those massages are the best deal of anything at the Ironman Village. Anything.
  • Iron Parents/Sponsors- I just have to mention this - I was sorta sponsored out there - ya see...my Mom sponsored my running shoes (she insisted on buying the shoes I was going to run in) and my Dad sponsored my bike tune up and final accessories. How cool is that? Well, it's really cool when you consider how expensive all this stuff is.
I could on and on...there's so much more...but please know how much every little thing meant to me.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

IMFL '08

"Most of us can learn to live in perfect comfort on higher levels of power. Everyone knows that on any given day there are energies slumbering in him which the incitements of that day do not call forth. Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. It is evident that our organism has stored-up reserves of energy that are ordinarily not called upon - deeper and deeper strata of explosible material, ready for use by anyone who probes so deep. The human individual usually lives far within his limits."
- William James

11:58:23

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would see an eleven on the clock when I finished my first Ironman. I knew I would finish. I told you I'd you finish. I wanted to finish in less than 13 hours. I thought, given the right conditions, that was possible. I even told you that 12:30 would take a perfect day. I wasn't sandbagging' - I promise...so all I know to do is tell you the story....

Pre-race:I was a little bit on edge Friday, the day before the race. I met up with Jere, Missy, Abby, Dee, and all the other Nashvillians there racing, and we did the Gatorade swim...about 1000yds or so, and then some of us took off for a short bike ride. I enjoyed the mini workout, and I was glad to go ahead and get a feel for the water. It was cold the first few strokes, but then very comfortable once you got out into the deeper part. It was calm and smooth, and nothing like the waves we had back in May for the half iron. I got back to the condo to find that my whole family had arrived - JT and the boys, my dad, my aunt(Dana) and uncle(Eric). It was good to see everyone, and I showered and then did a final check to make sure I had everything I needed in my transition and special needs bags. We hung out for a while, then made our way down to the Ironman village where they all made signs for me and did some M-dot shopping while I got my bike and bags checked in. They said they could tell I was uptight, although I was trying to play it cool. I really just wanted the damn thing to get here already. And that was pretty much my attitude about it. I had trained all year long, made it through those final tough weeks of 10 hour training days on the weekends, and to top it off I had gained about 6 lbs during the taper! NOT. GOOD. I just wanted to get started. I wasn't afraid of it, but I was impatient. I just wanted to hear the gun go off and get moving.We had somewhat of a tiny fiasco trying to get through dinner. First, we locked our keys in the condo. We got that taken care of with the help of a very nice security guard, and then we went to Carabba's for my "final meal" as they all called it. I decided that the final meal would be Chicken Parmesan. Easy enough, right? Wrong. I thought Chicken Parmesan meant chicken with marinara and cheese on top of pasta. I wanted that pasta. Come to find out Carabbas considers the pasta a "side"...so when they bring mine without the pasta I had a bit of a meltdown. So bad, in fact, that my uncle pleaded for some pasta quickly and the poor waiter rushed back to the kitchen and brought it back very quickly. I pulled myself together and devoured the pasta, and then Holly and my Dad gave the sweetest toast you've ever heard. We got back to the condo around 9:00, and I got in the bed around 9:30 or so. Not too bad.

I dreamt about Ironman all night, and I got up at 4:15 ready to go. Ready to finally get this show on the road. J.T. and Holly took me down to the transition area and I added my peanut butter sandwich to my special needs bag, filled up my water bottle, gave hugs to friends, and soon headed down to the beach in my wetsuit. I found the rest of my family, and even ran into Bigun! Holly and my dad were volunteers, so they had front row access. My dad stood with me as I waited and prayed with me a couple minutes before the gun went off. And it finally went off.

The gun goes off and everything changes... the world changes... and nothing else really matters. -Pattie Sue Plummer

The Swim: You know that feeling, right? The one where you've waited and waited on something, and the time is finally here, and you don't know anything else to do but to throw yourself into it like there's no tomorrow. That's how I felt. I dove in and swam. No, I didn't really swim, I fought. That's all you could do! With 2300 people swimming towards the same buoy, I just pretended to swim as the draft carried me along, and I fought off all the people kicking and flailing around me. It was the most fun I've had in a race, ever!!! Even after I got nailed in the eye by someone kicking like crazy. I laughed and giggled to myself over and over at how much freakin' fun this was! I'm not supposed to have fun during the swim - I suck at it! But it was a blast. When we all converged at the turn buoy people were freaking out. Finally somebody yelled "Ok look!!! Everybody just calm down - We're going to get around this thing!!!" And I just felt like a kid on a roller coaster ride or something. I finally got around the turn and got to start swimming, and made it back to the beach for the 1st lap in 36 min and something. I even paused to show off my bicep for the camera. The second loop wasn't as physical, so I just relaxed and enjoyed the water and all that was around me. I was doing the Ironman...finally...and loving every minute of it. My goal for this swim was an ambitious 1:30, so you can imagine my excitement when I crossed the timing mat to a 1:14:04. If you can't imagine my excitement, here's a sample:

Yeah, I was pumped.

T1: Crowded. I just grabbed my bag and did it myself. I meant to put on arm warmers, but I wasn't feeling anything cold at that point. And I'm glad I forgot them, because it warmed up quickly. What I was feeling was the need to pee. But I just couldn't kill the momentum and use the port-a-potty...so I sorta just let'er flow as I was running out with my bike...sorry guys behind me...but it's the Ironman!!!

Bike: What beautiful weather. I took off feeling great but didn't push too hard. I did a really good job drinking and then pee-ing on the go...and this time I'm not apologizing because I saw plenty others letting'er go while on the bike, too. But then it came time to refill my bottles with Infinite...ugh. I didn't want to fool with it. (You know where this is going.) I got one bottle filled, finally, after half the powder blew in my face, and I ate half of a peanut butter and honey sandwich to make up for some of the Infinite I was not drinking. But then mile 70 came and it wasn't enough. I started fading. I had gone from constantly passing people, to holding my ground, and then to watching guys pass me. But hey, I figured they were just slow swimmers and strong bikers. Until a chick passed me. Then another. Then they started flying by me. By mile 80, I was hurting. I tried to start drinking more, but it wasn't helping fast enough. All my family was out on the bike course cheering in different places for me, and I knew they could see the concern on my face. I tried to smile and pose for the pictures, but by the time I hit mile 100, I couldn't find much to smile about. I wasn't sure what I was going to do...the only saving grace that I could think of was that I was pretty sure I had fig newtons in my T-2 bag. I couldn't stomach any more peanut butter, and I had tried to eat a shot block only to find out it had soured and it was nasty. I just kept saying "If I can just make it back to those fig newtons, I'll be fine." I was starving. With about 3 miles to go in the bike course, Michele flew past me like a streak of lightening. She looked great! But I felt horrible. I came around the final turn and there was my support crew again, cheering and yelling, and I saw that my Uncle Troy had made it all the way down from TN! I finally made it to T-2 in 6:01 and attempted to raise my leg over my bike...attempted, I say...as it actually took 3 attempts to succeed in that one. No matter how bad I felt, though, I had to be happy with that bike time. I had planned on it taking me 6:30. As for the rest of the race, though, I thought I was stick-a-fork-in-me-done. My only hope was those fig newtons.

T-2: This sweet little girl grabbed me in T-2 and started going through my bag and helping me get my socks and running shoes on. Bless her heart. That job is not one for the faint of heart. So I start saying "Thank you, thank you...fig newtons...fig newtons...the fig newtons are in there, right?" And she looks and looks and can't find them. So I dump it all out. No fig newtons. I had put them in my special needs bag...not the T-2 bag. Great. Oh well...nothing I can do now, so I take off shuffling out the tent.
The Run: The shuffle immediately caused a side stitch that hurt like crap. I toughed it out long enough to smile for the camera and get out of sight from the people who knew me, and then I just walked. I didn't know what else to do, so I had a little talk with myself. I said, "Now listen, Lana. You've got 25+ miles to run here. So you don't feel good right now, fine. You need food in your belly, and you need to cheer up. This is not about a finish time as long as it's under 17 hours...just get yourself some food and have fun." So I made it to the first aid station and practically raided the thing. I told the volunteers that I was starving and they gave me plenty of bananas, oranges and cookies. I stuffed my face and then even got some carry-out! I got enough that I was able to walk/shuffle on to mile 2, where I raided this one as well. I drunk the Gatorade, got some ice, washed my face with a cold sponge, and ate everything in sight. I suddenly wanted to run...so I took off. It hurt, but I was running. I wondered if I could make it a whole mile...and I did. From there on out, I ran 1 mile at a time. I ran at a pace that was barely comfortable until I got to the next aid station. I ate a bite or three at each, thanked them all, and took off for the next mile. Before I knew it...I was feeling great again. I found Holly and my parents on my way back in around mile 11 or so, and I convinced them that I was better now. I saw Steph and Jill and all of their crew and they yelled and screamed for me. I saw Bigun and Di and J.T. as I head for the turnaround, and then again going back out. Then I saw my parents again. My Dad ran up beside me and said "Ok, Lana. You've got 13 hours easily, and you've got an excellent shot at breaking 12. Now this it. This is the last lap. You go get it - you use that "SHEER MATTHEWS GUTS AND DETERMINATION" and go finish this thing up, you hear?!?!" and I said "YES! YES! YES I WILL!" And I ran, and I ran, and I ran. When I got tired I dug down and found something more. When my right knee started screaming bloody murder for relief, I said a prayer, and it was answered as the pain went away. When I crossed the 20 mile marker and saw the time, I knew I was still on pace to break 12 hours. I could see the sun setting and it got dark, and I pushed on. I got hungry, and I ate and drank, and then pushed on some more. I couldn't think about anything other than the present mile at hand, or I would start feeling like I'd never make it...so I just kept saying, "You can always run one more mile." I stopped for food and cola at the mile 23 aid station, and as I was walking they cranked up Ozzy's Ironman. I got chills down my spine and slammed my cup into the trash and took off running. At Mile 24, I could hear Mike Reiley calling people Ironmen...and that was my last stop...I got more cola, and decided it was time to bring it home. I ran right passed the Mile 25 stop, yelled and whooped and hollered at all my friends who were cheering, and I felt no pain. The family pen came into sight and I zoned in on Bo, who was waiting for me....

"BO!!!!!! COME ON, BO!!!! I MADE IT! LET'S GO BUDDY, LET'S GO BRING IT HOME!!!!"

He jumped up and took off running beside me, and then there were lights and screaming and I could hear Mike Reiley saying something about Manchester, TN. I pumped my fist and yelled with them...and

"YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" as I broke through the tape.

11:58:23


Do not ever doubt your potential and sell yourself short. Do not ever count yourself out just because you get tired along the way. Or because you mess up or make mistakes along the way. I thought I was done with 40 miles left on the bike. I was supposed to drink 6 bottles of Infinite and I only got down 3.5. I was down, but I was not done.

It was Ironman.



It can take ordinary and turn it into extraordinary. It will dare you to dream, dare you to be bold, and...

...and then take all your damn money. I spent WAY too much money on M-Dot finisher schwag. WAY TOO MUCH...but hey, it was worth it!


Official Splits:
Swim (2.4 miles):1:14:04
T-1: 7:06
Bike (112 miles): 6:01:27, 18.6 mph avg
T-2: 5:27
Run (26.2 miles): 4:30:21
Total (140.6 miles): 11:58:23

What a ride!