Bit of a Back Blog

wow. That was some case of writer’s block just didn’t feel like writing   that I had. Hard to call it “writer’s block” since I do not in any way, shape or form consider myself a writer. It’s just been a really challenging few months. After the debacle completion of the BAA Half Marathon, my body and motivation just shut the f down. I did one more Tri after that in December, the TriKW and barely got through it. Just relied on my (mostly non existent) fitness level to get me through.

Another big thing was work. This was a crazy busy winter and spring at work. Like crazy. I worked 6-7 days a week and none of them were particularly short. I still kept up with my training but between that and work I had little time for anything else.

I was also just incredibly frustrated. Felt like I was not making any strides what so ever with my training (ha! get it? strides/training. Didn’t even mean that one. I’m BACK!), I was completely exhausted and cranky like 99% of the time. Didn’t feel like I had anything to share. Super down on myself. Not losing any weight. Just a giant case of Big Babyitis. Ugh. I’m annoying myself just listing it all. Somebody call me a WAAAmbulance.

Well, things have changed in the last few days. I feel way more like myself again. I went to the doctor and it turns out I have some thyroid issues. That may not sound like good news, but it is. Because it finally explains where my total lack of energy and focus has been hiding. And it’s right in my dang throat. I got on thyroid medication last week and my energy has been great! I still err more to the side of cranky, but that’s just me 😉

I’ve started and stopped many posts over the past few months and have 4 drafts waiting to be finished. So thanks for the inquiries as to where I’ve been and how I’ve been doing and wanting to actually read this crap I post. It means a lot. I write this blog to be held accountable to myself and my training and my weight and I’m ready to get back in the fight full force.

So lookout! You’ve got a lot of rolling your eyes and pretending you read this thing, my friends!

More posts to come soon and more frequently.

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Not at all timely recap of BAA Half and TriKW

oops. Ok, so I’m a wee bit late with these recaps. I’m not sure why, maybe laziness mostly. After THE HALF (as I thought of it), I was a little too overwhelmed and emotional to get my thoughts out. You would’ve thought I walked on the moon. As for TriKW, it was a combo of (once again) being disappointed and just being too busy (lazy) to write about it. Even now I’m like a little kid: “I don’t wanna!!” but must talk about these races to move on to 2015!

BAA Half Marathon October 12, 2014
This was the 3rd race in the BAA Distance Medley. I did the 5k in April and the 10k in June. This was the final and of course most difficult. I am not a runner. I wish I were though. So that’s why I continue to torture myself with it. And others who listen to me bitch about it. I was filled with trepidation and excitement for THE HALF. Trepidation because I was most certainly ill prepared to run 13.1 miles. I mean, I trained, I swear! I just still sucked at it. Excitement because I’d be done with distance running (hobbling) FOREVER. ok, probably not. I woke up race morning with a super sore throat and a swollen knee. SCORE! LET’S RACE! It was also pretty cold for someone that trained in 80 degree plus weather. It was about 40 degrees and I so wasn’t ready for that. So with all that baggage, I headed into Boston. It really was a beautiful fall day. Sunny, clear skies, changing leaves, the whole deal. Gorge. Race started and I felt AWFUL. Start time was fast approaching and I, along with dozens of others, were still in line at the Port a potties. sweet. The race started and there we all were, still at the Port a Potties. Oh well, we jokingly referred to our start as we walked over as the “Official Port a Potty” start. Off we went and I quickly resumed my post as “last”. My sweeper for this race was a wonderful man who took one look at me and asked me “why are you doing this?”. gee, thanks dude. For the first 2 miles, he followed me on his bike and pretty much verbalized every single doubt that plagued me. I finally told him I’d decide by mile 3 and he, thankfully, took off. Once he was gone, I could assess the situation. I was walking more than running, I was FREEZING cold, my knee was killing me. I was DONE. The devil on his bicycle came back. I told him I was going to cut across the next road and head back about mile 3. I figured I could make it a 10k and slink home with my tail between my frozen legs. I go past mile 3 and about halfway to mile 4 I can see people on the other side of the road so I cut down and I’m feeling relieved. The enormous pressure I put on myself about THE HALF was DONE. I was a quitter, but didn’t really care. I came out onto the course with a whole lot of runners. Hey! the bulk of the pack!! Never thought I’d ever see them. I had a brief moment where I thought people would yell “CHEATER!!” at me but nobody cared. I wouldn’t accept a medal at the finish, I’d be happy with the 10k. Well, funny thing about Boston. It’s very very different than Florida. Florida is flat and everything is pretty much in a grid (or more of a grid than Boston). All the races are out and back. Yeah, not so much in Colonial Boston. I looked at the next sign and it was Mile 6. Yup. Mile 6. I cut out all of 2 miles. I am a moron. “OH F#*K” was the first thought I had. The second was “ok, F#* it, I guess this is happening”. And off I went. weirdly, I was able to run longer and further than ever. I thought I’d end up about 11 miles total but there was a 2 mile out and back that I decided to do twice to get to 13.2. My pace was great (for me). and on the out and back I saw that jackhole on a bike with the new Last person and I felt so bad for her!!! I kept running and running. It was the weirdest thing ever. I saw my parents with about half a mile to go (they were at what they thought was the finish line lol) and as I entered the track for the final stretch I couldn’t believe it! I was actually running and was going to finish a Half Marathon. A couple of friends were so cool and were at the finish cheering me on. I crossed the finish and promptly burst into tears. I had done it. I looked at my watch to be certain. It read 13.6. Yup. After quitting the race I managed to run further than I needed to. oopsy. Needless to say, I had no moral issue accepting my medal. I earned it. I ran slow and my final time was 3:10. Which is not the greatest time ever but whatevs. I did it. And that was the only goal I had.

yup! I finished! love some bling.

yup! I finished! love some bling.

And then I fell apart a bit. Had a ton of trouble walking the next few days as most people do. When I got back home, I had to continue training for my next race, TriKW. And I was just sick to freakin’ death of training. I was hurt and whiny and just sick of the whole thing. I half heartedly completed training for TriKW and my lack of effort showed. I had a decent swim, the bike sucked. (what the F was that turnaround?) and the run, well, the run went as well as it usually did. Had fun after though. That’s where I really shine. Burgers and Beers time is my time.

ready for Burgers and Beers

ready for Burgers and Beers

After TriKW I just took time off from training. Did the barest minimum. I needed a break mentally and physically. I had been training hard for a solid year and was just sick of the whole thing. 2014 was pretty productive though. I completed 6 Triathlons (4 Sprints, a Classic and a Mini), 10K and a Half Marathon.

Bling. Bling. Hello!

Bling. Bling. Hello!

Well, it’s been about 6 weeks that I’ve taken off. Kind of an accident. Had a work injury and then got sick and then and then excuse excuse excuse. I’m back now though! have planned and signed up for some races and I’m (mostly) excited to get back out there. any trepidation I feel is mostly just fear. Fear that I’ll never be good, fear that I’ve lost too much ground to make up, fear that I’ll never be as remotely good as my other Tri friends and fear that the elastic on my tri shorts will give out at an inopportune time. But whatevs, what else do I have to do this year?

Look at all the Key West Triathletes. We all look the same speed standing there.

Look at all the Key West Triathletes. We all look the same speed standing there.

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Escape to Miami ReCap

Last weekend Like a month ago was the Escape to Miami Triathlon (I’m a little behind) Which seems a little counterintuitive. As I usually want to Escape FROM Miami.
here’s the breakdown:
Olympic
.9 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run.
Sprint
.25 mile swim, 13 mile bike, 3.4 mile run
Olympic was pretty standard distance, the Sprint had a shorter than usual swim and a little bit longer bike and run (not longer by much).

so happy for that early

so happy for that early

There were 5 of us from Key West that competed. Colleen, Renee and Deirdre in the Olympic Division and myself and Brandon in the Sprint. Normally in a Triathlon, the Sprint starts like maybe an hour after the Olympic. This time it was about 2 hours later. This is the only Tri I’ve done where I have zero desire to try for the Olympic distance. I don’t know what time they had to get up but they had to board a ferry to be dropped off at “Escape Island” at 4:45! Brandon and I shared a room that looked over the dock and most of the race course. We were wiping the sleep out of our eyes when the girls were walking to the ferry. Then once on the island, they had a two hour wait to go. No thanks (she says while signing up for the Olympic. kidding. sort of). We were super lucky to be staying right next to the transition area. We had dropped off our bikes the night before (mandatory check in) and didn’t have to stress about getting over to transition. Like most races, we had to be out of transition by the time of the Olympic start (7:00) despite our start times 2 hours later (9:00 for me).  We headed over to transition about 6:20 and were back in the hotel by 7:00 for a nap, to eat and stretch. It was a great luxury to have.

 

pre race prom photo

pre race prom photo

This was probably the most relaxed I’ve ever felt before a race. For once, I felt totally confident in the course (except for the run. Someday, maybe). I think it was mostly denial. I’ve spent all of my mental energy preparing for the Half Marathon that I barely had time to freak out about the Triathlon. #crazypeopleproblems. I managed to, for once, get proper nutrition and hydration. No headache!! By the time the race started, I was ready to roll. We hung out at the start waiting for our waves doing some people watching. There was quite a lot of great people watching to be done! I always jealously look at the other female racers. They all look so cute and in super good shape. Bitches 🙂  It’s like they think they’re better than me because they eat right and train hard and are way faster than me. wait a minute. OK. They are better than me. A little. It was great that Brandon had a start time close to mine because we could just goof around and stay loose while waiting.  The conditions, btw, were pretty nice. What wasn’t nice was the absolute DOWNPOUR that happened during the Olympic swim. We were back in our room nice and dry for that. Though that downpour would cause some problems for me later. (oooohhhh….foreshadowing)

The Sprint swim course was an out an back in a horseshoe shape with the rather strong current pushing us for a little bit. As I stood around waiting in my wave I noticed that there were hardly any females. They usually put Athena and Clydesdales in the last wave. And it was mostly the Clydesdales. This info usually makes me happy because I figured just finishing, I’d have a shot at the podium. score! The shore was pretty rocky and I was psyched that it was a water start. It’s super hard to try to maneuver quickly over rocks at a start. Or, in my case, maneuver quickly anywhere. The horn started and I took off. And for the first time EVER, I stuck to my plan. I remembered everything my coach Liz had drilled into my head. I went around the first buoy, then the second. At the third I pulled a classic Brandon Beach move and accidentally punched the buoy when I got too close to it. oopsy. Because of the way the course was laid out, I had to sight a lot and I noticed that everyone ended up going past the last buoy and instead of going straight to the swim end, everyone was getting sucked off course by the current. I made mental note to really watch it and I even passed a couple of people. Last buoy and swim out in sight I started pushing even harder and SON OF A……..got totally swept in the current.

calm down, you still have 2 more legs to go

calm down, you still have 2 more legs to go

I fought my way back and came out of the water really psyched about my time. I was not last! And it was definitely my fastest, most comfortable swim.

After catching the shuttle bus to my bike (I wish, why is it so far away???), I started with my T1 routine: putting bike shoes on as clumsily as possible, putting my sunglasses on, trying to get water out of my ears, putting bike helmet on correctly without pinching my double chin, wiping sunglasses off now that they’ve fogged up and reaching in bike bag to grab my electrolyte/salt pills and DAMMIT! I usually leave the bag unzipped so I can just grab a couple pills, a shot block and be on my way. But crap, it DOWNPOURED during the Olympic swim and we were already out of transition. So the pills disintegrated  and I had a goopy shot block. sweet. Oh well, onward!

I headed out on the bike course and was feeling pretty good. Luckily (?) the bridge came up pretty quick so I was relatively fresh for it. I started shifting into the smallest gear so I could shift up as needed and wouldn’t run out of gears on the hill. But then I realized I was SHIFTING THE WRONG WAY! I quickly corrected but was a little late on it so I didn’t get the best momentum getting up the first side of the bridge. About 20 yards from the top was where my shift error caught up to me. I had to use A LOT of energy and felt like I lost a lung, but I did it! and I did it 3 more times.

look! someone else is on the course! I look way faster than him

look! someone else is on the course! I look way faster than him

I wasn’t exactly setting a course record, but I was getting through it. On the flats I was able to pass a couple people and make sure I was taking in water and electrolytes. Weirdly, it seemed like I was always headed into the wind. I’m not sure how that is possible, but that’s what it felt like. About Mile 9 on the bike my dang back started seizing up again. What? yup. wtf. I continued on and finally saw the Bike Finish. I very gracefully (not really) dismounted. As I hobbled into T2 with my back just one knot, I heard my friend Mark say something so inspiring, encouraging and ass kicking that I was able to suck it up and get ready to run with new resolve. What was it that he said? I have absolutely no recollection. I tried to remember after the race and could not. Whatever it was, it worked!

I headed out on the run at a very brisk hobble. I knew it would loosen up eventually but I had to start by walking. I ended up walking up and over the bridge, telling myself that I’d run on the way back. By this time, it was stinking hot out on the course. So much for overcast, it was blazing sun at that time. The race organizers had a cold shower run through and water stations on each end of the ginormous bridge. Thank god! The heat and sun was having an adverse effect on many of my competitors. There were people competing in the Olympic heading out the same time as me and they were hurting. I felt so bad that they had to run twice as far as I did. There was a woman at the top of the bridge that had nothing at all left. Just all jelly legs. I gave her my water bottle that had electrolytes and potassium in it for her to drink but I was pretty sure she wasn’t going to be able to finish. When I turned around at the halfway, I started feeling a lot better and was able to run/walk. There were a couple of older gents a bit ahead of me starting up the bridge. They kept stopping and bending over. I had no idea what they were doing. As I got closer, I realized that they were picking up discarded gels and eating what was left. WHAT?! It was like they were crack heads trying to get a fix. It was gross and weird. And delightfully distracting. Before I knew it, I was almost done with the dreaded run.

finished. and just a shade under a decade

finished. and just a shade under a decade

I came down the finish chute excited and exhausted and looked like Leanda Cave! (not really). But I was pretty happy with my effort. Definitely my best race to date. Still have lots to improve on, but I’m happy with my progress (slow as it is) so far. Brandon and Mark were at the finish line (the Olympic girls were back at the hotel). Brandon and I hit the beer garden. We were already an hour late for check out so we figured, F it, may as well have a beer. I forgot (again) to shut off my watch so I wasn’t sure of my finish time. I went over to the tent with the computer and the volunteer entered my number and showed me my time. Not great, but good for me. Then she told me I got 3rd in my age group. For reals?! Yup. They had started the awards (I’ve never finished a big Tri in time to hear the awards) and the volunteer told me to head over. Brandon and I headed over all excited, camera at the ready. Then they announced my group. oh my god. I can’t believe I’m going on a podium in such a big race! And then they didn’t call my name. (sad trombone noise) I went up to the volunteer at the podium and was like “the other person told me that I got 3rd”. She was like sorry, no. I went back to the computer and was told again I was 3rd and at that point was like “whatever”. who cares. I was happy to have raced well and it was time to go celebrate. We met up with the rest of the Key West crew and had celebratory beers and food and headed back to the Rock. Where we had more beers and food. It may be (totally) my favorite part of doing a race. Up next, the Boston Half Marathon! whoo!!! and also, yikes!

fast looking crew. and thirsty!

fast looking crew. and thirsty!

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“If you’re not first, you’re last” (unless it’s the FKCC Tri/Bi)

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The above image is what a pre game face looks like, Ladies and Gentlemen. lol. The hair sticking out just makes me more aero. Thanks to Michael Blades for the photo.

I spent Friday night checking (and rechecking) my Tri bag, drinking water and going over my race day plan of action: Get there early, warm up properly, remember all my swim training, quick transition, bike hard, bike fast.
Wellll………most of that happened.

My Coach decided that I should do this race as a swim/run biathlon because I have Escape to Miami Tri this weekend and only (gulp) 3 weeks between this race and my Half (gulp) Marathon. I woke up super relieved that the weather forecast was wrong. Though still a little breezy, there was no rain in sight and more importantly, no thunderstorms which would have shut the swim down. I had half a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and chased it down with some watered down Gatorade. This seems to be the best combo on my stomach. I put my Tri kit on and, of course, decided that I didn’t like my Tri shorts. We got new Key West Tri Club uniforms and the shirt fit fine (though snug) and though the shorts fit, they kind of stretch to their absolute limits. I put on my regular workout spandex shorts, threw my uniform shorts in my bag (I figured I change before the start) and went to head out the door. D’OH. I actually almost forgot to pump up my bike tires. For reals? Yup. I pumped them up and went down to my car. I was about 15 mins behind schedule. Still plenty of time. In my carport I ran into my next door neighbors Tahina and Eduardo loading up their car for the race. Tahina is 8 months pregnant and has worked out all through her pregnancy (modifying as needed). This girl is nothing short of amazing. Her plan was to do the Swim/Bike too! Eduardo was planning to race right along with her (talk about a great support system). And btw, this was her baby’s 3rd Triathlon/Biathlon!

In my rush out the door, I forgot to grab my game day Coke. I became a little obsessed at that point wondering what store would be open when, der, this is Key West. What’s NOT open all night? I ran to a gas station near the race and grabbed one. The last minute fussing with my uniform, coke and bike had me feeling a little anxious about the race. All that dissipated when I got there. Everywhere I turned, there was somebody I knew that was either racing or volunteering. It’s a great, supportive community and the FKCC Sprint is a great community race.

I got to transition and set up then got to chatting with everyone. Before I knew it, it was time to warm up and get down to the dock. I was down on the dock when I realized: I forgot to put on my uniform shorts!!! ARGH!! oh well. Move on. I jumped in the water and waited for the start. Usually I start at the very back and wait a beat before I start to let the whirling dervish of swimmers get ahead. This time, I started towards the back and when start was called, I took off. I kept up with the pack until the first buoy and then, after a kick in the face, I started to lose them. I tried to stick with my training, but found myself at times bending my knees when I kicked or not completely my stroke properly. I had to keep reminding myself to focus. That maybe slowing down and smoothing things out was better than flailing about like I was in Jaws. I got to the big triangle buoy and headed around it getting hopelessly tangled in some random small lines hanging off of it. I was really irritated that I was swimming well and then got all tangled up like but whatevs, I looked around and realized I was last. again. But wait! There was one swimmer not that far in front of me! Hope!! maybe I wouldn’t be last! I started to focus on that swimmer. I thought I’d catch him but by the last turn, hope was lost. I just couldn’t catch that 8 year old boy. little f-er.

I came out of the water into T1 and Amy Bradshaw and Liz came over to see how I was. They were very psyched for my performance in the water and very encouraging when I really needed to hear it. I clumsily put on my bike shoes and hopped on my bike and took off. It was probably my smoothest transition to date. For some reason, I have ALWAYS had trouble clipping into my bike in a race. It’s like I’ve never ever done it before. I’ve almost fallen off, I’ve pulled a muscle trying, you name it, I’ve looked like an ass doing it. What was the key this time? Practice. I even kept clipping in and out of both sides on my little shake it off ride on Friday.

The bike course was 3 laps around College Road. The first part was into the wind. 3 times. Into the stinking wind. Whatevs. Just makes me more ready for the bridges to come at Escape. I did have that moment on the first lap when I felt like no matter what direction I was heading, that it was into the wind. Which I guess I was catching a lot of wind as racer after racer went by me. “on your left”. Nice to know my Indian Racing Name was alive and well. The only part of the bike that really got to me was making the turn onto US 1. That is some super rough road. I felt like I was going to fall on the second lap. Shout out to Scott Greager for yelling at me every time I passed him. It was just the right amount of cheering/ass kicking I needed at the time. The third lap was fun because even though it sucks I’m so much slower, I actually get a chance to root on all my friends in the run which makes the last lap go by quicker. ish.

Big mistake I’m still paying for? Forgetting to change into my Tri shorts. hello chafing.

I finished fairly happy with my race. I raced hard, I’m just a little slower than everyone else. I took 2:30 off my swim time! which is huge for me. My bike was a few seconds slower than last time. Officially I finished almost exactly 2 minutes faster and PRd in the swim. Nothing wrong with that race. I took second in my division behind Tahina (and Baby V) 🙂 I had a blast racing with my friends.

I’ve got Escape to Miami this weekend and I feel ready for it!

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Race Day Tips (or, advice you don’t need?)

Fall is here. It means Octoberfest beer, pumpkin lattes, pies, hearty soups and chillies. Unless you’re a Triathlete and then it means denying yourself all of that in favor of pre dawn workouts, early bedtimes and quinoa, quinoa, quinoa. The bonus is, post race, that Octoberfest beer is deeeee-licous. True story.

I’ve done quite a few Triathlons at this point. Though some people have I haven’t yet done one because I have to walk some of the run part. We call those people “dbags”. Anywho, I’ve had lots of newbies ask me for advice so with a couple of races coming up down here, I thought I’d pass along my sage wisdom. This information is to be taken lightly as I am nowhere near an expert. I’m sure most of this stuff was passed onto me by other racers or I read it somewhere. Let me just say that I have no idea where I heard or read it. We’ll just cite Key West Tri Club members and Triathlete.com.

I love prepping for race day. It just sings to the OCD part of me. I get to make a list and check things off. Pure bliss.

First thing I recommend is make your list and get things ready to go 2 or 3 days in advance. You don’t want to wait until the day or night before because you’ll likely be too nervous and you may miss something important. If heading out of town for a race, do it a couple of days before you leave. When I make my list, I make it according to the day’s events:
Pre race
Swim
Bike
Run
Post race
I’ll talk more about the specifics in a bit. I bet you can’t wait! I’ll break it down, it’ll be so fun.

Ok, so race week. Follow your coach’s taper plans to a T. That’s what I do. Except I add an extra brick. And an extra swim. And maybe just one more bike ride. But other than that, I do whatever Coach Liz says. The workouts this week are about tweaking technique and keeping those muscles firing. You can’t really cram for a race. If you’ve done the work, you’re ready. If you haven’t, well, you’ll have to adjust your race expectations accordingly. It took me awhile to get into race training. and to see the race for what it is: the reward for all of your hard work. And then some beer as more reward. And possibly a cheeseburger. With bacon. and french fries. Nice, salty, hot french fries……

I’ve been asked what to eat before a race. Everyone is different. It’s all what works for you. I know super fast racers that eat pizza and drink a beer the night before! That would so not work for me, but it may for you. Just don’t be all braggy about it. Day before a race I usually have a bagel for breakfast, pasta and protein for lunch and then grilled chicken and potato for dinner. I like to keep it basic so that for out of town races, it’ll be easier to replicate at a restaurant. I also make sure I hydrate all day long. I usually drink some Gatorade or sports drink during the day alternating with water. I stop the gatorade before dinner and ease up on the water after dinner so that I’m not up all night peeing like an 80 year old man.

Day before the race. I’m checking over my list (again) making sure I’ve packed everything in my race bag. I try on my tri kit (despite having worn it in several workouts) just to make sure there isn’t some random seam or something that will poke or chafe me. I take a mini spin on my bike to make sure everything is good (even if I’ve just gone for a long ride a couple of days ago. I charge up my bike computer and my GPS watch even if all bars are there. Just in case! If a non USAT race (wink, wink) I also make sure my iPod is full o jams and charged up. I also throw a couple of comedy sketches on there to make me laugh along the run. Dane Cook got me through the 10k in June. Fo Sho. I know my sleep is probably not going to go super well the night before the race so TWO nights before, I make sure to go to bed early and I usually take some Advil PM just to ensure some solid sleep. That way, the night before the race, if I’m anxious and excited, I know I have some good sleep under my belt. Probably no medical fact behind that but mentally, it helps. Other sort of bizarre things I do the day or night before? I usually paint my toes. weird. But it’s super calming. I also wish others would do it. It’d be nice to see some pretty toes while when people are kicking me or swimming right over me (yeah, both have happened and will again). I usually take a hot shower before bed time to relax. I take Claritin 24 hour. Clears out my sinuses which will help me breathe in the water. (I think). I had a coach recommend sleeping with one of those nose strips on. I can’t do it. I sleep in compression sleeves though (not over my nose). I make sure that ahole cat of mine has plenty of food so he won’t wake me up an hour before my alarm. What is it with cats? no matter what time my alarm is the little jerk ALWAYS wakes me up an hour before.
Basically, do whatever you can to relax and mentally prepare for race day.

Now about those lists. Here’s mine.
Pre Race
Red Bull and Cocaine.
Oops! that’s from my Rave blog.

Pre Race
-Coke (a cola). Yup! I don’t drink caffeine. But want some on race day. Most of the Gu’s and Gels make want to vom. And, on one occasion, actually vom. I sip coke at breakfast. It seems to settle my stomach and give me a little boost. I have some when I get to the race and I’ve been known to take a pull in transition during the race.
-1/2 wheat bagel and peanut butter
-banana (I HATE BANANAS. but they’re good for me so I choke one down. ew.)
-I also pack a granola bar, bottle of water and GU if my wave starts long after transition closes. Which it always does. They put the old fatty’s at the back of the pack. sweet.
-Tri kit, jog bra, hair elastics (I opt for a low braided pony tail).
-body glide. I use it before I get dressed (don’t forget the feet!) and then put it right in my Tri bag. Why don’t I just have 2 sticks? no earthly idea. That just now occurred to me.
-I put on my watch and Road ID band, race wristband (if given) before I leave the house or hotel.
-sharpie. I have one in my bag to write something inspirational and/or funny on my arm to use as motivation when I’m wanting to drop out of the race. or kill someone. or kill myself.
-bike pump. I usually pump my tires the morning of. some people do it the night before. Some do it in transition. I don’t like to do it there because a)it’s usually dark and b) I have enough going on.
–BABY WIPES!!! for sure there will be no toilet paper in the porta potty. guaranteed.
-also in my bag is antacid, advil, tampons, tissues.

SWIM
-race issued swim cap. there’s always one and are required.
-goggles. Some bring an extra pair just in case. I put my goggles under my race cap so when I get kicked, I don’t lose them.
-ear plugs. life saver. My swim style isn’t exactly pro worthy. I seem to get an exceptional amount of water in my ears and can never get it out. Which makes me super woozy running (stumbling) to T1 and on the bike.
When walking around transition before the race, stick your goggles and swim cap in your shirt or waistband of your shorts. all the cool kids do it.
-I’ll bring disposable bottle of water, my coke and snack to swim start if my wave is super late. Again, ALWAYS is.

BIKE
-helmet (with race sticker)
-bike shoes (I don’t wear socks with them. I real timesaver. Not really)
-sunglasses
-water bottle with electrolytes (I use Skratch)
-Shot blocks or Gu (whatever you’ve trained with) I use Cliff shot blocks.
-if it’s a longer race, I also have a second bottle with plain water.
-I may have a bottle of water (one that I was drinking pre race usually) on my transition mat to quickly rinse off my feet before putting bike shoes on.
-spray sunscreen (so you can get back of your neck, arms, easier). Just watch where you are spraying. Another advantage to racing slow? nobody around when I come out of the water.

RUN
-visor
-socks
-sneakers
-race belt for your number (a MUST. You don’t want to deal with safety pins)
-I bring a water bottle that has a little pouch. I know. Most of my friends make fun of me. But I am out on that course for a long, long time. I run slow. really, really slow. I have Skratch in my water bottle (I’ll get water from the water stations) and I stick some of my shot block in there too. And, not gonna lie. some antacids. Did I mention my weak stomach? Also, I tend to be an angry runner. I really clench my left fist. If I’m holding the bottle, I’m not clenching my fist.
-if you have a mini disposable bottle of water in transition, you can chug it down as you’re exiting and throw it away. This one came from Shannon Grady. Love it! Use it.
-more sunscreen helps too. Especially if you started in that last freakin’ wave. You’ll be out there when the sun is strong.

So that is pretty much it. Not very scientific. It’s just what works for me.

Oh, what do I write on my arm? “this is FUN!!”. It’s a good reminder when you’re asking yourself “why in the hell am I doing this?”. Nobody is holding a gun to your head! you want to do this. you PAID to do this. Enjoy the race!

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Running to Stand Still

I’ve always been prone to injury. I’ve never been very graceful. at all. Many, many people can attest to this. If there is uneven pavement, I’ll find it and trip. I’ve had a bad hip since my high school basketball days. It sort of slides out of place from time to time and it’s just as painful as it sounds. Last time it happened was after the BAA 10K. It’s quite possible and likely that it was during the 10K and I’m blocking it out.

When I’m training, I tend to overdo it. I’ve been working with my trainer Liz on a good balance of training so that I can be injury free for two big races coming up: the Escape to Miami Sprint Triathlon 9/28 and the BAA Half Marathon (gulp) on 10/12. Both races present challenges. Escape is a Sprint with a shortish swim but the bike is over a couple of steep bridges and the run is over a long bridge that almost felled close friends when they did it during Ironman 70.3 Miami. The half marathon is not at all flat. When you add the fact that my run skills are terrible and I live on a flat island, well, excuse me while I go vomit in sheer terror. But hey, F it. Life is about living, right? Or hurling myself off bridges.

Back to my training plan. Liz has put together a great plan that has really improved my swimming, has built up mileage on my bike and still has me walking. BUT I am running for longer(isn) periods of time. And we’re also training on the one little hill we have here. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor twice a week for him to do his voodoo to keep my hip in place. Everything has been going really well. Until a week ago Sunday at work. I was taking a kayak down from the rack. There was some water in it and the weight shifted and I ended up hyper extending my knee. I immediately knew it wasn’t good. I tried to run the next day (I’m not very bright) and, of course, it hurt a lot. It was also swollen. I haven’t done much but swim since then and be really impatient and bitchy. Which, come to think of it, people probably can’t tell the difference between pre and post injury personality traits.

I had a few days of complete rest from training. Work requires me to be on my feet quite a bit but I’ve definitely held back from lugging kayaks and paddle boards around. When I’m home working on the computer, I’ve been icing and elevating. I’ve done a couple of laser treatment thingees at the chiropractor that seem to help. I’ve gotten a therapeutic massage that wasn’t super fun (it was of the “this spot hurts, press as hard as you can” variety) but it was helpful. Basically, I’ve tried everything short of dancing naked under a full moon while waving burning sage around my knee. And it has all helped!!! I’m feeling pretty good. Swelling is down and I went for a walk today without any pain. I’m going to try to run tomorrow and see how it goes!!! I’ve only got about 9 weeks left til the Half. ARRRRGHHHHH!!!!

Hopefully I’m back to my full training schedule this weekend. If not, well, there is a full moon this Sunday……

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25 signs you may be a Tri Dork

well, for starters, if you’re reading this blog. You’re either a Tri Dork or my Mom.
In no particular order:

1) 90% of your laundry is workout gear (including the race shirts you wear to social gatherings. “I do Triathalons” “yeah, I know your tucked in race shirt kind of gave you away, dork”)

2) 75% of your dishwasher load is water bottles (the rest is made up of rice cookers, zucchini spaghetti maker thingees, blenders, etc)

3) You have a HUGE shelf (shelves) in your kitchen/pantry that has nothing on it but gels, gus, etc.

4) “Hey, you want to do a shot?” means, a Cliff Shot Block (unless it’s after a race and then it’s Fireball. Is that just me? and Liz?)

5) Bed time is earlier than most 4 year olds have to go to bed. The difference is that the 4 year old wants to stay up later.

6) Bed time is tough in the summer because you really would like to wait until the sun sets, but dammit, it’s 8:00 and you’re exhausted.

7) You’ve been seen more than once with a club soda and lime or an O’Douls at Happy Hour and you’re not an alcoholic. (after which you head right home to bed).

8) You wear a Garmin as an everyday watch (and were SUPER EXCITED to figure out how to make the time show up on the face).

9) You shower at least 2 times a day.

10) You can’t watch tv without foam rolling and/or stretching.

11) Your idea of a great massage involves pain rather than plinky plunky music and a gentle touch.

12) Your main social event is the monthly Tri Club Meeting.

13) You belong to a Tri Club

14) You greet people by asking “what’s your next race?” and everyone knows what you’re talking about (see number 12).

15) You’re in your 40’s (or 50’s), are comfortable enough financially yet you sharee a hotel room with 3 other adults when traveling for a race.

16) You sign up for race (races) just because you’ve already done the first one(s) in the series and you get an extra medal at the finish.

17) You sign up for a whole series just because there’s an extra medal. and an extra shirt! hello next Tri Club meeting!

18) You’d rather have a badass finisher medal than a diamond necklace. Heck some of these races cost as much.

19) Your travel plans revolve entirely around an out of town race. and if not, you find a race near where your vacation is.

20) Most of your recipes come from Triathlete and Runner’s World Magazines.

21) You start every other sentence with “my coach said…..”

22) Most people think of Hawaii and think of beaches and surf and waterfall, you think “KONA”

23) You know who Macca, Muppet, Crowie and Rinny are

24) You’ve been to the grocery store in compression socks and you’re not diabetic.

25) I can’t think of another one. It’s like 8:30! I have to go to bed!!!!

Please leave your own signs of a Tri Dork in the comments 🙂

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Never Gonna Give You Up

The most fascinating thing to me about Triathlon, (other than willingly getting up at 4 am and paying hundreds of dollars over and over again for hours of pain) is the mental part of it. From getting training in no matter how tired, sore, unmotivated, etc to getting through a race when you’re tired, sore, hurt, etc to managing expectations in a race, the mental game is the most important thing. After all, we need to convince our bodies to do some, let’s face it, pretty ridiculous things. And be ok with it if our bodies don’t cooperate on race day. This has been a hot topic among my fellow Tri Dorks lately.

The Mental Muscle seems to be the one that’s the toughest for some of us to train. I’ve had a lil’ bit of struggle with this. As you may have gotten if you’ve read previous posts of mine. From bad races to mishaps to injuries to motivation to the DAMN running! Ok, so more like a TON of struggle. In the middle of TriKw this past December I actually was crying on the run and wondering (I’m pretty sure out loud) “maybe I’m not mentally strong enough for this sport”. But then there are great moments like when I got to the top of all of those flippin’ bridges in Miami (seriously, why do we have to race over ALL of them?) when I felt pure joy and was like “F YEAH!!! LOOK AT ME!!”.

My fellow Tri Dorks and I are each other’s biggest cheerleaders yet most of us seem to be way too hard on ourselves. My friend Renee’s performance at IronMan 70.3 Miami last October brought me to tears. She went into the race injured and not feeling well. She gutted it out and got a PR (Personal Record). She raced so hard that she wrecked herself and couldn’t get out of bed the whole afternoon and evening after a race. She left it ALL out there. Is she happy about this gutty performance? Nope. She thinks she had a bad race and has signed up to do it again just to prove something to herself. We all think she’s AMAZING but she couldn’t see it that race. We’ve all done it over and over again. Maybe that’s what keeps us doing these races?

Not everyone beats themselves up mentally. Another friend, Taz, is the most positive life force ever. She always has the best pre/post race attitude. When I ran into her the night before SoBe Tri, I was a nervous wreck and inwardly questioning whether I was ready and would I be able to do it. I asked her if she was ready and she replied with a resounding “hell yes” and went on to point out how lucky we are. That they were closing down part of the city just so we could race through it. I never thought about it that way. The next day when I was racing, remembering that helped me get through the struggles on the bridges. I reminded myself to take a look around and enjoy the view. When I wasn’t swearing my head off 🙂 Taz is always an awesome kind of forceful positive, like she’s daring you to be negative. “you WILL enjoy this and if not so help me…..” When she was doing the Keys 100 Relay she handed the baton to a friend of mine yelling at him to “RUN MOTHERF–R, RUN!” in a forceful, joyful way. So much so that the rest of us standing around almost started running too, lol. She just enjoys what she does so much, it’s hard not to feel it too.

I’ve tried to be more positive while training and not beat myself up as much. It’s a slow process. Just today I was half hoping that I’d get hit by a car when running hill repeats. Hey, I can’t change overnight 🙂

Training and racing is so hugely mental. If you believe you’ll do it, you will. Or some crap like that. My friend Colleen is another super positive racer. She just throws herself into it and enjoys the hell out of all of it.

I’m trying (ha, tri-ing) to learn from all these positive powerful friends of mine. South Beach was the first step and I hope to carry it through in my next race.

What I think I look like when I finish:

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What I actually look like: (I, for reals, almost passed out)

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baby steps! I hope to look way more like the first picture when I finish Escape to Miami in September.

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listen all y’all, it’s a (self) sabotage

Tonight was week 2 of Bootcamp. Or Diva Bootcamp as I refuse to call it. It’s a GREAT class put on by Raquel at Stay Fit Studios. We meet every Wednesday at 7pm. We arrive, weigh in, then it’s about a 40 minute intense workout followed by some food talk. And not the good kind of food talk. Like what not to eat. Raquel is fantastic. Though she’s more Lion than Kitten, she’s very supportive and pushes us to succeed. She’ll respond to any text we send her no matter how asinine. It’s a great group of ladies that work out and we all manage to have a giggle or two in between shooting Raquel dirty looks while sweating through some awful exercise or another.

How could I not succeed, right? Well, let me tell you about me. I mean, it’s my blog. You want to hear about somebody else, read their blog! I have been overweight my entire life. I’ve never worn a bikini outside of when I was a little kid. My stomach is as white as a ghost. It’s never seen the sun since I was a wee bairn. I avoided sleeveless shirts like Justin Beiber avoids pants that fit since I don’t know how long. The sleeveless thing has changed since I moved to the surface of the sun. Also, I reached that blissful age a few years ago where mostly I just don’t give a hoot. I don’t have to look at my bare giant arms, you do. sorry! I’ve always used food for comfort. I had an extremely abusive childhood (not my parents, but someone close. I’ll save it for my memoir, it’s not important any more). As a result of this abuse, I built a wall with my fat to protect myself from the abuse (did NOT work). And then later, to be purposely (though subconsciously) repulsive to men so that none would find me attractive, I wouldn’t get hurt, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I’ve had a LOT of therapy. Anywho, those food patterns are very difficult to break. I’ve got it mostly under control. I mainly use drugs and alcohol now. KIDDING. And btw, this is not at all an excuse for being fat. It all started with childhood trauma but that all happened 35 years ago or so. I’ve had plenty of chances to reprogram my brain. I went through lazy periods, party periods and dating a gay man periods (that one cost me 70 pounds. score!) And my weight issues have nothing to do with anyone else’s. It’s just I’ve been seeing some fat people hate, more and more lately on Facebook and other social media. Even from people I never expected. Listen, ain’t a fatty out there that doesn’t know that they’re fat. And most of us know fully well how to lose the weight. Easier said than done in some cases.

But the point is, I still fall back on old habits sometimes. If I’m stressed or lonely, food is there. If I’m having boy issues, food is there. If I’m upset, food is there. If it’s sunny out, food is there. Ok, maybe not quite that bad any more. The weirdest things do set me off. If someone compliments my weight loss at a mentally inopportune time, then hello chips! If someone doesn’t notice my weight loss, hello ice cream. Yeahhhh….I’m fun to know. One of the biggest triggers? Actively trying to change my eating habits. Like Bootcamp! I’m so hopeful signing up for it and then week one I eat everything in sight. Well, everything fried and breaded and sugared in sight. I want nothing to do with all the fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Have week one of Bootcamp coincide with PMS? forget it!!! no carb is safe. Bring on the potato in any form. Except sweet. They smell like feet. And this self sabotage happens every. single. time. From Weight Watchers back in the day to Bootcamp now. The difference between then and now? Back then, I’d immediately quit. Now? I quit after 2 weeks. I kid. I just keep trucking along. There’s always week 2!

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