Monday, March 31, 2008

Update on my Mother

My mother is doing great!! Her surgery was Tuesday, and everything went very well and just as expected. She is recovering nicely and has been a huge inspiration. She is determined to get well, and was up walking around and trying to do things herself almost immediately after surgery. I just hope I can someday be half as strong as she has been through all this. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!!

An Object In Motion

"Motion becomes my mantra. Through it, I gradually divest myself of worry and anger, of fear and depression - and the reasons for them. "

George Sheehan
I was running with a friend the other day during the dark hours of the morning, and we were discussing how our training makes us better in so many other ways than just making us a faster runner (or biker or swimmer). I like the way Sheehan puts it, that he, 'through running, gradually divests himself of worry and anger, of fear and depression - and the reasons for them.' I can totally identify with that.

It's like a purging of the toxins that creep into my mind when I am idle.

It's a fire burning off the excess in my life. All the useless worrying, the ugly thoughts, grudges, and jealousy get tossed into the fire of adrenaline. They burn to ashes left behind by my footprints.

A breath of fresh air, a pounding heart, burning quads...they bring focus and clarity to my horizon. They calm the nerves that tend to otherwise set off false alarms in my head.

When I have motion, I can wrap my hands around the world. I can walk tall. I can press on. I can fight the good fight, and I can keep the faith.

I don't get out and run because every thing else in my life has always been so great that I wake up ready and itching to bee-bop down the road at 4:30 each morning. I get up and run because I know it's what my body needs in order to be complete. I grind out 2.5 hours on the trainer because it's a small part of a big picture that is going to turn an ordinary girl into an IronMan.

One step at a time. One rotation of the pedals at a time. One freestyle stroke at a time.

One mind numbing trainer ride at a time.

One wet, windy and cold 10 miler that absolutely sucked at a time.

One swim that I was too tired to get dressed for at a time.

It wasn't the greatest of training weekends...but it was a piece of the puzzle that had to be completed.

It will make the warm and sunny bike rides a whole lot sweeter.

It will make the fresh air during pretty spring-morning long runs that much fresher.

And it will inevitably make swimming through waves and jelly fish in the Gulf of Mexico somewhat easier.

I will stay in motion.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Weekend Recap

We are 7 weeks out from the Gulf Coast Half Iron Triathlon. On the plan for Friday was a 2 hour run and a 1500yd swim. Now listen to this craziness...I got up at 2:40 A.M. - yes, A freakin' M, for this run. Here's the deal - I've been running with a crew of speedsters for a while now, and they're making me faster. I like the push and the company, so I try to line up my longish runs with their longer runs (they were running 23 Friday-Whoa!). If they say they're leaving at 3:00 a.m. (some had to be at work early), then 3:00 a.m. it is. I was planning on running 15 with them, and then dropping off, but it just so happened that the route we took got me 17.38, so that was cool. I had a little stomach trouble...well, I can't really call it stomach trouble - I just needed a bathroom because evidently a long run doesn't make me nervous enough to trigger the pre-run poop anymore. So I ran into the convenience store after 13 miles and felt much better for the 4 miles back home. Most of the crew split up at that point - some were out ahead, some were going for more mileage, but Tim ran circles around the convenience store until I came out, and we ran back in together. It was a great run - an average pace of 9min/mile. The bad news is that I was toast as soon as we got done. I went home, slammed back a Recoverite drink that later wreaked havoc on my stomach, took a shower and went back to bed. That shower was the closest I got to a swim all weekend long.

Saturday morning was the big 70 mile ride. I ended up having four guys to accept the invitation - Kevin N., who's doing the bike portion of relay team at GCT; Tim G., who's doing the swim portion the same team at GCT; Joe B., who's training for the 3 State 3 Mountain Century and is also doing the swim leg for Holly and Heather's team at GCT; and Ben G., who's also training for 3 State 3 Mountain. We rode through Wartrace, Bell Buckle (and rode the Moon Pie 10 miler loop), Beech Grove and back to the rec center. 70 miles in 4:16. It was a beautiful day, but a bit more windy that I would prefer. I guess training in the wind is what I need to be doing though, considering I am training for a Half Iron and a Full Iron right on the gulf in Florida.

My legs were tired during the ride, and it took them forever to feel like they were warmed up. Lots of lactic acid burn. The last twenty miles felt better than the first 50. So that brings me to bike nutrition. After the first 20 miles, I ate 2 fig newtons (100 calories). I also drank Gatordade G2 during the entire ride. Around 45 miles, we stopped at a store and I opted for some Twizzlers instead of the Gu I had in my back pocket. I heart Twizzlers. I don't know if it was coincidence or not, but I felt great for the remainder of the ride. Is this okay? Can I really train/race with Twizzlers on the bike? Because I love these things, and there's just something very comforting about chewing on some Twizzlers during a 4 hour ride, as opposed to choking down a Gu. YaknowwhatImean? But I'm not sure if this is a feasible strategy for race day. Your feedback and advice is needed and appreciated!!

Following the ride Tim and I did a 1.75 mile run off. It hurt...we knew we were hurting, but just figured it was because we had just ridden 70 miles. Then when we finished and Tim asked me to check our pace I realized why we were hurting - it was 8:14 for crying out loud. I always seem to have a tendency to take off too fast on a's like I feel like I'm barely running 10's....and then I realized it is closer to 8's. I have to get that under control for GCT...8's will land me on the pavement at about mile 5, no doubt.

Easter Sunday was cold outside, but warm for the heart. We celebrated Jesus' resurrection at church, ate too much ham and dressing and banana pudding afterwards, and the boys didn't get into a fight over the golden egg this year. I got a much needed nap, and then spent some time praying with my mother for her upcoming back/neck surgery that she will have Tuesday. My mom's been in serious pain for about 6 weeks now, and surgery is the only answer. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday morning it was back at it - 7 mile run in an hour, and 3000 yds in the pool. The shoulder is much better and the swimming is improving. I can tell I'm making progress, and I'm starting to feel more comfortable with my stroke and with the bilateral breathing. Now if I can just keep it that way...

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What's going on here?

I climbed Alto again Tuesday after running 6 miles that morning. I got back in the pool Wednesday and did 2000 yards, being very careful that I did not over do it and hurt my shoulder again. I did all my strength work Wednesday morning, too. I have an easy spin this evening on the trainer, and tomorrow morning I'm going for a long run. The plan says 2 hours, but I'm going for at least 15 miles. Then a swim. Saturday I have a big ride planned - 70 miles - followed by a 15 minute run-off. And I rest on Easter.

I feel good. My legs are sore from climbing the mountain Tuesday and then Wednesday's weights, but I don't care. It's a good sore. They don't feel as tired as they do strong. My swim is still struggling, but my shoulder didn't hurt as bad the last time in the pool. It's getting better, and it's been a wake up call that I HAVE to fix my stroke OR ELSE. When I keep my stroke wide and long, the shoulder doesn't hurt. When I go back to crossing in front, it screams at me. It might be just what I need. I'm not scared of any mountains around here any more. And my run is faster than ever.

I'm not really sure what to think about all of it, to be honest. Is this what Ironman training does for you? I thought I would get slower...and I might yet...but right now I feel stronger than ever. It's weird...but things have just been clicking. I feel focused and calm. My kids are doing the Country Music Kids Marathon, and their miles are ticking off nicely. They are also doing a youth duathlon in two weeks. Getting in these workouts that I thought was going to be impossible has just become second nature. And they are fun. They have purpose. I have a goal. And I'm moving towards it.

My hands were steady..
My eyes were clear and bright;
My walk had purpose...
My steps were quick and light,
And I held firmly
To what I felt was right...
Like a rock

-Bob Seger
Train hard and rest easy!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Today is just another day, but it is not just another day. It's not my birthday or anniversary, and it's not a holiday.

But today is a privilege. It is an opportunity. It is a gift.

Today is the day that I wake up at 5 a.m. to get my run in, again.

Today is the day that I feel the wind in my face, but continue up the hill in the dark.

Today is the day that I once again feel my heart pumping and my legs turning, and I celebrate today.

I celebrate today because no matter what comes my way, I know who I am. And I like her.

I celebrate today because it changes me. For the better.

I celebrate today because I have another breath, another chance. And I love today.

I love today because I got to watch my babies open their sleepy eyes to today. I got to hear their voices laugh. I got to give them hugs and kisses.

I love today because however little the improvements are, I will improve today. I will become stronger and faster today. I will be tougher when I go to sleep tonight than I was when I woke up this morning.

I will climb the mountain again today. It will be hard, and my lungs will burn, but I will keep going. And it will feel good when I reach the top.

Nothing compares to today. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is uncertain. But I have today.

I will celebrate today.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Weekend Recap

Let's start with Thursday. BT called for a 75 minute easy spin, but I opted for a 96 minute mtn bike ride since Holly was wanting do that anyways. We met at the air force base after work and did the 13.5 mile trail in 1:36. It was a great ride, despite my biting the dust a couple of times. Holly really knew the trail well, and we didn't get lost at all(a victory in itself!). Holly is going to be competing in her first mtn bike race, the Chickasaw Trace Classic, on Mar 31 - so go over and wish her luck! She's really been burning up the trails.

Friday was only a 1500 yd swim, but I was really working hard on correcting my messed-up stroke, so I actually went 1950 yds. That's the good news. The bad news, though, is that I hurt my shoulder during the set of 500 pull. It hurt pretty bad most of the weekend, but started to feel a little better today.

Saturday, the plan was to run the St. Patty's Day 10k followed by a 3hr45min bike, followed by a 20 minute run off. There were thunderstorms coming in right at start time, though, so they delayed the 10k until 11:00. That worked out well, because there was also an underwater egg hunt at the rec center at J.T. took the kids to the egg hunt while I raced. I was a little concerned about this race because my plan hasn't included a whole lot of running lately. But perhaps that just had me nice and tapered, because I felt great the whole time! I'm covering too much in this post to give you a play by play, but the splits are below, and my final time was 48:48 - a new 10k PR! Woohoo! And this course was pretty hilly, too. My time was good enough for 2nd Overall Female also. 1st Overall Female was H.J. - the Holly that's not my sister that's crazy fast and is on her way to Boston this year - Congrats Holly! She finished labout 2 minutes ahead of me and there was no catching her. Lee - another running buddy - brought home the 2nd Overall Male. Heather was 4th overall female and 1st in the 35-39 age group. John D. got first in his age group, Kim C. got first in the 30-34 age group, Audra got second in the 30-34 age group, Yogi got second in his age group, Kevin S. got second in his AG and Mike got third in his AG. Our newest soon to be half marathoner in town, Karen H. ran a really great race, and I'm pretty sure she came home with hardware, too...but I can't remember the place - Congrats Karen and everyone else! Also, congrats to Kailey - Joe B.'s daughter who gets the bravery award for finishing her first 10k on training that has only consisted of 2 mile runs - way to go Kailey! It was a great time with great friends and lots of great running. Austin and Cindy at the rec center really did a great job with this race. It was very well organized, the route was great, and the post race food and awards were awesome.
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
17' 34-0' 217.9+0.3+43 ft
27' 54-0' 017.6+0.0+20 ft
37' 57+0' 027.5-0.0-40 ft
48' 13+0' 187.3-0.3+62 ft
58' 02+0' 077.5-0.1-10 ft
67' 46-0' 097.7+0.1-92 ft
end7' 21-0' 348.2+0.6+13 ft
Versus average of 7' 55 min/mile


While we were 10k'ing in Manchester, Michele and David and Lisa were rocking the Tom King Half Marathon in Nashville. Both Michele and David set PR's - congrats guys! And congrats to Lisa for toughing it out when the conditions were not in her favor.

After the 10k was delayed and everybody else wanted to wait and ride on Sunday, I agreed to do the same. This meant I would miss swim class, but since my shoulder has a sharp pain in it from my messed up stroke, I figured it was best to rest it anyway. I met Kevin S., Joe B., and Mike N. for a 60 mile, 3:45 ride up Monteagle Mtn. and through Pelham, Providence and Hillsboro. The wind was all up in our face, but we considered it good Gulf Coast training and pushed on. Afterwards, Mike and I followed what the BT plan said and did a 30 minute run to complete the brick. I'd have to say this was my best workout thus far.

The kids getting ready to hunt eggs underwater

Me in the pink heading for the finish line - me and the guy in the white shirt were gonna try and race it out to the end, but I had nothing left for him.

John D. crossing the finish line, with his son, J.P., cheering him on.

Enough of that...

There's HAS been training going on around here - it's not all midriff and foolishness like you might have thought over the weekend. ;) The "On The Road to Ironman" header is back up, and away with The Dot Bigun's midriff fantasies...but just in case you were training your rear end of this weekend and didn't get to see it live - here ya go:

If you were new to my blog, and happened to pop in for the first time while that was up...well, my'd just have to know the history. If you aren't new to my blog, but didn't know the apologies to you, too, but it was just something that had to be done. Or...if you are one who does not understand Photoshop and it's lovely image editing capabilities - let me explain - those heads do not really match those bodies - speaking for myself (the one in the center), I can only dream of such.

Now, let's give credit where credit is due. If you've read my blog for very long now, you have to know that I'm a fairly serious person...mostly all business...with my mind on my money(or training) and my money(or training) on my mind - as Snoop Dog says. Sure, I can put up a poll to see what you guys think about new header...and of course I can call the "hotline" and argue my defense...


come up with this idea all on my own??? No. Way. I was only the overt here, actually putting the idea into action. But someone else was the covert - the master mind who's shrewd, scheming ways thought up the original idea. Take a guess who it was...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

For a friend...

"Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.
-Tennessee Williams

I think it's only human nature that sometimes we belittle the value of the friendships we've made through our blogs. Especially when we've never met the person in "real life." But the fact of the matter is, most of us pour our hearts out on these things, in one way or another. It might be slightly hidden between the lines, or it might typed out in bold...but either way, when we log on to our computers and go find our friends to get the scoop on what they've been up to and how many crazy numbers of miles they've put in this week, we get to know each other as well as if we lived across the street sometimes. Or better, in my case, being as though I've never met the majority of the people who live across the street.

There are several bloggers whom I consider to be as good of friends as I've got, one of them being TriGreyhound. My friend, TriGreyhoun
d is taking a stand for MS. His beautiful wife has been plagued with this illness, but continues the daily fight to overcome. While TriGreyhound inspires us with his Ironman training, Mrs. Greyhound is holding down the fort and fighting daily with this terrible disease. And she's doing a great job of beating it, I might add.

Go visit my friend, and read his post about MS and his fund raising intentions. He is a great guy, a real friend, and a real inspiration to myself. Drop a line of encouragement, or better yet, donate a few bucks to his cause. And lets be thankful there are people out there like him...

Good Times and Big Climbs, But Still Drowning

This has been a good week so far. I'm battin' a thousand on getting out of the bed when I'm supposed to. I'm finally starting to get into the groove of triathlon training again. I'm having to do a lot of switch-a-roos with my daily training schedule to accommodate my ever-patient family and my "hour and fifteen minutes from my house" swim class, but that's okay. That's the name of the game when you're not just a triathlete, but rather a "wife/mother/employee/triathlete". I mean, does it really matter if I do my 75 minute easy spin on Monday instead of Tuesday and my 40 minute easy run on Tuesday instead of Monday?

Probably, if I had time to worry about it long enough to do the research. I'm sure there's some reason that spin needed be done on Tuesday. But there's also a better reason - like book reports and spelling tests and baseball practice and birthday parties - that I needed to do it Monday. Hypothetically speaking, that is. I actually think I've stuck pretty close to schedule this week, but not most weeks. Nevertheless, I'm still getting pretty close to the recommended mileages, and I'm happy with that.

I'm also happy with my climbing legs today. For the first time ever, yesterday, I climbed Alto. If you live around here and cycle much, you've heard of Alto. It's supposedly the mac daddy of climbs around. I've shied away from it for over 3 years now. I've been afraid of not making it to the top. I've asked several people over the years if I'd be able to make it - on my bike (QR Kilo, a double on the front, and the biggest gear on the back is a 23) - and nobody has ever really indicated they thought I could. We call it a mountain around here, but it's actually the Cumberland Plateau.It's around three miles of climbing with very little relief until you reach the top. The steepest part is a 21% grade. I got an invitation to join Joe, Kevin and Steve in climbing to the top of it, and I decided to go ahead and take them up on it this time. I was pretty nervous about it, but I slowly and steadily reached the top without too much drama. I had a couple of urges to quit...but the pain in my quads and the burn in my lungs was not as painful as the thought of having to come back home and report that I did not make the climb, so I forged ahead. Pride is a powerful thing. Sometimes dangerous, but definitely powerful.

When we all got to the top, we rode through the University of the South campus and celebrated the year's first big climb with a frosty cold one. We discussed upcoming races, rides and training. Joe agreed to be the swimmer for a relay team comprised of him, Holly and Heather for the Gulf Coast Half Iron. Descending the mountain was scary and cold. I'm not much for screaming downhill and around horseshoe curves at 40 mph. I opted to ride my breaks all the way down...and at one point I thought they might actually go out. When Joe got to the bottom, he noticed that his back wheel was, like, nearly broken. It was wobbling all over the place and rattling with loose spokes! Poor Joe...he's gonna have to go buy some brand new smokin' aerowheels, now. ;)

So this morning brought an easy 30 minute recovery run and a 2800 yd swim. I went easy on the treadmill and got barely over 3 miles in 30 minutes as I listened to CNN talk about the NY Mayor that' s in some seriously deep crap. Then on to the pool where I had another terrible swim.

Here's the deal. First of all, swim coach says I'm crossing my arm too far across my body when it enters the water for the stroke. It causes me to rotate too much and messes me all up. So I've been trying to correct that by swimming with fins and focusing on swimming wide. But another problem I have is that I never feel like I'm in a rhythm while swimming, unless I'm breathing every other stroke and on the same side. But when I time my splits - my 100s are a good 5 seconds faster when I breath every other stroke. So what do I do?!?

I am so partial to breathing on the left side. When I try to breath on my right, I can barely get face out of the water enough to get air. It's like I sink when I am on that side. But somehow, I am obviously faster when breathing bilaterally. Comfortable? Not so much. In any triathlon I've ever been in, I go through a couple of sets of bilateral breathing and then immediately switch to every other stroke on the same side. I struggle with whether or not I should even work on it...because when I enter the Gulf of Mexico with 2000 other swimmers, am I really going to be breathing bilaterally? Unless something drastic changes - no. To sum it up, it was a horrible swim. And I also had to cut it 300 yards short to get home in time this morning.

One day I feel good swimming, the next day I am drowning. And so it goes...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Talking to the Hand

Well, the poll is closed now, and I am out of the Tomb of Shame, but I still feel like I'm just talking to Bigun's hand. He won't listen to anyone. TriGreyhound tried to stand up for me, to no avail. Even his partner in crime - Taconite Boy - admitted that he liked my new header. According the poll, 44 of you are on my side, 14 of you are siding with Bigun, and 3 of you don't care.

To the 44 of you on my side - I'll love you and appreciate you for ever. And I've got'yer back if Bigun decides to pick on you too! Just let me know...I've got connections to the ever famous Di if we need them.

To the 14 of you kissing Bigun's ass - are there really 14 of you, or did Bigun vote multiple times? Hmmm...anyways...if you sided with Bigun - you suck.

To the 3 who don't care - Thanks for voicing your opinion, I guess. At least you voted.

Obviously, I have Bigun outnumbered; but he shows no remorse at all for locking me up in the TOS. I've pleaded my case and the people have spoken. What else can I do? At least I got in there after Trimama installed in the cocktail bar.

Training is going pretty well lately, despite the rain, snow and 30 degree weather that invaded my mid 60 degree paradise this weekend. The treadmill and I got reacquainted with a 5 mile run on Wed and a 4.27 mile run this morning. Thursday I rode my trainer 70 minutes, and then joined some running buddies for 13.38 miles later that evening. The long run was actually scheduled for Friday morning, but due to all the rain, we pushed it up Thursday night. Most of them were going for 21 miles, but my plan only called for 1:30 of running, so I did 13.38 miles in 1:58 and called it a night. I rewarded myself by resting on Friday. Then Saturday I got back on the trainer and watched CMT while spinning for 2hrs and 20 minutes. Yep - you heard me, CMT - all 2 hours and 20 minutes. So go ahead, call me a redneck...but I must admit I wasn't all that impressed with what the channel had to offer. It was better in the late 80s. I did see one A.J. video, which was nice...but Kenny Chesney just doesn't do it for it me. So then Sunday brought another swim class in which I proved to myself again that I'm the worst swimmer on the planet. The good news, though? The coach noticed. She was mortified at what's going on in my stroke lately. Hopefully that's the first step to recovery.

It looks like I've got lots of swimming to do this week. I've also got a 10k this Saturday (need to add that to my sidebar) followed by a 3 - 4 hour ride. And lots of fun to be had. Baseball season is gearing up. Life is good.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I hear the birds

Yes, I do. I hear them singing.

And you know what else I hear? The soft whrrrrrr of bikes traveling down the road. The shhhh-shhhhh-shhhh-shhhhh of the cranks turning. And the ba-bmm, ba-bmm, ba-bmm of my heart pounding as I grind up a hill.

I know there's some more cold weather yet, but it's on it's way out. I can feel it. The winds of change. The hints of spring. The teaser 70 degree highs on a Sunday afternoon. Hard rides with friends. Leisurely rides with kids. Batting practice 'till dark. Sweat. Training with a purpose. Training hard. Even when you don't want to.

We are rich, my friends. And I'm not referring to money.

I'm ready to break out the kayak. I'm ready for an open water swim. I want to hear a campfire and sleep under the stars. I want to be awakened by the rising sun. I want to make new friends. I want to reunite with old ones. I want to cheer on my friends during their first triathlon with the same passion I have when I take off out of T-1.

I can almost smell the freshly cut grass.

I might just jump off of the Fire Lake bridge this year.