Thursday, October 30, 2008

2 Days Out

We (my mom, sister and I) arrived in PCB Wednesday night. I slept late and then went for a run around 8 a.m. 3.1 miles with 90 second pickups. The weather is fantastic. The ocean is calm and clear. I got checked in for the race today and bought a few things at the expo. I attended the welcome dinner and mandatory athlete meeting tonight. I'm going to the Gatorade Swim @7 a.m. in the morning with Missy and Jerry.

The time is near. I am excited, but calm. J.T. and the boys, my dad, aunts and uncles, Bigun and Di, Jill and her crew all arrive tomorrow.

I feel confident and happy.

I may or not have a chance to blog tomorrow for the final time. If I don't - think iron thoughts for me, and I'll see you on the other an Ironman, baby.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Am Grateful

Reality is sets in, and I am overcome with amazement at what lies ahead.

I wonder how I got here, really, although I know exactly how I did.

Doubt is of no concern right now, there simply isn't any room for it, I have no use for it, and I would not allow it, anyways.

I still need to start packing - I am a last minute packer in almost all occasions - I prefer to not disrupt my everyday life with the stress of packing until I have to. But it is time.

One does not get to the final days before an ironman without many things going their way. Many sacrifices by friends and family. Many words of encouragement. And the watchful eye of The Divine...protecting and comforting.

I am grateful.

As I read the emails, the comments, and the facebook messages, and I take the phone calls and hear the voice mails of encouragement, I am humbled by every one of you. You guys have shown me support and love and you've picked me up when I've been down. You've been patient and understanding when I haven't had time to blog, to show up in person, or even remember to do what I said I'd do. You've reminded me why I am here, and why I love to share my thoughts with you. Why I love to swim, bike and run with you - be it virtual or in person. And the motivating thoughts of how every last one of you has impacted my life will propel me to the finish line of Ironman Florida...and I'll be thinking of you, you can count on it. You will be there with me.

I love you guys.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Here We Are

It's 5 days away. I finally visited the website and got my race number. 2139. For those who'd like to track my progress Saturday, just go to and follow the link to "track an athlete."

This past week has been interesting one to say the least. Believe me, I'm not in any danger of not being tapered. I've been sleeping late and squeezing in the workouts where I can, and skipping them when I can't. Yeah, I know, I don't need to be skipping them. But it's my experience that I do better with more sleep and rest than a regimented taper schedule. So rest has been the priority.

I have much to say about what's coming in the next few days, but little time to say it right now, so I'll leave you with an excerpt from an email I got from a longtime friend and fellow triathlete today:

I'll be cheering for you and watching on line, you can do it,

I know you feel like you have missed a lot of time with your family to do this but what a great example to set for your boys. They will always look at you and see what is possible when you set high goals, make a plan and accomplish them. I remember my Dad taking me to Old Stone fort when I was a kid, he would run and I would fish under the bridge. He would also take me with him to do fun runs around middle TN and I did a 1 miler when I was in second grade. I just always thought that exercise, persistence and consistency is what we do and I am grateful for the example my family set for me as I know your boys will be as they get older. There is no better way to lead than by example, so you go get that Ironman title and enjoy,


Monday, October 20, 2008

2 weeks to go

Ten days before I leave for PCB. I am characteristically nonchalant about the whole ordeal. Thankful that the days of starting at 5:30 a.m. and finishing up at 2:30 p.m. are over, thankful that I made it through the long days without injury, thankful that I feel ready and confident that I can go the distance, thankful for the lessons I learned about myself in training, thankful for the friends who trained with me in both reality and in the blogosphere, and thankful for the opportunity to become an Ironman on November 1st. Perhaps it will be different once I get down there and feel the vibe, but right now, to be honest with you, I'm not into the hype and the excitement. I have a mission to accomplish - one that I've been on for over 9 months now and one that has taken sacrifice, more than I'd like to admit, by not only myself but my family as well. I intend to accomplish that mission, and I intend to do so in no other than your classic Fire Inside fashion. I'm not going to tell you I just want to finish, that would be a lie. If the ocean does not look like a tropical storm and the wind is not pushing me backwards on the bike and my stomach stays strong for most of the way, I want to cross that finish line and see a "12" in the hours place. Sub 13 will make me a happy iron girl, and 12:30 will mean I had an absolute-perfect day. 13 hours and change is likely as well, depending on the conditions, and I'm not talking about anything more than that. Who knows what I am in for on November 1st? I've been humbled by the marathon, knocked down a notch by the century ride, and been beaten up by many a swim IM could very well have some lessons for me too. However, my attitude is that I've put in the time, I've done the training, and I expect nothing less than to kick the bad boy's ass.

I won't bore you with my taper workouts for last week, but check out my sweet new bike rack:
I decided against that iPod touch for my birthday, and instead went with this Yakima Hold-up rack. It retails for $399, but I ended up getting it from for $299.25 w/no tax and no shipping. ORS Racks Direct had the rack listed for $359, but they also price match, so I sent them a link where REI had all their Yakima racks 20% off, making the Hold-up $321. REI, however, has a store in TN and would charge me tax, so I emailed ORS and asked if they could match REI's price. Not only did they match it, but they beat it. They emailed me a code giving me the rack for $299.25 and free shipping (and no tax since they aren't in TN). Do you know how much I love getting a good deal?!?! Not to mention they shipped the rack immediately and I had it like 3 days later. My Dad helped me install the new hitch and rack this we are ready to roll.

Monday, October 13, 2008

And the Taper Begins

Ah, yes. Those are sweet words, no doubt. Bring on the 2 hour bike rides and the 2,000-3,000yd swims and the 5 - 10 mile runs. Bring us a safe trip to the Redneck Riveria, a game face on the outside, an iron heart on the inside, and a November 1st that will be remembered for a lifetime. Because the work has been done. Bring on the Ironman, baby.

Three weeks and counting.

Friday's workout didn't go as smoothly as planned, but sometimes you just have to improvise. I was on a pretty strict timetable all day long, because I had to start swimming at 5:30 and be done with everything by 3:00 p.m. - in time to take the boys to their batting lessons in the 'boro. Well, I didn't exactly get started at was more like 5:50, and I only got in 4500 yds as a result. But hey, surely 4500 is enough, right? Surely. The swim went well, though, no problems, and I felt good. So I took off on my bike and headed toward my house because I had planned on picking up my peanut butter sandwich (I forgot to bring it with me). Of all the times I've ridden that 2 mile strip, this time I get a flat. I had glass wedged in the tire and the whole thing took me an hour to change. It wasn't that the tire itself was that difficult, but I just wasn't excited about changing the flat to begin with and I guess I was moving pretty slowly. So I finally got back on the bike and took off. Don called around 10:00 and joined me, and we rode to Tullahoma where I joined up with Tom and Aaron for their lunchtime ride. Don took his wife out to lunch (It was his birthday - Happy Birthday Don!) and then met me for the ride back. When we got back I had close to 70 miles, and I kept riding until shortly after 2:00 to get a total of 80 miles in 4:45. No, it's not a hundred, but it was the best I could get under the circumstances. On the plus side - I felt terrific the entire ride, and could've easily gone another 32 miles. So, I then hopped off and put on my running shoes. Again, this was supposed to be a 1:15 run, but I shortened it to 5 miles to be sure and be done in time. I felt great during the run, and finished it in 47 minutes.

Saturday was a 2 hour ride, and I just reveled in the beauty of the fall leaves, the fall sunshine, and the sweet word "taper."

Sunday, nothing.

Today - 1 hour bike, 6 mile run. Got the run done at lunch, heading out for the bike shortly.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Inventory Time - Peak Week

This is the peak week. I ran 14 this morning in 2:07. Tomorrow I swim 5000yds, ride 100+, and run 1hr and 15 min. Saturday I ride 2 hours and swim 1600yds. Sunday I just swim 1800 yds. Let's take inventory:

Swim: It's been better in recent weeks. I've missed a few sessions lately. But I know I can complete the distance. I just need to not be missing anymore swims.

Bike: I just don't know. I've done so much long biking lately that I can't even judge where I am with it. Can I ride 112 miles after swimming 2.5 miles? Absolutely...and probably with ease considering that I still feel fairly well at the 90 mile marker these days. How fast, though, is yet to be seen.

Run: I've been in better running shape, that's a fact. The 20 miler last week wasn't too much of a challenge, although my legs did get pretty tired near the end. I know the marathon will involve some walking, I just hope to minimize it as much as possible.

Nutrition: We're going with Infinite and a peanut butter and honey sandwich on the bike. I'll probably carry along some gels or Shot Bloks just in case, but doubt I'll use them. The Infinite should take care of all my calorie and electrolyte needs, but I also like to have something solid in my stomach because I don't like to feel hungry. I plan on drinking 1 24 ounce bottle of Infinite every hour, along with water as needed. And when/if I feel hungry, I'll eat the sandwich. On the run, I'm going with what the course has to offer, plus my own gels. I'll probably start out with the water/gel combination, then resort to the Gatorade when I can't stand the thought of another gel.

Diet: Blah. Being as though I ate a cheeseburger from Burger King and a Wendy's Frosty yesterday, I have to give the diet 2 thumbs down. Gotta get it together. Now.

Strength Training: Nonexistant lately. 2 thumbs down.

Mental Prep: Getting better, but still somewhat cloudy. I need an extra 3 hours each day, and 1 extra day per week and all would be good. I must admit, I don't feel much excitement about a 10 hour workout while my kids are at home on fall break. It's got to be done, though. I do, however, feel much excitement (if that word even justifies it) about standing on the beach at the start line of IMFL...and there aren't many words to describe how I feel about crossing that finish line. Sideways thumbs.

Equipment: Bike needs a tune up, need to schedule that ASAP. Need to purchase new running shoes this weekend. Need to nail down what I'll be wearing. Need to buy some more tubes for Tom's wheels. Need an aerobottle. Need a new flat pack. Need better aerobar pads. Need to order the hitch and bike rack for the Prius. Geez...can the government bail me out of all these expenses?!?!?! Thumbs down on this one; I've got work to do.

See you on the other side of Week 17...

Did I Miss Something Here?

***I interrupt this Iron Man training blog to interject my unsolicited rant about bailouts and accountability. If you are easily offended or if you are currently seeking to be bailed out of your irresponsible ARM mortgage or second mortgage or whatever it is for double of what you can actually afford, I give you fair warning - just skip this post and come back later.***

Ok, first we have a bailout for Wall St. sold to the public that it is something necessary for Main St. as well. My original thoughts are:

- hmmm...well, it sucks, but if it's gotta be done, it's gotta be done. I don't want to live through a depression anymore than the next gal does.

- If you take $700B of the taxpayers money and bailout these failing corporations, there's no way that it doesn't hurt your average tax payer.

- BUT - being that my husband is a real estate appraiser, we want the housing market to come back. Sooner better than later.

So the bailout finally passes, and the market drops even more. Ha! The government helps AIG with my tax contributions, and they send their "top performers" to a posh resort.

Hold up a minute.

Did I hear that right? You need government assistance but you can still send your agents to a resort that I wouldn't dare consider because I can't freakin' afford it?!?! Isn't that kinda like paying for your groceries with food stamps and then buying cigarrettes and beer like it ain't no thang? Believe me, I see it all the time here. Well, I guess if it's good for AIG it's good for Joe Six Pack, huh? That's some real accountability there. No wonder they're in a mess. AIG gets no more of my sympathy than Joe Six Pack on foodstamps. And that's ZERO.

Next, I'm riding down the road, listening to Carmen (CNBC-"On The Money") on my XM radio, and I hear this chick call in asking how she can get bailed out of her mortgage. Evidently she's one of the many who went nuts because they could get a little credit and bought a big house she couldn't afford....not even close to afford. And they're foreclosing on her. Poor thing. But oh - the government's handing out money?!?!? Yeah, just call your lender and get your loaned restructured. Never mind the fact that you knew damn well that rate was going to be adjusted in two years when you signed your name on the dotted line. Never mind the fact that you knew you couldn't afford that house to begin with. Even if you could at the time, did it not occur to you that you might want to keep a little breathing room in your budget because unforseen things do happen? Of course not. You wanted the $400k house(that's an expensive house in my neck of the woods)...and now, who's paying for it? Not only you, but all your taxpaying friends.

No sympathy here. I wanted that $400k house too. Badly. But I didn't buy it, because if economic conditions didn't continue to flourish, we might not be able to make that payment. So I'm not happy about handing the government the ridiculous chunk of money that I do year after year so that you can stay in your mansion. Or so that AIG's top performers can go to resorts and be treated like royalty at the tax payers' expense.

Whatever happened to saying "Sorry, but we don't have the funds for this right now."?

Whatever happened to respect in this country? Or accountability? Or spending your own money, and only what you can afford? What ever happened to "I'd like to have that, but I cannot afford it right now?" Or even "Ok, I got myself into this, I'll have to find a way out."

In a way it kind of reminds me of the same concept of what I see each time I go to a Titan's game. To get to the stadium, most of the spectators have to walk across the river on one of a couple different bridges. And on the pretty days - not the cold ones - it never fails that there are at least 2 or 3 youth football or cheerleading teams standing out on that bridge holding there hands out and their signs up and yelling "Support the (fill in team name here)! Can you spare a couple bucks for our team?! Help the (fill in team name here)!" And their parents are standing around with them, doing the same thing. Holding their hands out, asking someone else to pay their way. I've got no problem with know, like a car wash, or selling candy or whatever...but what are we teaching our kids when we take them downtown to hold their hands out and beg for free money?

Ok, I think I made my point. It's been brewing for weeks now...and it had to come out. Back to the regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hurry up and ride 100 miles

That was what I was telling myself Saturday. And for the record, it's not the best way to approach a century. Especially one of the best supported ones around, on a perfect day, and with lots of friends you haven't seen in a while. BUT - Briar had a football game that I was trying to get back in time to I had to skip out on a few of the aid stations and a lot of the enjoyment of the day.

I totally did not prepare for Saturday's ride. I stayed up too late the night before reading about the market and the bail out and all it's implications, and then I just crashed in the bed without even getting my thing together. So I got up the next morning, changed out my wheels - I forgot to tell you my wheel story, I'll get to that - programmed my gps, loaded up and took off to Fayetville for the Leaves of Lincoln Century. This was my first century two years ago. Ironically, I didn't even realize it, but I parked beside my friend Chip - whom I had met there 2 years ago, and hadn't seen him since. We chatted a bit, I got my packet, and then I reached in my bike bag for my helmet.....

and you guessed helmet. The ride started in 5 minutes. So I grabbed my debit card and rode up to the Harpeth Cycling tent and they were gracious enough to sell me a $54 helmet for $40. Because I gave them the puppy dog eyes and told them I forgot my LG Ozzy helmet and I needed a good deal. Nice folks. Anyways, Chip pulled me up toward the front of the group because I got a late start, and all I was concerned about was Crystal Ridge. Crystal Ridge is the last hill I ever pushed my bike up. It was the only hill I pushed that year - 2006, too. Every other hill I ever succombed to during my first year of cycling, I've gone back and conquered, but this one was too far from my stomping grounds. So this day was about hurrying to ride 100 miles, and making it up Crystal Ridge. And I did it. Chip flew up it, and I kinda lumbered up it, but I made it just fine and was tickled to death. I tried to tell myself I was just going to enjoy this day and not hurry too much, but after the second rest stop, I got all ADD and thinking that if Briar's games started late as usual, I could still make it by the 4th quarter. So when Chip, Melissa, and the others pulled into the 3rd stop, I kept rolling. I caught up to a nice lady named Adel around mile 50 or so, and we rode together a good bit of the way. The ADD took over again shortly after the 60 mile rest stop, and I pretty much rode the last 40 on my own. No, not pretty much, I don't think I saw a single other person, actually. I finished the 100 miles and ran for 20 minutes, grabbed my BBQ plate, and took off toward home.

Chip, Melissa, and others: I'm not a snob - I swear! I was trying to get back for that football game!

I did make it back by halftime of the game, so I was pretty happy. Another century down...I think that's 5 so far. One more this weekend, and then taper!

Now, the wheels. know, this world is filled with really nice, really good, and really thoughtful people. I know there are some bad apples, but the older I get, the more I realize that I am surrounded by awesome people. So, anyways...My friend, Tom - the one who I've learned so much about triathlon from, and the one who was signed up and training for IMFL with me until he suddenly had a stroke caused by carotid artery dissection - he offered to let me take his FlashPoint wheels and ride them through IMFL! He even put them on and made sure they were ready to go. They are almost identical to the Zipp 404s I've been wanting, and was considering renting for IMFL. And they look GREAT on my bike!

Monday I turned 32. Holly and I ran at lunch, and postponed my swim so that JT and the boys could take me out to eat and to buy me a present. I told them I wanted an iPod Touch, so we went to Best Buy. I stood there and looked and looked at it, though, and never could make the decision to get it. $299 for a toy in these grim economic conditions just seems even though they were begging me pick out anything, I left and just told them I needed to think more about it. If you know me well, you'll know that is just like me. I don't mind to spend some money, and I don't mind make a big purchase here and there, even for a toy, but I have to think it out for a long time, first.

I made up the 2900 swim yesterday morning (I saw Willie there swimming!), and then I attended Don's spin class last night to substitute for my ride. DUDE - that spin class was AWESOME! I now know exactly how I will stay in shape post Ironman!

Today was supposed to be a 2:10 run, but has rained buckets for two days now, and I bagged it. It's too cold to be running in the rain for 2 hours...I can take the cold, and I can take the rain, but not both together. I considered treadmilling it for the alotted time, and then I decided I'd be just as well of to switch tomorrow's rest day with today and do the run tomorrow. Hopefully the rain will give me a break in the morning.

We're getting dangerously close here...I've got word that the athlete's instructions are on the IMFL website now...but I've yet to look at them. Why? I don't know...I'm kinda like that. I'll look eventually.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It All Becomes Clear

I have come to the conclusion that there is not too much in life that a good 20 mile run can’t fix. Make that a 20 mile run in the fall…when it’s cool, but not cold. The air is crisp, but not dry. The sun rises and shines brightly, but it does not scorch. The wind swirls, but it does not rage against your momentum.

It is a great day to be alive.

In the course of the 3 hours and 3 minutes it took me to cover 20 miles on foot this morning, I resolved the past 3 to 4 weeks of aimless wandering and struggling to find purpose in the many miles I’ve volunteered to put my body through. I miraculously regained the focus and zoned clearly in on the goal. I saw it. I fixed my eyes on it, and I remembered why this was such a worthy goal in the first place.

Ironman is not some current line item being checked off of my Bucket List. I’m not “doin’ it to say I did.” I’m not doing it for the M-dot ink. I’m not doing it for your recognition or acceptance. I’m not even trying to inspire you; or my kids.

You really want to know why I’m out there? Why I chose to go all in, to bet it all and sign my 2008 life away to a one-day event that happens to fall on November 1st, 2008? Why I get up at 3 a.m. and run in the dark, and why I drop the kids off at school and ride my bike until it’s time to pick them up again, and why I slip back out of the house at 8 p.m. to get the swim in before bedtime?

Because I have learned that if you don’t actively take a stand against it, the nature of the world will ever so slightly dull your senses, soften your will, and limit your amazing, natural born capacity. It will lie to you. It will beat you down. You will forget who you are, and at the time you least expect it, it will throw you a curve it knows you won’t be able to hit. You won’t see the beauty of the sunrise because you’ll be asleep. You won’t feel the stillness of night because you’ll be engrossed in reality T.V. You’ll opt out of that game of tag with the little one because you can’t catch your breath. You won’t take a risk, because you might fail. You won’t enter the event because you might not win. You won’t consider the unthinkable because You. Are. Just. Average. You will lose the magnificence and beauty, the combination of uniqueness and grandeur that The Creator formed you with in His. Own. Image. You will walk the rest of your days on the Earth wondering who you are and why you are here. You will stand on the sidelines and hide from The Coach when you think He’s about to call your number to go in the game. You won’t experience the pain of coming up one second short, but you also won’t feel the exhilaration of coming back against all odds. You might not get knocked down or skinned up, but you won’t know the gratification of pulling yourself back up and finishing with respect. You won’t ever know what you could’ve done or who you could’ve been.

I knew that the journey to Ironman would strip me of the unnecessary baggage I clutter my life with, and it would get all up in my face to show me again who I really am. I knew that it would force me to shut-up for once, to stop complaining and stop making excuses and just watch, listen, and learn. Somewhere, amidst the neurons in my subconscious, I knew that I would be left with no other choice but to accept that


Whatever it takes, that I may be able to spend my days on this earth in celebration and appreciation of this truth, I will do it.

Ironman, you’re mine.

¹Psalm 139:14(NIV): I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.